Apple’s Identity Crisis – As Earnings Decline, Investors Pay Attention to a Lack of New Products

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Jessica E. Lessin, jessica.lessin@wsj.com

It’s all about how Apple is positioned by investors and the marketplace.

If it continues to be seen as a hardware business, Apple’s streak—driven by products like the iPhone and iPad—could run out quickly as smartphones and tablets get commoditized and consumer tastes change. It is a lesson learned by companies like BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion Ltd., whose tech hardware was quickly eclipsed by products from Apple itself.

If Apple is classified as a software-hardware hybrid, the company could be valued more like Internet and software makers that have recurring revenue streams and that often trade at higher price-to-earnings ratios than hardware firms.

“The market views Apple as a consumer hardware company tied to product cycles that drive volatile revenue and earnings streams,” says Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty. But that view isn’t complete, she says, since “Apple customers buy into a brand that offers ease of use similar to companies like Amazon.com or enterprise companies like NetApp.”

Apple has characteristics that differ from many other hardware businesses. Its customers often upgrade their Apple products annually, far more frequently than the four-year PC upgrade cycles typically found at tech hardware businesses including Hewlett-Packard or Dell.

The history of hardware companies that stayed on top through software is short. Sony Corp., 6758.TO +2.14% for instance, lost its supremacy to Apple when the Walkman couldn’t compete with iTunes and the iPod. RIM enjoyed huge sales spurred by its email service, only to have that eclipsed by Apple and its App Store.

Now, some say there are signs Google Inc. GOOG +1.91% may do the same to Apple with online services. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says Apple builds great software, but gets a “C” on software services like data syncing service iCloud.

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13 Hidden Features of Apple iOS 6

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Think You Know Apple’s New iOS 6?  With over 200 new features, it’s doubtful.

Here are 13 hidden features of Apple’s new operating system for iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.  Read the whole article here.

  1. Apple’s completely redesigned Maps app replaces Google Maps in iOS 6. Simply pinch to zoom out, like you normally, and keep doing it until the map becomes a globe.
  2. Panorama mode actually works with any iOS device that has a dual-core processor.
  3. You can finally insert photos into an e-mail draft. Tap and hold on a blank area in the email until the cut-and-paste menu appears.
  4. The YouTube app has been removed from the default install of iOS 6. But if you want it back, you can download the new YouTube app from the App Store.
  5. Sharing Calendars can now be done straight from iOS 6.
  6. Email now has a mark as unread function. Tap on the flag to choose from flagging an e-mail or setting it as unread.
  7. With iOS 6, each e-mail account can have its own unique signature.
  8. On the iPhone the default Navigation voice can be alarmingly loud, especially if connected to a car stereo. To adjust the speaking volume of your robot navigator, go to Settings > Maps
  9. Photo Stream now offers a pretty easy way to share photos with groups of friends without posting them to the Internet for all the world to see.
  10. Now you can customize alarms for certain days of the week and set a song from your music library as your alarm tone.
  11. New ability to delete both artists and individual tracks lets you remove these offending tracks. Just slide from left to right on an artist or track to bring up the delete button.
  12. Although the new Passbook function isn’t fully available with application support yet, one of the best things about Passbook is the option to access it from the lockscreen. Go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock.
  13. Apple has provided clearer controls with regard to ad tracking and to granting apps access to your data.

 

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Apple-Chic Status Applies to AT&T and Sprint

English: Apple iPhone 3GS

Apple iPhone 3GS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why do people buy Apple products?  For some, it’s the status they get from having one of the most Chic products available on the market.  Turns out that they’re not the only ones. According to Boston-based Yankee Group, the Chic status also rubs off on the companies that sell iPhones.

“From a financial perspective, the device—or, more precisely, the relationship with Apple that goes with it—carries significant challenges,” said Rich Karpinski, Yankee Group senior analyst and author of the report. “But it also brings subscribers in droves as well as significant improvements in how those users view operator brands. With the latest iPad focused strongly on 4G, and an LTE iPhone likely to appear later this year, U.S. operators that find ways to successfully manage the ‘i-challenge’ will win.”

Carrying the iPhone creates a heavy burdon for cell phone companies due to the high “Apple Tax” along with the high costs of the phone itself.  AT&T was hit hard when it decided to enter an exclusive deal with Apple and ended up having to pay a portion of every customer’s monthly phone bill directly to Apple.  Apple has also priced their iPhones at the high end of the spectrum. So, the question remains if the iPhone is a huge drag on profits at Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, or if it ends up helping.

According to this latest report:

  • AT&T boasts the largest iPhone halo effect. Among Apple users, AT&T ranks No. 7 out of 20 top mobile brands. Among all users, it ranks No. 14.
  • Sprint registers immediate gains. While the impact on AT&T’s brand grew over time, Sprint’s impression scores nearly doubled just in the first quarter selling the device.
  • Verizon sees little brand impact. Verizon does not see a corresponding boost in its brand among core Apple users. Overall, customers seem to value Verizon’s brand highly, regardless of the device they use.

 

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Small Dog Electronics — New England’s Largest Apple Specialist

 

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Small Dog Electronics provides us with an Apple Expert every Sunday at 5:30pm to answer your questions about everything and anything Apple. If you have a question, visit WGIR/AM or 96.7 The Wave and fill out the form.  You can listen live to our segments at WGIR AM 610 or 96.7 FM the Wave

Small Dog Electronics is New England’s largest Apple Specialist with over 16 tears of experience selling and servicing the complete Apple line. They share their passion for technology by providing the most personable, dependable and complete Apple shopping, training and support experience.

Their headquarters is in Waitsfield, Vermont.  Their three retail stores are located in Manchester, New Hampshire at the Mall of New Hampshire, and South Burlington and Waitsfield, Vermont. Their website, www.smalldog.com, features close to 3,000 products for the Mac or PC enthusiast.

Socially responsible, they are incredibly motivated by the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit. The effect they have on their community, environment, customers and employees factors into the equation they call “success.”

They offer complete solutions for businesses, regardless of platform, including systems analysis, sales and implementation, as well as training, technical support, maintenance and repair. Small Dog Consultants can provide on-site or remote support including troubleshooting, training, delivery, set-up and education on your new equipment.

Each of their three locations offers complete Apple repair services by Certified Apple Technicians. Services include data transfers, back-ups, data recovery, file system repair, software installations and more.

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The best bits from the “Steve Jobs” Biography

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Image via CrunchBase

CNN has done a great job putting together a summary of the book outlining Steve Jobs‘ life.  To quote from the article:

“Steve Jobs,’ the biography of the late tech visionary that went on sale Monday, has already produced plenty of headlines: How Jobs met his birth father without knowing who he was, how he swore bitter revenge on Google for developing its competing Android system, and how he waited too long after his cancer diagnosis to get surgery that might have saved him.

“But the 656-page book by hand-picked biographer Walter Isaacson also contains a wealth of smaller, but no less telling, details about the brilliant but difficult Apple co-founder.

“Taken together, they build an illuminating portrait of a charismatic, complicated figure who could inspire people one minute and demean them the next. Even on their own, many of these snippets are still fascinating glimpses into an extraordinary life.

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