Why It’s Fashionable Nowadays to Beat on Apple

| Particle Debris

More and more, there are all kinds of articles, coming out from under the woodwork, criticizing Apple. The stock is down, no one likes how much they have to pay for the iPad mini, and Tim Cook is making management changes at Apple. All this is inviting ever more pompous armchair criticism. What’s happening to cause this?

Ever since Steve Jobs took the industry’s breath away in January 2007 when he announced the iPhone, Apple has been perceived to be at the top of the heap in smartphones. When Apple, again caught the tech industry napping with the iPad in 2010, Apple was once again years ahead of the competition. Apple has had a great vision and the manufacturing know-how to exploit it.

We laughed at the early, silly attempts to copy the iPad, and for a year after the iPad launch, there was no credible competition in the 10-inch tablet market. Then, despairing of any original thought, companies took copying to a new level.

Now, almost three years after the iPad announcement, companies have figured out how to compete with Apple. Their mistakes have been corrected. Manufacturing and component supplies have improved. Now, Google, Samsung and Amazon are making cool, inexpensive tablets and mostly backing them up with infrastructure. Even Barnes & Noble has a very nice new tablet, the Nook HD, described by David Pogue as gorgeous.

Thanks to Apple’s leadership, PC sales are declining year over year and the age of the tablet has arrived. Everyone, and I mean everyone, wants to sell you a tablet. Even Toys R Us.

So, Apple isn’t insanely dominant now, but it’s doing very nicely. The company builds great products and prices them to make money while copycats try to carve out a niche. Pundits want oodles of choice, celebrate every new tablet as an iPad killer, then complain when Apple doesn’t maintain obscenely high market share. It’s a no-win game best left to masochists.

Back in the reality timeline, Tim Cook has said that he can’t predict when iPhone 5 supply will catch up with demand. Predictions are that the iPhone 5 will sell a hundred million units in its lifetime. The iPad mini pre-orders are sold out. And, by the way, the MacBook Pros with Retina displays are drop-dead-gorgeous and sell well.

But it’s fashionable now to question Apple in a time when it’s getting its affairs in order, when Tim Cook is exercing some leadership and developing a team that can compete in this new market. But any small mistake brings out the armchair quarterbacks because there’s money to be made by making people worry about their investment in a winner -- all in the cloak of being an unbiased outsider.

I think there’s such a thing as reading too much about Apple. I do it for a living, but you don’t have to. All the professional analysts concur that all’s well with Apple. But, hey, on the Internet, any outside consultant or blogger can agitate for a buck. Fomenting a little doubt creates page views and makes you look oh-so authoritative.

I must punctuate this discussion with one of my favorite quotes from Robert M. Hutchins. "It is not so important to be serious as it is to be serious about the important things. The monkey wears an expression of seriousness which would do credit to any college student, but the monkey is serious because he itches."

Tech News Debris

Brent Ozar doesn’t think Microsoft can really get away with delivering the Word Preview as it exists on the Surface RT tablet. “The hardware makes promises that the software can’t deliver – and the ability to type faster than Word can digest is a great example of that. Sure, I understand that the shipped version is ‘Microsoft Word Preview,’ but you can’t deliver software like this. It’s a recipe for returned products – and frankly, that’s exactly what I’m going to do with the Surface RT, return it.

From a formal review perspective, I think the most balanced review I’ve seen is at CNET: “Innovative tablet stranded in an app desert.” You knew that the Surface RT can’t run the standard Windows apps right? That’s because it uses an NVIDIA Tegra 3 CPU, based on ARM. So Windows/Intel binaries are excluded.

Bob Cringely thinks that Microsoft is in a pickle. The market for PCs is starting to dwindle as individuals, schools, companies and governments move to tablets. That trend can’t be reversed. But Microsoft is betting that people will want to keep running Windows on their tablets. That’s the bet of the century, and if Steve Ballmer and his successors lose that bet, Microsoft will go the way of Smith Corona. “Steve Ballmer’s Dilemma.

For more on that, see Tim Bajarin’s “Windows 8: Back to the Future.

There may be many reasons why Scott Forstall lost his job at Apple, and many columnists are busy exploring those reasons right now. Curiously, I was referred (by a little birdie) to this article just days after the Tim Cook announcement, and there is much to learn (or be reminded of) in terms of one’s behavior is this article that talks about being a senior engineer.

Sometimes outsiders who write about Apple ramble. They have a seed of an idea and can stitch together a story with a catchy title. As I’ve said before, experts in other fields often have experience that seems to apply to Apple, but they aren’t able to put it in larger perspective. This is one of those articles. It addresses two ideas, first, how Apple has exploited the “information layer,” and second, how Tim Cook needs to manage the current sentiment, if you will, about Apple. It’s worth a read perhaps because it uses a language and perspective we’re not accustomed to seeing from the Mac crowd. Even so, it also steps a little into the territory I described in the preamble above. Judge for yourself. “What's Really Going On At Apple?

iPad mini. Image Credit: Apple

There is an emerging idea, at TMO and elsewhere, that the iPad mini could end up outselling the full sized iPad at some point. I’m not talking about cumulative sales. The iPad line sold it’s 100 millionth unit on October 9th, 2012. But at some point, the rate of sales of the iPad mini might just start outselling the 9.7-inch iPad series. Of course, Apple doesn’t mind the cannibalization, but the idea that this could happen at all is intriguing. Erica Sadun has some thoughts on this: “Does it matter if the iPad mini cannibalizes iPad sales?

Recently, Apple made a change to iOS that requires the user to provide explicit permission to an app to access the contacts list. In contrast, Android apps, especially free ones, and especially games, are very likely to continue plundering information about your contacts and your location. For more on that, here’s an enlightening Juniper networks report. “Exposing Your Personal Information – There’s An App for That.

I asked the author, Daniel Hoffman, if he had any thoughts on how the Android security -- or lack of it -- compared to iOS. He basically said that the closed nature of iOS apps makes it a lot harder to “access any insights into invasive and malicious application statistics....” Even so, what he found out about Android apps is enough to give one pause. It's a game of Who Do You Trust?

Finally, here’s more on Apple’s new Fusion Drive system: “How it works, and how to roll your own.” As for me? I’m done with internal hard disks for my boot system. All my Macs boot from SSDs now (except my wife’s iMac) but that will change in 2013.

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Finger pointing via Shutterstock.

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Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

If you don’t mind, I will punctuate this discussion with something Robert Hutchings (spelled right with a “g”) Goddard must have said in his illustrious career.

Wow, that went really f****** high, and it’s gonna come down on us really f****** fast.

This was before he learned about terminal velocity. AAPL below 530 on January 1, 2013. Tim Cook, given a golden watch and retired to the BOD by March 31, 2013.

RonMacGuy

LMAO.  Adorable.  You do remember the last time you made an AAPL stock price prediction, right?  Oh, and an Apple executive employment prediction, right?  Oh, and the iPhone going down to 5-10% market share prediction, right?  And the iPad becoming ‘mostly irrelevant’ prediction, right?

But keep on guessing.  What have you got to lose?  Even a blind squirrel finds a nut on occasion.  And it’s not like you ever have to admit that you’re wrong.  Pathetic.

LMFAO.

Lancashire-Witch

Bubbles (the financial sort) can be very hard to deal with. Those who ride them feel confident; those who steer clear of them can look foolish; and very often you can only be confident you’ve seen one when it bursts.

AdamC

The saddest part about some people is they love to see a company failed.

Looks like Apple bashing will give them high and some purpose in their sad and meaningless life.

Mac guru

Well done Brad. Another prediction doomed for failure. You are so misguided. Hope you can eat humble pie when we come back to haunt you with your doomed predictions.

RonMacGuy

Typical Bosco MO.  He gets a rise out of riling up the Apple fans with ignorant comments and predictions.  On the rare occasion that he gets one right, he preaches for years on how his prediction came true.  On the much-more-common occurrence of his predictions failing miserably, he cowers and ‘ignores’ us, too afraid to face his failures, let alone actually admit that he was wrong.  Tough to eat humble pie when you run away and hide.

Yep, been going on for years.  Funny stuff.  So Bosco, how about a little wager on this prediction?  Seems to be the only way to get you to acknowledge anything.

daemon

While I agree that Apple is over-valued, considering it’s July filing valued the company at $111.74 billion and the market capitlization of the stock is at $542.59 billion, I’d say that it could stand to lose about half of it’s current market capitilzation and then level off without too much worry.

But even if that happened, I doubt Tim Cook would be shuffled off. He’s an able administrator who only needs to maintain the status quo, he doesn’t need to revolutionize anything.  No, you won’t see Tim Cook out until someone markets a mobie device that overlays a display on your eye’s retina and brings the hilarity of Minority Report gestures to real life.

But I really think those gestures would be way too annoying for most people to be forced to do all the time, kind of like how voice command seems cool, but is too much of a hassle to use when all you want is the directions to the nearest store.

mrmwebmax

+

What I find interesting from Brent Oznar’s critique of the Surface isn’t so much his problem with Word—something that might be fixable via software updates—but rather this:

I popped out the kickstand and started typing and it just worked.  Well, almost – if there’s one significant compromise in the Surface RT, it’s the kickstand.  You get two and only two positions for the kickstand: open and closed.  There’s no adjustments.  I think the kickstand angle was designed for airplane use by short people, because the screen hardly goes back at all.  It’s probably perfect for Danny DeVito when he puts it on the seat back tray in coach class, but for me on a desk, it’s too steep.

The built-in front-facing camera for Skype is angled so that it’ll work great when the kickstand is open, but again, only for Danny DeVito, or maybe for people who want to show off their chests in Skype.

I’ve mentioned this very concern here at TMO before. Microsoft is positioning Surface as both a tablet and a desktop computer, yet the lack of an adjustable monitor angle is a serious ergonomic flaw when Surface is in “desktop computer” mode. How hard would it have bee to make a kickstand that had at least several angles to choose from? This is one issue that can’t be fixed through software updates, and I feel it will be a serious roadblock to widespread adoption.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I would entertain a bet with someone reputable, like Bryan. The first step to being reputable is providing your actual government name when posting comments or opinions. But I doubt Bryan would take me up on the bet, because it’s about 1/2 won in my favor as of this morning, with no real opportunity for Apple to change the narrative before the end of the year. AAPL $562 as I type…

RonMacGuy

Strange, even though I have the “Notify me of follow-up comments” box checked I am not getting emails.  Oh well.  But, I figured that Bosco would post something, so I thought I’d check.

Definition of ‘reputable’ - held in good repute;  honorable; respectable; estimable.  Hmm, someone should look in the mirror.

No offense, but I will openly admit to hiding behind a fake name given the fact that I have so much more to lose (than you) if the likes of you were to contact my HR department with false, misleading, or derogatory comments about me.  You have threatened this in the past, and given our colorful history here I would expect that you would do so.  Sad but true.

But I will congratulate you on your ability to predict a general decline of the stock market based on our presidential elections.  Of course, the general consensus of the analysts is to buy buy buy AAPL - it’s a bargain now!!  But, it may drop to 530 before rising again, so congrats.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Why would I need to contact your HR department with false, misleading, or derogatory comments about you when I could just share the URLs of comments that clearly indicate sociopathic stalking behavior? Seriously though, RonMacGuy… I wouldn’t waste my time with you or your HR department. But from comments I’ve gotten from others over the time you’ve been active here, I’m pretty sure someone else would. And I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t find it amusing. You know, much the same way you and others have fantasized about and lobbied for having me banned from TMO. Except I don’t have to stir the pot.

One thing you are very incorrect about is the “consensus” about AAPL. Before falling into the trap that AAPL is a value stock, let alone anything more than a very risky bet, read up on the recent case of one Rochdale Securities.

RonMacGuy

I love your fantasy world Bosco.  So, you’re the only one who has ever threatened me in that fashion.  And, most people here can’t stand you and wish you would go away (self-admitted just now with the comments you made about others lobbying to have you banned from TMO).  And, you personally have driven off several people from TMO.  And, you would like me to think that you’ve actually received comments from others telling you that you’re great and that RonMacGuy is terrible and if they only knew where he worked they would talk to his HR department?!?!?  You’re hilarious.

As I have said before, you truly are delusional and really should seek professional help.  I suspect you are very lonely and love to lash out at others on TMO as a way of bringing some fun to your pathetic little life.  A psychiatrist would have a field day with you.  But I digress.

John Martellaro

There’s no profanity here, so I’m not really upset.  But you two, Brad and Ron, are way off topic and just not getting anywhere.  If you’d like to meet and duel by saber, that’s fine.  But the mean-spirited banter is getting a little tiresome now. Peace.

RonMacGuy

My apologies, John.  You are correct.

Lancashire-Witch

Yep, you could be wrong again, Bosco. The stock is already nudging $544

RonMacGuy

Too bad Bosco said “AAPL below 530 on January 1, 2013.”

If he had said below 530 BY January 1, 2013 then he could be right within the next few days.  But since he said below 530 ON January 1, 2013 then it could dip to 400, work its way back to 540 by the end of the year, and he would be wrong!!

So great, now we have to wait until January 1 to see!!

RonMacGuy

$590 and increasing, and within a month of January 1, 2013.

And Bosco no where to be seen on recent posts of Apple’s recent good news.  No surprise to me.

RonMacGuy

LOL, wow I really jinxed that, didn’t I?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Yeah, all I had to do there is be patient and let it smack you in the ass. Seriously, all I need is for it to be in striking distance on the 28th and the fiscal cliff will take care of the difference.

RonMacGuy

Very true, and if you turn out to be right I will compliment you on your financial prowess, just as I smack you around when you are (more often) proven totally ludicrous.  I’m equal opportunity in that respect.

Big difference is, if you are right, we will not hear the end of it.  But if you are wrong, you will run and hide, never to acknowledge this again.  Right?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

This will have to get in line behind all my gloating over the silly AFB stock fluffers getting the boot from TMO.

RonMacGuy

Too bad news like this more than offsets what little you can gloat about:

http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/apple-iphone-surpasses-android-in-u.s.-sales-for-october

I’m ready for that admission of yours…  Come on, you can do it.  It’s healthy!!

RonMacGuy

Yeh, didn’t think so.  I’d make some chicken clucking sounds, but A) I don’t how best to represent the sounds in text, and B) John may tell me how far off topic I am again!!

grin

RonMacGuy

Well, look at this.  It’s January 1, 2013, and AAPL is over $532 per share.

Bosco is wrong again!!  You are lucky that you were too afraid to bet me, Bosco.  You would have lost.  Again.

grin

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