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Itunes_costcoBeginning June 27, iPhones and iPads will once again be sold through Costco Wholesale. Apple's strong march back into Costco means Samsung will no longer be going unchecked within the U.S.'s largest club wholesaler. Apple will soon be reconnected the club's higher income Americans, tp which Costco largely caters. 

The average annual household income of each Costco membership is $96,000. The typical Costco member who purchases technology at the retailer is not part of the early adopter crowd. Rather, Costco members largely tie into what is called the "laggard" segment of the market, settling on whatever Costco is offering. This is a large high-income segment Apple has been missing for the past four years.

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Apple_store_portland
Apple’s Newest Retail Store in Portland, Oregon | View Gallery >

Apple's new Senior Vice President of Retail and Operations, Angela Ahrendts, recently attended the opening of Apple's new London store. Ahrendts was in Omotesando, Japan to unveil another large-scale, two floor Apple retail storefront yesterday. While much of the media focus has been on Ahrendts herself — and the amazing retail glass architectural wonders Apple continues to erect — it is Apple’s direction for retail outlets that merits investigation.  

On the international stage Apple is loudly promoting its large, standalone retail stores. However, in the U.S., Apple is very quietly moving into ever larger spaces.

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Metal_crisis_and_riseApple’s developer conference keynote held at San Francisco’s Moscone West convention center left developers’ heads spinning. The flood of new technologies Cook and his VP’s delivered was simply staggering. Among the slew of announcements was Apple’s impressive new technology called Metal. 

Metal is a graphics API for iOS, squarely targeted at game developers. Metal’s objective is to eliminate OpenGL by giving developers more power with direct access to the graphics processor. This will allow high-end gaming developers to push the limits of Apple’s A7 (and likely forthcoming A8) processor found within the latest iOS devices. The result is Apple’s CPU and GPU will work together in “seamless harmony” as Apple says, allowing games like Ryse: Son of Rome, to look and feel like its high-end console counterpart on xBOX ONE.

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WWDC 14

A two hour Keynote by Apple at WWDC 14,... and no new hardware. To some this was a big disappointment. Wall Street reacted (as they always do) by sending AAPL stock down on Monday, but on Tuesday they had reconsidered and sent Apple’s stock to another 52-week high. Along with Wall Street others had eagerly anticipated at least a new iPhone or were hoping for something else, something big — like a new category product (iWatch or a new form-factor Apple TV). But a new hardware announcement did not happen, and there are some good reasons why.

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WWDC 2014 Annual Predictions

WWDC 2014 is just around the corner now, so it's time for our annual show predictions. This year we decided to present it based on percentage chance of a particular item being announced at WWDC, in the Fall 2014 or Winter 2015.

Based upon our own internal information, colleges input and rumors here is what we are expecting to be announced and/or launched at WWDC 2014 and beyond.

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Mac mini: Major Update Soon

by: E. Werner Reschke | Apr 29, 2014

Mac-mini-days-between-updates

It has been 553 days, or 1.5 years, since that last Mac mini update. The current model is dated, and behind a processor generation with its CPU and GPU.

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Apple-tv

Yesterday Apple revealed some numbers they don’t often break out. One of those secret statistics was about Apple TV — Apple has sold over 20 million of the devices. Moreover, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, called it a billion dollar market — no longer a hobby indeed.

Most intriguing is where this puts Apple in the carrier lineup. DirectTV claims about 30 million subscribers in the U.S and Latin America, while Dish Network has roughly 14 million subscriptions. When all is said and done with Time Warner, Comcast will boast of having 30 million subscribers. Apple revealing 20 million Apple TV's sold puts them right into the mix as one of the big boy content providers — a real player in the space — not to be ignored. Apple’s distinct advantage is there is their ala carte system of choosing programming. With Apple TV a large portion of the programming is pay as you go, for only the content you want. There is no blanket charge of $50-100/month for all the content you want (for a gluttony of bad content most never even watch).

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WWDC Anticipation Reaches Fever Pitch

by: Mark Reschke | Apr 23, 2014

Wwdc_feverWWDC fever is at an all time high, and there is no wondering why. By the time WWDC arrives it will have been nine months since Apple’s top brass has taken to the stage and introduced something new, or even a scant product update. That’s a long time in technology time. Fans, developers and even Apple’s competition are all waiting to see what surprises Apple has in store.

Newer versions of iOS and OS X will be the foundation to the conference. What is yet unknown will most likely revolve around hardware. What Apple will do to   surprise and delight developers and conference attendees is always what drives the show.

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Why AppleTV will win the Set Top Box Market

by: E. Werner Reschke | Apr 08, 2014

Students-test-examRemember when you were in school and there was that über smart kid who finished their test first — and early. That kid would scoot their chair from their desk for all to hear, slowly stand up, walk forward, drop their test into the teacher’s inbox and turn to smirk at the classroom as if to say, “Good luck dumb dumbs.” For everyone else still taking the test, the emotions that would immediate ensue were lead by fear and panic. “How’d he/she finish so fast!?!? I’m behind. Hurry up! Gotta finish!!” would flood the mind.

And that’s when mistakes would be made. When against the clock, people make mistakes they normally wouldn’t. They do things they know they shouldn’t. In business it’s no different. Mistakes are made all the time by really smart people at industry leading companies because of the rush to market by competition and the fear of being left behind. The Set Top Box market is a great example. AppleTV is in the lead and we see the competition trying to catch up — in a panic.

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Earlier this week Amazon stepped into the set top box market with Amazon fireTV. This is a direct competitor to Apple TV, with a few extra features such as a gaming option and a voice control remote. 

Digging into fireTV’s specifications became a difficult task, and it reminded me of a similar problem when Amazon launched their Kindle Fire HD against Apple’s iPad mini. Amazon cherry picked the Kindle Fire HD specifications in a big way, so as to present their tablet as being superior, and cheaper — to the iPad mini. Amazon, receiving negative press, soon capitulated 

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