Contrarian on Apple

As Apple approaches the unbelievable $1 trillion mark in market value, I am going the contrarian. 


Historically, I love Apple products–truly. 


But since Steve Jobs, Apple has done virtually nothing!


They are losing the battle for common sense priced products. 


They are losing the battle on innovation. 


Think for a second what has Apple come out with that is “WOW” in the last few years–either in terms of new product or design. 


Do you care anything about Siri?


Are you in love with their Apple Watch? 


Do you think much of their new iPhone X?


What about the computers–same old, same old?


I am still using the iPhone 7plus and have no intention to upgrade anytime soon. 


See the picture above, this is Apple’s idea of innovation. 


It’s the new Mac Pro — virtually the same as their iMac Pro, as their store rep explained to me–except it’s shaped like a tall and weird version of the Amazon Alexa personal assistant. 


BTW, you still need to attach a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. 


Are you impressed NOT? 


Apple as a brand used to mean the latest and greatest. 


Even now, I am still drawn to Apple products, just because I am conditioned to think of it as the best!


But is it still the best and is it worth the premium price?


Apple still has me as a customer and I am still a big fan of what they have done in the past.


But they better do something amazing again and now, because I think their stock is in for a mighty big and painful tumble if we don’t see the old Apple again soon. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

If I Could Be Anyone(s)

So someone asked me a very deep personal question.

“If you had $20 million dollars and could do whatever you want (be whoever you want), what would that be?”


I was on the spot a little and didn’t have time to introspect the way I like to do, and I gave an answer that I really wasn’t happy with…and it’s been bothering me since. 


So sitting down now and really thinking about who I want to be–this is my real answer:


As a composite person, I want to have the:


– Lovingkindness of Mother Teresa


– Serenity of the Dalai Lama


– Spirituality of Moses


– Determination of Rocky


– Leadership of Rick Grimes


– Strength of Samson


– Agility of Bruce Lee


– Intellect of Sigmund Freud


– Understanding of Albert Einstein


– Ingenuity of Steve Jobs


– Inquisitiveness of Capt. James T. Kirk


– Bravery of those martyred in the Holocaust


– Heroism of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu


– Beauty of my wife and daughters


– The integrity of my dear father, Fred Blumenthal


What would I want to do–just simple things like:


– Cure Cancer, Parkinsons, ALS, etc.


– Eliminate poverty


– Herald in world peace


– Help/comfort those that are hurt and suffering


– Make people smile/happy


– Be a good person with integrity in all situations


I could probably go on and on, but generally this is what life means to me. 


Maybe today, I ain’t the smartest or fastest or strongest, but I have dreams, hopes, and aspirations. 


If that isn’t good enough, well at least I have a heart and a soul. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Apple Desperately Needs Some New Fruit

Apple

I love my Apple iPhone, but this core product debuted in January 2007.


We’re going on almost 9 years!!!


Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone is enormously successful:


– It accounts for 92% of the smartphone industry’s profits (even though it only sells 20% of the smartphones). 


– The iPhone bring in almost 2/3 of Apple’s total revenue now going on almost $200 billion. 


But, the new growth that Apple seeks in not based on any real exciting innovation.


Take for example Apple’s announcements this week:


– A new larger 12.9 inch iPad with a stylus (the Apple Pencil).


– A revamped Apple TV set-top box. 


– Apple’s iPhone 3-D Touch that controls the smartphone based on how hard you press. 


Uh, ho-hum–this is all V-E-R-Y boring!


Google has a similar problem with their core business of advertising on Search and YouTube accounting for 89% of their revenue.


But at least Google continues working towards their next moonshot, and has reorganized their innovation labs into a separate entity called Alphabet–working on everything from:


– Self-driving cars


– Delivery drones


– Internet balloons


– Smart thermostats (Nest)


– Broadband services (Google Fiber)


– Longevity research (Calico)


– Smart contact lenses


– Robotics


Unfortunately for Apple, the death of Steve Jobs in 2011 has meant the loss of their driving force for innovation. 


Despite a workforce of about 100,000 and a gorgeous new flying saucer-looking headquarters, can you think of any major new products since Jobs?


Apple is a fruit in it’s prime–ripe and shiny and hugely smart and successful, but without any new fruits going forward, they are at risk of becoming a stale mealy apple, versus a bountiful and delicious fruit salad. 


Apple is very secretive, so maybe the fruit is coming. 


I hope for our sake and theirs that Apple is seriously planting for the future and not just harvesting on the past. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Apple Watch Disappoints

Apple Watch
Okay, so here’s the Apple Store…



The table with the Apple Watches is proudly on display towards the front of the store.



What do you notice about this picture? 



Correct, there is NOT a single person looking at these watches!



And I have NEVER seen a single person wearing an Apple Watch.



Even though there certainly are other customers in the store looking at other highly desired Apple products. 



The customer closest to the watches has his back turned to them.



No killer apps–where’s the beef in terms of functionality? 



Maybe that is unfortunately the story of the Apple Watch version 1.0–the customers were lining up to check them out a couple of months ago, but now they have turned their backs on this product failure. 



Sadly, I feel like Steve Jobs and Dick Tracy are turning over in their graves at about this time now–how do I know, just check the watch. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Apple Is Giving Us The Finger

Apple Is Giving Us The Finger

As I always say, I love Apple–and they still have the best darn Smartphone on the market–but they continue to disappoint with anything new.

This week, with the introduction of the iPhone 5S, Apple had the opportunity to introduce something new and exciting, but instead what did we get?

– A faster processor and Touch ID fingerprint reader.

In nutshell, since Steve Jobs untimely passing, Siri was a bombshell, actually just a big consumer product bomb.

And now with the fingerprint reader as the big newcomer add-on to the iPhone, it’s as if (sorry to say), Apple is giving us all the proverbial finger.

While the fingerprint reader is cute and a faster logon, it is really not a must-have or a game-changer.

The only thing less exciting than Touch ID is the new Yahoo logo.

In the last two years, Apple has taken a mighty innovation lead and squandered it.

Still, no one can touch their highly integrated iPhone product.

However, if much more time goes by without something meaningfully new and innovative, they will be in trouble.

Rumors of an iPhablet (iPhone/tablet) with a significantly larger screen (ranging from 4.8 to 6 inches) will be more like the Samsung Galaxy S4 with 5-inch screen rather than than iPhone 5S 4-inch screen, and would have attraction for people who like to read or watch on a larger, better display.

Of course a significantly better camera would be helpful too–need I say more?

Some interaction with wearable technology, like a Google Glass with augmented reality would also be a winner.

And a fully ruggedized smartphone, similar in concept to a Panasonic Toughbook–and up to military grade specs–that withstands drops, spills, dust, and lots of everyday field use punishment, would be way cool for the action-adventurer in all of us–and maybe then we wouldn’t need all the silly looking cases.

In the meantime, put your index finger on the home bottom, while Apple puts their middle finger up at you, the consumer.

Steve Jobs, where the heck are you? 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to CNET)

How Apple Is Losing Its Fans

How Apple Is Losing Its Fans

Without a lift, Apple is already (and unfortunately) on the way down.

IDC reports that the recent quarter global smartphone shipments show Android with an almost 80% market share compared to Apple’s flimsy 13%.

I’ve been a diehard Apple fan for years (and I still love them, but…)

Years ago, I converted all my Windows computers and even my old Android phones.

Apple was innovative, sleek, and intuitive to use.

But since Steve Jobs passed, the company has lost its mojo.

Siri was a bust and what else have they done since.

Google is leading the way with Glass for wearable technology.

Apple is disappointing its consumers, and their stock plummet from over $700 to the upper $300s (now in the mid $400’s) shows investor sentiment.

Out comes the Samsung Galaxy S4 and I am salivating–the differences from the iPhone 5 make them “almost” not comparable.

Thought I’d wait for Chanukah, but the opportunity came early and so I am now a proud owner.

A couple of days earlier, a young women on the Metro was using the Galaxy and I asked how she liked it–she said she loved it, mentioned the big screen and all the free apps, and then went on to say that her mom also just switched over from the iPhone and loves the Galaxy too.

What is it about the Galaxy?

The larger 5″ screen on the Galaxy versus 4″on the iPhone 5 is the first thing you notice–and yes, when it comes to doing email, reading news articles, or watching video, size does matter!

Also, the Galaxy has Corning Gorilla glass and a higher 2.85 resolution and 35.28% higher pixel density–so it is strong and sharp and images really come out looking like a beautiful work of art.

Also with air gesture, you can just wave your hand to navigate pages and not get fingerprints and smudges all over the screen.

The camera is another huge difference: the Galaxy is 13 megapixels compared to only 8 for the iPhone and if you like taking photos that don’t look like they came from a smartphone, this is a better way to do it.

In terms of speed, the Galaxy again outperforms the iPhone, it has 2 gigabyte of RAM versus only 1 for the iPhone and its CPU is 2.46 as fast. I was able to transfer my entire iTunes music library in just a couple of minutes.

Finally, battery power is key and the Galaxy has 1.81x what the iPhone has–which basically makes it not necessary to get a heavy and costly Mophie external battery pack for it.

While there are many features I like better on Galaxy s4, the one thing I’d recommend Samsung improve on is the body, which is a cheaper plastic compared to the iPhones aluminum, but once you have a solid case on it, it doesn’t really matter for the end user experience.

Overall, Galaxy has out-done the iPhone, and I think the venerable and cash rich Apple, without some major new technology leaps and advances in design is under very real threat.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Are They Anything Without Him?

Sometimes, one person can be so instrumental to the success of an organization that they really are, for all intensive purposes, irreplaceable.

Leadership classes and anecdotes about great leaders tell us that one of leaders primary duties is a good succession plan.

But what happens, when a visionary place like Apple, loses their very special talent–someone that is truly their “secret sauce”–someone like a Steve Jobs–who you can’t just replicate or replace (easily or maybe at all)?

While Apple still makes great products, the jury is still out on whether they can truly innovate without Job’s vision, exacting attention to detail, and bigger than life persona.

Hence, the question, are they anything without him?

Perhaps, Apple can find the next Steve Jobs–who will bring new energy and talents and keep them a great organization–or perhaps not.

This new movie about Jobs–played by Ashton Kutcher will remind us of the magic that a truly special leader can bring to an organization.

If only there was a pill to swallow to make talented leaders–now that would be a job for Jobs. 😉