Tech News

The iPad Is Dying, The Modular Smartwatch Arrives, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 21-10-2014

Also, Yosemite is spying on you, Spotify Family plans, jail time for 3D-printed guns, and the wettest selfie of all time.


Apple iPads Are On The Decline

Apple has released its financial results for Q4 2014 (July to September). While most of the numbers are positive, one big negative stands out: iPad sales are on the slide. Sales of the iPod are also down, but that was always expected to be the case.

First, the good news. Revenue is up year-on-year, rising from $37.47 billion in Q4 2013, to $42.12 billion in the most recent quarter. Profit is also up, from $7.5 billion to $8.5 billion. The number of iPhones and Macs sold has also increased over the past 12 months, by 16.25 percent and 20.79 percent, respectively.

Now, the bad news. Sales of the iPod are down 24.57 percent, from 3.5 million to 2.64 million. Sales of the iPad are down 12.5 percent, from 14.08 million to 12.32 million. This is three quarters in a row that iPad sales have declined, suggesting a free-fall that will be difficult to halt. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook dismissed the decline in iPad sales as a “speed bump,” and nothing to be concerned about in the longterm.

The problem may be a deceptively simple one. The newly announced iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 Apple Updates iPad & iMac, Anonabox Faces Backlash, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, Twitpic fails, PS4 & Xbox One updates, free Steam weekend, retro Casio watches, and the Netflix musical. Read More aren’t significant upgrades over their predecessors, suggesting Apple no longer has a clear vision in mind for its line of tablets. And unless a product is improved, what justification is there for people to buy the newer model than the one they already own?

Blocks, The Modular Smartwatch

With the modular smartphone taking shape at Motorola Project Ara Arrives, Apple Hates Snow Leopard, Nintendo Kills Multiplayer [Tech News Digest] Project Ara is happening, Apple ends support for Snow Leopard, Nintendo ends support for online multiplayer on Wii and DS, Sony to close most stores, Facebook retires email service, and retro games invading Adam Sandler. Read More (as Project Ara), the company which first mooted the idea has moved onto smartwatches. Blocks is the name of a new smartwatch being developed by Phonebloks, and if it ever comes to market it would mean we could all build our own smartwatches using the components we actually want on such a device.


Blocks is a modular smartwatch comprising a set of curved blocks as chosen by the owner. So, one person could choose a rectangular e-ink face while someone else opts for a circular touchscreen. The strap on both would be formed by the battery, camera, heart rate monitor, sim card, or whatever the individual buyer chose to include.

Having finalized the design of the hardware, Phonebloks is focusing on the software side. The operating system will likely be based on Tizen OS What Operating Systems Do Wearable Devices Run On? Wearable tech, in its many shapes and forms, changes human-machine interaction. Read More , with support for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Blocks will likely be the subject of crowdfunding early next year, with hopes to ship it before the end of 2015.

OS X Yosemite Is Snooping On You

If you have upgraded your Mac to OS X Yosemite What's New In OS X 10.10 "Yosemite"? OS X is evolving both in terms of looks and features, and just like last year's Mavericks update, Yosemite will be another free download. Read More , you should be aware that Apple’s operating system is now snooping on you by default. As explained in depth by Wired, Spotlight, the new OS X desktop search tool, automatically uploads your search terms to Apple’s servers, and then shares them with Bing, Microsoft’s search engine.

Thankfully, this setting can be turned off rather easily. Simply go into the Mac OS X Yosemite System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results and deselect ‘Spotlight Suggestions‘, ‘Bookmarks and History‘, and ‘Bing Web Searches‘. Solved.


Spotify Announces New Family Plans

Spotify has announced Spotify Family, a subscription plan for families of up to five people. Using Spotify Family means the next four additional premium accounts paid for on top of the original one enjoy a 50% discount. So, in the U.S., the first subscriber would pay the usual $9.99-per-month, but everyone else in the family would pay just $5 each for all the same benefits. Which is a bonus.

Jail Time For 3D-Printed Guns

Yoshitomo Imura, a 28-year-old man who was previously employed at the Shonan Institute of Technology, has been sentenced to two years in prison for possessing illegal weapons. His crime was making guns using a 3D printer at his home on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan.

This is the first case involving 3D-printed firearms in Japan, and the jail time could set a precedent for future cases. And there will be future cases, as 3D printing What Is 3D Printing And How Exactly Does It Work? Imagine if you could print out three-dimensional objects straight from a printer in your home. When I was a kid in primary school, I thought it would be awesome if I could print pizzas out... Read More isn’t going anywhere, which creates a problem in countries with strict gun laws.

The Wettest Selfie Of All Time

And finally, this video may just show the wettest attempt at taking a selfie 5 Things To Avoid When Taking Selfies Selfies shouldn’t be taken lightly, and there are many things you need to avoid. Read More ever captured on film. The origins of the recording are unclear, but it shows a reporter interviewing someone on the quayside when an unfortunate man falls into the sea while preparing to take a photo.


We assume he is physically fine, but his pride may be mortally wounded thanks to him being humiliated on live television. And now the Internet. Oops.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Why do you think sales of the Apple iPad are in decline? Do you have any interest in a modular smartwatch? Should the 3D-printing of guns lead to jail time?

Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credit: Amir Kurbanov via Flickr

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  1. Smithing
    October 21, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    iPads serve no purpose.

    • Dave Parrack
      October 29, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Well, they're not indispensable, that's for sure. And I think that's the problem Apple faces... how to make iPads absolutely essential.

  2. David
    October 21, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Update from the Wired article about Yosemite snooping on you:

    Apple doesn’t retain IP addresses from users’ devices. Spotlight blurs the location on the device so it never sends an exact location to Apple. Spotlight doesn’t use a persistent identifier, so a user’s search history can’t be created by Apple or anyone else. Apple devices only use a temporary anonymous session ID for a 15-minute period before the ID is discarded.

    • Dave Parrack
      October 29, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Thanks for the update. Tight deadlines meant this went to press before that update appeared.

  3. vferg
    October 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    For the Ipads on the decline part I would almost certainly agree with the fact that they didn't offer anything new which caused the low sales but then I look at the new IPhone and see they are selling record numbers of them and I would argue they really didn't offer much either...

    • Kasey Clark
      October 21, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      vferg, I would agree 100% with your comment. Then I would add that the modular smartwatch is pretty cool. I really like the concept and I'll look forward to it in the future. I really liked the idea of the modular smarrtPHONE as well, I awaited the PhoneBlox (sp?)(it's been a while since I looked at it) and I think it was eventually bought out by Google for them to eventually release. Still very cool stuff.

    • Dave Parrack
      October 29, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      While I agree the iPhone 6 doesn't seem to be much of an improvement over the iPhone 5S (incremental updates, anyone?) the iPhone 6 is a leap compared to how different the new iPads are over the predecessors.