Statista: Smart Speakers Getting More Popular

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Judging from a Statista chart smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo are becoming increasingly popular, at least in the US-- 39 million Americans own such a device, and more people use them to access news, information and music.

Alexa statista

The chart is based on a November 2017 survey of 806 smart speaker owners conducted by NPR and Edison Research. It shows around 66% of smart speakers owners do not want to go back to life without the "little helper," while 39% are spending less time using the radio. This is perhaps not surprising, since listening to music (in many cases online radio) is one of the most commonly used features of the devices.

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Larger iPhones to Drive 2018 Growth?

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According to well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo iPhone X shipments will be weaker-than-expected in H1 2018-- but the launch of larger-size iPhones should drive global Apple smartphone shipments for the rest of the year.

KGI iPhones"We revise down Q1 2018 and Q2 2018 shipments of iPhone X to 18 million units and 13m units, respectively, lower than market consensus of 20-30m and 15-20m units," a KGI research paper obtained by MacRumors reads. "We expect iPhone X will go to end of life (EOL) around mid-2018 and that total life cycle shipments will be around 62m units, lower than our previous forecast of 80m units.

One reason for weaker-than-expected iPhone X demand is China. While Chinese customers like big smartphones, the notched design of the iPhone X remains incompatible with many apps popular in the country, leading to the impression it offers less usable screen space than the 5.5-inch iPhone Plus. Furthermore the iPhone X bears a hefty price tag, leading to less replacement demand.

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Hyper Kickstarts HyperDrive USB-C Hub

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Accessory maker Hyper takes to Kickstarter to present a combination of USB-C hub and wireless charger-- the clunkily named HyperDrive USB-C Hub + 7.5W Qi Wireless charger iPhone Stand.

HyperDriveClearly aimed at owners of both the latest MacBooks and iPhones, the HyperDrive offers 8 ports, namely HDMI, ethernet, microSD, SD, x3 USB-A and USB-C Power Delivery. Also built into the compact device is a wireless charging stand able to handle all 4 Qi wireless standards (1.5W, 5W, 10W and 15W).

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The Apple-Exclusive Colgate Toothbrush

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Customers can buy the the E1, the first smart toothbrush from dental hygiene specialist Colgate, from one brick-and-mortar retail chain-- Apple Stores, together with the Apple online store.

Colgate E1The E1 is a connected toothbrush able to provide real-time brushing feedback, map the mouth and remove plaque using "sonic vibrations." The head carries a variety of sensors to map the mouth across 16 brushing zones, while the handle stores data before pushing it to Colgate Connect, a companion iDevice app.

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Europeans Look Into iPhone Slowdown

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Reuters reports the Italian antitrust body and French consumer fraud watchdog DGCCRF (part of the Economy Ministry) are looking into the Apple admission that it does, in fact, push software updates to slow down older iPhones.

iPhonesAccording to the Italian watchdog, Apple and Samsung run “a general commercial policy taking advantage of the lack of certain components to curb the performance times of their products and induce consumers to buy new versions.” Meanwhile in France a prosecutor has launched a preliminary investigation over the alleged deception and planned obsolescence, which is against the law.

In addition a French consumer dubbed "HOP" (stands for "Stop Planned Obsolescence") has filed a legal complaint against Apple.

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