What’s Up With Apple: Smartphone Market Shrinks, More Mac Malware, Portland Store Reopens

Sales of new smartphones dipped by 5.4% in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a report from Gartner released Monday morning. For the full year, sales were down 12.5% compared to 2019.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) went against the tide with year-over-year sales for the fourth quarter up 14.9% and annual sales 3.3% higher. Apple’s market share in the quarter was 20.8%, leading second-ranked Samsung by more than 4.5 percentage points. For the full year, Apple’s market share was 14.8%, trailing first-place Samsung, which posted share of 18.8% for the year.

The company posting the largest market share and unit sales gains was China’s Xiaomi. The company saw a market share gain of 33% in the quarter and more than 15% for the year. Most of the gain came at the expense of Huawei, which has seen sales collapse following a ban on the company’s use of Google apps on its smartphones. In an account earlier this month at CNET, Huawei reportedly said that it expects smartphone sales to drop by 60% in 2021.

Gartner senior research director Anshul Gupta commented: “The sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-tier smartphones minimized the market decline in the fourth quarter of 2020. … The rising demand for affordable 5G smartphones outside China will boost smartphone sales in 2021.”

Earlier this month, Gartner project sales of more than 1.5 billion smartphones in 2021, up from fewer than 1.4 billion in 2020. Sales of 5G phones are forecast to more than double, from 213 million last year to more than 538 million.

A second malware targeting Apple’s new M1 chip was reported over the weekend. Cybersecurity researchers at Red Sparrow say this new malware, dubbed Silver Sparrow, has been compiled in two versions, one for Intel-powered Macs and another for Intel- and M1-powered Macs.

Red Sparrow says the malware appears to be a placeholder that, for now, doesn’t seem “to do all that much.” However, a virus could be inserted and distributed through Silver Sparrow. Hacker News has more details.

The Apple Store in Portland, Oregon, is reopening Monday after being closed last May. The glass-fronted building faced significant repair work following a riot on May 29 following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Apple said in December that it would preserve the mural painted on the plywood barriers placed over the glass walls and donate the artwork to a community group, Don’t Shoot PDX.

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