Posts tagged ‘mac’
In the last Apple Investor Conference Call held on July 21st, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer once again talked about a certain ‘product transition’ which has an effect on Apple earnings well into ’09. This isn’t the first time ‘product transition’ is mentioned by Oppenheimer: he used it in the same quarterly Investor Conference Call last year to describe an undefined period during which Apple’s profit margin may be under pressure. If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you may remember that at the time, I interpreted this as a sign that Apple is getting ready to replace the iPods with touch screen versions as well as preparing other revolutionary products like a touch tablet. Since then, Apple has introduced the Macbook Air, which is selling briskly, and higher capacity iPod Touch models like the pricey 32GB version.
So what does ‘product transition’ mean in terms of new product surprises? You’ve read about iPod’s future on previous posts but after some interesting conversations over the summer with people in the know, I’ve learned that apparently Apple’s in the midst of introducing major changes to its notebook and desktop lineups as well which I will explain a little later.
Apple reported record fiscal 2Q 2008 financial results ending March 29, 2008. While profits rose across all company divisions, margins were less than previously expected. Apple reported a gross profit of of $7.51 billion and a net profit of $1.05 billion. Last year for the second fiscal quarter, Apple made a gross profit of $5.26 billion and a net profit of $770 million, however gross margin was 32.9 percent this year down from 35.1 percent last year.
Apple sold 10,644,000 iPods, 1,703,000 iPhones, and 2,289,000 Macs during the second quarter. Revenue growth for the Mac division was exceptional with 54 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Apple reported an overall revenue growth of 43 percent with over $17 billion in revenue and $4 billion in cash flow for the first fiscal half of the year. Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs added in a press release: “we have strong momentum to launch some terrific new products in the coming quarters”. Apple stock closed at $162.89, up $2.69 for the day.
I have some new insight to share with you regarding the portable device Apple is working on. In a previous article, I described the mysterious portable as perhaps Apple’s rival product to the Intel Ultra Mobile PC ( UMPC ) initiative. In talking to several sources close to the secretive project, a few more details have emerged while the actual identity of the device is still shrouded in mystery.
First Some Background
I was first tipped on the existence of plans for a previously unknown Apple portable device, somewhat larger than the current iPhone, a few months ago. The device was described as having a touch screen and best suited to be gripped with both hands. A little later, another source provided a key piece of evidence that pointed to Apple working with the German company Balda on securing 5.2″ touch panels ( more than likely pre-production units ) for an unknown device. This tip was crucial in determining the approximate size of the device and where it best fits in the Apple product lineup. Balda is one of a handful of companies that design and manufacture ( in Xiamen, China) high scratch and shatter resistant, multi-touch capable displays for mobile handsets and is thought to have received orders for Apple iPhone. However, Balda’s financial troubles and its recent sale to KS Plastic Solutions cast doubts on its future as a supplier to Apple. The final contract to produce these panels may be in fact be awarded to Wintek, an Asian component supplier, or Samsung, the electronics giant which also has the multi-touch technology.
What We Know Now
In the previous article, I concluded that the mysterious device could be an ultra-portable Mac and the expectations were that Apple may officially announce its support for the new Intel Silverthorne processor at Macworld ’08 and/or the iPhone SDK may see an early release. Why Silverthorne and the SDK? The new Intel Silverthorne is ideally suited for ultra-portable computing devices such as this one, hence substantially clarifying the purpose of the device. The iPhone SDK would have also provided crucial insight into the capabilities of the present Apple touch-sensitive platform including possible support for larger screens and/or alternative input methods. However neither of these 2 scenarios played out, in fact the release of the iPhone SDK was officially pushed back to the end of February. This prompted me to further inquire to see if there’s a connection between this portable device and the SDK. According to my sources, the new device is more than likely based on Apple’s current portable platform ( ie. iPhone/Touch ) and once the SDK is released, a little digging inside the platform interface should reveal the extent of the platform’s capabilities and Apple’s plans for the portable multi-touch lineup. Moreover, 3G is part of the device specs with WiFi included as well.
What We Can Conclude
Based on what we know to date, the mysterious device resembles less an Ultra Mobile Mac and more an upper model iPhone or a more capable next gen iPod Touch. In other words, the portable’s hardware seem to suggest not a fully capable and portable Mac but a device which depends heavily on wireless connectivity. Likely it’s Apple’s version of the Intel MID ( Mobile Internet Device ) showcased at CES ’08. With the limited wireless sharing of content between machines premiering on the optical drive-less MacBook Air, it wouldn’t surprise me if Apple introduced a device that lets users pull media content from their computers and play on a thin portable client and even run small native apps using the device’s limited resources. Such a device is likely a year from introduction although, due to its 3G capability, may be introduced a full six months before being shipped ( similar to iPhone ) to clear the FCC hurdle.
Apple has posted its fiscal Q1’08 results and it’s clearly the best quarter ever for the Cupertino company. Apple sold 2.3 million Macs, 2.3 million iPhones, and 22 million iPods totaling a gross revenue of $9.6 billion and $1.58 billion in net revenue. Revenues for the quarter were up 35% year-over-year. The consensus analysts earnings per share ( EPS ) estimates was $1.63 while Apple handily beat that figure posting $1.76.
Apple, however, guided Wall Street lower for fiscal Q2’08 with revenue of $6.8 billion and earnings of 94 cents a share while analysts were expecting revenue of $6.98 billion and EPS of $1.09. Another disappointment: iPod growth year-over-year was up a mere 5%.
In case you don’t follow Apple stock performance closely, it’s worth calling your attention to the significant pullback that Apple stock has experienced recently. After reaching a high of $200 in the remaining days of 2007 and closing the year at slightly over $198 a share, Apple stock has slid considerably in early 2008, reaching a low of about $160 on Wednesday. While tech market watchers have largely contributed the slide to general market weakness and anxiety due to prospects of a major slowdown in consumer spending, they also maintain that Apple fundamentals continue to remain strong with record iPod sales, burgeoning iPhone sales and solid gains in the Mac business. Apple Inc. (AAPL) is due to announce its Q1 fiscal quarterly results on Tuesday Jan. 22 at 5:00 PM EST. The current deflated Apple price plus the likely possibility of announcing record quarterly profits may present investors an opportunity to place long positions on Apple and reap the benefits. Adam Lashinsky, a senior writer at Fortune, is one such market watcher that believes the beaten Apple stocks represent a buying opportunity. Lashinsky called current Apple growth rate estimates for 2008 “astounding” and says Apple “has a habit of underpromising and overdelivering” [sic].
The conference call as a webcast on Apple site ( QuickTime 6 or 7 required)
Well, this is certainly very interesting. Andy Ihnatko, Chicago Sun-Times technology and computer columnist predicts that Apple will introduce a new portable iDevice in 2008. The description of this new device matches very closely to what I’ve already revealed from my source to be an Apple UMPC ( Ultra Mobile PC ). Ihnatko writes:
“Apple’s new platform: Look at the puzzle pieces. A sophisticated, gesture-based user interface. OS X running on nontraditional devices. A new developer environment and API for iDevices that was so tricky that Apple couldn’t release it or even hint at it until three months after the iPhone was released… and even then, only under duress. Features embedded in Mac OS that help you invisibly tether two OS X devices’ resources together, whether they’re in the same room or merely on the same planet. A movement from Apple to put the bulk of its energy into consumer products and not computer products.”
“I’m fairly sure that 2008 will see an entire new platform. The iPhone is a phone, and the iPod touch is an iPhone without the phone stuff. The next i-Suffix will be a totally new thing. Not a Mac… not really. An iPhone, kind of, but sort of not. Take the screen off a MacBook and slice it in two vertically. That’s the device. It’ll play media—including Office documents, PDFs, and e-books—from its 16GB of flash storage. It’ll have Wi-Fi and the Safari browser… maybe even 3G or EDGE, as with an iPhone. It will secure-tunnel back to your home Mac or PC, and you’ll be able to use this thing to access any resources you might have left behind. It will put every digital resource you have at your fingertips, in one compact black slate.”
“It will run native software, too. Curious, isn’t it, that in October Steve Jobs announced that Apple wouldn’t be taking the wrapper off the iPhone developers’ kit until February? It’s almost as if the resources that are plainly available in the SDK would have spilled the beans on the device Steve intends to unveil during his Macworld Expo keynote in January.”
“Maybe I’m spot-on with this. Maybe not. But I’ll make one prediction about Apple’s hot new product of 2008 that I’ll stand behind without any waffling: whatever it is, people will complain that it costs way too much money, and they’ll happily stand in line for a minimum of 18 hours to get one.”
Does Ihnatko know something or has he simply been browsing the web looking for some interesting clues to support his predictions? Assuming that he does indeed know something, I’ll be contacting my sources to see if I can find out more details about the features of this secretive device.
It seems like everyone’s jumping on the ultra-thin Mac notebook bandwagon these days. BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl reports that when guessing about upcoming Apple products, “it’s particularly helpful to look at the roadmap of Intel”. Hesseldahl goes on to say, Intel “may help lead Apple into uncharted, possibly lucrative, territory starting in late 2008″. He calls the new Apple product MacBook Mini, “with a screen of less than 10 inches and weighing no more than 2 pounds” featuring Intel’s newest chip named Silverthorne. The new notebook will come “without a traditional hard drive, relying instead on at least 32 gigabytes of flash memory for storage” and no multi-touch screen for now to keep the price down.
I think an ultra-thin Mac notebook makes more sense if Apple included an optional docking station with more storage and the flexibility to upgrade its hardware, similar to the docking station patent that I reported on yesterday.
Jim Cramer’s 10 Predictions for 2008 include Apple shares reaching $300 and Google hitting $1000, SeekingAlpha reports. Considering that some analysts have predicted $450 or even $600 for Apple in the next 12 to 18 months, Cramer’s prediction seems modest.
Net Applications reports that Apple’s market share for the Mac rose to 7.31% in the month of December from a previous high of 6.80% in November. Additionally, Apple’s market share rose to 8.01% in the December 30-31 period. Net Applications also reports that they may have actually understated Apple’s market share due to visitors using Windows on Mac hardware, which they presumably have difficulty detecting.
On Tuesday January 22, 2008 at 5pm EST after markets close, Apple will webcast its financial quarter (Q1 08) results. Apple has guided analysts revenues of about $9.2 billion with earnings per share ( EPS ) of about $1.42 while analyst estimates for revenue currently range between $9.25-$9.40 billion with earnings of $1.48-$1.57 per share.
Analysts expect Apple to sell between 22 to 25 million iPods, 2.1 to 2.22 million Macs, and 1.8 to 2 million iPhones in this quarter which will signal record iPod sales and growing Mac and iPhone sales.
Also a quick reminder that Macworld Expo & Conference will start at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center January 14-18, 2007. Steve Jobs is due to deliver his opening keynote address on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 12pm EST. You will find all the highlights covered right here.
Crave.CNET has apparently received confirmation from ASUS, over dinner no less, that they’re helping Apple build a tablet pc. Now I find an Apple tablet in the traditional pc sense very difficult to believe, nonetheless, I’ll be checking with my sources to see if I can find out more on this.