Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis
Last week I set out on a mission to purchase a Motorola XOOM tablet, in an effort to compare it to Apple's iPad 2. We Three Guys were going to put the XOOM through its paces and deliver test results. We were ready to do live side-by-side video app and browsing comparisons between the two devices. Unfortunately, after five days of line squatting and Apple Store stakeouts for an iPad 2, we are still without an iPad 2. In contrast, finding a XOOM took little to no effort, there are plenty in stock at any Verizon or Costco location.
That said, finding a Xoom and purchasing one is a completely different story. The strings attached to buying a Xoom makes doing your taxes seem like fun. We'll spare you the test results of just the XOOM (after all, there are plenty of benchmarks out there showing the iPad to be vastly superior), and simply let you know the pain you'll be in for if you decide to buy a Xoom.
Circa 1996, Boyz II Men, Happy Gilmore and Doc Martin's were the pop culture of the day. Nordstrom, The Gap and Eddie Bauer were mall favorites and techies were in short supply when it came to the Macy's crowd. But the character and purpose of "Let's go to the mall" was on the precipice of massive change.
Fast forward to May, 2001. Gateway's retail venture had peaked and Sony's radical Matreon in the heart of San Francisco was proving to be a colossal failure. Tech and trend-cool retail just could not co-exist. There was one more small-ish event took place on May 15, 2001. Steve Jobs rounded up some media folk, and introduced them to the first-ever Apple retail store in Tysons Corner mall in Virginia. The mall as we knew it was forever changed.
The Mac Pro was last updated in July of 2010. Most recently, at the end of March, the MacBook Pro received a new high-speed data port called Thunderbolt. This new data port really benefit professionals who need fast data transfers, such as video editors.
Current Mac Pros will not be able to add the Thunderbolt data port because it needs a new motherboard. Intel will not be offering a PCIe adapter card for current and older computers either, so when will Apple add the Thunderbolt port and refresh the Mac Pro? Lets take a look at the current hardware and past updates.
It has been nine days since iPad 2 rolled out into stores across the U.S. Apple, Best Buy, Target, Walmart and some Sam's clubs all had iPad 2 on it's Friday night debut. But since the iPad 2 launch, the supply chain hasn't been filled, it's been all but depleted, and it's more than just about demand — somethings wrong.
For the ninth day, lines across America continue. Thousands of people are still spending tens of thousands of hours gathering during their much needed REM sleep time for a shot at finally being able to purchase the magical product. But instead of Apple being able to deliver a higher volume of iPads and time moves forward, it appears Apple's manufacturing capability is diminishing.
To-date, iOS devices have seen modest updates, but recent rumblings suggest iOS 5.0 will be a major release integrating a host of new Apple technologies.
Apple has become methodical — if not predictable — in delivering recent updates to both hardware and software. With the exception of the original iPhone launch, each major iOS update has been released only a few days before revamped iPhone hardware. Claims that Apple will deliver an iOS 5 update this spring appear to be erroneous guesswork at best.
The iPhone and iPod touch have proved to be stiff competition for Sony and other hand-held game console makers. While standard handheld game consoles are supposed to be better at gaming, the iPod touch and iPhone can do so much more than just games. This has led to a majority of non-hardcore gamers switching to the iPod Touch or iPhone. The iPad is adding to this trend for those who want a bigger screen.
With the launch of the iPad 2, Apple added the ability to mirror the iPad's screen on a TV with a HDMI output option, which allows the iPad to compete with traditional game consoles. iPad games can now be viewed on a HDTV at 1080p, instead of looking over someone's shoulder. This changes the iPad from a personal gaming device to becoming the social gaming console.
Apple's iPad 2 has a hidden advantage over its competitors, and that is their supply chain. This supply chain gives the iPad access to parts its competitors can't touch and at prices they can't reach. With Apple's war chest of cash and high volume production, will their competitors be able to compete?
Steve Jobs has greatly improved Apple's supply chain management since his return to Apple back in 1996. Back in 2000, Dell was viewed as having the best supply chain management. They excelled in a commodity driven computer industry. Apple replaced Dell when the iPod Nano was released by cornering almost the entire flash memory business. Flash memory production increased after that, but by then is was too late for Applecompetitors. Apple was the second best supply chain management back in 2007, with Nokia being number 1. Now Apple is continuing its success with the iPad and iPhone.
Piper Jaffray delivered some interesting survey results over the weekend. The analyst firm conducted a poll from people standing in line to purchase the iPad 2 during Friday's launch event. While many are focusing on how many people the survey claimed were new to the iPad (roughly 70%), there is another statistic that reveals Apple's true genius — the number of people buying higher memory configurations.
Apple has an entry-level $499 iPad, but it's not model that's selling in the majority, at least not this time around. There was rumor as to whether Apple would bump the base model iPad to 32GB and scale north from there. This seemed plausible considering Peter Oppenheimer's remarks during last quarters financial conference call, claiming margins on iPads were very strong. Many companies, if having the chance, would have jumped at including more storage in order to win the specifications game, but not Apple.
This weekend Apple added a Japan Tsunami donation page to iTunes. Apple claims 100% of your donation will go to the Red Cross. Last week social media giant Facebook announced the rental of Warner Bros. movies through Facebook. In response Netflix stock took a 5.8% hit on the news. Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos fired back (in fear) "Nobody goes to Facebook to watch movies." Ah,... yet. I remember no one was going to watch movies on their computer when Netflix first started their online streaming services too. There really is no reason Facebook can't do what Netflix did by integrating their movie service into the AppleTV, XBox 360, Wii and more.
These are just two examples (iTunes donation, Facebook movies) of giants walking about and running out of room, so they start bumping into one another.