Apple’s total number of apps in the App Store declined for the first time last year

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The App Store’s total number of apps available decreased in 2017 for the first time in the history of the marketplace, according to analytics company Appfigures. iOS apps in the App Store shrank to 2.1 million over the course of 2017, after beginning the year at 2.2 million.

The decline can be attributed in part to Apple’s decision back in 2016 to remove old apps that were no longer compatible with newer iPhones and apps that didn’t comply with recent review guidelines. Apps that were not built on 64-bit architecture were removed.

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To add to the graveyard of dead mobile software, Apple also removed virus-scanning apps, apps that were clones of other apps, and other low quality apps that were…

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Cumulative App Store titles declined for first time in 2017, report says

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Apple’s gigantic selection of App Store apps contracted for the first time in 2017, with the online storefront shedding 5 percent of its total app count over the year, according to a report from reporting platform Appfigures.
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Gartner: Smartphone sales declined for first time ever in Q4 2017

Global smartphone sales reached 408 million units during the 2017 holiday season, Gartner reported. This is a 5.6% decline, compared with Q4 2016, when over 432 million phones found a new owner, marking the first time sales go down since Gartner started tracking in 2004. According to Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, two factors led to the fall: the upgrade from feature phones to smartphones slowed down due to lack of ultra-low-cost devices and users deciding to choose a quality model and stick with it for a longer time before switching. “Moreover, while demand for high…

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In a first, global smartphone sales declined in Q4 2017 as market reaches saturation

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It was bound to happen eventually. Global smartphone sales have fallen year-over-year for the first time since 2004. Research firm Gartner reports that industry-wide, sales in the fourth quarter of 2017 dropped 5.6% from the same time period in 2016.

While Samsung and Apple maintained their leads in units sold, both showed declines in year-over-year sales. Samsung’s sales decreased by 3.6% for Q4, and Apple dropped a somewhat surprising 5%.

Gartner attributes some of the slowdown in Q4 to the aging of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, with the S9 set to debut at the Mobile World Congress, as well as some confusion over Apple’s release of three new models of iPhone and supply shortages for iPhone X.

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In a first, global smartphone sales declined in Q4 2017 as market reaches saturation was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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IDC: China smartphone market declined by 5% in 2017

IDC released its Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report for China, and the numbers do not look good. According to the data, the market declined 15.7% in Q4 2017, compared with the same period 12 months ago, and 4.9% for the whole 2017. In absolute numbers, the October-December period saw 114.3 shipments, totaling to 444.3 million in 2017 against 467.3 million in 2016. Apple shipped almost 10% fewer phones in the past 12 months, compared to 2016, but it remained a leader in the premium segment with 85% of all sales over $ 600. Due to impressive shipments of the iPhone X (about 7…

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Annual smartphone shipments in China declined for the first time in 2017

 China’s smartphone market is no longer growing after it witnessed its first annual decline in shipments during 2017, according to new figures released today. The writing was on the wall with a market decline first noted in Q2 but this is the first time a drop has been sustained over a twelve-month period. That’s according to data from analyst firm Canalys which reported that… Read More
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Thousands Were Saved Between 1990 and 2012 as Air Pollution Declined

Clearing the Air

When it comes to climate change, it can be difficult to remain optimistic about the fate of the planet. We are already feeling impacts such as increased forest fires and sea level rise, and as global temperatures continue to rise we can only expect more. People and most governments around the world are accepting that battling our changing climate is a matter of survival.

But, while countries like the United States seem to be dismissing its threat, we all still face the same brutal reality of our warming planet. However, amid a series of worrying projections, one recent study stands out as a silver lining. It finds that the amount of gases derived by the combustion of organic matter, such as fossil fuels and forest fires, decreased in the United States from 1990-2012. The dip in what scientists call “organic aerosols” averted 180,000 deaths that would typically be associated with their exposure.

Globally, exposure to these gases is estimated to cause over 4 million deaths every year.  The researchers believe that by tracing back the causes of the recent emission decline, we could inform policies that would save many of those lives.

Long lasting improvements

David Andrew Ridley and his colleagues isolated the trend by analyzing the concentration in the air of organic aerosols and black carbon, the sooty dark fumes created from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass.

Soot can come, for example, from old diesel cars, wood burning or cook stoves and is particularly dangerous for the lungs and heart.

The research team found that between 1990-2012, organic aerosols and black carbon decreased by 40% and 55%, respectively. Overall, this is a 30 percent decrease in particle pollution in the U.S.

These findings are particularly impressive, considering that the increase in the number of wildfires should have contributed to this type of pollution. But other sources of aerosols were so drastically reduced that the negative impacts of forests burning was eventually offset.

The study’s authors believe that the encouraging trend could be a byproduct of the Clean Air Act, a federal law introduced in 1970 that regulated the emissions of hazardous pollutants.

As environmental protection is rolled back in the U.S. and fossil fuels are promoted as a means to create jobs for the poor, the study comes as a reminder that good environmental governance is not just a matter of politics: it can deliver concrete, long lasting benefits.

The post Thousands Were Saved Between 1990 and 2012 as Air Pollution Declined appeared first on Futurism.

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27-Year Study Finds the Amount of Insects Flying in the Air Has Declined 75 Percent

Bug researchers in Germany are puzzled.

New data suggests the total population of flying insects there has declined a whopping 75% in the past 27 years. And no one knows why.

A study released Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE details a longitudinal study by German researchers to measure “flying insect biomass” — the weight of all flying bugs — in 63 protected spots around the country.

The scientists surveyed places like dunes, grasslands, and forests, using trapping tents to collect over 118 pounds of bugs over the 27 year period. They were expecting to find some population decreases, but this extreme decline, they said, is “alarming”.

The most recent Living Planet Index (which measures biodiversity and population trends in fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals around the world) suggested that wildlife abundance on Earth decreased by as much as 58% between 1970 and 2012. Butterfly, bee, and moth populations have previously been shown to be in decline across Europe.

But this widespread insect death struck the researchers as extreme. At the peak of summer heat, when there are usually more bugs out than in the spring and fall, the drop was even more pronounced, and bug counts were down 82%, — that’s 7% more than the average decline over the 27-year period.

The lack of insects, of course, also problematic for small critters who eat flying bugs and has ripple effects up the food chain. A majority (roughly 80%) of plants rely on insects for pollination, and birds gobble them for sustenance.  German birds are feeling the squeeze on their food supply — new research published Thursday shows that Germany lost 15% of its non-endangered bird population in the past 12 years.

The researchers aren’t sure what’s causing this precipitous fall. Across the diverse swath of German habitats studied, all spots saw similar declines, suggesting the decrease had nothing to do with landscape changes. And the scientists don’t think shifts in weather, land use, or climate change are valid explanations either. If anything, rising global temperatures should increase bug populations, the authors argue, because insect biomass is “positively related” to temperature, according to their models.

Other experts have pointed out, however, that not all bugs thrive on a warming Earth. The Washington Post reports that an especially warm spring could bring some bugs (like bees) out early, only to starve when there’s not enough food.

But the German researchers are zeroing in on one possible explanation for their findings: “Pesticide usage, year-round tillage, increased use of fertilizers and frequency of agronomic measures… may form a plausible cause,” they wrote.

More research is needed to know the role the agricultural industry is playing, but the German Farmer’s Union is already playing defense. The association’s secretary general, Bernhard Krüsken, told Deutsche Welle that “considering that the insect count was done exclusively in protected habitats, this shows that it would be premature to quickly point at agriculture.”

Regardless of the cause, scientists worldwide have been sounding the alarm about declining insect populations for months.

“If you’re an insect-eating bird living in that area, four-fifths of your food is gone in the last quarter-century, which is staggering,” Dave Goulson, an ecologist at the University of Sussex, told Science Magazine earlier this year. “One almost hopes” the German trend is unique, he said, and not reverberating around the globe.

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