Particle Debris (wk. ending 7/22) Big Dreams and Dashed Dreams

| Particle Debris

From time to time, I have pointed to the Business Insider’s Chart of the Day. These sand charts tell a remarkable story because the time varying thickness of the layers shows the evolution of Apple’s revenue. Here’s the latest chart.

BI Chart


BI/SAI chart of the day

But there’s an even better way to display this chart, and it hasn’t been lost on Horace Dediu at Asymco. In a revised version of this chart, he’s grouped together the OS X and iOS related products. It looks like this:

Asymco Chart

Asymco version

This second way of looking at the chart is even more informative in that it reveals the rate of growth of iOS related products. And then when you start looking at how this explosive growth is impacting the PC industry, the picture really comes into focus. Finally, once Apple starts on a climb like this, the trend seldom reverses. The conclusion is that over the next few years, we’ll likely see a steady decline in PC sales to point where the PC industry drops into panic mode. Given their delay in producing a viable tablet, one has to really wonder whether Apple will end up replacing the entire PC industry as the number one supplier of consumer computing devices. It could happen at this rate. It could.

I saw a tweet that said, “If your dreams (meaning aspirations) don’t scare you, your dreams aren’t big enough.”

Big Dreams

Six weeks ago, we had IPv6 day. It was a modest test to see what kinds of problems might be encountered as we move from IPv4 to IPv6 on the Internet. Iljitsch van Beijnum at ars technica has written up a nice summary of what happened and where we go from here. “Six weeks after World IPv6 Day, what have we learned?” Did you know that your Mac speaks IPv6? It’s been in OS X for years. 

Infographics are all the rage, and this is a cute one. It shows the development of Apple products in a kind of pseudo family tree, ordered by date. Suitable for framing I would think.

Underneath OS X is a UNIX operating system called Darwin. It’s mostly FreeBSD with tweaks as I understand it. Have you ever wondered about the early days and the development of UNIX? This November marks the 40th anniversary, by some reckoning, of the first UNIX system, developed by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie. Here’s a neat overview of how UNIX got started — with some surprising help from the U.S. Government. “The Unix revolution—thank you, Uncle Sam?

Normally, I try to collect offbeat stories of technical interest, but here’s a short and sweet snippet by Philip Elmer-Dewitt. To wit, Google’s Eric Schmidt recently derided Apple for resorting to the courts instead of, presumably innovating. So the Fortune author put up a picture of a recent Android phone next to an iPhone and asks the question, “Does one of these phones look like the other? You be the judge.

Android vs. iPhone

Who copied whom?

I like the people at AnandTech. They always go into great detail about Apple’s products, especially the CPU and graphics architectures plus benchmarks. Eager to delve into that detail myself, I wrote: “More Details on the CPUs in the New MacBook Air.” For even more detail and some nice comparison charts, I recommend this companion article: “The 2011 MacBook Air: Specs and Details.”

From what I’ve been able to determine so far, there is very little advantage in this line of Macs and CPUs in going from the Core i5 at 1.7 GHz to the Core i7 at 1.8 GHz. There is an increase in the maximum Turbo speed and the L3 Cache, but that’s the kind of stuff that historically doesn’t make a huge difference in the benchmarks. I think you could save yourself $100 by sticking with the 1.7 GHz CPU, and that’s what I’m going to do.

For an spectacular benchmark comparison to the old Core 2 Duo MacBook Airs, see: “2011 MacBook Air benchmarks are amazing, outperforms all 2010 MacBook Pros.

Those who follow the patent lawsuits know that a gang of three, Oracle, Microsoft and Apple are converging on Android with lawsuits. That’s to both protect intellectual property (IP) and make Android have a hefty “price” if used by phone makers. Here’s an update on Google blinking in the suit brought by Oracle. “Google blinks in Oracle patent case, indicates willingness to pay.” In an even more recent development, Oracle will be allowed to depose Google’s Larry Page. It’s looking very bad for Google and Android. Oracle’s lawyers are good.

Adobe just can’t stop claiming that the dog ate its homework. After all the heads up they’ve had about Lion, Developer Previews and WWDC, Adobe has come up with the lamest excuses yet why some users will have trouble with current Adobe products in Lion. It’s just so sad to see. “Adobe reveals ‘known issues’ with Apple’s new Lion OS.” One would expect that, despite the friction with Apple, Adobe would retain a professional spirit and psychic energy for excellence on the Mac. So much for dreams of being one of the great Mac developers.

Dog ate homework

Investors know that Apple stock (AAPL) lingered a bit this spring. But now it’s on an upward climb again. Why? Here’s a nice analysis by Eric Jackson at Forbes. “What It Took To Move Apple’s Stock Price Finally.

How damaging would it be to Apple’s competitors if it snapped up Hulu? Is that the right kind of acquisition for Apple’s business model? Could Apple secure content rights in Hulu, and keep them, that it couldn’t have otherwise obtained? Industry observer Steve Smith ponders it all and thinks it may be a good idea in: “Does Steve Jobs Want Hulu?” But Jacqui Cheng and Michael Gartenberg think it’s a very bad idea: “Rumored Apple bid for Hulu doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.” Finally, Bob Cringely has the interesting idea that Apple, with the threat of its cash hoard, is simply feinting, driving the price up for the eventual winner. What do you think?

Technical Word of the Week (TWoW)

Verbified (v.) Example: “The industry has taken an acronym like EOL* and verbified it.” As in Apple EOLs the boxed version of iLife.

Speaking of recursive definitions, a long time ago, a friend, with a wink in his eye, playfully informed me that people who make excessive use of acronyms suffer “acromania” which is itself an acronym for “A condition resembling overzealous madness (vi)a needless invention (of) acronyms.”

* EOL = End of Life

Popular TMO Stories



It’s hilarious that someone thinks acquiring hulu is “winning.”



Some truly thematic picks this week, at least to my reading, which can be summed up in word, ‘legacy’. Everything from Apple’s growth and historical stock trends, and what it has taken to move that price needle, its earnings over time, the history of Unix, which is the underpinnings of both the (Mac) OS X and the iOS, the CPUs in MBAs but also a look back at their evolution and what makes these Sandybridge chips different from their immediate predecessors, the issue over the origins of Android and what that may portend for its future, further insights into the long-running spat between Apple and Adobe and how fresh revelations of OS X and flash incompatibility sheds new (but thematically consistent) light on SJ’s flash position, and even whether or not, given where Apple is coming from and where it appears to be going, it makes sense to purchase Hulu.

I don’t often read all of the links you post, either from lack of time (but not interest) and/or because I have already read some of them. This weekend I found myself reading most if not all, and following further links. Just a couple of thoughts.

Apple’s performance, with each passing quarter, deepens my belief that Apple are playing a long game and following a strategy that spans years. Perhaps in excess of 10. There is a consistency in their products and services roll-outs, as well as their purchasing practices and supplier relations, no less than their unorthodox hoarding of cash that is taking the entire tech and business community back to school. Books will be written about the Apple juggernaut (they already are but these are premature - Apple are just warming up), with a key take-home point; start with a vision, make longterm strategy of how to achieve it, and then, very importantly, ignore the experts. If conventionality were the ticket, your competition would already be doing what you are trying to do, and they are not. (I thought about peppering this paragraph with examples and links but decided not to burden my fellow TMO readers with it - besides it would take a book to do it justice).

Second, quality trumps price point - so long as a product or service is valued. It is valued if it unleashes not only human potential, but pent-up human aspiration. As a race (humanity), we have long aspired to be in immediate and real-time touch with our loved ones, business associates, to have all of our important things at our fingertips wherever we might be and to have those things protected. If someone can deliver that with relative ease of access and with relative security, then this is valuable, more so if they can do it with a consistency in quality and user experience over time. We will pay for this. Why? Because human beings have always been willing to pay even a high price for the things they value. And people value their aspirations. Regarding quality, Apple have understood throughout its meteoric march to preeminence that one must start with the best technology, the best people and remain true to a user-centric focus - because the user - not a nameless and faceless enterprise - is their target consumer. After all, this is all about the user.

Most of your picks this week, and their links, speak for themselves, and require neither discussion nor debate. The one thing that is easy to lose sight of, however, in Horace Dediu’s graphs above is that, despite the Mac comprising something south of 20% of Apple’s earnings, it is <20% of $28.6B, and reflects a greater than 5-fold superior growth rate to that of the industry. Should this continue, then we may yet see parabolic moves with Mac uptake.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account