iPhone growth stalls as Chinese smartphones surge

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Product Red iPhone box
The RED iPhone 7 hasn't given sales a boost.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Growth in the smartphone industry isn’t dead yet, according to the latest report from the International Data Corporation which found smartphone shipments grew more than expected last quarter.

IDC predicted shipments would rise 3.6%, but the industry actually saw 4.3% growth in Q1 2017. Unfortunately for Apple, most of the increase in shipments were triggered by a couple of Chinese companies.

iPhone 6s was world’s most popular smartphone in 2016

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iPhone 6S
Apple's old iPhone is still a top-seller.
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

The iPhone 7 may have got all the attention last year, but it turns out that the older iPhone 6s was actually the most popular smartphone in the world during 2016.

A new study from IHS Markit found that not only did the iPhone 6s outsell its newer sibling, it dominated Samsung’s lineup of newer Galaxy S7 phones too.

OPPO’s new camera puts iPhone 7 Plus zoom to shame

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Oppo-5x-lens-periscope
Oppo's camera uses periscope-style lenses for 5x lossless zoom.
Photo: Oppo

Chinese smartphone maker OPPO today announced a new smartphone camera with even greater zoom capabilities than iPhone 7 Plus.

The module uses two camera sensors just like Apple’s, but they’re positioned differently to allow for “groundbreaking” 5x lossless zoom. They’re also 10 percent slimmer than the typical 2x zoom lenses used in smartphones.

Faltering iPhone loses more ground in China

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WeChat
Is China falling out of love with iPhone?
Photo: Virginia Werner/Cult of Mac

China is proving to be a harder market to crack than Apple anticipated.

The iPhone-maker has dropped to fifth place in its second most important market, marking yet another setback for Apple in China.

Low-cost Android makers are hurting thanks to iPhone SE

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low-cost-android-makers-are-hurting-thanks-to-iphone-se-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads201604iphonesearray-800x620-jpg
The iPhone SE is causing a headache for low-cost Chinese OEMs.
Photo: Apple
The iPhone SE is causing a headache for low-cost Chinese OEMs. Photo: Apple
The iPhone SE is causing a headache for low-cost Chinese OEMs. Photo: Apple

Apple’s affordable 4-inch iPhone SE is causing a major headache for Chinese makers of low-cost Android phones.

Supply chain manufacturers in Taiwan and China are reportedly becoming more conservative about building up inventories of smartphone components from companies including Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo as the iPhone SE squeezes the competition.

Gorgeous headphone amp isn’t just ear candy

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Lust List Oppo Amp
The Oppo headphone amplifier is almost as beautiful as the iPhone you're going to connect it to.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Best List: Oppo HA-2 portable headphone amplifier and DAC

What kind of audiophile nerd do you have to be to shell out 300 clams to “improve” your iPhone audio? Well, that’s what it is going to cost you to convert your digital audio into analog goodness with style.

You can find cheaper options than the Oppo HA-2 portable headphone amplifier, but few as elegant and sleek.

Get bent: The shocking history of bent smartphones

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Apple's new aluminum will kill Bendgate.
Apple's new aluminum will kill Bendgate.
Photo: Unbox Therapy

Bend-Gate is slowly taking over the Internet this morning as Apple fans discover the startling fact that when pressure is applied to an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus frame, it bends – just like every other smartphone ever made of metal.

The bending problem has been reported by a number of iPhone 6 owners who pocketed their big iPhone 6 only to retrieve it later with a significant curve in the frame. Some sites are deeming the new iPhones “more fragile than expected,” but the truth is we’ve seen this problem almost every year.

In fact, last year ran we an article titled “iPhone 5s Bending in People’s Pockets.” Any phone made of metal is still subject to the laws of physics, but to reiterate that this isn’t exactly a problem exclusive to the iPhone 6, here’s a look at other Android and Apple phones that have bending problems.