China overtakes U.S. as world’s biggest smart speaker market

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
Are you a smart speaker user?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

China has overtaken the U.S. as the world’s biggest smart speaker market. According to new figures from Canalys, the Chinese market grew nearly 500% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019.

Approximately 10.6 million units shipped in China over the quarter, compared to 5 million in the U.S. This means that China is now 51% of the global global smart speaker market. The U.S., on the other hand, comes in second place at just 24%.

With smartphone sales in free fall, iPhone still dominates

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iPhone XR battery life is the best of any iPhone on the market.
iPhone XR dominates N. American phone sales.
Photo: Kristal Chan/Cult of Mac

Apple’s most affordable 2018 handset is a real hit in N. America. There were more than twice as many iPhone XR units shipped during the first three months of this year in this region as its next nearest competitor.

Even so, Apple and the entire phone business had a very weak first quarter.

Smart speaker installed base could top 200 million this year

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HomePod Volume Controls
Perhaps a rising tide of smart speaker sales will help HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The number of smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s HomePod in use around the world is expected to keep growing strongly for years to come. It could pass 200 million in 2019, and pass 500 million in 2023.

Analysts from Canalys indicate the installed base of these devices is now surpassing the number of smartwatches in use. And smart speakers could even outnumber tablets before the end of 2021, they say.

Apple’s iPhone sales problem isn’t limited to China

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iPhone sales
Critics say Apple needs to build more affordable iPhones.
Photo: Apple

China is not the only part of the world where Apple’s iPhone is losing market share to hard-charging Chinese brands.

Sales of the iPhone are falling off in Europe and Thailand, the second-biggest smartphone market in Southeast Asia, where shipments fell by more than 50 percent.

Apple Watch sales are up but it’s losing marketshare

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2018 Apple Watch
Raise to wake might finally be coming to an end.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch is finally starting to face some bigger competition from rival smartwatch-makers, based on the latest data from Canalys.

Fitbit and Garmin are capitalizing on the wearables trend and diversifying their lineups to appeal to specific use cases. As a result, Apple Watch’s market share shrunk even though it sold more watches in Q2 2018 than it did during the same period last year.

HomePod will never become the iPhone of smart speakers

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
Doomed to remain a minor player? We'll see.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The smart speaker install base will approach 100 million units by the end of 2018 — but Apple will make up only a tiny piece of the market.

At least, that’s according to analysts at Canalys, who forecast how things are shaping up for the various Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod devices currently winding their way into kitchens and living rooms around the world. Their take home message? That, unless something big changes, Apple is kinda screwed!

Apple Watch wins Q1 wearables race, no matter who you ask

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Apple Watch
Rival market analysts peg Apple Watch shipments at different numbers, but the winner in the smartwatch market isn't in doubt.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple was the top wearables vendor in Q1 according to market analysis firm Canalys. A rival analyst from Asymco also placed Apple at the top, but with a higher total of devices shipped. Canalys put the number at 3.8 million. the other at just over 4 million.

Disagreements like this are possible because Apple itself doesn’t reveal how many smartwatches it sells. Still, both groups of analysts agree that Apple Watch leads the market.

Apple Watch spanks the Swiss watch industry for real

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Apple Watch Series 3
There's Apple Watch and then everyone else.
Photo: Apple

Apple Watch is absolutely dominating the traditional Swiss watch industry.

The latest reports on Apple Watch sales figures were released today and even though Apple hasn’t put out its own official numbers, it looks like Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry combined during the last quarter of 2017.

Apple Watch 3 shipments reached new highs last quarter

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apple watch
The Apple Watch is going from strength to strength.
Photo: Apple

Apple has yet to reveal exactly how many Apple Watches it has manufactured and sold, but according to market research firm Canalys the shipments figure is likely to have been 3.9 million units in Q3 2017.

That’s its strongest quarter so far in 2017, and enough that Apple retook the wearable device lead — with rivals Xiaomi and Fitbit shipping 3.6 million and 3.5 million bands, respectively.

Here’s why older models beat iPhone 8 last quarter

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iPhone 8 Wireless Charging
The iPhone 8 wasn't Apple's top-shipping smartphone last quarter.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The iPhone ranked as the world’s top shipping smart phone in the third quarter of 2017 — but the iPhone 8 didn’t even crack the top five.

Instead, older (and cheaper) iPhones dominated the list. That doesn’t mean iPhone 8 tanked, though. A variety of factors account for its relatively low numbers.