Microsoft seemed very pleased with itself yesterday, as their Surface franchise managed over $1 billion in global sales for the December quarter. While Microsoft is trumpeting the sales figure, based on an average selling price of $1,000, Microsoft many not have actually sold 1 million Surface devices.
This is Microsoft, a company that has never let reality get in their way. Yesterday they were giddy like school girls about their fledgling 2-in-1 sales increase. Surface revenues rose from $908 million during the September quarter to $1.1 billion in the December quarter. Analysts expected sales of Surface would grow during the largest consumer quarter of the year, but with Microsoft’s massive advertising campaign, the software giant still cannot figure out how to sell over a million of their devices during the largest consumer hardware sales season of the year.
Research, rumor and a timely update, inform us that Apple will be holding a special event in February 2015. Exact timing is still unclear, but Tuesday, February 24th, may indeed be the event date, with an as of yet unknown announcement.
Sometimes we get spoiled. We seldom stop to reflect on what has happened, always wanting more of something we don't yet have. Tis one of the pitfalls of capitalism coupled with our natural, insatiable tendency for something more. The fix for this problem is gratitude — being thankful for what we do have and have been given.
In the realm of Apple, this plays out in our desire for the “next best thing” instead of looking around us and being amazed at all the things Apple has done, just in 2014. Here are a few highlights to reflect upon from Apple in 2014.
As Christmas rapidly approaches, there are many friends or family members pining for some Apple goodness in their lives. Time is limited, so hopefully the list below will help you with some ideas that are within your budget. NOTE: Our links take you directly to the product we have in mind.
Those of us steeped into Apple products often view the world through tinted glasses. We are so myopic in our opinions and views that it is hard to step outside ourselves and see what others see, because more often than not we love what we've got!
You know you are the leader of markets when everyone is coming after you — comparing their products to yours. Samsung has this obsession with its Galaxy 5 and Note 4 ads — directly or indirectly comparing their features to the Apple’s flagship product iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Microsoft runs a close second to Samsung in this regard with its latest ad comparing their Surface Pro 3 to a MacBook Air.
Apple's latest iPad Air 2 is the most advanced iPad, or tablet, shipping today. Touch ID, iOS 8, an aluminum frame second to none, and the most mature app ecosystem in the world, the iPad Air 2 is in a class by itself. The competition either delivers slower systems, or an ever-changing interface (not always for the better), and a less than mature selection of apps. But Chinese publications are increasing supporting the idea that Apple will be launching a 12-inch iPad. With the iPad Air 2 acting as Apple's flagship tablet, why would Apple want to introduce a 12-inch iPad?
Apple's main competition in the 12-inch space appears to be Microsoft's Surface Pro 3. Microsoft has continued to bash away on Apple's MacBook Air through its cash laden ad campaign. To-date it is estimated Microsoft has thrown over $2 billion into their Windows 8 and Surface advertising campaigns, focusing more of it's budget on the Surface during the 2014 calendar year. Ads have steered away from the highly criticized Windows 8 software, promoting Surface's hardware features instead, such as it's kickstand, and removable keyboard. But for all of Microsoft's promotion of Surface Pro 3, Apple continues to sell record number of Mac computers. The latest rumor suggests that Surface Pro 3 is going to be discontinued in the first half of 2015, with Microsoft shifting support to their hardware partners.
Apple’s October special event invitations were graced with the tag line “It’s been too long.” The special event delivered refreshed iPads (which are typically upgraded on an annual basis), a rev to the Mac mini line up and a 5K 27" iMac was also added. Surprisingly, there were many Macs in need of major facelifts or minor updates that were left waiting and wanting. Apple’s next special event could simply recycle the tag line, as many Macs are well overdue for something new.
Will Apple’s OS X Yosemite Spotlight Search be used by the masses? Will dark mode be the default go-to look and feel? Will Continuity be a must users simply won’t be able to live without? Like test driving a car, once purchased, the owners continued long term use reveals the gimmicky sales tools versus what features are truly useful. In many respects new OS releases are much the same. Widgets once seemed like a great default tool to quickly discover weather, stock prices and flight times. Fast forward a few years and OS X Widgets are rarely developed for or used. Sherlock seemed a sure bet, then morphed into Spotlight, but was limited in only finding things on your local drive. Now Spotlight has been given a rebirth in Yosemite under its new name, Spotlight Search. Long term value of such tools will be discovered over time, thus, here are some initial impressions of Apple’s newly minted OS.