• apple,  wsj

    Thoughts and Comments: Tim Cook at D11

    Back on May 29, Apple CEO Tim Cook, joined Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher on stage at the D11 conference.  The following are my thoughts on the interview.

    You can watch the Tim Cook interview on the D11 website.  Or, if you have an Apple TV and a Wall Street Journal subscription, on the WSJ Live! channel on your Apple TV.

    Apple’s Stock Price

    – Much to do about nothing.  As a customer, I don’t really care what the stock price is as long as I have an elegant, simple, stylish solution that I really enjoy using.

    Apple & Television

    – Apple has sold over 13 million Apple TV devices.  Half of those sales came in the last 12 months.  I was an early adopter and picked up a first generation Apple TV and really like it.  I still have it.  As a matter of fact, I’ve purchased two more Apple TVs since then.  My desire to upgrade from a single first generation Apple TV to an additional two third generation Apple TV units was driven solely by my iPhone 4S.  I wanted the ability to use AirPlay is seamlessly throw content from my iPhone 4S or iPad 3 up on the 42-inch TV in my family room.  According to Mr. Cook, I’m not alone.

    – Apple TV or technologies involving television, is still an area of intense interest for Apple, but Mr. Cook isn’t talking about the future direction of their TV-based products.


    – Tim Cook uses a Nike+ Fuelband too!  I feel like I’m part of a distinguished club.

    – The wearable computer is an important piece of the post-PC era.  Again, Mr. Cook declined to talk specifics about how Apple will enter that market.

    – Wearables, like Google Glass, are difficult to do, but something on the wrist, is more acceptable by consumers.  People want their glasses to be light, unobtrusive, and to make people want to use them.

    iOS vs Android

    – Apple isn’t about making the “most”, they are interested in making the “best” product.  Google Android might be selling more units, but Apple’s products are the best.

    – People are using Apple products more than all Android devices combined.

    – Apple is doing better in total usage, in terms of commerce, iPad is used to buy more items from the iPad, and they continue to lead customer satisfaction.

    – Jonny Ive has been focused on making the collaboration between hardware and software design teams better.  The results of that focus will be evident in iOS 7.

    Tim’s Apple vs. Steve’s Apple

    – Tim is very different from Steve, but the important things to Apple are the same.

    – The team is there to make great products.  Keeping the culture of Apple the same regardless of whatever changes in terms of products and solutions.

    The iPhone

    – In terms of making the best products, Apple isn’t interested in just making larger phones with bigger screens.  There are trade offs and Apple feels that they can’t make the best smartphone is a large screen right now.

    Apple, US and & International Taxes

    – I don’t understand it, so I’m not even going to try to comment on it.

    Strategies and Acquisitions

    – Since October 2012, Apple has acquired nine companies.  Apple will only announce those that they are required to report to try and keep a strategic advantage.

    – Mr. Cook doesn’t feel that Apple needs to own or acquire a social network.  Apple is content to partner with companies like Facebook and Twitter.

    – You can expect that Apple will open, or expose, more iOS APIs, however, Apple won’t ever allow access to the point of risking customer disatisfaction.  Don’t expect Facebook Home or opening up iOS to deep customization (i.e.: jail breakers and hacks).

    – Apple would bring their technologies to other platforms, if and when it make sense for the company to do so.  That said, I don’t expect iCloud or Apple owned apps showing up on other platforms any time soon.

    – Apple views their services as things like iMessages, iTunes, FaceTime.

    – Apple believes in the element of surprise and releasing products when they are ready.  They will not talk about the future until the product is done.  This is in stark contrast to what Google does with their view of the future and new products (ie: Google Glass).

    – Apple doesn’t need to own great content, they need to have access to great content to be delivered to their devices.

  • apple,  galaxy III,  iphone,  rumors,  samsung,  wsj

    Rumor: Apple Working on Less Expensive iPhone Model

    According to an article that appeared in today’s Wall Street Journal, Apple is rumored to be working on a lower cost version of their popular iPhone smartphone.

    “Apple is working on a lower-end iPhone, according to people briefed on the matter, a big shift in corporate strategy as its supremacy in smartphones has slipped” reports the Journal.

    We’ve heard rumors of cheaper iPhones before along side rumors of an “iPhone mini”, however, it seems that this time around, Apple is taking a closer look at finally selling a high and low-end iPhone.  Up until now, Apple has favored keeping around the previous two years models as their less expensive purchasing options.

    Here in the United States, customers typically purchase wireless carrier subsidized phones.  That means, that the newest iPhone, the iPhone 5, starts at $199, last year’s iPhone 4S is $99, and the two-year old iPhone 4 is now free.  These prices all require that you purchase a 2-year service agreement.  If you chose to purchase an iPhone without a service contract, a 16GB iPhone 5 will cost you $649,  a 16GB iPhone 4S will cost you $549, and an 8GB iPhone 4 can be had for the low-low price of $450.  Not exactly “cost effective.”

    Now, factor in that in many other countries, wireless carriers do not subsidize the purchase cost of smartphones.  Customers have to pay the full price up front, but have the option of changing carriers without the hassle of early termination fees and other lock in tactics that U.S. carriers use to keep people tied to their service.  Suddenly those prices look insane for customers to purchase with the current global economic situation.

    Making matters worse for Apple, Samsung has had an amazing year selling their Galaxy-line of smartphones in China and emerging markets.  At the end of 2012, Samsung was estimated to have about 31% of the worldwide smartphone market compared to Apple’s 14.6%.  To put a finer point on it; the iPhone generates about 48% of Apple’s total annual revenue.  Any perceived slowing or decline in Apple’s global share is likely to send investors running for cover.

    So, what might we expect from Apple should they decide to go to market with new version of the iPhone that will be less expense?  The Journal has this to say:

    “Apple has been considering a less-expensive iPhone since at least 2009, viewing it as a way to grab market share and introduce people to the brand, said people familiar with the efforts. 

    Before the launch of the iPhone 4 in mid-2010, the company developed designs for cheaper phones that were very similar to the iPhone at the time but had a less expensive back and sides, one of the people said.”

    You can read the full article online. (Subscription maybe required.)

    [Via Wall Street Journal…]