26 April 2016 ~ 3 Comments

iPhone SE – New Old iPhone

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Apple just announced the iPhone SE and is billing it as the most powerful four-inch phone ever. Using the four-inch display and aluminium casing similar to the 2013 iPhone 5S, the company claims it took a “beloved design, then reinvented it from the inside out”.

The new phone is very similar to the 5S, but it has the power and performance of the new 6 series which makes for a very attractive overall package. Technical specifications are very similar to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus with a 64-bit A9 chip and an M9 motion co-processor which should give the same processing and graphics performance found in the flagship models. Photographic specifications are also the same with a 12 megapixel iSight camera capable of capturing 4K video. Live Photos is included in the SE package, which brings your still photos to life with sound and movement.

The new phones all share improved wireless specifications which give faster LTE and Wi-Fi. It is now possible to browse the web, download apps, and games, and stream video over 802.11ac Wi-Fi and LTE at higher speeds than on the iPhone 5S.

Techradar describes the iPhone SE in a review as “a simply brilliant palm-friendly phone”. It really is a very good phone, especially if you like a smaller and more manageable phone which sits comfortably in your hand (and even more so if you have a small hand, which can often struggle with the larger smartphones). And of course, the low price makes it the most affordable iPhone in the market.

The iPhone SE is a bold step by Apple to target a market niche ignored by Samsung, LG, and other Android smartphone manufacturers. Apple is offering consumers a premium small screen smartphone with the features and technical specifications found in its top models. The compact Android smartphones, by comparison, are all offered with downgraded features and low specifications. It’s a shame that, until now, there hasn’t been as much choice.

This might also have been somewhat shortsighted from the Android manufacturers; Apple confirms that the “compact” smartphone market is still very strong, particularly in China. More than thirty million four inch phones were sold by Apple last year which probably accounts for Apple’s reasoning behind the production of the iPhone SE. It is a well calculated gamble which we expect to pay large dividends for the company.

With a starting price of just £359, the new iPhone SE should prove to be another winner for Apple. What do you reckon?

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13 August 2012 ~ 0 Comments

China’s mobile market is exploding

If there were any doubts remaining about the mobile market in China, the latest figures will surely put them to rest. Needham & Company analyst Charlie Wolf’s quarterly report came out last month as confirmed that China’s stratospheric boom in smartphone sales shows no sign of letting up any time soon. With an ever growing middle class and their new-found disposable income as well as technological advances and falling hardware prices, the latest figures are all but inevitable. The report claims that there are now over 33 million smartphones shipped in China every quarter. That’s a gargantuan year-on-year increase of 164% and a yearly equivalent of over 130 million. The same time last year, just over 10 million smartphones were sold and even in the previous quarter the figures were only just over 25 million. At this rate, we could easily see 40 million smartphones shipped in China in the next quarterly report.

When compared to UK sales figures, these numbers are impressive. But it might even surprise you to know that China is now buying more smartphones than the United States where only 25 million units were sold in the last quarter. In fact, in the last year the Chinese markets leapfroged not only the Oceania and Asia-Pacific market and the American market but also the whole of the Western European region in terms of market share.

According to the report, the new range of cut-price smartphones is largely responsible for the meteoric boom. Especially with many Asian manufacturers producing incredibly cheap but powerful devices, the road has been laid for the massive increase in smartphone shipments. However, it is not only cut-price smartphones that are selling like hot cakes. Apple has also captured a significant 17.3% share in the smartphone market in China with its expensive iPhone. This is largely thanks to tempting subsidies offered on two of the major carriers, China Telecom and China Unicorn. These figures are only set to rise too as rumour has it that China’s largest network China Mobile will soon be able to carry the iPhone too. With more than 650 million subscribers, it is easily the largest mobile network in the world and even if only a small fraction of these users start using an iPhone, it’ll mean millions of extra units shipped for Apple.

However, still dominating the market in China is Google’s Android. The open source operating system has control of almost 70% of smartphones sold in the country which is mightily impressive. Much of this must be due to the lower prices and better value Android offers savvy customers. Although, of course, the extra ability for customisation and power features will also be attracting power users. Nokia is lagging behind in third place in the Chinese smartphone market with just over a 11% share.

Do you think the Chinese smart phone market can keep on growing at the same pace? Will Apple increase its market share in China? And which world region do you think has a chance of expanding at the same rate?

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