466 posts • joined 12 Mar 2007
The iPad, the android tablet and the windows tablet are not interchangeable. It is a mistake to think they are equals competing in an imagined god-given tablet market. Ipad will take a major share of the market now served by Windows PC's, but it will take ten more years. The last thing Apple wants is to allow competitors to attach themselves to the iPad market. The products will move apart, and iPad volumes and margins will be almost unaffected by competition.
Component level repairs are a major source of unreliability whoever does them. My advice these days: if your digital device fails out of warranty, sell it for parts on eBay and replace with new. You'll get a remarkably high price, and a brand new gadget, with a new lifetime, and thanks to moore's law, a better spec.
15-20 years ago, Apple used to think they could make reliable component repairs to exchanged modules, whereas IBM didn't. The result was flakey repairs by Apple dealers, solid repairs by IBM dealers. Apple's current approach is fine by me, especially now that there are no moving parts apart from laptop keyboards.
So far as I can tell, hardware problems with current Apple products are almost entirely with third party batteries, chargers, memory, cables and connectors.
The take-home here is that flatscreen TV audio is uniformly crap. Almost anything sounds better. You need separate speakers in some form. You can usually get an Airplay (and lots of other things) compatible AV amp for £200 or less. (I paid £169 for Pioneer 527, which also comes with a microphone to set up speaker delays, speaker and room acoustics matching). You don't actually need to spend much extra on speakers to get pretty good sound. The AV amp will switch among your DVD player, set top boxes, etc.
(I'd also like to nit-pick a couple of posts, and point out that criteria is the plural of criterion. You should write "Sound quality is not the only criterion ...", or "Sound quality and price are not the only criteria...". Don't they teach ancient Greek in school any more?)
Re: The piece of home equipment I would like to control using my fondleslab
All in-range humans would be good. Plus an auto-freeze when they come into range, to give me time to formulate my evil plan...
Re: What will the MPEG crime cartel do?
Google themselves are leading owner of software patents, on which their entire business is based. Google has done some wonderful things, but they operate double standards on patents. Unless Google will indemnify others from patent suits over VP9, they shouldn't press for it to be a standard; it will be a members-club setup just like mpeg.
It's not because they want you to buy a news phone
When you sell a generic product, the customer is very likely to buy a different manufacturer's product next time. All updating Android does is to possibly delay a hardware upgrade sale; it doesn't get you the next hardware sale. Android updates only benefit the user, not the manufacturer.
Google is aware of this, hence the bundling of many updates into Google Play Services instead of Android updates.
Google's expansion of its business beyond its original search basis has been largely based on stealing other people's intellectual property, protected from consequences by the slowness of legal process. So of course their use of patents is defensive; having stolen what they want, they won't initiate a legal battle over ownership, just fight dirty if the owner tries to do anything in court. Without patents of their own, Google's negotiating position was weak. They first tried to buy the Nortel patent pool for an excessive price so they could troll against those whose IP they had stolen. After an ad-hoc consortium of competitors (Rockstar) kept the pool out of Google's hands by paying an even more excessive price, Google bought Motorola for their cellphone patent pool instead, and has been using it (largely unsuccessfully) instead.
Google's protests are a joke. Rockstar isn't a troll; it's a purpose made vehicle for a group of existing companies to defend themselves from Google's desire to destroy the basis of their profitability.
Of course software patents are a dubious concept, so all of this action is literally a farce. And there is no moral high ground here, it's just a corporate power struggle.
What about the mains side of the charger?
Shouldn't the EU be standardising the mains plug on the charger? That would be far more useful. The USB plug is already standardised. Yes we'd have to retire our uk homes, but think of the harmony that would follow.
Apple's lightning connector is clearly superior to micro USB in usability. It's actually Apple's first completely purpose designed dock connector for IOS devices; the old one was simply a transitional hodgepodge of disparate interfaces on the same connector: dual charging systems, FireWire, USB, video and audio. The lightning connector is also a key component in Apple's walled garden management of the third party accessory market, because it has to be licensed. Clearly, a lot of users value this approach, which gives a sort of uniform trustworthiness to accessories.
A variety of lightning adapters is available, and the same approach is used on the mac with Thunderbolt. For the EU to outlaw Apples product architecture and business model would be moronic. No-one has to buy an Apple product if they don't want to.
This negotiation has been going on for years, and is effectively with the Chinese government. Apple's planned roll out of stores across China has been more or less suspended, presumably because of it. Apple is indirectly a major employer in China. Foxconn has just done a deal with Blackberry that can begin to change the power balance between Western brand and Chinese assembler, as happened with PC's. Apple has started building PCs in the USA again after 25 years or so. Robotics are changing the balance of costs between east and west. This negotiation is a reflection of bigger issues.
Apple's high prices and tight control of the user relationship made Verizon, Docomo and China Mobile stay away. But they steadily lost subscribers to smaller carriers with an iPhone deal. Verizon and Docomo have capitulated. Large though China Mobile is, Apple won't scrap their business model just to get a deal. And for China, January is the crucial date, not December, when product is needed, and Apple might have some spare capacity.
The weird thing is that books are all different. For each title, there is only one publisher, so there's no real possibility of competition driving the price down; there are no other suppliers. Fore books it's arguable that the author or publisher should set the end user price, and the distributor (Apple or Amazon) should charge the author/publisher a distribution fee. Apple likes this, because price is no longer a factor in the buying decision. Amazon doesn't like it, because they are establishing a monopoly by selling below cost.
There does seem to be some validity to Apple's complaint that the way this has been done means the judge has set herself up as Apple's litigation adversary, with no possibility of legal representation for Apple, when the supervision should have been independent, with reports back to the judge open to Apple to inspect and respond to. That would leave the judge as impartial judge, with legal representation available to Apple.
I think what he must be trying to say is that the operation of the building (as opposed to its contents) won't add to atmospheric co2. Even if what he actually said implies that no life form that enters the building can ever leave.
It would of course be GOOD for the environment if the building emitted megatons of carbon atoms, presumably converted from human emissions of CO2.
Re: Megapixels are not everything
@Terry Barnes: Remembering that in the crazy digital photography world 2/3" (two thirds of an inch) denotes an 11mm sensor (diagonal): it's apparently the outside diameter a 1950's glass vidicon tube would need to be to contain a sensor of that size.
I really thought mr Dell was aiming to be beaten by a better offer, and thus sell his remaining stock for a decent price. But apparently not. Dell was never a creative engineering company (apart, of course, from the financial engineering), and Michael Dell always shared an office with the CEO; it's been his show all along. The cash flow of recent years has been largely illusory; it's bought in like HP's: borrowed cash made to look like revenue by acquisitions shown on the balance sheet as goodwill etc.
I guess it's what he deserves, which is nice.
Re: How long the data is held.
It's called "running interference". Eventually the punter will give up, because it's not worth it. One reason to use one of those companies that do it for you. The good ones will have taken Halifax all the way to bailiffs at the head office wanting to distrain their goods, and Halifax will be paying up rather more readily. Having said that, the banks hate those companies and want to make life hell for them too. Another factor is the correct calculation of interest charges. If at any time since, you became overdrawn, but wouldn't have done if your account balance at the time had been correct, that's also a consequent loss they owe you, with 8% interest ever since. The difference between what they give you voluntarily, and what you can get by carefully analysing the financial consequences ever since the PPI can be huge. Very frequently they are unable to produce the document you originally signed, or they only scanned the signature page, so they have no basis in court to justify the money they took at all.
Of course no rational person ever signed up for PPI in the first place, so it's all academic.
I suppose the theory goes that if you buy AAPL, you value the company more highly than the cash. But a third of your cash is used to buy Apple's cash. So if Apple buys back shares with its cash, the remaining shareholders own a bigger share of the company for no more money. Most of the cash is offshore, where it can be used to buy entire factories, fabs etc for suppliers to operate risk-free but reserved for Apple. That cash repatriates in the form of non taxable depreciation. If it's repatriated as cash there's currently a big tax bill to pay. So by borrowing the money, the evil tax bill is deferred, but the shares are bought back, and the original cash is still available to change the world. The downside is the interest on the borrowing. But that's actually free, because the money buys back shares on which the company was paying a dividend, and the interest payments are also tax deductible where the divi's weren't.
So if the share price stays the same or goes up, it turns out to be a brilliant idea. But if it goes down, you've pissed away the company's cash for nothing (like Dell). Check yahoo finance for the net tangible assets compared to market cap on the balance sheets of Dell, HP, and Apple. Icahn wants to make Apple more like Dell. I'm not convinced.
yet another patent of the bleedin' obvious.
No, it doesn't look like Apple are going to do this on their own devices, but they might do something rather similar using Bluetooth LE. So they patent the closest thing done with NFC to keep a wide "moat" round their "user experience".
I don't think Apple are obsessed with DRM on their own account; they just want be able to assure content owners that paid content is safe when distributed by Apple. So that they can actually offer paid content.
Ensuring that there can be a viable economy around content creation is, in my view, on the whole a good thing, which strengthens creators more than aggregators.
So where did Gartner get these numbers from? Samsung stopped reporting numbers two years ago. Apple may be the only one left reporting audited quarterly numbers including sell through to end users. And Netmarketshare still reports equal web activity for iPhone and Android.
Re: history revisionism
It was also Scully who licensed the Mac UI to Microsoft in exchange for Excel on Mac for two years. Apple was able to stop everyone but Microsoft copying the Mac, and the result was the bootstrapping of IBM's market position into the Wintel monopoly. And it was Scully who set the price of Macintosh a thousand dollars higher than it needed to be, creating a price umbrella under which Wintel could flourish.
Re: Maybe not
"You are right, first I have seen the icon field was Windows 3.0, 20 years ago."
So you didn't notice the Mac, 29 years ago?
The publishers don't have a problem with Amazon selling e-books at a loss, they have a problem with e-books being cheaper than physical books. If that continues, the publishers' empires will shrivel to a fraction of their former size (as with music).
There can't be "bargain bins" of ebooks because there is no physical inventory. And anyway bargain bin books are not really sold at a loss in any meaningful sense. If bargain bins lost money, there wouldn't be any bargain bins; retailers aren't that stupid.
Apple did not fix any prices; they entered into a contract that ensured Apple could price match any competitor without selling below cost. The two questions in this case that are interesting are 1. should the agency model for sales (which has been a spectacular success for small App developers) be legal, and 2. should "most favoured nation" clauses be legal. They have been up to now.
Interestingly, iBooks only exist inside Apple's "walled garden". They can't be read on anyone else's e-reader or on any PC, so it would seem they barely ever competed with Amazon e-books. And strictly speaking, the publishers cannot collude to fix prices because each book is only available from one publisher, and the others cannot set a price for it.
Why does anyone care what Apple does inside its walled garden? If it's worthwhile then others are free to create their own walled gardens, and if not, it's totally irrelevant. The Apple haters mock the walled garden as inferior and exploitative, but what they actually resent is its success in attracting paying customers.
Re: Point missed?
Apple couldn't take Amazon to court for dumping - since Apple weren't in the ebook market at the time, there was no loss for which they could seek compensation. And anyway, I doubt if "dumping" was illegal.
What year is that?
"And by the first half of this year almost one in two tablets sold will be Android."
In my world the first half of this year is already gone.
0 is almost 1. So I suppose it's true. But meaningless.
There's a lot to be said for a world where you look at the song or the book or the sandwich itself and decide if you want it or not, rather than attempt to seek out a better deal, or decide if you should get a completely different book because it's cheaper. For me, the iTunes Store, Lidl and TKMax are temples of serenity in an abusive world where both the product and the buying experience are polluted by "offers", "deals", bloat ware, bundling.
Many people share this need to focus on the object. Why else would they willingly enter Apple's "expensive " "walled garden", causing it to grow so immense?
Apple needed to launch iPad. At least this deal lasted long enough for that.
Re: Welcome to the death of apple
You'll be interested in the Apple death knell counter, then:
On the registered name, in major markets, Apple proceeds covertly via intermediaries when registering names, so the chequebook has likely already done its work.
Apple goes to extremes to ensure success for new products. On the viability of the product, I would expect Apple to make it uniquely compelling for at least some of the market. Secure activation by fingerprint, also bypassing iPhone 4 digit passcode?
Alternatives not mentioned that I can see are the very small Ethernet, FireWire 800, VGA and DVI adapters for thunderbolt that I keep in my bag. They don't require a thunderbolt cable. And Seagate have the Goflex adapter system for drives which includes thunderbolt options. I think the Belkin dock is even more of a niche product than it appears from this review.
Re: At or below cost
Amazon was selling at or below Amazon's cost from the publisher, (not at or below the publisher's marginal cost of supply), in order to create and extend an e-book monopoly. Each book is different, and the agency model means the publisher sells to the end user at a price the publisher determines. The reseller receives a sales commission. The agency model means resellers compete on service, not price. The publisher determines the price. Books are not fungible, so there can't really be a price cartel.
The MFN clause is vital to enable Apple (or anyone else) to know that if they invest in a business model that succeeds, the suppliers can't simply cut them off. Without the MFN clause, the iTunes store would have been shut down by the music publishers who thought the world belonged to them.
Apple's strategy definitely delivered a better customer experience (like the net book agreement), and it definitely gave the publishers pricing power. But since each book title only has one publisher, it's hard to say there was price fixing on any individual title.
What happened with the ending of the net book agreement is that many bookshops disappeared, and the reality is that books effectively became fungible as the publishers ceased to be sellers of books and actually became buyers of shop shelf space. The bookshops that remain concentrate on best sellers.
Don't worry, Apple has a plan
Obviously if you are restoring from the cloud, your original device has failed, and you can't use its presence for authentication. We have a compromise between ease of use and security. Still better than nothing. For proper 2 factor authentication we'll use the impending secure fingerprint scanner in every IOS device. Then the crooks will need to chop off your finger instead of stealing your iPhone. They'll have got the password by threatening to chop off your finger.
The biggest problem
Adobe goes out of business - so do you. Your business just became an Adobe subsidiary. How much did you get for it?
This could be an opportunity for Apple to rejuvenate their fading pro apps.
For anyone remotely interested in being serious: 1: there is always a big drop quarter over quarter in Apple's iPad and iPhone sales, but component makers can't adjust their capacity, so it's sort of a non-story. 2: The Japanese Yen dollar exchange rate has fallen 25% in 3 months and Sharp is desperate for orders. Lots of orders are going to Japan; South Korea is seeing serious price competition. 3: Apple will reveal actual iPhone and iPad sales for the quarter this evening. 4. Apple operates its business in a completely different way to its competitors, and this is obviously not widely understood, which suits Apple fine.
The sad truth is that to earn enough with pitiful ad revenue, it's necessary to write click bait drama queen headlines, linking to gossip. The secrecy which is an essential part of Apple's business model makes Apple a prime target for fabricated stories.
Re: Google does the same thing
Since your privacy is Google's primary commercial currency, an even higher level of cynicism is warranted than with Apple. It's naive to imagine a switch completely erases all information, just as it's naive to imagine that the "power" switch of any electronic gadget can actually turn it completely off.
Having servants to do stuff for you has always had the down side that you have to tell them what you want.
Apple would prefer no SIM at all, so service could be activated online. But meantime, they do what's best for the main customer (the carriers). Changing the SIM size helps to keep phone replacement and contract renewal tied together in a single transaction. And that tie is partly what makes iPhone the best phone for subscriber retention, and hence gets iPhone the biggest carrier subsidy.
Doesn't seem cheap to me
Are you sure Michael Dell isn't actually giving the appearance of trying to buy the company cheap in order to sucker someone else into paying him good money for the last 14% (I think) of the shares he owns, before the whole thing runs aground. In my view Dell's successful original business model has been dead for five years. Like HP, Dell's current accounting-generated "profitability" has been created by buying companies with revenue, and putting on the balance sheet "goodwill" equal to the money spent. In the past two years Dell claims to have earned $6B in profits, but "goodwill and intangibles" have increased by $7B. In fact nett tangible assets (the money you'd get to give back to shareholders if you closed the company down) is now minus $2B. Not as dire as HP's -$12B. Nor as comfortable as Apple's +$121B. If you run a hugely profitable business for many years, you're supposed to end up with lots of cash and no debts aren't you? (That would be Mr Dell himself, of course, not the company!)
Of course geeks feel pain and criticise when trivial little ipads take over territory once ruled by geeks. If you then try to use ipads as direct replacements for other teaching resources, then it's you that causes failure. You can't blame the ipad for not being pencil and paper, or a wintel PC, or a violin.
iPad is primarily for general educational purposes, not for A level computer science. A raspberry pi seems a pretty good addition to an iPad for teaching computer science. And for general education, it's commonly found that attainment levels improve when iPads are introduced.
Here's a typical subjective description of what iPad brings to education, if you let it:
Re: Why do people put forward the idea that iPads are good for art?
David Hockney dun it. No paint on kid's clothes makes iPads good for art.
Re: It's "just" a replacement back cover
Precisely. Probably just posturing by Samsung to extract something from its "partners". Business is war.
As Charlie Munger says, if you can't cope with 50% falls in the market price, you probably don't deserve to own shares in a business.
The combined market cap of the world's carriers is far greater than Apple's, and they apparently hate Apple. Yet Apple is able to milk 50% of its profits from the carriers, because Apple delivers subscribers who pay more, and who switch carrier less. How are the carriers going to put Apple out of the picture when they have to make 3 year volume commitments to get iPhone, and bleed subscribers when they don't have iPhone. Apple changed the mobile customer experience by leveraging government-forced carrier competition, and Google et al walked in through the open door behind Apple. Apple had already forced the music business to get out of the way. And that's what the cash pile is for. There is no industry in the world that Apple cannot extract groundbreaking change and cooperation from, because Apple has the cash to set up as a formidable competitor if they don't get cooperation. Two industries that must be in the firing line next are TV content distribution, and retail banking services. TV is a tough one because the product is not fungible.
The idea that Apple is a gadget company that got lucky is supremely naive. They are an engineering company, and they engineer whole industries and markets. The gadgets, software and cloud services are the result of their success, not the cause of it, and that's why it's never going to matter if Apple's products lack geek appeal.
Re: Me right
English is an evolving language, and this case both forms are used, depending on the names of the people involved. Thus "Me and Tracy went to the pub" and "Elizabeth and I went to the pub" are both acceptable. But if the names were swapped, they would both be unacceptable.
Alternatives are good?
Apple's approach has its place in the market.
1. true, but most people like the fact that an iphone is an iphone, and not a weird personal statement. A long time ago there was "What did morons do before CB radio?" Today it's "..before Android?" That's not to say there aren't plenty of perfectly normal people who use Android.
2. All cameras produce imperfect images with very bright lights in front. You can see the effect on screen, and slightly adjust camera position to fix it before taking the picture. I've never seen the iPhone 5 purple haze produced unintentionally. The camera is very good.
IOS keyboard has always had long press popup, and slide from shift key to chosen key for single keystroke shifts. But that doesn't mean it's perfect for everyone. Personally, I could never buy a BMW because the texture on the brake pedal isn't as effective as on the Audi. (lame joke) The idea that it would make a BMW better if different models had different brake pedals (more choice - more versatile - see?) doesn't gel with me. Equally the idea that each Android device might have different keyboard details does not excite me.
Last years pay was golden handcuffs that will reward him over the coming decade or so provided he stays and achieves results. Of course he's not getting more this year. What does he do? For a start he gets up at 3:45 every morning then does an hour of email and an hour in the gym and then a very long day's work. He is seriously, obsessively dedicated. Would you be if you had hundreds of millions in the bank?
Latterly, Steve Jobs wasn't really into hedonism; I suspect it was mainly for privacy and home cooking anywhere in the world with his family. Not for sailing; it's a landlubbers idea of the perfect yacht.To prove it, it's being taken to the USA as deck cargo.
If he'd wanted to sail it, his friend Larry Ellison would have put him right on the design(er).
A bit more reading suggests . . .
Autonomy was a conventional software house, mostly, generating consultancy fees. Doubtless the consultants were bundled into software sales, making the software appear far more valuable than it was. So HP actually paid $5M a head for a professional services firm. Very hard to scale, but probably, the consultants have mostly left now anyway.
Despite trying to, Intel hasn't been able to change, because the duopoly with Microsoft has been so strong. But that's changing. The supremacy of X86 is almost over and in the next few years, Intel may have its biggest change since switching from being a memory company to a CPU company. The CPU may finally have become a commodity like memory.
It's sad that Greenpeace has changed from campaigning on important issues to maximising attention and financial contributions from guilt ridden middle class gadget buyers. Instead, how about a Greenpeace exposee of the building industry's use of PVC for example, which must be thousands of times greater than that of the electronics industry?
Looks to me like a total misunderstanding. Apple hates to see its products discounted. Just a click bait story pretending this price difference isn't just VAT, which I'm sure it is. The whole industry runs on tiny margins supplemented by "marketing support" payments to "well behaved" retailers who don't brag about discounts.
So that's 3% margin then. Business as usual. and don't forget in the EU it's the retailer with the two year warranty obligation, not Apple. Then there's the credit card fee. And have you seen high street rent and rates? And anyway, it's still back ordered, so the whole story is barmy.
I prefer the agency model too
In the Internet economy, authors can sell direct to readers, setting their own price. It's the author/publisher buying marketing and fulfillment service from Apple or Amazon, not Apple or Amazon buying and reselling physical goods.
Intel has managed to mitigate the weakness of the X86 instruction set by having the best fabs, and not making chips for anyone else. They even sold off their ARM based products to Marvell, to prove their faith in X86 to their sceptical customers. But if losing Apple was a done deal, and Apple don't sell bare chips, maybe Intel could make ARM, or even PowerPC SOC's for Apple.
However much you may dislike Apple's control freakery, it's what enabled them twice before to switch CPU architectures. Something both Microsoft and Intel have aspired to, but failed to gain traction with. (remember Windows NT for PowerPC? iAPX432, Xscale, Itanium?)
The nub of the matter is: what could Apple persuade Intel to do for them, given that X86 is not remotely the mainstream any more, and iGizmos must inexorably move towards zero build cost over the decades.
Re: Say it isn't so
Only the naive ever took Steve Jobs at face value. And that's nearly everyone. He just said the competing 7 inch tablets were a bad experience, because that's what Apple needed people to hear. And they were and are a relatively bad experience. Launching at 10 inches was essential to give the iPad its own identity and its own distinctive apps. Apple even discontinued laptops below 13 inch years before, to create an extra kick start from Apple loyalists. But no-one can seriously believe Apple/Steve Jobs didn't know that 7-8 inch would outsell 10 inch, just as 3.5-4 inch (iPhone) outsells both. Apple never were as stupid as the average commentard (obviously).
Perhaps the biggest weakness of the Android seven inchers is their dependence on scaled up phone apps and UI. There simply isn't the motivation for the average app developer to make a special 7 inch UI and by allowing cheap 7 inchers into the Android market first, there never will be a well defined full sized Android tablet UI. Apple's willingness to spend years constructing its own market is what keeps it so very far ahead of both competitors and pundits, who delude themselves that Apple's position is the result of hype, and style over substance. Meanwhile, the iPad mini is here, ready for Christmas, ready to outsell every other tablet, and ready to be upgraded to retina resolution in 6 months, with the current model continuing at £249, and the ten inch model unlikely to be seriously challenged, even by Microsoft, whose Surface is just the latest incarnation of the PC.
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