Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis
iTunes has been with us for over a decade now. It’s hard to remember life when “portable” music required physical media (CD, Cassette, Record, 8-track). While the video (see details to the right) is clever and funny it does bring home the point that things change, and change quickly. A decade is a long time for any technology and iTunes is no exception. While iTunes has grown to include movie and TV shows, iTunes Match and iTunes Radio, the fundamental push of iTunes is to buy something — after all it’s really an online store, somewhat disguised as a media browser.
However, the problem is that today’s youth don’t browse and buy, they stream. Streaming is the new way music is consumed, not purchasing. Pandora and Spotify were two entities that figured this out and have led this paradigm shift. Apple tried to respond with iTunes Radio, but if you do much searching or try it yourself, you’ll find that iTunes Radio is still a second place step-cousin to a quality streaming experience.
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.
Logitech’s UE (Ultimate Ears) division is on a roll lately. Their UE mini Boom portable bluetooth speaker puts out a solid sound with minimal distortion — even when the volume is set to the highest level. But its sound was one direction, best suited for personal travel and use. UE’s Boom is a different story.
Logitech’s UE Boom can best be described as a full-sized 360 degree sounds system in a can. Its shape highly resembles as 16 oz / 24 oz beverage bottle, but its enjoyment goes well beyond any beverage container.
In January the Wall Street Journal provided data suggesting larger screen iPhones. A string of rumors and conjecture have been reported ever since in an attempt to portray a undeniable truth – a larger screen iPhone is coming.
Assume for a moment the rumors, the analysts' expert analysis, and the "upstream supply chain" informants are correct, and that Apple is going to deliver a larger screen iPhone 6. Shouldn't the question really be about whether Apple will ship a larger screen device beyond a big screen iPhone, such as phablet device?
In 2003, Steve Jobs made fun of tiny screen devices, telling Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, "I’m not convinced people want to watch movies on a tiny little screen." Two years later, the 2.7" screen iPod video arrived. On September 7, 2005, Jobs also introduced the iPod nano, sporting a 1.5" screen.
Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Ask Network, AOL, DuckDuckGo, and even Dogpile. Do we really need another search engine, especially since no one has proven they can touch Google's dominance?
According to comScore Google’s February 2014 share of search was a very steady 67.5%, with Microsoft’s Bing search engine light years behind, holding onto 18.4%. Yahoo! was the only other search provider to reach over 10%. Why would Apple ever choose to enter such a mature market? The only way to obtain market share is to steal from a competitor — a space Google is laser focused on never relinquishing.
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
Rumors and images are are rapidly crossing even the broadest of internet canyons with Apple’s highly rumored forthcoming HealthBook App. Apparently, anything from weight to oxygen saturation can be monitored. How? Many solutions may require a third party device, but others are speculating an Apple iWatch will be able to accomplish all but the most technical of health related items. With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in full swing, questions are being asked as to whether the health and mobile high-tech convergence will be the next area of big Government regulation?
U.S. Congressional House member Robin Quain, at a recent campaign rally stated; "Health care is often a critical life or death matter, and health care solutions are something the American people expect to work, and work properly all the time. Simple startup companies working out of their garages cannot just develop and launch healthcare applications for a smartphone or smartwatch without being accurately tested and regulated as safe."
I recently made my annual pilgrimage to the Portland International Auto Show and walked away with the same conclusion I arrived at year ago, and the year before, and the year before that — the auto industry grasps technology about as well as a first grader understand astrophysics.
Synonymous with Kleenex, Apple, Google and Amazon have become household names, and it has only taken a decade for them to do so.
Apple’s rebirth via iPod, iPhone and iPad have forced the entire technology industry to follow their lead. Google’s search prowess has taken them well beyond anything they thought possible in just a few short years ago, and Amazon’s reach has moved from online retailer to hardware and content provider.