Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis
It may be the last day of calendar year 2010, but it's Apple, Inc's fiscal Q1 2011, and it looks to be a pretty hot one Jobs and company. The December quarter may very well be a record for many of Apple's devices:
What calendar year 2011 may hold?
Here's a shocker - Apple's on a tear lately. iPhone's, iPad's, even Mac's, their sales are exploding. Apple has had the uncanny ability to push their financial figures north, defying the growth rules which mandate Apple must flatten out the larger they become. Will Apple succumb to these laws? Perhaps, but it's not likely to occur in 2011 based on recent estimates. According to DigiTimes, Apple's on pace to ship more than 20 million iPhones in 2011, along with new iPads shipping in the quarter. Throw in a newly rumored 65 million iPads for the new year and 2011 is covered.
Apple will defy Wall Street in 2011, but what will Jobs magically produce to keep the numbers piling up for 2012?
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has become the trade show for new computing products to the latest in remote control vacuum cleaners. To summarize, CES is an absolute circus, but it's a must-attend show for any business serious about the the markets in which they play — unless that business is Apple, Inc.
Since Apple exited MacWorld Expo in 2009 it has shunned industry trade shows and opted to conduct their own media events. Why share the stage when a spotlight can be had? Last year Apple waited for CES to blow by — with all the half-baked tablet announcements. Then on January 18, Apple issued invitations to their special event: "Come see our latest creation". This special event took place on January 27, where Apple amazed all with the iPad. This year proves to be no different. Apple will not be holding a special event prior to CES.
Could Apple switch to AMD processors as they move the Graphics Processors Unit (GPU) into the Central Processor Unit (CPU)? Historically, GPUs have always been on a card at the end of a bus inside your computer. That may start to change as both AMD and Intel are bringing their GPUs into the Central Processor Unit (CPU). AMD could have the edge in this new battle with the expertise they received from the purchase of ATI.
Intel introduced the iSeries processors this year that are based on the Nehalem microarchitecture. These i3, i5, and i7 processors are big, fast and expensive, which is both a positive and a negative. Intel has gone after the high market with these chips, but they have left an opening for AMD in the middle and low segments. This kept AMD in the game even though Intel still commands an 80% global market-share. Intel chips are faster, but AMD offers a better value for the price.
Adobe Flash has been the King of the castle for website animation, video and other "hip and cool" things for about a decade. Yet, ever since Apple released the iPhone and then the iPad without Flash support, the future of Flash has been in question.
Not too long ago Apple started building a new sales model. Apple made a shift when selling a new iPhone, as they continued to offer the dated version of the iPhone, but at a lower price point. The forthcoming iPad 2 launch is believed to be no different.
Apple first started this sales model with the release of the iPhone 3GS at $199, while the iPhone 3G stayed in the lineup, dropping to $99. Apple repeated this product positioning with their iPhone 4 launch, slotting the iPhone 3GS to $99. How successful has this sales model been? Apple never reveals a breakdown of iPhone sales by model, delivering only a total number of iPhone sales per quarter, but iPhone 3GS is AT&T's third best selling smart phone (coming in behind a Samsung Android and the number one selling iPhone 4).
In business there is nothing like having enough cash to do what you want to help your business grow. Whether that is hiring key talent, purchasing new equipment or buying out a competitor, having money in hand is important. Matter of fact the number one reason businesses don't make it past year #1 is cash flow. Having enough “walking around money” to take advantage of key opportunities that may only happen once is a critical factor to a business' success.
Fortunately, Steve Jobs and Company know this all too well. Almost every financial quarterly conference call contains a question about, "What is Apple going to do with their billions in cash?"