Few Gleanings from my perusing the Internet.
Apple Closes at Record Market Value of More Than $700 Billion – The world’s largest company by market capitalization got a little bit bigger Tuesday. Apple, which began flirting with a record valuation of $700 billion during midday trading in November, ended the day at $710.7 billion, marking the first time a U.S. company has reached that milestone. Shares rose 1.9 percent to $122.02 at the close in New York. The iPhone maker is now more than twice as valuable as longtime rival Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, the world’s next-biggest company, has a market capitalization of $385.4 billion. Optimism about Apple has been growing since Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook revealed larger-screened, more expensive iPhones in September, which helped fuel a record profit during the last three months of 2014.
Apple in Talks about Its Own Web TV Service – Industry executives say Apple is in talks with TV programmers to allow Apple to offer an “over the top” pay-TV service, like the one Dish has started selling with its Sling TV product, and the one Sony is getting ready to launch. The theory is that Apple would put together bundles of programming — but not the entire TV lineup that pay-TV providers generally offer — and sell it directly to consumers, over the Web. That means Apple wouldn’t be reinventing the way TV works today, but offering its own version of it, with its own interface and user experience. Apple has shown programmers demos of the proposed service, sources say. But talks seem to be in the early stages, which mean terms like pricing and timing aren’t close to being ironed out. Several programmers say they’ve yet to start talks with Apple at all.
Apple’s iPhone Overtakes Android in U.S. Sales – For the first time since 2012, sales of Apple’s iPhone overtook sales of Android devices by a slight margin during the October to December 2014 period in the United States. According to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel, Apple’s iPhone took a 47.7 percent sales share of the U.S. smartphone market while Android accounted for 47.6 percent, with Windows Phone accounting for 3.8 percent of sales. Kantar also noted that the iPhone 6 was the best-selling smartphone in the United States, and that the iPhone’s market share rose 6.2 percent in Europe during the holiday quarter. By comparison, Android’s share declined 3.8 percent overall in Europe.
iPhone Thefts Down Thanks to Apple “Kill Switch” – The number of iPhone thefts is down significantly in three major cities since the introduction of Apple’s Activation Lock, aka the “kill switch.” Apple’s Activation Lock allows users to remotely lock their phone if it’s lost or stolen – and it can’t be unlocked without the Apple ID and password. In the 12 months after Activation Lock was implemented in September 2013, the number of stolen iPhones dropped by 40 percent in San Francisco, 25 percent in New York and 50 percent in London, according to city reports.
Tablet Shipments Are Officially in Decline – Year-over-year shipments of tablets declined for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2014. Research firm IDC found that 76 million of the devices were shipped worldwide during the fourth quarter, down from about 79 million a year prior. Apple’s iPad tumbled 18 percent in year-over-year unit sales during the fourth quarter and 4 percent for 2014 overall. Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets fell a staggering 70 percent during the fourth quarter, from 5.8 million during that period in 2013 to 1.7 million in 2014. Samsung tablet sales also fell 18 percent, from 13.5 million to 11 million. The shift away from tablets can likely be blamed in part on the growing size of smartphones. People also tend to hold on to their tablets longer than their phones, at least in the U.S., because tablets are generally not subsidized by wireless carriers.
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