May 29, 2012

Apple Stock Will Hit $1000, Says Gene Munster [Report]

Apple Stock Will Hit $  1000, Says Gene Munster [Report]

Not only does Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster see Apple’s and its investors’ financial outlook as essentially rosy for the foreseeable future, but he’s taking it one step further. He’s convinced that he has at least ten reasons to stay bullish on Apple stock over the next three years. He also thinks the stock price is going to hit $ 1000 per share.

Forbes reports that Munster expects to see what he calls meaningful updates to the iPhone and Mac, as well as a new TV to be shipped in 2013. He mentions retina-enabled Macs and Ivy Bridge processors as well as a smaller iPad coming in early 2013.

Munster also expects that the iPhone 5 will be “the biggest consumer electronics launch of 2012,” as well a massive upgrade cycle by consumers. He plans on seeing a new, “completely redesigned” body style for the iPhone, going further to even state that the back may actually be more like the “metallic rear panel of the current iPad.” Munster sides with caution on size, though, saying that he feels that there’s a 60 percent chance the screen will be four inches or larger.

Forbes also relates Munster’s TV thoughts, with the analyst expecting a shipping product as soon as December of 2013, with a possible price tag in the $ 1,500 to $ 2,000 range. He believes the screen will be somewhere around the 42 to 55 inch range, too. He’s a fan of the iPhone/iPad remote control idea, and also votes for the Siri theory. His prediction? That Apple will capture 10 percent of the television market within three years of launch.

The analyst continues his reasoning with a prediction that phone subsidies are likely to continue, that Apple will b able to keep their gross margins high for many years to come, and that China–already a large part of current Apple strategy–will play a larger part in the years to come. In addition, Munster points out that Apple has created and dominates the wave of post-PC and tablet computing, and believes that Apple will continue to maintain its market share lead while tablet sales also overtake PC sales by 2020.

These points run the gamut of speculative to fairly obvious, but it’s lovely to be living in a time that contrasts so vividly with a few decades ago, when Apple was the underdog. As for the $ 1000 per share (currently at $ 565.32 as of last Thursday) prediction? I wish I hung on to that Apple stock I bought in the late 1990s.

Rob LeFebvre

Rob LeFebvre is a freelance writer and editor living in Anchorage, Alaska. He contributes to online tech, gaming and iOS websites around the net, including Cult of Mac, 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. He owns and operates GamesAreEvil as well, so it’s surprising he finds time to have two amazing kids, a disco band, and (yes) a day-job.

Feel free to find Rob on twitter: @roblef

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Cult of Mac

Apple says Department of Justice “sides with monopoly”

In Apple’s eye, the U.S. government has cast its lot with monopolies. Apple’s legal response to the Department of Justice lawsuit, which the company filed May 22, claims that the case against Apple and other publishers over ebook pricing is “is fundamentally flawed as a matter of fact and law.”

As Ars Technica points out, Apple paints itself as a savior of ebook pricing, and that its entry into the ebook market allowed growth in the industry. Furthermore, Apple says that the request for relief, as filed by the Department of Justice, is not in the best interests of the public. This relief would be doing away with the agency model pricing of ebooks and reworking Apple’s deals with the publishers involved.

The 31-page response can be found here. It echos earlier statements Apple made after the lawsuit was filed in April.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Orange exec says developing markets can’t sustain ‘gas guzzlers’ iOS, Android, Windows Phone

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 05:24 PM EST (02:24 PM PST)
Vice President of Devices Yves Maitre of European mobile operator Orange likened the iPhone, Android handsets and Windows Phones to fuel-inefficient cars, saying that the “gas guzzlers” aren’t good choices for developing markets the carrier plans to enter.

In an interview with All Things D on Thursday, Maitre said that current mobile operating systems are not lightweight enough in both cost and bandwidth usage to be a feasible option for developing markets.

The Orange executive concedes that Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android has created a rich mobile ecosystem for mid to high-end phones which has allowed Orange to build a strong lineup of devices in its major European markets. That expensive ecosystem doesn’t translate to the “6 billion” possible smartphone users in emerging markets like China and India, which may not be able to support data-heavy plans or expensive feature-rich devices.

Maitre used the automobile business as an analogue for the current state of smartphone technology, saying that when he was growing up in France, the big-block eight cylinder cars from Detroit were idolized. As the world realized that gas was a limited resource, the gas guzzlers from America ceded their position to more economical six or four cylinder options like those made famous by Japanese auto makers. The same is true of the mobile OS environment, the resource in this case being bandwidth.

Even Google’s open Android OS, which enabled OEMs to produce relatively cheap devices, is said to be too resource-intensive as it continues to add new features in its fierce competition with Apple’s iOS.

“I cannot run an eight-cylinder car because it is too expensive,” said Maitre. This is especially true in emerging markets where smartphone may have the draw, but consumers lack the funds to hold pre-paid data plans.

Customers in developing areas may be willing to pay a $ 30 premium on the average $ 54 Orange handset to upgrade to a smartphone, but it is doubtful that they will be able to spend another $ 100.

“If we are not in a position to give them a smartphone at $ 80, we will miss the six billion,” Maitre said in reference to the number of possible customers, adding that Orange will use other operating systems if needed to reach that price point. “If I cannot have Microsoft on it, if I cannot have Android, if I cannot have iOS, then I will look somewhere else, mostly likely in China.”

The carrier is looking at a variety of operating systems to fit their low-cost needs including Mozilla’s Boot-to-Gecko, the Linux-based Tizen and Chinese Android variants.

Maitre also notes that bandwidth is becoming an increasingly limited commodity, saying that about one billion people active users consume less than one gigabyte of data per month.

“Tomorrow, seven billion people will use bandwidth and all use (in the range of) five or six gigabits [0.625 or 0.75GB],” he said. “The bandwidth will start to become a very valuable resource.”


Apple says DoJ lawsuit ‘fundamentally flawed,’ could harm consumers

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 06:40 PM EST (03:40 PM PST)
In a Tuesday court filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Apple claims that the Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit regarding alleged e-book price fixing sends the wrong message to the market by retroactively questioning a ‘perfectly proper’ business strategy.

Apple reiterated its initial stance that it did not collude with five major book publishers to artificially inflate the prices of e-books sold through the iBookstore in an attempt to dethrone market leader Amazon, reports Reuters.

“For Apple to be subject to hindsight legal attack for a business strategy well-recognized as perfectly proper sends the wrong message to the market,” the company said in Tuesday’s court filing. “The government’s complaint against Apple is fundamentally flawed as a matter of fact and law.”

Going further, Apple claims it created an option to Amazon in a veritable vacuum of competition, alluding that the lawsuit could discourage new entrants to the market and thus be harmful to consumers.

“Apple’s entry into e-book distribution is classic procompetitive conduct,” Apple said.

From Apple’s filing:

The Government sides with monopoly, rather than competition, in bringing this case. The Government starts from the false premise that an eBooks “market” was characterized by “robust price competition” prior to Apple’s entry. This ignores a simple and incontrovertible fact: before 2010, there was no real competition, there was only Amazon.

The DoJ first filed suit against Apple in April, alleging that the company colluded with Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, Macmillan and HarperCollins to fix the price of e-books under the so-called “agency model.”

In short, the agency model allows publishers to set content prices in exchange for a “most favored nations clause” that bars the houses from selling e-books at competing retailers for lower prices. The strategy is diametrically opposed by the “wholesale model” used by Amazon which lets resellers incentivize purchasing by offering products at below-cost prices.

The Justice Department asserts that the alleged collusion cost e-book buyers millions of dollars on particular popular titles since the iBooks launched alongside the original iPad in 2010.

“Apple’s entry spurred tremendous growth in eBook titles, range and variety of offerings, sales, and improved quality of the eBook reading experi- ence. This is evidence of a dynamic, competitive market. These inconvenient facts are ignored in the Complaint,” Apple said. “Instead, the Government focuses on increased prices for a handful of titles. The Complaint does not allege that all eBook prices, or even most eBook prices, increased after Apple entered the market.”

Earlier in May it was revealed that the government had cited an email from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as a proof that the companies conspired to boost fair market prices, though the Cupertino company denied that the quote was “accurately characterized.”

Fighting the charges with Apple are publishing houses Macmillan and the Penguin Group, while HarperCollins Publishers, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group all settled before out of court.


Jony Ive says Apple’s current work is “most important”

Earlier today, Jonathan Ive was officially knighted at Buckingham Palace. To mark this occasion, Shane Richmond of The Telegraph published an excellent interview with the Apple design chief. In the long and personal conversation, Ive talks about his early design influences, which are decidedly British. He also talks extensively about his 23 years at Apple, including a quick reference to his current work which he calls “the most important and the best work we’ve done.” You can read more about Ive and his philosophy of design on The Telegraph’s website.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple designer Jonathan Ive says current projects are his ‘most important’ work

By Josh Ong

Published: 05:00 AM EST (02:00 AM PST)
While visiting his home country of the U.K. to be knighted, Apple design chief Jonathan Ive said in an interview that he will most likely be remembered for the projects he is currently working on because they feel like “the most important and the best work” that his team has ever done.

The Telegraph published a two-part interview (1, 2) with Ive on Wednesday, the day of his official knighting ceremony, as noted by The Next Web.

The interviewer questioned Ive as to which of his Apple designs he will most be remembered for.

“It’s a really tough one. A lot does seem to come back to the fact that what we’re working on now feels like the most important and the best work we’ve done, and so it would be what we’re working on right now, which of course I can’t tell you about,” he said.

Author Shane Richmond went on to ask if Ive would tell the Queen of the U.K. that he couldn’t comment if she asked about the design of the next iPhone. “That would be funny,” Ive said without answering the question.

Though Ive likely has a range of products in the pipeline, his comments will likely be interepreted as evidence toward a rumored Apple television. According to one report from early this year, Ive has a 50-inch prototype TV inside his well-guarded design studio.

Ive began working for Apple in 1992 before becoming the company’s lead designer in 1997. He came to work so closely with late co-founder Steve Jobs that Jobs called him a “spiritual partner” in his biography. Jobs also said that he set up the company to give Ive so much “operational power” that no one else could tell him what to do.

Last December, Ive was recognized by the U.K. for is “services to design and enterprise” with the title of Knight Commander of the British Empire. Ive said in his recent interview that the honor is “incredibly humbling.”

Even after spending twenty years in California, Ive still ties his design aesthetic to the U.K’s “remarkable tradition” for designing and making. He calls himself “the product of a very British design education.” Ive’s father, a silversmith, first inspired him to become a designer.

Ive articulated his method as focusing on simplicity. “We try to develop products that seem somehow inevitable. That leave you with the sense that that’s the only possible solution that makes sense,” he said. “Our products are tools and we don’t want design to get in the way. We’re trying to bring simplicity and clarity, we’re trying to order the products.”

Products that he and his team bring to market are meant to “speak to a set of values,” Ive continued, adding that they are preoccupied with a “sense of care.”

“What our products will not speak to is a schedule, what our products will not speak to is trying to respond to some corporate or competitive agenda. We’re very genuinely designing the best products that we can for people.”

Still, Ive might not be completely satisfied with Apple’s output. When asked about skeuomorphic design features like fake leather texture and stitching in iOS and OS X, he visibly winced in way that the interviewer interpreted as a “gesture of sympathy.”

“My focus is very much working with the other teams on the product ideas and then developing the hardware and so that’s our focus and that’s our responsibility,” Ive said. “In terms of those elements you’re talking about, I’m not really connected to that.”

Ive went on to say that he’s careful about what products he lets out of the studio and into mass production. He remarked that deciding to abandon work on a project is an “important part” of his job.

According to the designer, his team spent a “significant percentage of the time” working on flagship products, like the iPod, iPhone and the iPad, without knowing whether it would be possible to solve the problems that they had set out to address. Conversely, other projects appeared to have solutions and reached a “very mature stage” before Ive realized that they wouldn’t work.

“On a number of occasions we’ve actually all been honest with ourselves and said ‘you know, this isn’t good enough, we need to stop’. And that’s very difficult,” he said.

Ive was quick to credit his team for much of his success as a designer, noting that working with Apple’s design team is “particularly precious” because many of the team members have worked together for over 15 years.

“There’s a wonderful thing about learning as a group. A fundamental part of that is making mistakes together. There’s no learning without trying lots of ideas and failing lots of times,” he said.

Ive added that his team has become “rather addicted to learning as a group of people and trying to solve very difficult problems” together.

“We get enormous satisfaction from doing that. Particularly when you’re sat on a plane and it appears that the majority of people are using something that you’ve collectively agonised over. It’s a wonderful reward,” he said.

Ive resisted the assertion that Apple would see a decline without Jobs at the helm. He asserted that a “large group” of Apple employees are developing products the same way they did “two years ago, five years ago, ten years ago.”

For more of Ive’s remarks, see Part One and Part Two of the The Telegraph’s interview.


Apple iPad drives 124% growth in global tablet shipments, study says

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 08:09 PM EST (05:09 PM PST)
In its Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report released on Tuesday, NPD DisplaySearch found that the tablet market continues to exhibit strong growth mainly being fueled by Apple’s hot-selling iPad.

The first quarter of the 2012 calendar year saw Apple’s mobile PC business, which includes tablet and laptops, grow 118 percent year-to-year with a large majority of those shipments coming from the iPad. The tablet accounted for nearly four out of every five of the company’s mobile PC shipments and reached 13.6 million units to grow 162 percent from the year ago quarter.

Apple’s own numbers, announced during the company’s second fiscal quarter earnings call, were slightly more conservative and pegged iPad shipments at 11.8 million units representing a 151 percent growth from the same time in 2011.

Apple managed to take 62.8 percent of the global tablet sector while Amazon’s Kindle Fire was knocked out of the number two spot by Samsung, which shipped 1.6 million units for a 7.5 percent share of the market. The Kindle managed 900,000 units to account for only a 4 percent share. Rounding out the top five were RIM and ASUS, each taking a 2.3 percent slice of the market on identical shipments of 500,000 units. Barnes and Noble’s Nook fell out of the top five in quarter one, though the company may regain some standing with the help of Microsoft’s $ 300 million shot in the arm.

The iPad’s monster numbers helped Apple maintain its mobile PC market lead that saw tablet and laptop shipments take a 22.5 percent share, almost double that of runner-up HP’s 11.6 percent. Combined iPad and MacBook shipments topped out at 17.2 million while HP managed 8.9 million units. Acer, Lenovo and Dell relied on notebook shipments to take the remaining three spots and captured 9 percent, 7.7 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively.

Apple once again didn’t place in the top five notebook and mini-notebook rankings, which was lead by HP’s 8.9 million shipments that accounted for 16.2 percent of the sector. Acer took second place with 6.5 million units, followed by Lenovo, Dell and ASUS.

Although slightly more conservative than results from IDC, the DisplaySearch findings are in consensus with the broad strokes and illustrate how important the iPad is to Apple’s mobile strategy.


Samsung says lawyers didn’t design new Galaxy S III smartphone

By Sam Oliver

Published: 09:25 AM EST (06:25 AM PST)
Samsung has again contended that the design of its smartphones, including the new Galaxy S III, has not changed due to litigation from Apple.

“Our change in smartphone design is part of a five-year plan, not a sudden turn-around,” Samsung design Vice President Chang Dong-hoon told reporters at the 2012 Seoul Digital Forum, according to The Verge.

The curved shape of the new Galaxy S III is a design that has gone through hundreds of iterations, he said, adding that Samsung is a market leader in design. Changes from the design of previous Samsung phones, including more curved sides and the lack of a black version, have led to speculation that the Galaxy S III was designed to avoid becoming a target of Apple’s “trade dress” patent infringement lawsuit.

The Galaxy S III was unveiled early this month by Samsung as the company’s new flagship Android-based smartphone. It features a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen and a 1.4-gigahertz quad-core processor, and runs Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

Some Android enthusiast websites were unhappy when the design of the Galaxy S III was unveiled, and speculated that the design changes implemented by Samsung were in response to Apple’s lawsuits. An editorial at Android Police called the new phone “ugly,” and declared it to be “the first smartphone designed entirely by lawyers,” offering a detailed analysis of how the handset avoids Apple’s trade-dress complaints.

Apple’s suit filed in April of 2011 claims Samsung’s products have stolen the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad in a number of ways. Specifically, Apple’s suit asserts that its iconic iPhone design features a rectangular shape with all four corners uniformly rounded, a front surface dominated by a screen surface with black borders, a metallic surrounding frame, and an operating system with a grid of colorful square icons with uniformly rounded corners along with a bottom row of docked icons.

So far, Apple’s legal action against Samsung has found some success, as a handful of injunctions have been lodged against various Samsung products for alleged patent infringement. This week, Apple won an appeal in the U.S. and subsequently filed for another injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, which could lead to it being pulled from selves as early as June.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook is meeting with Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung in California this week in court-supervised mediation talks. The judge presiding over the patent infringement case between the two companies required that the CEOs become personally involved in hopes that a resolution could be reached out of court before the case goes to trial in San Jose at the end of July.


Siri Says The iPhone 4S Is The Least Popular Smartphone

Siri Says The iPhone 4S Is The Least Popular Smartphone

Oh, Siri. You’re so sarcastic.

Siri won’t just joke and tell you that the best smartphone around is the one you’re using Siri on. She’ll also be ironic and tell you the iPhone 4S is the least popular smartphone on Earth.

Earlier this week, Siri — the iPhone 4S’s little voice assistant — raised something of a ruckus when she started saying that Nokia Lumia 900 was the best smartphone around. It wasn’t really Siri saying it, of course, but Wolfram Alpha, the answer engine that Apple licenses to respond to some (but not all) Siri queries. It was embarrassing, so Apple tweaked the algorithm so that instead of using Wolfram Alpha if someone asked what the best smartphone was, they got a joke answer instead, including “The one you are holding,” “There are other phones?” and “You’re kidding, right?”

Nokia, of course, immediately declared a conspiracy. “Apple positions Siri as the intelligent system that’s there to help, but clearly if they don’t like the answer, they override the software,” was their official statement (and yes, that’s true, Nokia. Siri’s a beta.)

Whine whine whine. The truth of the matter is, Apple hasn’t reprogrammed Siri to joke only when asked what the best smartphone is. Siri will also joke if you ask her what the least popular smartphone is. And yes, she’ll even sarcastically tell you that the iPhone 4S is the least popular phone around, in complete defiance of the actual state of affairs of the mobile landscape.

We were curious if Siri would answer all queries about best or worst smartphones this way, but after a lot of time asking Siri what the stupidest or ugliest or most feminine smartphone is, all we get are web search results. Siri will only answer this way if you ask what the best, most popular or least popular smartphone. Otherwise, she plays dumb. Too bad. That could have been fun.

Cult of Mac

Steve Jobs wanted to build ‘iCar,’ Apple board member says

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 04:35 PM EST (01:35 PM PST)
J. Crew CEO and Apple board member Mickey Drexler claims that the tech giant’s co-founder Steve Jobs had aspirations of designing a full-fledged automobile.

During a recent interview with Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored conference this week, Drexler said that Jobs wanted to build a so-called “iCar” before his death in 2011.

“Look at the car industry, it’s a tragedy in America. Who’s designing the cars?” Drexler said. “Steve’s dream before he died was to design an iCar and I think it would’ve been probably 50% of the market. He never did design it.”

Drexler also alluded to the much-rumored Apple television, saying that the company would be “dealing with” the living room at some point in the near future. It is unclear whether the board member has any specific information regarding a release, and his statement is most likely based on speculation.

The J. Crew chief also said that he wouldn’t want to be in Tim Cook’s shoes because it is more difficult to take the reigns of an already-successful company that one that is failing.

Drexler, who has been a member of Apple’s board since 1999, was formerly the CEO of clothing brand Gap before being fired in 2002. He was subsequently hired by J. Crew and has been attempting to rebrand the company as a high-end American fashion boutique.