Seeking Alpha

Tales From The Future

View as an RSS Feed
View Tales From The Future's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest comments  |  Highest rated
  • I Was Wrong About Apple [View article]
    "you my friend are clutching at straws."

    Well said. This was one of the weirdest articles on Apple I read lately. There are many news on Apple from WWDC last week; the new operating systems lay the foundation for new revenue streams and hardware by the end of this year (health, home, maybe even mobile payments further down the road) coupled with new iPhones and larger screens.

    And Apple will introduce new product categories. There are credible sources with good track records (Nikkei, Recode) hinting at a fall 2014 release date of an iWatch/Wearable for example.

    That and Beats alone could add 5-10 billion in new yearly revenue by 2015 already. Of course Apple could theoretically produce a dud, but I wouldn't bet on it given their track record in hatdware.

    This together with the dividend hike, the cash hoard and the stock split make AAPL one of the riskiest tech stocks to short in my opinion.

    There were so many bubbly tech stocks to short earlier this year (LNKD, YELP, ZNGA, TWTR...) with questionable valuations, why not short those? I did. AAPL is still conservatively valued in comparison to most tech stocks.
    Jun 9 03:09 AM | 46 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Is Poised To Disrupt Another Industry [View article]
    There's hardly another giant CE or computer company as secretive as Apple, so people have to use conditionals regarding unannounced Apple products. However, there are credible guesses that an updated Apple TV (not a TV, just a box) will be coming this year. It's more than just a wild rumor.
    I don't agree on the need to introduce something quickly beyond updated product lines (such as a new Apple TV, this would just be an update to the existing box sold at $99).
    Apple has $150+ billion in the bank and all the time in the world to get the next big disruption right. No need to rush it (see Samsung Gear flop...).
    Jan 30 05:35 AM | 33 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Needs Product Diversification [View article]
    "If I were Apple, I would follow Nokia's strategy and offer 3 different phones for three different budgets."


    Why should AAPL follow NOKs example, a company which could run out of cash in 12-18 months and its software and destiny now dependent on MSFT operating system?

    AAPL isn't about marketshare or hitting a price point. Case in point is the iPad mini, analysts said it should retail at $249 or better yet $199 to compete with Kindle etc. It's at $329 and selling very well.

    AAPL is already differentiating its offeringwith market timing, an "old" phone like the iPhone4 provides AAPL with lower manufacturing costs, great economies of scale.

    AAPL has the highest gross margins among its peers, it shouldn't release me-too products and start accepting lower margins. Let the other fight over razor-thin margins, AMZN is one example. All revenue, almost no operating profit.

    Even the Mac is doing great with single-digit marketshare globally, yet AAPL is the only company making real money in the PC business. i would rather be AAPL than Acer in this game.

    If this article was written two to three years ago, the author would have probably argued that AAPL has no offering in the low-end PC space and that AAPL should release a netbook...
    Jan 6 08:10 AM | 31 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • When Is Tesla Going To $1000? [View article]
    Is that price target with or without Hyperloop revenue streams?
    Feb 27 12:21 PM | 25 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Apple Will Repeat History And Plunge Into The Abyss: Time To Call It Quits [View article]
    I find this also very funny. Apple is one of the most secretive companies on the planet. I doubt any of us on SA have access to its R&D lab or plans :)

    Also, about timing: People seem to forget there were 5+ years between the initial iPod and the first iPhone. Now people bearish on AAPL expect the same company to introduce a "revolutionary" new product line every few months or every year ?!

    AAPL has plenty of time left (read: growth in smartphones and especially tablet markets worldwide) before it "needs" to introduce a new product category.

    Wake me up in 2015-2016, then you can start to worry about AAPL and innovation in case there is no new category on the horizon.

    Just one example: Tablets. The tablet market will power Apple for another three years.

    The tablet market is expected to outsell the entire (!) PC market in 2015, have a look at the chart in the link below:

    "What started as a sign of tough economic times has quickly shifted to a change in the global computing paradigm with mobile being the primary benefactor," said Ryan Reith, Program Manager for IDC's Mobility Trackers. "Tablets surpassing portables in 2013, and total PCs in 2015, marks a significant change in consumer attitudes about compute devices and the applications and ecosystems that power them. IDC continues to believe that PCs will have an important role in this new era of computing, especially among business users. But for many consumers, a tablet is a simple and elegant solution for core use cases that were previously addressed by the PC."

    I guess I don't have to mention the company dominating the tablet market :)
    May 28 03:00 PM | 25 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Apple May Fail In China [View article]
    "China Mobile is the largest wireless provider on the planet, meaning that a competitive offering from Apple would have had great potential."

    I'm repeating myself but:

    - Many of the 700M+ subscribers have a 2G feature phone, they can't even afford/want a lower-end Android smartphone. No way could Apple have "gotten" these customers anyway, (even with a very cheap iPhone). All they would have done is dilute their branding in China.

    - China Mobile's TD-LTE network is NOT ready yet. Why sell LTE iPhones/announce the deal when the China Mobile network isn't built out with cell towers. The announcement may come in a few weeks or months, all the ingredients are there on the Apple side (TD-LTE).

    Please see my Instablog with a chart of 4G uptake in China for details:

    There are basically ZERO 4G subscribers at the moment and China Mobile has a different 3G standard.
    Sep 13 11:49 AM | 23 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The rumored iWatch will be more "hobby" than major product line for Apple (AAPL), says Jefferies' Peter Misek. Likely not having a cellular chip, the iWatch would need to be paired with an iPhone for full functionality. Starting with some pricing assumptions and then slapping a 5% penetration on the installed iPhone base of 250M would move the EPS needle by only about 1%. [View news story]
    Misek? Wow. I don't know where to start:

    "In August 2012, Misek claimed that Appleā€™s HDTV is in full production and that Apple is going to sell them with a subsidy through Verizon and AT&T starting in early 2013."

    So where are the millions of Apple TVs? Buried or dumped or forgotten in China?

    Just one of this many wrong predictions on AAPL. This guy has a terrible track record.

    More on his wrong AAPL predictions here:

    Everyone can be wrong about predictions. But this guy stated again and again that the Apple TV was in *full production* - stating it as a FACT.

    Now he claims to know everything about iWatch.

    This guy also gave AAPL a price target of $800:

    Later, he had $900 as price target.

    Now he thinks AAPL is a hold:

    "Jefferies maintains a Hold rating and $420 price target on Apple, citing greater competition, decreased likelihood of EPS upside, and margin pressure."

    Also see:

    "In a note this morning he cuts his price target to $420, down from $500, and suggests it's all over for Apple.

    As recently as August Misek had a $900 price target on Apple.

    What's changed? He thinks the iPhone is over."

    Summary: Don't listen to Misek. He just follows the price on the chart and his sources are mostly wrong.
    Jun 18 08:00 AM | 23 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Mythology Of Tesla's Valuation [View article]
    In this logic, TSLA stock could be at $1000 one day and longs would still say "go drive the drive and experience the TSLA grin"? Even the greatest company on earth can be overvalued.

    To sum it up: You can't drive the car, it doesn't exist in 2013. Why? Most of today's valuation is based on a promise of a Gen III car that may arrive in 2017 and equally unkown upcoming competition from all other automakers.
    Oct 16 09:17 AM | 22 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2014 Will Be The Tipping Point For Apple [View article]
    Author wrote: "I believe 2014 will be the tipping point from which Apple's decline will follow"

    Michael, I think you only look at one product to judge the entire company. Apple is not a one-trick pony, it has several product categories. Granted, the iPhone is about half of total Apple revenue and is even more important profit-wise at the moment.

    But Apple has reinvented itself again and again over time. Look for example at iPod revenue - the category was once as dominant as the iPhone is today at its peak, especially in holiday quarters.Today, iPod revenue is basically irrelevant, yet Apple has a lot more total revenue and profits than in late 2008.

    The iPhone has a strong twin brother in tablets. The iPad has 1-2 years of more good growth ahead as it was launched in 2010 only, by 2015 tablets will surpass PCs in revenue. And CEO Cook promised new product categories in 2014, probably by late 2014.

    In addition, the iPhone also has growth left in China and other regions in 2014 and 2015 as some markets (Europe, N America) saturate for first-time buyers.

    Finally, the ecosystem is strong, people spend a lot more using iPhones (both online shopping and the integrated app store) than on other platforms, developers will still develop for the platform even if the marketshare is lower than Android.

    The iOS and Android ecosystems are much stronger/stickier than previous competing ("fast declining") platforms you cited in your article. There were basically no switching costs in the past, one got rid of a Nokia, Siemens or SE phone and bought another brand - at most, people lost some contacts and typed in the numbers again 10 years ago.
    Today, a iOS user will lose all his apps (and also his data if he is not savvy in IT) when switching mobile platforms. He or she will basically have to download (pay for) all apps again and start from scratch. That provides a strong lock-in - and I have to mention the iPad again, many people like to use the same OS on smartphone and tablets (iCloud etc. again provide lock-ins).

    If anything, I see Windows Phone as the loser. It is (still) weak in tablet sales and will lose the Nokia brand soon. Android and iOS will be here to stay in my opinion.
    Feb 9 02:13 AM | 21 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • iTV Will Boost Apple [View article]
    I hope Apple never releases a TV screen from an investor's perspective.
    As to why selling a TV is not a good idea in detail (5 reasons):

    In short, a TV screen is a "dumb" device in my opinion: all it does is display content, the HW margins are razor-thin. Everyone is bleeding money except for Samsung, a TV also has a long lifecycle with replacements every 5-7 years only.

    I don't see AAPL adding value to a giant TV screen at 55" filling up locker room space in AAPL stores - all the logic and business value is in the cloud and set-top boxes today, there is little to no differentation on the screen quality or TV hardware in general (except for a giant breakthrough like holographic displays etc, but then specific content for this new technology may be missing initially).

    My outlook implies AAPL could have a bigger impact to simply update its current Apple TV box at $99 in the future - maybe lower the price and add a smaller form factor to compete with newer devices like GOOG Chromecast. If so, it can target anyone with a modern TV.

    In general, the living room is already so crowded with boxes (Roku...), sticks (Chromecast), intelligent TVs (logic directly embedded in high-end Samsung, LG sets) and game consoles (SNE, MSFT..) that I don't see AAPL cracking that market easily - especially because interesting content is locked up with contracts and the negotiating and bargaining power is mostly on the side of content owners. It was much easier to disrupt the music market some 10 years ago that was in disarray.

    Finally, pools of content aggregators like NFLX, AMZN Prime and Hulu Plus already offer huge content libraries via most devices today, there is little to be gained to compete against distributors who can monetize on all major HW and SW platforms, especially not at the high gross margins AAPL usually generates.
    Jan 1 01:25 PM | 21 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is It Time For Tim Cook To Leave Apple? [View article]
    Author wrote: "Apple's PEG ratio has improved of late, as it was too deeply penalizing the company capable of generating the earnings projected for it this past year. But if Apple wants to get the premium Google flaunts, it has to excite the public again about new and wonderful game-changing and disruptive gear."

    Both companies are for sure working on new ecosystems and hardware, but only one company is talking, that's the difference:

    GOOG is more open in terms of strategy and markets (Glass, Robots...) while AAPL keeps its future cards very close to the chest and is laser-focused on few areas.

    The stock market seems to favor GOOG's approach - but that doesn't mean AAPL R&D is sleeping.

    For example, Eric Schmidt has a video out on his 2014 predictions, you won't be seeing the same video ever from Tim Cook.

    In the end, the numbers count when the actual products and services are on sale.

    Don't underestimate AAPL (yet) because they are so secretive - I would worry in case there are no new product lines by around 2016 as tablets and smartphone slowly mature (less net first-time buyers around the world), that's only in two years from now.

    AAPl still has plenty of room in SE Asia to grow in the meantime - and again, the Apple R&D lab isn't sleeping, its CEO and employees just are not talking as much as the competition.
    Dec 30 09:00 AM | 19 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Gigafactory May Turn More Doubters Into Believers [View article]
    Author wrote: "Tesla has achieved a lot of things people thought were impossible a few years ago."

    The whole process you described above (vertical battery integration, in-house production and reuse/recycling of spent EV batteries) has been done by a big car company since 2009:


    They have three large battery plants on three continents and sell more EVs than anyone else.

    How is Tesla's plan revolutionary or new?
    Feb 27 09:30 AM | 18 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • iPhone 5C: A Cheap Phone Or A Cheap Strategy? [View article]
    Author wrote: "iPhone 5C should have been a significantly cheaper phone, mainly targeting the emerging markets or a lower market segment in developed countries, and competing against the dominating Android phones. But I believe that CEO Tim Cook is not fully aware of the meaning of a "cheap phone.""

    1. Did AAPL or Tim Cook ever promise or announce a cheap phone? No, it's simply some analysts who think AAPl needs this and made up predictions.

    2. AAPl consistently did avoid low-end razor thin segments, no netbooks, no cheap phones etc.

    3. This strategy worked out, AAPl did not become the highest market cap company by chance.

    As for cheap phones, NOK produced a lot of them, they were marketshare leaders. I wonder how that turned out for Nokia? Oh, wait...
    Sep 12 01:11 PM | 18 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Battery Swap Is A No-Go [View article]
    I have to disagree here (even though I think TSLA stock is overvalued at the moment). Author writes:

    "It's weird to see Tesla waste resources on these types of gimmicks. "

    I don't see swapping as a gimmick and is not their primary business model, TSLA is not dependent on swaps like "Better Place" was. If swapping doesn't work, TSLA can simply move on (without wasting a lot of money, see 1. below).

    I see five advantages:

    1. As long as TSLA is not planning a fast roll out, swapping is simply another option. TSLA can build a few swap points at the most popular (maybe even overcrowded) stations and gauge feedback.
    I guess that the majority of customers will prefer "normal" supercharging. Maybe only 10-20% of all SC stations will ever have swapping options (just my guess). If so, TSLA will not "squander" more than 20-25 million $ on these swap stations.

    2. Swapping is an interesting option for B2B customers. Think of business cars (a large company like GOOG could have swap stations installed) or taxi fleets, rental cars.
    Swapping works well in congested areas with high turn-over and large cities (where space is expensive).

    3. Businesses could subsidize swapping stations, eg. at drive-through restaurants. Also, ads could be shown for 90 seconds ("this swap is sponsored by ....") on billboards in front of the car since people remain seated inside. Easy targets, seated and not moving :)

    4. Psychological advantage to convert current ICE customers. One can tell them 90 seconds is faster than filling a tank. There's no difference anymore to their current car.

    5. Technological leadership. TSLA can prove it's ahead of competitors by offering a full range of charging *options*. The free PR yesterday and today is maybe already worth the millions needed to build the first few swapping stations.
    Jun 21 03:51 PM | 18 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • WWDC Confirms Apple's Shift From Growth To Income [View article]
    Author writes: "To be direct, Apple had a shot at regaining its "mojo" just by announcing the next amazing new product to come down the road today. Hopes of an iWatch, iTV, and a low priced iPhone for the emerging markets, were dashed in one unimpressive display of face lifting, rather than innovation. "

    Hmm. This is a developer's conference. From time to time, Apple announces new HW at the show (this year a MacPro and MacBook Air revisions.)

    However, most of new Apple products get announced at press invite-only events around the year.

    Just because no iDevice XYZ has been announced doesn't mean we have to wait for 12 months - Apple calls these PR events whenever it's ready.

    I don't know what kind of unreasonable expectations some AAPL investors. Sometimes sounds like Apple has to announce a flying car today and free energy next month.

    I also wouldn't call the announcements "unimpressive".

    PS: Even if they were ready it wouldn't make sense to announce it all on the same day from a PR perspective - announcements are usually timed out.
    Jun 11 09:04 AM | 18 Likes Like |Link to Comment