Entries in Apple (7)

Monday
Nov042013

The Meta-Battle for SKUs

Apple's identity (account and Touch ID) stategy comes into focus here in this Chart via BusinessInsider.

The meta-battle is now: 

# of exclusive SKUs, Total SKUs, and ease of purchase.  Apple might have the digital content piece (apps, movies etc) but Amazon and Paypal have the physical (and second-hand) universe on lockdown.

TouchID certainly is going to help with ease of purchase, and the rest of the battle is: how can we get consumers to buy ____ with Apple.

Tuesday
Feb212012

Snubbing the Media — Strategy or Revenge?

Much of this post was orginally a comment on "Snubbing the Media — Strategy or Revenge?" at Bulldog reporter.  I'm working on a larger post about what a universe run by Apple would look like.

The manufacture of the gadgets that have become part of our lives, and made Apple a hugely profitable company in the meantime, has transformed Apple's operations into a lightning rod for outrage over worker conditions.  Listeners to This American Life were let in on the sad story even before the Times article was released. 

What was damning about the NYT story was that it went further in context and further in exploring corruption.  In context, it was better able to show the matrix of conditions costs and imperatives that are involved with being an apple supplier and a worker at such a supplier.  But in corruption, the NYT was able to get former Apple employees to discuss the company's internal perspective on the problem, without being official mouthpieces.  Culpability seemed to be at the heart of these admissions.  What are we to say about that? Apple ruthlessly prevents outside access to its inner deliberations, and in some ways this culture of secrecy is good business practice, but in others, it allows sensational news items to define the company's story.


So now Apple is using its main currency, (thirst for details about the company), to attempt to control the story and diver the narrative away from the labor issue.  It's an authoritarian move, and we shouldn't expect Apple to change that approach overnight any more than it can change Foxconn's practices overnight; in many ways that approach might continue to work.  

Apple isn't just freezing out the NYT: it is freezing the citizens of the world and the community of its users from being stakeholders in Apple's governance.  

As the goods we purchase transition to digital rather than physical, the tangible devices and experiences we do purchase become increasingly important expressions of their lose their tangibly, the opportunity we have to participate in the industrial decisions surrounding their production is real and a true test of the world's appetite for respecting craftsmanship, effort, sacrifice, and pride.  Will it become harder to exploit citizens of other low-wage countries, or easier?  That much is up to us.

Tuesday
Jul052011

Apple Finances Start-up Costs to Manufactire the Future

Nice wrap up on SAI, from a Quora post about how apple uses its massive cash resources:

When new component technologies (touchscreens, chips, LED displays) first come out, they are very expensive to produce, and building a factory that can produce them in mass quantities is even more expensive. Oftentimes, the upfront capital expenditure can be so huge and the margins are small enough (and shrink over time as the component is rapidly commoditized) that the companies who would build these factories cannot raise sufficient investment capital to cover the costs.

...

Apple is not just crushing its rivals through superiority in design, Steve Jobs's deep experience in hardware mass production (early Apple, NeXT) has been brought to bear in creating an unrivaled exclusive supply chain of advanced technology literally years ahead of anyone else on the planet. If it feels like new Apple products appear futuristic, it is because Apple really is sending back technology from the future.

Reminds me of the Clarke's Third Law:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -[Wikipedia]

Thursday
Jan132011

Fascinating - Apple is the new IBM?

By painting Apple as a new untouchable in the CE industry, has Dave Morgan taken the liberty to show us that the consumer experience trumps just about everything else?   After a decade of losing Apple vs. IBM comparisons (in which I,  as a boy, defended Apple to the ends of the earth, aided by my weekly infusion of MacWEEK) can Apple have a further decade of dominance? Eerily familiar to descriptions of IBM in the 1960s or 70s.

Apple: The First Trillion-Dollar Company? 01/13/2011:

Apple is out-innovating and out-executing the entire market. No other company is delivering better consumer electronics products with better content and communications experiences to the market, and iterating them constantly, than Apple.? Not only that, but no one else is delivering consumer electronic products and related software and content at the scale, and with the degree of customer service, that Apple is today. Not Sony. Not Samsung. Not LG. Not Google. No one.

 

The business of video on demand was possible and eminently doable in 1994-95.  Most of the cable companies buried their heads in the sand.   IBM was content selling servers, having lost the DOS vs. Windows battle (or even OS2/Warp!)  Yet we didn't see it for more than a decade in most US Cable households.  

Great products and ideas die, all the time.  I personally never owned a mac clone, but some of those machines were really insipiring piecves of machinery.  Gil Amelio couldn;t save Apple, but Jobs did.  He rebooted the company.

And that's why the powerhouse that Apple has become, can't last forever.  What IBM has build doesn't rely on one person, ditto to GE, Comcast, Verizon.  Apple has a lockup on the fringe, but it can't take the mass.  The mass just won't tolerate it.

David Pogue suggests this morning that CES was a sideshow of Apple copycats.  His money quote from an industry insider:

“These companies are like 6-year-olds on a soccer team,” one company representative told me. “The ball goes over here, and they all run after it in a blob. ‘Tablet!’ ‘Tablet!’ ‘Tablet!’ ”

The innovation, however, is moving to the cloud- the services on top of the devices.  That will keep shiny, new things on our TVs for now.  See InsideFacebook's The Best Facebook-Integrated Devices from CES 2011.

But it can't last longer than Steve Jobs.  Even as Steve keeps the fanboys cheering (and even some day clicking the "like" button) he hasn't build anything that can outlive him.

Well, maybe, just maybe, it's fixing the news business! (via Fake Steve Jobs)

The news business has descended into the gutter in a pathetic attempt to stay alive. It’s been a horrible race to the bottom. This is turn has polluted our politics, and now we’re seeing the result of it.

Fortunately for the world, we’re going to change all that, with iPad and the apps model. But that’s a story for another day.

Tuesday
Dec142010

GOOG 3G/4G Spectrum Patents from Nortel Key to World Domination

Over at SAI, the chart of the day suggests that ChromeOS is a jab at Windwows (duh) and that Google needs the OS to succeed because it is the best hope to kill a weaker Microsoft.  Despite Microsoft's attempts to break out of the doldrums, and the extreme diversification of their product offerings (many of which never stood a chance of working)- Windows remains the cash cow for the giant.

If I were Google, I wouldn't try to win the war against Windows under current conditions; I would need more things to fall into place.

Android users are wising up to the Google Platform, and applications for Android are proliferating.  Windows Phone 7, how are you feeling?

Bing is getting better, has differentiated itself and is integrating with Facebook more obviously (the future of social search is very scary for any company that does not follow Bing's lead)- that's got to be scary for Google.

ChromeOS apps would all be web apps, and the value proposition would have to involve the cloud, and applications that are enhanced by always on-data networks.  WiFi in the current sense just will not cut it.  You know what would?  3G/4G wireless connectivity built in.  

ChromeOS laptops might be a miserable failure like the Nexus one, but if Google sold them at a loss, they'd exact a far more painful loss on Microsoft.  With onerous license fees from the essential connectivity, Google has to own the key patents in order to reduce its costs.  This illuminates why Google may be fighting so hard against Apple and RIM for Nortel's 3G/4G patents.

When yo sign into Google Apps, use email, docs, spreadsheets, watch Youtube videos in the Chrome browser, and android apps all day, getting served advertising by Doubleclick until you remotely program your Google TV from your android phone and watch The Office when it's convenient for you...that's when Microsoft dies.  And with the exception of GoogleTV, I haven't named one thing above that sucks.  

To do the same thing on Windows/microsoft/Bing/MSN/Xbox, you're making some compromises along the way, for sure.  It's not a done deal, but it's for all the marbles.