Since Apple Inc. introduced the first iPhone in 2007, mobile handsets have only gotten bigger. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook will buck that trend on Monday when he presents a smaller iPhone, seeking to entice holdouts to upgrade to a new smartphone even if they don’t want a larger device.
The ambitions for the new phone may be commensurate to its diminutive size. Unlike previous new iterations of the device, the 4-inch iPhone won’t be packed full of technological innovations intended to send hordes of Apple fans queuing around the block on launch day to snap it up. Instead, it’s meant to woo those still clinging to the more than two-year-old 5S or 5C, the last models with the more compact screen.
“It will really just replace the 5S at the low end of the lineup,” said Chris Caso, a New York-based Susquehanna International Group analyst with a positive rating on Apple shares. “The 5S is getting a bit old now and won’t run the operating system that well for much longer.”
The company is rolling out the new phone two months after saying quarterly sales were likely to decline for the first time in more than a decade, highlighting concern that iPhone growth has reached its limits. While analysts from UBS Group AG to RBC Capital Markets predict that shipments of the iPhone SE -- the expected name of the new model -- will be about 15 million annually, its smaller size and lower price could encourage existing customers to step up at a time of year when sales often decelerate. Apple sold more than 231 million iPhones in 2015, with sales dipping between April and September, as has been the case in previous years.
Read more: Apple prepares smaller iPhone with narrower ambition
Google surprised the tech community when they released the Android N Developer Preview a couple months before Google I/O, their annual developer conference. Among quite a few new features was split-screen multitasking.
Much of what we know about Android N has come from reading the documentation. After all, the only features that they told us about are the ones that they want us to know about before their big event.
As it turns out, there's more to this split-screen multitasking than we had imagined. The documentation for Android N discusses a freeform mode, which would include windowed apps.
Read more: Google may be bringing windowed apps to Android N
After years of speculation and rumors, it's finally official. Microsoft has acquired cross-platform mobile development company Xamarin for an undisclosed amount.
Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group, writes:
In conjunction with Visual Studio, Xamarin provides a rich mobile development offering that enables developers to build mobile apps using C# and deliver fully native mobile app experiences to all major devices – including iOS, Android, and Windows. Xamarin’s approach enables developers to take advantage of the productivity and power of .NET to build mobile apps, and to use C# to write to the full set of native APIs and mobile capabilities provided by each device platform. This enables developers to easily share common app code across their iOS, Android and Windows apps while still delivering fully native experiences for each of the platforms. Xamarin’s unique solution has fueled amazing growth for more than four years.
Read more: Microsoft finally buys cross-platform mobile development company Xamarin
Microsoft and Cyanogen have been quite chummy as of late, with the Redmond giant partnering to bring their apps and services on Cyanogen OS phones. But now Cyanogen is taking things to the next level by introducing MOD.
MOD is basically taking Android tweaking and pumping it full of steroids, as the platform allows almost anyone, from device builders to end users to customize parts of the OS that weren’t accessible before. This includes possibilities like changing the default Android dialer, embedding apps deeper into the OS, and so on.
Cyanogen stresses that this is designed to allow its partners to develop brand new types of applications and experiences that will lead users into the “post-app era”. But interestingly enough, one partner that the company keeps coming back to is Microsoft.
The list of phones that support Microsoft’s new Continuum feature just got a bit longer, as the company has now officially added support for the mid-range Snapdragon 617 SoC.
Microsoft’s Continuum allows users to plug their Windows 10 Mobile phones into a dock (or wirelessly connect to it), connect a keyboard and mouse and use their phones much as they would a regular Windows 10 PC, being able to run Universal Windows Apps in a desktop environment, on a big screen. In theory, this could be a great boost to a user’s productivity and Microsoft is looking to push this feature and its phones to the enterprise.
Read more: Microsoft brings Continuum to the mid-range with support for Snapdragon 617 SoC