Five thoughts on the year ahead for Apple

  • Posted: 04 September 2011 06:08 PM #16

    DawnTreader - 14 August 2011 08:10 AM

    The year ahead:

    1. Apple’s revenue will rise

    2. Apple’s eps will rise

    3. Apple’s share price will rise

    4. The iPhone 5 will sell like nothing seen before even by iPhone standards

    There’s no question in my mind.  And a key difference between THIS September and 2010 is we don’t have a new iPhone yet.  The current customer base of iPhones will line up in droves for iPhone 5 upon its availability—it will be fun to watch (including the stock price).

    No one is talking about new iPods, yet there could be a nice surprise in store (a Dick Tracy Nano iPod?).

         
  • Posted: 04 September 2011 09:09 PM #17

    What do you think? Are my concerns ungrounded? Being all-in in Apple, I do hope that I am just being overly pessimistic.

    I saw a survey of current smartphone owners recently that suggested the iPhone will have extremely high retention for next purchase whereas roughly half or so of current Android-based phone owners plan to purchase a smartphone with Android again. It was a limited survey but the results struck me as plausible.

    It would be very useful, I think, to chart the two-year renewal period for cell phone contracts looking at Android-based smartphone sales. That info would provide clues about when Android market share might actually start to drop, especially IMHO if Apples come out with a competitive, lower-priced product.

    I’m really hoping for two new iPhone models in the next few weeks (for the first time).

         
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    Posted: 04 September 2011 11:01 PM #18

    PurpleApple - 04 September 2011 03:29 PM

    iCloud. Will. Be. Huge.

    You are probably right.

    FWIW: I think the #1 benefit of iCloud is a giant kick ass moat joining Apple & its customer’s together in a long term relationship.  And, secondly, a nice selling feature that will be something that is unmatchable in competitors products and ecosystems.  However, I doubt that iCloud, standing alone by itself, will be a huge sales generator for Apple.

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  • Posted: 04 September 2011 11:24 PM #19

    ChicagoBob - 05 September 2011 02:01 AM

    FWIW: I think the #1 benefit of iCloud is a giant kick ass moat joining Apple & its customer’s together in a long term relationship.  And, secondly, a nice selling feature that will be something that is unmatchable in competitors products and ecosystems.  However, I doubt that iCloud, standing alone by itself, will be a huge sales generator for Apple.

    I thought the same thing myself but now I’m beginning to wonder if I was wrong. I think that iCloud is a killer feature for customer retention. Once you have two or more devices connected via iCloud, you’re never going to want to leave Apple’s ecosystem.

    I’m not sure if iCloud will enhance initial sales. I thought not, but a recent poll seemed to suggest that it would. We’ll have to wait and see how that pans out.

    But I feel very certain that iCloud will have a huge impact on “lateral” sales. In other words, people who own iPhones will buy iPads, people who buy iPads will buy iPhones, people who buy iPhones will buy Macs, etc, etc, etc.

    iCloud will be huge. I have no doubt of that. The only question in my mind is whether it will be even bigger than I had originally anticipated.

         
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    Posted: 05 September 2011 01:45 AM #20

    Tiago - 04 September 2011 08:22 PM

    While I have to agree that we will see a lot of former Android users moving to the iPhone, specially if a low-cost is on the verge of being announced, I do fear that we will also see a movement on the other way…What do you think? Are my concerns ungrounded? Being all-in in Apple, I do hope that I am just being overly pessimistic.

    Some of your concerns are valid, but I do think you’re overly pessimistic. The flow of switchers to/from iPhone/Android will lean heavily towards iPhone. JMO. You can hunt down surveys on platform loyalty for supporting “evidence”.

    Firstly, I am a heavy apple consumer…However, my smartphone is a rooted Samsung Galaxy (the first one - European version). Why? Because I also rely heavily on google services. Gmail is my main email account, I use google chat as my IM (I am anti Facebook person) and I also use google calendars, google documents and google groups for both personal and professional use…

    I suspect few mainstream consumers use Google services as heavily as you do. I do have a couple of gmail accounts and they work fine with the native iOS Mail client. The one feature that even remotely tempts me towards an Android device is Maps/Navigation, but I’ll gladly pay for one of the 3rd party apps when I get my first iPhone.

    Most consumers will compare the handful of Google apps & services that work better on Android vs the thousands of apps covering all the other categories that work better on an iPhone.

    Additionally, one can’t also deny that the UI of iOS is getting extremely old. iOS5 will solve many issues, it’s true, but we will remain stuck in that never-ending sea of app icons.

    Again, I think this is a minority viewpoint. Most people prefer iOS’s ease-of-use. The phrase “UI getting old” is usually used by the technologically sophisticated.

    iPhone’s advantage up to now, has been its level of polishness. As every other apple product “it just works”. On the other hand, Android smartphones 2 years ago were slow, had lousy multitouch interface, were crashing all the time and had an App store which was miles away from apple’s…Things have changed…

    To some extent, but the majority of consumers will still find iPhones much easier to use. Android devices still require the user to be a systems integrator. Most people don’t want to learn how to use task managers, anti-malware apps, etc. The Android Market still stinks compared to the App Store, both in terms of quality of content and ease of use.

    The way I see it, if even me, an Apple fanboy, has an Android smartphone, I don’t see why a non-Mac but iPhone user couldn’t be thinking about changing platform.

    If I understand you correctly, you haven’t owned an iPhone and based your phone selection on heavy work use of Google services. Current iPhone users are likely heavily invested in the iOS app ecosystem and will be unlikely to walk away from that to begin again in a far less attractive (outside of certain Google apps) ecosystem.

    I don’t want to be a bringer of the Apocalypse, but if Apple doesn’t become more aggressive in terms of pricing (with a low-cost model of course) and a UI revamp, there is a possibility that we might see Apple’s marketshare of the smartphone stabilizing around 20%.

    The unit market share number is of little consequence. Apple is raking in the lion’s share of profits from smartphone sales. The important numbers are iPhone revenue and profit, which will probably double YOY with a iPhone 4 & 5 lineup. I doubt anyone will call $60+ billion in iPhone revenue an Apocalypse.

         
  • Posted: 05 September 2011 02:00 AM #21

    FalKirk - 05 September 2011 02:24 AM
    ChicagoBob - 05 September 2011 02:01 AM

    FWIW: I think the #1 benefit of iCloud is a giant kick ass moat joining Apple & its customer’s together in a long term relationship.  And, secondly, a nice selling feature that will be something that is unmatchable in competitors products and ecosystems.  However, I doubt that iCloud, standing alone by itself, will be a huge sales generator for Apple.

    I thought the same thing myself but now I’m beginning to wonder if I was wrong. I think that iCloud is a killer feature for customer retention. Once you have two or more devices connected via iCloud, you’re never going to want to leave Apple’s ecosystem.

    I’m not sure if iCloud will enhance initial sales. I thought not, but a recent poll seemed to suggest that it would. We’ll have to wait and see how that pans out.

    But I feel very certain that iCloud will have a huge impact on “lateral” sales. In other words, people who own iPhones will buy iPads, people who buy iPads will buy iPhones, people who buy iPhones will buy Macs, etc, etc, etc.

    iCloud will be huge. I have no doubt of that. The only question in my mind is whether it will be even bigger than I had originally anticipated.

    The good news for iCloud is that it’s free so people will be somewhat patient with it’s development.  I’m hoping it’s not another mobileme in the making.  Having said that, there is a halo effect around most of Apples products which work seamlessly together.  We had some folks here tonight for an end of summer Burger bash.  One was a medical Doctor who also owns a software company and is a PC guy.  He noticed that I was running the music from my laptop and wondered how it worked.  I told him about AppleTV and noticing he had an iPhone asked if he had any movies on it.  It took all of a minute to log him onto my network and put his movie up on the screen.  Ironically it was a video of he and a guy from Microsoft hiking atop a mountain in Colorado.  His reaction was priceless.  He’ll be a AppleTV owner this week and I see a Mac in his near future.  Don’t know what will become of his relationship with Microsoft guy.  wink

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  • Posted: 05 September 2011 02:18 AM #22

    BillH - 05 September 2011 05:00 AM

    The good news for iCloud is that it’s free so people will be somewhat patient with it’s development.  I’m hoping it’s not another mobileme in the making.

    Yes, free is crucial. But just as important is seamless. I would venture to say that most Apple users won’t even know that iCloud exists. They don’t have to do anything to make it work. To them, iCloud will just be an integral and unnoticed part of their Apple device. But it’s properties will be greatly appreciated.

    We just won’t know if iCloud will be another MobileMe until it debuts. But considering how much Apple is putting into iCloud and how important it is to their future development, I just can’t believe that they haven’t made every effort to insure that iCloud will be as close to perfect as any Apple product can be.

         
  • Posted: 05 September 2011 03:13 AM #23

    FalKirk - 05 September 2011 05:18 AM
    BillH - 05 September 2011 05:00 AM

    The good news for iCloud is that it’s free so people will be somewhat patient with it’s development.  I’m hoping it’s not another mobileme in the making.

    Yes, free is crucial. But just as important is seamless. I would venture to say that most Apple users won’t even know that iCloud exists. They don’t have to do anything to make it work. To them, iCloud will just be an integral and unnoticed part of their Apple device. But it’s properties will be greatly appreciated.

    We just won’t know if iCloud will be another MobileMe until it debuts. But considering how much Apple is putting into iCloud and how important it is to their future development, I just can’t believe that they haven’t made every effort to insure that iCloud will be as close to perfect as any Apple product can be.

    I hadn’t seen this report claiming that iCloud will be served by both Amazon and Microsoft.  The story is written in a confusing manner initially causing me to question what in the heck happened down in North Carolina.  Only later is it stated that Apples own facilities will be utilized while having capacity available from Amazon and Microsoft should the need arise.  Anyone with large server farm experience care to comment on this mess of a story?

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    Posted: 05 September 2011 03:23 AM #24

    That makes no sense whatsoever.

    Apparently Apple won’t use Macs to run iCloud, but they probably haven’t run the iTunes Store with Xserves either.  In any case, you’d have to think all of the critical software elements are of Apple’s own design.

    [ Edited: 05 September 2011 03:37 AM by Mav ]

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  • Posted: 05 September 2011 06:25 AM #25

    Tiago - 04 September 2011 08:22 PM

    don’t want to be a bringer of the Apocalypse, but if Apple doesn’t become more aggressive in terms of pricing (with a low-cost model of course) and a UI revamp, there is a possibility that we might see Apple’s marketshare of the smartphone stabilizing around 20%.

    The iPhone UI is simple minded not because Apple can’t do powerful and fancy, but because iPhone is inclusive of all categories of user. It’s like the one button mouse - Apple did tests before launching the Mac in 1984, and a proportion of people just didn’t get a two button mouse. If there’s only one button you can’t click the wrong one. Even today, after twenty years, a lot of PC users don’t know what right clicking does. They’ll say something like: “I know you can, but I don’t know what it does.”

    iPhone follows in the footsteps of Mac (works out of the box with no training), not Windows (more buttons makes my computer a better bargain than yours). But this time round, the majority know they don’t want more buttons. The other thing I’d say about UI is that once you put in a fancy feature, it constrains future developments. Apple has the luxury of rolling out features more slowly and carefully than anyone else, preserving a trusted relationship with the end user.

    I think this time round, Apple is going to go for bigger market share than 20%. Things may not happen during this transition the way you imagine. You can bet Apple won’t be discounting their way to a 40-60% market share. It’s the carriers who have to be made to prefer iPhone to Android as their default phone for those who don’t specify. And at some point during the transition to, say, 40% market share, the carriers controlling power will be usurped by Apple and/or Google and/or MS-Nokia. I think Apple are far ahead of the others on this, but we’ll have to wait and see. They are certainly in a better position than Android to offer the carriers some (indirect) control over the users and the load they put on the network.

    And remember, we’re talking about a platform here, not just a cellphone. Who has a viable iPad challenger?

         
  • Posted: 05 September 2011 09:24 AM #26

    BillH - 05 September 2011 06:13 AM

    I hadn’t seen this report claiming that iCloud will be served by both Amazon and Microsoft.  The story is written in a confusing manner initially causing me to question what in the heck happened down in North Carolina.  Only later is it stated that Apples own facilities will be utilized while having capacity available from Amazon and Microsoft should the need arise.  Anyone with large server farm experience care to comment on this mess of a story?

    I can’t really comment much on this story since server technology is well out of my realm of understanding. I did listen to a Hypercritical Podcast with John Siricusa in which he talked about the oddity of Apple going with Microsoft’s server software to manage their iCloud efforts. His surprise at Apple’s decision came not at all from the irony of Microsoft being in charge of such a critical Apple function bur rather at Microsoft’s lack of competence in this one particular area. I’m not sure if Siricusa was aware that Amazon would also be involved in this matter when he made his podcast.

    As always, I highly recommend John Siricusa’s podcast to anyone who is interested in Apple, although I readily admit that many of his discussions are simply beyond me. The specific podcast that I am referring to is entitled “#25: Invisible Software” and can be found here as well as on iTunes.

         
  • Posted: 05 September 2011 02:40 PM #27

    PurpleApple - 05 September 2011 12:09 AM

    What do you think? Are my concerns ungrounded? Being all-in in Apple, I do hope that I am just being overly pessimistic.

    I saw a survey of current smartphone owners recently that suggested the iPhone will have extremely high retention for next purchase whereas roughly half or so of current Android-based phone owners plan to purchase a smartphone with Android again. It was a limited survey but the results struck me as plausible.

    It would be very useful, I think, to chart the two-year renewal period for cell phone contracts looking at Android-based smartphone sales. That info would provide clues about when Android market share might actually start to drop, especially IMHO if Apples come out with a competitive, lower-priced product.

    I’m really hoping for two new iPhone models in the next few weeks (for the first time).

    Early November marks the two-year anniversary of the release of the original Droid and there are millions of expiring Android contracts at Verizon. Watch for a big gain in iPhone unit sales at Verizon as the iPhone 5 debuts.

         
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    Posted: 05 September 2011 03:08 PM #28

    sleepygeek - 05 September 2011 09:25 AM

    I think this time round, Apple is going to go for bigger market share than 20%. Things may not happen during this transition the way you imagine. You can bet Apple won’t be discounting their way to a 40-60% market share.

    The iPhone’s 20% market share of the nebulous “smartphone” market is similar to the Mac’s single digit market share of the personal computer market. If Mac owns 90% of the $1,000+ PC market, iPhone probably owns 80-90% of the $600+ smartphone market.

    The difference is that Apple has hinted they will eventually compete in the mid-price range smartphone market. You could argue that Apple has plunged into the sub-$1k PC market with the iPad and is quickly dominating the $500-999 PC market.

         
  • Posted: 05 September 2011 03:16 PM #29

    DawnTreader - 05 September 2011 05:40 PM

    Early November marks the two-year anniversary of the release of the original Droid and there are millions of expiring Android contracts at Verizon. Watch for a big gain in iPhone unit sales at Verizon as the iPhone 5 debuts.

    Excellent observation.

         
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    Posted: 05 September 2011 04:06 PM #30

    PurpleApple - 13 August 2011 11:58 PM

    [color=blue]1.

    Do these thoughts make sense? And what big positives am I missing?

    Consider:

    1) Significant disruptions/“violent successes” (to use Asymco terminology) have followed each of the major changes to the human/computer interface;

    2) 2012 portends to be a year of very significant (and fundamentally different) change to the human/computer interface.

    Therefore, 2012 promises to be a year of extremely violent success.

    Discussion:  We can look back upon each time the human/computer interface evolved ? from punch cards to keyboard command lines to mouse/menus to multi-touch ? and note that they were each significant milestones in computing evolution. (It could be well-argued that Steve Jobs’ enduring legacy may be his contributions to interface advancements).

    Note that, even though each interface advancement became “the next big thing,” they all relied on use of the human hand. Not only are we in the midst of the “the next big interface thing,” for the first time we are moving beyond using our our hands to control our computers.

    With patents filed, technology bought and IOS leaks, we know that Apple will be launching major VOICE control initiatives in the very near future.

    Evolving the interface evolution beyond our hands WILL BE VERY BIG. It will be big in ways that we can only begin to fathom. And it will, IMHO, favor the company that is most vertically integrated.

    Given that iPhone now supports 30 languages, imagine the gargantuan technological hurdles the Apple elves right now must be toiling to overcome.

    Could this be one cause of what seems to be a release delay?

    Will “it just works” voice recognition be Steve Jobs crowning glory?

    Thoughts?

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