Wednesday, October 25, 2017

october 25

Doesn't today feel a little like the day that the markets begin their seemingly inevitable collapse?

iPhone X production shortfalls

Given the history of launches and related shortfalls, I assume the X will be in short supply.  Unfortunately, news reports (rumor reports?) suggest that the X will be even more constrained at launch than its predecessors.

BUT, maybe they are wrong - why else would Apple be promoting the X so heavily on its homepage more than a week before launch (I assume most casual customers are not pre-ordering at midnight Friday)?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Beats


The more I see AirPods on the street, the more the Beats acquisition, at least in hindsight, seems sensible.  Which is funny as it was difficult to explain when it closed (i.e., less than 3 years before the introduction of AirPods).

Of course, thinking about other acquisitions, it fits in with Apple's history - purchases show up in product in 2-4 years.  But, time and again, it's hard to see things differently from the past.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Kobe Steel Surprises


I wonder if any auto manufacturers experienced surprising crash test results that can be explained by the Kobe Steel misstatements.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Apple's i

I woke up this morning thinking about the Dustin Curtis tweet suggesting that Jony Ive said: "he believes Apple will be a health company in 20-30 years".

I wonder if this is less speculation than a very specific path Apple is working on.

Aging populations and health: If there is a market that is set to grow and is underserved, it is the health and wellness needs of an aging population.  It's a large market - one large enough to move the needle even for an Apple.  Apple is focused on health.  Apple is also focused on "where the puck is going to be".

Technical sophistication:  Some products require integrating the full stack, including custom silicon.

Camera experience:  By some measures, Apple is the most used camera in the world.  They certainly take cameras very seriously.

Augmented reality:  Apple is all-in on augmented reality and machine vision.  "Understanding" and simplifying images to pull out key elements is hard.  I think the A11's neural engine is a first step there.

Privacy:  An omnipresent product, especially one with insight into your life, should have a reputation for privacy.  Many potential competitors would be hard pressed to credibly show that they have privacy as a primary concern.

Manufacturing:  Apple is a hardware company.

An artificial eye could bring these elements together.  A trustworthy camera that will need to interpret images on the fly to present a simplified version of the world for the millions of people who will be facing weakening eyesight as they age.

For fun: just look at the shape of Apple Park!

More fun:  they can just call it the "i" and drop the mike.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

physiological constants and constraints

I wonder how much discontinuity is created by physical, in particular physiological, constraints?  And I wonder how much those discontinuities are exploited in investment decisions and forecasts.  I'm thinking about things such as body sizes, minimum sleep periods, and elimination functions and their relationship with economies of scale and extrapolation of product sizes and uses.  For example, cars have a hard time getting smaller than a certain limit because people generally fit within a certain band (and so you get oddly proportioned vehicles such as a Smart).

Friday, August 18, 2017

American Political Parties and Trump

Political party affiliation in the U.S. is a funny thing.  The fluidity with which people can switch parties and the lack of any requirement beyond indicating one's current preference mean that being a "member" of a party is really based on personal integrity.

Which brings us to the funny situation of the Republican party not being able to use expulsion as leverage over Trump (unclear if they would want to expel but not even having the tool is a handicap).  Trump, of course, is not a Republican (or a Democrat) but, more importantly, as someone without personal integrity, the traditional constraint on abuse of a claim of membership falls away.  And so he hijacked the Republican party machinery and nomination rules to become president.

I raise this because such a threat of expulsion (during the election or now, during the presidency) could spur the creation of new parties (with new platforms and alignments) but, unfortunately, because the threat cannot be invoked, that creation remains unlikely.

And so, we will have a populist democrat president in three years who will likely be just as inept and destructive (albeit in different forms and perhaps less obvious forms) as Trump.