Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis
Microsoft is on tough times. Their stock price has been relatively flat during the past five years, they've lost their swagger, and outside of Xbox effecting the lives of 17-year-old boys (and those who still act like them), no one outside of stock holders really care all that much about the software giant.
The world seems a blaze with Android news, and for good reason — Android is everywhere on almost every type of device imaginable. Android also creates a media frenzy, allowing any business to make news with their shiny new gadgets. This is perfect for sites like c/net and engadget whose lifeblood relies on a constant flow of shiny new devices to talk about. But for all the Android devices roaming the planet, only a scant few are making Google or the hardware makers a dime. On the other hand Apple continues to increase sales of their iOS devices and pull in a stunning average selling price (ASP). and margin. How can it be that Apple is expanding iOS sales with Android dominating everywhere?
Market share and any individual company’s sales are two completely different areas of discussion. Apple continues to grow their iOS world, just not at the same pace that Android has, and is, growing the middle to low-end market share.
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone in the U.S. (and Canada), Christmas magic is in the air. Cyber Monday is today. Many retailers very survival often depends on sales during the next four weeks — although I highly doubt this is what the wise men had in mind when bringing gifts to the Christ child.
Nevertheless, the world we live in is full of anticipation — for the next big thing. And Apple fans are no different. While we have seen new versions of most of our favorites, only the new Mac Pro broke the mold and gave us something truly new and exciting. Everything else — iPhones, iPads, Macs — have all been improvements on the same theme. Arguably the iPad Air could be considered an exception as it really did make some big advancements.
Ever read an Android blog or an iOS blog? How about watching people trying to decide which smartphone to purchase in a Best Buy, an Apple or Carrier retail store? It's quick fun, if not shocking, but much more than that, it is quite revealing.
Widely consider a joke, the question of, “Who has been a more successful Apple employee: Tim Cook or Steve Ballmer?” Funny as it sounds, it rings true in some circles, and the comparison and contrast between the two men is worth thinking about.
Both Cook and Ballmer became the successors to high tech empires that were at the top of their game. While Bill Gates did not pass away, he did step aside from the day to day operations and stayed on the board or directors (he also is the company’s largest stock holder). This left Steve Ballmer in charge of a company at its peak — a company that could do no wrong. At the time of Steve Ballmer's ascension to becoming Microsoft CEO, the company had done nothing more than amass a track record of success and mammoth growth.
Every so often Apple does this — they launch two products that occupy the same space and the difference between the products is so minimal, it is difficult to decide. Historically, Apple has had this dilemma involve the Mac Book Air versus Mac Book Pro. This choice was most difficult before retina displays were available on the Pro models. With that feature (coupled with price) there is now enough differentiation between the Air lineup and the Pro models that it makes choosing between the two an easier road to navigate.
However, the new entry into Apple’s “difficult to choose” category is between the new iPad Air and the new iPad mini with Retina display. First off, both are new iPads. You are not buying old technology with either choice. The iPad mini with Retina display and the iPad Air both use the same über fast processor and both have Retina displays containing the exact same resolution. Both come with iOS 7, the same camera technology, the same battery life, and both come in the exact same color schemes. So what is different to help you decide which to buy?
IDC’s latest market share numbers are figures should make Android's Mom proud. Roughly 81% of the world during the September 2013 quarter picked purchased some type of Android smartphone. Meanwhile, Apple saw a decline in share from 14.4% to roughly 13% during the same year-over-year quarter.
CEO of Apple, Inc. — Tim Cook — is his own man. He is no Steve Jobs (who is?) and has certainly done many things differently than Jobs would have. This isn't to say that Cook’s direction is poor, and Jobs was perfect. Stated another way, Apple is no longer running on Jobs’ legacy thoughts and leadership. The ship is truly Tim Cook’s to maneuver.
Mac OS X has come a long, long way. When it was first released in 2001, Apple was struggling to make a comeback. The multi-colored iMac platform had been launched, but it was running OS 9 dot something. There were not any iPods, iPads, or iPhones to help Apple’s cause.
Now it seems you can’t walk into a coffee shop, hotel lobby or airport without seeing someone using a product from Apple. However, more telling of Apple’s success is the comeback of the Mac. It has only been since the launch of the iPhone and iPad that Macs are now appearing everywhere — including being used by the Dallas Cowboys.
I finished a big project Friday morning, so thought I'd start my weekend a little early. And what better to do than to spend it with Mavericks — OS X Mavericks that is. And unlike the 80's cult-classic movie Weekend WIth Bernie, Mavericks was not dead, nor did I need to pretend it was alive. Mavericks held its own, quite well.
The download and install was painless. It seems even easier now that there is no payment involved (thanks Apple). The first thing I noticed was Safari. Wow it is fast — I mean really fast. I live in a rural area and my internet speed isn't the best. I always attributed slower web page loading to my internet speed. So does my slower internet speed appear to have been the bottleneck all these years? Well I thought so, until this weekend. Now web pages pop and are wicked fast (yes, I too remember Apple’s marketing for the Macintosh IIfx). I can't wait to get to my office where I have fiber speeds. Safari might start loading pages before I even click my mouse. In summary: Safari in Mavericks is worth the price of the download, even if Mavericks had cost money. Yes it that's good.