There Are no Limits to Apple's Growth. The Competition Should Worry

Apple has so much in liquid cash resources that it absolutely has no need to betray or trick the customer. That gives Apple great liberties in product design. Lately, we've seen the enormous financial benefits of that philosophy come to bear. If other competitors don't get smarter, faster in earning trust, there seems to be no limit to Apple's growth.


You've just bought a new, glorious curved-screen 4K UHDTV. You plug in the power. Check. You plug your HDMI receiver or various sources into the HDMI port(s). Check. And there's that troublesome Ethernet port.

The quick start guide urges: the installation ins't complete until you connect the TV to your home's WiFi network or connect the Ethernet cable to your router. Otherwise, you'd be throwing away all the features of your smart TV. So, go ahead. Right?


And there's the rub. Right out of the box, modern electronic devices bring one into a state of instant dismay instead of delight. How does the new owner seize affirmative control over that optional camera used for video conferences? What's done with voice commands, uploaded to who knows where? Will that beautiful new TV spy on the customer? Will ads be downloaded from the Internet and interrupt a movie from a direct-connect Blu-ray player? What gotchas are lurking in the EULA or privacy statement?

The Internet of things is so pervasive and wanton that it's out of control. There are no regulations or industry standards that I know of that dictate the terms of what a modern, connected device can send upstream. And how the customer can, with positive control, easily and in one place, disable uploads.

And so, it's left to only a few companies, notably Apple, to take a stand, and draw a line in the Internet sand. "This is what we will not do." And because Apple has the wealth to decline all manner of subterfuge, it has great liberty to delight the customer out of the box and long into daily use.

I surmise that in every technical area where product trickery and loss of trust becomes routine, Apple will sense a business opportunity. Heaven help those whom Apple decides to compete with. Seriously.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook doesn't believe Apple can fail now because the competition isn't getting this fundamental idea. Moreover, there may no limits to Apple's growth given the foolishness of the competition. See for example: "Tim Cook Doesn't Believe This Made-Up Math Law Will Limit Apple's Growth."

The reason Tim Cook can say that is because, everywhere he looks, he sees Apple's values when it comes to the customer in great contrast to much of the competition. Apple is being rewarded for its values and the competition is suffering.

No competitor or coalition can take on Apple and slow its growth, winning customers, until the silent, insidious betrayal of the customer's trust comes to an end.

Meanwhile, Apple is free to run the table.

Next page: the tech news debris for the week of February 10: Samsung's betrayals.

Page 2 - The Tech News Debris for the Week of February 10


I want to start with a formidable and well researched article about how Apple's iPhone is doing against Android phones from all makers. The article is: "Android OEM profitability, and the most surprising number from Q4’s smartphone market." This is an absolute must read if you want to learn about how Apple is undermining the smartphone competition. The article starts:

I’ll admit – I’m surprised myself by how low the profitability even of “high-end” Android OEMs is. I hadn’t investigated it in detail until I wrote this post.

After some excellent analysis, including numbers that show Apple cutting into Android so seriously that Android phone sales actually declined for the first time in 4Q 2014, Mr. Arthur writes:

You can argue – and lots of people do – that Apple is therefore “charging too much for the iPhone, and it should cut the price so that more people would buy it”. This is superficially attractive logic to people who (a) aren’t running a business and (b) can’t think long-term.

In other words, the numbers show that Apple is doing exactly what it should be doing—making a lot more money than the competition with, nevertheless, a very hot, expensive product. Again, I urge all my readers to brew a cup of tea and sit down with this article by Mr. Arthur.

When it comes to sizing up the prospects for success of the Apple Watch, it is insufficient to sit back and say "bah!" Instead one has to have considerable insight into Apple and its design philosophy before one can make a prediction. Here's a great article by the terrific Rene Ritchie at iMore on just exactly what the Apple Watch will do for us and why each element is important—and will lead to success. "Convenience — Apple Watch's killer feature.

Can smart TVs be trusted? Samsung has certainly got off on the wrong foot in several areas. First, there was the voice recognition snafu—which has since been clarified and slightly defused. After all, Siri uploads anything you say to a server for analysis. Even if it's stupid or criminal.

Then, some customers reported that a local video stream being fed into a Samsung smart TV was interrupted and a Pepsi ad inserted. The dust hasn't settled on this yet. Here's a report on the events: "Samsung's latest smart TV snafu injects Pepsi ads into your personal videos."

You must know by now that Microsoft has repented for its sins with Windows 8.x. Windows 10 is a good effort to win back the hearts of the users by: 1) Returning to the Start menu, dispensing with the tiles to the extent that they obliterate the desktop, and 2) Configuring itself to the device being installed on. That avoids, I believe, having an awkward touch interface on devices when customers would prefer not to have it and also preserves the idea that Microsoft has just one high-level OS. (I am still learning about Windows 10.)

Eric Knorr at InfoWorld humorously praises Microsoft for following through on ideas that were proposed by the publication, and no doubt, customers. "Windows 10: You're welcome, Microsoft!"

Speaking of Microsoft, I thought this was a particularly insightful article by Tom Warren at The Verge.  If Microsoft's plan is to provide software solutions on all platforms rather than just focus on Windows everywhere, then the company needs certain tools and technologies. So it went and got them. Here's a very good read: "Microsoft is spending cash to reinvent itself."

An article by the inestimable Galen Gruman, also at InfoWorld,  sizes up some the product failures of 2014. "Fire Phone, Galaxy S5, iPad Mini 3, and more: 15 major mobile flops of 2014." The only area where I disagree is the discussion of the Apple iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3. Just because these weren't major advances over the previous generation doesn't mean that sales were, in turn, dismal. There's always a healthy sized subset of Apple customers ready to upgrade to the latest product. And it better be ready for them.

In case you missed it, here's the complete transcript of Tim Cook's remarks at the Goldman Sachs Conference this week.

Here's a nifty essay on the incredible growth of Apple and its financial success. "Apple, The Oil Company?" A great observation is made:

But again, the bar is now just set so high. What on Earth can be a bigger business than the iPhone? It’s impossible to come up with something right now because it seemingly doesn’t yet exist. It’s not cars. [Really? -JM] It’s not banking. It’s not even oil. It will have to be invented.

... "have to be invented." I have a feeling it won't be called Apple Glass.

It wouldn't be Particle Debris if I didn't find a good article from Jonny Evans at Computerworld. Here are his astute observations on the implications of Apple going to 64-bits with its mobile, iOS devices. "iOS 9: Apple’s desktop-class smartphones."

Jonny is always on the spot.


Teaser image via Shutterstock.

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.