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Happy Halloween! Whether you're here looking for tricks or treats, we've put together an equal helping of both to round out the month of October. Tomorrow will see the release of the iPad Air, with the iPad mini with Retina Display following close behind later in November. And just in time, because Apple received some truly spooky news about its worldwide market share this week...
IDC released new worldwide tablet data on Wednesday, and the outlook is particularly gloomy for Apple. Despite selling 14.1 million iPads in the third quarter of this year, Cupertino's share of the tablet market slid from 40.2 percent in the same quarter last year to only 29.6 percent, with Samsung nipping at its heels with 20.4 percent. Of course, Apple hasn't released a new tablet (unless a 128GB upgrade to the iPad 4 counts) in all of 2013, so expect that number to increase after the holiday quarter, which will see the release of the iPad Air as well as a refreshed iPad mini with Retina Display.
Facebook announced Tuesday that a new look is coming soon to its Messenger app -- starting with no longer referring to it as "Facebook Messenger." Available now to Android users and coming soon to iPhone, the rechristened Messenger app features a streamlined, dare we say iOS 7-style UI that now shows which friends are also using the mobile app so you'll know right away if they're just ignoring your messages. Users will also be able to directly text anyone with a mobile number, even if they're not a Facebook friend. The all-new Messenger for Android is currently only available to a "limited number of people," but is expected to roll out gradually to all users.
Google announced Wednesday that its Google Fiber app is now universal, adding support for the iPhone and iPod touch as well as the iPad. But that's not all: The update also includes a channel history shortcut for quickly finding your favorite TV shows, as well as DVR management to better find, organize and delete the more than 500 hours of content contained within a Google Fiber Storage Box. The new features are also available to users of the Android app, available via Google Play.
When will the madness stop? Despite only being 11 years old, Mozilla's Firefox web browser turned 25 this week -- as in version 25, the latest big number jump after only six weeks or so at version 24. The latest and greatest now includes Web Audio support as well as no longer sharing the find bar between tabs and the usual raft of developer and HTML5 improvements and bug fixes. Curiously, the browser will now offer the choice of being reset to its default state if you haven't used it in months, although it does kindly preserve your "essential information" in the process. Firefox 25 is now available for download on OS X, Windows, Linux and Android.
Exactly how much does it cost Apple for research and development? According to The Verge, Cupertino spent precisely $4.475 billion over the 2013 fiscal year -- a 32 percent increase from 2012, and an even bigger jump of 87 percent from 2011. While that sounds like a bundle for a company rumored to be developing a smart watch, HDTV and who knows what else, it actually pales in comparison to less profitable competitors like Microsoft, who most recently spent $10.4 billion, or even Samsung, who announced in July that they'd be shelling out $4.5 billion just to erect the buildings where their R&D takes place.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter