AirPods could someday replace your Apple Watch

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airpods
Ear-worn devices like these AirPods could become the most-used type of wearable.
Photo: Ste Smith/ Cult of Mac

Smart watches are currently the most popular form of wearable, but ear-worn devices are expected to replace them in the coming years. The changeover will take place as AirPods and similar products gain additional features that people now get from Apple Watch and iPhone.

In less than five years, so-called “hearables” could outsell every other type of  wearable by a wide margin.

Mac sales declined in Q3, despite new MacBook Pros

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2018 MacBook Pro
Even the shiny new 2018 MacBook Pro models couldn't save Mac sales last quarter.
Photo: Apple

The third quarter of this year wasn’t a particularly good one for Apple, with Mac sales dropping a significant amount. That doesn’t say positive things about sales of the 2018 MacBook Pro models that debuted this summer.

Still, the company held onto its place as the world’s fourth-largest PC maker.

Smartphone sales decline for first time ever in 2017

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iPhone X
iPhone X didn't come out early enough to give Apple a sales boost.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The world may have passed its peak smartphone moment last year.

Smartphone sales data released today from the number crunchers at Gartner revealed that worldwide smartphone sales declined for the first time ever during the last quarter of 2017. Both Apple and Samsung saw their market share decline just slightly, but good news could be on the horizon.

Apple and Samsung massively increased chip spending in 2017

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chips
Apple spent $38.754 billion on chips last year.
Photo: Intel

Apple ramped up its spending on semiconductors by more than a quarter in 2017, a new report from Gartner claims.

In the past 12 months, Apple spent a massive $38.754 billion on chips, making it second only to Samsung in terms of semiconductor spend. In 2016, Apple spent “just” $30.39 billion — or 27.5 percent less.

iPhone X will drive a worldwide spike in smartphone sales

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iPhone X keynote
iPhone X is going to have a big impact on worldwide device sales.
Photo: Apple

The expected success of the iPhone X could help drive worldwide device shipments — comprising smartphones, tablets, and PCs — to their highest level of growth since 2015, a new report claims.

Figures released by data analysis firm Gartner suggests that total device shipments are predicted to exceed 2.35 billion units in 2018, an increase of 2 percent from this year. The firm notes that the iPhone X is likely to be a big sales driver in the United States, China and Western Europe, despite its $1,000+ price.

Apple Watch will remain smartwatch king for years to come

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Theater Mode finally makes its way to Apple Watch in watchOS 3.2 beta 1.
Apple Watch will remain king, but it will still face some challengers along the way.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple will rule the wearables roost through 2021, claims research firm Gartner — although it’s likely to see its dominance eroded along the way.

Gartner claims that 41.5 million total smartwatches (including those made by all companies) will sell in 2017, generating a massive $9.3 billion. That number will almost double by 2021, however, when the firm thinks smartwatch sales will hit 81 million units for the year.

Global PC shipments decline as Mac sales stay stagnant

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wwdc 2017
Mac sales are still solid.
Photo: Apple

Global PC shipments declined for the 11th straight quarter, according to a new report from Gartner which found shipments were the lowest they’ve been since 2007.

While most PC manufacturers are experiencing a sales slump, Apple’s Mac and MacBook sales are pretty much stagnant from the same quarter a year ago. Other companies like Lenovo and Asus saw their shipments take a huge dip.

Pent-up demand will make 2017 a banner year for iPhone

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iPHone 7 sales
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is still selling well, according to wireless carriers.
Photo: Ste Smith/CultofMac

The iPhone 7 won’t be enough to break Apple out of its sales slum.

In 2016, total mobile phone shipments are set to decline 1.6 percent. However, the latest forecast from Gartner reveals that 2017 could be a record-breaking year for Apple due to pent-up demand for a new form factor and better features.