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

Eye I there’s a new robovac in town!

It’s the Dyson 360 eye TM .

Launched yesterday by its namesake in Japan it could arrive in the UK towards the end of next year and at 100,000 yen it likely costs around $1,000 which at current rates ($1.63 = £1) might imply a price of over £600 over here.

The Apple approach, of not first but probably the best, seems to be in evidence.

Allegedly it has been under development for 16 years which predates the iRobot Roomba!

It has its very own website  and android & iOS apps should appear for really remote robotic control!


Some of the features are given as:

  • Fast 360º camera (30 frames a second)
  • Powerful lithium ion battery providing a 29 minutes operation between charges
  • Light 200w digital motor operating at 78,000 rpm
  • Wifi connection for smartphone apps
  • Continuous tank tracks
  • Full-width brush bar with carbon fibre filaments

You can register to get updates on the website.

We’ll leave you with the most popular 360 eye video.

Watch all the prepping for the iPhone6

Apple have now confirmed their 9/9 media event sending out a large number of invitations yesterday.

Click to enlarge

The venue is the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino which we reckon can accommodate over 2,500 which is a much larger capacity than has been catered for recently at such events. Incidentally this was the venue where Steve Jobs launched the original Macintosh back on 24 January 1984 at their Apple Shareholder Event (see the rather dated and partially redacted video below).

The Flint Center

There is quite a lot of prepping already going on at the location with a “structure” out the back which houses who knows what! Security is significant apparently. Picture from MacRumors.

"The Structure" as at August 20

To catch up with the possible features of the iPhone6 Macrumors has most of them!

Conjecture on the iWatch is also available

Other views exist on both the iPhone6 and iWatch front. We’rew not even 100% confident of the wearables name!

We’ll leave you with the 1984 video – if you go in about 39 minutes you’ll catch the 1984 famous ad and the Macintosh unveil from a bag. Vintage and a very well dressed Steve Jobs!

Ahead of the curve – Smart Samsung Gear S

They today announced a Gear with a sim which of course potentially divorces it from the smartphone.

The spec they give as:

  • Network  – 900/2100 or 850/1900 (3G), 900/1800 or 850/1900 (2G)
  • Display – 2.0” Super AMOLED (360 x 480)
  • AP – Dual core 1.0 GHz
  • OS – Tizen based wearable platform
  • Audio – Codec: MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, Format: MP3, M4A, AAC, OGG
  • Features – Communications: – 2G, 3G Call, Bluetooth Call, Contacts, Notifications, Messages, Emails, QWERTY Keyboard
  • Health & Fitness – S Health, Nike+ Running
  • Information – Schedule, News, Navigation, Weather
  • Media – Music Player, Gallery
  • Others – S Voice, Find My Device, Power Saving Mode IP67 Certified Dust and Water Resistant
  • Samsung Services – Samsung Gear Apps
  • Connectivity – WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, A-GPS/Glonass, Bluetooth®: 4.1, USB: USB 2.0
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Heart Rate, Ambient Light, UV, Barometer
  • Memory – RAM: 512MB, Storage: 4GB Internal Memory
  • Dimensions (mm) – 39.8 x 58.3 x 12.5T
  • Battery – 300mAh Li-ion, Typical Usage 2 days

The Samsung Gear S will be available in global markets in phases through Samsung’s retail channels, e-commerce websites and via carriers beginning October when it is also expected that pricing will be announced.

We wonder if this is a preemptive move in advance of an Apple wearable announcement in the last quarter.

Apple Revenues Still Continue to Flatline

UPDATE 2: July 23

From Apple:

Share price (WSJ) –In after hours trading they ended up about 44c down (0.5%) at $94.28 Today in mid morning trade they are up by around 2.5% at $97.10 ish. We wonder when the magic $100 will be breached – probably before the end of next month!

 From elsewhere:

Instant analyst opinions/headlines:

Our view – Apple still not returning to growth but acquisitions and alliances to the fore

With their revenue guidance of $37 – $40 billion for the three months to September it looks as if revenues on a moving annual total basis will by & large continue to flatline for the 7th successive quarter starting way back in Q2 (March) of 2013. They will have been (billions) $169.1, $169.4, $170.9, $174.0, $176.1, $178.2 and $179.2 (using the mid point of their guidance of $38.5 for Q4 2014).

This period of consolidation has been accompanied by a complete lack of new product range announcements. The last one we would consider to have taken place was the iPad way back in 2010. Prior to this the iPhone first appeared in 2007 and the iPod way back in 2001.

Some think that in addition to new iPhone and TV product announcements this quarter perhaps the iWatch or iTime will be announced for this upcoming holiday season. Some say it could generate volume sales of 30 – 60 million per annum in the first year. We shall see.

What has happened in the last quarter of note is;

  • The acquisition of Beats
  • The announcement of the partnership with IBM in the enterprise market

In the conference call we noticed a few interesting comments re the Apple ecosystem and these developments from Tim Cook:

  1. “Beats provides Apple with a fantastic subscription music service, access to rare talent and a fast growing line up of products that we can build upon.”
  2. “In fact for the first nine months of this fiscal year, the line item that we call iTunes software and services has been the fastest growing part of our business. iTunes billings grew 25% year-over-year in the June quarter and reached an all-time quarterly high, thanks to the very strong results from the App Store. We’re continuing to invest in our incredible ecosystem, which is a huge asset for Apple and a very important differentiator of our customer experience.”
  3. “Yes, we didn’t talk about how the business model (IBM- Apple) is going to work. But generally speaking, I think that each of us have revenue streams in the enterprise and each of us went from having those revenue streams. So that’s how I look at that. And we win if we can drive that penetration number I spoke about from 20% to 60%. That would be incredibly exciting here. The walls would shake. And so that’s what I hope for.”

UPDATE 1: 9.45pm BST July 22

  1. Q3 Revenues / eps $37.43bn / $1.28
  2. Unit sales millions – iPhones 35.2 iPads 13.3 Macs 4.4 iPods 2.9
  3. Guidance Q4 Revenues / eps $37 -$40bn $1.20 (ish)
  4. Closing share price $94.72 Current price (WSJ) Initial after hours reaction down about 50c
  5. We have updated our graph & results schedule below.
  6. More tomorrow but looks like overall performance particularly Q4 guidance is a bit below market expectations.

Apple results, for their Q3 2014 (13 weeks ending June 28) should be released around 9.30 pm BST followed fairly rapidly by their Conference Call at 10pm BST (2pm PDT) which you can listen to live.The, sort of, headline figures to look out for we think are:

  • If their revenues are less than $39bn this quarter the growth rate will for the 5th consecutive quarter on a moving annual total basis show an increase of less than 2%!
  • Quarter 3 results consensus (Professionals/The Street) Revenues / Earnings per share – $38.0bn / $1.23
  • Quarter 4 mid guidance consensus Revenues / Earnings per share – $40.5bn / $1.34

Whilst no new product announcements will be made many think that a new larger iPhone in Q4 and possibly an   iWatch are on the cards but still no sign of an Apple TV.

Click to enlarge

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 Amateurs figures and the mid guidance information from Apple. We also add our guesses. We’re going for a rounded and aggressively high set of results this time!

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

Our header courtesy of Apple is from their Investor News page – impressive!

The Apple Brand Tells the Best Story

Aesop in association with One Poll have just released their 2014 Brand storytelling survey results in which they “… asked 2,000 consumers to identify brands against 9 key storytelling elements.”

They asked which of these brands:

  1. Do you consider to have a unique character/personality?
  2. Have a clear opinion?
  3. Has vision or purpose?
  4. Are you intrigued to know what they’ll do next?
  5. Tell a credible story?
  6. Create their own world?
  7. Produce content you want to share or talk about?
  8. Are entertaining?
  9. Are memorable?

We’ve done our usual extraction of our wide Tech sector brands and list the total top twenty one!

The Top Tech Twenty one 2013 Media Spend
Tech Overall Overall
NE – New entry
Source: Aesop, Brand storytelling survey 2014

Interestingly, to us, is the media spend info (we guess the blanks indicate the unavailability of information rather than a nil spend!

Surprisingly, to us, no appearance for Sky or Amazon. We recall incidentally that Sky also had well over £100 million in advertising spend.

Finally outside the tech sector we were interested to see the inclusion of the, now 4, main political parties (all are new entries) with UKIP leading the way in position 11 followed by Labour (72) Conservative (89) and Lib Dem (93) brands. We noted that none of them figured in the top 10 of the 5th element above but UKIP came in at # 2 on the 2nd element!

Survey download

The Internet of Somethings

A new consortium has been set up today:


The current members are:

  • Atmel
  • Broadcom
  • Dell
  • Intel
  • Samsung
  • Wind River

(We couldn’t help but notice that it shares its initials with amongst others The Organization of Islamic Cooperation and The Orkney Islands Council!)

Even we noticed names NOT present ranging from A through Z.

At least some of these are amongst the claimed 50 members of the competing AllSeen Alliance  who count the following majors amongst their number:

  • Cisco
  • HTC
  • LG
  • Microsoft
  • Panasonic
  • Qualcomm
  • Semantec

We wonder if a third consortium/alliance including the likes of Apple and Google may appear in due course – we have our doubts!