Yesterday morning, when I rolled out of bed (West Coast time) and saw colleague Wayne Williams' headline on 128GB iPad, I thought: "Well, good for Apple! This should bring down the price and raise storage capacity of other models". But the details wiped away all enthusiasm. This thing sells for as much as $929. What the frak? Who will pay that much for a tablet in a market pining for considerably lower prices, like $199?
Apple's idea of innovation is to double storage and charge considerably more for it. Perhaps CEO Tim Cook and company read too many blogs about supposedly overpriced Microsoft Surface Pro, which iPad gangbangers insist competes with the fruit-logo tablet. Not so -- Microsoft priced against Windows ultrabooks and MacBook Air. But based on that faulty comparison, Apple can claim bragging rights. The new iPad ships February 5, four days before Surface Pro -- that's no coincidence -- and by comparison for less but with more. With 128GB storage, Microsoft's slate is $999, while the other isn't just $70 less but packs 4G LTE radio, too. Reasonable comparisons stop there, and no one should be fooled, although many will be.
Apple attracts rumors like no other tech company. In the past week alone we’ve heard about what to expect from the iPad 5, suggestions that Apple is working on a budget iPhone that may or may not feature plenty of plastic in its design, and there’s even been talk of a larger capacity iPad 4.
It turns out this last rumor was right on the money, as Apple has just announced a 128GB version of the fourth generation iPad with Retina display.
Panic in Cupertino: Headless chickens run around smacking into one another, because they don't know they're dead.
That's the fundamental problem with Apple, and this situation is largely independent of recent stock price declines that analysts, bloggers, reporters and other writers can't opine enough about. Falling shares are part of a necessary correction, as reality displaces perception. To understand what's happening now, you need to look into the past -- three years, which by Internet counting is like a lifetime.
Apple today released iOS 6.1, which is available via over-the-air download. The update extends 4G LTE support to 36 additional carriers, bringing the total to 70. High-speed data is also available to 23 more carriers for iPad. Apple already supports LTE in Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom and United States, among others. New coverage extends to Denmark, Finland, Italy, Philippines, Switzerland and some Middle Eastern countries, to name a few.
"If you look at the total of all of these and the incremental subscribers that are in those countries, that’s over 300 million", Apple CEO Tim Cook boasts. Availability and adoption aren't the same thing. IHS iSuppli sees global LTE subscribers reaching 198.1 million this year, up from 92.3 million -- that's 115 percent -- in 2012. The analyst firm forecasts 139 percent compound annual growth rate through 2016, with 1 billion expected subscribers.
Gridlee for iOS is a fairly average arcade game, certainly nothing to get excited about. You wouldn’t want to play it more than once, and, to be honest, you probably wouldn’t want to download it in the first place, even though it’s free. Except there’s more to Gridlee than meets the eye.
The game, which was developed by Videa Inc. in 1982, isn’t a remake for iOS. It’s the actual original ROM image running on an up-to-date full version of the MAME4iOS Reloaded Project by Seleuco, an excellent arcade emulator banned by Apple. And if you know how, you can use Gridlee to play a wealth of classic arcade games on your iOS device for free. No jailbreak required.
Suddenly, I feel sorry for the folks over at Apple. Chicken Little bloggers and Wall Street analysts run round crying "The sky is falling!" Strangely, they are believed. Apple shares are down 38 percent from September's all-time high. On Friday, the company's market cap fell below Exxon's. Suddenly, the world's most valuable company isn't. I just don't feel right kicking fruit as it falls down, so as a gesture of goodwill my boycott ends today.
That's not to say I have plans to buy any Apple products. I'm more than satisfied with Chromebook and my three Nexus devices. That said, as an act of solidarity, I let Apple auto-charge my credit card for iTunes Match renewal today. I don't own a single device that supports the service, but, hey, what's $24.95 between friends? I was a loyal OS X and iOS user until my boycott started in June 2012, protesting aggressive patent lawsuits -- unaffectionately called innovation by litigation.
Investors gutted Apple in after-hours trading today, following somewhat mixed fiscal first quarter 2013 results. As someone who owns no stock, I cock my head in wonder. Apple revenue for a single quarter topped Google for all 2012 ($54.5 billion and $50.18 billion, respectively). The fruit-logo company generated $13.06 billion net quarterly profit.
But there's a brutal bloodbath underway as I write. Apple is down 10.72 percent, to $458.90, in after-hours trading. That's from the close of $514.01. So what's the problem here? It's a sum of many that creates nervousness about the long-term. I say: Can't anyone be satisfied with what is arguably the best results posted by the next couple big techs combined? Apparently not.
Today, after the closing bell, Apple answered the question analysts have asked for weeks: How many iPhones and iPads shipped during the holiday quarter? The answer: A colossal number -- 47.8 million and 22.9, respectively.
Apple also shipped 4.1 million Macs. Analyst consensus was around 50 million, 23.5 million and 5 million, respectively, for the three devices. But the big reveal is iPad and whether the mini sapped sales of the larger tablet. In the previous quarter, iPad's average selling price was $535. Three months later, with iPad mini widely available, ASP is $467. Apple launched the slate on November 2nd alongside iPad 4. The company touted 3 million early sales, without breaking out which device. Now we know something.
Apple executives like to talk about the post-PC era as an opportunity. But they have a post-Steve Jobs crisis that needs resolution first -- and fast. This week's calendar fourth quarter earnings report is time to assess where the company is and where it might be a year from now, and whether investors should lift falling shares from the nosedive.
Post-Steve Jobs -- and I'm talking as much about the time before his death -- Apple has lost the quality that made great products. The company’s approach to computer/device design is consistent and pervasive: Humanization. Apple design seeks to humanize complex technological products. There has been much written about Apple design in context of products that look good. But there is something more fundamental: Designing tech that is easy to use by making it more an extension of the human being -- more part of you. It's this quality missing from recent new product iterations, which aren't any more human-like than their predecessors. Meanwhile, competitors like Samsung do better.
I'm not an investor or financial analyst. But I do have a measure of commonsense. Lots of people are asking about Apple's falling stock price and why it is. You don't need a MBA or ponder price-earnings ratios to, by commonsense, see what's happening. Apple is undergoing a long-overdue course correction. It's the new normal, baby, get used to it.
Analysts making wild-eyed predictions just months ago about $1,000 a share or bloggers banging keyboards about $1 billion market capitalization are nutty fruitcakes. Apple cofounder Steve Jobs is gone, so they made their own Kool-Aid and spiked it. They're the only thing getting high here. Apple is laid low.
Four days ago I reported about "5 CES 2013 pre-show announcements you should know about". As the show leads towards a (long awaited) finale, let's take a look at the five weird pieces of tech unveiled since Sunday.
Some serve as part of the "What were they thinking?" lesson in announcing new products, while others are good examples of tech gone too far. Since quantifying which one's more out of place than the other, the following five products will be listed in a non-particular order. Feel free to name the weirdest of all in the comments below. Be advised, that's no easy task to undertake!
There is no shortage of new tablets being announced at this week's Consumer Electronics Show -- Acer Iconia B1-A71, Polaroid M7 and M10 and VIZIO 11.6" Tablet PC, among many others. Meanwhile, NPD DisplaySearch forecasts that global tablet shipments will surpass notebooks this year. But what's interesting is a dramatic shift in size preference, which is why I want to know: Which is right for you?
DisplaySearch predicts that tablets with 7-to-8 inch screens will overwhelmingly dominate the market, with 45 percent share. Meanwhile, 9.7 inches -- the size Apple popularized with iPad -- will fall to just 17 percent share. Yet many of the slates debuting at CES are in the larger categories, typically between 10.1 and 11.6 inches. Does size really matter that much, and is smaller better?
Life as an early adopter is sprinkled with moments of joy and regret after first trying out a product up until another shiny toy takes its place. The burning desire to pursue something new often backfires in my endeavors, with personal expectations rarely fulfilled by cutting-edge software or hardware. My experience running Windows 8 is no different, as Microsoft's latest entry into consumer operating systems seldom ticks all the right boxes. But I plow through, even though what I really want is to go back to Windows 7. (Oh my, my colleague Alan Buckingham disagrees.)
I started using Windows 8 in mid-August and throughout all my time with it not once did I ever feel comfortable enough to say: "This is a keeper". Fact is what I love about Windows 8 I almost never use, and what I loathe I do have to deal with every single time -- it's a self-destructive relationship I simply do not want to be in anymore. On the other hand, at the opposite end lies Windows 7, which fits me like a tailored suit -- no extra "in your face" functionality that I rarely take advantage of. Simply put -- less is more.
Apple ended 2012, Tim Cook's first full year as CEO, with a whimper. Analyst, blogger, reporter and social commentator puppy-love adoration gave way to persistent angst-questions about what's next and why the stock, which soared in September, soured through most of fourth quarter. Shares closed at $549.03, 22 percent down from the 52-week high. I can only describe 2012 as Apple's year of iteration and wonder where will be innovation this year. After all, the bitten-fruit logo company has a reputation to live up to.
By the financials, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is the golden child. Starting in 2010, money poured in faster than the US Mint could print greenbacks. Apple takes in more cash than any other tech company ($156.51 billion during fiscal 2012), commands the largest market cap ($516.47 billion) and sits on a cash horde of at least $120 billion. But these capital gains come from past strategic investments, lucky timing (transition to the so-called post-PC era) and brilliant brand revival marketing and product execution. For the long haul, I predict that 2012 will be remembered as the year Apple stumbled -- as companies often do at the height of success -- and in this case following the tragic loss of its visionary cofounder.
According to UK credit score agency Experian, Apple topped online searches for "returns policy" on Christmas Day, suggesting that the tech firm was responsible for the most unwanted gifts this past holiday season.
James Murray, digital insight manager for Experian Marketing Services, said that the clamor to return the technology giant's products was likely down to buying confusion: "This is probably a case of parents and grandparents confusing the various models of iPads and iPods available, as although an iPad Mini and an iPod Nano might sound similar, they are clearly very different products," he said.