Streaming’s on fire

Amazon yesterday announced the launch of their set top TV box amazon fire TV.

Whilst it can be bought for $99 now in the US unfortunately UK availability is yet to be confirmed and, based on their previous hardware releases (particularly kindle Fire tablets), it may be a while coming.

As ever it does have a virtually unique facility, “voice search” which, if their video is anything to go by, is their USP. As Jeff Bezos says “The old way of searching with a TV remote—scrolling and clicking one letter at a time on an alphabet grid—is painful. With Fire TV you simply speak the title, actor, or genre into the remote and you’re done.”

There is also a game controller available (at an extra $39.99) which could well open up the games market for them although “the controller” has had few, if any, positive reviews from gamers!

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The box itself is small 4.5 inches square and 0.7in deep.

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Aimed at both Google’s Chromecast and other set top boxes from the likes of Apple & Roku it is a welcome addition over there! We look forward to a UK introduction hopefully later this year

Here’s amazons impressive promotional video. We also like the popcorn!

Disclosure: We have marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon

From Apple to Mobily

Brand Directory are one of the first to come up with a 2014 brand table – in their case the Global 500 2014.

The top 5 by value we would categorise as coming from the technology sector and elsewhere at Warc they categorise 9 of the top 10 as Tech brands with Walmart being the only exception at number 9. The top UK company is Vodafone is at # 16.

Overall Brand Value Rating Sector Country
ranking $ billion
1 Apple 104.7 AAA Computers USA
2 Samsung 78.8 AAA Semiconductors S Korea
3 Google 68.6 AAA+ Internet USA
4 Microsoft 62.8 AAA- Software USA
5 Verizon 53.5 AAA- Telecoms USA
6 GE 52.5 AAA- Miscellaneous USA
7 AT&T 45.4 AA Telecoms USA
8 Amazon 45.1 AAA- Internet USA
9 Walmart 44.8 AA+ Retail USA
10 IBM 41.5 AA+ IT Services USA
16 Vodafone 29.6 AAA- Telecoms UK
77 Toshiba 13.7 AA Electronics Japan
145 Canon 8.2 AA Office business equip. Japan
500 Mobily 3.0 AA Telecoms Saudi Arabia
Source: Branddirectory, Global Brand Index 2014

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This encouraged us to look at their sector categorisations – they have 50 and of these we would allocate 8½ to our wide view of the technology sector. The ½ relates to Miscellaneous where of the 9 companies we would count 4 as techs!

On the 8½ basis 82 (16%) out of the Global 500 are techs.

A critique of the sector allocations might question Google & Amazon being categorised as Internet – in fact  looking at the remaining 11 constituents (ebay, facebook, QQ, PayPal, Priceline, Yahoo, Baidu, QVC, Semantec, Netflix and WeChat) their appears to us to be a remarkable diversity of brands. Even more so than Miscellaneous!

They also categorise differently the most powerful brands where Ferrari comes out on top and the other AAA+ rated brands are Google, Coca Cola, Disney, PwC, Hermes, Red Bull, L’Oreal, Rolex, Mckinsey and Unilever. Only one tech here then and we might argue, subjectively, for Apple’s inclusion (who fall short by a single+) ahead of Google.

Much more to digest on their interactive table including the history from 7 previous years. 

Watch out for Wearables

Canalys see the “smart” sector of the wearable bands market growing as follows:

  • 2013 actual 1.8 million
  • 2014 forecast 8 million
  • 2015 forecast 23 million
  • 2017 forecast 45 million

The smart sector is where currently Samsung lead the way with their Galaxy Gear achieving 54.2% (that’s about 870k units) in the second half of 2013. Sony & Pebble are quite a way behind with 18.6% (300k units ish) and 16.2% (260k units ish).

The total market Canalys predict as being about 17 million this year.

Fitness bands dominate their basic segment with Fitbit leading the way.

Apple are likely to enter the fray this year with their iWatch and “Canalys expects Android to enter the smart band market soon in a meaningful way.” indicates their analyst Daniel Matte.

Next/Market Insights predicted in the second half of last year a total smartwatch market of over 300 million by 2019.

We think that they are nearer the mark and that the likely growth of the market will be phenomenal.

Apple iDevices (that’s iPods iPhones and iPads) have all sold over 50 million devices in a calendar year with the iPhone reaching over 150 million in 2013. The iPad in its 3rd calendar year sold over 25 million and last year was up at over 74 million.

So if Apple are serious, as we’re sure they are, and Google/android  continue to challenge them we think the 100 million level could be reached in the next 2 -3 years.

We shall wait and watch!

Tablet Shipments Update and THE “Style Guide”

Both Strategy Analytics and Canalys released this week their 4th Quarter estimates which are not far apart and only influence our average table marginally.

Canalys combine their shipment figures with PC’s so we’ve done some figuring to come up with our total. figures.

By vendor they show Apple leading at 26.0 million with 34.1 % of the market followed by Samsung at 14.5 million (19.1% market share).

The Samsung numbers are remarkably close to Strategy Analytics’s estimates.

It clearly is a mature market if so far 75% have 76 million as their leading number!

In other t’internet news BuzzFeed have published their style guide for us all to use. Impressive but is styleguide with or without a hypen and one word or two? hmmmmmm

Amazon sold 10 million Kindle Fire tablets again last year

IDC yesterday released their worldwide tablet shipment estimates for the last quarter of 2013.

At 76.9 million they are pretty close to the pre-Apple estimates of Digitimes which we commented on last week and confirm the growth slowdown

Whilst only a total annual figures for the year of 217.1 million and 144.2 million for 2012 are mentioned our favourite chartists provide some interesting figures to assist us on the vendor front.

  • Apple is definitive at 74.2 million being about 34% in market share terms with an increase this quarter.
  • Samsung we estimate is around 41 million that’s 19% market share and shows a drop this quarter
  • Asus (including Google‘s Nexus) we estimate is around 12 million that’s 5.5% market share
  • Amazon comes in at just under 10 million which is virtually the same as last year and is 5% market share. Their remarkable profile, of circa 1 million sales every quarter apart from the holiday season when it jumps to 6 million, continues.

We’ll leave you with the iChart

 

Apples Revenues Due to Decline this Quarter

Apple results for their Q1 2014 (13 weeks ending December 28) should be released around 9.30 pm GMT followed fairly rapidly by their Conference Call at 10pm GMT (2pm PST) which you can listen to live.

ROUNDUP am January 28

From Apple:

 Share price (WSJ) –It was down about $44 at the end of after hours trading last night

 From elsewhere:

Instant analyst opinions/headlines:

Our view

Continues to be what we’ve been banging on about for a while which is that revenues by and large are flatlineing as per our graphic which for this quarter is based on the mid point of their guidance ie $43bn. If this is met it will be the first time we think since Q4 2002 that a quarterly decline will have taken place

iPhone introduced 2007, iPad introduced 2010 whats next – hopefully another disrupter and the obvilus volume higher priced item is a very HD TV – we will have to wait & see!

RESULTS UPDATE Jan 27

  • Revenues $57.6 billion
  • EPS $14.50
  • Unit Sales (millions) Macs- 4.8  iPods-6.0 iPhones- 51.0 iPads- 26.0
  • Share Price -close $550.50 After hours WSJ Initially down $34 on Q2 guidance During first 10 minutes Conference call down $40 down $48 45 minutes into conference call
  • Guidance Q2 2014 Revenues $42bn – $44bn Margin 37% – 38% Revenues at this level will possibly show a reduction on the previous years $43.6bn
  • Press release
  • SEC Filing

Conference call underway led by CFO Peter Oppenheimer – No statement by Tim Cook – Straight to Q & A – Corporate Comptroller Luca Maestri responds to a question – Tim now speaks about China which looks like the great red white hope to us! “Objective is to sell the best not the most” re iPhone market share deterioration globally. Mix of sales last quarter was different to their expectations in particular higher demand for touch id iPhone 5s. Finishes at 2.56pm PST!

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UPDATED Schedule to the left – initial media coverage & comment to follow tomorrow

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

  •  If their revenues are less than $54.5bn this quarter it will be the first year on year quarterly decrease we think since Q4 of 2002 –      pretty unlikely!
  • Quarter 1 results consensus (Professionals/The Street) Revenues / Earnings per share – $57.4 bn / $14.07
  • Quarter 2 mid guidance consensus Revenues / Earnings per share – $46 bn / $11

Whilst no new product announcement will be made hopefully some hints will be made as even Carl Icahn (who has around $3 billion invested in Apple) is now advising them to release more new products to get back into a growth cycle.

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 lots of 7’s in our numbers this time!

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!

Meanwhile we’ll leave you with an inspired guess on the iWatch front!

Tablet sales below PCs in Q4 2013

Digitimes Research are first out of the blocks just ahead of Apple’s results due to be announced Mons0day January 27 with their tablet forecasts.

At an overall level  of 78.5 million we think they may be on the low side and would mean that they still just lag PC shipments in the quarter which we reported on earlier at an estimated 82.2

Apple in Q4 2012 sold 22.9 million iPads and, in spite of some of the shipment delays they encountered this year, we will be uber surprised if they fell short of this number. Our favourite Apple financial reporter Philip Elmer-DeWitt is, as usual, gathering together a large number if analysts forecasts and reports the overall average to be 25 million.

Digitimes reckon the white box constituent of the total was 33.8% of the total which is virtually all of the Other category. Android they report at 51.2% of the total and Windows 3.9%.

The screen size wars again see the smaller ones dominating with 58.3% being 8” or less.

Many more estimates to come which we shall report back on in due course.

Apple catching Samsung in China

A late 2013 study conducted on China’s consumers by AVANTI, TrendForce‘s  research division shows that Apple appears to be catching Samsung on a purchase intentions basis having trailed them during the whole of 2013.

One of China’s leading domestic companies Xiaomi  also looks to be making some ground on the two leaders.

Apple’s China Mobile  deal was finally signed at the end of 2013 after this study was carried out. The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are now available to China Mobile’s 767.2 million customers  for the first time with reported preorders of over 1 million it looks as Apple could overtake Samsung during the year.

Apple’s results due Monday won’t benefit from the China Mobile partnership but should increasingly impact their results later in the year.

We shall see!

AVANTI’s China consumer market survey was conducted in various different Chinese regions from November 27 to December 2, 2013; A sample of 3000 Chinese consumers were studied at a confidence interval of 95% and a margin of error of +/-1.8%.

One in four bought a tablet in the UK in 2013

CCS insight, the telecom analysts, last week came up with some rather interesting figures for forecast UK tablet sales over the next few years showing a “slump” this year from 17 million down to 14 million.

What we found equally fascinating is that the UK with less than 1% of the worlds population probably accounted for in the region of 7% of worldwide sales. We recently mentioned that these are likely around the 240 million mark. More definitive figures will be forthcoming later next week after Apple announce their quarterly results on Monday January 27.

That puts us even ahead of the USA on a people per tablet basis. Well done every body!

On a global basis one in 30 is still mightily impressive.

CCS insight also reckon that by 2017 almost everyone will have a tablet and comment “The forecast follows two years of explosive growth, fuelled by the easy availability of tablets ranging from premium products to devices costing less than £50. More than 43% of the UK’s population now owns a tablet, up from just 6% two years ago, and the number will almost double by 2017. In the next two years however, the market will take a breather from its massive peak, before returning to steeper growth in 2016. By 2017, CCS Insight is forecasting total tablet sales to reach 20 million in the UK.said Marina Koytcheva, director of forecasting at CCS Insight.”  

Small remains beautiful with they estimate the under 9”’s growing from 34% in 2012 to 63% last year and reaching 65% by 2017.

Useful UK analysis although we have doubts about the predicted slump with, we think, the white box revolution likely to continue.

A Hundred million Tablets shipped in Q4?

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Probably not, but initial annual figures for 2013 from IHS  and Digitimes  of around the 240 million mark indicate that it might not be that far off.

IDC  through quarter 3  estimated that just under 142 million units were shipped and our average from our collection of all estimates came to 136 million.

The NPD Group  commenting on US consumer spending in the holiday season (November 1 to December 31)  said;

“Consumers purchased 11 million tablets this holiday season, up 45 percent from 2012, but revenue only increased 7 percent.  Sales of 7-inch tablets increased by nearly 2.5 million units and accounted for 38 percent of all sales, with an ASP of $102.”

Over here we were impressed to see that Tesco announced yesterday sales of 400,000 hudl’s which from a standing start is quite remarkable.

The Average Selling Price (ASP) comment is well made by NPD as we got the impression that a lot of discounting was underway and the move to smaller screens is also an influence. It will be interesting to see how Apple fared although their iPad Air probably helped maintain their ASP’s and margins.

We shall see!