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iWatch: Success Depends on Two Things

by: E. Werner Reschke | Jul 29, 2014

Iwatch

The heavily rumored Apple iWatch is most likely to become a reality this Fall. While competitors such as Samsung, Google and others have created high-tech “wearables”, Apple typically does things differently — and better. Before iPhone, it was Blackberry who ruled the day as the serious smart phone with a physical keyboard, email and some limited web browsing capability. Then Apple entered the market with the iPhone and the industry was changed forever.

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Windows_phone_doa

During the June 2014 quarter Apple, Inc. sold 4.4 million Macs. The sales figure was surprising in that during the year ago quarter Apple only sold 3.75 million Macs, representing a year-over-year sales increase of 15%. Based on IDC’s worldwide estimates for the June quarter, coupled with Apple’s actual Mac shipments, Apple likely achieved 5.9% global PC share.

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What Microsoft’s 18,000 Person Layoff Means

by: E. Werner Reschke | Jul 18, 2014

Nadella-ballmerMost might think, and rightly so, that laying off 18,000 employees means a company like Microsoft had a bad year or that their future looks dire and therefore requires huge retooling. Those assumptions often are correct, but not always. Companies lay off employees for a variety of reasons, and it isn't always symptomatic of the whole, as a division may be suffering or shutting down, not the entire company. But huge layoffs can also mean a company needs to change direction and needs to “start over.” When Steve Jobs’ returned to Apple in 1997, and then became the iCEO, Jobs immediately slashed 4,100 employees within Apple's ranks, representing a third of the companies workforce. In Apple's case, it was an indicator Apple was nearing it's end, only a quarter (some say) from bankruptcy. But it was also the start of a new beginning.

Microsoft claims most of its layoffs are targeted towards former Nokia employees and some restructuring within the company. Is Microsoft’s CEO Sayta Nadella working to change the culture and truly turn the often rudderless Microsoft, or is he merely rearranging the deck chairs like Ballmer had done so many times before? Microsoft is facing stiff competition in mobile and cloud computing — two places they want to dominate. In order to compete, Microsoft must remain lean and nimble. Layoffs may help accomplish this goal, but so heavily in mobile where they need to win?...

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Ballmer’s Microsoft - The Lost Decade

by: E. Werner Reschke | Jul 11, 2014

Steve Ballmer

In 2004, just ten years ago, the New England Patriots were the NFL’s new dynasty with three Super Bowl victories in four years. Lost, Amazing Race and 24 were the top three hit television shows. The U.S. war in Iraq was just one year old, and Microsoft was the undisputed king of the tech world.

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Macbook-air-v-macbook-pro

The MacBook Air has been available since Macworld 2008. At the time of the original announcement, Steve Jobs was particularly proud of Apple’s partnership with Intel, which delivered a powerful and yet very efficient custom Core Duo processor. The announcement was such a big deal that Jobs had Intel’s CEO (at the time), Paul Otellini, take center stage to give a brief speech. Moreover, this was Apple’s first Mac OS X product that did not use a traditional hard drive but a solid state drive (SSD) instead. While the price:performance ratio wasn’t as impressive, Apple did what it always does — deliver value. Apple continued to push the envelop of technology and design through the MacBook Air, and over time, extended their lead over the competition, in what is now known as the ultrabook market.

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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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Jobs vs. Whitman - Turn Around King and Queen?

by: E. Werner Reschke | May 23, 2014

Product-quadrant-gridTurnarounds are tough. Most businesses in danger of collapse don’t survive, and those that do emerge a mere shadow of what they were in their prime. Apple is an exception to the rule.

When Steve Jobs returned as CEO of Apple in the late 90’s, he took a meat cleaver to most of Apple. Gone were the monitor and print divisions. The infamous Newton team were given pink slips. Mac OS licensing that gave birth to clones was terminated. Every project and product was jettisoned overboard except those projects that fit into Steve Jobs neat little four quadrant diagram. One pro desktop an laptop, along with one consumer desktop and laptop. That was it. Jobs move was brilliant, which created the foundation for Apple's turnaround.

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Apple Picks Up Nokia Pureview Photography Creator

by: E. Werner Reschke | May 12, 2014
Iphone_5s_camera

According to re/code’s Ina Fried, Apple has wooed a key player in the development of Nokia’s Pureview photography technology, Ari Partinen. The Pureview technology made its debut back in 2012 onto a Symbian based Nokia smartphone. Since then Pureview has been a part of Nokia’s Lumia series, and Nokia’s marketing team has been trumpeting Lumia’s superior photography technology as a main reason to consider purchasing its phones.

Microsoft’s Lumia spokesman responded in part that, “PureView is the work of the entire team, not any one individual.” Of course Microsoft would say that, what else can they say given the fact that they just lost one of their technology geniuses to Apple?

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Macworld_iworld

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.

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Apple_steve_jobs

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.

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