Several factors kept Q2 PC demand low in the UAE and across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, according to research and consulting firm International Data Corporation (IDC).
However, even as all major vendors saw double-digit sales slump, Apple’s secret sauce kept its growth cooking, and the Cupertino-based giant gained market share at others’ expense.
According to IDC data, the MEA PC market suffered a sharp year-on-year decline of 25.6 per cent in the second quarter of this 2015 – its steepest decline ever recorded in the region for a single quarter thanks to high inventory levels, currency fluctuations, and lesser tourism spending in the UAE.
“Two of the biggest declines were seen in Turkey and the ‘Rest of the Middle East’ region (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Palestine),” said Fouad Charakla, research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey.
“Both these territories carried over high inventory levels from the previous quarter as a result of a slowdown in demand. This factor was an inhibitor of PC shipments in other parts of the region as well, including the UAE,” added Charakla.
“Currency fluctuations also had a negative impact on supply and demand in several key markets across the region. In the UAE, a slowdown in tourism spending – primarily from Russia and Europe – continued to inhibit PC demand,” he noted.
Overall PC shipments in the region during the second quarter of this year fell to 3.3 million units, down more than 23 per cent quarter-on-quarter from 4.3m units in Q1 2015, and more than a quarter down from 4.5m units registered in Q2 2014.
So, we’re not buying as many desktops as we once used to, and it is evident in the sales data of the top PC vendors in the region.
Every one of the top 5 PC vendors saw a double-digit sales slump in the quarter.
Leader HP saw volumes fall 26 per cent while second-placed Lenovo suffered a 19 per cent decline. Third-placed Dell posted a downturn of 10.3 per cent, and fourth-placed Acer suffered the most among the Top 5, recording a decrease of 29.3 per cent. Finally, the fifth-placed Asus maintained its position at number five but experienced a decline of 26.7 per cent.
That the Big 5 would get bruised in a quarter that saw overall sales slump by more than a quarter was indeed expected.
But get this – In all that bloodbath, Apple escaped unscathed. And not just without a sales slump, it in fact continued to grow, and IDC confirmed to Emirates 24|7 that Apple gained market share in the MEA region in Q2 2015, compared to the same quarter of last year.
The research firm wouldn’t give out further details on what kind of market share we’re talking about since they limit the media information to Top 5 vendors, but it suffices to say that Apple fanboys continued to lap up more Macs while others decided to hold on.
Globally, however, Apple is among the top vendors for whom IDC has shared data, and the rest of the vendors’ global numbers are an extrapolation of their MEA statistics.
Lenovo is the leader, and lost 7.5 per cent year-on-year; second-placed HP lost 10.4 per cent while third-placed Dell shed 8.7 per cent.
Apple is fourth-placed and grew comparatively handsomely at 16.1 per cent year-on-year, being the only one that showed any kind of growth in numbers during the quarter.
Fifth-placed Acer suffered the most globally too, down by 26.9 per cent y-o-y while Asus dropped 7.7 per cent during the quarter. All others combined declined 19.7 per cent while the overall global PC market saw an 11.8 per cent decline in shipments.
IDC says local desktop assemblers suffered significantly in comparison to the previous year as demand for their devices continues to be cannibalised by the growing availability of refurbished PCs.
One of the major reasons for the PC market decline at the regional and the global levels was the strength of the US dollar, which made OCs expensive in the non-dollar and non-dollar-linked currency markets.
In addition, the Windows-based OC market slowed down in anticipation of the July 2015 Windows 10 launch, boosting Apple’s market share in comparison. Apple’s recent upgrade of 12” MacBook also boosted its fortunes, with the device selling quite well in major markets.
In the MEA region, Desktop shipments were down 21.2 per cent year on year to 1.4m units while the notebook segment declined 28.6 per cent to total 1.9m units.
In fact, 2015 as a whole is expected to be the region’s worst ever performance, with overall PC shipments for the year set to fall 15.7 per cent year-on-year to total 15.2 million units.
“Currency fluctuations both inside and outside the MEA region will remain largely responsible for the slower demand, particularly in key markets such as Turkey and Nigeria,” continues Charakla.
“Low oil prices are also impacting those countries whose budgets rely strongly on oil revenues, ratcheting up the pressure on governments to control their spending. At the same time, the cannibalisation of PC demand by tablets and smartphones continues to hamper the market’s performance.”
In the longer run, though, IDC sees the MEA PC market making a partial recovery in 2016, with shipments tipped to grow 10 per cent year-on-year next year. But it reckons that shipment growth will taper off and be flat in subsequent years.
“However, as previously reported, there will be a gradual shift in the weight of demand from consumers to the commercial segment as a growing proportion of home users switch from PCs to tablets and smartphones and commercial end-users maintain their loyalty to PCs. As a result, commercial demand for PCs in the region is expected to surpass that from home users by the year 2017,” the firm concludes.
The head of Samsung Research America (SRA) boosted the idea of developing a constellation of small satellites to engirdle the Earth and provide inhabitants of the planet with a low-cost broadband satellite Internet. According to Samsung’s calculations, such a constellation could estimate up to 4,6 thousand small satellites.
The most giant satellite companies in the world actively explore the idea of invention a constellation of small satellites for Internet services. So, already exists O3b twelve-satellite constellation. Moreover in the research activities are engaged SES, as well as the Richard Branson’s consortium and Elon Musk – billionaire and co-founder of PayPal.
According to the research paper published by Farook Khan, head of SRA, the constellation of satellites, which are already used by his South Korean company, could have huge benefits. Allegedly, the millimetre wave technology could be the base for development of 5G.
SRA is situated in the heart of Silicon Valley but Mr. Khan works in the laboratory of Dallas. He claims that using 5G technology based on a constellation of small satellites would simplify broadband satellite Internet access and reduce the costs on the constellation.
Samsung developers suppose there could be available about 100 GHz for millimetre wave spectrum what exceeds mobile networks spectrum we use today almost in 200 times. This would permit significantly increase data traffic. However there’s a serious problem: millimetre waves can’t penetrate solid walls and glass, what makes the use of technology almost impossible for indoor devices.
Samsung engineers propose to solve this problem by usage of various antennas in the form of the narrow directed beams thereby strengthening a signal without the need for use of additional capacities.
This solution works for radar-location and communication in space for quite a long time. Today such antennas are widely used in other branches. Khan and his team obtained their first patent on the technology fragment in 2010. SpaceWorks says there were launched 158 small satellites (among them 107 commercial) in 2014, what surpassed analysts’ assumptions showing 72% increase in 2013.
Taking into consideration the plans of a number of American companies, investing billions in projects on launches of small satellites, 2020 is expected to be a year of mass launching.
According to SpaceWorks, in 2014-2016 commerce satellites will make about 56 % of all the satellites’ launchings. About 9% will fall to share of communication satellites. The main growth is expected in a segment of nanosatellites from 1 till 10 kg in size. Nevertheless this rate could be significantly changed by 2020 when a leading role in satellites’ launching play commercial satellites.
J’son & Partners Consulting reported that the biggest investors into new satellites are O3b, Iridium Next, Inmarsat Global Xpress, OneWeb, Yaliny, LeoSat, SpaceX who’re planning to launch 5113 satellites.
Ambitious projects are also stated for the satellite Internet. So, Elon Musk, a founder of Tesla and SpaceX, is going to launch about 700 small telecommunications satellites, which will help to beam Internet to all corners of the world. A total amount of the investment makes about $ 1 billion.
SpaceX is far not the only interested company. Marc Zuckerberg claimed his interest in the technology, while Google invests into satellite Internet since at least 2008. That time Google invested into O3b, which was bought by SES. Now Google intends to invest into satellite Internet $ 1 billion more.
Tickets are from 100 Dhs. Available at Virgine megastores all accross UAE
LG intends to focus on production of displays using a new technology. This step should keep the competitors at bay on the market of television equipment and monitors. This refers to OLED technology.
OLED is an organic light-emitting diode display and it’s expected the company will be able to manufacture these displays at lower costs than liquid crystal displays (LCD).
The South Korean company announced its plans on investment into the development of OLED in the amount of 10 trln won (about $ 8.47 billion) till 2018. According to Reuters, the means will be directed to the developments in interoperation of OLED with certain product types including not only TV sets but also mobile devices and wearables. Also LG is going to analyze whether it’s possible to use OLED technology in other areas, particularly in a vehicle production.
Moreover, LG won’t disregard a traditional liquid crystal displays’ (LCD) production: the company will concentrate on creation of premium and luxury class segment.
In July LG company announced its intention to invest 1.05 trln won ($ 908 million) into a sixth generation flexible OLED display production line within a new line E5, which will be assembled in South Korea. The line will fit not only TV sets but also mobile devices and wearables as well as could be used in industrial conditions. The new line is scheduled to begin mass production in the first half of 2017.
A range of manufacturers, among which is Samsung, consider OLED as too expensive technology for mass market. However if LG achieves decrease in production costs of OLED, it’ll become a positive driver for future sales of the company. OLED display production should help the company remain at the top of the mobile display game in the foreseeable future and LG products to become a mainstream.
As reported by IHS DisplaySearch research firm, the market of flexible OLED devices will gradually grow from $ 3.5 billion in 2015 to $ 4.8 billion by 2021.
According to the assessment of DisplaySearch, the global OLED-displays’ market size will grow to $ 28.3 billion by 2022 comparing to $ 8.7 billion in 2014.
LG Display reported operating profit of 488 billion won for the second quarter of 2015 that exceeded expectations of experts. Nevertheless, last quarter growth rates of revenue of the company have decreased from 26% to 12%.
A British company Intelligent Energy has claimed a creation of a battery pack for iPhone that runs on a single charge for a week. The Telegraph reports about a breakthrough in smartphones’ development. The British has invented a battery for iPhone 6 that delivers a week’s life worth. According to the publication, the company works closely with Apple corporation.
Intelligent energy has developed a working iPhone prototype containing a rechargeable battery, which creates electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen producing small “by-products” as water and heat. The technology is patented.
Henri Winand, chief executive of Intelligent Energy, commenting the information about the new invention, refused to comment on Apple involvement into the project. He confined himself to saying that this had never been done in smartphones’ world before.
“We have managed to develop such a thin fuel cell that will fit to the existing smartphones’ models”, - highlighted Winand. He named the invention of the company “a serious step forward”.
Press Service of Apple declined to comment.
Three major areas of work of the Intelligent Energy are automotive, consumer electronics and power distribution.
The company has grown from community of students-chemists of the British Loughborough University, which was formed in the end of 1980-ies. In 1995 was founded Advanced Power Sources firm — the predecessor of Intelligent Energy. In its present form the company was established in 2001. In 2003 it had signed a contract with Boeing on the development of innovative fuel cell with a proton exchange membrane, in 2007 started a similar project a fuel cell elements for Suzuki motorcycles.
In July 2014 Intelligent Energy was set on the London stock exchange with a valuation of business of $1.1 billion. The Company raised during the IPO to nearly $100 million. 6.4% of the company owns Yukos International UK.
“Hey Siri, give us a hint.”
That is Apple’s pick-up line for its fans and followers to join CEO Tim Cook and team on September 9 for the unveiling of the next iterations of the iPhone.
Not much camouflage from Apple this time – the traditional fall launch is scheduled for its favourite date, on September 9 this year, at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
Apple did manage to keep the venue under a shroud of mystery until the San Francisco neighbourhood news network Hoodline on Monday, August 24, stumbled upon a mysterious company that has rented the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium from September 4 until September 13 to host a “private event”.
After that piece of information was corroborated against a list of potential exhibitors, none of which had announced a ‘trade show’ on those dates, it didn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to arrive at the conclusion that it was the ever-secretive Cupertino-based Apple that was up to its usual tricks at this time of the year.
The auditorium is huge – with a 7,000-strong capacity – and that means that Apple does have a few tricks up its sleeve. There have been rumours about a number of new Apple products ready for the market – the new iPads including the phantom known as iPad Pro, the iOS 9, the watch OS2… all of these and more are rumoured to be market-ready.
Apple spring event to launch the Apple Watch was held in the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts Theatre in San Francisco, with a 755-seat capacity in the theatre that Apple had chosen for the unveiling.
So, a venue with literally 10 times the capacity of its previous event venue, booked for five days before and four days after the event, does point to something big.
Nevertheless, no one expects Apple to not launch the next iPhones – the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus – at the ‘invite-only’ event at the confirmed time and venue in 11 days from now.
Will there be an iPhone 6c? Looks less and less likely as there have been no recent ‘leaks’ on it even as rumours, mock-up and leaks re: the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus have done their full rounds.
We’re not ruling out the iPhone 6c, though. Only saying that it’s unlikely to be launched on September 9, along with its more illustrious cousins.
Apple’s already the world No. 2 in wearables, after Fitbit, and this may be the time to give its watch OS another push to accelerate sales and achieve the No. 1 status.
The fact that Siri got a mention on the invite points to the fact that Apple’s artificially intelligent assistant may be getting a makeover or upgrade.
How to Watch
And while a select few (thousands) will be in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, here’s how you can watch the invite-only event even if you’re not on Safari or part of the iOS ecosystem.
If you’re one of the more than 75 million users that have upgraded to Windows 10, you’ll have a front-seat view of the goings on. Apple has, finally, opened up the event broadcast to a browser other than Safari, and it is Edge, the replacement of Internet Explorer which is part of the Windows 10 OS.
Click here to watch live as CEO Tim Cook takes the stage on 09/09/15 at 9pm UAE time, unveiling what many believe will not just be the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, but also a host of other announcements.
Millions of Apple fans can catch the keynote ‘live’ as Apple will be streaming it live on its mobile devices including iPhone, iPad and iPod touch (Safari on iOS version 7.0 or later), and Mac with Safari 6.0.5 or later on OSX (v10.8.5 or later). You could also stream it on Apple TV (second- or third-generation set-top box, and should be running software version 6.2 or later).
Until now, Apple used to stream the video geared for only its own proprietary browsers, so it wouldn’t show up on any other browsers. That policy has seen a welcome change this time, with Apple including one (only one) other browser – the Edge – to that list. In a first, therefore, PC-owners can watch the live telecast if you’ve upgraded to the Windows 10 operating system and have Edge as your browser.
The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has quashed rumours about Twitter’s free live video streaming app Periscope being blocked in the UAE.
The TRA has confirmed that contrary to last week’s media reports and the ongoing social media debate about the subject, Periscope is facing technical issues, which the authority is working to resolve.
Commenting on reports regarding the blocking of video streaming apps in the UAE, published by some media outlets, along with discussions by users on various social media platforms, the TRA clarified the following last week:
“Immediately after discovering the issues users have been facing with the #Periscope app in the UAE, TRA’s technical team have spent the past 48 hours investigating the matter… in coordination with both operators. We have discovered a technical problem and are working to resolve it within the coming few days.”
While one-on-one VoIP-based video and call services including Skype, Viber, WhatsApp calling, etc. remain barred in the UAE, Periscope is available for users.
“The TRA stresses on its role as the regulator in this context, especially in light of its devoted efforts towards upgrading the information and communication technology infrastructure and laying the foundations for smart cities and smart government, as well as ensuring the UAE’s leading position on a global standard,” the TRA reiterated.
Users in the UAE had been facing issues with the app for more than a week before the TRA’s response came.
Through @periscopehelp, its online helpline, Twitter said on August 20: “We’re aware of Periscope service interruptions in the UAE on WiFi & cellular networks. We’re investigating & working to restore access ASAP.”
According to Twitter, @Periscopeco is an intuitive, live-streaming app that allows users to get a glimpse into the lives of the people they follow. The app was launched on March 26, and Twitter announced on August 2 that it had crossed 10 million users in its first four or so months.
The livestreaming war is getting hotter, with Facebook last month unveiling ‘Mentions’, which is available to verified public figures on Facebook as a way to interact with their fans and followers in real time.
Since last year, Google’s YouTube already has a ‘Live Broadcast’ feature for administrators of channels that are ‘verified’ and are in ‘good standing’. This feature got a shot in the arm this month with the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 edge+ which come preloaded with the feature.
Both the Note5 and the S6 edge+ feature 4K video filming and Live Broadcast, which let users instantly live-stream full HD video straight from their phone to any individual, group of contacts, or even the public through YouTube Live.
“Anyone who receives the YouTube link from a Note5 or Galaxy S6 edge+ user is able to enjoy live stream video from his or her smartphone, tablet, PC or Smart TV with YouTube connectivity,” Aladdin Hijazi, Samsung Gulf Electronics’ IM Training Manager, said at the Dubai launch of the devices.
VoIP-based services in general remain barred in the UAE and only licensed providers (Etisalat and Du) are allowed to offer such services, as per the TRA.
“VoIP are considered part of the UAE’s regulated activities,” the regulator told this website in a statement earlier this year.