Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis
Macworld/iWorld 2014 came and went this past month. No one noticed. No one remembered. Perhaps sadly, no one cared.
Official attendance figures for the 2014 show have yet to be released, but estimates are for flat or a continued decline in attendance. IDG World Expo estimated that 25,000 attendees visited the three day all-things-Apple event in 2013. However, that pails in comparison to 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone where show attendance was 45,572. Since Apple’s departure in 2009, Macworld/iWorld has seen a massive decline in attendance with companies constantly shrinking their booth size, and major players, such as Microsoft, no longer attending. Macworld/iWorld may not be long for this world.
Apple’s stock price currently hovers in the low $520’s, a far cry from the days of AAPL closing just over $700. Where Apple’s stock price may be headed is up for huge debate, and if you want to believe AAPL is moving to $800, then believe this. If you want to believe Apple is in a free-fall, go here. There seems to be an abundance of Kool-Aid for everyone of any persuasion. Underneath all of the pop culture of stock predictions lies a fundamental question: Did investors ever believe in Apple, or was it only Steve Jobs that they saw someone worth investing in?
Steve Jobs led Apple out of its dark past to make Apple the largest financially solvent tech company in the world. Investors were quick to take note and eagerly followed along. AAPL rose from $10 a share in 2004 to over $350 per share by the time of Jobs death in March, 2011, rising to over $420 a share (which included two stock splits). Apple’s stock price continued to march happily north, peaking at $702.10 on September 19, 2012, nearly a year after Tim Cook had begun to act as full-time Apple CEO. Nothing had seemed to change between Jobs or Cook, just more product market share and financial success. But it wasn’t long after Apple’s dramatic rise to just over $700 that Wall Street began to sour on Apple.
Remember 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.
OS X Mavericks is a great OS upgrade. From better handling of multiple displays with improved Spaces/Mission Control to the more advanced technologies of better power utilization, OS X Mavericks has been a delight to use — most of the time.
One annoying bug that is echoed on Apple’s Community Support pages is the loss of sound after a few days of running OS X Mavericks. Some people explaining loosing all sound prompts while others describe only Mail.app and a couple of other specific apps loose their sound. However sound is lost, people don’t seem to like the net result.
Apple's A7 Processor found in the iPad Air and iPhone 5S is a stunning achievement amongst mobile processors. There is no chipset in its class and the industry knows it. Samsung, Intel, Qualcomm and nVIDIA all scrambling to play catchup. But for all its current achievements, the future glory of Apple's A-series processors is likely to be found in what Steve Jobs described as “trucks” — that is — desktops and laptops running OS X.
During Apple's iPad Air reveal, Apple's top brass were keen on calling the A7 “64-bit desktop-class architecture” showcasing technical details not typically shared by Apple executives. The A7 has over 1 billion transistors, rapidly catching up with Intel's latest Ivy Bridge architecture (found in Intel's Core i-series of processors), all in a package only slightly larger than the previous generation A6.
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.
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.
That's right, Ive's and company, not Cook and company. Don't get me wrong, Apple is Tim Cook's ship, but he isn't the showman or the man that makes the hardware and software design magic happen. Cook is the man behind the curtain controlling the gears, but Jony Ive and Craig Federighi are the hardware and software gurus that Apple's magic possible.
Tim Cook is a comfortable CEO. He isn't scared to let others take the limelight, presenting and promoting products for Apple. Cook simply isn't concerned with making Apple about himself, he's concerned with making Apple great. Some may argue Apple is great, but that's not how they look at it internally, not even close. Whomever and whatever it takes to keep Apple on the cutting edge and successful, that is what Cook will manage and promote. Over time, as Apple's success continues it will only further reflect on Tim Cook's CEO competence and capabilities. Clearly, Cooks' management style and media persona is different than Steve Jobs, but seriously, how could it anything but different? What is beginning to truly show through is Tim Cook is comfortable being his own man, doing things his way, and that Apple is on the cusp of being a run away success under his leadership style.
The evolution and changing of markets. It is inevitable. Companies come and go. Those who struggle either find an exit through a buy-out from a more successful company or go out of business. One of the determining factors to which road a struggling business travels is whether they have something unique to offer the marketplace. This something unique will take others far too long to build themselves or cost too much time and resources to develop in-house. Therefore purchasing the struggling company for their “something special” becomes an attractive choice — that is, if it can afford to purchase the business.
Apple is rebooting its award winning ad campaign, but this time around it has Tim Cook’s signature all over it.
Apple is taking to the airwaves with a new 60 second ad campaign, focused solely on its brand. Apple’s first brand reboot came in 1997 when Steve Jobs reemerged as Apple’s iCEO and left an indelible mark on the culture of tech, with the amazing Think Different campaign. No products, no glitz, just the impactful words “Here's to the crazy ones...” Apple positioned itself as the heart of the nonconformist during a time when 95 percent of the world was using a Microsoft PC.