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Apple Plans to Grow to $10 Billion

pudge posted more than 10 years ago | from the i-plan-that-for-myself-too dept.

Apple 244

mattmcal writes "Fred Anderson, CFO of Apple, this week outlined Apple's strategy for returning to its former self as a $10 billion company. He cited portability, digital lifestyle, and music as the three pimary drivers of this new strategy. Anderson announced last month that he plans to retire June 1 of this year."

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244 comments

w00t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453125)

10 billion can buy a lot of gay porno!

Re:w00t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8456427)

Actually, My first thought was that Apple would start producing Gay porn to make the 10 billion. That what Apple means by "digital lifestyle", isn't it?

iPod (5, Funny)

valkraider (611225) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453222)

$5 billion of that will be from iPod replacement batteries...

[obDisclaimer: I own a 1stG iPod and a 2ndG iPod - batteries still as good as new. But the headphones......
And of course, they would get to that $10 billion sooner if they would release a G5 laptop.
I can personally guarantee them to get $3k closer when they do...]

Re:iPod (0, Troll)

oscast (653817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453405)

give it a rest with the whole battery thing.

Whomever has mod points... please label the parrent post a troll.

iPod battery crisis (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453803)

We'll give it a rest as soon as Mac fixes the iPod battery problem. "Label parent troll" applies to my posting, not yours.

Re:iPod battery crisis (2, Informative)

oscast (653817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454259)

"We'll give it a rest as soon as Mac fixes the iPod battery problem."

First of all, there is no such company as Mac... (its Apple) and there is no battery problem within the iPod... as has been pointed out time and time again in these threads.

There is no problem (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454623)

"There is no problem" said the man in the burning house.

Of course there is no problem.

The rather high chance of DESTROYING the iPod (both regular and mini) just by trying to open it to get to the battery is well documented.

A fragile, badly-designed case? That's no problem. When I need to open my transistor radio, I use a hammer, so I am used to damage already.

The ludicrously high price of the replacement battery is also also well-documented. Before there were complaints. Apple's semi-official position was "just throw the iPod away" when the battery died.

A $250 disposable music player? That's no problem at all. I have a habit of sinking my cars in the lake when they run out of gas.

Re:There is no problem (3, Informative)

oscast (653817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454846)

"The rather high chance of DESTROYING the iPod (both regular and mini) just by trying to open it to get to the battery is well documented." Perhaps, but this is based on the assumption that the iPod batter is faulty and has a high probability of failure. It does not (this despite reports to the contrary)



"The ludicrously high price of the replacement battery is also also well-documented."

And it is also well documented that you can get a cheaper battery from a different supplier for a fraction of the cost.



"Before there were complaints. Apple's semi-official position was "just throw the iPod away" when the battery died."

That'd not true at all. Before there was a battery replacement program, Apple's semi-official provision was to buy an extended warrenty if your iPod was not already covered under its 1-year warrenty.

The word from Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454945)

from popsci.com:

"where the staff told him there was nothing Apple could do: his iPod's one-year warranty had expired. But they would be happy to sell him a new model to replace it."

And it is also well documented that you can get a cheaper battery from a different supplier for a fraction of the cost.

A $50 DIY kit, also documented at popsci.com. Pretty steep.

Re:The word from Apple (4, Interesting)

oscast (653817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455208)

"where the staff told him there was nothing Apple could do: his iPod's one-year warranty had expired. But they would be happy to sell him a new model to replace it."

That article refers to the "Apple's Dirty Little Secret" Web site not Apple's official position. If you listened to the phone call recording that got MASSIVE attention... the support rep suggested that because his iPod fell out of warenty the caller buy a new Apple warenty (costing $250) "but at that cost you might as well buy a new iPod anyways".

Obviously the support rep didn't say the thing that offerd the most level of comfor to the caller, but that hardly implies that Apple's position was to throw the iPod away.

Regardless, Apple has since updated the iPod support program to include an iPod battery. Additionally other suppliers have offered replacement batteries for even less than that which Apple sells them for.

This is all a moot point for the most part because we're talking about the fringe edge of iPod owners anways... only this extremely small number individuals are reporting problems. Thankfully, Apple and theird party companies provide support for this small group.



"A $50 DIY kit, also documented at popsci.com. Pretty steep."

Not at all. Batteryies for the Dell's Mp3 player, the archos brand gateway etc all utilize similar pricing structures as Apple and 3rd party companies do for the iPod.

Replacement batteries for the iPod are very much in sync with battery prices from other major MP3 manufacturers.

Re:There is no problem (4, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454944)

If your iPod's battery starts to fail within the warranty period, then you can send it in to get replaced, free of charge.

If it fails outside of the warranty period, you can have Apple replace it for $99, or buy a replacement from a third party vendor, including tools to safely open your iPod case, for about $50.

The battery was never intended to be a servicable part. Instead it was intended to last the entire lifetime of the machine. Some batteries - a tiny fraction of iPod users overall - have turned out to last only 18 months - that's unfortunate, but as both Apple and third party vendors offer replacement services, it isn't a problem.

Apple's position is not "Throw the iPod away."

You might just as well complain about the "iPod screen problem". After all, the screen will fail on a number of iPods earlier than expected. People are used to batteries that fail after six months and need replacing because they're only designed to last that long; if other batteries typically were built to last five to ten years, they wouldn't be seen as a user servicable part.

Re:There is no problem (5, Funny)

BitGeek (19506) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455104)


My screen failed when I used it to hammer stakes for my tent on a camping trip.

Imagine how dissapointed I was when I couldn't use the iPod for the rest of the trip!

Now I hear you can't easily replace the battery when it runs out of charge?

Amazing people put up with this product!

(Please note the sarcasm.)

Great comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455263)

"My screen failed when I used it to hammer stakes for my tent on a camping trip."

That's a PERFECT comparison to "opening the unit to replace rechargable battery that does not work anymore".

Re:There is no problem (0, Flamebait)

BitGeek (19506) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455075)


Apparently you didn't read the directions, but, you see, the battery in the iPod is rechargeable.

Just plug it into your PC with a firewire cable, or use the conveniently supplied plug-in power supply to recharge the battery.

I know, its such an amazing technology... I'm sure you're quite used to throwing away batteries once they are dead. But I assure you the iPod's battery is meant to be recharged, not replaced.

And when the battery dies.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455239)

"I know, its such an amazing technology... I'm sure you're quite used to throwing away batteries once they are dead. But I assure you the iPod's battery is meant to be recharged, not replaced."

And when the iPod battery dies and cannot be replaced again? That's the point at which you throw away the entire thing.

Re:And when the battery dies.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455325)

"And when the iPod battery dies and cannot be replaced again?" That's the point at which you throw away the entire thing." Why would the iPod's battery be unable to be replaced?

Re:iPod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453825)

You should go look up "Joke" [reference.com]

Re:iPod (0)

oscast (653817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454283)

I understand the joke... Unfortunately, others don't (as illustrated in the post above yours.) Hence the necessity to label the parent post a troll or at least just mod it as overrated..

It is no joke (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454645)

Apple has yet to solve the battery problem.

Re:It is no joke (4, Informative)

oscast (653817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454936)

"Apple has yet to solve the battery problem."

Again, there is no battery "problem".

The iPod battery lasts as long as any bettery of that type is supposed to last. I forget what the exact specs are... but they are very liberal (although it does vary depending on the number of times you charge the device).

As is to be expected, not all things work as planned... hence the reason for Apple's warenty, Apple's extended warrenty as well as its more recent battery replacement programs. Additionally, iPod batters can be purchased from theird part manufacturers for less than even Apple sells.

No problem...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454997)

"As is to be expected, not all things work as planned"

That's a nice spin on "busted the thing just trying to get to the battery". Better-designed devices for a fraction of the cost have a hatch, or from 2 to 4 screws.

"hence the reason for Apple's warenty"

Does this warranty cover opening the thing?

Re:No problem...... (4, Insightful)

oscast (653817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455294)

>>>"As is to be expected, not all things work as planned"

That's a nice spin on "busted the thing just trying to get to the battery". Better-designed devices for a fraction of the cost have a hatch, or from 2 to 4 screws.


That's a nice spin on a device that is designed so well that the battery is intended to last the entire life of the product... as the iPod does in the vast majority of the time.



"Does this warranty cover opening the thing?"

Not sure... though that is not even necessary. If anything should go wrong with your iPod during its warrenty period an individual need only call Apple, they'll ship you a padded box the following day to mail them the iPod, they will send someone to pick it up, next-day deliever it to Apple where they will fix it that day, then next day it back to you.

Apple's warrenty service is EXCELLENT.

iPods not intended to last long at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455363)

"device that is designed so well that the battery is intended to last the entire life of the product... as the iPod does in the vast majority of the time."

The PopSci article had as an example the iPod battery lasting 18 months. Let us be generous here and inflate that out to 2 years.

Are you saying, then, that an iPod is supposed to last only 2 years? That's pretty bad. My existing mp3 players are that old, and I have every expectation that they will last much longer. Of course, I don't have to wreck them in order to deal with battery problems, either.

Re:iPods not intended to last long at all? (5, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455619)

An iPod battery is supposed to last a great deal longer than 18 months. Similarly, the screen, touchpad, and case are all designed to last longer than 18 months. Just like batteries, a small handful will not.

Just be glad Apple is offering a reduced-price repair price for those iPods where one of the non-servicable parts can be replaced out of warranty. Because that's what the battery is.

Given the choice, I'd rather have a well designed machine with a battery designed to last years, than a poorly designed machine with a replacable battery that lasts months. Obviously, YMMV.

Re:iPods not intended to last long at all? (3, Interesting)

oscast (653817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455717)

"Are you saying, then, that an iPod is supposed to last only 2 years?"

Again, the popssi article was reference the ipod dirty little secret web site... an instance which has already been regarded as an obscure instance.

The life of the ipod will vary depending on the individual that has it. Every single individual I know that has an iPod 5 gig 9the first ipod) say that its serving them very well... no problems whatsoever.



"That's pretty bad."

It would be if that were the case. But its not.



"My existing mp3 players are that old, and I have every expectation that they will last much longer."

Perhaps, and yet its not entierly unlikely that those MP3 players with batteries have the same life expectancy and reliability as the iPod battery.... which is very good.



"Of course, I don't have to wreck them in order to deal with battery problems, either."

Good to know.
Neither do iPod owners either however.

Re:iPods not intended to last long at all? (4, Informative)

allgood2 (226994) | more than 10 years ago | (#8456454)

Only a small subset of users are finding that their batteries die in 18mo. I purchased my original iPod in November 2001, a week or so after Apple introduced them, and the battery runs perfectly fine over 2 yrs later. Apple's support documents that the battery should be able to with stand 500 charge cycles. Since the average user doesn't totally drain their battery daily, that can work out to a fairly long time. For example, I only have to fully recharge my battery about once a week. Which means I go through 52 recharge cycles per year. If I get a full 500 charges, that's almost 10yrs of battery life.

Apple recommends recharging the battery every 14-18days, which would extend 500 full recharges even longer. Really for what the Neistat brothers went through, they either had faulty batteries, or were draining their batteries daily, for over a year.

I consider myself a mid-range user of the iPod, but that's only because their are so many who use their iPods only for trips, etc. I use mine daily, for 4-8hrs a day. When i purchased, I thought the battery might last 3-5years, and so far it's on target.

Mr. Anderson (-1)

Captain Goatse (715400) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453235)

I think Apple will die when Mr. Anderson retires, die just like BSD died.

It's too sad that these nice Operating Systems die, day after another. Think of the employees, the BSD kernel coders are now homeless and workless, they spend most of their days at gay bars. Happily perusing the glory holes, of course ;)

Current earnings? (-1, Interesting)

Plake (568139) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453257)

Any idea of what Apple's current earnings are right now?

Re:Current earnings? (5, Informative)

primordial ooze (13525) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453424)

Any idea of what Apple's current earnings are right now?

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2004/jan/14resul ts .html

Apple Reports First Quarter Results

Revenue Increases 36 Percent Year-Over-Year

CUPERTINO, California--January 14, 2004--Apple(R) today announced financial results for its fiscal 2004 first quarter ended December 27, 2003. For the quarter, the Company posted a net profit of $63 million, or $.17 per diluted share. These results compare to a net loss of $8 million, or $.02 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter reached a four-year high of $2.006 billion, up 36 percent from the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 26.7 percent, down from 27.6 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 44 percent of the quarter's revenue.

...

Re:Current earnings? (5, Informative)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453658)

Earnings are pretty small, there aren't too many companies that earn more than 10 billion/year. He was likely refering to revenues, (hit about $6.2 last fiscal year, $6.7 last calendar year).

right before retirement eh? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453262)

Am I the only one thats a bit skeptical that hes saying this right before retirement?...

Seems to me like a:
1.) Talk up Apple, raise share price.
2.) retire, have all options vest.
3.) Profit!

situation to me.

Re:right before retirement eh? (4, Insightful)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453518)

This looks like unfair moderation to me, but since I have no mod points I can't correct the wrong :-(. It's troll-like, I suppose, but also a fair question.

That being said, from about 8b in revenues to 10b doesn't seem like that much of a stretch, and probably isn't enough to significantly impact the share price, which has remained within its normal range.

D

Current Market Cap: 8.87B (5, Informative)

Pr0Hak (2504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453270)

According to quote.yahoo.com, the current market cap for AAPL is 8.87B, so they're approaching the 9B mark already. I think Apple is well on track with the high profit margins and popularity of the iPod, and all the great things they have been doing with both Mac hardware and MacOS X the last couple of years.

The excitement that has been surrounding Apple the last couple of years reminds me of the Macintosh during the System 7 or PowerPC transitions.

Also, it should be noted that Fred Anderson is the C*F*O of Apple, not the CTO

Re:Current Market Cap: 8.87B (5, Informative)

krem81 (578167) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453781)

When people talk in terms like that ($10B company, etc.) they're usually talking about annual revenue, not market cap. Stock price fluctuates a lot - depending on market's mood Apple could have $10B market cap tomorrow. Revenue, however, takes a while to catch up. Apple's revenue for 2003 was $6.7 B, so the company has to grow 50% to get $10B mark.

Re:Current Market Cap: 8.87B (1)

Pr0Hak (2504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453861)

I was wondering about that. Thanks for the clarification!!

Re:Current Market Cap: 8.87B (4, Interesting)

SewersOfRivendell (646620) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454485)

The excitement that has been surrounding Apple the last couple of years reminds me of the Macintosh during the System 7 or PowerPC transitions.

I think it's actually been more exciting, in that it's more broadly-based this time, and Apple's critics have much less solid ground to walk on than they did in those periods. No one seriously writes "Apple is dying" articles anymore.

Re:Current Market Cap: 8.87B (0, Troll)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454713)

Well, if you read between the lines, Apple is expecting that it's growth will come from new business -- iTunes/iPod/"Digital Lifestyle", which is a very different story than "Macintosh is exciting".

So, while nobody is arguing that "Apple is dying", you could still make the argument that "the traditional Macintosh Platform is dying, and Apple knows it".

Which isn't the greatest news for us Macintosh Fanboys, although the new crop of Apple Inc. Fanboys and Steve Jobs Fanboys might be happy.

Re:Current Market Cap: 8.87B (5, Insightful)

BitGeek (19506) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455156)


You could make that argument, but you'd be just like the people claiming Apple was dying when they had three times the revenues of microsoft!

Literally, people have been claiming this in the press and online for about 20 years. (Yes, "online" did exist 20 years ago.)

All the unix geeks I know are getting apple laptops, or want to. The transition to Unix is even more significant than the PowerPC transition, in my mind, because it paves the way for everybody but Microsoft to be using the same OS, which easy transportability of applications, and thus much more collective Unix market share.

Apple has been hampered by Motorola, but hopefully IBM will be more energetic in keeping the processors up to standard...

I do not think the Mac market is dying at all...

Apple can never die (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455210)

Apple can never die. Last time they almost did, Microsoft bailed them out. If this happens again, Microsoft is sure to do this, as long as there is a Microsoft.

"because it paves the way for everybody but Microsoft to be using the same OS"

This will never happen: there is no sign that Apple is willing to spread OS-X beyond its own hardware.

Re:Apple can never die (3, Funny)

cosmo7 (325616) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455458)

Last time they almost did, Microsoft bailed them out.

And then they found the hook in the car door handle, proving that the story was true.

Microsoft bailed out Apple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455763)

And then they found the hook in the car door handle, proving that the story was true.

The press from CNN to www.oreilly.com reported it as a bailout: that Microsoft saved Apple's bacon (or sauce as it may be).

That's one HELL of an urban legend, to have completely duped GCN (Government Computing News), CNN, MacDailyNews, and the Wall Street Journal, all of which have talked of this bailout!

It is only some "Apple is Perfect Always" diehard mac-nazis who deny that it was a bailout. I'm sure that they have compatriots in those who insist that Chrysler did fine without having the Feds bail them out, too.

Re:Current Market Cap: 8.87B (2, Interesting)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 10 years ago | (#8456552)

Literally, people were claiming that KMart would go bankrupt for about 20 years ... and then they finally did! So much for that non-argument :P

Furthermore, that's 100% knee-jerk defensiveness -- especially because I made it clear that I don't think Apple is dying at all.

Most of the Unix Geeks I know have always used Apple equipment on and off over the years, so I don't see the massive market growth you are predicting from Apple capturing this oh-so-not-crucial .01% of the market (that doesn't really buy shrinkwrapped software anyway).

There's an interesting argument regarding the future of the Mac platform here [arstechnica.com].

Note that I fall purely on the pro-Mac side -- I would love to see Apple return the Mac platform to a competitive position in the general purpose personal computing market. Just that over the last 5 years Apple's shown 0 interest in doing so and instead has time and time again gone back to soak their installed base. Sorry, that I'm not excited as the rest of you about Apple making big revenue selling iPods, RIAA Tunes, and other consumer do-dads, but it's hardly trolling.

Random market caps (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455440)

> According to quote.yahoo.com, the current market cap for AAPL is 8.87B, so they're approaching the 9B mark already.

Some random market caps for your amusement, all in 10^9 US$
- General Electric 329
- Microsoft: 284
- Exxon-Mobile: 277
- Wal-Mart: 261
- Intel: 189
- IBM: 166
- Cisco: 156
- Coca-Cola: 120
- Dell: 84
- HP: 70
- Time-Warner: 77
- Disney: 55
- Ebay: 44
- Yahoo: 29
- GM: 27
- Ford: 26
- Amazon: 17
- Sun: 17
- Apple: 8.9
- RedHat: 3.2
- McDonalds: 2.2
- Gateway: 1.9
- SCO: 0.17

Should be possible (4, Insightful)

FePe (720693) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453298)

"Innovation is critical. 'Because we have this modern Unix-based technology in Mac OS X we are able to innovate much faster than Redmond (Microsoft Corp.). Their last release was in 2001, but you'll see us continue to innovate in our OS.' "

One of Apple's major strengths lies in its design and ease of use, which isn't so much different from Microsoft, but from the majority of the open source world. Apple couples these two design principles, ease of use and configurability, with their OS and also their other products, so their products are very appealing to many customers, especially designers, drawers, and graphic people.

In the near future, I believe there are going to be more and more of such jobs, and so Apple plays a large role in the IT field. I think the $10 billion limit can be reached.

A note from the IT trenches (5, Interesting)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453444)

It's been a very interesting turnaround in the geek/nerd market, to the extent that even CmdrTaco has a MacOS X system. It's too bad this market doesn't seem to be a significant percentage of the whole.

However, I was just managing a virus outbreak, and finally getting the Symantec Centralized Anti-Virus solution to more or less work in my company, and I can say the value of the time it took to do this would have easily paid the price difference between the PCs we have and the eMacs we could have bought instead. Add outside consultant time and Windows TCO compared to the Mac gets even more absurd.

Most of our employees use a web-based CRM system I developed for the company that's completely platform-independent, so theoretically there should be no problem at all switching.

Unfortunately, we have a phone system that forces a Windows lock-in for a variety of reasons, but if it didn't, I would think a switch to Mac for most people wouldn't be that difficult a sell. "Look, you can still get Office, and you'll have 1% of the trouble with viruses and worms. It's a no-brainer!"

If mid-sized companies like ours could be a bit more open-minded, and if they could avoid buying a phone system like we did (it was a mistake, for a lot of other good reasons), I think more companies would find major advantages in switching.

D

Re:A note from the IT trenches (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454743)

that even CmdrTaco has a MacOS X system .... That Apple gave him for free so that he'd start a Apple Propaganda section on Slashdot.

This sounds a lot like the argument that Apple is great because they pay movie studios for product placements.

Ease of use? Not Apple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453451)

Ease of use? This is not an Apple hallmark. This is the company that decided that a tiny pinhole for a bent paperclip was "easier" than a media eject button.

Now, on to the iPod. Go ahead. Open the hatch and replace the battery. Oops! There is no hatch! You have to practically bust it open, and there is a not-inconsiderable chance that you will destroy the thing in the process.

Now, go find a $8 walkman-knockoff at Wal-Mart. The cheapo company that made this has an easy thing to do. Now, is that so hard?

Re:Ease of use? Not Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453558)

That's funny, I don't need to open a hatch on my iPod to listen to my music. I thought you just touch the control surfaces. *shrug* I must be doing it wrong.

Re:Should be possible (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453662)

"Innovation is critical. 'Because we have this modern Unix-based technology in Mac OS X we are able to innovate much faster than Redmond (Microsoft Corp.). Their last release was in 2001, but you'll see us continue to innovate in our OS.' "

Innovate == charge for security patches and lock out older versions of the OS?

Huh.

Way to spin the fact that you had a slow ass pretty but unusable system until recently, and charged $129 a year to stay current while abandoning most patching and applications for versions barely a year old. That sure beats those bastards up in Redmond who don't "innovate" fast enough. Maybe they should disable new machines from booting NT4, quit supporting it (it's 8 years old and they're still supporting it, BASTARDS!), and lock out 98 and 2000 too. Force everyone to upgrade and buy XP or Server 2003, then they will be INNOVATIVE (TM)(C).

Or is it because Apple continues to lose money on the computer end of the business and make it up with investments (ARM Holdings) and MP3 players?

hmm (4, Insightful)

pdwestermann (687379) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453502)

I think it's looking pretty optimistic for apple at this point....the ipod has helped people realize that paying a premium for an excellent piece of industrial design just might be worth it after all, the same mentality mac users have had for a while now.

Re:hmm (2, Insightful)

oscast (653817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453567)

While it is true that the iPod and the Macintosh are wonderful works of industrial design. It is hardly the only aspect of either product which puts it ahead of the competition.

It is the only thing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454822)

It is the only thing, in regards to the Macintosh. They just look good. Once you turn them on, they come up lacking.

Re:It is the only thing (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454884)

They lack viruses, worms, BSoDs, ...

hope the stock goes up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453581)

Okay, so will my 200 shares of apple ever go up and stay up? After several years I have unrealized gains of ... $45. Yay.

(It's a tiny piece of the portfolio, and I only bought it because I'm a hard-core Apple bigot, but still..now that they are more successful I'm disappointed they still get shafted by wall street).

Sigh... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453614)

Why can't anybody spell "its" correctly? Apple does not want to return to it is former self; it wants to return to its former self.

Grammer Nazi (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453698)

Doesn't take long for the Gammer Nazi to rear it's ugly head. Its a sign of there low esteem.

Re:Grammer Nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453899)

Hah, so subtle yet so fucking bright the glare is hurting my eyes and brain.

Re:Grammer Nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454776)

Its a sign of their low esteem of who? You?

Re:Grammer Nazi (2, Funny)

pknoll (215959) | more than 10 years ago | (#8456392)

Don't you mean:

It doesn't take long for the Grammar Nazi to rear its ugly head. It's a sign of their low esteem.

=)

iTMS: apple's only hope. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453762)

Apple's only hope for such great growth, really ,is iMusic. That is the only thing they have that is truly competitive.

The iPod bubble will burst as soon as someone comes out with something similar but with a battery hatch and missing controls (like on/off switch). Likely it will cost half as much.

Apple's desktop machine bubble already burst: the Mac's appeal only to a tiny niche market which will not grow unless Apple does such things as drop the price and mass-market the thing.

Re:iTMS: apple's only hope. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8453995)

.....and missing controls (like on/off switch).

Step 1: Press and hold the Play/Pause button for 5 seconds to turn the iPod off.

Step 2: RTFM!!!

Step 3: Gently press any button to turn it back on.

What a KLUDGE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454061)

You made my case. RTFM just to turn something on? Talk about terrible design. With an on/off switch, you don't have to worry about hitting the right (non on/off button) for the proper amount of seconds. Or reading a manual. The company lacks a grasp of certain basics of friendly user-interfaces for gadgets.

Re:What a KLUDGE! (5, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454579)

To turn it on, you press any button. You certainly don't need to read a manual for that. Nor do you have to turn it off, the thing will go into sleep mode anyway if it's not playing music and not used for more than a small period of time.

In practice, users never need to treat it as "on" or "off", which - if it wasn't for the poor design of most units that are "always on" in some way - really ought to be the way most electronic devices work. It's more intuitive to have the thing just doing what you ask it than to have to examine what mode it's on and react accordingly.

Re:What a KLUDGE! (1)

valkraider (611225) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454717)

I have never turned my iPod on, or off. I just use it. When I put it down I hit "pause" and when I pick it up I hit "play". How is that not user friendly? I will admit, I have never RTFM for my iPod.

The only thing about the iPod that strikes me as odd, is the "Hold" button. When you have it on "Hold" it shows bright orange - like saying "Caution!". It seems to me that the orange should be for when keys CAN be pressed - and alter your current playing mode or settings. "Caution - buttons are active!" - and when you have it locked, or in "hold" mode, it should not show orange - as in "All is OK, System is secure".

Just my opinion though - as it is just a tiny sliver of orange, and easy enough to figure out either way...

Re:What a KLUDGE! (1)

jaoswald (63789) | more than 10 years ago | (#8456270)

I think the reason the Hold state shows orange is so when you are pressing the buttons, but nothing works, you have this orange marker to remind you "hey, dummy, remember, you put it on hold so it wouldn't turn on in your briefcase." Otherwise, you start to think the thing is broken or out of battery (if powered off).

I understand your logic, but the real risk isn't that you press buttons while looking at the device; after all, if you are looking at the iPod, you'll see if the buttons get bumped.

The risk is buttons getting pressed when you aren't touching the iPod deliberately, particularly when it causes the device to power up and waste battery charge. You put it in hold to avoid this risk.

Re:What a KLUDGE! (1)

JHromadka (88188) | more than 10 years ago | (#8456329)

The only thing about the iPod that strikes me as odd, is the "Hold" button. When you have it on "Hold" it shows bright orange - like saying "Caution!".

I think it harkens back to things like guns, where there is an orange band when the safety is off.

Re:What a KLUDGE! (5, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455725)

"The company lacks a grasp of certain basics of friendly user-interfaces for gadgets."

I would say the exact opposite. You turn the iPod on by touching any of the four buttons on the front (or the scroll wheen button), and turn it off in the same way by holding play.

The iPod has six buttons on its front surface (the trackwheel and select are two buttons.

None of these buttons has any moving parts - it's all touch sensitive. No mechanical parts to break down during use. The only mechanical switch on the whole unit is the hold switch on the top by the headphone socket.

Apple's buttons are big and easy to press. I don't have big hands by any stretch of the imagination, but I hate hate hate the current trend of manufactuers to put smaller smaller fiddly buttons on their products. You need a matchstick to press the keys on some cellphones nowadays.

I fear for the day when I dial a number on my phone and I press all the keys together and the Simpsons quote will come to mind:

"I'm sorry, your fingers are too fat to dial this number. If you would like to order a complimentary dialing wand please mash the keypad angrily now"

Or something like that.

Apple's large buttons are a joy to use, and the interface (from the way the buttons work, to the way the menus on screen work) is second to none.

Lacking a grasp of friendly user interfaces? Bollocks! It's beautifully designed from a UI perspective.

Re:iTMS: apple's only hope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454034)

I know!

And if they would just come up with a handy way to get all of the songs from my computer transferred onto it, that would be sweet!

Oh Oh, and another thing... A handy display so you can chose a song, or see what is playing and stuff like that...

If they would put those on the iPod - that would be sweet...

They have one of these.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454089)

"And if they would just come up with a handy way to get all of the songs from my computer transferred onto it, that would be sweet!"

They sort of have that, but not quite. There is a kludgey feature in the software that hinders duplicating music files from computer to other computer to other computer... etc.

"Oh Oh, and another thing... A handy display so you can chose a song, or see what is playing and stuff like that..."

It does have this, once you read the manual just to find out how to turn the damn thing on.

Re:iTMS: apple's only hope. (4, Insightful)

oscast (653817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454442)

"Apple's only hope for such great growth, really ,is iMusic." Thats a reaching statement considering the fact that they dont yet make such a product. "That is the only thing they have that is truly competitive." Apple makes iMusic? Never heard of it. "The iPod bubble will burst as soon as someone comes out with something similar" There are already plenty of knock-offs.... with similar features yet non have knocked apple off its high point. "but with a battery hatch" This would be an important feature if the iPod's battery was non replaceable (it is) and if the iPod battery was unreliable. (It's not) and missing controls (like on/off switch)." It doesn't need an on off switch. It turns off by itself. "Likely it will cost half as much." So, you're suggesting that this hypotheticvall competitor will ADD more and yet cost half that which Apple charges. HAH! "Apple's desktop machine bubble already burst:" Could have foold me. Their desktop business is doing very well. "the Mac's appeal only to a tiny niche market" Apple computer users make up between 10-12% of the computing market. That's hardly a tiny market by any stretch of the imagination. You must be thinking in terms of "market share" rather than "install base". Apple's "market share" is small not because people aren't buying their computers or even because people are bying them less frequently than before. (Quite the contrary). Rather, PC users are replacing their existing machines twice as freequently. (Less longevity). Because "market share" is solely determined by quarterly or annual sales figures the "market share" number will be low while the user base continues to grow. "which will not grow unless Apple does such things as drop the price" I don't see how Apple could drop the price much more. They're already priced the same if not lower then PCs of comperable specs. "and mass-market the thing." They do this already. A better strategy might be to simply educate the masses about business in general. If your post is an indicator or the average PC user... i'd say its an absolute necessity.

Amazing new thing: iMusic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454739)

"Thats a reaching statement considering the fact that they dont yet make such a product."

Google these words: apple imusic
You might learn something.

""but with a battery hatch" This would be an important feature if the iPod's battery was non replaceable (it is)"

It is hardly replacable if you literally have to bust into the thing to get to the battery.

"So, you're suggesting that this hypotheticvall competitor will ADD more and yet cost half that which Apple charges"

Absolutely. That is how it is with the desktop computers (Apple vs non-Apple).

"I don't see how Apple could drop the price much more. They're already priced the same if not lower then PCs of comperable specs. "

They still cost hundreds more than comparable PCs, and the comparable PCs typically have things lacking on the Mac (like floppies and standard ports).

""and mass-market the thing." They do this already"

No they do NOT. They specifically go out of their way to limit the places that can sell it. I can get a PC in a dozen or two stores in town. To get a Mac, I have to go to just ONE store that opens hours later than most of the PC stores and closes hours earlier.

" If your post is an indicator or the average PC user... i'd say its an absolute necessity."

Considering that you were wrong on most of the facts...

Re:Amazing new thing: iMusic (4, Funny)

valkraider (611225) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454845)

Yay! It's the "PCs are better cause they have floppy drives" argument. After lunch I bet you'll hit us with the "PCs have multiple mouse buttons" whammy and we'll all put our Macs up on eBay and head to DELL.com for a *real* machine, with a full-on serial port too I bet! Rippin!

PCs are better because they have 2 mouse buttons! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455657)

Ignore the flamebait title and read on....

It's the "PCs are better cause they have floppy drives" argument

This argument is 100% true, since the PCs that have these also have the same things that the Macs have (like dvd, cd, etc). It is just an example of "getting more". This does not mean that the PC is better overall. It just means that it is better in this regard. You can't deny that a Porsche without air conditioning is inferior in a certain way to a Chevy with air conditioning.

After lunch I bet you'll hit us with the "PCs have multiple mouse buttons" whammy

The title is just flamebait....No, this is not the same. The # of mouse buttons is an integral part of the OS. It is nothing like the question of having more or less storage options. The Mac OS does not need a 2nd button at all, and if you really want one, I've actually seen new USB mice available for $1.00.

with a full-on serial port too I bet!

Yes, this is true. It is an example of "more for the money". You get standard printer AND serial ports along with all the USBs.

Again, it is like a chevy with 3 cig lighter plugs compared to a Porsche with just one. At least in this aspect, the chevy has something the Porsche lacks. Repeat after me: having more available options is better.

Re:Amazing new thing: iMusic (1)

filmsmith (608221) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455612)

Google these words: apple imusic
You might learn something.


I learned that what YOU call iMusic, everyone else is calling the iTunes Music Store and that is pushing iPods, which you imply won't succeed because of the (false) statements of battery problems.

So if you're the same AC that started this thread, you've got some odd circular logic.

Apple's only hope for such great growth, really ,is iMusic. That is the only thing they have that is truly competitive.

Yet, in the next paragraph...

The iPod bubble will burst

Clarify, please.

fs

Re:iTMS: apple's only hope. (5, Insightful)

oscast (653817) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454751)

(Sorry posted in html rather than plain text) here it is again... properly formatted

"Apple's only hope for such great growth, really ,is iMusic."

Thats a reaching statement considering the fact that they dont yet make such a product.



"That is the only thing they have that is truly competitive."

Apple makes iMusic? Never heard of it.



"The iPod bubble will burst as soon as someone comes out with something similar"

There are already plenty of knock-offs.... with similar features yet non have knocked apple off its high point.



"but with a battery hatch"

This would be an important feature if the iPod's battery was non replaceable (it is) and if the iPod battery was unreliable. (It's not)



and missing controls (like on/off switch)."

It doesn't need an on off switch. It turns off by itself.



"Likely it will cost half as much."

So, you're suggesting that this hypotheticvall competitor will ADD more and yet cost half that which Apple charges. HAH!



"Apple's desktop machine bubble already burst:"

Could have foold me. Their desktop business is doing very well.



"the Mac's appeal only to a tiny niche market"

Apple computer users make up between 10-12% of the computing market. That's hardly a tiny market by any stretch of the imagination.

You must be thinking in terms of "market share" rather than "install base". Apple's "market share" is small not because people aren't buying their computers or even because people are bying them less frequently than before. (Quite the contrary). Rather, PC users are replacing their existing machines twice as freequently. (Less longevity). Because "market share" is solely determined by quarterly or annual sales figures the "market share" number will be low while the user base continues to grow.



"which will not grow unless Apple does such things as drop the price"

I don't see how Apple could drop the price much more. They're already priced the same if not lower then PCs of comperable specs.



"and mass-market the thing."

They do this already.

A better strategy might be to simply educate the masses about business in general. If your post is an indicator or the average PC user... i'd say its an absolute necessity.

Mc Donalds... (4, Interesting)

Biotech9 (704202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453831)

Anderson also hints that there are more alliances in the works (beyond Pepsi, HP and AOL), but that there is nothing to announce yet.

A previous rumour doing the rounds was a 100 million free song deal with McDonalds, Which you can find here [macrumors.com].
McDonalds later said there 'Was no deal to announce', but did not actually deny the rumour.
The revenue and publicity from such a deal would certainly put iTunes further in the lead in the online music store biz.
But perhaps Coke [cokemusic.com] might not be so happy with that.

Re:Mc Donalds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455326)

Actually, if McDonald's does an iTunes giveaway, Coke will probably be quite happy with that, though maybe not as much as a coke music giveaway. (Who uses that, anyway?) Keep in mind that most game pieces come on fry boxes and drink cups, and those drink cups are usually filled with - you guessed it - Coke products.

(Yes, usually. Coke is not responsible for the shakes.)

This should make one group extremely happy.... (4, Insightful)

amichalo (132545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453909)

...The technical trainers.

During the "good ole days" (1998-2001) when dot-com money was fluid, training centers were handing out MCSE cert training and testing and getting better than $2000 or even $3000 for it. Now, I doubt many people care as they saw what it bought them.

Enter Apple growing market share. Companies will still need someone to show the secretary how to use the Dock. It isn't that it's difficult to use, it's that she just doesn't have the self confidence that she's doing it right.

The winner (besides our favorite produce supplier) is the training company that now has a service someone will buy.

Re:This should make one group extremely happy.... (2, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455816)

No PHB who passes up a $400 PC for a $1200 Mac in order to get an "easier to use" computer is going to accept spending a single dime on training. Lack of high administration and training costs will be the main ways he plans on having the Mac pay for itself. If the receptionist is too afraid of the Dock to do her job, she's fired.

Re:This should make one group extremely happy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8456544)

Welcome to Business 101...

Identify a need. Provide a service that fills that need.

Don't forget to pick up your MBA on your way out the door.

hopefully by increasing volume not margins (-1, Insightful)

acomj (20611) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453929)

Apple products are great. They're also wickedly expensive for what you (yeah I know you get great software etc..). Look at the margins apple makes on machines.

They need to get macs out there to build some sales momentum. Last I looked the number of machines shipped is decreasing, even with all that OSX goodness.

They need hardware competition similar to the days of the clones. They need to do this in a better way than they did it before which almost destroyed the company.

Especially since they criple the lower end hardware, making it less attrictive to switcher. Example: The ibook you buy can't drive an external monitor at more the 1024x768 when my pc 200 mhz laptop easily can? This has turned off many people I know. The lack of an inexpensive "headless" machine hurts to, because people don't necessarily want to buy the LCD/ Emacs when they have perfectly good monitors to use.

Re:hopefully by increasing volume not margins (-1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454027)

Emacs is free. It always has been. You don't have to buy it, and if you try to sell it Richard Stallman will rip your head off. HTH.

Re:hopefully by increasing volume not margins (2, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454621)

You don't have to buy it, and if you try to sell it Richard Stallman will rip your head off.
<pedant>No he'll not. He'll be perfectly happy for you to sell it as long as you provide source code and do not restrict the person you're selling it to's right to redistribute the code under the GPL.</pedant>

Various companies such as the major Linux distro producers, those shareware disk copier companies back in the pre-Internet early-nineties, and even proprietary vendors such as Sun and Apple "sell" copies of Emacs in some shape or form.

Re:hopefully by increasing volume not margins (5, Informative)

fluf (649368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454626)

I'm not going to debate you on the merits of a cheap headless machine from Apple, because I'd love one myself. Furthermore, I'm also not going to attack your criticism with regards to the 'crippling' of the low-end hardware by Apple, because you are in fact correct, and I share your disdain for Apple's actions on that front. I'm just going to correct you on factual misinformation in the following quote:
Especially since they criple the lower end hardware, making it less attrictive to switcher. Example: The ibook you buy can't drive an external monitor at more the 1024x768 when my pc 200 mhz laptop easily can? This has turned off many people I know.

Technically, all the current iBooks can drive an external display at a resolution above 1024 x 768. Apple just turns it off in software (the open firmware). For information on how to easily (without risk of losing warranty) turning this back on, look here:

Rute Moeller's spanning hack for the iBook [rutemoeller.com]

And yes, I fully agree that we shouldn't have to resort to this kind of solution, but it is a solution nonetheless, and one that has worked very well for me for the past two years on my 600 Mhz iBook. In fact, I wouldn't have bought my iBook had I not known about this.

Cheers.

Re:hopefully by increasing volume not margins (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454869)

Look, Apple has a long history of crippling it's lowend models in order to attract people to the high-margin gear -- going all the way back to the LC model. The few times they've broken from this strategy (6500, original iMac), they've actually increased sales. But when it comes right down to it, Apple nearly always goes for profit over marketshare.

Just look at any PC vendor. If you want the fastest Pentium 4, or you want the best graphics card, or you even want a couple of pathetic PCI slots, you aren't forced to purchase the most expensive dual-processor workstation.

Another good example is the iBook's lack of a PC Card slot. Every single PC notebook in the same category has one, and it's a deal-breaker for some customers (like myself).

Re:hopefully by increasing volume not margins (5, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454837)

Look at the margins apple makes on machines.

The margins are not as much as the average outraged x86 geek makes them out to be. From what I've heard, they make as much on an iPod as on an iMac. Don't forget they have to plow a lot into R&D, whereas Dell just has to order the latest chipset and case from Taiwan and load whatever MS is offering at the time and sell them together.

My hope is the next revision or two of the G5 desktop takes off like crazy, as their power and speeds will more closely match the x86 market. Motorola's inability to ramp up the G4 series fast enough was a serious blow to sales, I'm sure.

Margins to end? (3, Informative)

OECD (639690) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455378)

Uberblogger Stephen Den Beste has a post [denbeste.nu] in which he raises doubts that Apple's high margins on hardware (thus, high profits) can continue. He thinks there will be a WinIBM platform in the near future. (WinNT is already running on G5s as an XBox dev platform.) Apple, in his estimation, will be forced to cut margins to compete.

I don't entirely agree with him. Apple has always commanded a premium because its software was good, not its hardware. Plus, I think he underappreciates OSX's BSD underbelly (odd, for an engineer.) But a WinG5 computer would provide an alternative to people who might otherwise make the switch.

(I thought I posted this earlier, but it doesn't seem to be showing up. Sorry if this winds up being a repeat post.)

Re:Margins to end? (4, Insightful)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 10 years ago | (#8456542)

That doesn't make sense; people buy Macs for their cool industrial design and software. Windows on an IBM-made G5 processor machine isn't going to be very helpful in either department.

D

Mac users and stockholders owe Fred a LOT (5, Informative)

csoto (220540) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454081)

This guy has consistently beat the crap out of Apple management over waste. Order fulfillment has never sunk to (pre-Jobs) bad levels. Their products are competitively priced, and they sure are cool. Innovation abounds. None of this would be possible if Apple were still hemorrhaging money.

Good job, Fred! Good luck with retirement.

Re:Mac users and stockholders owe Fred a LOT (0)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455950)

And their quality control has fallen to Dell like levels. That isn't good.

Build quality has to improve. (0, Troll)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454103)

The 15" AL white spots, power adapters, noisy G5s, creaking screen hinges, battery life, etc.

Those type of things are going to do more to damage Apple than anyting else. Apple users expect and demand the highest quality for their $$$. Opening up your brand new 15" PB and finding that the right side of your screen is darker than the rest pisses off longtime users as well as new 'switchers'.

Apple could also use some more advertising to battle the overwhelming current thought that Macs are only for 'desktop publishing', musicians and elementary schoolteachers.

It's all PERCEPTION (5, Insightful)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 10 years ago | (#8456488)

Really, I've dealt with Apple, Compaq, HP, and IBM products in the past two years and Apple's 'problem' rate is as low or lower than the next guy's, the problem is that when an Apple laptop has a minor issue (like 'white spots') the whole community bitches about it.

When an IBM laptop exhibits a problem there's no 'community' to coagulate into a problem in the first place.

The G5 is a stunningly quiet machine compared to the Dell P4 machine's we've got at my current site, but Mac users still bitch about it being so much louder than their fanless iMac when they hover around the water cooler. The PC users here just shut up and take what they get and don't complain.

iTunes for europe? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454491)

Or at least the UK for the time being. It's been years now and still no iTunes Music Store, it's getting a bit sickening, I can assure you, hearing about how many bloody units have been sold in the US. For us Apple zealots on this side of the pond, time is almost up! Come on Apple, show us what a $10B company can achieve when it really wants to. Surely opening up new markets is the key to improving profits especially when the outlay is practically zero? Not flaming or trolling, just whining.

Re:iTunes for europe? (3, Informative)

Pope (17780) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454914)

It all has to do with getting the record companies to buy into the process, nothing to do with Apple not having a technical reason.

We don't even have it in Canada yet!

And, no, it certainly hasn't been "YEARS" as you complain, it was launched last April, not even 11 months yet.
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