Apple Loses Top Phonemaker Spot to Samsung as iPhone Shipments Drop, IDC Says 

A worker waters a flower bed next to the logo of Samsung Electronics during a media tour at Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Suwon, South Korea, June 13, 2023. (Reuters)
A worker waters a flower bed next to the logo of Samsung Electronics during a media tour at Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Suwon, South Korea, June 13, 2023. (Reuters)
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Apple Loses Top Phonemaker Spot to Samsung as iPhone Shipments Drop, IDC Says 

A worker waters a flower bed next to the logo of Samsung Electronics during a media tour at Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Suwon, South Korea, June 13, 2023. (Reuters)
A worker waters a flower bed next to the logo of Samsung Electronics during a media tour at Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Suwon, South Korea, June 13, 2023. (Reuters)

Apple's smartphone shipments dropped about 10% in the first quarter of 2024, hurt by intensifying competition by Android smartphone makers aiming for the top spot, data from research firm IDC showed on Sunday.

Global smartphone shipments increased 7.8% to 289.4 million units during January-March, with Samsung, at 20.8% market share, clinching the top phonemaker spot from Apple.

The iPhone-maker's steep sales decline comes after its strong performance in the December quarter when it overtook Samsung as the world's No.1 phone maker. It's back to the second spot, with 17.3% market share, as Chinese brands such as Huawei gain market share.

Xiaomi, one of China's top smartphone makers, occupied the third position with a market share of 14.1% during the first quarter.

South Korea's Samsung, which launched its latest flagship smartphone lineup - Galaxy S24 series - in the beginning of the year, shipped more than 60 million phones during the period.

Global sales of Galaxy S24 smartphones jumped 8%, compared to last year's Galaxy S23 series during their first three weeks of availability, data provider Counterpoint previously said.

In the first quarter, Apple shipped 50.1 million iPhones, down from 55.4 million units it shipped same period last year, according to IDC.

Apple's smartphone shipments in China shrank 2.1% in the final quarter of 2023 from a year earlier.

The drop underscores the challenges facing the US firm in its third biggest market, as some Chinese companies and government agencies limit employees' use of Apple devices, a measure that mirrors US government restrictions on Chinese apps on security grounds.

The Cupertino, California-based company in June will hold its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), where it will highlight updates to the software powering iPhones, iPads, and other Apple devices.

Investors are closely watching for updates on artificial intelligence development at Apple, which has so far spoken little about incorporating the AI technology into its devices. The company earlier this year lost the crown as the world's most valuable company to Microsoft.



One Tech Tip: Want to Turn off Meta AI? You Can't — But There are Some Workarounds

The logo of Meta Platforms' business group is seen in Brussels, Belgium December 6, 2022. (Reuters)
The logo of Meta Platforms' business group is seen in Brussels, Belgium December 6, 2022. (Reuters)
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One Tech Tip: Want to Turn off Meta AI? You Can't — But There are Some Workarounds

The logo of Meta Platforms' business group is seen in Brussels, Belgium December 6, 2022. (Reuters)
The logo of Meta Platforms' business group is seen in Brussels, Belgium December 6, 2022. (Reuters)

If you use Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram, you've probably noticed a new character pop up answering search queries or eagerly offering tidbits of information in your feeds, with varying degrees of accuracy.
It's Meta AI, and it's here to help, at least according to Meta Platforms' CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who calls it “the most intelligent AI assistant that you can freely use”, said The Associated Press.
The chatbot can recommend local restaurants, offer more information on something you see in a Facebook post, search for airline flights or generate images in the blink of an eye. If you're chatting with friends to plan a night out, you can invite it into your group conversation by typing @MetaAI, then ask it to recommend, say, cocktail bars.
Meta’s AI tool has been integrated into chat boxes and search bars throughout the tech giant’s platforms. The assistant appears, for example, at the top of your chat list on Messenger. Ask it questions about anything or to “imagine” something and it will generate a picture or animation.
As with any new technology, there are, of course, hiccups, including bizarre exchanges when the chatbots first started engaging with real people. One joined a Facebook moms’ group to talk about its gifted child. Another tried to give away nonexistent items to confused members of a Buy Nothing forum.
Meta AI hasn't been universally welcomed. Here are some tips if you want to avoid using it:
CAN I TURN IT OFF? Some Facebook users don't like the chatbot, complaining in online forums that they're tired of having AI foisted on them all the time or that they just want to stick with what they know. So what if you don't want Meta AI butting in every time you search for something or scroll through your social feeds? Well, you might need a time machine. Meta and other tech companies are in an AI arms race, churning out new language models and persuading — some might say pressuring — the public to use them.
The bad news is there's no one button to turn off Meta AI on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp. However, if you want to limit it, there are some (imperfect) workarounds.
MUTE...SORT OF On the Facebook mobile app, tap the “search” button. You may get a prompt to “Ask Meta AI anything.” Tap the blue triangle on the right, then the blue circle with an “i” inside it. Here, you'll see a “mute” button, with options to silence the chatbot for 15 minutes or longer, or “Until I change it.” You can do the same on Instagram.
Nonetheless, muting doesn't get rid of Meta AI completely. Meta AI's circle logo might still appear where the search magnifying glass used to be — and tapping on it will take you to the Meta AI field. This is now the new way to search in Meta, and just as with Google's AI summaries, the responses will be generated by AI.
I asked the chatbot about searching Facebook without Meta AI results.
“Meta AI aims to be a helpful assistant and is in the search bar to assist with your questions," it responded. Then it added, "You can't disable it from this experience, but you can tap the search button after writing your query and search how you normally would.”
Then I asked a (human) Meta spokesperson.
“You can search how you normally would and choose to engage with a variety of results — ones from Meta AI or others that appear as you type,” the spokesperson said in a statement. "And when interacting with Meta AI, you have access to real-time information without having to leave the app you’re using thanks to our search partnerships.”
Like an over-eager personal assistant, Meta AI also pops up under posts on your Facebook news feed, offering more information about what’s discussed in the post — such as the subject of a news article. It’s not possible to disable this feature, so you'll just have to ignore it.
USE OLD SCHOOL FACEBOOK Tech websites have noted that one surefire way to avoid Facebook's AI assistant is to use the social network's stripped-down mobile site, mbasic.facebook.com. It's aimed at people in developing countries using older phones on slower internet connections. The basic site has a retro feel that looks crude compared to the current version, and it looks even worse on desktop browsers, but it still works on a rudimentary level and without AI.
OTHER COUNTRIES Meta AI is so far only available in the United States and 13 other countries including Australia, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. So if you don't live in any of those places, you don't have to worry about the chatbot because you don't get to use it. At least not yet.