The Week in Mobile: October 29-November 4, 2017

iPhone X easier to find than expected, Razer makes a smartphone for gamers, Amazon debuts AR mobile shopping and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

The iPhone X Had More Units Stocked at Apple Stores Than Anticipated

Folks around the world lined up at their local Apple Store (some for days in advance) to be the first to get their hands on the new iPhone X last Friday. While rumors of limited availability stemming from production issues have been swirling for months, it appears that Apple’s brick-and-mortar stores had more devices than previously expected. Reports from launch day indicate that in some cases, most of those in line were able to secure a device, and that some individual stores had 500-1000 units to sell on launch day (though more than 300 phones were allegedly stolen in San Francisco!). Skeptics say talk of production shortages may have been overblown and used as a way for Apple to explain any discouraging holiday sales numbers. However, Apple’s earnings report forecasted that it would sell a similar amount, if not more, than the number of devices last holiday season.

Apple Releases iOS 11.1 Update

Apple has released the first major update for iOS 11. The latest iteration, iOS 11.1, contains more than just bug fixes, bringing changes such as the addition of more than 70 new emojis. It also reintroduces the 3D Touch feature, a beloved feature by some that was removed from iOS 11 prior to the September release. 3D Touch is a multitasking option enabled by pressing the left edge of the display to switch between open apps. This update also contains a patch for the potentially devastating “Krack” Wi-Fi hack vulnerability, which allows attackers to exploit flaws in WiFi security protocol to eavesdrop on users’ data. iOS 11.1, which also comes with the usual fixes for glitches and increased performance, is now available for download.

Smartphone Makers Target Specific Demographics with New Hardware

While the launch of the iPhone X stole most of the headlines, a number of other companies announced new hardware offerings last week aimed at super targeted audiences. In an attempt to appeal to more businesses, Samsung has released a new enterprise version of its popular Note 8 smartphone. The device boasts the same specs as the standard Note 8 offering, but comes unlocked and features business-focused software and security improvements. The idea is to provide businesses with a device that can be deployed on a grand scale, handles sensitive information carefully and is easier for IT teams to work with. The Note 8 Enterprise Edition is priced at $994 and available now.

Meanwhile, gaming peripherals company Razer has announced its first smartphone designed for mobile gamers. Simply called the Razer Phone, the Android-powered device follows the company model of products built “for gamers, by gamers.” The smartphone sports a 5.72-inch 1440p screen with a refresh rate of 120hz, meaning the display will make animations look smoother and sharper than other smartphones. This makes it the first mobile device to feature such a high refresh rate, which is the same rate as that found on the latest iPad Pro for comparison. The Razer Phone also features a 4,000mAh battery, 8GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage (but no headphone jack). The smartphone is now available for pre-order for $700 from Razer or and will ship on November 17th.

New Amazon Mobile App Feature Lets You Preview Items With AR

With the holidays quickly approaching, Amazon has debuted a new augmented reality shopping feature for its mobile app. The new AR View option will help mobile shoppers get a feel for what items might look like in their home before committing to a purchase. The new feature is available for thousands of Amazon products such as furniture and appliances, and creates a 3D image of the desired item that users can then place, spin and inspect using their smartphone camera. The virtual shopping space is heating up as furniture retailers like IKEA and Wayfair use Apple’s new ARKit to develop their own 3D experiences. We’re likely to see this trend continue with Google’s ARCore also now available. Amazon’s AR View feature is only available to those using iOS 11 on the iPhone 6S or later. There is no word on when it may become available to Android.

Shopify’s New Shopping Feature Lets Customers Test Products In-Person, Then Buy Online Later

Shopify has announced a new mobile tool that will allow retail stores to extend online purchase options to consumers who want to try products firsthand. Buy Online for Shopify POS is designed to help brick-and-mortar retailers assemble a virtual cart for their shoppers in store, so they can buy products online after visiting the store. The feature will be useful for businesses and consumers alike by alleviating consumer anxiety around making hasty purchase decisions, while also allowing businesses to send targeted, online promotions that will help them close a sale. It’s not the only feature Shopify has released recently to help retailers bridge the gap between their physical and online shops. Last month the company launched Shopcodes: QR Codes that can be scanned to provide online info and a purchase option.