Tablet sales this quarter to be 70-80 million

The first couple of estimates from IDC and Witsview (the display research division of TrendForce) for Q3 tablet shipments have been produced over the last couple of days.

No real surprises and whilst growth continues the market, compared to some of its previous frenzies, has been relatively subdued. In fact IDC’s first 3 quarters of the year show global shipments all within the 40-50 million range with Q1 being the highest so far.

IDC are somewhat critical of some of the white box products (in total they account for over 20% of the market according to Witsview).  “These low cost Android-based products make tablets available to a wider market of consumers, which is good. However, many use cheap parts and non Google-approved versions of Android that can result in an unsatisfactory customer experience, limited usage, and very little engagement with the ecosystem. Android’s growth in tablets has been stunning to watch, but shipments alone won’t guarantee long-term success. For that you need a sustainable hardware business model, a healthy ecosystem for developers, and happy end users.” said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets at IDC. We couldn’t disagree with that.

Click to enlarge

That of course is all about to change. Traditionally ie over the last 2 years Q4 shipments have been something like 50% up on Q3 with for example Amazon selling 5-6 million Kindle Fires against a rest of the year runrate of something like a million a quarter. Certainly here in the UK Tesco and Argos have come up with seasonal offerings and new products abound from, , Amazon Apple Google Microsoft and Samsung to name but a few!

We previously had thought annual shipments might reach 250 million but although NPD DisplaySearch reckon they could reach 255 million this is likely a minority view.

At the other end of the scale Witsview are talking about 186.7 million.

If, and it is of course a biggish if, the quarter produces 75 million tablets then using  IDC’s historic figures we could reach over 215 million in the year.

We are pretty confident there will be several surprises along the way!

Now TV Streams ahead

Sky yesterday unveiled its latest channel addition to its set top box streaming service NOW TV.

It’s the Entertainment Channel which gets added to Sky Sports and Sky movies. They all operate on a non contract / pay-as-you-go basis currently at the following prices:

  • Entertainment – Month pass – £4.99 (introductory offer valid through Mach 2014)
  • Sky Movies – Month pass – £8.99 with a months free trial (introductory offer – standard rate £14.99)
  • Sky Sports – Day pass £9.99

They’ve been trialling the Entertainment channel over the last month or so and we were one of the trialists. There are 10 TV broadcast channels available Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Arts 1, Discovery, MTV, Comedy Central, GOLD, Disney and FOX. Additionally certain “box” sets and catch up facilities are available.

The Entertainment service in device terms is available now on the NOW TV Box, PS3, Roku, Macs and PCs. iOS Xbox and LG devices to follow by mid November and Android early next year Customers are able to register four devices at any one time.

With our Infinity broadband we have no complaints whatsoever in fact the opposite the service operated virtually faultlessly.

The NOW TV box which is basically a rebadged Roku  customised with Sky software needs an HDMI connection. At a low entry price of £9.99 and iPlayer + other facilities it is probably the cheapest way to connect your TV.  

As streaming increases in popularity it will be interesting to see how the rival providers develop. Certainly here in the UK we would expect Sky to be amongst the leaders.

We have no commercial relationships with Sky or NOW TV

A billion smartphones to ship in 2013

Again rapidly out of the blocks are Strategy Analytics with their quarter 3 estimate of global smartphone shipments which are over quarter of a billion for the first time.

Backing off to their previous estimates we reckon year to date shipments come to 690.5 million and are on a year to date basis 42.9% above 2012. Last year they estimated 217 million shipments in Q4 which was 31% of the years total.

So 42.9% of an increase in Q4 would get us to 310 million. A grand total for the year  of  almost exactly 1 billion.

We shall see.

Apple revenues to drop for first time since 2002? – Nope!

Apple results, for their Q4 2013 (13 weeks ending September 28) should be released around 8.30 pm GMT followed fairly rapidly by their Conference Call at 9pm GMT (2pm PST) which you can listen to live.

ROUNDUP am October 29

 From Apple:

From elsewhere:

Instant analyst opinions/headlines:

 Our view

We sort of go with the WSJ in that maybe even with the flatlining in revenues margins are stabilising and IF new product categories are introduced in 2014 (iWatch & iScreen (a “real” TV) then the growth could pick up again.

Whilst Samsung now have over a 1/3 of the global market for smartphones  this is already near a billion annually so there should be room there for a healthy number of significant competitors! 

UPDATE  October 28 – 8.35pm GMT – Results announced:

  • Revenues $37.5 bn
  • EPS $8.26
  • Share price after hours initially down to $505 then recovering to $530 ish during, but back to $518 after, the conference call (Formal close was at $529.88)
  • Unit sales Macs  4.6mn, iPods 3.5mn iPhones 33.8mn, iPads 14.1mn
  • Guidance Q1 2014 –  Revenues $55bn – $58bn  Gross margin 36.5% -37.5%

Press Release

SEC Filing

Conference call

  • Tim Cook thanks all long term shareholders – Mr Icahn may not appreciate that one!
  • He also reckons ” … it’s going to be an iPad Christmas.”
  • Apple share of tablets in education is 94%! WOW

We’ll do a full wrap up tomorrow with transcripts and instant reactions.


Click to enlarge

The, sort of, headline figures to look out for we think are:

  • If their revenues are less than $35 bn this quarter it will be the first year on year quarterly decrease we think since Q4 of 2002!
  • Quarter 4 results consensus (Professionals/The Street) Revenues / Earnings per share – $37 bn / $7.96
  • Quarter 1 mid guidance  consensus Revenues / Earnings per share – $55.65 bn / $13.86
  • The share price recovery continues and it closed Friday at $527.55 about $175  down from its peak of just over $700 in mid September last year. We think Carl Icahn makes a compelling argument simply on the numbers front for an increased buy back programme, although it always strike us as a rather negative use of generated profits.

The source of much of our information is Philip Elmer-Dewitt editor of Apple 2.0 to whom we, and likely many others are indebted.

Our normal graphic uses his info for the Professionals and Independents figures and the mid guidance information from Apple. We also add our guesses. We’re going a bit low on some of our guesses  

We will in particular to see if our revenue flatlining prediction continues or whether like Google Microsoft and Amazon they can give the market a pleasant surprise!

We will report back later after the results are released and the Conference call has taken place. Usually the Q & A session adds value. We shall see, or rather hear, if this continues to be the case!

Keep an I on our week – Fall back edition

Our top three articles this week were:

  1. Were Struq by the Bright Ideas of the Great British Entrepreneurs
  2. What’s to be Uncovered  (Includes a link to the video of Apple‘s media event)
  3. Weve had a look at Screen Preferences TVs are third 

This years Tech Rich List retains its popularity.

Next week sees Apple results announced on Monday after Wall Street/Nasdaq’s close and taking account of the new time difference (most US states change their daylight saving on November 3rd) we reckon they will appear a little after 8pm GMT. We will have coverage of the results which of course include the all important units sold.

We’ll leave you with this years Poppy song which comes from  The Poppy Girls. Here’s where you can Donate here. We will start wearing our poppy early next week

Has Apple’s new iPad mini missed the ship?

A resounding yes is the view of IHS iSuppli as they are predicting a possible demand of over 9 million units in Q4, of which on a time basis nearly 30% has already gone, versus an availability, based on supply  data, of perhaps 3-4 million.

This is apparently due to limited production of the new retina display. They report that whilst production is ramping up limited yields are being encountered.

They comment on the rather woolly intro date mentioned by Apple at their media event and their press release on availability simply says “iPad mini with Retina display will be available later in November.”

On the pricing front IHS iSuppli’s view is that ”Apple has dropped the price point on the original mini to $299 … but that price point still sits well above the market average for 7-inch products with similar performance.”

Our view is that the iPad Air may save the day and whilst $299 is more expensive than most you do have to remember that Apple undoubtedly has the best ecosystem. We will be surprised if total iPad shipments are less than 20 million in Q4 and they could be off this chart! We shall see!

Without a doubt the android bunch will welcome these shipment delays and attempt to capitalise on these teething problems during the spendfest season.

Which sort of brings us round to Amazon who announced their latest quarterly results yesterday which showed an expectation beating increase in Net sales of 23.8% at $17 billion ish which will push their shares up significantly later today. On the not quite such good, but somewhat predictable, news their Total operating expenses were up 23.7% so they still had losses around the $½ billion level!

Apple‘s results are due on Monday so will see if IHS iSuppli’s estimate of around the 15 million total iPad shipments in Q3 is there or thereabouts.. Financial resultswise they will need to impress to keep up with Google, Microsoft and Amazon!

80% of the Global Top Ten Innovators are Techs

Booze&co. on Tuesday published their 2013 Global Innovation 1000 Study with the subheader/byline : Navigating the Digital Future. We think it could equally have used the present tense as (again using our broad definition) the top 5 and 8 out of the top ten qualify. (The logo you may not recognise is Tesla Motors)

Click to enlarge

One, to us striking, increase is yet again the rise & rise of Amazon. It’s on an even steeper ascendancy than Samsung!

As far as we understand it Biooz&co. get together the highest R & D spend for 1,000 global quoted companies using published information through June of this year. They then survey 400 industrialists to quantify the ranking of the innovators.

Simply in R& D spend amongst the top 5 innovators they reckon their spend, its overall ranking and % spend of revenue is:


  • Apple $3.4bn / (42) / 2.2%
  • Google $6.8bn /  (12) / 13.5%
  • Samsung $12.4 / (2)  / 5.8%
  • Amazon $4.6bn / (30)  / 7.5%
  • 3M $1.6bn / (85) / 5.5%

Looking at it another way the top 1,000 they record as spending a total of $638bn so Samsung managed nearly 2% of this and Google just over1%. That’s a lot!

Using their definition Software & Internet companies had the highest increase in R& D spending this year increasing by 22.1%. This would include Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Facebook. Computing  & Electronics which includes Apple and Samsung grew a mere 2.%. They classify 3M in Industrials which had a 5.4% increase in the year.

Booz&co. highlight the use of digital enablers within R & D spend and have a rather clever interactive tool you can play with  which shows many of their features.

Their words say:

“Overall, companies spend an average of 8.1% of their R&D budget on digital enablers; the Software & Internet, Aerospace & Defense, and Health industries spend the highest proportions

These tools fall into two categories: “Productivity Enablers“ and “Market and Customer Insight Enablers”

  • Productivity Enablers are commonly used, must-have enablers to establish baseline productivity
  • Market and Customer Insight Enablers are emerging enablers focused on understanding market and customer needs”

We’ll leave you with their Digital Enablers video, which includes we thought some rather impressive graphics.

We’re Struq by the Bright Ideas of the Great British Entrepreneurs

The shortlist, as we mentioned before, for these awards was announced last night. The winners are to be unveiled  on 19th November at a formal evening do in the Grand Connaught Rooms

In the 17 categories we reckon there are a total of 92 individuals and 4 companies/organisations on their shortlist. Several are shortlisted in more than one category so the total shortlisted number is 140! Congratulations to all of them.

Six women, four men and one joint male combination win out with three nominations each. Typically they are founder CEOs / MDs of their company. They are alphabetically:

  • Emily Blendell of Bluebella  (most captivating, retail and small business categories)
  • Kristina Boulden of Romney Marsh Wools (eco, manufacturing and small business)
  • David J Brown of VE Interactive  (digital innovation, most captivating and turnaround)
  • Krissy Charles-Jones of Bright Assessing  (most captivating, social and startup)
  • Julie Deane of the Cambridge Satchel Company  (e-commerce, export and manufacturing)
  • Robin Grant and Nathan McDonald of We are Social  (digital innovation, social media and turnaround)
  • Mark Howling of Pulsant  (business technology, services industry and serial)
  • Jenny Hughes of Home and pantry  (small, startup and young)
  • Elouise Mockler of Yog Oat Drinks  (small business, startup and young)
  • Mark Smith of The Car Finance Company  (e-commerce, services industry and small business)
  • Colin Stevens of Better Bathrooms (e-commerce, most captivating and retail)

Of the 92 individuals shortlisted we reckon 67 (73%) are male and 25 (27%) are female.  

Now on the business names front our shortlist in no particular order is:

We will announce our winner after the main awards are presented!

Oh & a special mention for the Bright Ideas Den and Karen Turnbull  which helped inspire our headline!

Of the named companies we were, sort of, somewhat disappointed that only five 29% operated from domains.

Complete shortlist

What’s to be uncovered!




  • OS X Mavericks – Free available now
  • MacBook Air – 2 new models available today
  • MacBook Pro – with retina display 2 new models available today
  • Mac Pro – New model available before the end of the year
  • iLife iWork apps updates – free with hardware available today
  • iPad Air – 9.7″ Lighter (1lb), thinner, faster, etc, etc starts @ $499 Ships November 1 in about 35 countries including China
  • iPad Mini – with retina ships later in November starts @ $399

That’s all folks …

A few stats we rather liked:

  1. 170th million iPad was sold earlier this month
  2. 475,000 apps available
  3. 60 billion apps downloaded from  the app store

Shares sort of flatlined during the event but dropped back a little as it finished 7.35pm BST – $6 ish @ $515

Thanks to Macstories  for the final definitive prepping photographs delivered we understand by Nicola Zaghen. Well worth a look

It all kicks off at 10am PDT which is of course 6pm BST.

Looks as though many of you will be able to watch a live stream as it’s up on their events page:

They say:

“Live Streaming video requires Safari 4 or later on OS X v10.6 or later; Safari on iOS 4.2 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 5.0.2 or later”

On you Apple TV it’s on the Apple special event channel!

Live blogging by many which include:

We shall report back after the event.

A Faster Stronger Steeper UK Technology Sector

That’s according to KPMG following a research report (Tech Monitor UK) undertaken for them by Markit .

They have interestingly identified the UK hotspots for employment in the sector derived from The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

Their top 25 is headed by Wokingham. London’s Silicon Roundabout / Tech city / Old Street Roundabout loses out because the area lies across a couple of local authority boroughs (Hackney & Islington).

In our words their “Tech Location Quotient” regards the overall GB technology sector (defined as 5 SIC groups) employment level as a proportion of all employment as unity and then calculates a multiplier at the local authority level.

All the top twenty-five are in England with 80% in the South East region (including London) with our very own South West having 3 and the East the remaining 2. (Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire are the two).

Click to enlarge

At a somewhat parochial level we wonder about the tech element within the public sector figures (which we believe are excluded from the analysis) So taking a local authority like Cheltenham say with its 4-5 thousand GCHQ employees it is quite possible that what we might regard as a tech sector employer might not figure.

Scotland and Wales apparently lag their English counterparts with West Lothian topping out only just above the GB average at 1.15, Bridgend on the other hand comes in at a creditable 1.35. (No data for Northern Ireland)

Their header, which we’ve borrowed, actually refers to some further analysis by Markit based on their “… Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) surveys for a unique and up-to-date assessment of the UK tech sector’s economic performance.”

“The figures show that UK tech company output rebounded strongly after the global financial crisis in 2008/09 and has now expanded throughout much of the past four years. Most recently, output growth has accelerated sharply following a relatively soft patch at the beginning of 2013, and the upswing in the sector during August was notably faster than seen across the wider global economy.”

Onwards and upwards!

Well worth a read even if you do work in Tech City or near the Roundabout!