AMITIAE - Friday 1 February 2013
Cassandra - Friday Review: The Weekend Arrives
By Graham K. Rogers
Opening Gambit:More on the share prices of Apple and misleading analysts. What is more important: iPad market share or numbers sold? More apps sold too. Updates news. New Apple buildings in Texas and Shanghai. Architosh review of AutoCAD for Mac 2013. Patent news and decisions. Ballmer doesn't want to talk about Office for the iPad. Office on Windows: don't buy, subscribe pleads Redmond. Surface sales: shipment figures are not the same. A new Blackberry, a new Blackberry; and a new Blackberry funeral? The USA, security and surveillance: double standards, triple cross.
Apple StuffIt has been a few days since the Apple share price fell off the cliff after record high income and profits were reported (sounds contradictory doesn't it?) but the critics are still piling on with a link from MacDaily News to an article by Dan Weil on CNBC (them again) who tells us that Doug Kass says that Apple is dead and he rolls out all the usual comments: more competition, profits stagnant (but he fails to mention the record figure or the 14 week reporting period) and little growth visible. Comparing Apple to Microsoft was a bit unkind.
Not all analysts are down on Apple and MacDaily News links to a video in which Brian White of Topeka has kept his $888 target price and thinks that Apple is a growth stock. See not all analysts are in panic mode.
Nothing of the sort of course and it is this sort of selective reporting that has done so much damage of late, especially as the Twits do not manage to factor in all the numbers. Market share has gone down, for sure.
However a look at the market tells me that this has almost doubled from 29.9 million to 52.5 million units. Samsung has risen by over 250% but only shipped 7.9 million with all the others way behind. But then there is the question of profit. . . . By all accounts with its 48% market share, Apple has a far larger proportion of that.
The full context rather than a 140 character headline grab is much more useful.
Lance Whitney is just as bad here and reports that Apple is "shedding market share" which is a different perspective from the actual growth in units sold; and while he reports also that Samsung and Asus are "surging" the surge has brought Samsung to a figure that is about one-third of what Apple shipped. That headline might read something like, "Samsung only ships 33% of iPad numbers in a market that doubled last year." Same figures, but ain't that the truth?
This week there were a couple of updates shipped. I reported on the iOS 6.1 update on Wednesday, sa well as XCode; and Mike Wehner also reports on TUAW that a couple of firmware updates for MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models have been made available. This covers a battery issue that may affect some.
We have long been expecting an update to the Mac Pro and Tim Cook told users who had mounted a Facebook campaign about this last year that something was in the pipeline. Mark Gurman on 9to5 Mac reports that the current version is to be removed from sale as from 1 March this year. However, this is nothing to do with a new model. Apple has done this as the current device does not comply with an EU regulation that starts that day. Of course, Gurman speculates, a new Mac Pro may well meet those standards when it finally appears.
Also being built is a second building at the new Apple campus in Austin TX AppleInsider reports. The article also has a number of interesting images and statistics.
The four page, highly detailed examination of the new software is a useful read for those with any interest in this type of software (at an engineering faculty I see this fairly often). The overall view is that this is a useful version although they found a couple of shortcomings (video tutorials and materials browser, for example) and think it is worthy of consideration. [My source for this was MacDaily News.]
While malware used to be a rarity for Macs, there are now a number of threats, especially via phishing and the Trojan horse type of attack. Topher Kessler reports on the way an analyst took the time to run through a number of security utilities and named are Avast, VirusBarrier, Sophos, Dr. Web, ESET, Kaspersky, F-Secure, ClamXav, Norton, MacKeeper, and its included Avira engine, among others. Of these, ClamXav, Norton's Antivirus and iAntivirus did not do as well as they might.
Half and HalfI do not pretend to understand either the stock market or patent rulings and this week despite what had appeared to be clear evidence of copying, the judge in the patents case in California ruled that Samsung had not infringed wilfully so Apple will not be entitled to the punitive damages it had been demanding, Electronista reports (among many others).
However, with other rulings, that does mean that Samsung will have to cough up a sizable cash sum ($1.05 billion), although I am sure they will wriggle on that for as long as they can. Also reporting on this was Patently Apple with a nod to full information on Foss Patents. Florian Mueller's lengthy outline and discussion do help with the overall context.
Apple can wait no longer for this crucial discovery. Google undue delay, broken promises and failure to assure timely and fully responsive document productions have and continue to prejudice Apple. Accordingly Apple respectfully requests that this Court order Google to promptly produce documents and designate witnesses in response to Apple's Subpoena.
I seem to remember that when Apple was asking Samsung for documents there were similar delays and obstructions.
Also commenting on the release and the tight-lipped nature of Ballmer on the iPad version is Kelly Hodgkins on TUAW.
Other MattersI will link to that ZD article by Liam Tung again, as the item contains a useful amount of information concerning the release of the latest Office this week. The pricing is high and there is a push by Redmond to get everyone to move to a a cloud system and pay by the month or something - stretching out that cash cow when many users are beginning to discover it is not needed at all.
The reported figure of units sold is under 1 million which compares so well with the 9.25 million iPads that Apple sold in the last reported quarter. Other information in the article about Windows 8 (and the Kindle Fire) is not all that positive either, although if the CFO said recently that "this quarter [Surface] was a contributing factor to revenue growth in the Windows business" and only 1 million have shipped, what does that say about the overall growth?
Let's wait for the Surface Pro and see. One of the criticisms a few weeks ago about the Surface was the amount of space that the OS was to take, and Martin Brinkmann on GHAcks reports that the Surface Pro has a similar lack of space: 16 GB for the 32 GB device and 45 GB for the 64 GB one; with the 128 Gigabyte version having 83 Gigabyte of free storage. This is not a problem he writes and obfuscates a bit by reporting that it is not really GB but Gibibytes (check the difference on Wikipedia).
The lack of space is not an issue however he reports because of all the ports: users can attach any number of external hard disks, optical drives, SD cards, flash drives and I guess even a tape deck. I cannot wait for the Joy of Tech cartoon that depicts this. This makes about as much sense as the report from Matt Burns on the iPad a couple of weeks ago, that Jim Dalrymple called, "The stupidest thing ever written about the MacBook Air."
And yet, a local user who is among one of the sharper ones I read on Twitter was all for this and found the idea of devices attached to the Surface quite reasonable. The device surely is part of a different market to the iPad.
I followed a lot of the release via Tweets of Andy Ihnatko who was positive but realistic. They may be able to tap the market that still exists over in this part of the world of course, but some were less enthusiastic. For example, John Herman on Buzzfeed regarded the launch as the beginning of RIM, sorry Blackberry's funeral. The article ends with "Almost every BlackBerry review will end the same way: The phone is good, but is this too little, too late?"
Odd that these accusations and the figures keep reappearing. Peter Mandelson has had several political lives and I saw him on TV today with a new Eco Car. Cannot keep some people out of public life.
In some ways this is an update to the Echelon surveillance that has been on the go for a number of years, but this appears to go much further and there is another danger in that while warning of dangers to online security - cyber-terrorism - it appears that the US is the biggest terrorist of all with the new units it is developing according to Glenn Greenwald on The Guardian in a rather interesting analysis of the way the military-industrial complex is flexing its muscles these days.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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