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Apple will dethrone Samsung as the world’s largest smartphone maker in the fourth quarter of 2017, on the strength of strong iPhone X demand, according to Taiwanese market research firm TrendForce.
TrendForce estimates Apple will record 19.1 percent market share in the quarter, encompassing the busy holiday shopping season, which would be slightly ahead of Samsung’s estimated 18.2 percent market share. Chinese vendors Huawei, OPPO, and Xiaomi are expected to round off the top five.
The feat would be impressive as always given that Samsung sells over a dozen different smartphone models, including some as cheap as $200, whereas Apple primarily caters to the high-end market beyond the iPhone SE for $349.
Samsung is expected to slightly scale back the production of its high-end models in the fourth quarter as the brand is seeing the sales of its smartphones being squeezed by the strong demand for Apple’s latest iPhone devices. TrendForce estimates that Samsung’s fourth-quarter total volume will come to 77 million units, a 5% drop from the third quarter.
The fourth quarter has always been the strongest for Apple, given it launches new devices in the fall, allowing it to surpass Samsung in the year-ago quarter as well. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ were released back in April, so sales momentum is likely beginning to decline for those devices.
Meanwhile, market research firm Canalys estimates the iPhone 8 Plus outpaced the iPhone 8 last quarter with shipments of 6.3 million units and 5.4 million units respectively. Canalys said the iPhone 8 Plus is the first Plus-sized iPhone to out-ship its smaller 4.7-inch sibling in a single quarter.
Apple doesn’t disclose iPhone sales on a model-by-model basis, but chief Tim Cook said the iPhone 8 Plus has “gotten off to the fastest start of any Plus model,” which came as “a bit of a surprise” to the company.
As far as iPhone X sales are concerned, Apple’s guidance of $84-$87 billion revenue for the holiday quarter suggests that demand for the device will be significant. Apple should easily beat its all-time record for revenue in a single quarter of $78.4 billion, achieved in the fourth quarter of 2016.
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Samsung has decided not to include a fingerprint scanner under the display of its next-generation Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ smartphones due to continued technical difficulties, according to South Korea’s The Investor.
Instead, the fingerprint scanner will likely remain positioned on the back of each device, just like the current Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ models.
Fingerprint scanning is one of three biometric options for unlocking the Galaxy S8 alongside iris scanning and facial recognition. Samsung says all three solutions provide “defense-grade security” around the clock.
Shortly after the Galaxy S8 launched, however, videos surfaced showing that Samsung’s facial recognition system could be fairly easily duped with a picture of someone. The iris scanner was also tricked with contact lenses.
In fine print on its website, Samsung admits that its facial recognition system is “less secure than pattern, PIN, or password.” Facial recognition can’t be used to authenticate access to the Galaxy S8’s Secure Folder or Samsung Pay.
“It is important to reiterate that facial recognition, while convenient, can only be used for opening your Galaxy S8 and currently cannot be used to authenticate access to Samsung Pay or Secure Folder,” the company told Ars Technica in March.
Apple was widely rumored to be attempting to integrate Touch ID under the display on the iPhone X, or even on the side or back of the device, but the company’s hardware engineering chief Dan Riccio suggested it ditched any form of fingerprint scanning after hitting “early line of sight” with Face ID.
Samsung’s facial recognition system is unquestionably less secure than Face ID, which uses significantly more advanced 3D facial recognition and has a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of being duped by a stranger, according to Apple.
Apple is so confident in Face ID that it is planning to abandon Touch ID in favor of the TrueDepth system on all of its new iPhone models released in 2018, according to well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Apple says Face ID only has a possibility of being less reliable for identical twins, siblings who look alike, and children under 13 years of age, the latter because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed.
Apple’s Face ID security paper explains how the TrueDepth camera projects and reads over 30,000 infrared dots to form a depth map of your face, along with a 2D infrared image. This data is used to create a sequence of 2D images and depth maps, which are digitally signed and sent to the Secure Enclave.
Face ID is designed to confirm user attention, ensuring a lower false match rate, and mitigation against both digital and physical spoofing.
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