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  • Apple: Panic Time Already? [View article]
    1. DISPLAY -- Resolution that goes way beyond the limits of the human eye is nothing more than a waste of battery juice.

    2. RAM -- ?? Which phone is the "fastest" in terms of memory access? You can have all the RAM you want, numerically, but if it isn't properly aligned with the software it really doesn't do any good.

    3. Processor -- ?? First of all the 5S has two - TWO - processors, the amazing A7 and the M7 co-processor. The A7 is the only 64-bit processor in a mobile device today, although immediately after it was announced in Sept 2013 the other companies suddenly announced that they were working on 64-bit processors too -- sounds like the other companies thought that was an important breakthrough.

    4. iOS -- the only consistent mobile OS on the planet. If you accept the truth that there's not really an "Android" OS, but rather a large number of different, incompatible Androids, floating around, you would understand.

    5. The 5S camera is a tech phenomenon. Some people don't fully understand what a technological breakthrough this is. Even if you only look at the new dual-flash system (and think about what it does, can do, and why Nikon and Canon will probably want to either license the technology from Apple or develop their own similar systems) you'll see that the innovation puts all other digital cameras to shame. The only thing the 5S camera lacks is a true optical zoom lens, and that's going to be very difficult to put into a compact lightweight handheld multi-purpose device.

    6. Battery -- ?? What's "wrong" with the battery? The fact that the device is completely sealed so you can't open the battery compartment yourself, tinker with it, maybe even install a non-MFR-approved battery and run the risk of you-know-what? Completely sealed so it's more waterproof? How often do you have to replace the battery anyway? Even on my old Samsung flip-phones, the batteries last a long long time. I've never replace the batteries on my circa 2007 flip, nor on the even older one that I've used since 2007 as a travel alarm clock.
    Jan 7 08:25 AM | 36 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Net Income Growth Is The Name Of The Game [View article]
    What an incredibly misleading article, based on incredibly misleading data presented in incredibly misleading fashion!

    1 - For example, that "dramatic drop in Apple's fully diluted share count since the September quarter" shows a drop from about 950 million shares to about 900 million shares -- a "dramatic" five percent. I can lose a "dramatic" five percent of my net worth over the course of a week -- and it doesn't faze me a bit, because that's just the normal up-and-down of the market. But a "dramatic share drop" of 5% -- well duh. EXCEPT that the way it's charted, it really does look dramatic -- if you don't read the numbers on the Y axis, it looks like 99% of the shares have disappeared!

    2 - Another example: that big scary "drop in net earnings" for FY 2013 relative to 2012. If you look at the increase in net earnings for FY 2012 relative to 2011, it's amazing, isn't it -- in fact, it's about 56% growth in net earnings YOY. But if you compare FY 2013 to FY 2011, it's 42% "growth" -- or, if you look at it another way, earnings in 2011 plus 2012 plus 2013 are approximately $103.5B over the three year period, or an average of $34.5B per year over those three years, while over the past two years, the average earnings ($38.8B) represent 49% growth relative to 2011. All of a sudden, 2013 doesn't look all that bad. It all depends on how you present the data.

    3 -- another example: the "tepid reception to iPhone5c" -- tepid should be used in an absolute, not a relative, manner. "Tepid" water is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Tepid water is tepid whether compared to cold water or to hot water. The "reception" of the 5C over the 2013 holiday buying period (from late Sept. through Dec. 31) was hardly "tepid" (look at the 1st Q 2014 earnings!), but it was less dramatic than the excitement created by the 5S, which received an incredibly "hot" reception during that time frame. So much for the prior pundits' clamor for cheaper iPhones -- Apple should have stuck with its previous pattern of just bringing out one new iPhone and re-pricing the prior model without changing its name or its casing -- since obviously, people who buy iPhones are less interested in "cheaper" stuff than the pundits imagined.

    4 - finally, "slower rates of growth" -- okay, yes, I'm with you there, but for a good reason. It's only to be expected following such galloping growth rates for several years. Apple has become a mature company. Do you really expect any company to be able to increase its rate of earnings growth by 50% YOY from now until infinity? When annual earnings are only $12.6B, as Apple's was in FY 2010, or even $25B, as Apple's was in FY 2011 (hey, that's 98% YOY earnings growth!!), high growth is relatively easy. When it gets above that, it becomes a bit more difficult. Even from FY 2011 to FY2012, the earnings growth rate fell precipitously (earnings went up from $26B to 40.5B, but that was only a bit more than half the rate of earnings growth as the previous year -- why didn't people panic then, when the earnings growth rate fell so precipitously?). Did anybody really believe that Apple could continue to grow at a 98% YOY growth rate? Or even 50%? If so, I've got a bridge to sell you. For 2013, there was no reason to expect spectacular earnings growth, especially since there was no new product. And even in 2014, even if there were a new product, one that could increase net earnings by twelve or thirteen billion a year (like the iPad), Apple is starting at a much bigger baseline, so a twelve billion increase in 2014 will not have the same impact as it did in 2011. It simply can't. There's no way a single hot new product, no matter how new and how hot, can create a 98% growth in earnings, or even a 50% growth in earnings, when the baseline is a big fat forty (plus-or-minus) billion dollars a year. No company can pull that off. It's an impossibility. You'd need an increasing number of hot new products every year to generate enough additional earnings to sustain a high-impact rate of growth. That's what's called a "mature company." Most mature companies (e.g., Colgate-Palmolive or Exxon-Mobile) are still very profitable, and still have earnings growth, but they're not "go-go hot." They're still worthwhile investments.

    If you don't understand, look at it from the following perspective. You're putting away money for retirement, at the rate of 10% of your salary per year, and your salary is going up 10% per year. To simplify things, let's forget about the power of compounding the growth within the account, and just look at the "original principal" as if the yield on the account was 0. For the first several years, your retirement account is growing quite rapidly -- it more than doubles the first year, goes up more than 50% the next year, more than 33% the year after that. Right? But now let's fast-forward to 21 years later. You've been saving your 10% faithfully every year, and your salary has been growing by 10% every year. Every seven years, your salary doubled, so now your salary is eight times as much as it was the year you started this savings account. You're putting in 8 times as much in year 21 as you did in the first year. BUT -- what percentage of the total balance in that account did you add in that twenty-second year? Do the math, and you'll be amazed. Yes, you're getting richer, but at a much much slower rate of accumulation. And if your savings had been growing via interest, dividends, and/or capital gains over those years, you'd be even richer but the newest contribution to the account would be even tinier relative to the whole.
    Feb 23 08:15 AM | 27 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Bears Missed Apple's Huge Rally [View article]
    I generally agree with your analysis, but I do think you are cutting Apple short on a very important issue -- innovation. Perhaps to you it looks as if Apple has not been innovative. HOWEVER, look at all the things that Samsung has been rushing to mimic: the touch ID system (which Samsung has not gotten quite right yet) is a great case in point. And now there's a new rumor that Samsung will soon put out a new premium tablet that will allow you to link with your premium Samsung phone via WiFi to make -- ta da! phone calls! Wow, I wonder where they got that brilliant idea? Although my understanding was that, in the new Apple iOS8/Yosemite system, you won't need "WiFi" in the conventional sense to make a phone call via your iPhone on either your iPad or your Mac so long as the two devices are in the same house. Be that as it may. How many people missed the astonishing new dual-color flash system on the back camera of the iPhone 5S? Or the amazing software built into the new camera system? Or the camera itself, with larger pixels (a few more pixels, yes, but the key is the LARGER individual pixels), which provide greater light sensitivity (= better quality photographs). Such little things, easy to miss, yet I have friends who upgraded to the 5S solely because of that astonishing new camera technology.

    Another major technological advance (=innovation) is the stunning way in which Apple engineers dealt with the heat dissipation problem for "real computers" -- a hollow-core cylindrical design concept that allowed them to create an all-new, amazing MacPro (assembled in the USA, no less). Not to be confused with a MacBookPro, the MacPro is a serious desktop powerhouse (very expensive) that is used primarily by engineers, graphic designers, and folks like that who need the kind of power that pushes the limits of "desktop" computing. It came out around the same time as iOS7 and Mavericks and iPad Air. It's off the radar screen for ordinary folks.

    At any rate, I beg to differ with you about innovation. Apple has not lost its magical innovation touch.

    AND -- I have to say one more thing -- about Apple maps -- I used both the Apple map app and Google map app on my 4S to help me locate a restaurant in Boca Raton. I've learned to trust neither, so I always use both and if they agree (which is usually the case) I feel more confident. They didn't agree this time. Google put the restaurant in the wrong place (by about a quarter of a mile); Apple map got it perfectly on target. Plus, I find Apple maps easier to use.

    But some folks just love bashing Apple, and Tim Cook. So, let them, if it makes them happy. If investment decisions are made purely based on corny "pundit" banter on clearly-biased websites, then those "investors" get what they deserve.
    Jun 13 12:37 PM | 20 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Should Reduce Outstanding Shares: Here Is Why The Opposition Is Wrong [View article]
    What part of the fact that taking on debt creates risk do you not get???

    What part of the fact that most of that vaunted "$147 billion" is overseas and in order to repatriate it as US cash it will necessarily diminish by about 35% due to tax? So it's not really $147B, it's more like $95B.

    What part of the fact that taking on debt means taking on recurrent interest payments for the next umpteen years, which is MY shareholder money thrown to the wind ? And payment of interest on the debt means reduction of earnings since the money is going out the window? So you are reducing total earnings for the company, thereby reducing the "real" value of the company going forward.

    The only thing that this scheme will accomplish is a bump in per-share ownership of the company. Yes, that includes per-share ownership of net earnings. It also includes a bump in percent ownership by shareholders whose current percentages are relatively small and who do not sell -- such as Icahn -- which gives him more control over the company and increased ability to milk the company even more for his own profit at the expense of smaller shareholders like me.

    I am a more typical retail stock owner of Apple than is Icahn; my holdings are significant vis-a-vis my own portfolio but not vis-a-vis the grand scheme of things. And I'm not a "trader," I'm a buy-a-good-company-and... type of investor. Therefore, increasing my specific ownership share of the company and my specific ownership share of the profits is NOT in my best interests. Letting Apple management do what it thinks best, which has worked in terms of profits (even if not in terms of share price, about which I don't really care), has worked until now and if people like you left Apple management to make the decisions, it will work out well for the future also. Your plan would rob Apple of its flexibility, which is its greatest asset. Your plan would, indeed, destroy the company. It wouldn't happen immediately, but it would happen within a few years. Fortunately, there are enough Apple shareholders, both retail and institutional, who have a long term view. So don't get so angry at them when they point out the problems with your specious "analysis."


    Nov 25 02:46 PM | 15 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple 3Q14 Preview: iPhone 6 To Steal The Show [View article]
    There is something quite amazing about this article. It was published on July 18th, 2014, and it makes absolutely no mention of the joint IBM-Apple announcement on July 15th about the planned partnership through which they will team up to capture the enterprise market for Apple devices and IBM software simultaneously.

    Is WestEnd511 unaware of this new development? Or does WestEnd511 so totally dismiss this new partnership plan as so completely irrelevant to predictions of Apple's market share or revenues or profits as to simply ignore it and not mention it?

    Or is WestEnd511 merely hoping that his readership is unaware of these developments, and of Apple's intensely serious foray into the enterprise market?

    Or does WestEnd511 anticipate that his words will carry so much weight with so many investors that it will trigger a selling stampede (which might perhaps somehow be of personal benefit to him)?

    Whatever the answer, this omission -- together with the blatant omission of facts concerning market absorption of the iPhone5S, noted by the other commentators above -- leaves me quite negatively impressed with WestEnd511.
    Jul 18 03:50 AM | 14 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Champions For July 2014 [View article]
    As a Retired Lady, I have come to learn that it is much better to depend on dividends and dividend growth for my retirement income than to expect the vicissitudes of Mr. Market to give me the right market price at the right time if I find I need to "eat my seed corn" in order to buy corn-on-the-cob.

    I've reached the point where, so long as the dividends keep growing to keep up with inflation, and so long as the underlying companies remain stable and strong, I don't care about market price. Selling at a market dip just because one needs the money at that particular point in time is counterproductive!
    Jul 1 05:35 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Officially Breaks Out [View article]
    As of the moment I write this (or, actually, 20 minutes beforehand, since I rely on delayed quotes), there seems to be a psychological block to the penetration of that $600/share "glass ceiling." I find this amusing, since the difference between $599.23 and $600.00 is seventy-seven cents, or 0.128%. On the other hand, 0.128% is about ten times as much as I get on my "interest-earning" checking account ... :-)
    Apr 30 12:51 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Might Not Use Sapphire, Short GT Advanced Technologies [View article]
    Even an undergraduate engineering student should know the difference between a "fact" and a conjecture. It's basic logic, and a budding engineer should have strong logical and critical thinking skills. I was therefore fascinated by what the author of this article wrote early in this piece: "there are many factors that point toward the fact it may not happen." True enough -- it is a fact that "it" -- you name it, anything -- may or may not happen. Just because it is a fact that something may or may not happen does not in and of itself indicate which of those two distinctly different possibilities will turn out to be the case. I live in south Florida; it is a fact that during the summer months, there may not be a thunderstorm in the afternoon. It is also a fact that there may be a thunderstorm in the afternoon. Both are true. Does that fact all by itself tell you anything about whether or not there will be a thunderstorm on a particular afternoon? And the factors pointing to this "fact" include historical precedence, which some might consider fairly compelling. Need I say more (or even this much)? The quote occurs early in the article, and for me it destroyed the author's credibility.

    Nonetheless, I did read the rest of his article, and I find his arguments to be specious at best. Many of his "factors" are in fact not even facts, but rumors. The one "fact" that he cites that might -- might -- be based on valid scientific observation is the brittleness of sapphire; but he seems to be unaware that Apple Inc. was recently awarded a patent for making sandwich-like fused layers of different types of glass, to create a single glass sheet with unique properties. The fusion of something like Gorilla glass with sapphire might result in a glass sheet that has the best qualities of both -- a top surface as hard as sapphire, and a shatter-resistance comparable to Gorilla glass. It may even be more shatter-resistant, due to the layering process (not unlike corrugation of cardboard). All of this is "maybe" of course, but I think my "maybes" are no worse than his "maybes" and maybe my maybes are even better.
    Jul 18 02:37 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • CarPlay Has The Potential To Bring Long-Term Value To Apple [View article]
    The author wrote: "only iPhone 5s and later models (including the 5S and 5C) can install iOS 7" -- Wow, I must say that this was quite a surprise to me, since my iPhone 4S model works quite well with iOS7. Factual errors such as this cause authors to lose credibility. I wonder what else in this article is factually incorrect. It's hard to take this author's opinions seriously under the circumstances.

    NOTE -- it is true that CarPlay will not work with my 4S phone. HOWEVER, that has absolutely nothing to do with iOS7 per se. There are other features that the 4S lacks that prevent it from working with CarPlay. Facts are important. Getting the facts wrong suggest that the author is not fully conversant with, or doesn't fully understand, the material about which he writes.
    Mar 6 01:29 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't Believe The Hype: Apple's Growth Story Is Not Over [View article]
    I think there's enough panic right now (and herd mentality) that the selling volume will increase for a couple more days. Then the sharks will come in to feed, gobbling up the bleeding mess and ultimately getting fat.

    Herd mentality is an incredible force of human nature. So is greed. Unfortunately, intelligence and independent thinking is relatively rare.

    So much for the "superiority" of human beings over other creatures on earth.
    Jan 25 01:00 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Buyback Kings: 'The Unsung Heroes' [View article]
    I totally disagree about the value of share buy-backs, especially when the share prices are at or near all-time highs. Don't these companies have anything better to do with their cash (like invest in progressive activities that may accelerate future profits and create "new jobs")? I even know of some companies that have borrowed money to buy back their own shares while those shares were at record high prices!!! The idea of "increasing EPS" while wasting the company's cash flow makes no sense. If instead the company were to have increased the dividend directly, or even declared special dividends, that would be direct in-the-pocket added value for the shareholders. There's only one good reason for buybacks -- so the company has a rich treasury of issuable shares to give as fat bonuses to their top executives for being so clever as to have raised the EPS so remarkably well! And if you don't understand the math behind THAT cynical ploy that CEO's use so often, then you are a very gullible investor.
    Aug 18 08:33 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Big Opportunity: China's Not Going Anywhere [View article]
    Seems to me that Apple is locking itself firmly into the Tiffany/Cartier category of smartphones. That's probably a wise move, since it sends a signal to the nouveau riche in China and other emergent economies that even though Samsung sells higher-end phones, it's basically like GM selling both Chevy and Cadillac -- they're all built on the same pattern. Apple, on the other hand, is more like the car companies that ONLY build high-quality, relatively expensive cars. Even the "cheaper" BMW series cars are BMW, after all. Keep in mind that when Toyota decided to build high-end cars, they gave those cars a unique brand name (Lexus) -- and many people are unaware that a Lexus is merely a Toyota on steroids. And then there's Rolls Royce -- they don't even try to produce "affordable" versions for the masses.

    Apple is not as extreme as Rolls Royce. But there are people who feel the need to wear a Rolls Royce under their tush when out for a drive. And there will be people in China, lots of them, who will want to be able to pull out of their pockets a "champagne" gold iPhone wrapped in a leather case stamped with the Apple logo. No matter how fancy the newest high-end Samsung phones might be, it's still a Samsung. ( And do you really think the Chinese wealthy want to buy Korean products?) With a really high profit margin, Apple will do well in China. Very well indeed.
    Sep 16 12:30 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Building Out Their Own CDN To Deliver Content To Consumers [View article]
    Content delivery? Ahem. Content delivery. Get it? Content delivery! Apple TV, anyone?
    Feb 3 12:33 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Young Users Will Drive The Next Stage Of Mobile Devices [View article]
    Good reply to Mr. Blair. But you failed to mention a very important point that so many "analysts" fail to notice: that Apple most certainly DOES offer low-priced phones! Unless you think that a "free" phone (w/ 2-yr contract) is not sufficiently low-priced, of course.

    Go to the Apple website. There, you can buy, with 2-year contract from any of the 4 major carriers, a brand-new (not refurbished, but BRAND NEW out of the box with full warranty) iPhone 4S for $0.

    I continue to be amazed at the fact that nobody seems to notice that Apple actually markets extremely low-priced phones. They did so last year, too (the 4 was the "free" phone when the 5 came out).

    What is lower-priced than "free" ?????????
    Nov 10 03:28 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple 3Q14 Preview: iPhone 6 To Steal The Show [View article]
    No, the stock market hasn't "forgotten" about it. They just don't understand it. After all, how can Apple possibly penetrate the enterprise market, when everybody already knows and has known for decades that Apple cannot possibly penetrate the enterprise market? After all, everybody already KNOWS that Microsoft has the monopoly on enterprise computing. Look at how well it's doing in terms of new market price highs (now that they've announced a huge layoff plan to cut costs -- that will improve their profits!). The stock market is not exactly a genius. It never gets things right -- it always either overshoots or undershoots, it either blows bubbles or collapses under the weight of its own -- bubbles!?!? -- -- the market. Sigh.
    Jul 18 01:13 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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