Apple bucks the trend as global smartphone market declines

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Gene testing, coming soon to an iPhone near you. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
What can we say? People just love their iPhones.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Smartphone sales may be slowing down worldwide, but try telling that to Apple!

According to a new report by research firm Gartner, iPhones sales increased by an impressive 36 percent in the June quarter this year — representing a 2.4 percent increase in total market share.

Samsung cruises past Apple in white-hot smartphone market

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Looks like Samsung and Apple pretty much own the smartphone market, though there are some scrappy contenders starting to make headway.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), handset makers shipped a total of 337.2 million smartphones worldwide in the last quarter of 2015 (Q2). This is up 11.6 percent from last year, an amazing bit of growth considering how many smartphones are already on the loose.

Satechi external batteries are like lightning in your pocket

The Satechi SX20 portable power station can charge up to four devices.
The Satechi SX20 portable power station can charge up to four devices.
Photo: Satechi

If your device dies, you can usually find a place to plug in. But that’s only if you carry your charging cord and even if you’re lucky enough to have it on you, you’re stuck at the outlet until you’ve got enough juice to go.

The electronics accessory company Satechi has made it easier to stay charged on the go with three new portable energy stations for pretty much anything with a USB port.

Cloe is Siri with a human touch — and a life

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Cloe, a concierge service that  provides recommendations and answers to texted requests, is currently working her magic in two major cities. Photo: Meet Cloe
Cloe, a concierge service that provides recommendations and answers to texted requests, is currently working her magic in two major cities. Photo: Meet Cloe

New app Cloe is a dutiful concierge service you can text to request a good jazz club or microbrewery and get an informed, cheery response in a minute or less. Think of the mad research skills of Siri with the personality of Samantha, the AI operating system from the movie Her.

Need a tailor? Cloe may ask if you need a custom shirt made or just a button sewn on a jacket before she sends you a recommendation based on where you are standing at that very moment.

The smartphone as personal security guard

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STOP-ATTACK is an app that can quickly activated to record audio and video and instantly sends out alerts to emergency contacts if there is threat of assault. Illustration: STOP-ATTACK
The STOP-ATTACK app can be quickly activated to record audio and video, and instantly sends out alerts to emergency contacts if there is threat of assault. Illustration: STOP-ATTACK

With the number of smartphone muggings high enough to earn the crime its own category in the police stats, holding a pricey little computer in your hands is like toting a big target.

However, you could also be holding a layer of security: Several apps have emerged that sound an alarm to family, friends and law enforcement in the event a smartphone owner feels threatened, faces an assault or suddenly gets nervous about their surroundings.