In today's Apple Daily, we learn that Apple's making some serious inroads into Samsung's native South Korea. In addition, word just dropped that the Cupertino giant bought a British music analytics company last year (presumably to improve Beats Music), and one of the iPhone's best thermal imagining attachments gets an upgrade.
Apple Nabs a 33% Smartphone Market Share in Samsung's Home Turf
Samsung historically (and understandably) has a massive lead in smartphone sales over Apple in its home base of South Korea, but the Cupertino company has been eating away at that dominance with its recent successes. According to the latest report from Counterpoint Research, Apple commanded a full 30 percent of sales in the country last November.
The jump is part of a larger trend that sees Apple finding a new strengths in Asian markets. In Japan, Apple accounted for 51 percent of all smartphone sales in October and November, and the iPhone 6 helped Apple's smartphone sales in China increase by 45 percent year-over-year. Worldwide, in fact, Apple's year-over-year iPhone sales grew by 26 percent.
Impressive, but South Korea remains the big news here.
“No foreign brand has gone beyond the 20 percent market share in the history of Korea’s smartphone industry," says Counterpoint's Tom Kang. "It has always been dominated by the global smartphone leader, Samsung. But iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have made a difference here, denting the competition’s phablet sales."
Kang adds that Apple probably would have been even more successful in the region had supplies of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus not been so strained early on.
Apple Acquires Music Analytics Startup Semetric
Apple may have bought Beats with the intention of getting a leg up on the streaming music business, but after dropping a cool $3 billion on Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine's company, it's apparently still not finished forking out more cash to improve the service. Today The Guardian reported that Apple bought British music analytics service Semetric late in 2014, presumably with the intention of improving Beats Music ahead of its rumored relaunch under the iTunes banner later this year.
Semetric is the company behind Musicmetric, which is aimed at helping labels and artists better understand who's listening to their music and how. Currently, it tracks venues outside of iTunes such as YouTube videos and BitTorrent downloads, but there's a small chance that might change in Apple's hands. On the other hand, Musicmetric also analyzes the consumption of films, e-books, games, and TV shows, so Apple might extend the service to cover the full library of its digital offerings.
Currently there's no word from Apple regarding how much the acquisition cost them, and thus far the company has only released its usual canned statement it shoots out when it acquires smaller companies. Last year, though, Spotify spend $100 million on the similar Echo Nest service, which may point to how much Apple's pockets were emptied in the wake of the Semetric deal.
Seek XR Brings Optical Zoom to Thermal Imaging in iOS
One of the niftier gadgets for the iPhone is the Seek Thermal attachable infrared camera, which allows you to look at heat signatures from objects like hot water pipes and living creatures (and presumably roleplay as the Predator or Batman from the Arkham Asylum games).
It's been out since late last year, but it's been missing a key optical zoom function that would make it ideal for spotting wildlife in the forest or some such. Seek Thermal's new Seek XR remedies that problem with an optical zoom that reportedly works up to 2,000 feet.
Alas, the long-awaited feature also bumps up the price from $199 for $299, but seeing as how the zoom greatly augments the usefulness of the device, it's probably well worth it.