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BlueStacks now lets you run every Android app on Mac as it moves to beta


In June, we told you about BlueStacks. It is a tool that allows Android apps to run on a Mac. The alpha only officially supported 17 Android apps, with Pulse and Words with Friends being the two of the more notable apps at launch, but the application has improved immensely. As Venture Beat first noted, BlueStacks has moved into beta this morning. It now allows users to run every Android app that the Google Play store has to offer. Some may be puzzled at the need to run a mobile application on the desktop, but it does come in use for apps like Instagram and Flipboard that have no desktop equivalent. BlueStacks reminds us a lot of Parallels or VM Ware, and it definitely becomes more useful with the added apps.

As of earlier this month, the Silicon Valley-based company passed 5 million installs on both Windows and Mac. BlueStacks also plans an even more impressive growth with partners AMD and ASUS, as TechCrunch noted, where the software would be pre-installed on over 100 million devices. Upcoming features include an App Discovery system in the Mac app to make it easier for users to find apps. Interested? You can download the beta from BlueStacks.

Apple Sets New High with 53.3% of U.S. Smartphone Market, Android Holds Strong in Europe

Last month, research firm Kantar Worldpanel reported that Apple had retaken the lead in U.S. smartphone sales from Android over the August-October timeframe, topping Android by a 48.1%-46.7% margin on the strength of the iPhone 5 launch.

At the time, the firm suggested that Apple's share would continue to rise as the 12-week window of sales data shifted to include the iPhone 5 for its entirety, predicting that Apple would set a record high for market share within the following two periods.

Kantar Worldpanel has now released its data for the September-November period, and Apple has indeed set a record high with 53.3% of the market. Apple's share is up dramatically from 35.8% in the same period last year, although the iPhone 4S did not launch until later in the corresponding timeframe.
Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: "Apple has reached a major milestone in the US by passing the 50% share mark for the first time, with further gains expected to be made during December."
Apple continues to fare less well in Europe, where even with growth of 2.5 percentage points year-over-year to reach 25.3% of the market, Android has surged farther ahead with a 9.2 percentage point gain and now holds 61% of the market.

Among the markets tracked by Kantar Worldpanel, Apple's best performance was in the United States, while its worst performances were in Brazil, Australia, Spain, and Italy, all countries where it lost share over 2011.

2012's Biggest Mac Leaks and Rumors

The iPhone and iPad tend to dominate the rumor scene for a number of reasons. Most signficantly, the total audience for iOS devices is larger and growing more rapidly than for Macs. Apple's Mac line has of course also been growing, but at a much slower pace. Also, given the maturity of the line, changes in the Mac line tend to be more incremental.

Still, looking back, we've seen a fair number of Mac-related leaks that preceded each product launch.

Perhaps the most reliable leaks have been from benchmark suites such as Geekbench, as we've seen benchmark leaks of unreleased Mac products several times now. These have all turned out to be accurate predictors of final Mac releases, sometimes with a several month lead time.

Here are some of the photo leaks we saw in 2012 for the Mac:

13" MacBook Pro

13.3" MacBook Pro Specs - June 2012

This pre-WWDC 13" MacBook Pro leak revealed that the 13" MacBook Pro would see little in the way of upgrades. Despite many comments about the easy fake-ability of the leak, the image turned out to be accurate. The 13" MacBook Pro wouldn't see Retina upgrades until later in 2012.

15" MacBook Pro

15" MacBook Pro logic board - June 2012

This 15" MacBook Pro logic board shot showed that Apple was switching to NVIDIA GPUs ahead of the launch. It also showed hints that Apple was keeping the current MacBook Pro design around, as the layout was identical to existing models.


iMac internals and design - October 2012

This was the first we heard of the newly redesigned iMac, which was described as "considerably thinner than the current form factor".
The redesigned iMac is said to be considerably thinner than the current form factor, with the machine's thickness almost impossible to gauge when viewed from the side. The curved rear shell is also said to appear more like a water droplet than the squared-off design seen in the current model.

13" Retina MacBook Pro

13" Retina MacBook Pro images - October 2012

This was our first look at the thinner 13" Retina MacBook Pro and showed the various ports and 2560x1600 resolution of the new machine.

MacBook Pro and Retina Lineups

From an informational perspective, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has shown that he has had a clear view of Apple's timeline and has been able to report accurately on that topic. Kuo was the first to suggest in June that Apple was going to create a separate line of MacBook Pros with Retina displays while keeping the existing product line in place.

Some of the responses in the discussion thread at the time were of disbelief:
That's stupid.

If the new Macbook line is as powerful as the Pro line, WHY keep the Pro line? What advantage does the Pro offer? A CD drive? Not exactly tempting in today's day and age. I'd rather take thinner and retina over a stupid CD drive, especially since it looks like it will be priced cheaper than a pro.

Just Axe the old Pro line and rebrand the new Pro line as this thinner/Retina one.
Of course, Apple did splinter the line by introducing a new (more expensive) "Retina" line of MacBook Pro products. Kuo also predicts that Apple will reintegrate the line in 2013, offering a single 13" and 15" MacBook Pro line with Retina displays and doing away with the non-Retina Macbook Pros that are currently being offered.

Mac Pro: Not Dead Yet

Finally, perhaps the most encouraging bit of news from the year for some was the promise that the Mac Pro will see an update in 2013. Tim Cook even responded to a an email from a concerned Mac Pro user. In the email response:
Our pro customers are really important to us...don't worry as we're working on something really great for later next year.

2012's Biggest iPhone, iPad, and iPod Leaks and Rumors

Despite claims from Apple CEO Tim Cook that the company was going to "double down on secrecy on products", 2012 may have been one of Apple's leakiest years so far.

The leaks seem to stem primarily from Apple's supply chain in China. While we were saturated with iPhone 5 and iPad mini parts in 2012, we also had early looks at Apple's iPod and Mac lines. As usual, the challenge is the relatively high noise to signal ratio when tracking rumors.

Here are a collection of some of the more notable and accurate iPhone, iPad and iPod rumors from 2012.

iPad 3

The move to a Retina display for the iPad 3 was not necessarily a foregone conclusion prior to its launch. Despite the move to "Retina" on the iPhone, the sheer volume of pixels needed for a Retina iPad generated considerable doubt. One forum commenter from February:
Do people honestly think this is going to happen?

If it did ship with a 2048x1546 display, then it would be capable of rendering images at a higher resolution than all video game consoles currently on the market.

However, game developers already struggle to produce games that run at 1920x1080 due to the power of the consoles - are people seriously saying that they think iPad 3 will have a better CPU and GPU than PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360?
Thanks to Apple's leaky supply chain, we were able to actually purchase a purported iPad 3 Retina replacement display from an online retailer and place it under a microscope, effectively confirming the rumors of a Retina iPad display:

The rest of the third-generation iPad parts also leaked, providing a nearly complete picture of the final design: rear shell, display, logic board, case photos side-by-side:

iPhone 5

Apple's iPhone 5 design decisions were perhaps the most controversial changes to Apple's lineup this year. Despite persistent rumors about the new taller 4" display, many held out that Apple wouldn't ever make such a change.

What's most interesting is that the first look at the taller 4" iPhone 5 came as early as May 3 -- over four months prior to its launch. iLounge had provided these mockups of the next generation iPhone:

Those mockups generated considerable doubt amongst some commenters:
Apple has 600K+ apps designed for 3:2. They've railed about Android fragmentation. There's no way in hell that they're changing the aspect ratio now. Larger screen? I'll buy that. But they'll be expanding it in both directions. In the mockups there's still the standard bevel on the left and right sides of the screens. You really think they'll expand upwards before using all of that space? My prediction is a 4" screen, same 960x640 resolution, screen goes right up to the side edges, slightly taller and wider device.
Of course, that initial report was followed by rendered mockups, design specs, parts on video, and corresponding cases. We even saw the full final enclosure prior to the device's launch:

iPod nano

Two months before it launched, we saw the first mockups showing a major redesign for the iPod nano that would make the device appear more like a small iPod touch.

iPod Nano with home button - July 2012. (actual product)

The mockups turned out to be quite accurate, as were case designs that manufacturers were working on in the lead-up to Apple's September media event where it introduced the new iPod nano.

iPod touch

In the wake of its iPod nano report, Macotakara also published a mockup of the new iPod touch, carrying a 4-inch display and buffed aluminum shell. The report also identified a "small hole" on the lower rear of the device that had an unknown purpose.

iPod touch with 4-Inch Display and aluminum back - July 2012 (actual product)

The mockup did turn out to be mostly correct, with the small hole ending up being for the "Loop" wrist strap attachment.


Nearly two weeks before they were introduced at Apple's September media event, the company's redesigned earphones, which ultimately arrived with the "Earpods" name, showed up in photos and video from Vietnamese site

Redesigned earphones - September 2012

Claims of a smaller dock connector for Apple's mobile devices surfaced as far back as February, and photos of the new Lightning connector began showing up a month ahead of its official unveiling.

New dock connector - August, 2012

iPad mini

While the rumors of a smaller iPad have circulated essentially from the time of the original iPad's introduction, the iPad mini picked up steam throughout 2012 as drawings began offering an idea of the device some three months ahead of its launch.

iPad mini physical mockup - September 2012 (actual product)

Many of the leaks came from case manufacturers, some of whom went as far as to create detailed physical mockups that provided very accurate views of the final design for the device.

iPad 4

The biggest surprise of the year may have been the second iPad revision in six months. The 4th Generation iPad not only incorporated the new smaller dock connector, but also came with some notable processor improvements.

Looking back, however, the signs were there. Digitimes tends to get a bad rap, and we've been overly critical of the site as well. In this January Digitimes report, we accused them of "throwing ideas at the wall", but we were wrong.

The title of that story was "iPad 4 Headed for October Launch with iPad 3 as Interim Upgrade". Digitimes was first and accurate on the report that the iPad would see two updates in 2012.