Today’s links are just on tech. The iPhone 5 is poised to break all records when it comes out. While this is a much-needed boost for Apple given the doubts about its product cycle, the phone is clearly inferior to phones now being released by other manufacturers. While a consumer purchase involves a lot more than just the purchase – there’s customer service, brand, product ecosystems, related products, etc – this is a watershed moment in the mobile world. I’ll repeat: for the first time ever, Apple has released a mobile product that is clearly inferior to existing competing products.
What does this mean?
It doesn’t mean anything outside of context. Were PCs superior to the Macintosh? Was VHS superior to Betamax? Was Blueray superior to HD DVD? Who knows? More importantly, who cares. It doesn’t mater because it’s not about having the best product quality. But, in Apple’s case this is a problem because Apple makes premium-priced products. You wouldn’t buy a Mercedes for 40% more than a Lexus of better quality, would you? You might have in the early 1990s but not today. Brand can only go so far.
I think Apple is at an inflection point. It has been for all of 2012. Its product cycle is too long. It is losing market share. And now its products are clearly of lesser quality. Remember, Apple has missed twice this year already. That tells you something. Initially, I had said that Apple would have to miss a few times before its shares were whacked. But after the first miss in April, the shares were whacked and I thought I was wrong. But then the shares came storming back, hitting record highs just recently. So, as I figured initially, it takes a few misses before a market darling loses its lustre. Apple will make a lot of money from this phone, mind you. But I think Apple is a momentum stock – and the momentum is shifting.
“Apple today announced that it managed to rack up 2 million pre-orders for the iPhone 5 in 24 hours, two times as many as it managed for the iPhone 4S last year, which sold over 1 million devices during its first 24 hours of pre-order sales. That’s a new record, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been watching the progress of iPhone pre-order sales since the device originally hit the market.”
This is the ultimate Apple fanboy review:
“Those worried about the talk of “disappointment” surrounding the iPhone 5, I suggest you simply go to an Apple Store starting on Friday and try it for yourself. My guess is you’ll immediately recognize just how ridiculous all that bluster actually is. The iPhone 5 is the culmination of Apple doing what Apple does best. This is the smartphone nearly perfected.”
“The market research company noted in its report that while previously-expensive NAND flash memory prices have dropped, the iPhone 5’s display technology and 4G LTE wireless components brings the build cost up to $207, or $8 more than consumer pricing after wireless carrier subsidies. In comparison, the bill of materials, or price without labor costs, for last year’s iPhone 4S was estimated to be $188.”
“The first reviews of Apple’s new iPhone 5 hit the web Tuesday night and — spoiler alert — it’s a huge hit with the gadget press. Here’s a roundup of some of the first reviews and some of the things the critics liked best and least about the shiny new 4-inch smartphone set to go on sale Friday.”
“So, what to make of this latest upgrade. There’s no denying that the iPhone 5 is a lovely thing, and the best iPhone to date. It could well be Apple’s best-selling unit ever.
But a lot has changed in a year, and the current crop of Android superphones – and the incoming Windows Phone 8 handsets – have closed the gap. For nearly every “new” feature announced at the Keynote, there was a Samsung, Android, Windows, Nokia, Sony or HTC fan saying “my phone already does that.””
The new iPad 3 is an improved version of the best tablet on the market, which makes the new iPad our number 1 slate by default. We’ll see more true quadcore tablets from Apple’s rivals before 2013, and they might boast some snazzier features too, but what they won’t have is the might of the App Store behind them.
For us, that remains the prime reason why iPads sell loads and others don’t. It’s Apple’s trump card, its tech golden ticket, and Google and Microsoft will have to nail their digital lockers before seriously challenging. iPad 2 accessories are also forward-compatible, including Smart Covers, camera kit, AV adaptors and docks.
“LG just launched its monstrously-spec’d Optimus G in its home market and it set a new performance benchmark for smartphones. The Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset that powers the beast features four Krait cores, which are all but guaranteed to wipe the floor with existing CPUs.
The LG Optimus G also impresses with its spectacular 4.7″ WXGA (1280 x 768 pixels) True HD IPS Plus screen, which offers a full RGB matrix and a pixel density of about 318ppi. Knowing how good previous True HD screens from LG were, we just couldn’t wait to see this new one in person.”
“People don’t buy the iPhone for all the features. They buy it for all those quirky, irrational, emotional, maddening reasons that make people’s eyes glaze over and their minds work like a blancmange clock.
Samsung’s biggest problem isn’t that its phone doesn’t have some fine rational attributes. It’s that the brand hasn’t captured hearts.”
“For those that may not know, an Apple Genius is an Apple expert working at one of the company’s stores. Samsung makes reference to this, while playfully stating the idea that Samsung’s products are obviously different from Apple’s smartphones. And based on what they use to prove that (the specs), they re also hinting at the fact that the Galaxy S3 is much better.
Of course, there is much more to quality than hard specs. A device doesn’t need to have better specs to be a better phone, right? It is all relative. “
“LG officially announced its new flagship smartphone, the Optimus G, at an event in South Korea last night, and the company is swinging for the fences with its specifications. The phone includes a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage (and no microSD card slot), LTE, Android 4.0, and a 1280×768 4.7″ IPS display. It also includes NFC, 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0, weighs just over five ounces, and is 0.33 inches thick. According to AnandTech, there will be two versions: one with an 8 megapixel camera that sits flush with the back of the device, and one with a 13MP camera that protrudes slightly from the rear of the device.”
I find this company interesting because I am interested in both languages and crowdsourcing.
“Duolingo, a language learning and crowdsourced translation platform from Recaptcha founder Luis von Ahn, has raised $15 million in Series B funding from New Enterprise Associates and Union Square Ventures.”
This company will eventually be acquired in my view.
“Box, which just raised $125 million in new funding, says Sony, Six Flags, American Hospital Association, and Targus Group International have all deployed the new Box Accelerator for file uploads and have seen similar results to those recorded by the third-party tester.”
Unless these companies cut their dividends in the next recession, the yield pickup is going to mean good things for investors of these stocks. The question is the stock price. I am more keen on Microsoft than Dell.
“The dividend has a yield of 2.95%. By comparison, Dell earlier this summer unveiled plans for a quarterly payout, which has a dividend yield of 3.03%.”
Yet another company dependent on Twitter for its success is finding that Twitter is taking over the ecosystem in a way that could be life threatening. It makes me think a bit of Zynga and Facebook actually.
Nokia shuld have gone with Android.
“Stephen Elop only has a few months to show he can turn Nokia around if he is to survive but the new smartphone is unlikely to woo customers back from Apple and Samsung.”