Is Original Content a Distraction?
An excellent essay by Pantho Investments over at Seeking Alpha tackles head-on the issue of whether or not Apple (AAPL) is going through “diworseification”. The recent news that Apple is investing $1 billion dollars to create original content kicked off the discussion. Diworseification is a concept that Peter Lynch popularized in his 1989 book, One Up On Wall Street:
Dealing with Hyper-Inflation
So for a brief period this week a Venezuelan bank was ranked above Apple (AAPL) in terms of market cap. That is just how far out of whack things in the socialist country of Venezuela have gotten. In a nutshell, oil revenues have collapsed and the nation is printing more money to avoid defaulting on their debt. The influx of new cash is causing massive inflation.
I’m not sure why, but it seems that there isn’t much being written about what would happen if Samsung’s headquarters is destroyed. Seoul sits only 35 miles from North Korea, and technically, the Korean War never really ended. North Korea has been steadily building their armaments so they can launch thousands of rockets at Seoul on a moments notice. They’ve been preparing for decades to wipe out as much of Seoul as possible in a thirty minute window. They know they’d lose any war fairly quickly so the threat of leveling Seoul in the first 30 minutes is their way of holding hostages.
Every quarter when Apple releases their earnings, there is one thing I wish the tech or financial press would do: put the earnings in context. The fact that they don’t do this is especially egregious with the financial press which supposedly caters to investors.
Lessons from the MacBook Pro Debacle
Apple was forced to change their customer service policy last week after MacRumors publicized a great thing that Apple Stores were doing for their customers. Some lucky MacBook owners who were taking in their older 2012 MacBook Pros for service were having them exchanged for brand new MacBook Pros. Understandably, a stampede followed which caused Apple to immediately amend their policy. Going forward, Apple Stores were instructed to no longer exchange for newer models but to wait for the parts to come back in stock.
It's a Mess
One of the reasons I gravitated towards using an iPhone over an Android was a perception that Apple sweats the details that others will miss. I haven’t been disappointed. These items will never make for an exciting commercial but small things like touch sensitivity, storage speed, and even audio lag are all better on Apple’s iPhone.
They Serve a Purpose, a Small One
Apple (AAPL) made a great move recently when they changed their App Store to allow for app developers to offer their products at a subscription price if they choose too. There are some products that lend themselves perfectly to a subscription. But most software products do not fall into this category.
Is This About Money?
Is anyone else wondering why Tesla’s Elon Musk harps on artificial intelligence so much? He’s literally advocating that governments step in and start regulating it. That’s a pretty drastic move that could permanently cripple AI’s future. Nothing slows down progress in an exciting new field more than government bureaucrats getting involved. Here is a guy consumed with his primary purpose in life, raising money from investors, who regularly takes time out of his agenda in order to throw shade at AI.
Welcome to a Slower Internet for All
A lot of people get confused by the subject of net neutrality because they think that they’d have to study arcane telecommunications law to come to their own conclusions. As a consequence, most people simply believe what the media tells them, that net neutrality is essential to a free and vibrant internet. But nothing could be further from the truth. Net neutrality guarantees that the internet will be less free and less available for everyone.
Facial Recognition Would Be the Perfect Complement
I’ve been listening to the tech blogosphere go crazy for two weeks now at the thought of Apple adding facial recognition. The underlying assumption by everyone is that Apple is going to abandon the tried-and-true system of Touch ID. But I’m not so sure that it’s an either-or situation.
What Is Plan B’s Breakeven Point?
There’s been a lot of speculation lately regarding Apple making an unprecedented move with their iPhone. That would be if they offered a sort of “Pro” model that costs upwards of $1,100. It’s unprecedented for the iPhone, but not for Apple. They’ve already offered Apple Watches and iPads that cost north of $1,000 so they probably have some feel for the kind of demand that they can expect.
Twice the Power!
Anybody in business is probably pretty well acquainted with Microsoft Excel. It’s like a lump of clay just waiting to be molded and shaped into whatever you need it to be. If you work in finance, you work with Excel about as much as a truck driver grips a steering wheel. And yet, most people seem to stop exploring and learning new tools in Excel that could make them more efficient after a while.
The iPhone Was the Best Thing to Happen to Android
Business Insider yesterday published a piece mentioning that the components division at Samsung Electronics which sells to Apple (AAPL) is the most profitable section.
Samsung is best known as a brand that sells phones like the Galaxy S8. But its most profitable division sells parts, like screens and memory chips, to companies including Apple.
In fact, Samsung is reported to be the only supplier of the new next-generation OLED screen expected to be a key selling point of the iPhone 8.–Kif Leswing
Windows Tablets Make More Sense
When it comes to corporate purchasing of computing devices, there are two things that don’t make sense. One, everyone is issued a laptop. And two, no one ever uses most of the hardware features on them. And this is almost universal at companies of all sizes and in all industries.
Tesla's Stock Options Are Worthless
After only six months on the job, one of the most brilliant programmers in the world, former Apple (AAPL) Director of Development Tools and the Godfather of the Swift programming language, announced that he was leaving Tesla (TSLA). Both Chris Lattner and Tesla have used the phrase “not a good fit”. If you’ve spent a lot of years observing Fortune 500 executives come and go this phrase, generally means one thing. A new person clashed with the indigenous culture of his new company. That leads to stark disagreements on how to proceed forward.
Tech Should Serve Humanity, but for How Long?
Earlier this month in an interview with the MIT Technology Review's Nanette Byrnes, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook made the statement that technology “should serve humanity, not the other way around.”
While he calls AI “profound” and increasingly capable of doing unbelievable things, on matters that require judgment he’s not comfortable with automating the human entirely out of the equation. “When technological advancement can go up so exponentially I do think there’s a risk of losing sight of the fact that tech should serve humanity, not the other way around.”
Original Content Isn't the Only Way
About two weeks ago, Apple announced that they had hired two prominent TV executives from Sony Television. Any doubt as to whether or not Apple still has grander plans for the future of video content were immediately dispelled. They do, and poaching the executives who helped bring the world “Breaking Bad” is a pretty good start.
And Why Tesla's Model 3 Will Be a Disaster
If you’re either a manufacturing or Apple wonk you should check out Leander Kahney’s interview with former Apple product design engineer, Anna Katrina Shedletsky. The latest podcast of Apple Chat spends time with the now co-founder of Instrumental discussing all manner of hardcore manufacturing science. Her views were formed from spending a lot of time in China getting the iPod and Apple Watch manufacturing lines validated. Anna could easily be a professional podcaster. She's a great communicator without getting too dry.
Manufacturing and distribution analysis since 1993.