Apple announced surprisingly strong earnings for their last quarter, breaking records for the highest revenue ever, $78.4 billion. The success is the result of selling more iPhones than ever before, a total of 78 million units. It was a surprise, because iPhone sales had tapered off in the previous quarter, with many blaming it on the minor improvements compared to previous models. But, apparently, people may have been tired of waiting to update their older phones and were turned off by Samsung’s difficulties.
These results show that, more than ever, Apple has become dependent on the iPhone for its growth, contributing to 64% of its revenue. In comparison, iPad sales fell by 20 percent.
Apple phone sales were undoubtedly helped by Samsung’s fiery battery problems with their Note 7 that was introduced about the same time as the 7. In fact, Apple passed Samsung and is now the world’s largest phone supplier in this most recent quarter.
According to Strategy Analytics, a market research firm, Apple shipped 800,000 more units than Samsung in this quarter, giving Apple a 17.8 percent market share compared to Samsung’s 17.7 percent. For 2016 Samsung maintained first place, shipping 309 million units to Apple’s 215 million.
While Apple and Samsung may be the best selling phones, that doesn’t mean they are the best for everyone.
I’ve been trying out two different smartphones from LG and Lenovo’s Motorola division that offer their own unique features and compare very favorably to the leaders’ models, and in some ways surpass them.
The LG V20 is a high-end phone with a large 5.7-inch LCD display. The phone is sturdily constructed with a shock resistant body made mostly of metal.
It’s equipped with advanced audio capabilities that allow it to play back high-resolution music files that sound much better than ordinary phones. Most phones are designed to play back MP3s, up to CD quality music files, but because of inferior electronics, can play nothing better. The V20 is able to play music from high-resolution FLAC files up to 192/24, which is close to a vinyl record quality. Just as cameras have been improving on smartphones, expect to see the music player capabilities improve as well.
Other features include a very good camera and a second always-on display that sits at the top of the front screen that allows you to access a number of features, as well as providing useful information and displaying your signature. But one of the best features of this phone is that the battery can be replaced by simply snapping off the cover. And yes, it still has a headphone jack.
My loaner came to me from AT&T where it costs $830, about the same price as the Samsung Galaxy 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Moto Z Droid
Another excellent phone is the Motorola Z phone from Lenovo. It’s an incredibly thin, lightweight phone with an excellent display and a long battery life. In fact, the company says it’s the thinnest phone in the world.
One of it’s neatest features is its modularity, meaning you can snap a variety of accessories onto its back that are held in place with strong magnets. Accessories include a second battery, a speaker, a camera with a zoom lens, decorative backs, and a projector. I tested Verizon’s version called the Moto Z Droid that sells for $624, but is currently on sale at half off.
The phone has a 5.5-inch AMOLED display that’s guaranteed not to crack or shatter, a very good camera, and a fast-charging battery that gives you 15 hours of use in 15 minutes. Its built-in battery is nearly twice the capacity of an iPhone 7 Plus, and it’s solidly constructed of metal throughout. The only negative is that it doesn’t have an earphone jack and uses a Type C power connector instead.
Each phone has a built-in micro SD slot for adding memory in a more affordable manner than buying the premium models from Apple or Samsung.
Both of these phones are competitive with those from Samsung and Apple, have some unique features, but are often discounted more heavily. And each is available from all of the major carriers.