Apple: Is Innovation Valuable?

A fascinating post by Horace Dediu today. Apple Computer has been consistently hitting innovative new products out of the park. Does the stock market care? Evidently not – Horace’s analysis shows that investors seem to value the company as though it will never innovate again. Just look at one of Horace’s graphics:

(…) It may not appear to be the case, but throughout this volatile period, the investment thesis remained fairly constant: Apple is a rather small collection of product bets. Owning Apple meant riding the iPod or the iPhone or the iPad as waves of growth. As soon as one growth wave was seen to start to fade, investors would say the same thing: Apple is done.

The chart below shows just what that looks like in terms of product contribution to gross margin.

Given that performance, what should the stock price chart look like?

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China Is Now Apple’s Second-Most Important Market

Om Malik via John Gruber — an excerpt:

(…) Calling the progress in China “amazing,” Cook said that if you count the greater China region as a whole (which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan) it now accounts for 12 percent of Apple’s full-year revenue for 2011. That’s up from just 2 percent in fiscal year 2009, he said. That makes it Apple’s “fastest-growing region by far.”

I’ll speculate that Apple’s revenue growth in China is not over:-)

Last American Who Knew What The Fuck He Was Doing Dies

The Onion:

CUPERTINO, CA—Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple Computers and the only American in the country who had any clue what the fuck he was doing, died Wednesday at the age of 56. “We haven’t just lost a great innovator, leader, and businessman, we’ve literally lost the only person in this country who actually had his shit together and knew what the hell was going on,” a statement from President Barack Obama read in part …

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Steve Jobs: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish”

In June 2005 Steve Jobs delivered the Stanford commencement address. Steve told three wonderful stories from his experiences. The third story begins with this:

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Apple: One More Thing…

MG Siegler wrote one of the most thoughtful “post Jobs” notes, excerpted here:

(…) Talking to sources in recent months, there has been one common refrain: that the things Apple is working on right now are the best things the company has ever done. These are things that will “blow your mind”, I’ve been told.

What type of things? That I don’t know. There is a lot of talk about the entire Mac brand itself being completely re-imagined. We’ll see. What about Apple televisions? We’ll see.

The fact that Apple has big plans for the post-Jobs future shouldn’t be too surprising. Product roadmaps are set years in advance. Internally, Apple is undoubtedly already starting to test what will become the iPhone 6. And they probably have the beginnings of the iPhone 7 ready to go too. That’s just how these things work.

It’s a bit odd to think about the day after Steve Jobs retires as CEO of Apple, but what if when he says “Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it”, it’s not just a platitude? What if he’s saying it because, like other Apple employees, he knows what’s coming?

And what’s coming is Jobs’ final “one more thing…”, as it were. It may not be him on stage to present these things, but I have faith that the products won’t be any less great. We’ll just have to see for ourselves instead of instinctively trusting Jobs’ sales pitch.

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The secret of Apple store

Why is it so much fun to visit an Apple store? Wall Street Journal’s Kane and Sherr reveal some of the secrets:

More people now visit Apple’s 326 stores in a single quarter than the 60 million who visited Walt Disney Co.’s four biggest theme parks last year, according to data from Apple and the Themed Entertainment Association. Apple’s annual retail sales per square foot have soared to $4,406—excluding online sales (…)

(…) According to several employees and training manuals, sales associates are taught an unusual sales philosophy: not to sell, but rather to help customers solve problems. “Your job is to understand all of your customers’ needs—some of which they may not even realize they have,” one training manual says. To that end, employees receive no sales commissions and have no sales quotas.

Apple iCloud vs Google vs Amazon Cloud Drive vs Dropbox vs Microsoft SkyDrive

Dan Sung has written a very detailed comparison of the five main cloud storage competitors. And I agree with this fragment of Dan’s conclusions:

(…) The most powerful approach of all, though, is probably to use these things in combination. Use the free 25GB from SkyDrive for your photos, Google for your docs and mail (or perhaps more Windows Live) and Amazon for videos seeing as there’s no file size limit. Dropbox is the one to use for convenience. It’s the best syncing tool of the lot and given that storage on the service isn’t cheap, use it as just that – a tool.

Possibly the best advice of all is to use them all. Use them all up until the point where you have to pay for them. That way you’ll max out your storage and minimise your cost but perhaps use each service for just one type of media. That way you might actually be able to keep track of it all.

Apple World Wide Developers Conference 2011…

… sold out in the first two hours, attended by 5,200 developers and 1,000 Apple engineers. If you haven’t yet seen the 2-hour Keynote, you can download the podcast video here on iTunes.

We spent the last two evenings digesting the keynote. It is difficult to summarize what is most important of the announcements – which will vary depending upon interests. I’m glad not to be competing with Apple right now, while enjoying being just a consumer.

Amazing. I think Apple is introducing another tech industry phase change. If it all works…

Prey: Find out who’s got your missing computer, for free

A good solution to the stolen laptop problem from Dwight Silverman:

When my son’s apartment was burglarized in March and his MacBook Pro stolen, I immediately wished it had some kind of tracking program installed on it. In fact, none of my family’s notebooks have such software. Yeah, everyone’s iPhones have Find My iPhone enabled, but we’ve not done anything to protect our laptops.

stolennotebookWith the burglary serving as a wake-up call, I went in search of a program that could help recover a stolen computer. There are several out there, but I settled on a free, open-source product called Prey. It works on Windows and Macintosh computers, and there’s also a version available for Android phones. (An iPhone version is in the works.)

Prey is a small, hidden program that installs on the device you want to protect. It runs in the background, and there’s no icon or obvious process that alerts a user to its presence. You sign up for a free account on the Prey website, and you can also register a mobile phone number. The free account allows you protect up to three devices.

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