Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the iPad Pro’s lack of vision, Tim Cook’s ‘CEO Report Card’, more OLED rumors around the iPhone display, wondering if Apple should buy ‘NFL Thursday Night Football’, thoughts on the Mac App Store, Apple’s Christmas advert with Stevie Wonder, more 3D Touch options in third-party apps, and ten top apps for your iPhone.
Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days.
Has the iPad Pro lost a key strategic battle already? While sales figures are still to come in, rather than pitch the iPad Pro as something new and genre-defining (as the iPhone did), Apple has focused on it being a ‘big iPad’. The focus on the Apple Pencil and the Keyboard Cover was a start, but Tim Cook is insistent that the Pro is not a replacement computer. The sloppy storytelling around the launch has meant Apple has not been able to define the ‘big tablet’ space. Instead that power has been handed to Microsoft:
Microsoft’s tablets are predominately in the twelve-inch category, and that momentum of growth projects ‘success’ to consumers. If anyone is going to help define the larger tablet space over the next year months, it’s going to be Microsoft. Satya Nadella has looked at the fractured ecosystem of manufacturer devices running a common OS and decided that this wasn’t a clear enough vision of Microsoft’s future in software and services. He has taken chances with the Surface brand to build that vision and sell it to the world and so far it is a success in terms of marketing and positioning.
Even if you don’t purchase a Surface and go with a device from Dell, Lenovo, Acer, or any other manufacturers, you are getting a package much closer to Microsoft’s vision of large-screened tablet and portable computing than the competing Apple or Android systems.
The iPad Pro as Apple’s attempt to build a Surface Pro? That works for me, and encapsulates the frustrating idea that the iPad Pro has failed in terms of vision, even if the sales will be high.
Is Tim Cook doing a good job as Apple’s CEO? That’s the question asked by Chuck Jones here on Forbes. He highlights six areas where Cook has been strong, two average areas, before looking at the stock performance:
I believe it is better to compare Apple to the S&P 500 and NASDAQ vs. picking a handful of stocks. It is also better to take a multi-year timeframe vs. a one year or less or vs. a certain event.
When you compare Apple’s stock from when Cook was named interim CEO on January 14, 2009, the shares are up 848% compared to the S&P 500 at 148% and the NASDAQ at 243%.
When you start with August 24, 2011, when Cook was named the permanent CEO Apple’s shares are up 122%, the S&P 500 is up 77% and the NASDAQ is up 107%. While Apple may not maintain its outperformance I believe it has a decent shot since it is trading at a PE multiple substantially less than the S&P 500 or NASDAQ.
Read all of Jones’ arguments here for a final score.
Is Apple ready to change the technology behind the iPhone screen? Previous reports that Samsung was courting Apple to use OLED screens in the iPhone 7 are no longer thought to be accurate, but the South Korean company is continuing to chase Cupertino. With a bit more lead time, is it targeting the iPhone 8 for the high-colour, low-power screen technology of OLED?
The use of this screen technology offers a number of advantages – the reduced power requirements is the most attractive, but the wider viewing angle, brighter screen, and more vibrant colors should not be discounted.
This would be the value that Apple would find in an OLED display, and you can likely imagine the marketing campaign around ‘the best screen on any iPhone yet’, but there is a significant upside for Samsung as well. While it’s smartphone and mobile devices division continues to struggle to make any significant contribution to Samsung’s bottom line, both the silicon manufacturing and the component supply business are doing well. landing the next generation plus one iPhone contract.