Tag Archives: apple

Is Tim Cook the Steve Ballmer of Apple?

This piece makes a strong case that he is: Why Tim Cook is Steve Ballmer and Why He Still Has His Job at Apple. I’d add to it and say that people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were great people at a great time and a great place. Steve Jobs wasn’t terribly successful at NeXT: he was still great, but the timing of his ideas wasn’t and the company itself wasn’t either. Tim Cook and Steve Ballmer are very good CEOs, but they are not in the same league as Jobs and Gates, and you could argue that the time has come and gone for both Apple and Microsoft.

Apple has many good months and years ahead. We will have to wait and see if they can regain the golden era of Jobs and his new iMacs, iPods, and iPhones.

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The Apple Car is off (for now)

According to the article below, Apple “has drastically scaled back its automotive ambitions, leading to hundreds of job cuts and a new direction that, for now, no longer includes building its own car, according to people familiar with the project.” Too bad. I expect we will see more and more car related activity from Apple, but a shiny new vehicle may not be one of those things.

For more details, see:

Source: How Apple Scaled Back Its Titanic Plan to Take on Detroit – Bloomberg

With the new announcements, Apple reinforces their affordable line of products


Apple took a turn towards something I was hoping they would do: (relative) affordability. You can see it in this piece from  Business Insider:

Apple introduced an iPhone with a smaller screen on Monday called the iPhone SE. The best way to think about it is as Apple’s current top-of-the-line iPhone specs in a smaller body. It costs $399 without a contract — a surprisingly low price for a new iPhone. …the older iPad Air 2 got a price cut to $399…. While the Apple Watch didn’t get a hardware update, Apple did unveil new nylon bands and cut its starting price from $350 to $299.

I was wondering if Apple was going to try and offer some affordable products or reposition itself as a luxury brand. I am glad to see they went with affordable. There are now lots of products from Apple at a wide range of price points, starting with the iPod (at $59). I have always been a fan of the lower priced iPods, and I am glad to see Apple still offers them. Likewise, the iPad Mini 2 is an excellent tablet and the iMac mini is an excellent computer. Relative to the market, they are priced competitively and yet superior technology. Now the new Watch and the new SE phone join them.

For people who want to spend lots of money, Apple has a product for them. By offering the lower end products, they both force their competitors to offer better products as well as allow more people to have access to their excellent technology.

P.S. I realize for some people, even these relatively low prices are not affordable. In the context of this post, affordable is in context to the rest of the marketplace an Apple product competes within.

Are you getting charged for monthly subscriptions from Apple apps? If so, read this

This is for a particular app (MLB At Bat monthly subsciption charge will continue until you turn it off), but it should work for any app you have that is billing you monthly.

It may not seem much a month, but like any slow leak, the cost adds up. Best to seal it right away.

On the future of Apple and the case for an Apple car

Well-respected Apple analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray gave a presentation on the company’s future at Business Insider’s Ignition conference and it’s really good. The entire presentation is here and worthwhile: Future of Apple presentation by analyst Gene Munster at Business Insider Ignition – Business Insider.

Earlier I wrote about how I don’t think Apple will get into the car business. However, after reading what Munster said, I can see how others think Apple will get into cars. Specifically, here’s are the pro-car points he makes:

  • Apple could align with and compete in the BMW market: BMW sold 1.8M cars in CY14.
  • If Apple priced them at $75K, 1.8M cars is $135B in revenue
  • Apple could start small: sell 30K in first year (similar to Tesla’s 35K in CY14)
  • In a market of 88M cars in CY15, 1.8M cars is nothing

The approach laid out in those points is a similar game plan that Apple followed in the smart phone market.

The more I thought about it, the more I am leaning towards Apple getting into the car business, at least in a limited way. The bulk of the market would not be Apple and there likely would still be lots of car manufacturers after Apple jumps in, just like there are many smartphone makers. But Apple would take over the most profitable part of the car manufacturing marketplace.

Read the analyst report: you will get great insight into where Apple is heading.

Apple will not be getting into the car business, no matter what you read, because…

…it makes no business sense. A key take away from the article linked to below:

Ford’s revenue and operating income: $134 billion, 3.9%. Apple’s corresponding numbers: $234 billion, 40%! Or consider the world’s two largest car companies, Toyota and Volkswagen, both of which hover around $200 billion in revenue. Toyota just reported a higher than usual 10% net profit versus Apple’s 22.8%. The Financial Times recently pegged the VW brand’s operating margin at about 2%. (We’ll see how the German auto giant, which was ever so close to taking the industry’s Ichiban ranking from Toyota, extracts itself from its current engine management software troubles.) Yes, the car industry is large (around $2 trillion—that’s two thousand billions), but it grows slowly. In 2015 it saw 2% annual growth—and that was considered a good year.

There are so many other lines of business that could bring more revenue and profit to Apple. Unless the car business changes dramatically — and that is possible — then I can’t see how it makes any business sense for them to become car makers.

For more details on this, see: Why should Apple even bother building a car? – Quartz

Why do Apple’s Macbook chargers cost so much?

Simple: they are a complex piece of technology. The photo above shows a Macbook charger from Apple on the left: the charger on the right is from another company. You can clearly see that the one from Apple has a lot more technology packed in there. And for good reasons. To understand what those reasons are, see this piece:  Macbook charger teardown: The surprising complexity inside Apple’s power adapter. It was surprisingly interesting, from an engineering and design perspective.

Thanks to Tom Plaskon for sharing this on Twitter!