Way to Not Fire People!

The Daily Observations

Praise for Apple’s people prowess, praise for Apple’s bottom line, and CarPlay’s catching an Uber.

Bloomberg: Apple Praised for Not Over-Hiring Since Start of Pandemic

How did Apple avoid firing people? By not hiring too many people. That’s the basic take of a Bloomberg (via Irish Examiner) report. We heard something similar a few weeks back from TechCrunch. From 2020-2021, that site had Apple hiring 17,000 new people. Meanwhile Meta hired 27,000 over the same time period, Alphabet hired 52,000, Microsoft hired 58,000, and Amazon hired a brain-breaking 800,000 people.

Not a lot new in the Bloomberg piece — more just singing the praises of Apple’s management acumen. Compared to other big tech players, Bloomberg says Apple:

…was more cautious. Its headcount increased just 20% from 2020 to 2022, compared with a 60% gain at Alphabet and a near-doubling at Amazon. Those two companies went on to announce [layoffs] of roughly 30,000 combined.

Not to be too Pollyanna, but I would point out what I did a couple of weeks ago: Alphabet added ~52,000 people, Amazon added ~800,000 people and combined they’ve cut ~30,000 people. That’s still a gain of ~822,000 jobs from just those two companies since 2020. And again I’ll acknowledge, that doesn’t make anything better for the tens-of-thousands of people who’ve recently lost their positions throughout the tech layoffs. 

In praise of the Cupertino-company, Peter Garnry of Saxo Bank A/S is quoted as saying the prudent hiring and lack of firing: 

…signals a better quality of management at Apple compared to other technology companies that clearly read the signals during the pandemic the wrong way…

Of course, it’s not just about the number of workers but also what they’re working on. “The company also generates some of the highest sales per square foot,” according to Bloomberg, “an indication that its efficiency goes beyond hiring policies.” The piece also has Credit Suisse analyst Shannon Cross saying:

Apple is frugal by nature… It comes down to the management’s stewardship of shareholder dollars and a tight focus on what growth opportunities to invest in.

Investopedia: Apple is World’s Most Profitable Company*

Supporting the stewardship of Apple management, a piece from Investopedia has tagged Apple as the most profitable company in the world, though that comes with an asterisk. Writing for the site, Matthew Johnston says:

The list of the world’s most profitable companies offers a glimpse of which countries wield the most economic power and the sectors with the most economic influence.

The countries, by Johnston’s account, are the US and China. As for the sectors, financial services firms win the day in his estimation, though tech and energy firms are also well placed.

By Johnston’s metrics, Apple tops them all. He’s got the Cupertino-company showing revenue of $394B for the last 12-months, net income of $99.8B, and a market cap of $2.08T. Running down the rest of the list:

  1. Microsoft
  2. Alphabet
  3. Industrial And Commercial Bank Of China
  4. ExxonMobil
  5. China Construction Bank
  6. Shell
  7. Agricultural Bank of China
  8. JPMorgan Chase
  9. Bank Of China Ltd

As for the aforementioned asterisk, you may be wondering where Saudi Aramco is? It’s less about where it is than where it isn’t. Johnston says his list only includes companies found “on U.S. or Canadian exchanges, either directly or through ADRs…” Saudi Aramco lists on the Saudi Stock Exchange. Were it on a US or Canadian exchange, Johnston said it would have been in the most recent top-ten, and would have topped the list in years past. 

Evercore: Intent to Buy Apple Gear Up Since August

Big with the big money types, and big in the minds of consumers is Apple. That’s the message from Evercore analyst Amit Daryanani. Apple 3.0 ran part of a note he wrote over the weekend. In it, AD-Rock said interest in Apple products “has seen an upward trend” among consumers since last August. By the analyst’s reckoning:

  • iPhone still owns the smartphone space, though that is “followed closely by the Samsung Galaxy line,” according to Daryanani. 
  • His take on computers is confusing. While Macs remain “top-of-mind for consumers with regards to Net Purchase Intent,” Daryanani says “consumers are rating Acer/HPQ as relatively more attractive products, driven by heavier discounting by these vendors…”

Sounds like a mishmash, though the analyst sees it as all good for Apple. Quoting his note:

AAPL Product Line-up: Over the past few months, Net Purchase Intent for the Apple lineup has meaningfully jumped and returned closer to the levels seen at the start of 2022. Product-wise, the rally is led by the iPhone, Macs, and AirPods in that order. 

Daryanani has an “Outperform” rating on Apple shares. His price target on the shares is $190. 

Uber App for Drivers Adding CarPlay Support

You know what I haven’t thought about in a long time? Uber. Pre-pandemic, I was grabbing an Uber all the time. In the past three years, I have been in two. So out of mind has it been for me that I was amazed to see it turn up in news about Apple. But turn up it has. 

9to5Mac ran a piece late last week saying that the Uber app for drivers will soon support CarPlay. Or CarPlay will support it. As it stands right now, Uber drivers have to use their smartphones to accept rides, check maps, and so on. Once CarPlay support arrives, the piece says “drivers will have access to these same features” right in their dash. 

It’s unclear when that update will roll out. While Uber has apparently told partners it will be coming soon, there’s no word on exactly when support will arrive.

‘Shrinking’ Audience Appears to Be Growing

Apple TV+ may have another hit on its hands. Cult of Mac says the Jason Segel/Harrison Ford comedy “Shrinking” is pulling serious (if anecdotal) numbers. Over the past two weeks, the piece says the show has shown in fifth-place, then third-place with the movie and TV search service JustWatch. Meanwhile the streaming tracker Reelgood had the show showing at sixth-place week-before-last, moving up to fifth-place last week. 

Logo for King Charles III Coronation Designed by Sir Jony Ive

And finally today, though he’s been king for a bit now, the official coronation of Charles III is not for a few months. Good news though — they’ve got a logo. And when you’re talking royalty, you go with the best. 

AppleInsidersays Sir Jony Ive has worked up a logo for King Charles’ big day. It is both simple and ornate, if that’s possible. Flowers from the four nations that make up the United Kingdom wind around a stylized representation of St Edward’s Crown. Sounds garish, though the limited color palette — blue, white, and red — bring the simplicity. Commenting on the design, Sir Jony said:

It is such an honour to be able to contribute to this remarkable national occasion, and our team is so very proud of this work… The design was inspired by King Charles’ love of the planet, nature, and his deep concern for the natural world.

The emblem speaks to the happy optimism of spring and celebrates the beginning of this new Carolean era for the United Kingdom… The gentle modesty of these natural forms combine to define an emblem that acknowledges both the joyful and profound importance of this occasion.

Now, let’s get that on lunchboxes, t-shirts, and balloons, maybe. Actually, I’d love one a mug if anyone in the U.K. is listening. Plenty of time. The new king will not be officially crowned until May. 

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts and I reach into the Mailbag for thoughts on A.I. and Apple without a Chief Design Officer… Come for the talking, stay for the rest of the talking. It’s the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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