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When you mention iPhone everyone automatically thinks “5”. But recent shipment figures of 47.8 million units in the fourth quarter 2012 were not entirely kosher - 20 million were the lower cost 4S.

According to Digitimes the 4S offered a stronger price/performance ratio than the 5 and there is still strong demand for it in Q1 2013. Among the reasons quoted for the continuing popularity, at least until a refresh model expected mid-year were:

• Strong sales in areas where 4G LTE is not available “Why pay for features you don’t need?”

• Screen size of 3.5” [4S] or 4” [5] – not worth the extra – both have a retina display - too little differentiation.

• Micro sim is easier to swap around

• The new lightning connector is not an asset “Buy a $35 adaptor – forget it”.

• Despite specs saying otherwise (200 hours standby [4S] versus 225 [5]) it seems that the 4S has superior battery life “4G [5] sucks [the battery life]”.

• And finally price – it’s $120 cheaper and much easier to buy at a discount

In other iOS rumours (Apple does not comment on rumours)

• If there is an entry level iPhone “Math” (which appears less likely) component suppliers in China suggest that it will have a plastic chassis and a 4” in-cell touchscreen technology to lower costs. But Digitimes says that [scarcity of] supply [of lower cost components] will more dictate if a new low cost model is released. In-cell is patented to Apple and incorporates the touch sensors directly into the display instead of overlaying on the screen. It is cheaper to make and could feasibly shave up to 1.7mm of the thickness of a Phone or allows for thicker batteries.

• According to Canalys one in six “PC’s” shipped in Q4, 2012 was an iPad (of some sort) although there is heated debate on whether to count iPad as part of the PC market.

Worldwide shipments of PCs in 2012 reached 134 million units and iPads had about 33% of that. Note that the Q4 does not really reflect the impact of the launch of Windows 8 and related tablets and touch screen devices which will show up in Q1 2013 and later.

Apple captured about 20% of the total PC/tablet market in Q4 2012 selling 23 million iPads and four million Macs.

HP (15M), Lenovo (15M), Samsung (11.7M buoyed by 7.6M Galaxy Tab sales) and Dell (9.7M) were second to fourth place respectively selling around 15 million units.

Apples dominance was helped by the strong growth of the iPad mini which ironically cannibalised their iPad and Mac sales (breakdown of sales for iPad and Mini are not provided but are thought to be about 50%). ”Without the mini Apple would have lost more ground to its competitors”.

The tablet segment grew by 75% year over year to 46.2 million global units while notebooks sales were flat. Amazon Kindle sold 4.6M units showing the strength of the brand and its distribution. Android (meaning Samsung and Amazon) dominate this space.

• “File :/// bug fixed in Apples latest OS X release. Apple today released a new OS X build to AppleSeed (build 12D65) and the obscure, but nasty ‘File :///’ bug is no longer present, sources say. So, no more instant application crashes.

• And here is how Mac Daily news reported Dells privatisation – “Decaying Windows PC ecosystem forces Microsoft to loan beleaguered Dell $2 billion” and further down “Dell will continue to run his empire the way he has always done – straight into the ground” – and they call us biased…

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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