Tablet Specs Now Favoring Productivity Over Portability

  • With tablets gaining a wider consumer base, tablet specifications are undergoing changes to meet the demands of a diverse range of applications.
  • Display sizes are increasing every year to cater to the growing range and consumption of multimedia and applications.
  • Battery capacity has seen continued advancements following the adoption of bigger displays.
  • Previously seen as only optional, devices such as the stylus and external keyboard have been accepted as necessary tools to realize the tablet’s fullest capabilities.

From a device used by a niche consumer base to a device widely used for work, study and entertainment at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the tablet has covered a big distance in a short span of time. This surge in its popularity can be attributed to its ability to combine the portable appeal of smartphones and the productivity offered by notebooks. The popularity, in turn, has triggered changes and improvements in the tablet’s features to meet the demands of a diverse range of applications.

These changes range from enhancements in technical specifications to refinements in the tablet’s light and slim structure. However, with tablets steadily approaching maturity in the market, certain ubiquitous preferences have emerged that are shifting the device away from its core design philosophy of portability. The focus is now more on increasing its productivity by improving certain technical parameters and features.

Tablet display size

One such improvement is the steady increase in display sizes. Being the sole medium through which users interact with tablets, displays have increased in size with every subsequent year, despite an increase in the weight of the device, to cater to the growing range and consumption of multimedia and applications.

Global Tablet Market Shipment Share by Display Size

Global Tablet specs market

Source: Counterpoint Research

Over the three years from 2020 to 2022, tablets continued to adopt increasingly larger display sizes with the 11” and above screens gaining share in total volumes. This trend is expected to continue in 2023. With the display sizes of 11” and above taking 34% of the tablet market in 2022 and forecasted to grow an additional around 4% points in 2023, tablets have started to take on roles traditionally filled by laptops for tasks in professional and educational settings, according to Counterpoint’s Tablet Research.

Battery capacity

An increased battery capacity is another technical aspect that has seen continued advancements following the adoption of bigger displays. Occupying the maximum weight in a tablet, larger battery capacities have been crucial in supporting the ever-increasing demand for more power, stemming from larger and brighter displays and other performance enhancements.

Average Battery Capacity

Tablet specs- average battery capacity

Source: Counterpoint Research

After remaining relatively stagnant until 2021, the average battery capacity of tablets increased by 8% in 2022 due to the pandemic-triggered increase in usage. With the emphasis now being placed on longer usage than portability, tablet OEMs have started introducing devices with larger battery capacities to reduce the frequency of charging between uses. The average battery capacity is expected to continue growing, reaching 6658 mAh in 2023.

External hardware

Lastly, the most noticeable shift in preference from mobility to productivity is the acceptance of external hardware as the new normal in the use of tablets. Previously seen as only optional, devices such as the stylus and external keyboard have been accepted not as remedial devices but as necessary tools to realize the tablet’s fullest capabilities. While these devices still come separate from tablets, they are offered by most tablet OEMs, with the majority of popular tablets optimized for their combined usage.

While tablets are still valued for their lightweight nature compared to their heavier and bulkier notebook counterparts, they are expected to continue favoring productivity over portability as larger tablets continue to maintain their popularity among consumers and grow further upon the increasing frequency of adoption of these preferences.

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Live Updates from MWC Shanghai 2023

Our analysts Ethan Qi, Jene Park, Soumen MandalIvan LamShenghao BaiArchie ZhangShaochen Wang and Alicia Gong are currently attending the MWC Shanghai 2023 event (June 28-June 30). In the following posts, you will experience the full force of our presence at MWC Shanghai as we provide unique insights from our analysts, unveiling the industry-shaping impact of this remarkable gathering.

Day 1 Highlights:

Consumer Electronics:

Meizu showcases capabilities in ‘device-vehicle integration’

Meizu showcases capabilities in ‘device-vehicle integration’

During MWC Shanghai 2023, Meizu showcased a series of products and technologies, including the Flyme Auto intelligent system-enabled EV models, Meizu 20 flagship smartphone series, Titan glass and the EcarX Antares 1000 Pro computing platform. The Meizu 20 series, released in March 2023, sports the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, 6.5-inch OLED display, 144Hz refresh rate and UFS4.0 and LPDDR5X memory combination. The Meizu 20 INFINITY Ultimate Edition features a dual-sided suspended Titan glass design, highlighting the emerging trend of flagship models in China competing to adopt more durable glass materials. Meizu also expects its Flyme Auto system to emerge as a guiding beacon for the deep integration of the smartphone and automotive ecosystems.

Huawei showcases Vision Glass

Huawei showcased its recently launched smart eyewear product Huawei Vision Glass alongside a range of smartphone models and consumer IoT products. Huawei Vision Glass, unveiled in December 2022, features a Micro OLED display that offers an immersive experience equivalent to a 120-inch virtual giant screen. It boasts 1080p full HD resolution and 480nit brightness and supports a wide color gamut of 90% DCI-P3. In addition, it comes equipped with ultra-thin smart speakers and offers adjustable diopters ranging from 0 to 500 degrees.


ZTE presents nubia Pad 3D, world’s first AI-based naked-eye 3D tablet computer

ZTE presents nubia Pad 3D

ZTE highlighted the nubia Pad 3D, which showcases the unique “3D light field” technology for superior naked-eye 3D display quality. It also incorporates AI eye-tracking to provide real-time matching of the most comfortable viewing field. Leveraging the AI neural network deep-learning algorithms, it enables instant conversion of 2D content into 3D. During MWC, ZTE announced collaborations with ecosystem partners such as China Mobile Migu, Jiangxi Kejun, China National Publications Import & Export (Group) Corporation and Datang Xishi to provide a wealth of naked-eye 3D scene applications in areas including film and television, live streaming, gaming, education, healthcare, cultural tourism, online conferences, exhibition display, advertising, and more.

Telecom Operators’ Moves

Establishment of China Mobile Metaverse Industry Alliance

Establishment of China Mobile Metaverse Industry Alliance

China Mobile has collaborated with metaverse ecosystem partners to establish the China Mobile Metaverse Industry Alliance. It unveiled the first group of 24 alliance members at the MWC. The alliance comprises content provider Mango TV, providers of content and software development tools such as Unity, AI technologies leader Iflytek, as well as hardware companies like Huawei, NOLO, HTC VIVE and Xiaomi. They will prioritize cooperation in four key areas – metaverse content creation, XR terminals, key technologies and computational networks.

China Mobile’s 5G Use Case

China Mobile showcased a remarkable 5G use case for automated quality inspection, eliminating the need for wired connections.

China Unicom’s 5G solutions

China Unicom unveiled a groundbreaking 5G-connected solution for traffic lights and cameras.

China Telecom reveals development strategy for 6G

China Telecom reveals development strategy for 6G

During his keynote speech at MWC, China Telecom chairman revealed that the company was actively pursuing innovative advancements in the architecture of the simplified 6G network. The research primarily focuses on key core technologies, including near-field cellular integration (P-RAN) and air-space integration. China Telecom will maintain a close collaboration with standardization organizations and industry partners to drive the establishment of globally unified 6G international standards.

Innovations from network, software and component providers

Huawei drives 5G ToB advancement with ‘5G Inside’ technology

Huawei not only perseveres in the development of 5G devices but also drives the advancement of 5G ToB. With 5G Inside, Huawei is collaborating with enterprise customers to deliver customized 5G devices that cater to diverse scenarios and applications.

Huawei’s ‘cloud phone’ solution

Huawei offers a cloud phone solution where users can access separate or multiple virtual phones through a dedicated app. This innovative B2B solution is ideal for companies seeking to secure their digital assets and provide virtual phone solutions for their sales staff. Government entities also show interest in this virtual phone solution, while cloud mobile gaming presents another exciting use case.

Huawei’s 5GC Intelligent Traffic Express Solution

Huawei’s 5Gc Intelligent Traffic Express Solution enables the detection and monitoring of user live-streaming activities. In cases where user experience worsens, extra resources are allocated to VVIP users, providing operators with the opportunity to monetize on individuals requiring fast and prioritized connections, such as live-streaming bloggers.

H3C’s Wi-Fi7 Announcements

H3C showcased a compelling use case of Wi-Fi7 enabling remote schooling. The enterprise gateway has the capability to support hundreds of terminals, including tablets and PCs, simultaneously.

China Broadnet’s Naked-eye Display

China Broadnet presents a rejuvenated concept of naked-eye displays.

STMicroelectronics Announcements

STMicroelectronics’ integrated wearable sensing unit, with accelerometers and gyroscopes integrated, can efficiently process signals and directly translate movements into actionable data for smart wearable devices.

AMD’s RFFE Solutions

AMD has introduced an advanced RF front-end solution designed specifically for small cell systems.

AAC Expands its Optical R&D Strength

AAC is significantly enhancing its optical R&D capabilities, particularly in the field of waveguide technologies.

Tongxin Microelectronics Announcements

Tongxin Micro’s NFC chips find wide applications in wearables and smartphones, having already been integrated into various commercial models. Besides, the company serves as a provider of eSIM chips. A solution combining both technologies is currently in the works.

ams OSRAM Mira050 with Wafer Level Optics (WLO) Demo Kit


Smallest lens solution with leading-edge NIR-imaging performance – images are sharp from center to edge of image circle. ams OSRAM designed and produced WLO lens mounted on Mira050 EVK sensor board, actively aligned to optimize image quality. Configurable NIR-designs for wavelengths bands around 850nm or 940nm

Kigen and TMC collaborate to drive eSIM innovation

Kigen and Tongxin Microelectronics Co (TMC) have delivered the first-ever simple, global, secure, commercial and GSMA-certified consumer eSIM solution to empower OEM innovation to meet 5G FWA demand for affordable CPE devices. Lead customers are already developing commercial products based on this offering. The companies are now extending it to general availability.

“Global 5G FWA CPE cumulative revenues are expected to reach over $100 billion during 2020-2030. Bringing down the total cost of 5G FWA CPE is integral to 5G broadband adoption, scale and return on investment for all stakeholders in this price-sensitive segment.” Neil Shah, VP of Research, Counterpoint Research

Read the full release here:

Day 2 Highlights:

HONOR Magic V2 foldable smartphone launch event

HONOR Magic V2 foldable smartphone launch event

During the launch event, HONOR CEO George Zhao shared thoughts on innovation in future smartphone products:

  • Inclusion of AI: George thinks that having AI on the device is vital because it would allow users to have multiple-modal interactions and offers better privacy protection in the future digitalized life.
  • Screen size matters but so does the smartphone weight: Future smartphones should be easier to carry around as they need to be.
  • Display technology with eye-care features would become popular: In China, more than 30% of smartphone users use their devices for more than five years. Eye-care display technology addresses the consumer’s concerns.
  • Longer battery life: Customers want devices with longer battery life since they are using them more and more every day.

At the end of his address, Zhao announced that HONOR’s third foldable phone Magic V2 would be launched on July 12 and the product may bring improvements in the abovementioned areas.

Meizu’s announcements

Meizu’s CEO Shen Ziyu keynote speech - MWC Shanghai

Meizu’s CEO Shen Ziyu made a keynote speech today, describing his vision of interconnection between the automotive and smartphone segments. Meizu is now owned by Chinese auto giant Geely. Ziyu said the synergy between the two segments would be brought by the sharing of computing power, data and hardware. Automobile operating systems should also become accessible to the huge application ecosystem of smartphones. The company is also working on an infotainment system called Flyme Auto, which will offer the same smooth user experience as seen in the Flyme OS for smartphones. Flyme Auto will be installed on the upcoming Lynkco 08 and Volvo Polestar for the global market.

Day 3 Highlights

Lenovo updates

  • Lenovo showcased its consumer electronics products such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, including its recently launched foldable Motorola Razr 40 Ultra.
  • Lenovo also had some ToB solutions at its booths, such as AI server, edge computing products, park patrol robot, smart transportation systems and logistics.
  • Lenovo also supports many of the firms in its ecosystem which have stepped into XR optical solutions, live-streaming supporting platforms, network equipment and smart logistic management system.
  • For its smart city business, Lenovo showcased its solutions like smart transportation solutions and city emergency management platform.

China Broadnet showcases new 5G calling features

China Broadnet showcases new 5G calling features

  • Making calls interesting: Users can make calls more fun by using all kinds of emojis with gestures or voice commands.
  • Cartoon video call: Users can create their own digital images that can be displayed when making calls without turning on the camera.
  • Real-time translation: Multilingual real-time translation into text.
  • Smart customer service: Available online 24 hours to answer questions.
  • AI/GPT intelligent call: Using AI/GPT to answer questions.

Keynote: Next frontier for AI

Keynote Next frontier for AI

  • In healthcare, AI can help the doctor detect lesions at an early stage.
  • AI can help cars enable intelligent electrification, networking and information sharing.

Note: Please note that the posts above are still under development and are meant for providing general information only. They should not be considered professional advice. The authors and this website are not liable for any errors or damages resulting from the use of this information.

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Share of OLED Smartphones at Record High

  • OLED smartphones share reached 49% in Q1 2023.
  • iPhones switching to OLED was the inflection point for the tech adoption.
  • 5G penetration in lower price bands limited OLED adoption and slowed the growth rate.

The share of OLED display smartphones in global smartphone sales reached a record high of 49% in Q1 2023, up from 29% in Q1 2020, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Handset Model Sales Tracker, published in March 2023.

The screen or display has been one of the main factors influencing consumers to purchase a smartphone. OLED display provides a better viewing experience than LCD in several aspects by offering better viewing angles, deeper blacks and increased battery life along with other features. Brands also pushed OLED displays as a differentiating factor due to the leaner and more flexible panels that allow slimmer phones with curved displays in mid-priced and premium segments. Notably, the share of OLED displays in the above $250 wholesale price band reached 94% in Q1 2023.

The launch of the iPhone 12 with OLED display was the inflection point for OLED adoption in smartphones. All iPhones launched since, apart from the SE versions, have been equipped with OLED panels and the adoption of this display technology has increased with each iteration of the device.

OLED smartphones Adoption in Q1 2018-Q1 2023

In Q1 2023, almost half of all smartphones sold had OLED displays. The rate of adoption reached its highest ever mark in February 2023. However, beyond that the growth rate plateaued due to the following reasons:

  • 5G smartphones penetration has been consistently increasing. Over half of the smartphones sold in Q1 2023 were 5G capable. A push to bring 5G to lower price bands, especially in emerging markets, is a key driving factor for this growth. However, adding 5G also meant increasing BoM costs. Due to increasing costs, certain OEMs have used LCD displays to optimize BoM costs for 5G smartphones, especially in the lower price bands. Close to half of the 5G smartphones sold globally were from the sub-$400 wholesale price band, of which 50% had LCD displays. Meanwhile, in the over $400 band, the share of 5G phones with LCD displays was just 1% in Q1 2023.
  • Although 5G is advancing, LTE still accounted for over 40% of the total market with a higher presence in price-sensitive developing economies. The use of OLED displays in LTE smartphones has almost halved over the past three years as iPhones, which use OLED, have shifted to 5G, leaving the LTE market mostly to Android devices, which mostly use LCD. The best-selling LTE devices are all entry-level Android smartphones that are mostly equipped with LCD displays. This has played a major role in dampening OLED demand.

Among OEMs, Samsung has been consistently lowering its use of OLED over the years, reaching 41% in Q1 2023, its lowest level in the past three years. This was due to the rise in popularity of Samsung’s LCD-equipped A series smartphones in the entry-level segment. Among major Chinese smartphone players, only Xiaomi increased its OLED adoption, rising to 51% in Q1 2023 from just 18% in Q1 2021, helped by its popular Redmi Note series smartphones with OLED panels. OPPO’s employment of OLED displays decreased slightly YoY during the quarter while that of vivo remained flat. Devices with LCD panels accounted for more than 60% of their sales in Q1 2023. Meanwhile, realme, in its endeavor to deliver 5G smartphones at lower prices, opted for LCDs over OLEDs, thus lowering its OLED adoption to 36% in Q1 2023 from 45% in Q1 2021.

Going forward, smartphones will increasingly adopt OLED, which will cross the 50% mark driven primarily by the launch of new iPhones. Increasing popularity of foldable smartphones, which are all equipped with flexible OLED displays, will also be a contributing factor.

Analyst Contacts

Harshit Rastogi



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Vision Pro, iOS 17, New Macs: Here’s Everything Announced at Apple WWDC 2023

  • Despite the Vision Pro’s steep $3,499 price point, Apple has still managed to create a “wow” factor. The device goes on sale early next year.
  • The MacBook Air 15 with a thin and light profile but a bigger screen size could be an ideal option for content creators on the go.
  • By bringing Apple Silicon to the Mac Pro, Apple has completed its transition from Intel, giving it more control over the hardware and software stack.
  • Updates to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and WatchOS bring minor improvements, but the personalization and interactive widgets show a more consistent approach to user experience across Apple products.

Apple hosted its annual worldwide developer conference (WWDC 2023) at Apple Park, California, from June 5 to June 9, during which it announced exciting new hardware and software launches. These included fresh devices such as the new MacBook Air, Mac Studio Gen-2, and Mac Pro with M2 Ultra SoC, alongside the latest iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS Sonoma, tvOS 17, and WatchOS 10. However, the star of the show was Apple’s hotly anticipated mixed-reality headset, called the ‘Vision Pro’, which took our breath away.

Here is a quick recap of everything Apple announced at WWDC 2023.

Hardware announcements

Apple’s ‘Vision Pro’ mixed-reality headset is finally here

“One more thing…” – this has been synonymous with every major announcement that Apple has made over the past decade, and WWDC 2023 was no different. After months of leaks and rumors, Apple finally unveiled its “revolutionary” new product, the Vision Pro, along with its mixed-reality platform, the VisionOS. Apple has its sights on the next decade and beyond with the Vision Pro, which will be available for sale early next year.

Source: Apple

Pioneering the era of spatial computing, the cutting-edge Vision Pro is powered by an M2 processor along with a custom R1 co-processor for real-time processing. It features a micro-OLED display with 4K resolution per eye. It has 12 cameras, six microphones and five sensors to offer an immersive overall experience.

ALSO READ: Apple Thinking About the Next Decade and Beyond with Vision Pro Announcement

Users can control the Vision Pro UI with their eyes, voice and hands. As the headset allows for video pass-through, you are not isolated, and you can still see and interact with the people around you. The cameras let you capture 3D photos so you can relive those moments later. You can also turn your laptop screen into a giant display, giving you an unlimited canvas, so you are no longer limited by a display. All your apps can be used anywhere, and you can even resize them. There are many amazing features that Apple demonstrated at WWDC and will continue to refine them ahead of the start of sales early next year. The Apple Vision Pro is priced at a whopping $3,499.

WATCH: Apple Vision Pro Mixed Reality Headset: Quick Look at Key Features

MacBook Air gets bigger, better and more powerful

Though WWDC is a software event, it was dominated by hardware announcements this year, starting with the Mac. The new MacBook Air 15 is incredibly thin at 11.5mm, with Apple claiming it to be the world’s thinnest 15-inch laptop. It weighs 3.3 pounds, and features two Type-C thunderbolt ports, MagSafe charging and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It comes with a 15.3-inch liquid retina display with thin bezels, 500 nits of peak brightness and one billion colors.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 macbook air 15
Source: Apple

For video calls, the laptop includes a 1080p camera, three-array mics and six speakers so you can hear and be heard loud and clear. Under the hood is an M2 chip which Apple says is 12x faster than the Intel-based MacBook Air and is efficient enough to offer up to 18 hours of battery life. The new 15-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,299 ($1,199 for education) and will be available from the third week of June.

Source: Apple

The 13-inch MacBook Air now starts at $1,099, making it cheaper than before by $100. Meanwhile, the 13-inch MacBook Air M1 retains its $999 price tag, giving users more choices when looking for a MacBook Air.

Mac Studio gets more powerful with M2 Ultra

 The Mac Studio is loved by all types of creators, be it for editing photos, videos, podcasts or even presentations. It is now getting a big upgrade with the powerful M2 Max SoC, which Apple says is 25% faster than the previous M1 Max. Apple continued with the stats, saying video editors can now render videos 50% faster on Adobe After Effects.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 mac studio pc overview
Source: Apple

Apple also announced the M2 Ultra SoC, which connects two M2 Max die together with ultra-fusion architecture to double the performance. It comes with a 24-core CPU to offer 20% faster CPU performance, and its 76-core GPU is 30% faster than M1 Ultra. There is also a 32-core Neural engine which is 40% faster than the previous generation. It supports 192GB of unified memory. Built on a 5nm process node, it has 134 billion transistors and 800GBs of memory bandwidth. The Mac Studio with M2 Ultra can support six pro display XDR monitors.

Source: Apple

Apple Silicon comes to Mac Pro, completing the transition from Intel       

For those heavy and demanding workflows of film editors and sound engineers, Apple is bringing its Apple Silicon with PCI expansion to the Mac Pro. This also completes the transition from Intel to Apple Silicon. Powered by M2 Ultra SoC, the Mac Pro comes with eight thunderbolt ports – two on the front and six at the back. There are six PCI expansion slots too, allowing users to customize their Mac by adding audio/video IO, networking and storage.

Source: Apple

The Mac Studio will start at $1,999 with M2 Max SoC, whereas the Mac Pro will start at $6,999. They will be available from the third week of June.

 Software announcements    

iOS 17 gets more personalized and intuitive

With the iOS 17, Apple is bringing new experiences, better communication and sharing to iPhone users. For Apple ecosystem users, Phone, iMessage and FaceTime are the three essential apps for everyday communication. The Phone app now comes with personalized contact posters where you can either have a photo or emoji. Apple also supports the vertical layout for Japanese text. And it is not just for calling, this new visual identity is also a part of the contact card for a more consistent experience.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 ios 17 personalized contact poster
Source: Apple

The next feature is Live Voicemail, where you can see the transcription of the recipient. If you think it is important, you can answer right away. The feature is like Bixby text calls on Samsung smartphones. Apple is also bringing voicemails to FaceTime. When you call someone on FaceTime and they are not available, you can leave a video voicemail instead.

Messages now have search filters. So next time you start a search, include additional words to incorporate filters. This will help you find exactly what you are looking for. Now, there are times when you are in a meeting or traveling and there is a whole bunch of conversation that you missed. There is a new catch-up arrow on the top right which will let you quickly jump to the first message you haven’t seen.

Other key messaging features of the iOS 17 include:

  • Swipe on the bubble for quick in-line replies
  • Audio message transcription
  • In-line location within the conversation
  • Check-in to keep in touch with your loved ones
  • Besides location, you can also share battery level and cellular service status

All the information shared with your family and friends is also end-to-end encrypted.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 ios 17 check-in feature
Source: Apple

Next, Apple is also bringing a better Stickers experience. All the recently used stickers and memoji are now available in a brand-new drawer. You can even peel and stick emoji stickers in the conversation, and even rotate and resize them. These stickers are available systemwide, so you can use them with any app.

Apple is also changing the way we share contact details with someone new. A new feature called NameDrop lets you bring your phones closer and share phone numbers and other contact details with the person. The feature can be used with an iPhone and Apple Watch too. But that’s not all, you can now AirDrop content over the internet too.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 ios 17 standby
Source: Apple

There is also a new standby mode. It can be activated by turning the iPhone in landscape mode while charging. It will turn your phone into a desk clock displaying the time, date, weather and alarm information at a glance. You can add widgets and even customize the screen with different clock styles to fit your needs.

Apple had made the assistant hot word even simpler, so instead of “Hey Siri”, now you can just say “Siri” followed by the command. And you can now use back-to-back commands like a conversation, without having to call “Siri” again and again. Lastly, Apple Maps can now be used offline by selecting an area and downloading offline maps. This can be very helpful when there is no cellular network.

Source: Apple

iPadOS gets more personalized with a lock screen and interactive home widgets

With the new iPadOS 17, Apple is adding interactive widgets through which you can carry out tasks without having to open the app. For instance, you can turn the lights on and off from the Home widget, or even play/pause music from the Apple Music widget.

Just like on the iPhone, you will now be able to customize the lock screen as well. From photos to astronomy to a kaleidoscope, there are a lot of options to choose from. On the left, you can also add multiple widgets to get more information at a glance on the lock screen.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 ipados 17 widgets
Source: Apple

The iPad is also getting Live Activities, allowing users to keep track of food with Uber Eats, travel plans with Flighty, live scores from the sports app, and more, all from the lock screen.

Source: Apple

Taking full advantage of the large screen canvas, the Health app can show rich details of health-related activities like heart rate, steps, and more at a glance in one place.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 ipados 17 live collaboration
Source: Apple

The iPadOS 17 can identify the fills in a PDF and add relevant details using autofill, like name, address, phone number and email. You can even add a signature to the document using Apple Pencil. Apple has also added a collaboration feature which can be helpful when working together. You can see each other’s updates in real time as you scribble.

Source: Apple

macOS Sonoma gets a new Gaming Mode and more  

A lot of key features from iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 such as widgets, messaging and the “Siri” hot word are coming to macOS Sonoma. With the new update, Apple is bringing new screensavers, widgets that you can now move around that canvas and out from the notification center.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 macos sonoma widgets
Source: Apple

Apple is finally getting serious about gaming on the macOS and bringing “Game Mode” with the new OS update. It will prioritize CPU and GPU to optimize the gaming experience on Mac. Apple says it has also worked on reducing the audio latency when using AirPods, and input latency when using PlayStation or Xbox controller by doubling the Bluetooth sampling rate.

But what’s even more impressive is the “Game Porting Toolkit” where developers can quickly evaluate if their game can run well on Mac. The process earlier used to take months, but now with the toolkit, it can be completed in days, thus bringing down the development time.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 macos sonoma overlay
Source: Apple

Another big feature is coming to help users when they are presenting remotely. Using the Apple Silicon and Neural Engine, you will get a new overlay option when doing remote presentations. It can be a small bubble showing your face or a large overlay where you can remain prominent in front of your presentation. But that’s not all, you can even add emoji reactions to your video stream, adding more fun to your video presentation.

Apple has been focusing on user privacy-related features and in the new macOS Sonoma, it is taking a step further with the Safari browser. The new features allow you to lock browser windows, block trackers and more. The new macOS also gains the ability to help you share your passwords and passkeys with your family. Lastly, there is also web app support, allowing you to quickly access your favorite sites.

Source: Apple

watchOS 10 adds widgets for quick access and more

The watchOS 10 now allows you quick access to widgets in a smart stack by just rotating the crown from any watch face. Users can also add a widget that can hold their favorite complications like quick access to a stopwatch, music, or timer. Apps like World Clock get a new update with dynamic background colors reflecting the time of the day in that particular time zone.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 watchos 10 widgets
Source: Apple

When you wear the Apple Watch and work out, the live activity will also be shown as a widget on the iPhone lock screen. Apple is also updating the Compass and Maps apps with a safety feature to help users that go hiking. The compass will generate two waypoints, with one of them being a cellular waypoint.

counterpoint apple wwdc 2023 watchos 10 waypoint
Source: Apple

In case you move to an area with no cellular network, the newly generated waypoint will indicate the place you were in the reception area. We think it is a great addition as you can track back to the area where you had reception and make a phone call or send a text message to your family and friends.

There are many other features and improvements, apart from the ones mentioned here, that are coming to Apple Watch with the watchOS 10 update.

Source: Apple

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Apple Thinking About the Next Decade & Beyond with Vision Pro Announcement

  • Apple announced Vision Pro at the June 5 WWDC with a launch price of $3,499.
  • It will be released early next year starting with the US, the biggest XR headset market with over 70% share in 2022.
  • Featuring advanced specs and a sleek design, it has enterprise, gaming, content and connectivity use cases.
  • However, with a price of 12 times that of an entry-level Quest headset, it is unlikely to ship over half a million units in its first year.

Apple made its long-anticipated foray into the extended reality (XR) market with the announcement of a $3,499 headset, Vision Pro, at this year’s WWDC on June 5. While Apple is calling it an augmented reality (AR) headset, it is effectively a mixed reality headset based on video pass-through, although done better than anyone else. This is an important step forward for the technology which may eventually replace smartphones, personal computers and televisions.

Apple’s short-term and long-term prospects

With such high expectations, Apple’s stock reached an all-time high before the announcement but fell during the keynote address. This shift in investor stance reflects the challenges that complicate this opportunity.

Apple has also not jumped on to the AI bandwagon so far as it is not its core strength but may yield dividends in the nearer term, thus influencing investor perception of the stock’s attractiveness.

Given primarily the hefty price tag, which is 12 times that of an entry-level Quest headset, the first iteration of the headset is unlikely to sell more than half a million units in the first year of availability. Investors’ reaction also reflects this. Apple’s concern, however, is not the day’s stock movement but the next decade and beyond of technological evolution – about a post-smartphone future and how to secure it.

WATCH:Apple Vision Pro Mixed Reality Headset: Quick Look at Key Features

Cutting-edge technology and Apple premium explain the price tag

In order to secure this long-term future, after eight years of work and 5,000 patents, Apple has announced what it describes as “the most advanced personal electronics device ever”. It features Apple’s powerful M2 processor with its custom R1 co-processor that helps manage the computational load from multiple cameras and other sensors in the spatial computing device.

Apple's M2 processor and R1 co-processor

Its two microOLED displays offer an unrivalled viewing experience with more than a 4K-per-eye resolution. So far, only tethered VR devices by Czech-based VRGineers and China-based Pimax have offered headsets with 4K display but in LCD.

Apple Vision Pro Headset

The Vision Pro also takes the industry forward with an immersive audio experience enabled by two amplified drivers in audio pods next to each ear.

In demos, Apple employees scanned reviewers’ ears and their surroundings to calibrate spatial audio, besides scanning their faces for Face ID.

The device uses advanced scanning to personalize the experience. Facial scanning is done to create a representation of the user’s face. This is used in, for example, virtual conferencing. Eye movements and facial expressions are rendered faithfully. The device also scans the environment to optimize the audio settings to deliver accurate spatial audio.

With an external battery pack, Vision Pro is just shy of being completely self-sufficient

The headset does not come with controllers as it uses advanced eye, voice and gesture tracking through 12 cameras, 6 microphones and 5 sensors.

An external battery pack, however, prevents the device from being completely standalone despite featuring multiple integrated chipsets which enable autonomous computing. A two-hour battery life, then, is disappointing.

Apple vision pro headset

Developer kits and six months to create apps for wide-ranging use cases

The gestation period of six months before the headset is available for purchase in early 2024 in the US will enable developers to build, iterate and test apps on the headset. They carry a heavy weight of expectations to update existing apps for the spatial environment and to create killer new apps offering use cases for both consumers as well as enterprises on Apple’s all-new VisionOS platform.

Scale and size to allow Apple to forge partnerships critical for the technology’s success

The partnerships, such as those Apple has struck with Disney, Unity and Zeiss, are also key to ensuring the success of Vision Pro, and indeed the technology in general, especially in the early days when buyers may need every push to try out a technology with which few are familiar.

Meta has tried this for its enterprise-grade headset, the 2022-launched Quest Pro, with indeterminate although likely unremarkable outcomes. Apple’s advantage lies in its ability to entice a whole host of firms, including Hollywood studios, to create custom content for its headset.

Concerns and challenges that may obstruct Apple’s path to spatial success

Vision Pro is clearly only an early step in what is going to be a long journey before face-worn computers become mainstream. There are several obstacles that obstruct this path and will need to be overcome to realize such a future.

Form factor

While Apple’s ski goggle-like design is sleek and attractive, widespread acceptance can be attained by compressing similar compute in a compact eye-worn glass-like design.


The headset offloads some of its weight to an external battery pack but is still described by reviewers as being hefty. For a headset to become mainstream, it will need to be lightweight enough to be comfortably worn for extended periods.


Eventually, the battery needs to be integrated with the main headset while concurrently reducing its weight. Besides, the battery life will also need to be increased to at least 8-10 hours before headsets can come close to becoming integral parts of our daily lives.


In this regard, Apple has already taken steps to allay concerns by ensuring that consumer data is protected, and in some cases, not even accessible to Apple. With its current headset looking clearly like a tech device and unlikely to be used for extended periods in public, Apple has also dodged one of the bullets that killed Google Glasses – the fear of headset users breaching the privacy of unsuspecting passersby. However, as Apple’s headset becomes sleeker, these concerns will have to be addressed.

Apple’s success will be the industry’s gain

Regardless of these challenges, Apple’s long-awaited entry into the segment has already generated an upswing in consumer interest towards XR hardware that perhaps even Facebook’s name change to Meta did not. This interest is likely to translate into increased sales of headsets of all types. For those unable to afford Apple’s prices, or unwilling to wait long enough for it to become available for sale (especially outside of the US), rival headsets will be good alternatives to try out the tech.

So, even if the launch of what Apple described as “the most advanced personal electronics device ever” may not be an iPhone moment, it is a positive step and will take the industry forward.

Feel free to reach us at for questions regarding our latest research and insights.

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BoM Analysis: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Costs $469 to Make

  • Qualcomm takes the top spot in terms of cost contribution, accounting for over 34% of the model’s BoM cost.
  • Qualcomm and Samsung combined contribute more than 65% of the component cost in the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
  • Featuring Qualcomm’s custom Snapdragon chipset, Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra makes a considerable leap in computing performance with its shift to TSMC’s 4nm process node.

Producing an 8GB+256GB Galaxy S23 Ultra (Sub-6GHz) variant costs Samsung around $469, according to the latest bill of materials (BoM) analysis by Counterpoint’s component research service. The major components driving cost in the smartphone are the SoC, display and camera subsystem. Due to excess inventory and supply, components related to the RF sub-system and memory were subjected to a cost decrease.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra BoM share (%)

Qualcomm and Samsung’s design wins

The S23 Ultra further builds upon Qualcomm’s design, showcasing a customized version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, manufactured on TSMC’s 4nm process node. Samsung has chosen Qualcomm chipsets due to enhanced cellular support, increased performance gain from both the CPU and GPU, and better battery life. The GPU also has support for raytracing and has gained a slight uplift of 39MHz clock speed.

Qualcomm’s share in the S23 Ultra has increased to an all-time high after attaining design wins for the fingerprint sensor IC, key power management ICs, audio codec, RF power amplifiers, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth, GPS and Sub-6GHz transceiver.

Samsung is the second largest beneficiary. It is an exclusive supplier of the 256GB NAND flash and the 6.8-inch AMOLED display for the S23 Ultra. The display can sustain 1750 nits of peak brightness and has a resolution of 1440 x 3088 pixels that allows the users to view pictures and videos in sharp detail. The 120Hz LTPO panel also supports adaptive refresh rate.

In the camera sub-system, the design wins are shared between Samsung (SEMCO) and Sony. Samsung provides the 200MP wide-angle camera (S5KHP2) and the 12MP selfie camera (S5K3LU), while Sony offers the 12MP Ultrawide (IMX564), 10MP Telephoto and Periscope Telephoto (IMX754) sensors.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Design wins

Other component suppliers

Silicon Mitus and Maxim are the providers of power management ICs that support the regulation of power for display and other key components.

For sensing components, STM has registered design wins related to the laser autofocus module, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, and touch panel controller. The battery is packaged by Samsung and the cell is provided by ATL. The quick charging IC, which charges up to 45W, is sourced from NXP while the 15W wireless charging IC is from Convenient Power.

Samsung’s sourcing strategy and choice of components are enabling the brand to have a competitive edge in terms of cost efficiency.

For detailed component and pricing analyses, queries, or for acquiring this research, contact

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Strategy Trumps Sentiment as OEMs Skip Canada for New Feature Launches

Google announced the launch of the Pixel Fold device at the Google I/O developer conference on May 10. The device features a 5.8” display when closed and a 7.6” OLED display, powered by the Google Tensor G2 chip, when opened. Google is calling the device the ‘multi-tasking master’. As the I/O developer conference left viewers with an excited buzz about a second viable player in the foldable smartphone space, Canadians were once again left in the cold. The device will be launched in the US, UK, Germany and Japan, with no indication yet of further expansion, though there are rumors of the device reaching other markets later in the year. Sounds familiar? In 2019, Samsung launched its first foldable device, the Galaxy Fold, and yes, Canada was not on the list of lucky markets to receive the device.

Although it feels like Canada is once again put on the sidelines of the tech innovation fun, it is the OEMs’ strategic planning that is behind the decision to leave a mature smartphone market like Canada out of the new launch mix. The Canadian smartphone market can be summed up in two words – small and stable. Canada’s population is now 38 million, less than the population of California. This restricts the reach that companies can use to get substantial feedback for a new smartphone in the market. The country does have stable growth due to immigration, students, and work visas that cause a steady flow into the smartphone market, but this demographic is not looking to spend CA$2,000 as soon as they begin to settle in. The UK, whose population is double that of Canada, sold 50% more foldable devices than Canada in Q1 2023.

Counterpoint Research Foldable Sales US, UK and Canada
Source: Counterpoint Technology Market Research

Along with the issue of a small population, the Canadian market is not a good ground to test a device due to the retail channels and additional costs. Without a few iterations of a device to prove the durability, the trends of foldables in Canada are not as strong as in other regions. With a small population and macroeconomic headwinds weakening the Canadian dollar, the market retails devices at comparatively higher prices. This in turn has resulted in a longer holding period for devices to avoid upgrade costs for a new device. And when a device has a hardware change like a hinge that can evoke doubts over its durability, Canadians are left hesitant on shelling out the cost.

Samsung had already considered these problems in 2019. The Galaxy Z Fold was released in South Korea on September 2019, seven months after the February 2019 announcement. The limited release in Canada started in December 2019, after there was much chaos over the hinge’s durability that already had Canadians clutching their wallets with concern. After Samsung also overcame carrier certifications, marketing costs and other hoops to put a new device in the Canada market, the Galaxy Z 2 series had a smoother launch in September 2020. It was not only launched in Canada but also made available exclusively through Bell.

Along with dealing with the uncertainty over new hardware, Google also needs to partner with Canadian carriers to achieve the greatest reach in the population and make the device affordable through trade-in offers, bundle plan discounts or device-return leasing options that Canadian carriers often push.

Due to its small population, high data costs and closing of ranks between carriers, Canada is not a feasible market for OEMs to launch a ‘test’ device. One perk that Canadians can look forward to is that once these devices do reach the market, often the bugs are worked out and the user experience has already been enhanced due to initial feedback from other countries.

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Google I/O 2023 Key Highlights: Generative AI, Search, New Pixel Devices and More

Google held its annual developer conference, I/O 2023, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. The company’s biggest event of the year was attended by developers, media, and partners. At the conference, Google offered a glimpse of new features powered by generative AI, and how it is changing the landscape of core products from Gmail to Sheets, Slides, and Google Photos. The company also showcased the advanced capabilities of its chatbot Bard. Google also made hardware announcements by launching its first foldable smartphone, the Pixel Fold, an affordable Pixel 7a smartphone, and the Pixel Tablet. There is a lot to talk about, and here are some key highlights from Google I/O 2023.

Generative AI takes centerstage

“AI is having a very busy year, so we’ve got lots to talk about,” said Sundar Pichai, as he started his keynote address. Google spent over one hour talking about AI and the company’s “bold and responsible” approach.

Gmail getting a new “help me write” feature

After features like Smart Reply and Smart Compose, Gmail is now getting a new feature called “help me write.” It is a simple feature that can help you save time and effort when composing emails. Say your flight was just canceled and you want to write an email asking for a refund. The new feature can grab flight details from the airline cancelation email and compose a draft email for you. If you think it is too small, there is an option to “Elaborate” to make it more compelling, or you can even click on “Recreate” for a completely new email. The feature will start rolling out as a part of Google Workspace in the coming weeks.

Google Maps gets a new Immersive View of routes

When using Maps for navigation, users can click on the “Immersive View” option to get a photorealistic view of the route. But that’s not all, it will also show you the air quality index (AQI), real-time weather updates and the weather forecast as well. The feature will be rolled out to 15 cities around the globe by the end of 2023.

Google Photos get Magic Editor

According to Google’s data, 1.7 billion photos are edited on Google Photos every month. After introducing Magic Eraser which lets you remove unwanted objects and people from photos, Google is now taking photo editing to the next level with Magic Editor. It uses generative AI and semantic engineering to help you edit and enhance your images.

In addition to removing unwanted objects, the Magic Editor can also fill in parts of the image that are not in the photo. Google showcased this feature with an example where you can move the subject in the photo and other objects too. Magic Editor can then add cropped-off parts like balloons and even extend objects such as benches, like in the examples below. Though the results are not perfect, as clearly evident in the below examples, it is still amazing what generative AI can achieve. The feature is coming to Google Photos later this year.

PaLM 2, Google’s latest LLM announced

The latest large language model (LLM) from Google, PaLM 2, can perform a broad range of topics from natural language generation to writing code, reasoning and even multilingual translation. It even supports over 100 spoken languages. More than 25 Google products are now using PaLM 2. Available in different sizes named Gecko, Otter, Bison and Unicorn – Gecko is small enough to run on a smartphone, even in offline mode.

Google is also deeply invested in AI responsibility, where AI-generated content will have metadata and watermarking to identify the content.

Google Bard gets better

Google’s AI chatbot, Bard, can now perform coding and debugging in over 20 programming languages including C, C++, JavaScript and Python. You can ask Bard for must-see places, write funny captions based on photos, or even ask for suggestions for colleges and the different teaching programs they offer, thus helping with career advice. Bard replies can also be exported in Docs or in Gmail. The company is also opening Bard access to users in over 180 countries in English.

Generative AI in Google Workspace

Google is also bringing generative AI to Workspace, including Docs, where it provides writing help. For instance, you can ask AI assistant to write a job description for a sales representative position, covering letter, a video script, product descriptions, invitations and more.

In Slides, you can create and add auto-generated images, video and audio clips to add flair to a presentation. In Google Sheets, you can ask the assistant to create a roster with rates, or pull out insights and analysis from raw data, and more.

Google Search supercharged with generative AI

Lastly, Google also talked about bringing generative AI to Google Search which can answer queries by summarizing text information found online. Users can then ask follow-up questions to get even more specific answers. Google demonstrated with an example of a search query for e-bikes. The algorithms can list and summarize product reviews from various websites and offer a link to purchase online. Interested users in the US can give this a try with a new feature called Search Labs, but it will not be activated by default for all users.

Commenting on Google’s generative AI announcements at I/O 2023, senior analyst Akshara Bassi said, “Google is integrating all its core products with AI which will make AI more reachable to the masses and integrated into their lives. The reinvention of basic tools such as Gmail with the introduction of ‘help me write’ feature is possible because of AI. The AI-powered immersive Google Maps promises to enhance the journey and plan it better. Google promises to become a one-stop destination across all its services from Photo editing to Google Search and integration of AI in all those services will accelerate the trajectory of AI as a ubiquity in our lives.”

With these announcements, Google is showing it can respond to the threat posed by Microsoft. Google had previously seemed to be taken by surprise by the completeness of Microsoft’s offerings and appeared defensive in the face of the competitive threat. However, during the I/O event, Google seemed more composed, and its array of AI-based applications and services shows it has likely headed off the threat to its core search business for now.

Google Pixel Foldable Phone hardware announcements at I/O 2023

As usual, Google also made hardware announcements starting with the affordable Pixel 7a smartphone, the Pixel Tablet, and the much-awaited Pixel Fold. All these devices aim to offer the best of Google’s hardware and software experience. Under the hood, all three devices are powered by the custom Google Tensor G2 SoC which brings features like Pixel Call Assist which helps avoid long wait times, navigate phone tree menus, and more. On-device Machine Learning also enables enhanced speech features like live translation and transcribe. The devices also offer enhanced security with Titan M2 security chip, secure face unlock, VPN, crisis alerts and car crash detection among other features.

Google Pixel 7a: Price, key specifications, and more

The Google Pixel 7a is available for $499 and comes with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The smartphone comes with dual SIM options (physical SIM and eSIM) and supports Wi-Fi 6e and 5G. It features a 4385mAh battery and is capable of wireless charging.

counterpoint google i-o 2023 pixel 7a
Source – Google

The smartphone has a 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, a 64MP primary camera with OIS, a 13MP ultrawide camera and a 13MP front camera. Users get all the Pixel camera features as the Pixel 7 Pro, including Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Long Exposure, Top Shot and more. In terms of videography, there is support for up to 4K 60fps for the rear camera and 4K 30fps for the front camera. Stereo recording, wind noise cancellation, and speech enhancement features are also present.

Commenting on the Pixel 7a launch, associate director Hanish Bhatia said, “For Google, the US market accounts for a significant share of the overall Pixel sales. Although Google has a low single-digit market share in the US, it is significant when we look at the overall premium ($600+) Android market. The key focus with Pixel 7 and 7 Pro was to plug the flow of premium Android users into iOS. But iOS has also gained in the sub-$400 prepaid market in the US with the iPhone SE and subsidized iPhone 11 series. This is where the “Pixel A series” is key. However, the Pixel A series still focuses on post-paid rather than prepaid.”

Google Pixel Foldable Phone : Price, specifications, and more

The Pixel Fold, Google’s first foldable is here, and while Google is late to join the foldable race, it has learned from existing foldable products from other OEMs. For its first device, Google has gone with a book-type foldable with a compact form factor like the OPPO Find N, rather than the taller form factor like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4. Our recent consumer insights study revealed that 28% of US smartphone users are likely to opt for a foldable as their next purchase, and it makes sense for most OEMs to focus on foldables as an important revenue driver.

Available for $1,799, which is the same as the Galaxy Z Fold4, Google has sweetened the deal with a pre-booking offer where users will receive a free Pixel Watch worth $349 (Wi-Fi), or $399 (LTE).

counterpoint google i-o 2023 pixel fold overview
Source – Google

Google claims it is the thinnest foldable smartphone in the market, and it comes with an IPX8 rating for water and dust resistance. In terms of specifications, the Pixel Fold comes with a 5.8-inch wide FHD+ cover display, and a 7.6-inch internal foldable display. Both feature OLED panels and come with a 120Hz screen refresh rate. There is 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage, a 4821mAh battery with fast wired charging and wireless charging.

In the photography department, the foldable smartphone is equipped with triple rear cameras – a 48MP main sensor, a 10MP ultrawide camera and a 10MP sensor with a telephoto lens that supports 5x optical zoom, and 20x super res zoom. The front cover screen has a 10MP selfie snapper. There is also a fifth 8MP camera on the inner folding screen for selfies and video calling.

Commenting on the Google Pixel Fold launch, senior analyst Maurice Klaehne said, “Foldables are increasingly becoming an important revenue stream for OEMs as sales continue to grow. The Pixel Fold will help Google’s share in the ultra-premium segments in markets such as the US where Samsung has been the de facto market leader as there is no other competition. The EU market is similar but has a slightly wider selection of foldables. In Asia, having a foldable is now table stakes. At $1,799, the Pixel Fold is priced in line with the competition, but Google can better optimize the experience with the latest Android 13, which builds on the tablet-focused Android 12L.”

Google Pixel Tablet: Price, specifications, and more

Lastly, Google’s Pixel Tablet, which was announced last year, will soon be available for purchase. The device is priced at $499 for the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage model, and $599 for the 256GB model. Google is also bundling the magnetic charging speaker dock for free with the tablet.

counterpoint google i-o 2023 pixel tablet
Source – Google

The Pixel Tablet features a 10.95-inch WQXGA (2,560×1,600pixels) LCD screen with an aspect ratio of 16:10. It also supports the USI 2.0 stylus pen. The tablet comes with quad speakers and three mics for calls and recording. The Google Pixel Tablet features an 8MP camera in the front and an 8MP camera at the back. With a 27Wh battery, the tablet supports 15W wired charging.

The tablet connects with the magnetic dock using a Pogo pin connector, which then doubles as a charging device and an additional 43.5mm full-range speaker. This way, it can become a smart display or a smart speaker with a display, just like the Google Nest Hub. There is also a built-in Chromecast feature in the tablet, allowing you to stream music and videos right from your phone to the tablet and enjoy an immersive audio experience.

Key Takeaways:

• Google is going all-in with generative AI to enhance the overall experience on its range of products and services. It has likely done enough to neutralize the perceived threat from Microsoft – for now.
• Features like immersive view on Google Maps and Magic Editor on Google Photos are valuable additions to popular apps.
• The Pixel Fold launch shows Google’s ambition to grab share in the ultra-premium segment and staunch the gradual bleed of Android users to iOS.
• The Pixel Tablet is a clever addition, showing Google’s renewed interest in large-screen devices and supporting the company’s ambition in smart homes. It can also help in the development of Android OS for different form factors.
• With the Pixel 7a, Google is looking to attract more users to the platform while showcasing its hardware and software capabilities. Again, it is responding to the threat from Apple that has been winning users over to iOS with its iPhone SE and older number series, e.g. the iPhone 11.

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UMC Q1 2023 Earnings: Weak Cyclical Recovery But 28nm Remains Resilient

  • Yet to see strong recovery signs in PC, smartphone, and consumer applications due to a slower pace of inventory digestion.
  • Automotive application remains on a growth trajectory but may have peaked in Q1 2023.
  • 28nm continues as one of the key bright spots within the expected utilization rate back to 90% higher by the end of 2023.

United Microelectronics (UMC) reported $1.78 billion in revenue for Q1 2023, down 14.5% YoY and 20.1% QoQ, constrained by sluggish wafer demand and the continuing customer inventory digestion. Despite the utilization rate dropping to 70%, the average selling price (ASP) was still stable. The gross profit margin remained firm at 35.5% due to cost reduction and product mix optimization. The management indicated that demand recovery has not been strong in PCs, smartphones and consumer applications, and customer inventory digestion has been slower than expected.

UMC Revenue by Application
Source: Counterpoint Research

Automotive stood out but might not be sustainable in coming quarters

The automotive business was one of the key drivers that posted growth in Q1 2023, contributing to 17% of total revenue in the quarter. Revenue from integrated device manufacturer (IDM) customers also increased to 23% in Q1 2023 from 19% in Q4 2022 helped by growth in the automotive business. However, management pointed out that revenue from automotive applications may have peaked in Q1 2023 because it has been strong for three consecutive quarters since H2 2022. Nevertheless, the automotive segment is still a long-term growth driver for UMC.

Remains positive in 28nm outlook

The utilization rate of 28nm node in Q1 2023 was relatively higher compared to other nodes despite inventory correction in the communication segment. The management guided 28nm’s utilization rate to gradually improve and exceed 90% level by the end of 2023, supported by the demand for OLED display driver ICs, digital TVs and Wi-Fi 6/6E. UMC 28nm delivers better power consumption and performance versus competitors, which strengthens the company’s value proposition to customers. The management believes the technology leadership will reflect on its 28nm market share.

2023 capital spending guidance unchanged

UMC reiterated its capital spending guidance of $3 billion for 2023. As for allocation, 90% will be used for 12-inch wafers and 10% for 8-inch wafers. Most of the capital spending will be on 12A P6 for the 28nm capacity. The capacity will reach 12kwpm by the end of 2023 with customer commitments on track, echoing the management’s positive demand outlook for OLED display driver ICs, digital TVs and Wi-Fi 6/6E. The remaining capital will be spent on 12i P3 in Singapore.

2023 outlook

UMC has forecasted wafer shipment and ASP to be flat QoQ in Q2 2023 with utilization rate guided at low 70% and gross margin at mid-30%. The management pointed out that customer inventory digestion in semiconductors will continue to linger in Q2 2023 with limited visibility into H2 2023. However, the management is still positive on the 28nm demand outlook and the structural long-term growth trend in automotive applications driven by electrification and digitalization. The company will continue to work on cost control and product mix optimization to improve profitability during the semiconductor down cycle.


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