Mad?…Pundidiots help Take a Bite Out of Apple

MacBook Air.

I’ve counted over 30 articles from the likes of the WS Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg, TheStreet.com to Macswoop, mostly pointing out how disappointed they are with Apple’s Q1 Financial Report. The company reports a 47% profit increase and a 57% rise in profit. What do ya’ll expect? Steve Jobs plays poker AND HOLDS HIS CARDS close to his vest? 


Apple just isn’t going to let anyone know what the future holds, until they are darn good and ready. 

The day traders who run the stock price up and down are worse yet. But they have created a real dicsount stock buying opportunity for the long haul.

The Macbook Air® design is a bit of a mystery to me, but then again so were the floppy-less Bondi Blue iMac, SCSI-less Bondi-blue G3’s, original iPods, Airport Base Stations and the iPhone. Ironically, all those products were not first (or even second or third) in their given categories. It seems any time Apple has released a new product it has been innovative, but the market often ignored this innovation.

 

That is until about two years ago, the long term price index started to creep up. Then WHAM, more than doubled over this past year. The iPhone and release of Leopard (OSX 10.5) certainly has had something to do with this, as well as the increase in Macintosh computer sales. I think the computer sales are a bonus for Apple who ironically also struck “Computer” from their official corporate name this past year.

 

The “Pundidiots” after seeing the Q1 financial reporting a 57% increase in profit, are now saying, “..we can’t see a clear Road-Map for Apple this year…” which translates to panic for day traders. Apple stock closed at $157 (Jan 22, 2008) then,

“Apple Shares Go Sour: Apple blew past expectations for the first quarter but guided Wall Street lower with a weak second-quarter forecast.” [“Shares of Apple plunged more than 11% in after-hours trading to $137.65 — a four-month low.”] TheStreet.com

This is a definite pull-back in shareholder confidence, but those of us that are with Apple for the long haul are now glad we can buy back into Apple at such a great discount. Steve Jobs cut short his keynote speech at the January 2008 Macworld but at least one half hour. That makes me think there might have been “…just one more thing…” that was not announced either because the product wasn’t ready, or didn’t quite fit into the road-map Steve has in his own mind. They’ve taken a stab at getting more deeply into the living room, boosting the AppleTV capability and capacity. However, they did not really change the basic design, which has some flaws and lack of capability that would make it a “perfect” entertainment and information controller.

I wrote an article last year when AppleTV was released suggesting some improvements to the format that I think would make it more sellable, and I still think we’ll see something soon that will incorporate a few (if not more) of them. With the movies on iTunes music Store, and the promise of HD movies, if they can pull it off it will be truly evolutionary Daniel Eran Dilger has an extensive report on his website entitled “Apple TV Promises to Take 2008.

He continues on with “Five Ways Apple Will Change TV #1

When Apple announced the first iMac without a floppy drive I thought, “How could a computer work without a floppy drive?” I think the stock price was around $20, but after the announcement at a Macworld, the price plummeted down to an all time low around $13 bucks. (JUMP to more about my thoughts about the Apple stock)

No Machines were announced that support either Blu-Ray or HD DVD, the two formats that are duking it out with the hopes of becoming the dominant entertainment platform for Digital and High Definition TV. Many have said they think that Sony’s Blu-ray will be the winner, but I think Jobs’ vision is that AppleTV might eliminate BOTH formats and deliver High Def to wide screen TVs, downloaded from the internet. While to me it seems impossible because of the shear humongous file size of High Definition, perhaps ole Steve is onto something.

There was a lot of prognostication about what would be released at the 2008 Macworld in January. Many Apple watchers/commentors suggested a new thinner laptop. On this they were correct, but a bit off on the specs. They were right on the CD/DVD less factor, but they got most everything else sideways. The Macbook Air is not a Mac for everyone in my not so humble opinion.

So who is this new laptop for? This machine will be a great traveling machine, as it is lite and super thin. It’ll feel like nothing in a work bag or carry on. (I use a rolling bag for my 15″ Macbook pro). For the road warrior running Excel or Word, sending email or browsing the web, a perfect compliment. For “road warriors” like myself it simply won’t do, at least not in it’s current iteration. Without a Firewire port, it’s simply a “no go” for this fellow. I use my Macbook Pro as a target drive or a diagnostic tool and I must have every port I can available to make me compatible with all sorts of difficult situations.

The Macbook Air is slower than it’s less expensive cousin the Macbook (1.6/8ghz compared to 2.0ghz). For $200 more you can get an entry level Macbook Pro, for $500 less you get a faster more capable Macbook. I’m not sure about what this model really is. I think it’s clearly aimed at a professional market that doesn’t need to connect to the world by anything but a WiFI connection (there is no Ethernet jack). The only time I really use a DVD is when I am authoring a video or photo collection. I never play DVD’s and rarely RIP a CD for iTunes.

I like being wireless, when it works as so often it does not. Even with the new proposed “N” standard wireless hasn’t seen much improvement. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. Airport base stations seem to work better but if you have a need to move large graphic, movie or sound files, you will not like having to do it through the air. I;m sorry Apple, I need a solid plugged in network or at least a mountable machine through IEEE1394 Firewire. I’ll bet the next or subsequent generation has one. Maybe one will be able to put the Air into Target Mode and use the USB 2.0 port, but I haven’t seen this mentioned as any of the ways to connect.

Recently Mac News Network reported on an Apple Patent for an iMac like screen “docking station”. I got excited about that possibility and frankly think we will see this sooner rather than later. It just makes perfect sense. A super thin laptop that just plugs into your desktop screen when you are at the office. This new Airbook wouldn”t / couldn’t be that model could it? To me it wouldn’t have anything but the WiFi N connection, which would really be counter productive. Unless of course it’s the dock for the i”Word” only market the Air seems to be aimed at.

I now use my Macbook Pro exclusively, relegating my G5 tower to a video and file server. I have it propped atop a slanted USB cooling fan and run with the lid closed most of the time it runs rings around the G5 in terms of speed and I can play Madden NFL 08 in native Mac mode!

A Mac in my Car?

I’ve been thinking that Apple should get together with auto makers to make a “head unit” with a “cassette” sized slot to plug an iPod or better yet an iPhone directly into. No wires to plug in, no adapters to keep track of. Make the car’s head unit with a display screen to play DVD’s, show iTunes control, handle Bluetooth and voice phone “hands free”, and of course more options in the GPS arena. Some car manufacturers have adapters that plug in, but nobody has come out with a slot load stereo for the car. A radio like that wouldn’t need a CD or DVD changer at all. Some of the new Cadillacs come with a”built in 40gig hard drive” (or so the wench in the Cadillac says, “it isn’t any of that, it’s once you turn your car on, does it return the favor”.…sheesh – Who wants a crummy Cadillac anyway, I drive a Mercedes, but I would love a built in Mac with GPS. I have an Alpine stereo head unit with a High speed iPod link which works great, but the control screen is kind small and I cannot control it through my steering wheel controls like the original FM radio. Have you seen the new obnoxious Ford commercials touting the Microsoft Sync, steering wheel voice control over MP3, NAV, and cell phone? “Play Michael Boulton… Play the Strokes!” yuk!!! Hasn’t this one occurred to Apple yet?

but I digress …I wanted to write some about Apple Stock

I bought some stock on a lark when it was around $20/share and played with Apple for the last 10 years or so. I guess the Apple stock watchers get pessimistic when “the Macworld” doesn’t meet the pundits lofty expectations, and it seems no different after this past weeks “show”. Apparently there were not enough innovative designs or improvements from Sir Steve to satisfy Wall Street. I’ve bought more stock as the price has been falling. Nearly all of the announcements were prognosticated by the websites that cater to we “fanboys”, weeks ahead of the conference. The really astute analysts like Gene Munster still say Apple stock is still a buy with his estimate the target price being $250 for 2008. He’s still conservative there as I wouldn’t be to surprised if the price point exceed $300 by Jan 1st 2009, here’s why.

I think Steve Jobs enjoys the “cat and mouse game” between what Apple’s road map really is and what they reveal in his keynote at Macworld. Used to be there was, “… just one more thing…” as the big announcement of a new product. However, Jobs has not followed predictable behavior in this vein, for the last few years.

The stock price races up in anticipation of Macworld, then falls when the pundits are disappointed.

Here is why the price of the stock will climb and exceed current expectations. Apple announced two screaming fast professional models two weeks before Macworld. For the last couple years I have noticed about six weeks after Macworld they refresh one line or another but even more significant, announce totally new product after this short delay post Macworld. Their Fiscal Yearend report to share holders usually occurs about two or three weeks later.

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