FitBit was all the darling in 2015, with a strong IPO showing and staggering sales topping 21 million devices. Fast forward to today, and in just over 20 months FitBit's stock is down nearly 60% from it's all-time high. More or less, FitBit provides decent, singular focused devices. While this has been good for FitBit in terms of volume sales, the Mark Cuban question has raised it's ugly head – Are you a viable business or just a clever one-off product?
Simple, low-priced fitness trackers have been an easy, low-risk purchase decision for many, but over time devices like this tend to fall out of favor with consumers, as they gravitate towards multi-functional solutions, even if that requires a higher spend. Enter Apple Watch.
Another day, another iPhone 8 rumor or research note from Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities. Whether the iPhone 8 gains a larger battery, moves to an OLED display, or stops earth destroying asteroids in their tracks, one rumor has seemed consistent, if not consistently scary: iPhone 8 is going to be a premium priced phone above and beyond all premium priced phones.
If iPhone 8 launches with prices above Apple's well established $649 and $749 entry-level starting points, the results could be devastating. iPhone 8 will arrive as Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone and will arguably be the company's largest-ever iPhone launch since its introduction in 2007. But there are ways Apple can move buyers into premium iPhone prices without making it appear they are doing so. Will Apple get it right?
If you haven't noticed, Apple silently racked up large scale iPad and MacBook Air sales over the Black Friday weekend, according to Adobe's analytics. But wait! Like a good Ginsu knife, there's more! Apple's Beats headphones were also show stoppers, and the new MacBook Pro has seen stronger than anticipated demand since its release. If you think there couldn't possibly be more, you'd be wrong! Apple's iPhone is also the most wanted item on Christmas wish lists this year, up by 2% over last year's desire for iPhones. There can't possible more than this, right?! Wrong! This weekend I moved to Verizon from AT&T, and upgraded muy plan with six new iPhone 7's!
Across the board Apple's sales are looking solid, but Verizon's virtual blind-side to AT&T this holiday weekend may have given Apple an extra boost. The largest US carrier offered $200 Visa cards and generous trade-in values on older iPhones for new customers. After the cash card arrives, my purchase of a 128GB iPhone 7 is a net zero dollars cost to me. The Verizon plan also provides my 6 lines with a 24GB per month data pool, with half of it able to be rolled over into future months. Verizon even offered $300 for a base iPhone 5, plus the $200 Visa card! It was an impressive offer, and coming from Verizon, a company known to rarely provide steep discounts, AT&T was caught flat footed.
At least half of all Galaxy Note 7 users have switched, or soon will, to iPhones, according to IDC's latest research. This is big news for Apple and iPhone sales. Only 17% will be choosing another Samsung phone, and an astounding 13% were not even aware of the recall.
IDC did not seek to poll future smartphone buyers, but during last Tuesday's Apple quarterly conference call, Apple CFO, Luca Maestri, cited a survey indicating 79% of those planning on buying a smartphone in the U.S. during the December quarter would be purchasing an iPhone. Consumers in the know, or had a Galaxy Note 7, are turning to iPhones in droves.
On Tuesday I wrote an article with the premise that Microsoft, from their marketing arm to product offerings are mirroring Apple amazingly well, surpassing Cupertino's technologies in many ways. Immediately, Apple apologists were decrying the Surface Studio as a wannabe, gimmicky iMac, and that the price was unjustifiably high.
Yesterday Apple launched the all-new MacBook Pro, with innovative touch bar, complete with built-in Touch ID. The new technology looks well refined and thoroughly thought out. Touch bar makes sense in hundreds of different use cases and the rest of the MacBook was given highly effective refinements throughout. Apple may have stemmed any creative pro tide away from it's notebook shores with the new MacBooks, but there is still trouble within Apple's desktop offerings. The competition knows it and is attacking in full force.
Say it ain't so, but then again is it really all that wise to question Mark Gurman of Bloomberg? According to Gurman, Apple's Bob Mansfield, heading up Apple's car aspirations, has drastically scaled back the program guiding it towards an autonomous only, software-based state. The project, running under the not-so-secret code name Project Titan, once on track to be a grand electric car, could realize itself as little more than autonomous driving software technology to be licensed to automotive manufacturers. Evidently, the door is open for the technology to be worked back into a fully developed Apple car in the far future. But currently any "Apple car or bust!" direction is now off the table. Or is it?
If Mansfield has indeed dialed back Project Titan, focusing only on autonomous driving for the time being, it would be hard to view it as anything less than a massive failure within Apple's leadership. We previously discussed how Apple has lost momentum in many categories, missing complete launch cycles due to Project Titan brain-drain. For the car program to be scaled back in this fashion, while hurting the company in other areas, will be utterly unacceptable from many within Apple's investment circles and beyond, striking another blow to Tim Cook's leadership abilities.
If you believe the Apple Watch Series 1 and 2 release was nothing to take note of, you might be surprised to learn that Apple's watches are flying off the shelves.
Two Guys and a Podcast conducted spot checks this week with several Apple retail stores, and all were completely sold out of Apple Watch series 2 versions (some stainless and ceramic are available), with some Series 1 watches still available for purchase. Apple has a hit on their hands, and it may be the big gift of the holiday season.
Over 895 million people flew on planes within, or in and out, of the U.S. in 2015. The number of passengers set another an all-time record, which is estimated to be broken again in 2016, with over 900 million people having flown in U.S airspace. And on every flight, before takeoff, and without fail since mid-September, a special announcement to all passengers is given, ordering them shut off their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones and store them in the above compartments or in a carry-on, below the seat in front of them.
I’ve been on six flights since mid-September, and while the wording from different airlines has been slightly different, the message has been abundantly clear; “Completely turn off and hide your Samsung Note 7. You will not use or charge it on this fly, potentially burning us all out of the flippin’ sky!" Every time I've heard the instructions, a semi chuckle has broken out with passengers looking at their neighbors to ensure they do not have a Galaxy Note 7, and if they do, making sure they shut them down.
Ka-Boom! Did you hear that Verizon guy, or is it the Sprint guy now?... That's the sound of the U.S. being blown apart, bit by bit, via Samsung devices. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not making fun of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which has already blown up in a little boys hands, set a man's pants on fire and burned down a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Let me be perfectly clear; I'm making fun of a whole slew of Samsung devices.
Just this past week, a Samsung Galaxy Note 2, not 7, but Note 2, caught fire in an overhead bin compartment on an airplane forcing an emergency landing. Of course, it's a week later, so what what other devices does Samsung engineer and sell that could possibly ignite and destroy something, somewhere? That would be Samsung's exploding clothing washers. Of course, there may be a completely logical reason for this.
Tuesday, at Apple's September special event, CEO, Tim Cook and crew revealed iPhone 7. Among it's biggest new technologies was the omission of a legacy feature – Apple has done away with the industry standard 3.5mm audio jack, and for a slew of good reasons. But none more impactful than the fact that Android makers are now torn in what to do with a standard Apple just ditched.
Apple VP of World Wide Marketing, Phil Schiller, pointed out new digital advantages for moving past the the analog standard. Yes, the move brings wireless headphone technologies towards becoming the new standard. Yes, it saves space within iPhone. Yes, the removal of the jack eliminates another area for water and dust ingression. The shift to using iPhone's Lightning connector for headphones certainly ushers in the digital age for Apple's headphones, but the initial pain it brings to the competition is greater than the benefits within iPhone 7 in and of itself.