Earlier in the week, Microsoft managed to deliver a pretty big fish story. The software giant made some rather large claims about Surface sales versus Apple's newly launched MacBook Pro. Unsurprisingly, most of Microsoft's boasting appears to be pure marketing bluster and sleight of hand.
Microsoft is desperate to push the Surface against MacBook Pro's, but in reality, the Surface design should be compared to the often superior iPad Pro (Microsoft's sleight of hand in full view). Of course Microsoft would rather not compete against a very compelling iPad Pro with its much lower price points than the MacBook Pro. Let's take a look at the games Microsoft plays with the media and see what's really going on.
How much are you willing to pay for the best? That is the question that one is immediately confronted with when considering the new MacBook Pro. This top of the line laptop is the new bad boy in Apple’s lineup. That said it comes with a price tag to match its feature set and attitude.
Netflix, the king of cord-cutting online streaming. Or is it? Sure, Netflix owns the lion's share of streaming movie and TV content, along with their own original movies and series, but is it really all that great? Not really, and here's why.
As a cord cutter, Netflix offered me the hope of watching shows only offered on cable, or a series I could follow on my own timeline, while viewing movies without costly rental fees. In reality, I've been let down in just about every category.
If you haven't noticed, Apple silently racked up large scale iPad and MacBook Air sales over the Black Friday weekend, according to Adobe's analytics. But wait! Like a good Ginsu knife, there's more! Apple's Beats headphones were also show stoppers, and the new MacBook Pro has seen stronger than anticipated demand since its release. If you think there couldn't possibly be more, you'd be wrong! Apple's iPhone is also the most wanted item on Christmas wish lists this year, up by 2% over last year's desire for iPhones. There can't possible more than this, right?! Wrong! This weekend I moved to Verizon from AT&T, and upgraded muy plan with six new iPhone 7's!
Across the board Apple's sales are looking solid, but Verizon's virtual blind-side to AT&T this holiday weekend may have given Apple an extra boost. The largest US carrier offered $200 Visa cards and generous trade-in values on older iPhones for new customers. After the cash card arrives, my purchase of a 128GB iPhone 7 is a net zero dollars cost to me. The Verizon plan also provides my 6 lines with a 24GB per month data pool, with half of it able to be rolled over into future months. Verizon even offered $300 for a base iPhone 5, plus the $200 Visa card! It was an impressive offer, and coming from Verizon, a company known to rarely provide steep discounts, AT&T was caught flat footed.
Today is the day where many citizens in states across the country set off to the voting booth. Baring some form of miracle, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will become the 44th President of the United States of America. For this moment I'll be setting ALL political thoughts aside, save for one: Which President elect's tax plan would benefit Apple the most?
Trump's offshore tax policy states it will reduce the Federal repatriation tax to 10%. Tim Cook, when testifying before Congress in 2013, believed a fair tax rate would be around 26% (state and fed total), which is typically Apple's domestic tax rate in any given quarter. If Trump became President and was able to pass a 10% repatriation tax rate, Apple would likely move most, if not all, of their offshore holdings back to the US. This past summer the European Union (EU) pushed into Ireland's banking laws, demanding Apple pay the EU $14.5 billion in taxes. Trump's policy would likely motivate Apple all the more to move their holdings back into the states and out of other countries, where Apple's cash is vulnerable to swiftly changing perceptons and laws.
A little over a week ago Apple took the wraps off their all-new MacBook Pro lineup. As impressive as these powerful notebooks may be, the omission of updating other Apple MacBooks spoke volumes about where Apple is headed with their macOS computers.
Upon Steve Jobs return to Apple in 1997, Apple was offering 13 lines of Macintosh computers. In typical Apple 1990's fashion, the company could not meet demand for the most popular models, while always able to have plenty of unwanted Macs on store shelves. Jobs ended the ever-expanding proliferation of undesirable Macs with a hacksaw. Apple would kill off virtually every Mac, selling only four options of Macintosh.
Touching notebook screens is a lazy solution to a problem that never existed. During last week’s Apple special event, where the company launched a new MacBook Pro lineup, not single mention was made about notebook touch displays, yet Apple showed it is a truly ridiculous solution.
During Apple’s MacBook Pro unveiling, Phil Schiller, Apple VP of Worldwide Marketing, showed off an expansive Force Touch trackpad and an industry-first technology, which Apple calls Touch Bar. The technology duo is causing many to rethink why touching a notebook display was thought to be a good idea, while others are starting to consider touching a notebook display as another failing Microsoft technology.
At least half of all Galaxy Note 7 users have switched, or soon will, to iPhones, according to IDC's latest research. This is big news for Apple and iPhone sales. Only 17% will be choosing another Samsung phone, and an astounding 13% were not even aware of the recall.
IDC did not seek to poll future smartphone buyers, but during last Tuesday's Apple quarterly conference call, Apple CFO, Luca Maestri, cited a survey indicating 79% of those planning on buying a smartphone in the U.S. during the December quarter would be purchasing an iPhone. Consumers in the know, or had a Galaxy Note 7, are turning to iPhones in droves.
On Tuesday I wrote an article with the premise that Microsoft, from their marketing arm to product offerings are mirroring Apple amazingly well, surpassing Cupertino's technologies in many ways. Immediately, Apple apologists were decrying the Surface Studio as a wannabe, gimmicky iMac, and that the price was unjustifiably high.
Yesterday Apple launched the all-new MacBook Pro, with innovative touch bar, complete with built-in Touch ID. The new technology looks well refined and thoroughly thought out. Touch bar makes sense in hundreds of different use cases and the rest of the MacBook was given highly effective refinements throughout. Apple may have stemmed any creative pro tide away from it's notebook shores with the new MacBooks, but there is still trouble within Apple's desktop offerings. The competition knows it and is attacking in full force.
You may not have heard about it yesterday, but while Apple was busy releasing their first time in 14 years, declining annual financial results, Microsoft held a special event in New York showing off their new flagship desktop computing system, Surface Studio. Watching Microsoft's marketing video, you can come away with only one possible conclusion; somewhere, sometime, Microsoft merged with Apple, but no one told anyone!
All the bellyaching from Microsoft apologists that Apple making both hardware and software is lame, or that Apple is nothing more than slick marketing videos, and sheek product has come home to roost. Microsoft has copied Apple's marketing of products so well, if I didn't see the Windows logo, I would have sworn this was Apple's all-new iMac. Microsoft has been accused of always copying Apple, and true enough, this video does exactly that. Showcasing exploded components slowly coming together, or copying Apple's close-up pans with a hip take on Willy Wonka's imagination song, invoke a state-of-the-art emotion rarely seen from any company outside of Apple. For all those Microsoftians, now is your time. If you love Surface Studio's design and this video it is to say you've truly loved Apple products and their presentations, you just too cowardly to admit it.