Keep an i on our week, fall beck edition

It was definetly Apple‘s week & this included:

In addition to putting back our clocks, here in the UK tonight, the annual poppy appeal has got under way and we have already put on our poppy (Picture courtesy of the Royal British Legion)..

The Royal British Legion site is where you can find out about many of the activities which will be taking place and how you can support this years appeal which is aiming to raise £40 million.

An excellent start we, thought, with Joss Stone‘s recording of No Man’s Land (Green Fields of France) which is available we believe to download from 2 November but can already be pre-ordered NOW from all the usual suspects as well as the Poppy Shop:

We’ll leave you with the video

Keeping an I off Apple Watch

We think apart from the sort of spotting of some grey shoots of recovery in Apple revenue figures that possibly the most noteworthy disclosure in the results concerned a, arguably forward looking statement as follows in the *conference call.

Nancy Paxton -  Senior Director of Investor Relations

“We’ll be creating a new reporting category called other products. This will encompass everything we report in the accessories category today including Beats headphones and speakers, Apple TV and peripherals and accessories for iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod.

In addition, we will begin to include iPod sales in the other products category and we will also reflect sales of Apple Watch in this line item once it begins shipping in early calendar 2015.”

So is Apple Watch a product group as, possibly, indicated in their Store header or like Apple TV is it a sort of hobby?

We’ve had a feeble attempt at restating the latest quarters figures to see what it might look like. In practice we expect iTunes etc to be promoted. Going way back in time iPod was of course the first new product group after Mac starting in 2004 and likely being the largest revenue generator from 2005 through 2007 or 2008 when it was overtaken by the iPhone.

We guess that as with recent restatements only the last couple of years will be included in fiscal 2015 results.

The categorisation of the Watch as an Other product we regard as being defensive and to an extent Tim Cook’s reaction in the *conference call when directly questioned by Ben Reitzes on the topic really confirmed this.

Ben Reitzes – Barclays

“… Tim, I was wondering what we were to make out of your new segments with the Apple Watch being in the other category. We were just a little surprised to hear that because it seems like such a substantial new category and you could sell may be even tens of millions of unit.

So by putting it lumped in the other with iPods and a lot of other things, does that say something about your expectations for that product or do you think that you’ll just break it out after a little while?”

Tim Cook – CEO

“Probably it says nothing about our expectation for the product. We didn’t form those categories based on expectations. We looked at current revenue, today revenue, and decided that we would leave everything that wasn’t a Mac, an iPad, or an iPhone or a service in one kind of category.

In the future, we might decide something different, but for now, in Q1 we’re not shipping any iPhone or excuse me, Apple Watches and so it seems appropriate to start it that way.

And also to be also straight is I am not very anxious in reporting a lot of numbers on Apple Watch because of the — and giving a lot of detail on it because our competitors are looking for it and so aggregating it is helpful from that point of view as well.”

At the minute if it looks like, smells like, and is categorised as an accessory, (within Other products) then that’s what it is likely to be and remain, we think, and we are disappointed. But then you would expect us to be lobbying  for an iWatch product group wouldn’t you!


* Extracts from Seeking Alpha’s transcript

Thinnest increase in Apple revenues

Apple results, for their Q4 2014 (13 weeks ending September 27) were released around 9.30 pm BST on October 20  followed fairly rapidly by their Conference Call at 10pm BST (2pm PDT) See Update 2 below for replay

Update (2) am BST October 21:

From Apple:

From elsewhere:

Instant analyst opinions/headlines:

Our view – Separate post to follow

Update (1) 9.45 pm BST October 20:

Revenues and  EPS way above analysts estimates & Apple guidance – share price up marginally by about $1 so far!

  • Q4 Revenues/EPS: $42.1bn/$1.42
  • Q4 Unit sales (millions) iPhones –39.3, iPads – 12.3,  Macs – 5.5,  iPods 2.6

Q1 – 2015 Guidance Revenues/Gross margin $63.5-$66.5 bn / 37.5% – 38.5%


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

  • Annual revenue increase is likely to be around 5% (if their guidance mid point of $38.5bn is met) which we think is the lowest since 2001 when there was a decrease!
  • If their revenues are less than $39.3bn this quarter the growth rate will show less than 1% of an increase in the moving annual total in the quarter.
  • Quarter 4 results consensus (Professionals/The Street) Revenues / Earnings per share – $40bn / $1.30
  • Quarter 1 2015 mid guidance consensus Revenues / Earnings per share – $65bn / $2.40
  • The Apple Watch won’t impact revenues until likely later in 2015.

Click to enlarge

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

Our normal graphic uses his info for the Professionals and Amateurs figures and the mid guidance information from Apple. We also add our guesses. We’re going for a rounded and, sort of, low key set of results this time!

We will report back later after the results are released and the Conference call has taken place. Usually the Q & A session are worthwhile.

The Skinniest Thinnest Apples

The media event yesterday as anticipated produced updates for iPads (iPad air 2 & iPad mini 3) the iMac with a new 27” 5k retina display together with a quicker and cheaper Mac mini. There were also quite a few words about the iPhone 6 an d Apple Pay (commencing Monday 20th October).

Mr Cook was, to us, a little more humorous than usual and this was also attempted by some of his colleagues. You can review his and the product intros with their video of the event. Its about 80 minutes in total, but if after Mr Cook’s intro if you fast forward to about 35 minutes that’s when the new iPads start appearing (all with touch id incidentally).

Having mentioned the rather larger September event apparently it cost around $1 million which to us is not a huge amount in the context of their sales and marketing activities.

Continuing on the humorous note when Craig Federighi was talking about the programming language Swift he said that it’s new enterprise partner was both impressed by & also using it widely. We were very amused by appleinsider’s live commentator when he blogged “iBM excited about Swift”. Nice touch we thought!

Next week on Monday October 20 you can tune in at 2pm PT to catch the audio of the live conference call to discuss their FY 2014 Q4 results which will have been released about 30 minutes earlier.

We do like Apple‘s skinny product line picture & hope they don’t mind us using it. 10/10 for whoever or the agency which came up with the idea!

Tablets phablets everywhere

As Apple inadvertently leaked its new iPad family members  (we will report back after the official launch later today) Google announced its new (mainly Nexus) range yesterday with a sort of  9, 6, player headline with an associated lollipop!

We’re surprised / disappointed that there’s not a smaller tablet even an 8 would have been our preference.

The 9 & 6 tablet/phablet will be available for pre order  in the UK likely next month but the player (their new set top streaming box) has no UK release indications yet. No formal prices for the UK yet but early indications are  Nexus 9 (from) – £250 ish / $349 and Nexus 6 (no contract) – £420 ish / $649.

The phone is from Motorola and the tablet from HTC.

Google had their traditional blog post on the new products and were unsurprisingly concentrating on the android brand. Especially the “and” bit andyou!

We’ll leave you with their video.

Apple’s Food For Thought

As anticipated Apple will be holding what is billed to be a low key event announcing updates to their iPad and Mac ranges on Tuesday next week. As its on campus this again restricts the numbers involved

As ever an enigmatic invitation was communicated yesterday the long and short of which is …. unknown!

For further info on what the possible detail of the product updates might be professional Apple followers such as Apple Insider  & MacRumors attempt to spill the beans!

In other news that rather active small shareholder in Apple Carl Icahn (a mere 53 million shares so that’s over $5 billion) has come up with some calculations which value the shares in Apple at $203. Or as he says Sale: Apple Shares at half price as the header for his open letter to Tim Cook

He is pushing for increased share repurchases of course. Much more rather interesting detail within the letter on both existing and possible future product categories, devices and developments.

October 16 is World Food Day!

The UK Tech Cool Brands they are a-changin’!

CoolBrands® published their latest assessment  (2014-2015) of the Coolest UK brands earlier this week.

“The UK’s CoolBrands are chosen by an Expert Council of influencers and members of the British public. Brands do not apply or pay to be considered. The entire selection process is independently administered by The Centre for Brand Analysis.”

The results (pdf) and the selection criteria and some selected Brands and the Expert Panel details appear on their site.

Many of the of the previous incumbents have fallen out of the top 20 including Twitter, BBC’s iPlayer (shame), and Spotify and as far as we can see Amazon has disappeared altogether!

In the top twenty, Techs have dropped by one to a mere 6 this year but continue to have 4 in the top ten with netflix replacing twitter.

Apple continues its dominance retaining the #1 spot but what of 2015 – we shall see!.

The overall Tech content has increased somewhat in that, on our wide definition, it looks as if just under 8% this year (47) of those considered come from this sector whereas previously it was nearer 6.5%.

The overall numbers have contracted from we reckon 712 last year to 610 currently.

Of the dozen or so new Tech entrants this year the ones which caught our eye (with CoolBrands categories) included:

The last two we are pleased to report are home grown, so as to speak.

We’ll leave you with (a) peak behind the scenes at Rockett St George’s …… and (b) an explanation from Mr & Mrs Smith!

What’s on the Menu for the Original Apple Watch

Initially an apology. When we redrew the Apple Menu yesterday to cater for the Watch we sort of followed the chronology whereas we see that Apple have reordered their menu on the product front to be:

  • Mac
  • iPhone
  • Watch
  • iPad
  • iPod

Interesting discussion point for all avid Apple watchers!

Wheras the overall design / look, very much at a macro level, of the iPod, iPhone, & iPad products have not changed hugely from the original we think that the Apple Watch will be more akin to the dramatic changes in the Mac’s design history!

The Watch will become, we think, much thinner with a curved screen and a central digital crown. A single size for all we also think may occur in the future together with a vastly improved selection of bands.

Some think that the naming of the Watch without the “i” (which of course caused much disappointment here) is a move away from the technical connotation towards a more personal or fashion approach.

As mentioned the invited audience included representatives from the fashion world including Marie Claire but, whilst we may have missed it, we can’t see any coverage yet of the event nor any twitter comments  – likely they are concentrating on the NY Fashion Week which ends tomorrow!

The hands on videos we’ve looked at are we think very much of a techy nature (see below) and whilst exceptionally well produced the Jony Ive 10 minute version again we thought has a mainly technical & features approach.

Time will tell!

Watch Apple

Well it’s here the Apple Watch – no i!

They say:

“Apple Watch introduces a specially designed and engineered Digital Crown that provides an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate. The Digital Crown is Apple’s most revolutionary navigation tool since the iPod® Click Wheel and iPhone® Multi-Touch™. Apple Watch will enable you to communicate in new ways right from your wrist by sending and receiving messages, answering calls to your iPhone, and with Digital Touch, sending something as personal as your own heartbeat. Apple Watch also introduces comprehensive health and fitness apps that can help people lead healthier lives. Apple Watch is available in three distinct collections—Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition.”

Starts at $349 and availability in early 2015 in the US.

Here’s the video – mpressive!

99’s for Apple & Amazon

Click to enlarge

Today is Apple’s day for their “special event” with the anticipated announcement of the iPhone6 and (increasingly likely) the iWearable which may or may not be called the iWatch.

Rumours of course abound and the somewhat unlikely combination of U2 and the Mayo Clinic are amongst the latest. Also we hear that many glitterati from the fashonista sector are expected. We wonder if Burberry may feature at the behest of Angela Ahrendts, their ex CEO, who is now Apple’s  Senior VP of  Retail & Online Stores.

You can watch the event live, running Safari on iOS or Mac, or on your Apple TV and “… follow every moment.”

Numerous live bloggers will be in attendance and Apple watchers such as:

will guide you through it all with their informed commentary.

In accordance with tradition the Apple Store is now closed and you can read “We’ll be back” in 19 different languages. Hungarian is our favourite as they can say it in one word “Visszatérünk”

We shall wait then watch from 6pm BST/10am PDTand likely report back (briefly) later tonight after it’s all over (around 9-10pm BST we guess).

Amazon in an attempt to make their FirePhones move off the shelves have cut the US starter price to 99cents.

The firePhone has also been launched over here  and can be pre ordered from O2  starting at an even lower cost of £nil on a monthly £33 2 year contract with availability indicated as Tuesday September 30. As in the US you also get (until December 31) a free year of Prime membership which normally costs £79.

Announced for the UK last week was the Amazon Fire TV also at £79. Availability is Tuesday October 14.

Disclosure: We have marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon