Thursday, April 30, 2015

tablet doom and gloom

There's been a lot of concern about declining year-on-year tablet, including iPad, sales.  I think the definition of the relevant market needs closer examination.

For traditional business measures (will this business line increase sales this period vs the relevant prior period), then these metrics (total unit sales, revenues, etc.) are correct.

But, for trying to predict the relevance and permanence of a sector (are tablets a flash in the pan or are they a device with staying power), these are NOT the right metrics.

Regarding reduced year-on-year sales, tablets, and the iPad in particular, had huge initial sales because it answered the unmet demands for many people and there had never been a solution prior to iPad's release.  The dramatic improvements from iPad1, to iPad2, to iPad retina, and iPad Mini, all led to meaningful sales even to those who previously purchased earlier generations.  But, as many have pointed out, iPads are durable and capable devices so upgrades are less frequent, especially as incremental improvements have been less dramatic (iPad Air 2 v iPad Air 1 is a sharp example).

None of this means that the second meaning of market (userbase) is adversely impacted.  I'd bet that many iPad1s are still going strong and relatively useful.  iPad2s are definitely still useful (noting that they continue to be sold as the base iPad Mini!).  So, in terms of a growing userbase, tablets look healthy.  Apple's own comment that most buyers are new suggests that this is the case (and helps to explain why, atypically for Apple, it continues to sell 3 year old hardware in the tablet space unlike any other).

I think we are close to the point of seeing what normal replacement cycles look like on iPad and should think more about household durables (washing machines and televisions) than phones or even computers.  It's probably a five year cycle and so will start seeing some meaningful growth in a few years as the pig of those first few huge years moves through the python.

Monday, April 27, 2015

oxymorons and Apple results

This headline isn't unique to Apple but it is especially conspicuous given Apple's prominence: "Apple second-quarter earnings expected to top expectations".  I'm not quite sure how something can be expected to top its expectations...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Apple Store Down?

why is the Apple Store down?  And how is there no news on this?

Monday, March 30, 2015


Is there a correlation between having had and raised children and Alzheimer's?

Monday, March 23, 2015


I wonder whether consciousness evolved because it helped higher animals (and people in particular) to hone skills.  I was thinking about whistling and other complex learned skills and it occurred to me that it was the ability to think of our individual body parts as tools and objects that we can control (but not precisely) that allowed the faster learning to take place.  This is perhaps the flip-side of Cartesian duality - the body came first and the illusion of the mind developed as a way to gain advantage.

And perhaps all the elements of consciousness work to permit faster learning (deferred gratification, distinct episodic memory, etc.)?

I'm sure there are already tons of books about this but I had not thought of consciousness (and self-awareness, especially of body parts) as an adaptation to permit learning until this morning (when wondering if a dog could be taught to spit).

Friday, March 20, 2015

New Apple TV?

If so, this is a true and long overdue "finally".

Thursday, March 19, 2015

apple watch pricing

I am clearly not the target market for traditional watches as I had only a vague sense of how much a Rolex or Tag Heuer cost and really no idea at all of what is available in the $500-$1000 range.  The answer: not much.

Taking a quick look at Tourneau, I think Apple will have no problem with its pricing.  The $500-$1000 space is largely filled with low/middle end names and undistinguished details.  Not a knock on those brands - Apple has no name in watches and, of course, cannot have meaningful detail on the watch face.  But, given a choice between an Apple Watch and most of these choices, I really don't see how Apple can't get a meaningful portion of this market.

Also interesting is that Apple jumps almost entirely over the mass-luxury segment with its pricing - leaving effectively the entire $1100-$10000 range out - and so avoiding going head to head in that segment where you see some detail and have some powerful brands.  Many are trying to paint Apple as competing with those brands.  Given the pricing, that painting is wrong.

Apple isn't trying to beat Rolex or Tag Heuer (at least not yet).  Apple is going after Tissot, Hamilton, etc.  Modest graduation gifts.  Upper-middle class gifts.  iPod level gifts.  Apple is going to get a lot of this market, especially anyone who doesn't wear a watch today (and who owns an iPhone, of course - but that is a 400 million strong number).  And it is going to crush in the $350-$500 range with the Sport where there is no competition at all.