Smartwatch Sales Tumble in Q3 2016, Dragged Down by Apple: IDC

Smartwatch Sales Tumble in Q3 2016, Dragged Down by Apple: IDC

Global smartwatch sales slid 51.6 percent in the third quarter, amid a steep decline for the Apple Watch ahead of its updated device, a market tracker said Monday.

The IDC survey said total smartwatch volumes were 2.7 million units, less than half the level of a year earlier. Apple, the largest smartwatch vendor, saw its sales down 71.6 percent.

But IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said the decline is not as ominous as it appears – because many consumers were waiting for the new version of the Apple Watch and upcoming Android devices.

(Also see: Apple Watch Nike+ Edition Price in India, Release Date Revealed)

“The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning,” Llamas said.

“Apple revealed a new look and feel to watchOS that did not arrive until the launch of the second generation watch at the end of September.”Llamas added that Google’s decision to hold back the Android Wear 2.0 operating system has also limited sales.

“Samsung’s Gear S3, announced at (the trade show) IFA in September, has yet to be released. Collectively, this left vendors relying on older, aging devices to satisfy customers.”

Nonetheless, the market is showing limited growth, according to IDC.

“It has also become evident that at present smartwatches are not for everyone,” said IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani.

“Having a clear purpose and use case is paramount, hence many vendors are focusing on fitness due to its simplicity.”

Despite its sharp sales drop, Apple maintained the top position with an estimated 1.1 million units sold and a 41 percent market share, according to IDC. Apple does not release sales figures for its smartwatch.

Garmin was the number two brand with sales of 600,000 and a 20.5 percent market share, followed by Samsung with 400,000 and a 14.4 percent share, according to IDC.

Tags: Apple, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Series 2, WatchOS, Android Wear, Samsung Gear S3, Smartwatch, Wearables, Android
[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Becomes Chairman as Co-Founder Steps Down

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Becomes Chairman as Co-Founder Steps DownSpotify CEO Daniel Ek Becomes Chairman as Co-Founder Steps Down
Spotify co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek is consolidating power over the world’s largest music streaming service, taking on the role of chairman ahead of a planned initial public offering as soon as next year.

Martin Lorentzon, a co-founder of Spotify, is stepping down from his role as chairman after 10 years, a Spotify spokeswoman said in an e-mail. Lorentzon will become vice chairman, he said Thursday on his Twitter feed.

(Also see: Spotify Debuts in Japan, Complete With Karaoke Lyrics)

“I look forward to another 10 years at Spotify as vice chairman,” Lorentzon said.

Ek is leading the company as it prepares to make its case to public-market investors and takes on a growing list of rivals, including Apple, Amazon and Pandora. He’s taking a page from other technology industry founders such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg – who maintain tight control over the leadership and direction of their companies – as he oversees a growing staff spread across Stockholm, London, New York and Los Angeles.

The company is in the midst of critical negotiations with record companies that will determine how much Spotify pays to carry music on its service. The outcome will help determine whether the company can bend itself toward profitability, as it currently pays most of its revenue back out in the form of royalties to labels and publishers.
Spotify last month surpassed 40 million paying customers, and has 100 million monthly users including its free, ad-supported product. It generated more than $2 billion in revenue last year but remains unprofitable.

(Also see: Spotify Said to Be in Advanced Talks to Buy SoundCloud)

Earlier this year, Lorentzon joined venture capitalist and Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom, former Finance Minister for Sweden Anders Borg and several other business leaders in signing an open letter calling for reforms in Sweden’s education, tax and housing industries, and warned that failure to do so could force businesses from the Nordic region’s biggest economy.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Spotify, Music Streaming Service, Music, Internet, Home Entertainment, Apps

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Microsoft Doubles Down on Cybersecurity with Improvements to Windows Defender

windows-defender

 

Microsoft’s Windows Defender is getting a major retooling to improve its ability to combat malware.

This week, 23,000 IT professionals are gathered at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Atlanta to learn about some of the latest technology advancements in security, intelligence and the cloud.

One of the most talked about topics is Windows Defender, the security software built into Windows 8 and 10. Some small business owners use it as their only means of defense against malware and viruses.

Windows Defender hasn’t always been as effective as might be hoped blocking malware and malicious URLs so Microsoft (NASDAQ: MFST) has made improvements, which will prevent users from needing to add third-party antivirus solutions.

A Look at the Latest Windows Defender Update

One of the improvements, announced earlier today, regards a new feature for Microsoft Edge (Microsoft’s new browser) called Windows Defender Application Guard, designed to make Edge the most secure browser on the market.

It insulates Windows 10 from untrusted browser sessions and browser-based malware attacks such as phishing, protecting employee devices and preventing the spread of malware across an organization’s network.

“Unlike other containment offerings on the market, Windows Defender Application Guard opens a browser session in an isolated ‘container’ built into the hardware, preventing malicious code from moving across an organization’s devices and onto its network,” says the announcement. “Instead, malicious code is contained behind walls, like a maximum-security prison for hackers.”

Microsoft lists the following reasons why the Defender Application Guard is critical:

  • 90 percent of phishing attacks use a browser to open and initiate an attack;
  • Containers used in other browsers leave businesses vulnerable to 90 percent of the most prevalent security attacks because they don’t offer hardware-based protection;
  • Publicly accessible social network profile and timeline data allow hackers to personalize phishing messages, dramatically increasing the open rates. Messages that address recipients score click rates as high as 56 percent in emails and 37 in Facebook messages, the announcement says.

Windows Defender Application Guard comes built into Microsoft Edge and Windows 10 and will be made available to customers starting next year.

Application Guard is not the only new security feature Microsoft is rolling out. Three others announced today include:

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP) and Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection

Windows Defender will share security issues it detects with Office 365, which helps IT professionals to investigate and respond to security threats across Windows 10 and Office 365 more quickly and efficiently.

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection

Microsoft is extending Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.

Two other enhancements include dynamic delivery, which enables users to safely check email attachments while they are being inspected to determine whether or not any security risk exists, and URL detonation, which analyzes links in real-time to identify unknown malicious URLs.

Office 365 Threat Intelligence

This feature provides alerts and information on the origin of specific attacks, allowing IT to guard against threats proactively and take immediate action.

Microsoft’s aim is to build security deeply into every product family and provide a strategy that helps ward off cyber attacks. The new features enable IT and security administrators to stay ahead of evolving threats and provide effective countermeasures, rendering such threats powerless, the company says.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

US FTC Cracks Down on Warner Bros for Sponsored YouTube Game Reviews

US FTC Cracks Down on Warner Bros for Sponsored YouTube Game Reviews

Video games are a big deal on YouTube. Some video game YouTubers have millions of followers who tune in to watch them review games and have turned their channels into full-time jobs. But it can be hard for viewers to tell when video makers are getting paid big bucks to promote a game – and now government regulators are cracking down on those poorly disclosed deals.

The Federal Trade Commission announced Monday that it has reached a settlement with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment over what the agency deemed a deceptive marketing campaign for the 2014 game “Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor,” which involved major payoffs to big names in the world ofYouTube gaming in exchange for positive coverage.

Warner Bros., the FTC alleges, paid popular YouTubers tens of thousands of dollars to promote the game via a campaign managed by advertising company Plaid Social Labs. The blitz included a sponsored gameplay video from PewDiePie – one of the biggest names on YouTube. PewDiePie’s video alone has attracted more than 3.7 million views to date.

middle_earth_wb_fb.jpgWarner Bros. gave YouTubers strict instructions to say only positive things about the game and stay silent about bugs they encountered, according to the FTC. Its contracts with the vloggers also demanded preapproval of the videos, the agency alleges.

x

But the company didn’t make the YouTubers disclose that they were paid to promote the game in their actual videos, where viewers would actually see them, according to the FTC. Instead, it told them to include a disclosure in the video description, but below a lot of other information that pushed “the vast majority” of the sponsorship disclosures down so far that they could be seen only if a viewer hit a “Show More” button.

Because of that placement, the disclosures also didn’t show up when the YouTubers shared their videos on Twitter or Facebook – social media promotion the company also required them to do, according to the FTC. And in some cases, the disclosures included way down in the descriptions of videos revealed only that a YouTuber had received a free early copy of the game, not that they’d been paid cash to make what was essentially an ad, the FTC alleges.

Under the settlement agreement, Warner Bros. will be barred from carrying out that sort of campaign in the future without more prominent disclosures.

“Consumers have the right to know if reviewers are providing their own opinions or paid sales pitches,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a press release. Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the settlement.

The FTC has long had guidelines for how people should disclose when they have been paid to endorse a product online, but this settlement marks the first time the agency has brought an enforcement action in the online video sponsorship market. Given the major push towards livestreaming from social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, it probably won’t be its last.

© 2016 The Washington Post

Tags: Apps, Gaming, Internet, Middle Earth, Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor, PewDiePie, Warner Bros, YouTube

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]

After Kickass Torrents, Torrentz.eu Shuts Down

After Kickass Torrents, Torrentz.eu Shuts Down

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kickass Torrents, the world’s biggest piracy website, was shut down earlier
  • Torrentz.eu announced farewell on their website
  • Search feature has been disabled on its still active website

Weeks after torrents site Kickass Torrents was shut down following the arrest of alleged founder Artem Vaulin in Poland, another major player Torrentz.eu appears to have shut its portals on Friday, a media report said.

Torrentz.eu, considered the largest torrent meta-search engine, announced “farewell” to its millions of users.

Founded in 2003, Torrentz.eu had millions of visitors per day the site grew out to become one of the most visited torrent sites.

After more than 13 years of service, the popular site announced its farewell just a few hours ago, that too without any warning, Torrent Freak reported.

While the homepage is still active, Torrentz has completely disabled its search functionality and has similarly removed all torrent links. Torrent Freak claims it was contacted by the owner of Torrentz.eu, who “prefers not to comment at the moment.”

“Torrentz was a free, fast and powerful meta-search engine combining results from dozens of search engines,” a text read while searching for content.

The site’s users are no longer able to login either. Instead, they see the following message: “Torrentz will always love you. Farewell.”

Two weeks ago, Artem Vaulin, the alleged 30-year-old Ukrainian owner of Kickass Torrents, was detained in Poland after being charged with a four-count US criminal indictment which was followed by shutdown of the search engine.

Vaulin was charged with money laundering and violations of several copyright laws.

Written with inputs from IANS

Tags: Internet, Kickass Torrents, KickassTorrents, Torrents, Torrentz.eu

[“source-ndtv”]

Double Trouble For Twitter With Revenue and Stocks Down

shutterstock_411932392

Has the Twitter success story run its course? That’s the question being posed on Wall Street after Twitter reported disappointing revenue growth in the first quarter of 2016 recently.

In the first quarter, Twitter reported $595 million in revenue, well below the $607.8 million that analysts were expecting.

The company added 5 million users, but fell short of the growth that would allow it to steal the advertising thunder from rivals Google and Facebook.

“The concern that dismal user growth would eventually affect revenue growth is starting to show up in Twitter’s results,” observed Jitendra Waral, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

Twitter Reports Disappointing Revenue Growth

Soon after Twitter announced its first quarter results, shares dropped more than 12 percent.

It’s worth noting that the year has not started on a great note for the company. Last quarter, users declined for the first time.

The biggest concern right now is about the company’s user and sales growth since Twitter sliding stock plummeted more than 20 percent this year.

Like tech giant Apple, which has reported its first sales decline in 13 years, Twitter faces a tough challenge to convince Wall Street it’s still got what it takes to grow.

Competition for Ad Dollars Goes “Live”

To boost growth, Twitter says it will continue to focus on “live” broadcasts.

While speaking with analysts on Twitter’s live-video service, Periscope, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said, “We remain focused on improving our service to make it fast, simple and easy to use.”

Regaining the live content niche however, is not going to be easy for Twitter. Snapchat has seen massive success with its live stories, but the biggest challenge will come from Facebook. In the past few months, Facebook has announced a number of new features that threaten Twitter.

Facebook is also aggressively pushing live video by introducing Facebook Live that lets anyone with a verified account broadcast live.

Twitter, on its part, has made several changes to entice users and advertisers. But analysts feel the company is not moving fast enough to take on competition. “I just haven’t seen enough product improvements for an experience that’s just materially better than people have seen in the past, or appeals more to the mainstream,” Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets told Bloomberg.

But not all is lost for the social networking service. Twitter beat Verizon and Amazon earlier this month to win rights to stream 10 NFL games. Time will tell whether this opportunity will eventually give Twitter a touch down of its own.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Prince Charles Tours Down Under Amid Union Flag Debate

Prince Charles Tours Down Under Amid Union Flag Debate

Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla qill start the 12-day trip in which they will visit a dozen different cities and towns in Australia and New Zealand. (File Photo)

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND:  Britain’s Prince Charles on Wednesday launches a potentially awkward tour Down Under, where New Zealand’s premier is pushing to drop the Union Jack from the flag and Australia’s new leader is a staunch republican.

Charles and wife Camilla arrive in Wellington to start the 12-day trip in which the heir to the throne will visit a dozen different cities and towns across the two countries including New Plymouth, Dunedin, Auckland, Sydney, Perth and Albany.

The prince’s office said the tour had a strong emphasis on honouring the military, with this year marking the centenary of the Anzac landings in Gallipoli, Turkey, during World War I that helped forge the identities of both Australia and New Zealand.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has also sparked a debate on national symbols by calling a referendum on changing the flag, which features a Union Jack in the corner.

Key argues it is time to ditch the symbol of New Zealand’s colonial past and later this month Kiwis will begin voting in a postal ballot to pick a potential alternative.

While Charles will likely avoid any controversy on the subject, he may take comfort from the fact that opinion polls predict the existing flag will be retained when the issue is put to a final vote in March.

If Charles becomes king in the future, as expected, he will become monarch of both Australia and New Zealand, which were once part of the British empire but are now independent.

The British crown’s power in Australia and New Zealand is seen as largely symbolic, but while Queen Elizabeth II is hugely popular in both countries the monarchy is still viewed by some as a colonial relic.

While Key may support changing the flag, he remains an ardent monarchist, unlike Charles’ host on the second leg of his tour, Australia’s new prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Turnbull, who recently ousted royal supporter Tony Abbott in a party coup, is a former head of the Australian Republican Movement and campaigned passionately, but unsuccessfully, to ditch the monarchy in a 1999 referendum on the issue.

“The republic will come back,” Turnbull vowed at the time.

Since becoming prime minister, he has said that another republican referendum in Australia is unlikely while the Queen is still on the throne meaning the next one would likely be after Charles has assumed the crown.

Turnbull showed his republican fires still burn today when he removed knights and dames from the national honours system, saying such titles were “not appropriate” in modern times.

Other republic-supporting Australian prime ministers have courted controversy by bending protocol in meetings with the British monarchy, with Julia Gillard criticised for failing to curtsy to the Queen in Canberra in 2011.

Former leader Paul Keating was dubbed the “Lizard of Oz” by the British press when he touched the Queen’s back while guiding her through a crowd in the nation’s capital in 1992.

[“source-ndtv”]

BlackBerry Diehards aren’t going down with out a wi-fi

BlackBerry Diehards Aren't Going Down Without a Fight

Darren Kao has two apps on his Sony Xperia Android cellphone WeChat to stay in touch together with hischinese clients, and the Starbucks pockets, for his morning caffeine repair. For the entirety else, he’swere given his trusty BlackBerry.

Kao is certainly one of a shrinking tribe of diehard BlackBerry lovers committed to navigating currentlifestyles with what the general public remember an obsolete equipment. Echoing many BlackBerry devotees, he says iPhones and Androids simply can’t suitwireless BlackBerry’s voice sound wiwireless, centralized notiwi-fication hub and physical keyboard. “i’d rather use my antique BlackBerry than a moderncellphone,” he said.

To outsiders, it’s an increasingly perverse way of life choice. in any case, BlackBerry Ltd. has devoted to updating the BB10 running gadget most effective via the quit of the year. It has no stated plans foranother BB10 phone and is accelerating a pivot to handsets jogging Google’s Android. Even President Barack Obama, who famously fought to preserve his BlackBerry despite protection objections from the secret provider, instructed Jimmy Fallon remaining week he in the end ditched his Berry earlier this 12 months (reportedly for a Samsung).

a few voices on Wall avenue would really like BlackBerry to transport on, as properly. Macquarie analyst Gus Papageorgiou, who is covered the Canadian agency on and stale because 2002, stated in can alsothat ditching hardware altogether would without a doubt assist the lowest line and cheer themarketplace. leader government Ofwirelesscer John Chen has said he will try this if he cannot make the handset unit wi-fitable by means of September.

He can likely expect renewed pressure while BlackBerry reviews income on Thursday. On common, 21 analysts surveyed by using Bloomberg assume the business enterprise to put up a lack of 7 cents and pull in $471 million in sales. BlackBerry reported just $2.2 billion in sales wi-fi financial yr, its lowestdisplaying on the grounds that 2006. The shares have fallen about 20 percent inside the ultimate 12 months.

on the give up of March, about 23 million humans around the sector were the usage of BlackBerrys,inclusive of the Priv Android telephone, in keeping with a agency wi-fiwiwireless. three times as manyhumans were using the handsets years earlier, but the endured loyalty is putting all of the same. Getting non-BlackBerry programs onto a BB10 smartphone requires endurance and some technical ability. palsand family regularly wi-fiwiwireless themselves adding BlackBerry Messenger to their roster of messaging apps to keep in contact with the few closingwireless BlackBerry customers of their life.

Kao, an IT representative who runs a cell software program startup in Ottawa, maintains the c084d04ddacadd4b971ae3d98fecfb2a hotspot of his BlackBerry on always to permit WeChat to feature on his Android. He refuses to message along with his wife and buddies thru some thing apart fromBlackBerry Messenger. he is currently the usage of a classic, an updated version of the legendaryBlackBerry formidable. It changed into launched greater than years ago. “Even my ladies were broughtup playing with BlackBerrys as toys,” he said.

Kim Kardashian has stated she buys antique BlackBerrys on eBay to make certain a consistent deliver.other participants of the tribe painstakingly follow on-line tutorials on work-arounds with a view to makepopular apps like Snapchat and Instagram work on BB10. The results are frequently glitchy, says Howard Mesharer, a 23-12 monthsvintage BlackBerry fan from Columbus, Ohio.

whilst Chen chose to make phones going for walks Android rather than BB10 closingwireless 12 months, it opened a rift within the BlackBerry network, consistent with Chris Parsons, editor in chief of CrackBerry.com, BlackBerry fandom’s principal amassing place. “It prompted a touch bit of chaosbecause they essentially made people make a preference at that point, are you a BlackBerry person or are you basically an Android user,” said Parsons, who is known as Bla1ze on-line.

One CrackBerry person, recognized best as Cobalt232, determined a manner to re-paintings Android’ssupply code, stripping out sure elements that prevent Android apps from working on BB10. he’s allowed the diehards to download apps from Google’s store that don’t in any other case paintings on BB10, Parsons said.

Mesharer, who works as a server at a eating place, used Cobalt’s hack so he may want to Snapchat with his friends, up till approximately a month in the past, while he ultimately caved and bought an LGtelephone going for walks Android.

“Why do you want to do so a good deal just to get an app that anyone can get in wireless seconds? you have to work for forty wiwireless mins to hold Snapchat,” he said. “No developer wants to increase for BlackBerry. it is over.”

Mesharer, who used the square-screened BlackBerry Passport earlier than he made the transfer, statedpeople occasionally mistook the smartphone for a Nintendo Gameboy. Ask him which BlackBerrys he isused over time and he launches right into a litany of names and numbers: “Curve 8520, Curve 8900, bold9900, formidable 9700, Curve 8320, Z10, conventional, Q10, Passport.”

Kao does the same. He got his wi-first one in 2003, while he landed his wi-first process out of college at IBM. He recalls being the envy of all his buddies. “It used to be a badge of honor if you want to bringBlackBerrys and now it’s nearly a disgrace,” he stated. “human beings take a look at it like it is a dinosaur, a museum piece.”

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

download the gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the contemporary tech news, product evaluations, and exceptional deals at the popular mobiles.

Tags: Android, BlackBerry, Mobiles, Smartphones

PSN might be Down next Week: Sony

PSN Will Be Down Next Week: Sony

HIGHLIGHTS
PSN may be down on may 25.
The downtime will remaining from 10am to 12pm IST.
this is PSN’s 2d scheduled downtime in almost a month.
Sony might be taking its online gaming provider, playstation network (PSN) down subsequent week for 2hours on might also 25.

The news comes thru the company‘s PSN service status page and cites scheduled maintainance because the purpose for downtime.

ordinary maintenance and upgrades for playstation network will be achieved for approximately 2 hours between 05/25/2016, 10:00 AM and 05/25/2016, 12:00 PM,” the submit at the PSN carrier reputationweb page reads. “everybody who already has an account can nevertheless sign in to their ps communityprofile, play video games and use maximum packages while this preservation is performed.”

nevertheless, numerous offerings including the playstation shop, playstation Video (that is unavailable in India), and most crucially, Account control will not be handy. As usually, Sony recommends activating your PS4 as your number one console prior to maintainance “so that you can continue to play maximumgames and use third celebration servicesin the course of the downtime.

The page additionally recommends which you prompt your PS4 as your number one console earlier thanrenovation so as to allow you to continue playing your games, particularly those which might bedigital or have an internet dependency. right here‘s how:

signal into the ps community.
choose Settings.
go to playstation community/Account control.
pick out set off as Your number one PS4 and hit spark off.
in step with Sony, you only want to do this once.

this is the second one scheduled downtime in nearly a month, with the remaining being on April 19. in contrast to most of Sony’s PSN problems, it is relieving to understand that this should not hit most usersas a surprise. in view that ultimate yr, the carrier has been hit with some extreme downtime. hopefully the scheduled upkeep ought to prevent untoward troubles within the months to come. mainly with some biggames hitting the console next week consisting of Overwatch.

download the gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay updated with the modern-day techinformation, product reviews, and exclusive offers on the popular mobiles.

Tags: how to set ps4 as number one console, playstation network, ps4, PSN, psn down, psn scheduledmaintenance, sony

Why China’s Fake Apple Stores are Shutting Down

Why China's Fake Apple Stores are Shutting Down

At 22, Cheung is already a veteran of China’s imitation game. A month ago, she was peddling the latest iPhones and accessories in one of several copycat Apple Inc stores along a street of gadget outlets in the southern city of Shenzhen.

She still works at the same store but the counterfeit Apple uniform has gone, and the handsets she now touts are made by local Chinese firm Huawei.

The number of fake Apple stores along the busy street has dwindled by about a third from more than 30 as recently as September when Reuters reporters last visited the area, some replaced by unauthorised stores selling locally-branded phones from Huawei, Xiaomi, Meizu and Oppo.

While China remains a crucial growth driver for Apple, the anecdotal evidence from Shenzhen illustrates the economic headwinds the US firm faces in a market that CEO Tim Cook has said will one day be its biggest.

Apple’s China sales grew 84 percent in the year through September. But, with China’s economy growing at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century last year, there are concerns that consumers are tightening their purse strings.

To be sure, copycat outlets represent just a small fraction of Apple’s sales in China, where it also sells handsets through mobile carriers and its own official stores. But they can be a useful gauge of demand. And the frequency at which these tech shops switch brand loyalty also reflects how fickle Chinese buyers can be, and underscores how fierce competition is in the world’s largest smartphone market.

Apple is expected to report later on Tuesday that its global iPhone sales rose by just above 1 percent in October-December, its slowest growth and far from the double-digit growth investors have come to expect.

“It’s not as cool as before to have an iPhone,” said Cai, a 23-year-old assistant at one of the remaining copycat Apple stores.

She said sales had about halved from October levels – when the iPhone 6s (Review) and iPhone 6s Plusdebuted in China – adding the iPhone had become a “street cellphone”, using a Chinese term to describe something that’s widely available and popular, but lacking in novelty value. “Using an iPhone is hardly something you can show off to people now,” she said.

It was unclear if the decline in the number of fake stores might be the result of any pressure by Apple to clamp down on counterfeiting of its brand. Apple China did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

National pride
While some Shenzhen shoppers praised the user-friendly iPhone for its security and design features, others said they preferred cheaper devices that use Google’s Android software.

“I don’t care about the brand, but it must be on the Android system,” said designer Wang Li, 26. “My last mobile was an iPhone. The system is stable, but I don’t like it that all the apps have to be downloaded from the App Store.”

Yang Qingbao, a 31-year-old investment bank manager, said “I think the iPhone has a higher brand value, but it’s hard to say its performance is better than Huawei.”

For others, national pride is a factor.

“I support Chinese brands,” said Li Hongxuan, a 33-year-old translator. “Huawei is cost-effective, though it may not be as good as the iPhone. Its functions are enough for me.”

CK Lu, a Taiwan-based principal analyst for industry research firm Gartner, said Apple retains its premium image in China, though competition is intense.

“The threat, or the risk, is first if Samsung can regain its premium image in China with the S7 coming out this year, and secondly, if Chinese brands can improve their brand image to challenge Apple,” Lu said.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Tags: Apple, Huawei, iPhone, Laptops, Mobiles, PC, Smartphones, Tablets, Wearables
[“Source-Gadgets”]