Sunday, January 25, 2009

Can a good “Apple” turn into a bad one?

With the psychedelic famous leader from Apple is benched and went off from the radar for about 6 months to come, there isn’t much of a punch bag to make fun at (with words, not fists)… Oh wait, I already did that (again) on the other post today, sorry. ;-p

But aside from Apple’s brawl talks about iPhone multi-touch patent being ripped off from a certain company *wink*, and the dream-crushing confirmation of there are no iPhone Nano & Mac netbook, the only refreshing news coming out from Apple camp are the good sales numbers of its iPods and Macs. Where Apple COO Tim Cook noted in the company's quarterly financial report conference call that Apple has sold 22.7 million iPods, meaning the iPods sales is up 3% from last year.

Small? Yes to the naked eyes, but not to Wall Street analysts like Needham's Charlie Wolf who rated Apple first fiscal quarter earnings as a Strong Buy and titled his report: "The recession bites Apple, but it's only a nick."

While the Mac sales were making yet another historic numbers for Apple, which is mostly helped by international sales. Apple COO Tim Cook said: "Mac sales were the second-highest in our history and only surpassed by 3% in our best quarter. ... International vs the US, international on Mac was much stronger than the US. International growth was 16% on Macintosh year over year, 2% in US. We saw several countries over 20%." And then Cook added on how the new MacBook unibody design also helped the sales: "We saw again a spike at the end of the quarter, not as strong as iPods, but created by the economic environment and consumer reaction to it."

iPod Touch is more popular than iPhone

Ipod touch hddMatt Rosoff from Digital Noise blog has keen eyes to see what those numbers really telling us; “My theory is that the iPod Touch is cannibalizing some potential iPhone sales.” AT&T’s spotty 3G coverage isn’t the only thing potential iPhone buyers to reconsider, Matt explains further: “But most of the best things about the iPhone--the touch screen, the App Store, the music interface--are available on the iPod Touch, plus you get full Web access and e-mail when you're within range of an open Wi-Fi network.”

Throw in iPod Touch’s 32GB storage capacity to the equation, it won’t be long for iPod Touch’s sales figure to trump over iPhone’s. The once good “Apple” (read: profitable product for Apple) has turn into a bad one and made a boomerang effect on Apple. But what if Apple has foreseen this, and plan to change/upgrade the iPod Touch?

iPod Phone and iPhone Pro

Despite beating every analysts’ predictions that Apple's retail sales would go down along with the global economy recession, analysts are still believe Apple will try to crank up higher earnings in the future by introducing new iPod and iPhone line-ups. "An entry level iPod Phone (voice/SMS, iPod, Wi-Fi but not data plan) could be significant both strategically and financially to Apple," RBC Capital's Mike Abramsky wrote. "Positioned at (estimated) $0-$99, the iPod Phone could leverage broad global retail/carrier distribution, with both prepay and low-cst plans. It addresses a global opportunity (estimated to be) three to four times as large as iPhone 3G."

Abramsky also sees there’ll be an upgrade version of the iPhone: ”Apple could boost iPhone upgrades and global iPhone momentum with a next gen iPhone 3G (HSPA) 'Pro', sporting a faster processor and graphics engine (gaming, video, multitasking), improved camera (resolution, flash, video), higher memory, battery."

Mac netbook still possible?

Bad apple logoIf we’re to talk about boosting up earnings, then it’s still possible to see a cheaper version of MacBook, or now widely known as netbook. The reasons are simple enough: Last year ago, Apple's Mac sales were driven by the newly redesigned iMac, and this year Apple is focusing all attention upon the new portables (unibody design). But with the slowing economy worldwide, Apple’s high end desktop and portable computers are now facing difficult time ahead and may become only small contributors to Apple’s overall earnings in the future.

Apple COO Tim Cook said it so: "The Mac Pro segment of our desktop business isn't large, it's primarily iMac. The Pro segment was down year over year as you might expect because small businesses are cutting back on expenditures in this current economic climate." So eventually, the change of “climate” will most probably change Apple mind on making small profitable and inferior notebook; the Mac netbook version.

For users, of course everything mentioned above are like a dream come true, we’ve been wanting better iPods/iPhone and cheaper MacBooks for ever since the rumors start spreading all over the blogosphere. But what if it really is happening, what will it do for Apple, good or the other way around?

Tim Cook has said it himself during Apple last first quarter earnings call; that Apple is not going to play in the low-end products (voice only phone & netbooks) and the company’s goal is to make the best products. So what if Apple has a change of heart, will it mean the good “Apple” has gone bad?

Sources are from:

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