Apple iDevices continue Flickr domination in 2014

If you’re viewing a photo on Flickr, chances are it was taken with an iPhone. The Yahoo! owned photo sharing site released its 2014 stats, and again Apple iDevices, specifically the iPhone, dominated other cameras and smartphones when it came to number of photos uploaded and cameras owned.

Of all the millions of photos posted last year on Flickr, almost ten percent (9.6% to be exact) were shot on an Apple device. Only Canon cameras accounted for the creation of more photos, with 13.4% of all photos uploaded. Apple’s jump to 9.6% edged them slightly ahead of Nikon for the first time, as Nikon came in at 9.3% of all photos uploaded.

However, in terms of individual cameras owned by Flickr users, Apple again was far-and-away the clear winner. The iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 4 accounted for 6.7% of all cameras owned taking the one, two, and three spots respectively. 2015 will likely see the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus on this list, as older iPhone users now eligible for upgrade likely make the jump to the newer device. Moreover, the iPhone was the only smartphone to sit in the top ten of all individual cameras owned, with the remaining seven spots occupied by D-SLR cameras by Canon or Nikon.

For mobile cameras only, the iDomination continues. Flickr stats show that seven out of the top ten mobile cameras in 2014 were Apple devices, and here we see the emergence of the iPhone 6 at number seven with one percent of all mobile cameras owned. The only Android devices to appear on this list were the Samsung Galaxy S3 at number five, the GS5 at number six, and the HTC One at number nine.

You can see the full stats from Flickr below.

Source: Fortune via Flickr

Eight years later: How Steve Jobs turned the world upside down

It’s hard to believe, but today marks exactly eight years since the late Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone – and turned the world upside down. Everything we thought we knew about mobile technology was turned in a completely different direction.

Touch screens became well, usable. Interfaces became beautiful, and design actually started to matter. It was the biggest shift in thinking since the same man stood in front of a crowd and debuted the Macintosh, and the graphical user interface to the world. After years of cheaply built, uninspiring designs, and clunky software, mobile phones were actually something to be excited about.

All this despite later reports that confirmed the iPhone Jobs used was a barely functioning prototype. It’s a testament to the showmanship of Steve Jobs, and his undeniable stage presence.

No matter where your mobile allegiance lies, Android or iOS, Blackberry or Windows Phone, every single one of us can thank Steve Jobs and these 80 minutes for the mobile world we live in today. And if you’re too young to remember, here’s the entire presentation.

John Legere takes to Twitter about AT&T’s Rollover Data

We knew it would come at some point, and here it is: T-Mobile CEO John Legere’s response to AT&T’s new Rollover Data. The outspoken executive took to Twitter yesterday to outright ridicule AT&T’s new feature launching January 25, especially after some sentiment that AT&T’s offer is better since it includes all Mobile Share plans, even the cheapest (T-Mobile’s Data Stash doesn’t apply to its cheaper Simple Choice Plans).

So here is Legere’s Twitter rant yesterday in chronological order:

Legere then called out Verizon and Sprint, neither who have announced any sort of offering like Data Stash or Rollover. In another mini-rant, Legere continues to jab at AT&T and then calls out Verizon and Sprint tweeting:

Well that was … pointed. While I agree that AT&T should have matched T-Mobile’s 12-month rollover, I also agree more (minus the whole #shitthebed) that at least AT&T has done something. It shows a more versatile company at least attempting to compete, and this isn’t the first time AT&T was the first to respond. Verizon and Sprint have been notoriously slower to change their pricing structures than AT&T in response to T-Mobile’s moves (Verizon’s Edge plans, reductions on price, and extra data offerings came after T-Mobile and AT&T).

Either way, it wouldn’t be the same without John Legere laying down some truth over Twitter now and then to keep us on our toes, and admittedly, quite entertained.

January PlayStation Plus free games lineup includes a classic

It’s a new year, and if you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber, that means another 12 months of free games for your PS3, PS4, or PS Vita. Sony has released its January lineup of free offerings, all available now on the PSN, and this month includes a classic.

PlayStation 3

If you’re a child of the 1980’s, chances are you remember playing Duck Tales on the NES. Quite possibly on of the greatest platformers ever coded that doesn’t include a plumber as its hero, the game has been remastered into high-definition for a trip down memory lane. Duck Tales Remastered features everything we loved about the original, and so much more. Check out our previous coverage of Duck Tales Remastered, and we dare you to watch the video below and not have the song stuck in your head all day.

PS3 owners will also be treated to Prototype 2, which features some pretty cool physics gameplay. Use your powers of shape-shifting and assume other people’s identities in this open-world action-adventure title.

PlayStation 4

If you’re a new or established PS4 owner, finally we see your PS Plus membership adding up. After last month’s offering of Injustice: Gods Among Us for Plus subscribers, Sony is giving us another title from a triple-A franchise with inFAMOUS: First Light. Set after the story of inFAMOUS: Second Son, expect the same open-world mayhem of previous titles.

Second up for PS4 owners is The Swapper. Armed with a cloning gun, the game is very reminiscent of a Portal experience and definitely worth a look (I mean after all, it’s free).

PlayStation Vita

While not nearly as popular as Nintendo’s 3DS, the PS Vita still serves up better graphics and some great handheld games. Plus it’s second screen powers with the PS4 are just plain awesome. This month, Vita owners get to revisit possibly the most mismanaged franchise in gaming history with Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition. Like Duck Tales, Duke Nukem is one of those games that has become an undeniable classic. Drinking, sex, violence, and all sorts of debauchery made this game the GTA before there was GTA.

Virginia Beach partners with Tidewater Comicon for “Year of the Comic Book”

If you live in Virginia Beach and love comic books, you’re going to love 2015. The resort city, and our beloved hometown by the way, has partnered with Tidewater Comicon to bring all sorts of heroics for comic book lovers young and old.

Dubbed the “Year of the Comic Book”, Virginia Beach has announced on their city website upcoming events across the city for comic lovers in 2015. Whether it’s a book signing by local comic artist Jeff Hewitt (The Ends), or storytelling time with your favorite superhero, you’ll find all sorts of fun things to do this year.

And did we mention that Tidewater Comicon is returning this Spring, and speaking with the show’s mastermind himself, Mike Federali, this show is going to be bigger and better than ever. Guests already confirmed are Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington, and Kelly Hu.

As Federali told MOTG about the new partnership with Virginia Beach:

We’re proud to be working with the Virginia Beach Public Libraries to raise awareness that comic books and graphic novels are deserving of the same respect as literature. And don’t forget, having fun isn’t hard.. when you have a library card.

Be sure to follow Mind Of The Geek on Facebook and Twitter for more updates throughout 2015, and check out Tidewater Comicon’s Facebook page for the latest on the upcoming show – we’d recommend getting passes as soon as possible, you’re not going to want to miss this show.

With 4M new customers, T-Mobile sets sights on 2015

For T-Mobile, 2014 was a coming out party. The once buyout target of AT&T, and last year Sprint, changed the way we looked at wireless in the United States under the leadership of its often-ostentatious CEO John Legere. The magenta carrier made Big Blue and Big Red squirm, and forced Sprint into even more dire straits to compete. In the meantime, T-Mobile added 4 million new postpaid subscribers, 1 million in the fourth quarter alone, making it a record year of growth for T-Mobile.

Now with increased brand power, customers from two carrier buyouts (MetroPCS and NTelos), a larger and faster LTE network, and the best prices and features in the biz, what’s next for the nation’s fourth largest carrier?

With the addition of these 4 million customers, and quite possibly millions more to come in 2015, T-Mobile’s next target isn’t people, it’s spectrum. With a network largely built on higher frequency spectrum – these high frequencies allow for faster speeds but less penetration especially inside buildings – look for T-Mobile to make a big bid on the lower frequency spectrum auction by the FCC this year. Bids are expected to be in the billions, and Legere may need some heavy investments or crafty accounting to be able to hang with the much larger (and richer) AT&T and Verizon.

However, the addition of spectrum is critical to T-Mobile’s long-term success. Right now their network is fine with all these data sucking features like Music Unlimited, or heck, unlimited data period. But without spectrum additions and more customers, T-Mobile’s network could become the nightmare that was AT&T late last decade.

For customers’ wallets, expect T-Mobile to continue to escalate, and win, the price war. As LTE becomes the standard rather than the exception, and no sign of LTE-Advanced networks landing in North America any time soon, price will be a huge factor for consumers. I fully expect the average wireless plan (averaging all four carriers), before any device costs, in the United States to be around $60 per month or less by the end of 2015.

This decline in revenue will force AT&T and Verizon, who have enjoyed very profitable years before the rise of T-Mobile, to find alternative ways to raise revenues. AT&T’s recent DirecTV purchase is a perfect example of how wireless companies will use services less demanding on capital investments for infrastructure to “bundle” and bolster revenue.

As for T-Mobile, expect more wild antics and crazy announcements from John Legere, and for AT&T or Verizon to respond in kind with more tepid responses. T-Mobile is on a roll, and when you’re hot you’re hot.

If you thought 2014 was a crazy year in wireless, 2015 is shaping up to be insane. And it will be never a better time to be a wireless customer in the United States.

AT&T Rollover Data starts January 25

As we predicted, AT&T Rollover Data is coming January 25. The company announced today that all Mobile Share Value Plan subscribers (new and current) will be eligible for the feature later this month. The addition of Rollover Data comes on the heels of T-Mobile’s Data Stash, which also allows users’ unused monthly data to be “rolled over” or “stashed” for future use.

However, unlike T-Mobile’s Data Stash, which allows users to bank unused data for up to 12 months, unused data with AT&T Rollover Data expires the month after it is unused. AT&T will use your plan’s allotment first before using any unused Rollover Data. Sound confusing? Here’s an example from AT&T of how Rollover Data will work:

If you have four lines and have a 15GB AT&T Mobile Share Value Plan and only use 10GB in a given month, you’ll roll over 5GB and have a total of 20GB available to use within the next month. If you were to only use 10GB in the second month, you’ll again roll over 5GB and have a total of 20GB available the next month. Bottom line: if you have unused plan data this month, it automatically rolls over to be used within the next month in case you need more than your plan’s allotment.

Essentially AT&T Rollover Data is an extra security blanket each month for those off months where you consume more data than usual. While definitely a noble effort, the inability to bank unused data for up to 12 months is definitely not what we were hoping for. However, give credit to AT&T for at least offering something at this point to counter T-Mobile, as Verizon has not announced any sort of similar feature for its subscribers.

Another thing of note is the requirement to be on a Mobile Share Value Plan in order to be eligible. That means only AT&T users using AT&T Next (a requirement for the Mobile Share Value Plan) can use Rollover Data. Any user who received a subsidy – and a two-year contract to boot – when signing up for AT&T cannot use Rollover Data.

Updated 1/7/2015 @ 11:30 AM to reflect AT&T Next is not a requirement for Mobile Share Value Plan. The use of AT&T Next does lower the monthly device access charges.

While as an AT&T Mobile Share Value Plan subscriber I’m happy to see something (and admittedly that I was spot on a few weeks ago when I predicted this), I was also hoping for a little more. But with the competition continuing to heat up, and T-Mobile surely advertising Rollover Data’s shortcomings compared to Data Stash, I wouldn’t be surprised to see AT&T change Rollover Data’s terms in the future.

Samsung’s latest move may leave you seeking Alpha

In the business world, “seeking alpha” generally applies to measuring a business’s return on investment. But now for smartphone buyers, “seeking alpha” means searching eBay for the first – and so far the only – Samsung Android device that actually looked and felt as good (almost) as the iPhone. Less than six months after its availability, the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is being put out to pasture.

Samsung released the Galaxy Alpha this past Fall as a pricier, yet more attractive alternative to its Galaxy S5 smartphone. The Alpha dropped the typical plastic-on-glass construction typical of Samsung devices, and instead used a beautiful metal frame like Apple’s latest iPhones (sans of course the iPhone 5C).

However, this premium construction comes at a premium price, and rumors are that amidst poor sales, Samsung is shuttering production. The company is looking to focus on more affordable (a.k.a. made with cheap plastic) devices. On the other hand, perhaps Samsung is killing off the Alpha’s metal construction as to not compete with a metal Galaxy S6?

Time to fire up your eBay accounts and get to bidding, or sit tight for another month or two to see what the GS6 will bring.

Apple’s latest class action suit over storage is ridiculous

Apple is facing yet another class action lawsuit, but unlike previous ones, it’s the most ridiculous one to date. The latest suit claims that Apple has mislead consumers to believe that more storage space is available on their devices and then “aggressively” pushes their paid iCloud storage when users run out of space.

The meat-and-potatoes of the suit boils down to how much storage the operating system – iOS 8 in this case – takes up leaving less than the 16, 64, or 128GB advertised available to users. In an overly dramatic fashion, the plaintiffs write in their complaint, “[Apple] gives less storage capacity than advertised, only to offer to sell that capacity in a desperate moment, e.g., when a consumer is trying to record or take photos at a child or grandchild’s recital, basketball game or wedding.” The suit further shows a chart that breaks down the amount of storage space used by iOS 8 on Apple’s latest iDevices.

The complaint further criticizes Apple for not allowing users to be able to use an external storage option (i.e. SD card) or include a file utility to be able to manage the partition of the drive that contains iOS 8’s core files. The idiots – er, plaintiffs – even jab at Apple’s use of them calling iOS 8 “the biggest iOS release ever”.

So let’s stop for a second and take off your Apple-hating hat for a moment, and really examine how unfounded, ridiculous, and a waste of courts’ time this class action suit is.

First, every computer, tablet, phone, or other device on the planet sold advertises the total storage drive, not what’s available. Whether it’s a PC or Mac, Android or iPhone, Kindle or Nook, none of these advertise to the consumer how much storage is available, no matter how much or little the OS takes. Does your local Best Buy say for your next laptop that it’s a 492GB hard drive? No. It’s a 500GB hard drive laptop – with 8GB or so used for Windows 8 or OS-X.

Second, there are tons of smartphones that don’t offer an external storage option. I can name three top-selling Android devices off the top of my head – the HTC One, Nexus 6, and Amazon Fire Phone – that don’t offer an external storage option. So what makes Apple, who has never offered external storage options, more liable than say HTC, Amazon, or Motorola? And as for a utility app, I agree to leave the OS alone, the last thing we need is another ridiculous suit against Apple because people mistakenly deleted core OS files and it’s all Apple’s fault you’re a dumb ass.

What this suit comes down to for me is a bunch of people who ordered a 16GB iPhone because they were too cheap to plunk down another $100, or forgot that photos, apps, music, and videos take space. And now they’re pissed and need someone to blame rather than themselves. It’s a testament to our culture, and it makes me angry and sad at the same time.

Apple gave us the modern smartphone, it’s not their job to give you common sense.

Apple crushes Samsung this holiday season

Chances are if you’re one of the millions of people who found a new smartphone or tablet under your Christmas tree (or menorah) this holiday season, it was an iPhone or iPad. According to analytics firm Flurry, Apple outsold its competition by a far margin this past holiday, most notably Samsung to which Apple sold three devices for every one Samsung device.

Flurry reports that during the week of Christmas, 51 percent of all new activations were iPhones or iPads. In a distant second was Samsung at 17 percent and Nokia (Microsoft) rounded out the top three just 5 percent of all new activations. One interesting note is that demand for the iPhone 6 Plus was less than its more reasonably sized counterpart, despite supply shortages due to overwhelming demand at launch. On an individual device basis, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 was the most activated device but the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus placed fifth.

This corresponds with Flurry’s findings that the average consumer wants, well, an average-sized device. Mid-sized smartphones (those typically between 4 and 5 inches of screen real estate) accounted for almost two-thirds of all activations, where as larger devices – or “phablets” over 5.5 inches – accounted for only 13 percent of all new activations. Tablets accounted for 22 percent of all activations showing while certainly cooling off, tablet fever isn’t quite done yet.

With 2015 just around the corner, it will be interesting to see if after a great holiday quarter Apple is able to make up some ground in market share it lost to Samsung over the past few years. It’s even more intriguing, however, to see how Samsung will respond after fiscally and sales-wise the worst year it’s seen in a long time. While I don’t expect Apple to regain dominance with overall market share, I do see it becoming a more even split between Android and iOS in 2015.