Apple to Dethrone Samsung as World’s Largest Smartphone Maker

Apple seems poised to overtake Samsung as the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer in 2017’s fourth quarter, according to new data published by market research firm TrendForce.

The Taiwanese firm estimates that Apple will achieve a 19.1 percent market share in the quarter, thanks to strong iPhone X in the normally busy holiday shopping season. That would place the Cupertino tech giant slightly ahead of Samsung’s estimated 18.2 percent market share in the same quarter.

With Apple at the top and Samsung trailing close behind, Chinese OEMs Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi are expected to round out the top 5 manufacturers — in that order.

Samsung has maintained a strong market share in recent years, thanks to its wide range of available products. Unlike Apple, which typically caters to the higher-end market, Samsung’s devices span the gamut from low-end devices as cheap as $ 200 to flagship handsets like the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8.

Dethroning Samsung is an impressive feat for Apple. And it largely has to do with demand for Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X stealing some of the market share from Samsung’s top-tier handsets, according to TrendForce.

“Samsung is expected to slightly scale back the production of its high-end models in the fourth quarter as the brand is seeing the sales of its smartphones being squeezed by the strong demand for Apple’s latest iPhone devices,” TrendForce wrote in its report. “(We) estimate that Samsung’s fourth-quarter total volume will come to 77 million units, a 5% drop from the third quarter.”

Throughout the third quarter, Apple’s production was sustained by the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. And while yield rate issues for the iPhone X delayed production, the Taiwan-based firm estimates that total iPhone production will reach 81 million units — with the iPhone X accounting for 33 percent of that. Notably, TrendForce expects iPhone X production to stabilize and see a surge that will last through the first half of 2018.

But while Apple’s forecasted dominance is impressive, it’s not altogether unexpected. The company has always seen its strongest demand in the fourth quarter — since it typically launches new flagship devices in the fall. Apple overtook Samsung in 2016’s fourth quarter, too.

As far as Apple’s iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models are concerned, another research firm, Canalys, estimated that the iPhone 8 Plus outpaced the smaller model iPhone 8 in the third quarter — the first Plus-sized iPhone to ship more units than its smaller stablemate in a single quarter.

While Apple doesn’t release iPhone sales stats by individual model, CEO Tim Cook has said that the iPhone 8 Plus has “gotten off to the fastest start of any Plus model.” That, Cook added, was “a bit of a surprise” for Cupertino.

For the fourth quarter of 2017, Apple provided unprecedented revenue guidance of around $ 84 to $ 87 billion. That suggests Apple is expecting strong holiday quarter demand for the iPhone X — and hints that the company could easily beat its all-time record for single quarter revenue: $ 78.4 billion, which was set in Q4 2016.

iDrop News

Users Report iPhone X Display Becomes Unresponsive in Cold Weather

The weather is getting colder in many parts of the world. And according to a handful of social media reports, the chillier temperatures are having an adverse effect on Apple’s new iPhone X.

Reportedly, the iPhone X’s OLED display becomes much less responsive to touch when the device is being used in cold weather. One Redditor who experienced the problem wrote that it “literally takes 2 seconds” when moving from indoor temperature to outdoor temperature for the issue to take place. “I try swiping on websites and it doesn’t register my finger. It’s very noticeable,” the user, darus214, wrote in a Reddit post on Wednesday.

Several other users responded to darus214, explaining that they had similar issues with using the iPhone X in colder temperatures. “I had to enter my passcode 4 times because it missed digits, and Face ID didn’t recognize me,” wrote one user, adding that their iPhone X registered only about 20 percent of their touch inputs.

Reports aren’t limited to Reddit, either. Several users have taken to Twitter to explain similar cold weather issues with the iPhone X.

It is hard to gauge how widespread the issue is, but it seems to be affecting enough people to rule out being an isolated incident. Basically, quite a few people are being plagued by the cold-weather problem — enough for the bug to be worrisome.

It’s currently unknown what could be prompting the unresponsive display issue, but the temperature which causes it seems to vary from between 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). Additionally, it’s not clear if Apple is currently aware of the issue — but as we approach winter, it’s bound to become a more widespread problem if not addressed.

How to Fix It (Temporarily)

Since we don’t know what’s causing it, we won’t know how Apple will address the problem. But several intrepid Reddit users have found a temporary fix: locking and unlocking the iPhone X. According to Redditor JStheoriginal, after locking and unlocking, the iPhone will register 100 percent of touch inputs.

iDrop News

Apple Wins Original Drama Starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon

Apple is hard at work at developing original TV content. And, out of the gate, one of those programs will be a “morning show drama” starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, according to a new report.

Reportedly, Apple was said to be in a “bidding war” for the untitled series back in September. Now, it seems that Apple has emerged the victor, beating out competitors like Netflix and Showtime. The company has inked a deal for two 10-episode seasons of the TV show, according to a story published Wednesday by The Hollywood Reporter.

The two actors will start, executive produce, and co-own the upcoming series, along with production company Media Res. The program, which delves into the “cutthroat world” of morning TV, was written by Jay Carson, a screenwriter known for his work on Netflix’s own original series, “House of Cards.”

Aniston and Witherspoon will star as morning talk show hosts in the drama series, which is described as an “inside looking at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning, exploring the unique challenges faced by women (and men) who carry out this daily televised ritual.”

The drama program is the second Apple series that’s reportedly in development. In October, Apple negotiated a deal with Amblin Television and NBC Universal to create new episodes of Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories,” which originally ran on NBC from 1985 to 1987.

The new shows will join Apple’s two existing original TV programs, “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke: The Series” — both of which air exclusively on Apple Music. At this point, it’s currently unknown whether Apple will keep its original intent limited to the music streaming platform in the future, or if it will make the content available via other outlets such as iTunes.

Apple’s ambitions in Hollywood have been well-known for some time. Back in June, the company hired former Sony executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht — known for their work on “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul” and “The Crown — to spearhead its aggressive push into original content. In September, a report that detailed Apple’s presence in Hollywood suggested that the company has since been “inundated” with potential shows and spec scripts, and was looking to produce high-end, “prestige” TV content.

iDrop News

iPhone 8 and X Users Report GPS Issues, Bug Fix Coming Soon

A growing number of iPhone 8 and (some) iPhone X users have lodged complaints about their experience with GPS-connectivity issues on their devices, according to a thread over on Apple’s official Support Forums.

Specifically, afflicted users claim to be experiencing an accuracy-related issue on their iPhone 8 or 8 Plus which results in iOS Maps’ blue location marker mysteriously “drifting away” from where they actually are on the map — an issue which some say appears to increase in severity, for example, as they approach higher speeds driving on the Freeway.

Additionally, thought to a lesser extent, Apple’s all-new iPhone X flagship may be experiencing the same issue — however, considering that the iPhone X just launched less than a week ago, there’s presently not enough service data on the handset to determine whether or not a statistically significant number of users are having GPS troubles.

The fact that only iOS 11-running iPhone 8 and X models are experiencing this issue, however, is a clear indication that it’s software-related and not a hardware defect.

Is There a Solution?

When addressing iOS software issues that hinder certain features, the general course of action to fix them would involve either disabling and re-enabling the feature (in this instance, Location Services) by toggling it on and off in Settings; or, by alternatively doing a hard reset of the device and starting from scratch. However, at least with regards to fixing GPS accuracy issues, neither of those methods are helping.

Apple has provided some Support Forums members with a range of responses to the issue — suggesting that some should try exchanging their devices for a new one, for example; however doing so doesn’t appear to solve the problem and therefore Apple will simply have to address it in a future software update.

Fortunately, AppleInsider claims that sources within Apple (who were not authorized to speak, but did anyways) suggested there are “assorted GPS fixes” included in the upcoming iOS 11.2 software update, which are actually present in the iOS 11.2 beta release, currently. Some Apple Support Forums members, accordingly, have acknowledge that the issue has been rectified on their iPhone 8/X running iOS 11.2 beta. So a fix is clearly in the mix — it’s just a matter of time now before the problem is patched for good.

iDrop News

Apple Offers Help, Gets Snubbed By FBI After Texas Church Shooting

In the wake of last Sunday’s horrendous church massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas, local authorities and investigators with the FBI revealed that lone gunman, Devin P. Kelley, was in possession of an unspecified iPhone model at the time he mercilessly gunned down 26 and wounded dozens more in the sadistic, coordinated attack.

Now, Apple has come out saying in a statement obtained by BuzzFeed News that it personally reached out to the FBI shortly after the attack in a bid to offer “assistance” getting into Kelley’s iPhone — even though the model, configuration, and security settings remain unknown, and Kelley, himself, is deceased due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound that capped his cowardly rampage.

Interestingly, while Apple appears to be taking the moral high-ground, FBI special agent Christopher Combs in a separate statement appeared to cast blame on the company in the wake of Sunday’s attack, indicating, without mentioning Apple by name, that tech-industry mandated encryption of user data is making it increasingly difficult for law enforcement to access information on electronic devices owned by nefarious actors, like Kelley.

“Law enforcement is increasingly not able to get into these phones,” Combs said at a press conference, while adding “I can assure you that we are working very hard to get into the phone.”

A Missed Opportunity?

Combs’ comments appear to have been questioned in a number of media reports following the attack, including by CNBC, who yesterday reported that FBI officials never actually contacted Apple in search of help getting into Kelley’s iPhone — especially when they could have, during the “critical 48-hour period” in which investigators could’ve technically used Kelley’s own fingerprint to unlock the device themselves.

Meanwhile, Apple in its statement contends that it did, in fact, extend an offer of help to the FBI once it learned that Kelley owned an iPhone.

Worth noting is that even though Apple ultimately offered to help the FBI, its material support would not have included simply giving the Bureau Kelley’s passcode or unlocking the device for them, which was a major issue of contention over which Apple and the FBI have previously sparred. For instance, back in 2015 when the tech-giant refused to help FBI officials unlock the iPhone 5c belonging to San Bernardino shooter, Syed Rizwan Farook, a fierce, lengthy, and otherwise expensive battle over encryption ensued.

Apple, however, indicated in its statement that it could have helped the FBI obtain other valuable information from Kelley’s iPhone, such as by helping “expedite legal warrant requests” to allow the Bureau legal access into Kelley’s iCloud account, where stored iPhone backups might exist and reveal crucial evidence.

FBI Fires Back

Considering the he-said, she-said nature of their argument, it might appear that the FBI is trying to use the shooting as an opportunity to push companies like Apple into being more cooperative and adopting weaker encryption policies. It’s also likely that the FBI simply doesn’t want to have to deal with Apple’s policies in the first place, and so it’s therefore trying to paint the iPhone, itself, as “the obstruction.”

At the end of the day, of course, it’s worth pointing out that the FBI ultimately lost its golden opportunity to get into the iPhone, considering there was the “critical, 48-hour window” during which they very easily could have. It’s interesting to think that had law enforcement asked Apple for help in a more timely manner, they could have potentially obtained the information they were looking for.

iDrop News