Back on top!

According to Gartner (via Electronista) Apple is once again the #1 smartphone seller, worldwide. This speaks volumes to me. I assume that the iPhone 6 Plus is a key factor here. It would seem that adding larger models has helped Apple regain the top stop. As I’ve said before, I think that Apple has a good shot of being at or near the top right after the new model release (iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and iPhone 6 / 6 Plus) as there is a) pent up demand, and b) a larger number of current iPhone users eligible for upgrade. While it’s still possible for them to gain ground on the speed bump release (iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s, etc.), my gut says that it’s less likely because the pool of those eligible for upgrade seems to be lower (again, just a gut feeling.)

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter to Apple. They entered the iPhone market looking to become a niche player, and I’m sure they’re very happy with the way things have turned out.

The Apple Watch and upgradability

It’s been 20 years since Apple has promoted the upgradeability of their products. Back in the 68K to PPC transition, Apple sold computers which touted upgradeability as a feature. Apple even made some PPC upgrades (I have one in a Performa 636CD that I keep around.) If I recall correctly, a problem arose when Apple listed a product as upgradeable, but never shipped any upgrades. I don’t think Apple will offer upgrades for the Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport, but I don’t think it’s out of the question for them to do so for the Apple Watch Edition. If the Edition version of the watch is indeed priced close to $10,000, the question may be “If someone is willing to pay $10,000 for a watch, will they be willing to pay $10,000 a year or two later for a replacement?”. I don’t think it’s out of the question to think that they might be willing to do so. On the low end, if Apple can keep the prices on most of the regular and Sport models under $500, I think there might be no need to offer an upgrade path.

Either way, I don’t think this part of the story will be told until Fall 2015 or maybe even Spring 2016 (when the next Apple Watch is introduced.)

Forcing a Windows Hegemony.

After many years of autonomy when it comes to specing and purchasing my work computer, things have started to change. There seems to be a concerted effort to move to a homogeneous (Windows) environment. Here’s how it’s being done:

  1. A deal has been negotiated with Dell to “standardize” on one configuration. A condition of this agreement calls for 80% of all purchased machines to be this standard configuration.
  2. Allow non-standard configurations, but limit them to the price of the standard configuration.

What this effectively means is that new Mac purchases are limited to the price that was negotiated for a bottom or middle of the line Dell.

All I keep thinking is that BYOD can’t come soon enough.

My (crazy) Apple Watch price prediction

applewatch
We are about a week away from what appears will be the Apple Watch announcement, and I have some (crazy) predictions about how it will be priced. At the Fall 2014 iPhone event, Tim Cook said that the Apple Watch:

  • was curated into three collections
  • would start at $349

Based on this information, and the order the Apple Watch is presented in the , Here’s what I think the prices will look like:

  • Apple Watch – $349 for the model with the plastic bands. $399 for the models with leather or metal bands.
  • Apple Watch Sport – $349 (assuming these all come with plastic bands.) This could be higher if there are more sensors in the Sport edition of the watch.
  • Apple Watch Edition – To be honest, I have no idea. I think these will be at least a few thousand dollars, but I don’t have any problem entertaining the possibility that it could be $10,000 or more.

The more I think about it, the less I think that there will be a price difference between the 38mm and the 42mm versions. This assumes that they have the same screen resolution, just in different sizes. I could be completely wrong on this (this is all just a Wild Ass Guess at this point,) and it’s possible that there will be a $20 – $50 difference between the two sizes.

At this point, I’ve moved from the “Not interested” to the “Tell me more” camp since the introduction. I’m looking forward to the announcement next week, and assuming an Apple Watch (non Sport version) is available for less than $449, I’ll probably order one. If it’s more than that, I think I’ll wait.

My uninformed, biased take on the current mobile market

I’m sure that my take on this is heavily biased by the fact that I was a die hard (pre Macintosh) Apple fan during the company’s darkest times. You know, the time when Apple was barely of life support, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to actually admit that it was true. Thankfully Steve Jobs came back, righted the ship (after plugging the leaks,) and brought Apple back to the healthy juggernaut that they are today. That being said, I still get annoyed by the long int the tooth IT admins who can’t get over the fact that Apple survived. Even though we went through a period where Apple was the undisputed tech darling, they can’t bring themselves to admit that Apple is here to stay. While the industry was using iPads to lure attendees to their conferences and sales pitches, they silently waited for Apple to stumble so they could get on with their march towards a Windows hegemony. I have a colleague who personifies this in my mind. He outwardly goads Apple reps. These reps have commented to me that he talks to them like he’s annoyed that Apple didn’t go bankrupt in the late 1990s. He’s the only person I’ve seen with a Dell branded tablet. Bringing a MacBook into a meeting meets immediate derision. It’s really annoying.
Now that we are 7 years into the existence of the iPhone and iOS these are the people who gloat about Android being the market share leader. You can hear in their voices the glee that they see the Android / iOS market shaking out like Windows / Mac OS did. I find it funny that the same people who wouldn’t accept the defense that even though the Macintosh didn’t have as many apps as Windows, it had the ones that matters now use the same argument to defend Android. The reality is that each year, when Apple releases the new / speed bumped iPhone, the iPhone is the number one selling handset for the next 1-2 quarters. It then holds it’s own for the rest of the cycle, and then it starts all over again. There are many things that Apple could do wrong, and I hope they don’t, but until they do, there is no problem. We’ve seen how well it works when you try to make up your losses by selling in volume (I’m looking at you Dell. How’s that working out for ya?) In the long run, as long as Apple can make products that people want, and can sell them at a profit, they can keep going until the cow comes home.

My Steve Jobs Story

While I never got to meet Steve Jobs, I did hear a great story from someone who worked directly with him at NeXT. The individual told me the story over a sushi lunch during a WebObjects training that I took (over 10) years ago. While he was at NeXT he sat in on a sales call to AT&T, and Steve Jobs was at the meeting. Steve was going on and on about the strengths of NeXTSTEP and object oriented programming, and the AT&T representatives had completely lost interest. This individual interrupted Steve, and according to him, he saved the day by bringing the level of conversation back down to the level of the AT&T reps, and regaining their interest. AT&T eventually purchased some NeXTSTATIONs to run custom applications. After the sales meeting the NeXT employees decided to go out and grab some sushi, and Steve tagged along. At one point Steve picked up a piece of Amaebi and used it as a puppet. He was pretending that the Amaebi was crying out to not be eaten. Just thinking about this makes me smile. It shows a different side of the man we often remember as the showman on stage selling us Apple’s latest gadet.