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How Apple Had a Spectacular Year

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the beating-the-odds dept.

Businesses 504

Hugh Pickens writes "John Boudreau writes in the Mercury News that during its just-completed fiscal year, Apple broke four consecutive quarterly revenue and profit records and amid the worst recession in decades, hired thousands while others cut jobs, but what most distinguishes Apple is that while other tech titans spent 2010 cutting costs and acquiring new technology through mergers, this $65 billion company has been relentless in innovating like a startup and ruthless in promoting technologies that disrupt its own product lines. '"It's been an awesome year. The frequency of new stuff just boggles the mind," says Charles Wolf, an analyst with Needham & Co. "There is no company that is remotely close to what Apple is doing. They are the Energizer Bunny." In September 2005, Apple killed off the popular iPod Mini to make way for the the iPod Nano; Apple openly acknowledges that the iPhone is cannibalizing its iPods — and they don't seem to care; and the iPad tablet could ultimately threaten its core laptop business. "[Apple] has a different cultural mind-set," concludes Wolf. "They are acting like a startup, though they are becoming a $100 billion company."'

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504 comments

Zero (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367060)

care

Re:Zero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367270)

You care so little you had to tell everyone.

Re:Zero (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367516)

You care so little you had to tell everyone.

I can only say one thing: NIGGERS!

If only I could make that a brown, 50-pt font with blink tags. That would give you something to care about.

New Technology? (3, Insightful)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367084)

Exactly what New Technology did Apple release last year?

Lets call this what it is. . .Apple products SOLD in 2010.

Are you blind? (1, Troll)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367124)

The ipad, the ipad screen, the ipad power on/off button - these are all new, innovative and revolutionary technologies for slashdot and other apple fanbois.

Re:New Technology? (5, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367232)

Completely subjective view here, but the new iPod nano was impressive enough to elicit a 'holy crap' reaction when I first saw one, and it's been a while since any piece of tech has made an impact like that.

Sure, it is just another touchscreen music player, but what they've managed to cram into that case does seem to me to be a good distance beyond the rest of the market.

Re:New Technology? (1)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367288)

But that is not new. Smaller? Yes, but still an incremental upgrade, nothing is new in that product.

Re:New Technology? (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367356)

But that is not new. Smaller? Yes, but still an incremental upgrade, nothing is new in that product.

Just what are you expecting? Mr. Fusion in your pocket? A portable transporter? A flying car? (OK, we've been expecting that for years).

You all realize that Apple is a consumer hardware company, do you not? They don't make 787's, Space Shuttles or nuclear weapons. The do seem to make computer related consumer gizmos better than any of their competitors? Yeah, it would me neat if they made a mid sized tower, but it doesn't look like. Yeah, the iPad is ridiculously crippled for everyone hear who wants to control their toaster with it. But Apple seems to make stuff people want, hence it's good year. You can argue whether that's "incremental", "insignificant" or even bleh, but I bet Micheal Dell would like some of whatever it is that Jobs is smmoking.

Re:New Technology? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367534)

I bet Micheal Dell would like some of whatever it is that Jobs is smmoking.

Me too, but I'll settle for whatever it is that you're smoking.

Everyone says that they have the best weed, and I tend to agree.

Re:New Technology? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367540)

Actually Apple just happens to make consumer products no one ever thought they would need, market them by making people think they need them, and then profit off of people's stupidity.

Re:New Technology? (3, Interesting)

burris (122191) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367818)

Apple is a software company that sells most of their software inside custom hardware. The hardware isn't special, its pretty much the same as anything else, but what makes it better than everything else is the software inside. In fact, the main reason they sell hardware is to ensure the software works perfectly.

Re:New Technology? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34368026)

Correct. And even the hardware is special in the sense that they consistently have some of the best industrial design on the market. With the exception of the iPhone 4 antenna issue, their design works out very well for them.

Re:New Technology? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367438)

You stupid fucking kid, that's how it is with ALL technology. If you worked in any sort of engineering field, you'd know this. Go kill yourself.

Re:New Technology? (2, Informative)

kabloom (755503) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367714)

A disruptive technology is more along the lines of stuff described in The Innovator's Dilemma [businessweek.com]

Re:New Technology? (4, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367464)

Completely subjective view here, but the new iPod nano was impressive enough to elicit a 'holy crap' reaction when I first saw one

Same here .. except it also included a WTF about all the stuff they dropped that was in the previous edition of the nano. You didn't see Steve on stage saying "oh yeah, we removed the camera, and the Contacts App and ..."

Just you wait... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367612)

You think THAT was something, wait till they release iPad nano. It's gonna blow you away.

Re:Just you wait... (3, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367712)

You think THAT was something, wait till they release iPad nano. It's gonna blow you away.

It was due for release a few months back, but there were problems with the stickers intended to cover up the old "iPod Touch" nameplate.

Re:New Technology? (3, Informative)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367924)

I thought the Nano along with the iPhone 4 showed an Apple running out of steam.

The new nano has a small screen and I'm sure has made a lot of people go wow! But has completely lost the point of the old nano. It requires more button presses to use and forces the user to look at the screen. Most people seem to use nano's in places like the gym or the car. Adding a touch screen is a disadvantage in those locations. They would have been better off keeping the old nano form factor and increasing the storage.

Likewise the new iPhone 4 seems more what would happen if HTC designed an iPhone. The typical flare for styling present in apple devices doesn't seem to exist in that phone. It's all retinal display, megapixels, video calling, etc.. Which would be fine but the new iPhone isn't that impressive when you compare the specifications with other phones.

Then again I dislike apple products for a host of reasons. But do wonder if I'm right when some of my friends who are fan boys/girls show dislike for the iPad and Nano.

Re:New Technology? (5, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367634)

Somebody invented the transistor. Somebody invented the microchip. Somebody invented the cellular radio. Somebody invented the LCD screen. Somebody invented the speaker. Somebody invented the touchscreen. Somebody invented headphones.

Are you saying that everyone else is releasing old technology?

Then perhaps the electric car is old technology. We've had batteries, electric motors, wheels, brakes, etc. for years. Maybe the flying car is old tech. We've had the basic components for years, but have had trouble combining them into useful, compact flying transport.

It doesn't have to be completely new, to be novel or innovative. Nearly every useful new technology is the result of applying innovation to combining existing technologies.

Re:New Technology? (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367876)

porsche had what amounts to a serial hybrid back in the great depression...

Re:New Technology? (0, Troll)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367850)

They "innovated", you know, by making a new version of an iPod (with a broken antenna this time), by making a little bit better net-book, and by remaking the HP tablet PC from 2001, except without all those bothersome functional ports and things, but with less memory and computing power. Yup, real innovation. They did put the prices up a lot though. But just now they put them "down" about 8%.

Props to Apple (5, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367104)

I never bought into Applethink, and after every product annoucement I falsely predict they've finally blown it and nobody will "fall for it" this time. Meanwhile they're approaching $100e9 and probably wouldn't give my resume a second look. You win.

Re:Props to Apple (5, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367138)

Heck, they probably wouldn't even give you your user name...

Re:Props to Apple (0, Troll)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367182)

That's because you vastly underestimate the power of Apple's marketing machine, which is completely unrivaled in the tech industry, perhaps in any industry. I was massively disappointed by the iPad, but even more so by knowing that it would sell like hotcakes because Steve told people to buy it.

Re:Props to Apple (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367216)

Poor thing. Seek therapy. You have issues.

Here is your first clue...most people who bought iPads have no idea who Jobs is and could care less.

Re:Props to Apple (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367364)

Here is your first clue...most people who bought iPads have no idea who Jobs is and could care less.

They couldn't care less

Can I play too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367698)

http://dictionary1.classic.reference.com/help/faq/language/g09.html [reference.com]

Which is correct: I could care less or I couldn't care less?

The expression I could not care less originally meant 'it would be impossible for me to care less than I do because I do not care at all'.
It was originally a British saying and came to the US in the 1950s.
It is senseless to transform it into the now-common I could care less. If you could care less, that means you care at least a little.
The original is quite sarcastic and the other form is clearly nonsense.
The inverted form I could care less was coined in the US and is found only here, recorded in print by 1966.
The question is, something caused the negative to vanish even while the original form of the expression was still very much in vogue and available for comparison - so what was it?
There are other American English expressions that have a similar sarcastic inversion of an apparent sense, such as Tell me about it!, which usually means 'Don't tell me about it, because I know all about it already'.
The Yiddish I should be so lucky!, in which the real sense is often 'I have no hope of being so lucky', has a similar stress pattern with the same sarcastic inversion of meaning as does I could care less.

Re:Props to Apple (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 2 years ago | (#34368072)

No, they could definitely care a lot less.

Remember when Apple's stock plummeted because Jobs was sick? Or when Apple fans panicked when there was a rumor that Jobs would stop attending Apple events?

Don't tell me Apple fans don't know or care who Jobs is.

Consumers of Apple products recognize Jobs more than any CEO of a computer product company in recent history. Even Bill Gates never had that kind of recognition - his was solely limited to the tech and business communities.

Re:Props to Apple (1)

isaaccs (1854142) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367404)

Their marketing machine is unrivaled, as is the steady stream of products they introduce. I'm happy to conceded that they aren't all things to all people, but no other company consistently delivers products that are as cohesive or compelling. If you disagree, name that company...

Re:Props to Apple (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367910)

Monsanto.

Re:Props to Apple (5, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367618)

It's marketing, backed up with often exceptional products.

If it were just marketing, anyone could do it. If the products were junk people wouldn't buy them again and again. They do. If the products were junk then the rest of the tech industry wouldn't be falling all over themselves trying to get their own "me too" products into the market.

Or are you saying that no other company in the world has a marketing department?

I'm getting really tired of hearing otherwise educated people tell me that Apple's success is "just" due to marketing.

Re:Props to Apple (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#34368006)

Considering Apple's marketing machine unrivalled in any industry is a massive stretch. Hell, the bottled water companies convinced us to buy something we could get for free out of a tap! Now that's marketing.

Re:Props to Apple (0, Flamebait)

Svippy (876087) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367316)

I never bought into Applethink, and after every product annoucement I falsely predict they've finally blown it and nobody will "fall for it" this time. Meanwhile they're approaching $100e9 and probably wouldn't give my resume a second look. You win.

This is why I enjoy watching all the Steve Jobs keynotes. The whole culture and sect like mentality behind Apple and its fanbase is not only hilarious, but very interesting to watch. Apple use weasel words constantly to give people (and its fans especially) that they are still the underdog company (in comparison to Microsoft of course).

Notice how Jobs almost always says 'we think this solution is the best' and 'we think this phone is the best ever'. The whole manipulation of words is amazing to watch. You may think this is purely something that happens, I am certain that this has been undertaken carefully by Apples marketing department (which I have an idea that Jobs leads).

Remember when rumours was roaming everywhere that Jobs would no longer attends Apple-events? Gosh, it was like the worst nightmare to all Apple fans!

A shorter alternative to this way of thinking about Apple and predicting their results is to just assume consumers are stupid and they like shiny things. And if it has a real brand on it, even better. Microsoft, HP, Dell, Lenovo and so on are not regarded as 'real brands' to most consumers. Apple is in Gucci-league.

Re:Props to Apple (1)

isaaccs (1854142) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367722)

If it is good marketing, so what of it? How is "we think" a manipulation of words? Do you not think that the design and development departments at Apple don't in fact agree with this statement - the collective "we" being Apple? How is this misrepresentative?

One way to say it is to say "assume consumers are stupid and like shiny things.". Equally true however, would be the observation that throughout human history, people have appreciated objects that reflect certain aesthetic principles (design), are thoughtful, and reflect a high degree of precision in their conception and execution. The world's great thinkers, artists, and engineers are not simply, in my opionin, stupid consumers who like shiny things.

Re:Props to Apple (4, Interesting)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367930)

Actually, "we think..." might be core to Apple's success, but not for the reason the GP implies. Maybe they only release products where they can say that with some level of sincerity. Do you think that ANYONE at Microsoft thought about the Kin, "We think this is the best solution"? Or WebTV? Or PlaysForSure? They may have been able to say, "This is an also-ran means of allowing us to capitalize on the innovations of others."

And other companies? I'll bet Google engineers have thought that about their products. But Dell? HP? Hell, HP even sold branded iPods a few years back, because they couldn't make a music player that would come anywhere close to the iPod's popularity.

Re:Props to Apple (5, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367802)

HP, Dell, Lenovo and so on earned their positions. All of them sell "me too", mostly interchangeable products. You could take off the Dell or HP logos and swap them around between any of their various POS plastic boxes, and no one would notice. Or care.

Sony, at least, tries to do some industrial design on the hardware side, but still falls down when it comes to executing on the software side. And -- as the article implies and unlike Apple -- they lack the willpower to let one division cannibalize the sales of another.

Personally, I think all of them fell prey to the idea you suggested: that consumers are stupid, and as such, will buy all of the least common denominator crap we can sell.

Well. Some will. And some won't.

Re:Props to Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367478)

You fool - didn't you study your maths? - you mean 1e12.

Re:Props to Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367594)

100e9 = 1e11

Re:Props to Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367814)

i agree

Re:Props to Apple (2, Insightful)

Trufagus (1803250) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367952)

If you are willing to submit yourself to Apple like that, just because they have been successful and made lots of money, then you will make an excellent Apple devotee.

No one is questioning their success now. Not buying into Applethink doesn't mean predicting their doom - it means being able to question ridiculous, sycophantic articles like this one.

A note about Hugh Pickens (0, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#34368062)

Roland Piquepaille clone...

It's mostly going to lawyers.. (1)

Keruo (771880) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367144)

With all the ongoing lawsuits, the cashflow is certainly needed.
Some of the patent trials will eventually go south on their part and the compensations are calculated in billions.

Re:It's mostly going to lawyers.. (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367196)

Except that, like any other tech giant, they'll win some and GET billions. Gotta love the hideous, convoluted US patent system!

Apple is the GOD company (-1, Troll)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367146)

Man, they make such beautiful stuff! Every time Steve gives a keynote I follow it and hang on his lips. After the keynote I have to change my underwear because Steve talks so beautifully and the new stuff he presents is so awesome! I run to the Apple Store to be the first to purchase the new stuf. Oh man, it's all so beautiful, I get a crisis every time I touch one of my beloved Apple gadgets!

Re:Apple is the GOD company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367210)

... I get a crisis every time I touch one of my beloved Apple gadgets!

Is that what you gay hipsters call erections?

Re:Apple is the GOD company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367446)

Perhaps he's "getting a raging clue."

Or perhaps, he's just a douchebag hater. You don't wanna buy Apple, it's real easy. Just like an abortion. Don't like em, don't get one. FFS.

Re:Apple is the GOD company (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367866)

...and all of their products are made by modern Chinese slaves working an absolute minimum 80 hour week. I've thought about upgrading to iPhone 4 or getting an iPad but my conscience keeps getting in the way of my technogeek hard-on.

Re:Apple is the GOD company (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#34368048)

I was going for Funny but no people who see the joke here.
And all the other electronic stuff you buy is also made by Chinese slaves working 80 hours a week minimum, so good luck finding something that your conscience can handle. China is in the 19th century concerning labor legislation. Give it time, it will resolve itself. I don't believe that we as Western countries help them by not buying their stuff.

cannibalizing? (3, Interesting)

gordo3000 (785698) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367184)

Why wouldn't you release the iPhone, a beefed up iPod + phone service, which gives you much larger profit margins, and having everyone who bought an iPod upgrade for a significant extra outlay? I'm confused.

Again, how does the iPad, which can't connect to a printer, run multiple apps at once, connect to most peripherals easily cannibalize your laptop sales? It's like saying when Sony introduces a new netbook or ultralight laptop model they are cannibalizing their other sales. This sounds like apple worship. Give credit where it is due, don't start acting like they are doing things no one else does with their business lines.

and where do they get 65 billion from? the market value is 250 billion+.

Re:cannibalizing? (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367244)

Um, granted it only works with *some* printers but iOS 4.2 adds AirPrint and you can indeed print from an iPad.

Re:cannibalizing? (2, Informative)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367830)

Um, granted it only works with *some* printers but iOS 4.2 adds AirPrint and you can indeed print from an iPad.

And, at least for Mac users, a $10 utility (or a free, but slightly dubious, hack) will let it print to any printer on your Mac.

The real problem at the moment is that Apple have totally stuffed up file exchange between Pages/Keynote and the desktop.

Re:cannibalizing? (1)

larkost (79011) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367292)

It seems you are nearly a week out-of-date. On the 22nd Apple released iOS for iPad. Among its banner features are printing and multitasking. While your point about Apple benifiting from moving its customers around in its product line is probably correct, it does help to have your facts straight.

Re:cannibalizing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367600)

also with the iOS update is a new feature that if you shake it you get to draw another picture

Re:cannibalizing? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367626)

how does the iPad, which can't connect to a printer, run multiple apps at once, connect to most peripherals easily cannibalize your laptop sales?

Because households which might be considering a second laptop to augment a computer they already have are considering iPads instead.

Last spring, my G4 PowerBook got stolen (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367646)

I looked at my usage patterns (mostly word processing and web browsing) and looked at my options for a replacement. After considering prices, weights, form factors, keyboards, and availability of software that does what I need software to do, I purchased an iPad.

Certainly, there are tradeoffs. Printing isn't that big of a deal for me. I just save my papers on Google docs and print them from a different terminal. The time spent printing, after all, is an insignificant fraction of the time I spend writing a paper. And, given that the iPad is a full pound lighter than the lightest of the alternatives and has a far better battery life, needing to log in to a different machine to print is a mild inconvenience.

The only think I really miss is that I used to play a flash version of a Scrabble clone with my mother. The iPad doesn't do flash so I can't do that anymore. In the grand scheme of things, that's not a huge loss. Far more relevant to me is the ability to spend an 8 hour session working on a paper no where near an electrical outlet.

But that's the way I use a computer. Not everyone has the same wants and needs as I do. For those that don't, an iPad may not fit their usage patterns. In those cases, I suggest those users look elsewhere. But for me, an iPad is a fully functional desktop replacement.

Re:cannibalizing? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367762)

"Why wouldn't you release the iPhone, a beefed up iPod + phone service, which gives you much larger profit margins, and having everyone who bought an iPod upgrade for a significant extra outlay?"

I don't know it either. Go ask CEOs of big corporations why nearly no one of them wouldn't. That must need a different logic that only them know about.

Re:cannibalizing? (1)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 2 years ago | (#34368020)

Cannibalizing isn't the right word. If it were, Apple would also allow "cannibalizing" of their app sales by allowing publishing of any apps, not just those Apple thinks are worthy and match its brand image.

I love the way an iPad looks but knowing it'll be just as function-limited as my iPod makes me cringe. No, thanks! My eee PC with Ubuntu will have to do for now (but I can't wait until Ubuntu's equivalent of an "app store" is ready).

Ha! "Don't care" (2, Insightful)

AkaXakA (695610) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367188)

Do you know why they "don't care"? MARGINS!

Big, fat, juicy margins...nothing to do with start-ups.

iPhone is cannibalizing its iPods (5, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367200)

Apple openly acknowledges that the iPhone is cannibalizing its iPods — and they don't seem to care

Should they care or should they celebrate? The iPhone offers a superset of iPod functionality and the iPhone generates greater profits.

Re:iPhone is cannibalizing its iPods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367632)

No they don't care. Which is why the article is total BS. Except maybe for the hiring part.

They kill the iPod Mini to announce the iPod nano. Yeah great, so what? People still buy an Apple product, which has some different features and a new name. Apple doesn't lose anything on that one.

The iPhone cuts into iPod sales, so what? It's not like customer jump ship and buy a competitors product, just a superior (in functionality) product from, guess who, Apple.

The iPad cuts into (parts of) their laptop sales. Great, so what? Many Apple Fanboys will probably buy an iPad in addition to their Macbook and their iPhone and their iPod. (guess what, they probably bought those in reverse order of me listing them here.

So "they don't seem to care"? Ah right, they don't care that people buy different things from their product portfolio now. Well, I wouldn't either, especially if the margins are bigger for the products they are buying now...

Total bullshit advertisement for Apple from a fanboy.

Re:iPhone is cannibalizing its iPods (4, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367694)

Should they care or should they celebrate? The iPhone offers a superset of iPod functionality and the iPhone generates greater profits.

Dumb comment in TFA - they surely make more on an iPhone than an iPod. Also, Apple had to produce the iPhone - other phone manufacturers were including music players and that would have hit iPod sales.

The iPad vs. laptop "cannibalization" might be more serious, but the iPad is fairly well pitched to be a supplement to a laptop, not a replacement. I use mine mainly for comfy-chair web and email browsing.

OMG, teh iPad will konquer all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367246)

the iPad tablet could ultimately threaten its core laptop business

What? They're going to lock down their overpriced laptops so that you can't load Flash, Shlockwave, Java, Silverlight, and programs that don't come directly from the AppStore? There's a place for the iPad and there's a place for their overpriced laptops. I wouldn't use the laptop in bed for surfing and reading books, and I wouldn't use the iPad for real work.

Re:OMG, teh iPad will konquer all! (2, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367320)

No, it's an admission that most people buy laptop computers to access the Internet, play music and films.

Computer ownership accelerated when the Internet became popular. Hence it is the "killer application" for most users.

That makes sense (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367512)

No, it's an admission that most people buy laptop computers to access the Internet, play music and films.

Computer ownership accelerated when the Internet became popular. Hence it is the "killer application" for most users.

I mean porn supposedly pushed sales of VHS so I guess the internet could accelerate computer ownership for the same reason.

no way office or photoshop will be appstore rules (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367330)

no way office or photoshop will be in the appstore as the rules are now.

The 5 systems per buy and 30% cut will fly with MS or adobe.

Re:no way office or photoshop will be appstore rul (3, Informative)

adamstew (909658) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367504)

There are already a few "office" equivalents in the App store...one of them written by Apple called iWork... You can buy the individual apps for $10 each. There are also a couple of 3rd party equivalents.

If MS decided to write an office varient for iPad, they could certainly put it in the App Store.

Same for Photoshop. There is already a version of Photoshop in the app store. It really only supports very very basic photo manipulation and isn't the full photoshop suite, but there is nothing about photoshop itself that would prevent it's inclusion in the App Store if Adobe decided to put it there.

Re:no way office or photoshop will be appstore rul (1)

Wizard Drongo (712526) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367528)

Doesn't matter.

Most people don't care about Office or Photoshop for a home machine. Sure, they'd like both, if available, but that's not why they buy a laptop or netbook. It's to watch films and check facebook.

As it happens, there is already some Adobe software on the AppStore. iWork is "good enough" for the majority..microsoft may wise up, or not. Doesn't really matter.

Re:no way office or photoshop will be appstore rul (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367558)

Or hey, the "all apps must have a full screen mode" that just makes little to no sense with the applications Adobe and Microsoft are making... or most applications really...

Oh Brother! (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367358)

I'm a fan of Apple - but this submission is embarrassing. C'mon - it's news that Apple had a good year? That's like saying it's news that Windows Phone 7 has failed to garner much interest.

Re:Oh Brother! (1)

Proudrooster (580120) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367764)

Many great products have failed to due to a crappy economy. This is news. The other story could be, really innovative company with high priced product, far ahead of it's time fails due to worst economy since the 1930's.

That isn't what the submission is about (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367794)

That Apple had a good year isn't news. (Or at least it hasn't been news since the nineties.)

What is news is why it is that Apple had a good year when many other companies haven't had good years. At many companies, if releasing product line y will kill off sales of product line x, then y never goes to market. The Apple of today seems to not be scared of that even though the Apple of yesterday was enormously conscious of that. Consequently, Apple seems to be a rare breed in allowing for disruptive technology to disrupt its own product line.

IF that is what Apple is doing, I would like to see more companies do that. But I'm entirely convinced that Apple is actually doing that. As others have pointed out iPhone (and iPod Touch) sales aren't canabalizing iPod sales. Rather they are an upsell with increased profit margines. On the other hand, it may very well be the case that iPad sales are canabalizing Mac Book sales. I don't know enough about the respective profit margins of those two lines to determine if "canabalization" is the correct term. (FWIW, I bought an iPad to replace my G4 Powerbook that was stolen in late spring.) It could be that, long term, App Store revenues make iPads much more profitable than the Mac Book line. If so, then it isn't a case of canabalization but of upselling.

That said, the latest iteration of the Mac Book Air almost makes me wish that I had waited before buying an iPad. Yet, the iPad still offers far better battery life and a better form factor. (And with a bluetooth keyboard, a better keyboard.) Not to mention that I think Toshiba is on the right track with the AC100. If it had a touch screen, I think it would be a potential iPad killer. But it doesn't and Android is a rather user unfriendly platform when one doesn't have a touch screen.

Not by accident (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367372)

From TFA: "Apple has had a string of successes. The question is, can Apple continue to do that? History says probably not."

That's just dumb. Really, it's Steve Jobs who has had a string of successes. Maybe sometimes success happens by accident, but quite often it's the result of deliberate actions. I don't think Steve Jobs'/Apple's success is by accident.

Re:Not by accident (1)

adamstew (909658) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367628)

Especially so consistently. Most every major product that Steve Jobs has had a hand in has been wildly successful for Apple: iPod, iTunes, OS X, Intel Macs, iPhone, iPad.

The only thing I can think of (off the top of my head) that hasn't been wildly successful is the Apple TV. I do own an Apple TV, and it is a great product. I suspect it's just ahead of it's time. I am sure there are other not-so-hot products out there, but there are more hits than misses for Steve Jobs.

Excuse me... (0, Troll)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367390)

Excuse me, Mr. Boudreau, Mr. Wolf? You've got something white and gooey on your chin...no...on the other side. That's it.

Price point new products (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367474)

To stay extremely profitable you can't be in the race to the lowest price. This is where most other tech companies epically fail as they march forward on thinning margins until they go broke "making it up in volume".

As margins decline, you end up with capacitors that are substandard and covering up that fact as your customers leave in droves (DELL). Apple's success has always been about standing out from the rest of the Tech crowd, which allows them the comfort of profits most other companies would kill for. But most other companies love resting on their laurels (Microsoft) or attacking their customers (Oracle, SCO) in the drive to create margins.

What Apple does better than anyone else is taking existing ideas and making them better than anyone else. Slashdotters make fun of iPods, iPads and iPhones for being "lame", and not having the greatest specs, but they aren't Apple's customers, and Apple doesn't listen to them, and it shows up in the bottom line. For every slashdotter that cries "lame" there's a couple hundred average people saying "cool".

Before iPods, MP3 players existed, but Apple did it better (and held the price). Before iPhones, "smart phones" existed, but Apple did it better (and held the price). Before iPads, tablet computers existed but Apple did it better (and beat price expectations) (No table exists that is better even now).

Apple will find some other area that is lacking a polished product, introduce a iWhatever with a polish that is missing, and the slashdot community will cry "lame" once again. The price will be higher than "comparable" whatever, and Apple will sell gazillions in spite of what slashdot community thinks.

Apple knows how to make a profit where none seems to exist, in a market that looks like it is wallowing, in an economy that sucks. Apple will become the largest market cap company in the next 12 - 18 months. And slashdotters will say "lame" and still not get it.

Re:Price point new products (2, Insightful)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367584)

And some day, Steve Jobs will die. And without the cult of personality driving the marketing, slowly Apple will fall away...

Re:Price point new products (5, Insightful)

bkmoore (1910118) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367774)

It will be difficult for Apple after Steve Jobs is gone, but it doesn't mean Apple will fail. Both Ford and Disney were run by charismatic founders, but they both managed to make a good transition over time. I think HP might be an example of a company that was less successful in making the transition. But in Apple's case, Steve Jobs is aware of his own limited life expectancy and he has put some very capable managers in place to run the company following his departure. Steve Jobs primarily focuses on product development and allows his managers to run Apple's operations. The question is will the management team retain Steve's commitment to good design. It will be interesting to see.

Re:Price point new products (1)

mgabrys (14614) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367906)

I think Ive and others will continue to fill that role nicely.

Re:Price point new products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367898)

What Apple does better than anyone else is taking existing ideas and making them better than anyone else.

Not necessarily.

I don't think iPods were better than the existing MP3 players - aside from style. The same for smart phones - actually, everyone I know who used the iPhone didn't care that much for it - they wished Apple put more thought into making it into a phone instead of a whiz bang do a bunch of stuff thing. It's a sucky phone that has a cool voice mail list .

Apple excels at design and making the user interface simpler in many cases - and many times, sacrificing functionality - iPhone case in point. RIM has always had a much better smart phone.

Apple is a design and marketing company - take existing tech, put a pretty face on it, simplify UI, and have Jobs sell it.

Industrial product design matters. (5, Insightful)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367508)

Industrial product design matters. Marketing too. I'm not a fan of Apple's policies, but they get quite a few things right while the competition seems mired in stupidity and copycat disease land.

- Decent quality control (iphone4 attena aside)

- Great marketing/PR/Hype

- Extremely nice looking products

Apple does these things well and makes great devices. They now even have an army of good developers thanks to a platform that caters to people willing to spend money. In the meantime, the competition seems to sometimes innovate, and other times gets stuck copying, confused, and greedy. Looking at the Nexus S -- it looks to be almost a clone of an IPhone 3G? What is Samsung thinking? At the same time Samsung has the tablet which looks to be pretty nice and more original. Verizon is a great example too: first they hyped the Droid to huge success, but then they decided to start putting Bing on phones and open their own app store.

Still, it's great that Google seems to be adding serious competition to this market, but they seem to fail to grasp that they CAN'T hand control back to carriers and win this race. Giving up on the Nexus One right out of the gate was a bad move. Consumers dont want to go back to the flip phone days with $2.99 30 second vcast ringtones.

Apple will see continued success due to all these issues regardless, at least in the near future. However if Google steps up it's game and does the following:

1) Streamlined patch/update process

2) Making manufacturer skins removable

3) limitation on how manufacturers and carriers can lock down devices. (ie no forcing specific apps on the user).

That's when things will get interesting. If Google can silence the fragmentation trolls, and keep the carrier greed in check, there is hope for this market, and especially a bright future for consumers. There is even room for carriers to still add value. But if they FORCE it on people, they will all lose to Apple.

Re:Industrial product design matters. (0)

Keruo (771880) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367578)

> Industrial product design matters.
Except all current Apple products have been made for consumer market, not industrial.

Re:Industrial product design matters. (1)

Tobenisstinky (853306) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367686)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_design [wikipedia.org]

"Industrial design is a combination of applied art and applied science, whereby the aesthetics, ergonomics and usability of products may be improved for marketability and production...."

Re:Industrial product design matters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367720)

Except industrial design refers to designing a finished product, not something that is used for an industrial application. If you design office furniture, you are an industrial designer.

Re:Industrial product design matters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367724)

> Industrial product design matters.

Except all current Apple products have been made for consumer market, not industrial.

Except that -

"Industrial Design (ID) is the professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer"

Industrial Designers Society of America

Re:Industrial product design matters. (2, Funny)

Proudrooster (580120) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367718)

Google just needs to buy Apple for world domination. :)

Apple is going to have to go through a ton of unnecessary work to build a cloud infrastructure, when Google has it already done and ready to use. Google + Apple would be an unstoppable force for good and innovation.

Who buys whom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367792)

AAPL Market Cap: 288.95B
GOOG Market Cap: 188.67B

I think it is more likely for AAPL to buy Google, but the market and the feds would resist the creation of such a large company with anti-competitive potential.

Google needs to rev their Android Market (3, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367926)

That is Apple's biggest innovation with the iPhone, and they know it (see Mac App Store). The App Store is why the iPod touch has such high appeal, why people put up with AT&T's horrible service with the iPhone, and why the iPad is so versatile.

On the flip side, Android Market is crippled by the requirement for 3G service devices (ie, no Android iPod Touch competitor any time soon), a drive to push free/ad-driven sales model and a lack of curation (see DVD Jon's appeal to Google [nanocr.eu] to put some quality/curation into the Android Market). As a consequence numerous other Android app markets are cropping up, adding confusion and complexity to the act of developing and buying apps for that platform.

Not new technology but new market (3, Insightful)

dysonlu (907935) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367608)

Apple's success is not about new technology (tablets and smartphones already existed before the iPad and the iPhone, respectively); it is about creating a new market -- they transform a niche market into a maintream market. They have been incredibly successful in doing that because: 1) they make technology accessible and, more importantly, 2) they create awareness. They manage to create awareness not only with excellent marketing but, and this is their very unique advantage over any other company, because all eyes are on Apple. Whether it's tech media or maintream mass media, whether it's the Web, TV, newspaper or radio, every media is following and reporting Apple's every move. Any company can make technology accessible, very few, if any, can create awareness like Apple can.

Apple also doesn't do what HP does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34367624)

Apple doesn't generally treat customers like crap...and their website is checked thoroughly for accuracy. HP is more like this most recent one: http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/hewlett-packard-c395157.html [complaintsboard.com]

To all those that bashed my 4 months as a Mac User (3, Insightful)

Proudrooster (580120) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367702)

I am a Opensource promoter, RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer) and an all around techie. Awhile ago, I wrote a sensible article on my four month experience as a MacBook Pro user and received viscous comments like, "The almighty doesn't even get reviews like this from the pope."

I feel very vindicated by this article and have but one thing to say, "IN YOUR FACE, I TOLD YOU SO!"

ok... sorry, that was immature, but the Apple stuff is innovative, solid, and amazing. If you are still not convinced, go down to your local OfficeMax and spend some time with a droid tablet or try to edit AVCHD Video on WIndows 7 PC. Really, I am not an Apple fan-boy. I am just really busy and need my technology to work NOW!

Re:To all those that bashed my 4 months as a Mac U (1)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367868)

The company that i like made more money than the company that you like? really? I like my products for their merits, not how much money I just gave to the company that made them. And yes, the droid tablet (galaxy) is nice, you can. . . gasp. . . .save files to . . . gasp. . . folders on the device. Try that on your iPad.

Re:To all those that bashed my 4 months as a Mac U (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367938)

wow got anything better then 3 typical non descriptive buzzwords?

I actually like apple products but am not in a position to buy their typically overpriced and under powered products, and I get them last gen (if I am lucky) but if your going to sell anyone on something that has a tiny fraction of a brain your going to have to come up with something better than a used car ad

Why is it innovative? pocket pc's and all in 1 units have been around for decades, explain

Why is it solid? are you talking about build quality? and which models? the Imac seems very solid, the macbooks seems a little flimsy, the mini will crack if you look at it funny, explain

Why is it amazing? Looks, maybe but that apple look has been around for a while now and its starting to look dated, OS same, user experience, sorry but I get just as aggravated at OSX as I do any other OS, just in different ways, explain

You need your tech to work now? I dont see a problem my mac takes just as long to cold boot as my windows 7 machine and linux mint beats them all by seconds, applications well if its not in box on OSX I typically spend more time and more money hunting down something similar to whats already out there in windows land, explain (and quit buying crap computers at office max)

Re:To all those that bashed my 4 months as a Mac U (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 2 years ago | (#34368032)

sorry, that was immature, but the Apple stuff is innovative, solid, and amazing.

No, it really isn't.

At best, Apple products are "innovative" in the way that Halo was "innovative": by combining second-best implementations of many features that have already been implemented separately (and usually better) in other devices. But that's not real innovation; that's a Greatest Hits album.

If you are still not convinced, go down to your local OfficeMax and spend some time with a droid tablet or try to edit AVCHD Video on WIndows 7 PC.

Do you have any more to add to that statement? For example, is there any reason to think an Android tablet wouldn't offer the same advantages over the iPad that Android phones already offer over the iPhone? Have you actually encountered problems using video editors on Windows? Or are you just blustering?

Really, I am not an Apple fan-boy. I am just really busy and need my technology to work NOW!

If you think the only way to get your technology to work NOW! is to buy from Apple, then yes, you are an Apple fanboy.

Re:To all those that bashed my 4 months as a Mac U (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 2 years ago | (#34368074)

I dunno about the whole 'just works' thing. A friend of mine is a big mac user (non-techie), she seems to have the mac equivelent of BSOD several times a week. Graphics designer, so the mac is needed.

I gather that this is pretty standard in the Mac world.

Haven't seen BSOD in Windows for a long while.

I think that one is a bit backwards. (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367828)

Apple openly acknowledges that the iPhone is cannibalizing its iPods — and they don't seem to care...

Oh no! Sales of a product we make are being cannibalized by sales of a more expensive product we make that, save a few chips, is virtually identical! What will we do?

Apparently innovation works (4, Insightful)

Eighty7 (1130057) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367920)

Apple openly acknowledges that the iPhone is cannibalizing its iPods [CC] — and they don't seem to care;

It's better for you to cannibalize your own products, than for your competitors to do it for you. There was a recent quote from El Jobso (can't find off hand, sorry) saying that (in his absence) Apple just sat on the top end of the market with the Mac, got greedy, failed to innovate, and suffered. Their success with the ipod seems to support this. They cover nearly the whole market while still remaining the high end brand.

Re:Apparently innovation works (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#34368008)

It's better for you to cannibalize your own products, than for your competitors to do it for you.

Easily the most insightful comment I've heard all week.

Investment Thoughts (3, Insightful)

bkmoore (1910118) | more than 2 years ago | (#34367960)

I rode aapl from less than $100 to $200 in 2007 and stuck with aapl all through the crash to $89 in 2008, and even used it as an opportunity to load up. It was a great ride, but the time has come to reduce my exposure. I am not a smart investor, I just got lucky. It's finally time to cash in the chips and walk out of the casino. Apple may continue to rise, but a wise investor once said, "a dollar not made is still a lot better than a dollar lost."
My two cents analysis that Apple has a lot of potential, but Apple carries a lot of risk. I am not sure if the market can sustain an Apple valued as highly as Exxon for example. Apple is a very difficult company to value because it is very difficult to predict future earnings. A lot of it depends on the public's reception of Apple's latest gadget. If the gadget is a new type of device, it is very difficult to accurately predict its acceptance. I had doubts about the iPad, but am glad it is selling like gang busters.
I am neither a fan boy nor an Apple hater. I am just an ordinary guy trying to get a good return on his savings after the banks cut interest rates to nil. Apple seemed like a good investment at the time. Which brings to mind another risk. If interest rates on savings rise again, expect people like me to take money out of the market, which will reduce share prices. I will keep an eye on Apple though. If it has another sharp drop in the next couple of years, I may use it as an opportunity to load up again.
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