Winners and losers of the week: Apple thrilled, Xiaomi not so much

Well, we have reached the end of yet another week and it’s time for us here at NextPit to choose our winners and losers. As you might have noticed, the byline of this article has changed and just for this week, I Casi, will be writing this column!. And I hope I am able to fill the giant void left by Rahul’s (temporary) absence!

My tech week actually comes to an end every weekend with Rahul’s recap of the last seven days, so I’m a little nervous now that I get to take care of his baby here today. Don’t worry, friends: Rahul will be back in action here next week.

Without any further delay, let me tell you that we have chosen Apple as our winner this week while the losers tag goes to Xiaomi. But before we tell you why we chose these two brands as our winner and loser, let’s glance at some of the other tech news from the week.

Samsung’s mid-range: The unimpressive A52

Of late we’ve seen a virtual barrage of successful mid-range smartphone launches and of course, Samsung wants to get in on the action. Today, therefore, I’d like to point you to Ben’s review of the Samsung A52 5G. Honestly, the most spectacular thing about the review is my colleague’s eloquence rather than the device itself. That certainly doesn’t make it a bad smartphone, but it’s just unfortunately unexciting.

samsung galaxy a52 hero 2ct
Decent smartphone, but a bit unspectacular / © Samsung

Let’s see if the A72 comes off better. This model has recently landed in our office and the review should be out by next week!

Security and software

We so often talk about the hardware aspects of our smartphones, but the fact remains that the software aspects of these gadgets are just as important. So this past week, we took a look at how the entire update game is going for both the soon-to-be-released iOS 14.5 and last year’s Android 11. In addition, there was an overview of Samsung’s One UI as well as a look at OnePlus’ OxygenOS.

We’d also like to devote more time to the topic of security in the future and have already done so in recent days when my colleague Rubens told you how to find out if you’ve already fallen victim to a data leak. Ben took a similar tack and not only explained to us the term “smishing” but also how to protect yourself against it.

NextPit podcasts (German-only as of now!)

Oh, and then there’s our brand new podcast, where Fabi and I chat about tech topics that don’t necessarily have to be our core topics. I invite you to give a listen to Casa Casi for the second time this Saturday and listen to me talk to Fabi about autonomous driving, electromobility and food. Be warned, this is in German as of now!

We would be happy if our German-speaking readers would get involved with this podcast already and for the rest of our readership, I can promise that we will be able to present you podcast formats in Portuguese, English and French in addition to German podcasts in the future. Stay tuned!

Winner of the week: Apple – who else?

Speaking of excited: Of course, we were excited about the Spring Loaded event, even though it was already known that we would probably get to see new iPads. Sure enough, there was a new iPad Pro with M1 and 5G support, which we’re pretty sure will bring up the discussion of whether you even necessarily need a notebook anymore with such a powerful tablet including a keyboard.

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Not everything at the event was about the new iPad and AirTags! / © Apple; Screenshot: NextPit

Of course, there was a lot more to marvel at, including the long-lost AirTags, which we’ve been waiting for two years now. Fabi tells you everything you need to know about them in his article and if you want to know what Apple had to tell in general, you can read Ben’s recap of the Apple event, where he also talks about the new iMacs.

I don’t know about you, but for me, Apple is the winner this week not only because of strong new products but also because they know how to stage these virtual events in a gripping way.

Loser of the week: Xiaomi and its bad timing

Trust me when I say this. We pondered a lot before picking Xiaomi as the loser for this week. Some of the other probably choices included Apple –  which for all its justifiable praise has to live with the fact that not everyone approves of the iMac’s port cutback? Or maybe Fitbit with its new fitness tracker “Fitbit Luxe”, which unfortunately comes with a possible cost trap?

However, our unanimous choice was Xiaomi. While the popular smartphone brand often gets a lot of praise from us and for good reason, the recent launch of the new Mi 11 Ultra has landed the brand into somewhat of a social media controversy.

Let us explain. This brand new high-end smartphone was officially announced for the Indian market even as the country’s Covid-19 numbers soared to record levels. The country is in absolute chaos and Xiaomi is being blamed for choosing the worst possible time to launch a new product. Things are so bad in India, there are 300,000 new infected people registered in a single day, there’s currently not a snowball’s chance in hell of containing the pandemic in a timely manner, and even commodities like oxygen are becoming a scarce commodity.

Xiaomi, therefore, was caught by a social media shitstorm because people blamed the company for being insensitive. The tenor of the criticism: Who seriously wants to buy an expensive new smartphone now, when the entire nation of India is up to its neck in water?

Xiaomi India
Many were not very enthusiastic about Xiaomi’s bad timing / © NextPit

Perhaps they also suspected that the product launch wasn’t the best idea at the time, as they already agreed to make a donation a day before, which will be used to purchase more than 1000 oxygen concentrators.

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On the other hand … / © NextPit

We can now consider whether the shitstorm is appropriate, or whether there was an overreaction in India. Personally, I don’t think Xiaomi needs to be condemned for the bad timing now, but indeed, they could have thought this through better beforehand. Especially because it would still be a while until the Mi 11 Ultra actually goes on sale in India

What do you guys think? Can you relate to our choice of losers and winners, or would you have picked a different company? Let us know in the comments, and while you’re there, leave a shout out to Rahul, who will be back next week with his usual winners and losers.

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