Tag Archives: apple Blog

Reports of Apple’s Death, Exaggerated

When a skyrocket starts to falter, that’s news, I suppose. Apple’s seemingly unstoppable run got snagged last Fall when it’s stock price began a drop of over 40% . Theories flew about, but really, what company could possibly keep up the rate of success that Apple has had in recent years?

In the following article, which is actually a recap of Apple’s recent developers conference, some rock-solid numbers are given:

[Apple] continues to dominate mobile and personal computing, capturing 57 percent of global profits in the smartphone industry—to the tune of $7.1 billion—in the first quarter, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. It commands nearly 40 percent of all tablet profits, more than the next four competitors combined, according to IDC. Mobile-browser company Opera Software (OPERA) says iOS users are responsible for nearly 45 percent of Web traffic on mobile devices, while the Android devices that outnumber them account for 31 percent.

Apple is still churning out profits, and it’s cash reserve is the stuff of legend. But they are vulnerable. Over 70% of their revenue comes from just two product lines, iPhones and iPads. An able competitor with a new idea that registers with consumers could send Apple into a genuine tailspin. That is unless Apple has something new up their sleeve that becomes the next industry-changing, “must have” hit. Come to think of it, that’s probably Wall Street’s beef — Apple hasn’t “changed the world” in over two years now. Something must be wrong with them …

Read full article: http://buswk.co/16O0pM0

The Battle for the Future

A heated battle for the future is underway, and forces are aligned around the ongoing court battle between Apple and Samsung. Apple is ticked, claiming Google’s Android OS is basically a copy of Apple’s iOS. Steve Jobs has even famously vowed to use all of Apple’s cash (about $80B or so) to “destroy Android.” Some untapped rage over Microsoft’s copycat Windows OS and Apple’s failure to stop it is probably still at work. Eight Samsung phones were held up as examples, and now a $1B judgment has been handed down against Samsung.

Repercussions from this case are just beginning. Google, now in danger of losing worried phone makers as customers for its system, is suing Apple. Meanwhile, Microsoft is jumping for joy trying to decide how to woo those same makers to its system.

“I think this will force a reset on Android products as they are re-engineered to get around Apple’s patents,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the tech consultancy Enderle Group.

“[It should also] provide a stronger opportunity for both of Microsoft’s new platforms – Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 – because they come with indemnification against Apple, suddenly making them far safer.”

These behemoths believe that what’s really at stake here who will own mobile, as if that’s a desirable outcome for anyone other than one of these companies. We’ve seen it before — who will own search? who will own browsers? who will own e-commerce? etc., etc., etc. Billions of dollars go to lawyers, settlements are eventually made, and the world goes on. I can’t blame companies for protecting their intellectual property, but when the goal is to rule the world, no one wins.

Read full article: http://bbc.in/QJeID5

iPad Takes Significant Lead as e-Commerce Shifts to Mobile

A study by RichRelevance illustrates the power of Apple’s tablet platform in the area of e-commerce (m-commerce?). The iPad has put a charge in the shift from desktop to mobile when it comes to buying things online, accounting for “68% of all mobile shoppers.” The larger screen undoubtedly helps consumers view full webpages better than on smartphones, making them more comfortable navigating shopping sites. iPads may also make shopping online a more casual experience since purchases can be made from the couch or kitchen table. Also, people may be finding shopping on-the-go on smartphones challenging from a time perspective. True m-commerce implies “buying while flying,” which apart from technologies like Near Field Communications that allow instant purchases, may currently be an unrealistic expectation considering that shoppers like to research and compare when buying online.

Whatever the case, there’s no denying the iPad’s power when it comes to the all important act of spending.

The report, the 2012 Q1 Shopping Insights Mobile Study, finds a steady rise in mobile share of revenue from 1.9% in April 2011 to 4.6% in March 2012, with the iPad driving nearly all shopping, browsing and purchasing in this emerging channel.

According to March 2012 data, iPad users spent significantly more time and money on retail sites than other mobile users, account for 68% of all mobile shoppers, and show the strongest conversion rates (1.5% for iPad vs. 0.57% for other mobile devices).

Read full article: http://bit.ly/HQxXH3

An Icon Is Gone. Thoughts On Steve Jobs

In business today we’re all trying to keep up with technology and grasp its implications. We’re all constantly learning. Through these years of seemingly light-speed changes, the one company to consistently watch has been Apple. Now with the passing of Steve Jobs, it’s very possible that an era of imagination and creativity in the world of consumer technology has ended. From David Pogue:

Suppose, by some miracle, that some kid in a garage somewhere at this moment possesses the marketing, invention, business and design skills of a Steve Jobs. What are the odds that that same person will be comfortable enough — or maybe uncomfortable enough — to swim upstream, against the currents of social, economic and technological norms, all in pursuit of an unshakable vision?
Zero. The odds are zero.
Mr. Jobs is gone. Everyone who knew him feels that sorrow. But the ripples of that loss will widen in the days, weeks and years to come: to the people in the industries he changed. To his hundreds of millions of customers. And to the billions of people touched more indirectly by the greater changes that Steve Jobs brought about, even if they’re unaware of it.

Jobs was the lynchpin in the transition to digital for many industries, most notably entertainment. His devices weren’t just “cool;” they brought with them whole new businesses and new ways of creating wealth. Part of his special magic was his ability to convince corporations, solidly entrenched in the physical realm, to become digital. Now that that force is gone, who is there to exert the same kind of influence? His unique combination of leadership, passion and persuasion are what changed industries. Who can duplicate that?

There’s a sense that without Jobs, not just Apple, but whole industries – maybe the entire culture – is without a guide, at least in the digital realm. After all, Apple is the one company that’s always been copied, and that affects lots of things in society. Jobs took good ideas, made them better, sold them to consumers, then compelled industries to change. That’s how he fulfilled his dream of “changing the world.” Like him or not, the world is different because of him — maybe not ideologically, but  in very tangible ways.

I’m looking forward to reading his official biography. Maybe there will be something in it that will cause us all the “think different,” look beyond today, and bring a new level of imagination and creativity to the things we do. That would be great. Maybe it will even spawn another Jobs-like leader. But there will never be another Steve Jobs.

Read full Pogue article: http://nyti.ms/qya2aX

iDevices and iCloud Portend a PC-less Future For Consumers

Forgive my continued references to Apple, but they have the Vision. There are a multitude of companies and individuals out there, that possess the potential to harness technology in ways that transform the way we live, but only Apple has done so consistently and continually. Now, with the talent, connections, money and clout they have, Apple has become THE company to watch.

The following article makes a good case that the latest step in Apple’s ongoing iStrategy, announced this week at their annual developers conference, will result in the assured decline of the PC industry and the ascendance of burgeoning mobile. Consumers are showing a strong preference for devices that are portable and that are easy to use and maintain. Tech geeks may want total control over their devices, but consumers could care less. Consumers just want these things to work — and do cool, useful everyday stuff easily. Why does it appear that only Apple understands this?

Smart phones and tablets are much easier to use than PCs and many, many mobile, hand-held Apple Internet device users will abandon their PCs. Microsoft will be in a cleft stick.

iDevices coupled with the iCloud service promises to give consumers easy access to their everyday data from all their devices. If this works out it will presumably be a no-brainer that consumers will embrace wholeheartedly (and financially), the same way they’ve embraced other Apple ideas going all the way back to the Apple II. Why is this? Because Apple has never departed from the Vision: make it useful, easy, reliable, and cool, and they will buy.

Read full article: http://bit.ly/knXZ30

Worthy of the Mantle: Disney and Jobs

My wife and I recently visited Disney World with her son’s family. For myself and our two grandsons, it was our first-ever trip to the world-renowned resort. The boys were wide-eyed and excited as they took in the rides and attractions (although the many lines tried their patience a bit). For me, however, it provided a case study in customer experience, which led to some interesting thoughts.

Everyone is familiar with “Disney perfection.” The pleasant on-site accommodations are linked flawlessly with the various parks and locales by a reliable and comfortable transportation system. The parks are clean, the staff friendly, and there are ample restrooms, food services and tasteful souvenir shops about the beautifully laid-out grounds. In an era where “customer experience” is often crowed about, Disney holds the high ground.

One detail of the parks that stood out for me is how they tactfully block off areas that are under construction. Painted fences surround the building sites. Alongside are benches where visitors can take a break. And on the fences at regular intervals are little plaques, with quotes from Walt himself, that provide a bit of the Disney philosophy with regard to building. It’s as if he’s reminding everyone to not feel too inconvenienced — pursuing new dreams and ideas is what the parks are all about.

A particular Disney quote, however, stuck with me. Supposedly, said Walt, “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” I recalled the cartoon, “Steamboat Willie,” with Mickie bouncing up and down at the wheel, and how that character became a hit that started the Disney studios on its way to riches and fame.

Of course, it wasn’t just Mickey that made Disney successful, nor was the long-lasting fame automatic. Rather, the success of Mickey Mouse opened a door that allowed Walt Disney’s full vision and capabilities to be expressed, including his desire to push the technology and business of animation, and an innate understanding of what his customers wanted. And this got me to thinking about Steve Jobs.

Both Steve and Walt mastered customer experience. Both pushed technology in order to deliver products that customers love. Both exist in an ethereal world of dreams (Disney: “When you wish upon a star..”; Jobs: “Think Different”). Both maintained precise control of their products, companies and brands. Both brought ground-breaking innovation to their fields (Walt implemented cell animation very early on, perfected “multi-plane” camera techniques — an early 3D-like experience, and delivered the first animated feature film, “Snow White,” despite the trepidations of everyone around him. Jobs, on the other hand, conceived and delivered the Mac, his iDevices, and numerous innovations in the marketing of his tech gadgets, effectively marrying them to our daily lives).

But perhaps most interesting is how Disney came to technology through entertainment while Jobs came to entertainment through technology. Walt, the entertainer, envisioned Epcot, the technology-ruled “City of Tomorrow,” while Steve, the “tech guy,” became CEO of Pixar Studios, the hugely successful 3D animation studio, and also brought the music industry into the 21st century through the iTunes store. It’s as if they shared a gene somewhere that enabled them to bring us treasures from the future. Whatever it was, they were set on paths destined to converge. Pixar inevitably was bought by Disney, and Steve ended up on Disney’s board as its largest share holder.

And so I propose that Jobs has become, in a sense, the heir of Disney’s legacy. Sensitivity to customers’ innate desires, and the ability to create things that connect with and satisfy them is what links the two visionaries. People unequivocally  love their products and are delighted to use them. Indeed, customers stand on lengthy lines to ride “Pirates of the Caribbean,” or to get a new iPad. Their success isn’t the result of a cold, calculating computer analysis, but an expression of gifting and vision that is theirs alone. It’s business as art, technology as instrument, innovation as life-blood, and unquestioned success the result.

Today, Disney’s work lives on, driven by the philosophy of innovation and customer experience that’s fully embedded in the company he founded. Will we say the same thing about Apple when Steve Jobs is one day gone? Our culture needs companies that “get things right,” and can deliver extraordinary products and services in extraordinary ways. Perhaps a “sorcerer’s apprentice” is in the wings somewhere, waiting to take up this mantle. The job description includes an unfettered imagination, an iron will and a love for delighting the masses. “Thinking different” will help, too. Applicants, however, need not apply. We’ll know you when we see you.

Think Android’s Burying iPhone? Think Again

There’s a lot of talk about how Android phones are quickly overtaking the iPhone in the marketplace. However, selling phones is not the same thing as creating an economy around a device. Apple continues to find ways to marry technology to the things people want to spend money on. And they do it in a way that’s mostly reliable and delightful to use. So people buy their stuff, and then use the devices to buy lots of other stuff. Android is trying to copy the model while lacking the essence, which involves both great business smarts and tremendous understanding of consumers. For the latest numbers that bear this out, read,  “iOS, iPad web use still outpacing all Android devices combined”: http://bit.ly/hIElqZ

Streaming TV, not 3D is the ‘Next Big Thing’

Tempted to buy a 3-D telly? Didn’t think so. If the HD “revolution” was a study in hype, the pile of whatever being shoveled upon us re: 3DTV is beyond belief. Who, other than a desperate and dying content delivery industry would try to get anyone to believe that wearing glasses and watching objects fly into your face is desirable, much less necessary. At least HD TV was a big step up in the quality of the viewing experience. 3D is still, and will always be, just a “special effect” (and not always a very good one at that). In fact, when I visited the Panasonic booth at a recent trade show, what did the model on the 3D set do when I looked into the monitor? She picked up a glass and reached towards the camera. Like wow. The glass looked like it was really coming towards me … I “marveled” for 10 seconds, then moved on and spent a half hour talking to a rep about the AF-100, micro four-thirds camera. Now there’s something to write home about (in another post some day). The moral: 3D TV is just a carnival sideshow act. There are better things to spend money on. Like the Apple TV.

Despite what television manufacturers want to believe … the Next Big Thing in TV is where the content comes from, not how it is displayed.

Wouldn’t it be nice to access music and video content on any device at any time? That’s the promise of streaming. Subscribe to your favorite shows. Rent movies. Access a music library online. Streaming frees us from managing bits, storing plastic and converting formats. Apple’s proven that coupling good content with cool technology and a sound business model equals mass appeal. It will be interesting to see if the new Apple TV fulfills streaming’s promise — and cracks the mass market for digital content. (No glasses required.)

Full article: http://bit.ly/9d6SdX

Update: 22-Oct. Panasonic announced specs and availably this week for the new AF-100 camera. It sounds like a dream come true for video shooters, except for one big thing: the micro four-thirds sensor has a crop factor of 2X. This means that your 50mm normal lens becomes in effect a 100mm telephoto. For many this may be a deal breaker. I’m looking forward to the reviews as people start using this camera en masse after its late Dec. release. However, I lament in the meantime …

European Commission Joins Investigation of Apple’s Flash Exclusion Policies

European Commission Joins Investigation of Apples Flash Exclusion Policies – Mac Rumors.

The anti-Apple bandwagon grows. Is Apple guilty of being the next company that wants to “own” the Web?

The New York Post reports that the European Commission has taken an interest in Apple’s long-standing exclusion of Adobe’s Flash from its iOS devices, as well as its ban on Adobe’s Flash-to-iPhone compiler and similar tools designed to allow non-native applications to be recompiled for the iOS platform. The paper was the first to report back in May that U.S. regulators were considering an inquiry into the situation.”