Microsoft is ready to take on the iPad, or at least Google’s Android, with its own Surface tablet, Samsung isn’t getting any love from Hon Hai Precision, and your iPhone is about to become a public safety tool. Mac OS Ken’s Ken Ray checks out those stories, and has an opinion of his own, too.
Microsoft’s Touchy-feely Surface
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White sees nothing in Microsoft’s new Surface tablets to slow down the iPad, and he’s issued a note to investors saying so.
BusinessInsider has White saying in his note, “If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the compliments from Microsoft poured down like a torrential storm on Apple [Monday] night. At the same time, this event indicates to us that Microsoft is still searching for its own identity in the post-PC era, something that has come naturally for Apple with the rise of the mobile Internet.”
White says Microsoft’s tablet looks, to him, to be a bigger threat to Android than to Apple, though I’ve gotta say — from this far out — it looks to be at least as big a threat to Microsoft’s own partners who make ultrabooks and netbooks and who plan to make Windows tablets.
If they really want to hit in the consumer market, though, White thinks Mr. Softy will have to bring the Surface in at a “healthy discount.” He does not think, though, that they’ll be able to price it as low as US$400, which is the entry price for Apple’s iPad 2.
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu doesn’t think matching the iPad on price will be good enough for the Surface. AppleInsider has the Wuiner saying Mr. Softy will have to bring its tablets in lower if it hopes to succeed in the marketplace.
There is no way, though, that what he thinks has to happen is actually going to happen. According to the piece, he thinks Microsoft has to bring its ARM-based, Windows RT Surface in at or below the $199 price of the Amazon Kindle Fire.
I guess that’s possible if what’s most important is gaining market share, but they’d pretty much have to be fine losing money on every device for an indeterminate period of time.
Wu sees Microsoft getting into the tablet game itself as a positive, though he does note that the Surface will eat into the sales of Windows partners such as Dell, HP, Acer and Lenovo.
Computerworld has J. Gold Associates analyst Jack Gold fretting over price of the device, saying $600 for a Windows RT Surface tablet would make the thing a “non-starter,” and $500 would probably be too much, too, unless it comes with one of those snazzy cover-keyboards.
$400 or less would be the sweet spot in his estimation since at at that price it might be able to compete with older iPads and new Android tablets.
IDC analyst Tom Mainelli is on the same page as Gold. He assumes the keyboards will be sold separately and that could be a deal breaker, depending on price.
Quoting Mainelli, “All Microsoft said was that they will be competitive to comparable products, and I assume the covers will be separate … They spent a lot of time on the covers, so what will a $600 [Windows RT] tablet and cover cost? That will change [a buyer’s] liability a lot.”
And if the Surface Type Cover — the one with the more traditional keys — costs $150 on top of the RT tablet’s price, that, he says, “could make it a tough sell all of a sudden.”
He’s really worried about the price thing saying,
Microsoft believes that Windows RT tablets should command a premium price. I keep telling them that they’re playing from behind both in market share and in terms of available apps.I’m not sure that consumers will immediately get the Windows RT story. They will think, ‘So it’s Windows but it doesn’t run my old Windows software?’ That means Microsoft has to hook customers with a great product at a great price.
Fascinating, right? Well, fascinating to me.
I have to say I have a hard time saying that Microsoft’s Surface Tablets are made to fail. I feel comfortable saying the prices have to be right. I feel comfortable saying they’ve probably gone a long way toward angering their hardware partners, but until people actually get to hold and use the device we can’t know, can we?
That said, they do seem to be hamstringing themselves with one element with the way they plan to sell the surface. I don’t mean the way they plan to position it; I mean the way they plan to physically sell it.
BusinessInsider says “Microsoft will only sell its Surface tablet through its Microsoft stores in the U.S., and its Microsoft online store.”
There are currently 20 Microsoft Retail locations in the states, though five more are on the way which I guess means there might be 25 places in the states where people can touch this thing and try it out before buying.
Apple might have been able to pull that off with the iPad with its 300-plus stores in the states, and still Apple sold the iPad through retail partners as well as its own stores.
“This is an odd decision,” says BusinessInsider. “It all but guarantees the Surface will sell in small numbers.”
Not the iPhone 5
Shaw Wu made me so happy this week. He issued a note on iPhone sales and referred to the unannounced successor to the iPhone 4S as the “6th generation iPhone.”
There are two reasons I like this: One, it will be the sixth generation iPhone. And two, he’s not calling it iPhone 5 like everyone else.
Probably because it’ll be the sixth iPhone.
Barron’s has Wu saying he expects no “upside” to iPhone sales for this quarter or next. He thinks Apple will sell 27-million units this quarter and 25-million in the September quarter. But this, he says, makes sense in the run-up to what he calls the “6th generation iPhone,” which he believes will launch in October.
As for that new model, he thinks we may finally be welcoming a true world-phone. One that could land the device on China Mobile, the largest carrier in China, and the largest carrier in the world.
And that idea kind of makes him tingly.
Hon Hai: Hater of Samsung
You know who hates Samsung Mobile as much as Apple legal does? Hon Hai Precision Industry, parent company of Foxconn, and Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou has no problem talking smack about Samsung’s products, using Apple’s products as the glove. Even unannounced products like the next iPhone.
The website Focus Taiwan highlights a report from China Times that has Gou — who really hates Samsung — saying, “he has made it a lifetime goal to defeat Samsung — ‘a company with a track record of snitching on its competitors.’”
According to China Times, “He was referring to Samsung’s action in 2010 of snitching on four Taiwanese companies in an investigation by the European Commission on price-fixing in the flat panel industry.”
Four companies were fined in that scandal, but Samsung wasn’t one because it cooperated with investigators. Funny thing is Hon Hai wasn’t one of the companies fined, either.
Apparently Gou really hates snitches. But, don’t worry Foxconn employees, tell the inspectors from the Fair Labor Association everything they wanna know. Really. It’s cool.
As for throwing Apples at Samsung, Gou “urged consumers to wait for the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5, saying that the new model will put Samsung’s Galaxy III to shame.”
And he can say that and get away with it because, seriously, who else has the capacity to build Apple’s phones?
I left out the most inflammatory stuff he said because, at one point, he either got nationalist or racist. Or both.
I really think he should consider not speaking publicly. Or privately. Maybe just not at all.
Danger, Will Robinson!
So here’s the scenario: You’re out jogging, listening to the music player on your iPhone. All of a sudden, Martians land in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, or the zombie apocalypse begins in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey. Or Orson Welles rises from the dead to lead an army of vampires against mankind starting in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey.
Naturally, a national emergency is declared, but how would you find out about it?
The answer may be in iOS 6. CNET says one of the many new features not mentioned at the WWDC keynote is the new operating system’s “ability to receive government alerts during an emergency or disaster.”
Let’s say, for example, they decide to remake “Battle Beyond the Stars” in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey.
CNET highlights a piece from the website Emergency Management that says any device running iOS 6 will be able to receive wireless emergency alerts — assuming, of course, they have some sort of wireless connection.
According to their report,
The stage has been set for a consistently growing number of people in the US to have capability to receive alerts from local, state, and federal officials through the initiative led by FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System program.
There’s just one thing: I talked to one of the people I know who’s running iOS 6 on his or her iPhone and iPad, and he or she couldn’t find the evidence in the OS beta Emergency Management said people had found.
Meanwhile, CNET says it’s contacted Apple to confirm the feature. You will, of course, be surprised to find they’ve not heard back from Apple.