Seeking Alpha

Rookie IRA Investor  

View Rookie IRA Investor's Comments BY TICKER:
  • Surface 3 And Apple Watch - Red Oceans Vs. Blue Oceans [View article]
    That is pretty much what Cortana does!
    Apr 5, 2015. 05:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Surface 3 And Apple Watch - Red Oceans Vs. Blue Oceans [View article]
    Good article. One of the problems is that there is no definitive device for all tasks. People keep talking about tablets replacing laptops, but who wants to work on a tiny cramped device all the time? Personally for desk work I want a minimum 19 inches wide screen so I can lean back in my chair, or show work to someone else, a large keyboard with full travel keys, and a full-size mouse.

    But I also have smaller devices, like a small phone that fits in my top blazer pocket so I can answer texts by voice when driving, a tablet to sit on my bedside table for use primarily as a music player, a small tablet for one-handed reading in bed and so on.

    There is no combination of device, data plan, and phone service that is perfect for all my needs and my desired budget and probably never will be, because it is not in the interest of the main computer companies and telephone companies to provide me with exactly what I want, unless I am prepared to pay premium prices, enter into long term contracts, and so on, so there will always be multiple ways for people to get what they most need (or think they need) at a price they can afford.

    Once you have established that you can afford anything, the choices are much clearer. Perhaps large screen monitors and heavy duty keyboards and mouse at home and work, a high powered tablet like the Surface Pro 3 that is portable and can be taken on the road, a smaller tablet with stylus support like the Galaxy for client presentations and data collection, a phablet-size device with or without calling for reading and net surfing in bed or in the airport waiting lounge , and a small phone with a good camera, wifi, and a data hotspot for sharing together with the data plan for than, and you have your starter kit.

    Or maybe you can substitute an Apple laptop for the Surface Pro 3 if you prefer to use the Apple software or your job requires it.
    Apr 3, 2015. 12:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Dear iPhone 6, Meet Desay Mirror X5 [View article]
    "Brand conscious consumers like brand names."

    Obviously. But to what extent will this affect the next billion people globally who enter the smart phone market, and which brands will win and which will lose?
    Jan 15, 2015. 12:45 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Dear iPhone 6, Meet Desay Mirror X5 [View article]
    "Japanese cars of the 60's".

    My sister had a used Toyota Corolla in the 1960's and my mother's next-door-neighbour owned a Toyota dealership. A friend of mine also had a Datsun Sunny. My recollection is that people were amazed by the Japanese cars of the 60's that just ran and ran and ran until they eventually rusted away, but still kept running. They hardly ever needed to be repaired, but when they did, there were parts available and people who knew how to repair them.
    Jan 15, 2015. 12:36 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Misguided iPad Woes [View article]
    You can get iPhones and iPads at Walmart.
    Dec 12, 2014. 07:38 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Misguided iPad Woes [View article]
    When I had an Apple iPod, when there was a software upgrade all the music on the device was wiped out. I had carefully selected 1000 musica items from my main music collection to carry around with me and moved them over to the iPod and was most annoyed to have to repeat the process.

    Apple makes some superb devices, but for many consumers cost effectiveness is also a factor.

    The main argument here seems to be that iPods are indestructible and last for ever, and that other devices don't. Maybe that is true, but the bottom line for any device is the question of whether it does what the user wants it to do.

    I have a Surface RT tablet that cost me $149.99 including postage and packing. According to the graphic above this device contains $271 of parts, (so may be I should break it down and sell it for parts). This was sold as "refurbished" which seems to be the way Microsoft gets rid of unsold stock by selling it without the original box. Presumably they get some kind of tax write-off and possibly their real intention is to profit by getting retail punters using the Bing search, Xbox music and other products so as to carve into the territory of that lucrative Google franchise.

    The device is obviously crippled in many ways, as the ideal device would be the more expensive Surface model that can do everything a PC can do, but of course not everyone needs one that can do it all.

    For $150 the device makes an excellent dedicated music and video player that can also be taken on the road with a mouse and keyboard and used for general computing or any kind of e-mail, Word, Excel type functions. It can also be used with Wi-Fi as a Skype agent, so it might be the only device many people actually need. Judging by the top selling paid and unpaid apps in the Windows store, the most popular use is for playing games.

    Considering that in the 1980's I paid the same price for a Walkman CD player that played 2 CDs before the batteries needed to be replaced, this is not a bad deal, relatively speaking.

    The question for many people would be whether you would rather pay about $600 for an iPad or get a Surface RT or some other device for around the same price for each member of the family for the same total price.

    Obviously there is a very substantial segment of the population in the US for whom price is not a very important factor, but there is also an even larger segment of the population of the US for whom price IS a factor and for whom being able to get little Johnny Middle-Schooler a computing device of his own outweighs the importance of the head of household owning the best device on the market.

    So yes, Apple will continue to sell plently of iPads, but it is unlikely to be able to greatly increase its market segment or improve profit margins in the face of a wide range of other devices competing. For example I have noticed that it is Samsung, not Apple that seems to be taking control of the Home Health market in my part of the world where visiting nurses are visiting patient homes to conduct assessments.
    Dec 12, 2014. 07:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It's True, Apple Is About To Crush Microsoft With Business Customers [View article]
    While this may be true of the IT industry, I believe it is much less likely to be true in industries like health care, government, or the military, where vast numbers of computer terminals are in use.

    When considering which stocks are most likely to show the most appreciation in the short and medium term, analyzing the state of every different market in the world is an almost impossibly complex task, and even if Apple is making considerable inroads in corporate IT in the US, that may be much less the case in the rest of the world. Windows is widely unpopular with Seeking Alpha authors and readers in the US, but this unpopularity does not immediately translate to the rest of the world.

    My impression is that everyone wants to get onto the Internet for one thing or another for personal reasons, but that most markets for both business and personal devices are pretty price sensitive when there is little to choose on performance. The continued worldwide roll-out of 4g will be a great leveler in the long run as it is the first iteration of the wireless net that is truly functional for both business and recreational purposes.

    If APPL is going to dethrone MSFT in enterprise computing, right now will not be the last opportunity to get on board. Right now I am fairly certain that failing a general market collapse, MSFT stock will at least make a run at the $50 mark over the next year.
    Oct 25, 2014. 08:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It's True, Apple Is About To Crush Microsoft With Business Customers [View article]
    "Corporate Windows PCs last about 1.5 years now on average (factoring in corporate laptops as well)."

    They last a lot longer than that in my workplace even if they are used 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, and in any case they have to be depreciated over a longer period than 1.5 years for tax purposes, five years, I think.

    Desktops have the advantage that if you spill a cup of coffee, you will probably only have the cheap cost of replacing the keyboard. Laptops are surely much more vulnerable to damage, especially in transit, not to mention if they are taken home they may be exposed to children and pets.
    Oct 23, 2014. 01:46 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will The Samsung S6 Overtake The iPhone 6? Probably [View article]
    It is certainly interesting to compare the strategies of different companies and trying to see where they will go in the long term. I somewhat agree with Blair that Microsoft's Windows phone and its ecosystem may have more potential for growth, because of the lower price of entry.

    An iPhone is a wonderful device, but not the kind of thing a student or a person in their first job post college can afford, especially not the the developing world. But the student or new graduate who gets a cheap Windows phone with their second paycheck, after sending the first one to mom of course, is quite possibly the doctor or professor, or leading scientist, or politician of the future who will be able to afford much more expensive devices for themselves and their family in the future. So, yes, this lack of an entry level phone for Apple may come back to bite them a generation down the road. Of course most of us don't care about that far in the future, except that stocks always have the future priced into them years and years ahead. Look at Tesla.

    I should say that I am currently using a Nokia Windows phone that cost me only about one thirteenth of the cost of an iPhone, and yet by objective standards it is a wonderful device. Apart from calling and messaging, which it handles with aplomb, my main use of it is as a substitute short-wave radio and I can tell you that it beats the pants off short wave radios that would have cost hundreds of dollars a couple of decades ago and needed a massive antenna to boot, and only worked at certain times of day and weather conditions. Now I can potentially listen to thousands of international radio stations in real time while driving on the Interstate in urban areas in a storm with few interruptions in service.

    Looking at what a device can do technically is one thing, and easy to do, what looking at what consumers may want to do with a device in countries and cultures very different from one's own is much harder to do.
    Oct 5, 2014. 12:20 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will The Samsung S6 Overtake The iPhone 6? Probably [View article]
    But he is not writing articles about how bad Apple products are, just his opinion that Apple cannot continue to grow at the same rate.

    I am neither long nor short Apple right now, but have made money on the long side in the past, however it seems to me that many of the comments here are from anxious Apple longs looking at Seeking Alpha articles for affirmation of investment decisions already made, rather than impartial investors. If there is one thing I have learned from my experience investing is that you have to make a decision and stick with it while your initial reason for investing is valid, and to have an exit plan right from the start, and not to let emotions come into play. Apple is currently around historical highs and it is a moot point as to whether the stock breaks out to the upside from here, or not.
    Oct 5, 2014. 12:03 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will The Samsung S6 Overtake The iPhone 6? Probably [View article]
    It should be. The iPhone 6 costs more than twice as much as my laptop.

    From the point of view of pure economics, it makes more sense to buy a cheaper smartphone, a standalone camera, a tablet computer or Kindle type device and a laptop and a printer all for about the same price as an iPhone, but really the arguments are not about economics. The iPhone is a very nice rich person's toy that many not-so-rich can also afford if they take it with a payment plan and a contract with an expensive network provider--and it costs a lot less than a car.

    However Mr. Blair has a point which is that the undoubted quality may count for little in opening up mass market sales in more price sensitive markets where most people still don't own private cars either.

    I'm not sure that it is wise to short Apple, but I can see that the explosive growth of the past is not necessarily part of the future, and the stock could be vulnerable in a market downturn.
    Oct 5, 2014. 11:33 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will The Samsung S6 Overtake The iPhone 6? Probably [View article]
    It is interesting that Puerto Rico seems to be a tiny point of light for Apple. Who'd have thunk it?

    Othewise this certainly shows where Apple's core markets lie and does seem to support the thesis that the iPhone's penetration key growth markets lacks explosive growth.
    Oct 5, 2014. 11:26 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How The Non-Subsidy Model Benefits AT&T And Apple [View article]
    Yeah, we all know Apple make the best devices, but given the current economy in the US, with declining standards of living, more expensive food, and high unemployment, the real growth potential is in getting the unchurched converted to belief in salvation via the Internet in the US, one of the developed nations with the lowest percentage of Internet penetration.

    AT&T took over LEAP late last year and is now running its Cricket brand of AT&T telephone and data services. I was in one of their stores today and noted that they are offering the Nokia 620 Windows 8.1 smart phone FREE, with unlimited calling and 10GB of 4G LTE data for $55 per month, with unlimited domestic calling and text, picture, and video messaging, and free international texting.

    When I say free, I mean that the phone is $49.99 and there is a $50 mail in rebate if you take the phone, so actually AT&T is paying you 1 cent to take the phone off their hands.

    The only downside I could see was that Cricket does not allow data sharing, so you cannot use your phone as a hotspot to drive a laptop or tablet. At&T does allow it, but at quite a price.

    Wait a minute! You are going to say that the latest Apple phone that costs 13 times as much as the smart phones that Apple is giving away is worth it because it is 26 times as capable as the Nokia 620, which has a cheap user replaceable battery and memory expansion up to 64GB via a micro SD card slot (which the Apples don't have).

    This is perfectly true. You are right. But the vast majority of people who want smart phones just want to be able to make and receive calls, send messages, take pictures of their family, record short videos of their above average talented dog performing tricks, watch the odd video on Youtube, get the lottery results, check their bank balance and e-mails, get onto Facebook and Whatsapp to communicate with friends or find new ones, and if that doesn't work watch online pornography--and a few other things.

    They don't really have any need for a cell phone that can fly a jumbo jet no hands or take a bullet without cracking the screen. They just don't.

    That is why Cricket's phone giveaway is the future of AT&T. A time will come, and not before long, when a cell phone has no secondary value at all any more that a used TV is worth shipping to the third world when it is obsolete.

    Apple will be the new Polaroid, a company with a charismatic genius founder named Edwin Land that invented a number of brilliant technological advances like polarizing sunglasses, instant film prints, one of the first digital cameras, portable scanners and various other devices, but eventually failed to move with changing times, went bankrupt, and in 2010 appointed Lady Gaga as its creative director.

    Apple will never go bankrupt, and may never offer Lady Gaga a seat on the board, but it may become increasingly irrelevant, or more to the point from the investor's point of view, cease to grow its profits.
    Sep 16, 2014. 08:12 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How The Non-Subsidy Model Benefits AT&T And Apple [View article]
    Good points, Mickael. I think the author also fails to spot that AT&T also profits by charging people who bring their own phone the same amount for service, or nearly as much, as people who have subsidy phones--that is A LOT.

    This is too complicated to go into here, because there are so many pricing plans, and they change all the time.

    But for example I am paying AT&T $103 per month to use my own unlocked phone on their network. For that I get unlimited domestic calling and messaging and 10GB of data that I can share with another device if I wish. However, if I use less than 10GB of data, then I get no refund or carryover for the unused bandwidth at the end of the monthly cycle, but if I use excess bandwidth, I have to pay a whopping $15 per gigabyte or part of a gigabyte for the excess. There is no option to buy 9GB of data for $10 less,and if I take the $8GB plan the savings are minimal. The next step down, I think, is 5GB which is probably not enough, and if there is a risk of paying $15 per GB for overage, one might as well get the 10GB plan and be done with it. (I listen to a lot of streaming international radio stations.)

    The charges for overseas calls to cell phones are expensive if you use AT&T (I don't use AT&T for international calls) and overseas text messages are 50 cents apiece, though you can use free apps like Skype and Viber for that if the recipient has a data connection. The cost for overseas roaming is also astronomical.

    There are some secondary providers that use the AT&T network, like Cricket, but usually they only provide limited access to 4g wireless data.

    AT&T has by far the best network, best speed, most widely available service, etc., so users are prepared to put up with the expense. T-Mobile is cheaper, but problematical when you can't get a connection due to limited coverage.

    So what am I saying? I am saying that the cost of the devices is nothing to the amount of money AT&T makes once it gets users onto its network on one plan or another, because the one thing they don't offer is pay-as-you go, i.e. just let consumers buy some more data or calls or texts at a reasonable price if they exceed a basic allowance, or suspending service if on vacation overseas.

    So even if AT&T gave you the use of a completely free iPhone for two years, they would still make a lot of money of you by selling you a data plan with penalties for canceling, but they don't do that to stop people just unlocking them and shipping them overseas via eBay or Amazon. So there are some penalties to stop people dealing in used AT&T phones on a large scale, but that is about it.

    Actually, even if you don't have a contract, which I don't, it is still a bit difficult to discontinue cell phone service, as they will always bill your card for the next period before the current one is completed. Cancelation can be done, but it is tricky. At least with a contract it reaches an end. With no contract, there is no end date and the money keeps rolling in to AT&T.

    You will never go broke investing in AT&T. Bunch of crooks, but they have the best network.

    Postscript: If you want to profit from dealing in devices and can be bothered, as an AT&T customer you can buy a device that is locked to AT&T on a credit card (so no money down), then get a free unlock code from AT&T (you are allowed up to 5 per year), sell your unlocked device on via e-Bay for an overseas customer, or someone who wants an unlocked phone for Straight Talk, and buy another device for yourself. Rinse, wash, and repeat.
    Sep 15, 2014. 01:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Loser Strategy [View article]
    They probably do that already now, but cutting off fingers is more likely to occur in the developing world where criminals are less considerate to their victims than in the US.
    Sep 12, 2013. 10:29 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
More on AAPL by Rookie IRA Investor
COMMENTS STATS
2,667 Comments
3,106 Likes