Seeking Alpha


Send Message
View as an RSS Feed
View JG2000's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest  |  Highest rated
  • The iWatch Debacle Is Due To Apple's Low R&D Spend [View article]
    I'm not convinced Apple is just like a typical tech company where product innovation and output is directly proportional to R&D spend. However, If you feel that Apple does not have a special sauce that makes it's R&D process unique then indeed you can make the argument that "dollars in" is directly proportional to "good product out".

    In reality the tech dollars spent under the R&D umbrella are rather diverse. Some of those dollars go to things that are labor or cpu-time intensive such as PCB layout...other things like product innovation and coming up with a novel idea are not so labor or dollar intensive -- spending more on a Picasso art gallery does not necessarily produce more Picasso's.

    Considering the fact that Apple's "thing" is to create [or at least attempt to create] a rather small number of great products rather than a large number of ok products (e.g. Samsung)....I arrive at the conclusion they get a better result, rather ironically, by spending less and focusing on quality over quantity. Lastly, I would point out that given their huge cash [or cash-equivalent] hoard and their willingness to spend it on some rather mundane things like a 5 billion dollar headquarters...I think we see that this is not necessarily a cash-stingy bunch. They have no reason to withhold dollars from R&D that would truly be useful. I suppose you could argue it's a matter of bad judgment but to believe that I'd like to see some examples beyond vague supposition.
    Jul 18 08:22 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • More Bad News For Apple [View article]
    If Verizon were to reduce the iphone customer cost (for example, $99 for an iPhone 5 with 2-year contract rather than $199) then Verizon would almost assuredly eat the loss and any margin pressure side effects for Apple would be somewhat offset by higher iphone sales. While this whole scenario is not positive for Apple or Verizon lets not exaggerate.
    Jul 15 07:51 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: iTunes Radio Is Designed To Be The Largest Streaming Radio Provider [View article]
    I wonder how competitive Apple Radio could be against Sirius for automotive use? The question marks are what would be the incremental cost (if any) to your cellular data plan and also the sound quality in the possibly less robust freeway environment (i.e. dropouts, etc). I know that Satellite radio sound quality has it's detractors in the ultra-audiophile camp but it's pretty darn good for most folks. I think content-wise Apple radio should be great -- I'm less sure about it at the cellular-data layer. For wired or wi-fi use, of course, those issues would be moot.
    Jul 15 02:54 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can Apple's Stock Be Saved? [View article]
    It's going to be very interesting to see what Apple releases in the fall. They have to be rather motivated to inject some sizzle (although the die is already largely cast at this point as things approach production).

    It's perhaps unfortunate that his is traditionally the more minor phone release cycle. We expect to get an iPhone 5s with the same form factor and some hardware upgrades. If, for example, we got robust fingerprint authentication, a well received payment/ecommerce solution, and an optional larger display...I think sales would skyrocket. However, I think a more realistic expectation is just fingerprint password and some other interesting but less groundbreaking hardware enhancements such as camera improvements.

    We have the possibility of an "iPad mini retina" which seems to be contentious with some expecting pre-holiday and some expecting 2014.

    Apple could have other surprises and Cook has made some statements that put him on the hook to do more than mundane and expected product tweaks. The markets expectations are not high and I must admit that mine, however hopeful, are somewhat tempered. One option for the conservative investor who is not already in AAPL is to simply wait to see if the excitement can reignite in the fall.
    Jun 28 04:52 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: The Final Countdown [View article]
    The type of product launches that would likely have a strong immediate effect on the the stock would be major NEW product categories. Although announcing these might cause a sudden jolt to the stock it could also work against the stock in the longer term because:
    1. Now certain pundits/analysts would have plenty of time to develop and disseminate FUD on the new product/category prior to release.
    2. The surprise/wow factor would be reduced or eliminated at launch.
    3. The competition would have more time to counterpunch with any or all of research, ads, products and marketing positioning.
    Jun 24 09:00 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: The Final Countdown [View article]
    I'd like to know what Apple's buyback algorithm is. If they are not aggressively buying at these levels that should be telling me something.
    Jun 24 07:01 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Narrow Moat Around iOS And iPhone: Should Apple's P/E Drop More? [View article]
    Besides innovation, Apple's moat is comprised of high levels of industrial design, elegance, quality, ease-of-use and overall reliability. These aspects, in total, are very difficult to duplicate by fragmented hardware & software companies with different philosophies and motivations. This is not to say, for example, that Samsung/Android has not closed the their credit they have done a pretty good job doing so (not to mention thieving). I just don't see them being able to make that final leap as long as Apple does not fall asleep at the wheel. This leaves Apple as the perceived Rolls Royce producer of it's product segments (and specific wiz bang hardware features from competitors are not going to change that unless they are truly earth shattering). Although this is a rather lofty argument I do believe that over time it will grow the share price.
    Jun 21 01:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple (AAPL) roundup: 1) Apple TV has received a software update that adds support for HBO GO, WatchESPN, and 3 other sources. iTunes Radio will arrive this fall. 2) Apple patent chief Boris Teksler has left to join France's Technicolor. 3) Apple has won a $30M contract to supply iPads for L.A. schools; iPad education sales have been a priority for Apple. 4) After using iOS 7 for a week, BGR's Zach Epstein offers a critical take that doesn't revolve around icons. "Apple’s mobile platform just isn’t getting any smarter ... What meaningful, innovative functions can iOS 7 perform that iOS 6 could not?" Dan Frommer, another early user, isn't as harsh, but offers a similar take. "The big-picture reality is that iOS 7 really isn’t very different." [View news story]
    I think the most important thing for IOS7 to achieve is for the average Apple user on the street to see it as "not the same somewhat stale IOS around for years". It needs to impart a subjective feeling of freshness whether this is through actual content or aesthetics or whatever....perception is reality. From a practical view a number of enhancements seem important such as real multi-tasking. The fact that "Android already has that" is not a reason why Apple should not catch up. The most important thing is for IOS7 to appear fresh enough to help make new iPhones & iPads seem up to date (or better yet...leading the pack).
    Jun 20 04:06 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Truth About Apple [View article]
    It would be very interesting to see a survey on how much direct impact Jobs had on customer engagement. My sense, and it's just a guess, is that more than 90% of Apple customers base their buying decisions primarily on product appeal, marketing and word-of-mouth....not the CEO's salesmanship & charisma, not even Steve Jobs. Now, when you talk about Jobs demo'ing new products, whipping up the troops and even affecting the stock investors expectations that's another matter....but those factors are not key to the average customer experience in my opinion.
    Jun 19 10:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 5 Reasons Apple Should Just Buy Sirius Already [View article]
    You can't stream personalized content from satellite so I am unclear on how iTunes Radio works there. If Apple could add satellite support to iPhone and iPad without lowering margins or harming packaging and battery life (none of which seem true) it might be interesting but, then, again, what is the synergy (Apple could do that without owning Sirius)?
    Jun 18 09:04 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is iRadio Just What AAPL Needed? [View article]
    I believe it WILL work on a PC when the service is activated this fall; this is a cut-and-paste from the Apple website...

    "You can listen to iTunes Radio on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC, and Apple TV."

    I also like Pandora a lot and use the free service (tolerating the ads but thinking of upgrading). The iTunes Match for approx $25/yr might be a compelling alternative with iRadio ad free; I'll have to wait and see how well it stacks up.
    Jun 18 12:31 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Is The Market Not Buying Apple? [View article]
    It appears you didn't notice they DID preview the new operating system (IOS 7) at the WWDC?! It will be out with the next iphone and, unlike Android, it will actually run seamlessly out of the box on older phones (4 and up).
    Jun 16 11:53 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Is The Market Not Buying Apple? [View article]
    This year it's all about the products coming out in the fall. If we get a solid showing the stock will get energized. IOS 7 & Mavericks look promising and will help put some very nice icing on the cake, but we still need the new cake. I'm still bullish although it's clear the market is in a "show me" frame of mind when it comes to AAPL.
    Jun 16 06:01 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can Anything Bring Apple Back? [View article]
    @Julian, the ad I was referring to was not the one shown at the conference; it's a set of clips just showing people listening to music and is, in my opinion, much better, but I digress. I think you have done a great job articulating Tim Cooks weakness. Few would argue that Cook is a visionary or even a very inspirational leader. The question for Apple and investors/believers [of which I am one] is whether the vision and some aspects of the mission-driving roles can be filled below the CEO level. Obviously if it cannot [and you believe this is paramount] then the only option is to wait/hope for a CEO change. I don't believe a tiger can change his stripes and Tim Cook is what he is. A lot of the people that made Apple great are still there and my inclination, however naive, is to wait and see how well they can help fill the concerns you mention. For now I am only betting they will reclaim a portion of the lost market cap....not that they will be knocking the ball consistently out of the park.
    Jun 14 08:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can Anything Bring Apple Back? [View article]
    Julian, have you seen the recent Apple ad which shows little clips of people enjoying music on their iPhones? This is apparently the start of a new ad campaign that is perhaps trying to hit on some of your points. I do think it's a step in the right direction [TV advertising wise] further emphasizing the connection between emotion/art and technology as a brand experience rather than making the tech item the center piece. I'd be curious of your thoughts.
    Jun 13 08:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment