Tim Cook will MC the event, and we will see more video clips and SVP stage time than Tim time. He will begin by rattling off some “incredible” numbers and stats from iPhone, Mac and Apple retail. At least 1 video will play. Then he will turn the attention to the iPad and talk about how it is revolutionizing the way we do stuff. He will recount the success of the iBooks platform and the recent adoption of text books and course publishing, and may even have some publishers there to talk about the awesome stuff they are doing. Then he will unveil the new iPad 3.
I talked to Dane today and he gave me a lot of points for my predictions; probably more than I deserve. It has now been 6 months, and before I make another batch of iPad 3 predictions, I want to follow up on my last set.
Dane asked me:
What does it mean for Apple? I mean, really, how big an impact will this have on Apple?
I will speculate thusly:
- Tomorrow, the stock will take a hit. Plenty of people will have been holding for just such a day and will sell. If they bought stock any time before June of this year, they will make money. $500 invested in 2001 would yield about $25,000 today. Good for them. Some people (maybe I) will buy the stock.
- Two weeks from now, Apple will have invited the press to an event where they talk about this year’s line up of iPhone(s) and iPods. They will be totally awesome and the stock will climb for the rest of the year.
- A month from now, hundreds of people will either be in line to buy iPhone 5, or millions will have already purchased it. I am betting 3 million during opening weekend.
- 6 months from now, Apple will have had its best holiday quarter ever, with record breaking iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac sales. The stock will continue to do well. Apple will announce the new iPad. It will make all competing tablets look pretty stupid.
- A year from now, people will be speculating about what the new iPhone is going to look like, the iPad will have dominated the tablet market for another year, and freed from the fears that Apple won’t survive with Jobs, the stock will have steamed up to about $550 per share. Apple will be the most valuable company in the world. Literally.
- 3 Years from now, most of the products that were in the product pipeline when Steve Jobs was the CEO will have made their way to market, and it will be Tim Cook (or Phill Schiller) that announces some great new product that I will buy with a great big smile.
Jobs’s greatest creation isn’t any Apple product. It is Apple itself.
DON’T BUY AN IPHONE!!!
Apple is almost sure to release a new iPhone (or two) within the next 60 days. There are some excellent rumors floating around right now that could mean some great choices for consumers:
- It is widely expected that the iPhone 5 is coming to town. We don’t know what it will looks like, or what new features it will have, but there are two theories. One is that it will be a marginal update similar to the update from 3G to 3GS (call it 4S) where all they do is up the processor and improve the camera. The other theory calls for a redesigned body shape and other goodies.
- The Wall Street Journal – who tends to have solid sources – reported today that the iPhone 5 is coming to Sprint. This is cool because not only does it give consumers another choice, but Sprint has had a tendency to be more generous with their data plans than what AT&T and Verizon are currently offering.
- Reuters – who can be hit or miss – is saying that Apple may offer a cheaper iPhone 4 model, with only 8 GBs of storage. To me, this is a fascinating move, and could be evidence of Apple living up to Tim Cooks promise that the iPhone would not be “just for the rich“. This could be a fabulous phone at a very reasonable price.
With all the fuss about patents right now, many have spoken out about the broken system that is in dire need of reform. Some are even saying that software patents should be abolished. I can’t define my exact stance on the matter, but in general, I want to tell Americans that they have it better than they think when it comes to patents.
My wife and I lived in Thailand a few years back and got to be there for long enough to learn some of the cultural patterns, buying behaviors and business practices of Thais in Bangkok. In a city with 10 million people, they have really figured out urban life. Few people have cars, most don’t have any sort of kitchen and buy all of their food from street vendors and shops, and there are markets everywhere. The strange thing about the markets is that there are plenty of no-name, homemade clothes and products, and there is an equal portion of knock offs, rip offs, copies, generics, imitations, and downright forgeries. You can buy Gucci, Rolex, Louis Vitton, Chanel, Nike, and almost any other premium brand but somehow not pay the premium price.
One night, on our way to the sky train, my wife and I were perusing the wares of street vendors who laid out their blankets of merchandise directly under signs that read in English and Thai, “No selling in this area.” As we walked through the maze of Hello Kitty socks, we spotted a police officer. He was also casually looking over the products to see if there was anything that he liked. I didn’t get it, and I still kind of don’t. Shouldn’t he have told them to break it up? Shouldn’t he have fined them for selling knock offs in an area that was clearly marked as a no-sell territory?
Sometimes we felt more comfortable in the atmosphere of the many malls that Bangkok has to offer. At the Fortune Town Mall on Rama 9, there are two floors devoted entirely to tech. As we passed shop after no-name, owner operated shop, we noticed a software section that had all the big names for sale like Microsoft and Adobe. Up close, you could tell that the software was pirated and that the product cases didn’t have DVDs in them.
Likewise, down the hall, we found shops that we thought were selling DVD movies, but didn’t actually have DVDs in the cases. We asked them if we could buy the movies, so they rang up the transaction in the register and then sent one of the employees running down the hall. They told us to wait. When the runner returned, he held the daily newspaper awkwardly in his hand. They then looked around and spilled the two discs we had purchased from between the pages of the paper and gave them to us. They told us to move along because they didn’t want the cops to see.
Are you kidding me? You have an entire store that is obviously in the business of selling pirated DVDs, but you can’t hold them in the shop because the cops will see you? How is this possible?
The fact is, the country has no regard for intellectual property. I have heard that it is like this in several other Asian countries. The authorities may make token statements about protecting copyright and such, and I am sure that some DVD sellers get hit with fines now and again, but it was clear, over and over, that everyone knew that everyone else didn’t really care about intellectual property.
I can’t begin to imagine how this has stifled the Thai economy. Whenever we would talk about the possibility of selling our cloud based software to local schools, the first question every Thai person would ask is “how are you going to keep people from copying you?” Even after describing the technical difference between a physical software disc and a browser accessible application in the cloud where strait code copying is impossible, they were still certain that if we had a good idea and tried to sell it that some one else would come along and steal it.
And this is what our current system gets us: a market where people make great stuff, but aren’t primarily concerned with being copied in a fraudulent way. Say what you will about the specifics of the law, but I am quite happy with the benefits that we have reaped as a country because of our cultural respect for intellectual property, and the enforcement of IP laws.
For much more amazing thoughts on the subject, see Nilay Patel’s excellent editorial at TIMN.
On iOS 5:
Best features were literally copied from other mobile platforms.
One could argue that these are purposefully antagonistic ways of saying these things. Or, perhaps better said, purposefully belittling.
I can see why, from a tech pundit’s point of view, that “literally copied” is meant to have a punitive sting. However, these “copied” features are a big win for Apple. The iPhone has been in the lead in so many competitive areas (app store, ease of use, ecosystem integration, best “under finger” experience etc). However, some consumers have been hesitant to choose iPhone because of a specific advantage of a competitor.
For example, some people consider BBM the key feature of a BlackBerry. As of iOS 5, the “iOS doesn’t have it” argument is gone. The only thing left is what iPhone does better. Same with notifications and Android, which Jonathan Geller thinks Apple did better than Android.
Buyers now have all the reasons to choose the iPhone that they had before – AND they have no reason to buy any competitor.
About the only gripe left is Flash, but mostly from Mossberg.
From Josh Topolsky’s editorial today regarding Apple’s cloud strategy
While competitors like Google and Microsoft continue to pursue a strategy of “you everywhere” with front-facing web products that allow you to create and collaborate with nothing more than a connection and relatively modern browser, Apple seems to be moving almost backwards. Sure, syncing our devices is clearly an important and yet-to-be-solved problem, but Cupertino isn’t just improving sync across devices. It also seems to be concluding that it can’t — or won’t — compete on the web, and I think that’s a mistake.
I appreciate Topolsky’s desire for more and better from Apple, but I am concerned about the realization of what he is really asking for. If he is taking Google and Microsoft to be Apple’s competitors, I think it is worth noting that
- Google’s business model, and by extension goals, are different that Apple’s. Remember, if you don’t pay for it, you are the product.
- Microsoft’s business model (or lack thereof) shows that they may not understand how to make money from the web.
The issue I have with this [article], is it’s clouded by what [Josh] wants out of Cloud services, and not what can be done with it…I would rip Apple for doing what they entend to do poorly, and not for not doing what you wanted them to do