- the one certainty is the iPhone 6: Apple have released new iPhones in the Autumn for a few years now, mostly as they need to rollout them out to all countries before the busy Christmas buying season.
- screen size: the rumours of a larger screen version seem to make sense, but not for all models. There is likely to be a top-end, larger screen version, but also a version with the same screen size as the 5s and 5c. Screen size is a personal choice, and not everyone will like the larger screen. But it does seem like the iPhone range has matured enough to introduce various models, as Apple did with the iPod in the 00s. Back then, there was just the click wheel iPod, until Apple broke out the models to introduce the mini, then nano and shuffle, followed by the iPod touch. As the iPhone matures there is likely to be this type of break-up of the range, and not just a choice of storage sizes and colours.
- iOS 8 is almost certain to be discussed too, with a launch date announced. It will be introduced with the new iPhones and will come installed on the new models. We expect iOS 8 to be a free download to current iPhone and iPad owners before the end of September. We think it is unlikely to be available on the 9th September. It is more likely to ship at the same time as the phones, possibly two weeks after the press event.
- we still think that there will be two “new” ranges of iPhone, matching this year’s 5s and 5c ranges. Although the 5c does not get as much publicity as the 5s, we still think it has been a success for Apple. Plus we have seen more and more 5c models around, possibly as it has taken a bit longer to filter through to consumers.
- we don’t expect to see OS X Yosemite released next week, and it may not be mentioned at the event. This press event is likely to focus on iOS 8, the iPhone and possibly iPods. It is not a Mac event.
- speaking of iPods, this is a crucial landmark for them. If there is no mention of the range, and if no other iPod announcements before Christmas, then we can say that the iPod range is no longer a focus for Apple. At one time iPods were one of the major product lines, but with the iPhone and possibly a wrist based device, its place it in doubt.
- speaking of wrist gadgets- this is the one to watch. If Apple announces a wrist (watch is the wrong word) device, this for us sits on the iPod’s patch Imagine a wrist device with Bluetooth headset; this becomes the new high end iPod. We don’t expect the iPod range to disappear any time soon- Apple have even been slow killing off the click wheel iPod, but we do think it will continue to slip down the pecking order and simply be maintained.
- Apple also knows how to spread announcements out, so we don’t think that iPads will be launched next week. New iPhones and a wrist device is enough for one day. But we do expect iPads before Christmas, possibly at a second event in October.
- we also expect bumps for the MacBook Airs soon (and Mac minis!), but this is not a Mac event.
- Apple TV: This is a slow burner for Apple as they have focussed on content over the last few years, and the hardware has only received two revisions since its launch in 2007 (2010, 2012). We hope to see a new version, and it would fit nicely into the Christmas market..
For example, one analyst is quoted as saying “to re-accelerate growth, Apple likely needs to launch new products…” [link]. However this is simply untrue. In the past, Apple has steadily grown through incremental changes, launching a product and then following up with year on year changes to refine and improve this product segment. The major innovation, which breaks up an existing market and redefine its direction, is the exception and not the standard. The iPod, the iPad and iPhone all came years apart and after the initial launch, Apple would improve this with changes and innovation by adapting the improving its product to stay ahead of the competition.
The iPod is a classic example of this. The original iPod was introduced in 2001 and did not receive huge acclaim at the start. Instead its popularity grew as Apple modified the design, with incremental changes and the parallel changes to iTunes. Each year in recent times there have been new iPods, not redefining the industry, but keeping the iPod ahead of all competitors. Even today the iPod dominates the digital music market.
The same pattern has been adopted for the iPhone and iPad, with yearly updates, improving and adding features with each new model. So why do so many analysts demand completely new products from Apple, as if this was the general driver for the company’s growth? For a company which launched two game changing products in the last six years (iPhone and iPad) why does anyone expect Apple to launch a new product frequently?
This is partly due to simple laziness. We believe that many of these analysts don’t understand Apple’s history and only know the headlines. They believe that the iPod, Mac, iPhone and iPad came from an innovation production-line and therefore there must be another new gadget ready in the automatic pipeline. Talk of a new Apple TV set shows this- an ill-conceived idea that Apple should enter this mature market. This makes no sense, as the margins in the this market are low and Apple are far more likely to enter a market which it sees as where we are heading rather than a market that has already existed for years.
It is entirely possible that Apple will launch a new product, possibly in 2013, but they will only do this when the product is right, when it is ready to launch (I.e. high quality and refined) and not when the market demands a new “innovation” from them. Apple has never reacted to expectations, instead choosing to enter at a disruptive moment, changing the direction of a product category or creating a grand new segment.
Apple constantly innovate; but this does not have to mean brand new products in new markets at regular intervals. In fact this type of predictable schedule defeats the essence of innovation and the flexibility that Apple needs to surprise and delight consumers. .
- Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones, up from 37 million last year
- It sold 22.9 million iPads, up from 15.4 million
- All based on a Q1 period which was one week less than last year
- iPods were down, but this was well flagged as this market matures
- Mac sales fell from 5.2 million to 4.1, probably the one piece of bad news from the figures. But this was mostly due to Apple not selling the iMac during November. Macs only represent 10% of Apple revenues these days
So where does this leave Apple. Its revenue was a company history, as was its profits, and it is now the most profitable company in history, passing the likes of Exxon. These results were the fourth biggest quarterly profit in history. And there you go- that is what it takes to be doomed in business today.
The Irish Times and the Irish Independent ran the same story written by the Press Association: “Apple figures show stall in growth”. The article accepts that revenue grew 18%, but goes on to say that there is pressure on Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. We can find no other word to describe this apart from “ludicrous”. Apple has set the bar at the highest level in the last few years and is still breaking records.
Here, thanks to Dan Frommer at SplatF, are the figures in charts:
The media would need to work had to find bad news in the figures above and yet this is what a section of them have chosen to do. Apple growth year on year is still at 18%, something any IT firm would love to experience right now. Ask Microsoft, RIM, Nokia, Dell or any other firm about Apple’s figures and they would probably sheepishly admit that these are the type of numbers that they dream of hitting. Add to this the fact that Apple is now holding $137 billion in cash reserves, and you see the strength of their position.
In terms of the future, we see that the iPhone and iPad continue to set record sales numbers and we know that Apple is well placed. They have moved from a Mac and iPod manufacturer through to being centred on their iOS devices and this is a transition which Microsoft is struggling to come to terms with right now. As the iPod ages and Mac numbers may be steady, the push ahead is with the iPad as it becomes the number one home (and possibly business) PC. Not only did Apple ride the success of the iPod, but it then stepped off this success and on through with the iPhone, showing how it evolves as a company, knowing where the market is today but ready to move to where the market is heading.
All of the rumours of the decline in demand for the iPhone 5 came to nothing. The iPhone 5 is the most popular iPhone model to date. Demand for the iPhone 4 is also strong and this is Apple cheaper iPhone model. All of the speculation and rumours about Apple introducing a cheaper handset is nonsense. The figures show that the iPhone 4 IS Apple’s cheaper model and the demand for the iPhone 4 and 5 outstrips supply.
At the end of the day the view of analysts needs to be looked at again. Most financial analysts don’t understand Apple or its business model, and the wild expectations for quarterly revenue and growth needs to be reassessed. In recent years Apple have always exceeded their guidance figures for the quarter but the analysts still punish the company when they do not meet the Wall Street expectations, which ride way above the facts and way above the figures Apple had given. They, on occasion, don’t meet the speculative figures given by Wall Street analysts. Analysts punish Apple for not meeting their Wall-Street-created figures. This takes no account of Apple’s reporting, its own numbers, and the facts at hand.
This may be the reason that Apple has decided to change the way it sets guidance figures. In the past it set figures on what it was sure it would meet. They have now said they will set realistic targets, representing what they believe that will achieve, setting the bar that bit higher, and presumably at times they will fall short. We hope that Wall Street have taken note. Apple future guidance numbers may not be met- they are figures that they hope to achieve, but are not 100% certain that they will hit for that quarter. This will open a new chapter in realism but we doubt as to whether Wall Street will take this on board and treat the company fairly in its reporting and speculation..
Now all those years later ti would have been a great bet, but it still shows that this would have been nothing to do with any of my skills. It would have been down to two things- Apple’s performance and the whim of the markets.
Which brings us to the latter. In recent months the rumours which have emerged about Apple have swung from the possible (the best you can hope for with a rumour) to the down right ridiculous. Suggestions that Apple absolutely must produce a TV set, have to start selling a cheaper iPhone, need a new Maps and iOS, surely must produce a cheaper Mac, all lead to one conclusion- the majority of analysts know precious little about Apple Inc, its products and its business strategy.
Trading in Apple shares in recent times is a bit like joining a bus load of drunks; it could go well and there could be merit in their behaviour, but the element of unpredictability may lead to disaster. Everyone wants to give directions, everyone thinks thy are right, but you can be sure that fact and considered thought is very, very rare.
Image courtesy of Macworld
And so we approach Apple’s results tomorrow, which will bring another top set of profits and revenues. But this may not be enough for the financial drunks. They need bigger, better, greater and the slightest slip in figures will bring the headlines of doom and disaster. So as a way to see through the fog, here is what we are likely to get from Apple and why, a simple process for people who know Apple and have followed their financial record over the last decade:
iPods: the iPod figures have been declining for some time now. Why? Because the iPhone is part iPod, part phone, part internet device. This means that the iPod is no longer the must have device. Sales are still good, but not as high as they were in the last decade as people now want iPhones and iPads instead. So expect sales to be good, but they will have declined on last year’s numbers.
iPhone: despite all of the nonsense which has been reported about the iPhone in recent weeks such as Apple halving their orders for displays, the iPhone 5 is set to be Apple most successful iPhone yet. It was the biggest seller in the first few weeks of sales, beating the iPhone 4S’ record numbers, and this is likely to continue. The figures tomorrow will though show some differences. For example, Apple could not produce the iPhone 5 fast enough to satisfy demand and so it took a few weeks at the start of the quarter to get phones into the hands of customers. Therefore the inflated guestimates from some analysts may be too high.
Macs: we feel that while laptops sales will be good, the last revision was in the summer, and the only new laptop since then was the new 13” retina display model launched in October. The new iMac was also announced then, but did not ship until December and is still in short supply. Therefore we see Mac numbers falling behind, not because of lack of interest, but due to the iMac not being on sale during November.
iPads: these numbers should be good and it will be interesting to see what Apple say about the mini. It may be that the iPad 4 did not boost the larger iPad numbers as much as it may have if the iPad mini was not launched at the same time. Many people may have bought minis for Christmas instead as they preferred the form factor. But overall iPad numbers should set a new record for Apple.
Let’s then see what happens. The Apple conference call starts tomorrow night at 5pm EST and is available at this address. Just watch out for those analysts on TV and in the press, armed with their drunken numbers.
We have put together our popular Christmas shopping guide again this year with our favourite Apple products, and we have recommended what we believe to be some of the best products and accessories...
Read our Christmas Guide…
On thing for sure is that we will see a new Mac Pro. Apple were criticised in 2012 about the very minor speed bump to the existing line and the Mac Pro has been the least revised Mac model over the past few years. Tim Cook has said a new Mac pro is coming in 2013 and given the news that one Mac line all be produced in the US in 2013, it is likely that this will be the Mac Pro.
The iMac range has been revised before Christmas so don’t expect any changes until next summer or autumn. The new thin design and faster spec is going to be the model for the majority of 2012.
Moving to laptops, we are likely to see changes in 2013 and possibly in the MacBook Air, Apple’s biggest selling Mac line. There is a possibility that we will see retina displays in the top models, but we would bet that this will not extend to the entire line. The 11” MacBook Air is still Apple’s cheapest model and aimed at education and home users, so there is a need to keep the price down (close to €1000). The top of the range Air is likely to come with a retina display, where price is less sensitive. We also hope that storage prices drop and so the Air can offer more than the low 64 and 128GB space on the standard 11” models.
Now that the MacBook Pro is split into two lines, we may begin to see the older superdrive-models being phased out. In 2012 we saw the 17” MacBook Pro disappear and we are likely to see the retina-display models become the standard once the prices can drop down a few notches. We are not sure ALL superdrive models will vanish in 2013, but if Apple can sell the 15” retina display MacBook Pro for close to €2000, then it will be time to retire the old models. Right now there is approximately a 500 euro mark up on the retina display models over the standard editions- if Apple can close this gap it will unify the line, based on retina displays.
iPad 5, for sure. The question is whether this will arrive in spring or early summer as in 2010, 2011 and 2012, or will they now enter the pre-christmas cycle and update each autumn? Apple launched the iPad 4 in the autumn to take advantage of the Christmas quarter and to match the release of the iPad mini. All iPods are updated in the autumn, so does this now mean the iPad will match this schedule?
In terms of spec, the iPad and iPad mini will see small iterations. Faster chips, better camera, possibly more storage. It also seems likely that there will be a top model iPad mini with a retina display. But as with the MacBook Airs, we don’t expect to see retina displays across the line.
A new iPhone 5S (or 6?) is also a certainty. Question is, will Apple fundamentally change the design? The iPhone 5 is likely to be the top selling iPhone of all time. The next iPhone will arrive in the summer/autumn period and is most likely to be the same design as the 5, but with a speed bump and better camera.
This is the one segment of Apple products which is in decline, so we don’t expect to see huge developments here. But it is certain that there will be an autumn music event which will herald changes across the line. Will we see the end of the iPod classic in 2013?
We still remain unconvinced by the idea of a full TV from Apple. We do think it likely that Apple TV will get apps and games, continuing the development of this device, enhancing what is probably the best value product given its 110 euro price..
So watch out for tomorrow’s prices- they are the one chance in the year to receive discounted prices for new Apple equipment.
There is likely to be a few euro off Macs, iPads and iPods, ranging between 5-10%:
The prices will be revealed tomorrow morning and only apply for one day. So if you ware planning to buy an Apple product before Christmas, tomorrow would be the best day!.
In the past Irish customers had two options:
1/ taking a Mac to an authorised Apple repair agent, where the repair would be completed under warranty
2/ Apple would send a courier to collect the Mac and the repair will be done off-site, and then returned by courier to the customer
However following our request to Apple this week, the policy has changed. At present the two options are as follows:
1/ the customer can still take the Mac to an Apple authorised agent for repair, such as Compu b or Mactivate
2/ you can request for an on-site assessment where the Mac may be examined at or collected from your home or place of business. Depending on the work required, the Mac is likely then to be taken away for repair and then returned to you afterwards
We would encourage all AppleCare holders to make sure that both of these options are offered to them if they call Apple support line: 1850946191. These options should also be available to all people involved in the Seagate hard drive replacement program, irrespective of their iMac’s warranty coverage.
Do let us know if you have any difficulties in receiving these two options when you call Apple.
Updated 7/11/12: correction of on-site service details
The new iPad mini has a diagonal screen size of 7.9 inches, and comes with an A5 processor. It is half the weight of the iPad and is 23% thinner. It comes in white or black, and has the same storage range as the larger iPad (16, 32, 64GB). Anyone looking to buy the version which has a SIM-card slot needs to pay special attention to the two variations, which will match different mobile phone carriers. iPad with Retina Display Model A1460 and iPad mini Model A1455 are designed to work with UK carriers (and presumably Irish ones too). Check out Apple’s information page for details.
On the iPad 4, the main difference to its predecessor is speed. It comes with a new A6X chip, but comes in the same storage sizes and with the Retina Display. We don’t see the iPad 4 as a vital upgrade for iPad 3 owners- it is just an improvement for the Christmas market. We also welcome Apple launching this in time for the Christmas buying season, rather than immediately after. It also seems to be that Apple needed to revise the iPad to take advantage of new LTE networks, such as the new EE network coming to the UK.
Both of these new iPad ranges come with the Lightening connector instead of the older dock connector.
On price, the new iPad mini starts at €339 or £269 and they begin taking orders on the 28th October, with the WiFi models arriving on Nov 2nd. Cellular models arrive a few weeks later. .
All models come with an Intel i5 processor and a 1TB hard disk, and Apple offer a new Fusion Drive. This gives part Flash storage and part hard disk technology. The iMac stores frequently used applications and files on the faster Flash section and less frequently used material on the hard disk. This seems like an innovative approach to storage and, along with the new processors, will make a difference in speed to the iMac, as MacBook Air and MacBook Pro users will tell you.
Speaking of laptops, Apple also released the new 13” MacBook Pro with Retina Display, joining the 15” models launched during the summer. It is 0.75 inches thick and only 1.6kg in weight. Thunderbolt ports have replaced FireWire on both the MacBooks and the iMac, although you can buy a Thunderbolt adapter to connect FireWire 800 devices such as older backup drives.
The new MacBook Pro 13” can be customise with 256GB, 512GB, or 768GB of flash storage. However its main feature is the beautiful Retina Display, which is great for photo and video as you cannot see the pixels due to such high quality pixels and colour. These are the future for Apple laptops and the new 13” model means there is now a full range of Retina Display models. However they do come at a price, with the Retina Display models costing significantly more than the ordinary MacBook Pro range.
For full details from Apple, click here for the Ireland site and here for the UK site..
We find that the shape of the new Express makes it easier to position on a shelf or under furniture, and so is less conspicuous. Sure, it has the extra ethernet port and the spec is better, but it is the new shape and size which may be of most use.
[link to Macworld review].
We can also expect news of Mountain Lion, which is due this month and may well be available for download around the time of the results announcement. It is possible that Apple will announce the date of release at the results call.
This shows two things. Firstly how Apple have come to dominate the industry, and they do this selling one model of phone, in three flavours (iPhone 4S, 4 and 3GS). The majority of their units and revenue come from just one model of iPhone, the new iPhone 4S. Apple don’t produce a myriad of handsets and configurations, and this helps to sharpen their image in the market. Everyone knows about the iPhone and most people either have one or intend to get one.
Secondly, Apple’s profit level on these phones far exceeds any other manufacturer. Many Android phone makes would envy the margins that Apple hold, while they pump pout low-cost handsets with thin dividends. Apple makes less than 10% of the total handsets sold, and yet rake in 75% of all of the profits.
It is an amazing story and shows just how far Apple Inc. have moved in the first five years. They have a sharp position in a crowded market, but manage to make their iPhone business one of the most profitable in the tech sector..
Just our own piece of video, from July 2001, taken at Macworld New York. This was from after the keynote and Jobs stayed around for about 45 mins, talking to the press, Apple managers and various well-wishers. As he approached one person, she shook his hand enthusiastically as the press continued to take pictures, and said “you guys are like rock stars!” This was before the iPod was launched, before the iPad.
The announcement this week that Steve Jobs was resigning as Apple CEO formalised what was already in place. Jobs took medical leave from Apple in January 2011, and Tim Cook was acting-CEO since then. The decision by Jobs to resign as CEO and move to Chairman of the board simply crystallised an existing situation in the leadership at Apple.
Mac sales exceeded 4 million units for the very first time, with strong sales in laptops. Over 16 million iPhones were sold in the quarter, and the iPad also had its best quarter so far, with 7.33 million units.
The first point is that we use the iPad for consuming and not producing; in other words we find ourselves reading emails, browsing webpages, and reading Twitter messages on the iPad. We have not moved to producing material, such as using Pages, Keynote or Numbers. We do tend to reply to emails, and will type out short messages but not any long messages or notes. .
We took a look at the figures, and here is what we found:
UK Ireland % of UK Action & Adventure 1124 789 70.20% Anime 15 7 46.67% Classics 213 108 50.70% Comedy 1568 952 60.71% Concert Films 16 6 37.50% Documentary 180 57 31.67% Drama 1889 1132 59.93% Foreign 59 45 76.27% Holiday 35 22 62.86% Horror 462 310 67.10% Independent 143 46 32.17% Kids & Family 400 292 73.00% Made for TV 13 3 23.08% Music Documentaries 39 20 51.28% Music Feature Films 48 35 72.92% Musicals 142 79 55.63% Romance 527 281 53.32% Sci-Fi & Fantasy 400 286 71.50% Short Films 275 181 65.82% Special Interest 18 10 55.56% Sports 133 86 64.66% Thriller 857 598 69.78% Urban 66 57 86.36% Western 171 88 51.46% Total Films in iTunes: 8793 5490 62.44%
Apple lists the Apple on Campus stores for Ireland, including those for UCC, DIT, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art , TCD and UCD. These stores allow studens and staff to buy Apple equuipment at reduced prices, normally a few percent lower than the normal education store.
The site also includes information on Apple products and how they can be used in education, for both teaching and studying.
In those days I had two main tools to hand- my Apple PowerBook G3 laptop, and my trusty Apple eMate. Many people may have forgotten or may not even be aware of the eMate 300. It was launched in 1997, and was a small, light, green plastic mini device, a cross between a PDA and a laptop- a netbook without the net!
This light PDA/laptop hybrid meant it was easy to carry around libraries, and was ideal for notes. The keys were smaller than on a standard PowerBook keyboard, but it was still comfortable to work on. It also had a stylus pen, which worked on the touch screen. There was no mouse input, and so you controlled windows and dialogue boxes using the pen on the greyscale screen.
The combination of keyboard and larger screen offers new opportunities for existing developers. So what apps might make it to the iPad, and lure us away from our laptop. Could the iPad replace a MacBook (Pro/Air) on the road?
1/ FileMaker- we liked FileMaker's sortie into the world of iPod/iPhone apps, but would love to see a more powerful iPad database app, which allows full FileMaker editing. This could be great for client databases for sales people on the road, or for researchers in universities.
Schmidt has been a board member at Apple since August 2006. However Apple have said that Schmidt leaves the room during Apple's board meetings when the iPhone is being discussed. Google's own mobile OS, Android, means that Schmidt has excused himself from these discussions to prevent being accused of a conflict of interest. The question now is, will he also have to be outside the room during discussions about the Mac OS, a rival to Chrome OS?
Here are a few points we noted from the financial conference call....
I found the article distasteful on a number of levels. Firstly it is based on pure speculation; there is currently no evidence to suggest a return of Jobs’ pancreatic cancer, and suggesting this is pure guesswork. .
Today Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, issued an open letter to the Apple community, giving details of his ill-health. It sought to reassure the Apple, and wider business community, of his health position. Jobs has admitted that he is suffering from weight loss brought on by a hormone imbalance, but has aimed to dismiss rumours of a return of his cancer..