Category: Tablets

Apple has to pay for botched iPad programme

poison-appleThe fruity cargo cult Apple has had to pay the LA Unified School District (LAUSD) $4.2 million for a botched programme which was supposed to give 640,000 kids an iPad.

Cupertino was expecting to trouser $30 million from the $1.3 billion project, but it was a disaster from the start. There were accusations of mismanagement, miscalculation and corruption.

Former LA schools Super John Deasy  role in the iPad project drew attention after disclosures of close ties he had with executives at Apple and Pearson. Deasy, who resigned under pressure in October, has denied any wrongdoing, and board members also have said they don’t believe he was guilty of any illegal actions.

The FBI has sent its crack team of untouchables to look at the way Apple won the contract in the first place.

Lenovo, the other tech company involved in the project aside from Apple, agreed to let the district have the $2.2 million worth of laptops it recently ordered for free.

LAUSD will also get $6.4 million – it’s still a tentative amount, though – from education software maker Pearson, which was contracted to conjure up maths and English curricula to use with the project.

The district says Pearson only ever provided a partial curriculum. LAUSD plans to use most of the money from the settlement to buy computers for a completely different initiative. It is not clear if Apple will get the chance to bid for that one.


Tablets continue their decline

Dell TabletThe installed base of tablets is to fall next year for the first time, according to a report from ABI Research.

ABI said that by the end of this year the global installed base for tablets will reach 373 million units.

Of those 50 percent will use the Android operating system and 42 percent will use Apple’s iOS operating system.

Of the tablets installed, 48 percent are owned by people in the USA>

ABI thinks there are many reasons for the change in tablet sales.

People are looking to the awkwardly named “phablet” market – a compromise between tablets and essentially smartphones with bigger screens.

ABI also thinks that people will replace their tablets with 2-in-1 ultraportable PCs and some people will just not bother to replace their tablets at all.

Microsoft’s Surface is suddenly interesting


Microsoft-Surface-Pro-42Microsoft is getting some knock on effect from the fact that Apple copied its Surface design.

When Microsoft first announced the Surface Pro back in 2012 Apple fans mocked that it had a  kickstand, but also an “odd” cover that doubled as a keyboard. And to top things off, the device made use of a stylus. The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously said in 2010, “If you see a stylus, they blew it.”

Now Apple has bought in all those things in its new iPad for an outrageous price, commentators are starting to wake up to the fact that the Surface is, and probably has been, rather good.  As a result Microsoft’s announcement hardware event in New York on October 6 is attracting a lot of attention.

Since Apple is charging a fortune for what is essentially an out-of-date Surface, punters are keen to see what Microsoft will come up with that is much better.

Everyone is expecting an Intel Skylake processor lurking under the Surface Pro 4’s glass display and perhaps some movement on available RAM and storage capacities (the current Surface Pro 3 tops out with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD).   It will have, of course Windows 10.

Apple was not the only one copying the Surface. Lenovo introduced its ideapad MIIX 700, which incorporates its own kickstand and an Intel Skylake-based Core m7 processor. But when the Surface Pro 4 is out all competition bets will be off.  Curiously it is Microsoft which is the innovation leader all of a sudden.

How on earth did that happen?


Tablet vendors aim for enterprise success

Dell TabletAll market research analysts are agreed that the tablet market is saturated and vendor sales are falling.

But that doesn’t mean they’re going to give up the ghost.

According to Taiwanese research firm Trendforce, tablets have yet to move away from being entertainment devices, but there is room for growth in the business application market.

Trendforce said that in 2015 something like 163 million tablets will ship, but that’s a 14.9 percent decline year on year.

Branded vendors account for 117 million units but sales of those have slid by 17.7 percent year on year, while so called “whitebox” vendors have seen their share fall by 3.1 percent.

Nevertheless, Apple remains on top of the tablet pile, with a 31.4 percent market share. Apple will introduce an iPad Mini 3 and later on a 12.9 inch iPad Pro, but Trendforce reckons they don’t offer a compelling buy.

Number two player is Samsung with 22.2 percent of the market, while Lenovo, Asus, and Microsoft follow the pack.

Tablet shipments down again

tabletA report from market research company IDC said that it expects overall tablet shipments worldwide to fall by eight percent this year.

But the bright news for vendors is that so-called 2-in-1 devices will grow by 85.5 percent this year. 2-in-1 devices are essentially notebooks with detachable screens that can be used as tablets.

IDC said the expected decline of eight percent is notable because earlier data it released suggested the market would only fall by 3.8 percent. The latest figures estimate 212 million regular tablets will ship.

Barriers to 2-in-1 machines were that they were pricey, the designs weren’t very nice, and no one wanted Windows 8, which was installed on most of the machines available. But now there are more vendors in the game including vendors using Android.

It’s also anticipated that the introduction a machine by Apple later this year will increase demand.

IDC analyst Philippe Bouchard believes that IT departments are now evaluating Windows 10 and will migrate their notebook and tablet installed base towards 2-in-1s.

Lenovo number one tablet vendor in central Europe

tabletWhile Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is showing signs of tablet saturation, the market dynamics differ from Western Europe and the USA markedly.

IDC released figures which showed tablet shipments in the region fell by 21.4 percent in the second quarter of 2015, and 2-in-1 devices fell even more precipitously by 38.6 percent.

Average selling prices also fell in the quarter by 21.9 percent.

Lenovo, however, had a market share of 16.8 percent, followed by Samsung with 15.9 percent share. Apple, however, saw its figures fall to five percent, partly because of the market conditions in Russia and the strength of the US dollar.

Fourth in the pecking order was Asus, with 3.9 percent share, and lastly relatively unknown firm Digma, which specialises in selling inexpensive devices with screen sizes smaller than nine inches.

Jiri Tersel, senior analyst at IDC, said: “Tough competition among vendors, steadily declining prices, and efficient mass production, all contribute to a deflationary market. Consumers benefit from new technologies that offer new options for work, education and leisure.”

Here’s the CEE picture for the quarter.

Tablet market share Q2 2015, CEE region

Tablet sales stabilise in Europe

Dell TabletA survey from IDC said that there are signs of stability for sales of tablets in Western Europe, showed by second calendar quarter figures.

IDC said that in the quarter shipments fell by 1.2 percent and 7.5 million units shipped. That means the smallest decline in sales since downturn started at the beginning of 2014.

Growth in sales of 2-in-1s increased by 71 percent but although overall volumes stayed small, demand continued and in Q2 the share of these devices amounted to 7.3 percent of the overall market.

IDC senior analyst Marta Fiorenti said that the best selling itsem was Microsoft’s Surface 3, but other 2-in-1s were also introduced.

As far as tablets sold, Apple and Samsung continued to dominate the Western European market but smaller vendors including Huawei and Alcatel have made headway.

In the commercial market, shipments of tablets increased by 50 percent in the quarter. But 2-in-1s only have a small presence in eterprises.

Here’s how the vendors did in the quarter.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 14.20.27

Tablet sales continue to fall

Dell TabletOnly 44.7 million tablets shipped worldwide in the second quarter of this year, a fall of seven percent compared to the same period last year.

IDC said in a report that part of the reason is because there’s little opportunity for vendors to introduce anything new.

Perhaps more importantly, Apple and Samsung are losing share in the market, after having dominated in the past, according to Jean Philippe Bouchard, and IDC research director.

He said that in the first quarter of this year, Apple and Samsung had a 45 percent share of the market but that dropped to 41 percent in the second quarter, following challenged from LG, Huawei and others.

The top five vendors saw their combined share falling to 54 percent in the second quarter, down from 58 percent in this year’s first quarter.

Despite losing share, Apple is still number one, followed by Samsung, Lenovo, LG and Huawei.

IDC said longer life cycles, larger smartphones has caused people to not bother buying new models.

Microsoft jumps on internet of things bandwagon

windows-10-start-menu-customised-live-tilesMicrosoft, like Intel, appears to believe its future is in the internet of things (IoT).

That’s according to Richard Edwards, principle research analyst at Ovum.

He said that vendors of desktops, notebooks and tablet computers hope Windows 10 will bring back people who have endured “the Windows 8 debacle”.

But Microsoft, said Edwards – while it is hoping Windows 10 will do well too – doesn’t care about the mobile operating systems market.

Instead, he said: “It’s about gaining a strong foothold in the next multibillion dollar market, the internet of things”.

Microsoft wants to provide an OS and services for “things” that aren’t PCs, tablets or smartphones.

Satya Nadella, the Microsoft CEO, is “cloud savvy” and has developed three flavours of Windows 10.

One is aimed at IoT for devices using X86 or ARM chips, 256MB of memory, 2GB storage and with universal apps and drivers; one for mobile devices using ARM chips; and one for industry devices.

He said: “Microsoft continues to remind partners and device builders that Windows IoT is free for small devices and is urging manufacturers to consider the Windows operating systems as they build their new, intelligent, connected devices.”

Apparently it wants companies making micro kiosks, industrial machines, robots and medical devices to adopt Windows 10.

And then Microsoft has Azure IoT services.

“Microsoft clearly understands that many paths will open up along the IoT value chain, so it is building a range of components that partners can combine, enhance and extend as the market evolves,” he said.

Apple damps orders for giant iPad

Apple iPad AirA report claimed that Apple is nervous about placing orders for components for a 12.9-inch iPad and is keeping its suppliers on hold in the Far East.

There have been rumours that Apple will release a big iPad this year but it’s done some market research and fears that unit sales will not be brilliant.

That’s according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, which keeps its fingers on the pulse of the supply chain in Asia, orders are slow from Apple.

The report said that it will start shipping 12.9-inch iPads in November with production starting in late September.

Giant Taiwanese combo Focvonn will make the devices.

Apple has a problem that the appeal for tablets isn’t nearly as strong as it once was – and people don’t feel the need to upgrade every time a new unit comes out.

Market research organisations across the globe have reported that demand for the devices is slowing down and that’s partly because smartphone screen sizes are getting bigger all the time