Apple Retail Stores
Apple hit the airwaves this week with a slew of AirPod TV ads. That's great news, because while I have seen the product online, demo'd them in an Apple store, and now see them on TV, I still have been unable to purchase them in any store.
Unless Apple is into some teasing game, it's marketing 101 that a company never advertises what people cannot purchase at the retail level. Apple's ad campaign signals that the company has enough product to hit store shelves quite soon. AirPods have received great reviews, and Apple pushing TV ads to the masses during NFL playoff games indicates the all-wireless EarPods should be on store shelves within a week or two.
If you believe the Apple Watch Series 1 and 2 release was nothing to take note of, you might be surprised to learn that Apple's watches are flying off the shelves.
Two Guys and a Podcast conducted spot checks this week with several Apple retail stores, and all were completely sold out of Apple Watch series 2 versions (some stainless and ceramic are available), with some Series 1 watches still available for purchase. Apple has a hit on their hands, and it may be the big gift of the holiday season.
If you are considering carrier hunting in order to benefit yourself in getting an all-new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus for free or at a discounted rate, you may want to consider ditching the carrier route entirely. Apple has two plans for you to take advantage of and one plan appears to be better than the other.
Truth be told, there are four ways to buy an iPhone from Apple, but I'd suggest considering only two of them. You can outright purchase the unlocked iPhone 7 for the retail price (which you can do through many outlets), purchase the iPhone 7 via the AT&T Next program (if you are with AT&T, or want to switch to them), or you can go with one of the two best options remaining.
Putting it lightly, U.S. Senator, Elizabeth Warren, is a bit of a firebrand for the far-left of the Democrat party, and seems to enjoy taking shots at American companies. Why? You'll need to ask the Senator, but her latest statements blasting Apple, Google and others could be viewed a bit differently than Warren would like to present. Ironically, her points could be turned right around at her.
In a close knit meeting with supporters in 2012, Warren gave her infamous "You didn't build that!" speech (you know, around the same time she was also claiming her Native American status), she told a group of donors that companies think they are really hot stuff. "They didn't build that!" Warren said. Referring to companies successes, that built their empires on the backs of government work and everyone else's taxes. Warren argued companies didn't build the roads which their goods and services traveled on, the government did that. Companies didn't have police to keep them safe, the government provided security. And the firefighters that kept their warehouses from burning to the ground, these companies are alive due to government, not the other way around.
Over the last several months I have more than touched on Apple’s lack of hardware advancements. With WWDC having come and gone without a single new hardware release or update, it is time to take a deeper looking into One Infinite Loop in Cupertino, CA and figure out just what is going on.
1) Apple Car
There can be little doubt about it. Apple is building an electric car, and the company is pouring massive resources into it. The car program, known as the project Titan, it has been rumored the team could cherry pick any worker from anywhere in the company, at any level. If this is indeed the case, expect some brain drain and a few hiccups in other hardware and software areas to occur, if many of Apple’s best and brightest have been thrown to the car.
According to Bloomberg, Amazon will no longer be selling Apple TV or Google Chromecast starting October 29, siting vague references that these products are not easily “compatible” with Amazon’s Prime video service. A big shift in Amazon is taking place within the online retail giant by refusing to sell what look to be popular forthcoming retail products.
Control within Amazon seems to have shifted from its online retail division, to that of the Prime team. This shift is similar to the power Microsoft’s Windows team yielded for decades, and continues to do so, stifling anything in their path for the sake of maintaining power. What is good for Windows is good for Microsoft is the Redmond mantra. In Amazon’s case, subscriptions are now king, running over any physical hardware sales gains. Amazon has taken on a somewhat Orwellian-Marxist viewpoint that all products are equal, but some are more equal than others. In this case, Fire TV is sold along side any other competing product, that is, unless other products threaten the power of Fire TV.
Android smartphones continue to fall behind Apple's iPhone technology at an alarming rate. Here is a quick look at how Apple has coerced Google and their hardware vendors to spend countless billions playing catchup, forced into following Apple’s lead. The Android + 3rd party hardware attempts at deliver powerful, yet simple Apple-like solutions continue to stumble, leaving the duopoly further behind Apple’s superior iPhone hardware + software integration and execution.
Multi-Touch: It was the original 3.5" multi-touch iPhone that sent the entire smartphone market back to the drawing board. Android quickly copied Apple’s home screen, icons, along with look and feel, while Samsung and others dropped physical keyboards, integrating lower quality touch technologies. HTC quickly dropped the idea of pushing the stylus as the best method for smartphone interaction in favor of touch. Fast forward to today and any number of Android smartphones still lack the visceral feel of Apple’s touch technology. A copy is never as good as the original.
I recently took a vacation in Brazil. It is winter there now, thus the locations I visited ranged in the mid-upper 80's, with relatively low humidity, with beaches sparsely populated, leaving them all to my family. Perfect. But in exploring Apple options I was sorely disappointed. Apple’s presence in Brazil is anything but perfect. Brazilian’s like to say “God is Brazilian!” If that were the case, then he’s using Samsung, LG or something else to conduct his wireless communications. Many Brazilians own iPhones, but most own an iPhone 4 or 5. Only a few scant few iPhone 6’s did I see, and here's why.
The US dollar retail price for a 64GB iPhone 6 is $749. In Brazil, the same iPhone is USD is just over $1,000. My new MacBook, which costs $1,599 Stateside, runs $3,300 USD when purchasing via Apple’s online Brazilian store. Within authorized Apple retail locations the prices are the same or more. Anyone using a Mac in Brazil is very likely amongst the über rich. Even though Foxconn has a major iPhone and iPad factory within Brazil’s largest city of Sao Paulo, there are still tariffs on Apple’s in-country built products. Perhaps it is due to component imports or Foxconn not being a Brazilian owned company. Whatever the reason, it puts a majority of current Apple products out of the financial reach of 95% of the Brazilian populous.
Apple TV is coming! Apple TV is coming! We've heard the battle cry from analysts to rumor soothsayers en masse for many years, and yet only minor revisions have come to Apple's diminutive hockey puck-like set-top box. This fall looks to be far different for a variety of reasons, but filter out the noise and there are three areas Apple TV will require in order for it to become the must-have living room entertainment device.
Many cord cutter's dream is an a la carte network service. Yet with Disney and Comcast/NBC owning bundles of channels, each making money off multiple cable TV subscription sales, cutting off their $15 a month bundled channel fees, only to sell EPSN for $4.99 a month makes little sense. Apple has run into this bundled juggernaut for years, gaining zero ground. It appears the only way for Apple, or any other cord cutting solution, to win channels is via mini-bundles, similar to that of Dish Network's Sling TV service. If Apple can deliver roughly 20 of the highest rated channels, and sell it for $30 a month or less, Apple would not only gain millions of cord cutting subscribers, but move millions of additional cable/dish customers to their streamlined package.
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge was supposed to be the “next best thing” in mobile phones. Commercials have this device touting its curved-edge display that lights up the side-panels, illuminating in blue for Craig, green for Gavin and red for Ramona, with text and other such items displayed. Really? Moreover, Samsung continues their staccato plucked strings as background music, trying to add as much intrigue to their product as possible. All the background music does for me is to notify me it's time to change the channel.
Wander any mall in the U.S. and you will not see many people, let alone any lines, trying to get into a mobile phone outlet looking for the latest Galaxy. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 was to drive massive traffic to such stores, in an attempt to stem Apple's iPhone momentum. It hasn't worked.