Is Apple losing its shine?

Published:
16 January 2013
Topic:
News,Mobile Phones

The mighty Apple is scaling back its orders for parts for the new iPhone. Does this mean demand for Apple products has finally peaked, or did the tech giant simply overreach itself? Our weekly tech round-up covers this as well as the introduction of bendy displays, Facebook's new search feature and self-driving Audis.

Has the iPhone bubble burst?

It had to happen eventually, didn't it? It seems demand for the iPhone 5 may have been lower than Apple had hoped, as the Californian tech goliath has dialled back its orders for components for its latest phone.

Sources told the Wall Street Journal that Apple's component orders for the first quarter of the year have been halved. Perhaps people can no longer afford to keep up with Apple's latest must-haves?

The news caused Apple's share price to drop below $500 for the first time since February 2012. When Apple reports its results for the first quarter of 2013 later this month, analysts are expecting iPhone 5 sales in the region of 50million.


Samsung debuts bendy screens

Flexible screens were a bit of a trend at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, giving us a glimpse at the future of smartphones, tablets and perhaps even wearable computing.

Samsung's 'Youm' flexible displays can be rolled and bent like a thin piece of plastic and won't snap or shatter, as you can see for yourself here.

Don't expect to see the new tech to appear on Samsung's next Galaxy handset, but the tech could feature on future smartphones as Samsung demonstrated with a pair of 5-inch handsets where the screen curved around the edge and bottom of the device to give extra room for notifications.

Could home insurance claims for smashed phone screens be a thing of the past? We shall see.

Audi's driverless car tech

Speaking of CES 2013, Audi showed off its autonomous A7, which can navigate from where you parked it to your current location on its own, thanks to a range of cameras, sensors and network data.

Again, it's one you have to see for yourself, but the tech would let you instruct the car to park itself or pick you up from your current location using a smartphone app.

Google has been trialling its own self-driving car for a while now, so it really seems that driverless vehicles could be pulling up in the not too distant future.

If nothing else it will be interesting to see how car insurance companies respond.

Facebook unveils sort-of search engine

Rumours of a Facebook mobile, tablet and OS were put to rest at a media event this past week as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg instead unveiled the social network's latest toy - 'Graph Search'.

The dull-sounding new feature improves Facebook's current, dire search functionality and will allow you to search for information about your friends in natural language - for example, you could ask 'who are my friends in [insert place] who like [insert band/brand/film etc?]'

Presumably it'll be useful to some people and, more to the point, it will give Facebook another avenue to push adverts on the social network. You can sign up for the Graph Search beta test here.

Action on nuisance calls

Annoyed by nuisance phone calls? You're not alone - new research shows a year-on-year increase in complaints about silent calls in 2012, and industry regulator Ofcom is going to do something about it.

The research said during a six-month period last year, almost half (47%) of adults with a landline had received silent calls. In 2011, the figure was 24%.

Ofcom has pledged to carry out research to get a clearer view of the problem, to work closely with industry to identify nuisance callers, and write to businesses making calls to improve compliance.

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's Consumer Group Director, said: "This is a complex and challenging area, but Ofcom is determined to work with industry and other regulators to help protect consumers."

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Mark Hooson

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