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Herr Hansa

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  • Is There A Floor In RIM's Stock? An Examination Of The Company's Balance Sheet [View article]
    I think in the conference call it was mentioned by CEO Heins that they added about 1 million users. Until we see the actual sales volume, we don't know the percentage, but what it does imply is that most sales were replacement devices. That is a poor position to be in when the overall smartphone market is still growing.
    Jun 1, 2012. 06:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is There A Floor In RIM's Stock? An Examination Of The Company's Balance Sheet [View article]
    I think you did quite well with the reporting. Earnings per share are likely to be negative next quarter, and possibly one or two more after that. Motorola was negative for quite a while before the Google buyout and if someone ran the numbers then they might have been surprised at the sale price, though perhaps Google overpaid.
    Jun 1, 2012. 06:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Windows 8 (MSFT) release preview is out, and it's laden with a slew of features not found in February's consumer preview. Among the highlights are new Bing and digital media apps that have generally earned positive reviews. The release preview "feels very close to a finished product," says The Verge's David Pierce. (earlier)  [View news story]
    The dinosaurs always complain when the young mammals keep evolving. ;)
    Jun 1, 2012. 06:20 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It's Tim Cook's Apple Now [View article]
    Just to expand on this, there are three paths that brands take to maintain demand. The first is lifestyle, which we saw with the iMac and Think Different. Then we saw the iconic status, with the iPod seemingly everywhere, like Levi's. Now we see the cult status, with unwavering devotion and defense against all criticism, manifest in the iPhone and iPad.

    That's quite different from being an aspirational brand, which is more suited to where Harley Davidson were recently. The relative prices of Apple products are high, but they are not out of reach. Neither is the supply constrained; despite high initial demand, it was possible to buy an iPhone easily without wait not too long after each launch. The behavior patterns of buying in Apple products are much more like a cult.
    Jun 1, 2012. 06:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It's Tim Cook's Apple Now [View article]
    I upgrade my Apple laptop about every 3 years. Gave up desktops a few years ago, though it is tempting to get an iMac.

    I expect the next iPhone case to be the same physical size as the current 4S. The port and button positions might change a little. I don't expect colour choices prior to late 2013, so it will take a while to see if I am right about that; that is if anyone remembers this article.

    If you are long AAPL, then you might use the market correction as a buying opportunity. Probably not much indication of where we are headed next week, due to a lack of reports, but on 17 June is Greek elections. Currently the polls in Greece show the opposing groups bringing in each about 1/4 of the vote. This would indicate that the chances of forming a new Greek government are small, which would prompt another round of elections. They would have until about the 22nd to do that. Even if they manage to pull that off, there is nothing to provide a market catalyst until earnings season starts again with Alcoa (AA) in early July, and solid numbers might prompt a recovery. The Federal Reserve ends Operation Twist stimulus in two weeks, right before Greek elections.

    I definitely do not think we are at a bottom, nor do I see a recovery catalyst yet. If you still like AAPL, and want to increase your position, then be patient and you can get shares at a more favorable level.
    Jun 1, 2012. 06:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It's Tim Cook's Apple Now [View article]
    Aspirational brands remain so due to avoidance of becoming a commodity, but that directly means keeping the market penetration lower than the overall market. So Android is fast becoming the commodity, while Apple can maintain high prices due to them not being ubiquitous. MacBook Pros already fit this pattern, though if you look at sales volumes Windows laptops far outsell MacBooks. The downside is that MacBooks are near saturation as an aspirational item, so growth is much slower than other Apple product lines. I don't think Apple mind this aspect, because they are able to maintain high profit margins.

    I don't know that I would call all other smartphones knock-offs. I think the idea is quintessance: the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form. Unlike nearly all facial tissues being called Kleenex, not all smartphones are called iPhones, though I do see many people make that mistake with other brands. On first viewing nearly all smartphones look the same, as evidenced by the three at the top of the article. There is very little that can be done with enclosure design. The user interface will become the defining aspect, as I noted in one of my other articles.

    Eugene Munster is a well known AAPL bull, and hardly an unbiased viewpoint. Even if you like his target for a couple years from now, would you be taking profits at that level?

    I realistically see continued solid iPhone sales beyond the next version release, and well into 2015/2016. I would hope for a much greater increase in iPad sales moving into the future, and for that to become a greater source of revenue. If AAPL continues to generate too high a revenue from one product, then I would worry. I allude to this in this article. Investors should not place an overemphasis on iPhone sales as the primary basis of their investment. There will be a slew of low priced tablets hitting the market later this year, and while I expect iPad to remain the dominant platform in tablets, I also want to see Apple increase tablet revenues, and not just maintain sales volume. Tech investing is about growth.
    Jun 1, 2012. 05:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It's Tim Cook's Apple Now [View article]
    Apple defined the shape and layout of future smartphones. All future smartphones will follow the basic idea of a slab screen in an enclosure. This is the same as nearly all laptops fold in the middle and have a screen and keyboard in two hinged enclosures.

    I think what you are hinting at is innovation, but Apple is more of an integrator than innovator. Smartphones were around prior to the Apple iPhone.

    Apple did not have the first touch nor multi-touch devices, but arguably they integrated this technology better than any other company before them.

    Rather than guess at what you are getting at, which I think is innovation, would you be willing to expand on your thoughts a bit more? Thanks in advance.
    Jun 1, 2012. 05:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The VIX (VXX +6.2%) posts its biggest jump in a month, but isn't anywhere near the sort of level associated with real fear in the market. The index currently resides around 23, but spent most of 2011's late summer and fall north of 30. We may need an S&P drop of 30-35 points in a day for the VIX to crack 30, says Michael Palmer.  [View news story]
    Update: sold completely out of OFF at more than 20% profit in under three months. Weird investment and not sure I would try this one again, but it did work as the prospectus suggested.
    Jun 1, 2012. 04:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It's Tim Cook's Apple Now [View article]

    Tough to argue with Sansung's numbers as reported in Reuters. The Economist article is interesting in that it notes the user bases of various operating systems, and the gains made by Android in passing up every other mobile operating system are tough to ignore.

    You should also watch your analogies, because Xerox actually is a leader in digital on-demand book publishing. They don't just make copy machines. So by extension, they actually are a "leader in book publishing". Thanks for reminding me of that.

    Notice I made no claims about any smartphone being "better" than another. I look at this from the aspect of an investor, despite that I have been using and buying Apple computers and laptops for 18 years.

    General Motors might sell more cars, but I would never buy one of their products.
    Jun 1, 2012. 04:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Prior to his death, Steve Jobs sought to transform three more industries: textbooks, TVs, and photography. Apple (AAPL) is already making its presence felt in the first, and its plans for the second are the subject of constant rumors. Now a source tells iLounge Apple is working on a high-end point-and-shoot iSight camera. However, the site, which also notes Jobs' interest in photography startup Lytro, labels its comments as speculation.  [View news story]
    Sony bought out Minolta for the camera and optics capabilities, though they also partnered with Zeiss on lens design. After a great deal of expense, they are just now getting a small portion of the share of the market. It was not long after the Minolta camera system purchase that Sony considered scrapping cameras entirely due to poor sales. Interestingly Nokia has partnered with Zeiss on lens design.

    Panasonic has a lens partnership with Leica, another well regarded optics maker. I haven't seen indication of a Panasonic smartphone with a Leica designed lens, though Panasonic do make rebranded compact cameras for Leica.

    Samsung is moving away from point & shoot cameras, in favor of more high quality system cameras. They previously bought the camera division of Pentax.

    Olympus is having some major financial problems, and many buyers have been rumored. If Apple was going to surprise the markets, they could buy the camera division of Olympus, then allow the medical devices division to go to Fujifilm, who recently expressed an interest in just that part.

    Nikon and Canon lead because they are long established brands with a history that users value. Their cameras are quite good, and the new Nikon 1 system has been likened as the Apple of compact interchangeable lens cameras. Sony mostly gained ground from Zeiss, and that they make some of the imaging chips for Nikon. Panasonic has yet to leverage the Leica connection, while Samsung has made little progress from high quality German optics design from Schneider. With all that in mind, I don't think an Apple logo is enough to make a dent in cameras the way Sony did, especially with almost no respected optical companies left to partner with on that important part of the design.
    Jun 1, 2012. 03:27 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • It's Tim Cook's Apple Now [View article]
    I would be interested in a smaller iPad, but I think that would be a surprise. The expense would not be much different in manufacture, the price point would need to be lower, and the profit margin would not be as good. It might happen, but I don't expect it.

    During times of economic downturn, colour choices often become more subdued, somber, or even moody. White has an optimism to it, while Black alludes to that darkness, though it is also a purposeful choice. I think aluminum (or titanium) will be more prominent on the next iPhone, with only smaller areas of colour, or maybe edge colour. Usually after an election year, and I don't just mean in the U.S., there is some return of optimism. Colours would be a more light-hearted direction, so I don't expect them until late 2013. The move by Softbank got quite a bit of attention, and they do have good market penitration in Japan, but we shall wait and see what direction this may influence in the future. Some manufacturers are just trying colours on smartphones now, and that might become more of a trend next year.
    Jun 1, 2012. 03:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Prior to his death, Steve Jobs sought to transform three more industries: textbooks, TVs, and photography. Apple (AAPL) is already making its presence felt in the first, and its plans for the second are the subject of constant rumors. Now a source tells iLounge Apple is working on a high-end point-and-shoot iSight camera. However, the site, which also notes Jobs' interest in photography startup Lytro, labels its comments as speculation.  [View news story]
    He once also thought that the Segway would revolutionize transportation in cities.

    I think the photography part is already completed. FIgures from upload web portal Flickr indicate the iPhone as the most used "camera". Meanwhile camera makers are starting to abandon point & shoot cameras, in part due to the influx of smartphone cameras.

    Apple did have a few cameras in the 1990s, including some of the earliest digital cameras. They were never very popular.

    Google has yet to see much traction from interactive television. This is the supposed direction for Apple to take. The downsides are that Vizio kills margins amongst existing competitors, and that people do not buy televisions as often as they do smartphones nor computers. It would not be a steady revenue stream due to the slow upgrade cycle and mature market status. Until 2K and 4K systems start to replace HD, there is not much reason for people to buy one HD system over another, other than price.
    Jun 1, 2012. 02:39 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Should You Buy Apple After A Market Correction? [View article]
    Thanks. I was criticized for that earlier article and some of the comments I made prior to that, which led me to write it. Resolving the Greek situation seems to be taking far longer than I expected.

    I agree with you on the higher earnings and by extension the profit margin. Samsung is quite the huge company, and their advantage is in-house manufacturing, but phones are only part of the Samsung Group. I recall people discussing a lower cost iPhone Nano not long after the first iPhone, and I am glad that never happened.
    Jun 1, 2012. 02:26 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Ship Tracking Indicates Offshore Opportunities [View article]
    Thanks and glad you found the article informative. I will be working on another article in the manner of this one over the weekend.
    Jun 1, 2012. 02:20 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It's Tim Cook's Apple Now [View article]
    Number of devices, and that so often stated "market share", are what place Samsung and Google Android as the leaders. Not sure if you caught it, in the first paragraph, but I stated: "Volumes might seem to indicate a winner, but profits tell a different story. In technology, the most profitable companies are the most successful." It is funny that for so long Apple and "market share" were mentioned as the "meaningful metric" to validate arguments, yet once that is no longer a "metric" useful for arguments, over terms are thrown about. It's all too convenient for those with short term memories. Again, Apple does not need to be all things to all people, nor does it need to sell more than other companies. Fundamentally we don't really seem to disagree on this.

    Other than the Nielsen figures, there is quite a bit of marketing information out there about the influence of women in purchases, and the buying trends for products. Some of the best reports are not freely published on the internet, and you should note that the Nielsen survey I mention is from late 2010. Smarphone advertising for some Android phones seems to appeal more to men than women, according to some reports I have seen. I'm not suggesting Apple specifically targets women, but they are more gender neutral than some of their competitors.

    The other example of this, which I ran out of room to include in my article, is the new Nikon 1 camera system. Their V1 model is expected to appeal more towards men, while the J1 model available in several colours, is expected to appeal more towards women. At the launch of this system last year, many reviewers compared these cameras to Apple, especially on the basis of design. In a way Jonathon Ive is becoming as influential now as Dieter Rams was in his time.

    Apple did go with colour variations first on the iMac and then on several iPods. Tim Cook was in charge of the supply chain management at that point in Apple's history. If he could do that then, it should be even easier now, because I think Apple are even more efficient today. I don't see them going the 20 variety route of Softbank, but I think moving beyond just Black or just White is likely in the years ahead.

    I don't think the current size and form factor of the iPhone are dated. Rather I consider the form and design unique enough that people recognize it is an iPhone without needing to see that Apple logo on the back of it. Once it has a cover on it, then it loses that aspect, which could be another argument for colours.
    Jun 1, 2012. 02:15 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment