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First iPad Air reviews solid, Apple sets $11B FY14 capex budget

"If you can afford it, the new iPad Air is the tablet I recommend, hands down," says Walt Mossberg after reviewing Apple's (AAPL) 5th-gen 9.7" tablet. Mossberg deems the thinner/lighter Air much more comfortable to hold for long periods of time than its predecessor, and managed to wring out 12+ hours of battery life in his test (20% above a promised 10 hours).

CNET (4.5/5 stars) talks up the Air's design makeover, its improved front camera, and the "ridiculously fast" performance of its A7 CPU. But it wishes the tablet had an 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio and a fingerprint sensor.

After running benchmarks, AnandTech finds the Air's CPU performance beats that of rival Android hardware. GPU performance is also strong, but not as overwhelmingly; Nvidia's (NVDA) Shield handheld console (features a Tegra 4 processor) topped several benchmarks.

With prices well above those for comparable Android tablets (particularly for 32GB-64GB models), Apple is betting its hardware quality, brand loyalty, and unmatched tablet app ecosystem will allow it to once more post positive Y/Y iPad revenue growth following two quarters of declines.

Meanwhile, Apple has released its FY13 10-K, and used it to disclose an FY14 capex budget of $11B. That's 57% higher than the $7B budget created for FY13, and equal to 6% of estimated FY14 revenue.

Previous: IDC's Q3 tablet figures

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Comments (16)
  • marktuthdr2
    , contributor
    Comments (116) | Send Message
    The CNET reviewer said the new iPad Air is fantastic, gave it a max 5 star review from what I remember (I just read the entire review last night, and the CNET website), not the 4.5 star eval stated in the article above, and although he said it was not perfect, he loved it. And the customers also gave it 5 stars that reviewed it, as I remember it. I've never had an Apple product, and I'm considering buying this bad boy. He said the esthetics were typical Apple'esque too (gorgeous).
    31 Oct 2013, 12:57 AM Reply Like
  • SA Editor Eric Jhonsa
    , contributor
    Comments (1078) | Send Message
    The CNET editors' rating is 4.5/5 stars:

    31 Oct 2013, 01:40 AM Reply Like
  • 2puttwo
    , contributor
    Comments (597) | Send Message
    The Mini turned into a Maxie, and the old #5 iPad vanished into air!!! A record quarter is all but guaranteed, that's if Mr. Market doesn't get in the way. I think that most of the people who liked Apple last month, will be in for a complete surprise, in November. A surprise that was expected, because of Apples reputation and the launch of the i5S. The gamers are going to surprised, business is going to be surprised, and even the Market will be too. I got to play with an iPad Air, the other day, and I wasn't just surprised, I was blown away. Happy Holidays. I have A friend who works for the company.
    31 Oct 2013, 01:12 AM Reply Like
  • rrosey2
    , contributor
    Comments (803) | Send Message
    Welcome to the amazing world of Apple.
    31 Oct 2013, 01:14 AM Reply Like
  • JeffNT326
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message


    I just read the CNET review as well, and it's showing up correctly as a 4.5/5 stars. In any case, I'm sure you're going to enjoy the iPad Air, especially if you're already subscribed to the Apple eco-system.


    I'll be upgrading from the iPad 3 which is really beginning to show its age with some of the more processor intense apps I'm running.
    31 Oct 2013, 02:47 AM Reply Like
  • Mike Walker
    , contributor
    Comments (371) | Send Message
    Ipad Air and the new Ipad retina mini are going to huge this holiday season - that's a given. How would you like to be a dad, give the kiddie a Samsung tablet for Christmas and watch them bawl their eyes out on Christmas morning sobbing 'but its not an Apple !'. Priceless.


    Will be interesting to see how quickly IPad Air goes into backorder tomorrow.


    Real story - $11B in CAPEX for FY2014. A 57% increase. What new magic does Apple have on the drawing board now ?


    31 Oct 2013, 03:52 AM Reply Like
  • Patience29
    , contributor
    Comments (214) | Send Message
    A 57% percent increase in CAPEX! A pile of cash and buybacks. Their R&D busy (all those new acquisitions & hires, only some of which have become public knowledge) and their pipeline is moving. The 64-bit apparently had to come first for ensuing products to land on. It seems 2014 forward will include some record years once again for $AAPL ... thus I was pretty confident adding ++ shares to my portfolio yesterday morning. Absolutely gorgeous products that perform their tasks seamlessly. The hubs will be getting an iPad Air for Xmas.... and I shouldn't delay :)
    31 Oct 2013, 11:28 AM Reply Like
  • MajorDude
    , contributor
    Comments (266) | Send Message
    Apple seems to have real momentum on the product side - reviews of the new products (iPhone, mac, iPad air) are exceptionally good except for the 5c...but the 5c is a repackaging of last year's "Time Magazine Product of the Year," so how bad can it be?


    Meanwhile, the effects of the buybacks around going to kick in in the next year and a dividend hike is almost certainly in the cards.


    Apple seems poised to do something interesting in the still infantile wearable computing space and potentially something that will significantly alter TV viewing. What will those things be? Well, if it was obvious then everybody would already be doing it.
    31 Oct 2013, 06:14 AM Reply Like
  • Humble Eagles
    , contributor
    Comments (2417) | Send Message
    Oddly enough, the stories I am seeing from the financial press mostly deal with how much marketshare Apple has lost in tablets. Of course, they are talking about last qtr only--a time which represented Apple's longest drought for new IOS products. The thing I would be talking about is that Apple still managed to move 14 million iPads! With the mini going to $299, the venerably iPad 2, the Air, and the retina mini, I think we could be looking north of 30 million new iPads this qtr. It will depend on supply.
    31 Oct 2013, 06:57 AM Reply Like
  • an234
    , contributor
    Comments (13) | Send Message
    Does capex include the new building they are moving to?


    Thanks for the article
    31 Oct 2013, 08:23 AM Reply Like
  • SA Editor Eric Jhonsa
    , contributor
    Comments (1078) | Send Message
    HQ construction costs would qualify. But my guess is it's a relatively small portion of total capex, especially since it's a multi-year project. Far more is probably being spent on data centers, and perhaps also investments in supplier production capacity.
    31 Oct 2013, 09:20 AM Reply Like
  • StuartKats
    , contributor
    Comments (41) | Send Message
    Please read the following on market share numbers. Ben does a fantastic job providing context - which matters when it comes to these "statistics"
    31 Oct 2013, 10:43 AM Reply Like
  • TotallyTotally
    , contributor
    Comments (21) | Send Message
    Who is buying non-Apple tablets? I see a Samsung at Costco, but I never see anyone pick one up and buy it; I think it will be the "kid won't notice if I buy this cheaper tablet" this Christmas. But that's like getting a Zune instead of an iPod 3 years ago.


    There may be some market penetration opportunity for others in commercial applications, but the reality is that the VAST majority of potential retail buyers of these devices don't want a "tablet" - they want an iPad! Game, set and match.
    31 Oct 2013, 03:10 PM Reply Like
  • pocohonta
    , contributor
    Comments (646) | Send Message
    iPad Air are all sold out in Hong Kong, 2 hours after Apple start taking order online.....
    so I guess the stock will tank tomorrow ? (just being sarcastic)
    31 Oct 2013, 04:59 PM Reply Like
  • Humble Eagles
    , contributor
    Comments (2417) | Send Message
    Poc, the rumors I saw were that Apple was planning about 10 million iPad Airs this Christmas. They sold 3 million minis, iPad 4s and 2s in last year's rollout weekend. If they get a million Airs this weekend they will likely be about even with last year. I think they will beat that easily. Maybe 1.5-2 million. Anything more than 2 million would be a blowout.
    31 Oct 2013, 05:29 PM Reply Like
  • financeminister
    , contributor
    Comments (1076) | Send Message
    In two hours? That's horrible. It should have been 1 hour. No, 30 minutes. Heck, 15 minutes. This proves that interest is waning. Stock downgraded.
    1 Nov 2013, 02:55 PM Reply Like
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