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Apple looks to try to reinvigorate sales

Q2 proved a rarity.  Usually it was Apple, Inc. (AAPL) who left analysts moderately bullish forecasts looking like silly bears.  But in Q2 Apple saw the analysts scoring a win, as its sales fell short of expectations.

It hopes to right the ship with the iPhone 5, which according to numerous sources is rumored to be announced on Sept. 12.  An October or late September launch will likely follow.

Much is already known about the iPhone 5, Apple's sixth generation smartphone.  It will pack a bigger screen, an LTE modem, more DRAM, and a slightly faster processor.  But it offers much less improvements in the user interface department managing only baby steps with iOS 6.

As Google Inc. (GOOG) begins to roll out devices with the super-slick Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" on board, it remains to be seen whether Apple's modest hardware upgrades and bare-bones software updates are enough to keep up. 

Sources: All Things D, iMore



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"Apple's modest hardware upgrades"
By TakinYourPoints on 7/31/2012 11:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
"Modest hardware upgrades", that's cute considering that the latest Android hardware can barely keep up with iDevices a year and a half old.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6126/glbenchmark-25-...

Even the latest Galaxy S3 has only marginally faster GPU scores than the year old 4S.




RE: "Apple's modest hardware upgrades"
By name99 on 8/1/2012 12:30:47 AM , Rating: 2
An alternative way to phrase this is "what hardware is iPhone missing"?
Listing this is useful because it shows that pretty much every other phone out there is ALSO missing that hardware.

Possibilities include:
- better GPS. I don't know if iPhone4S has the GLONASS support in Broadcom's newest chips, but obviously iPhone5 will pick this up.
Win for Android --- compare with BT4 which is still rare on Android.

- faster WiFi, most likely through 40MHz support rather than 2x2:2
Here there are definite Android devices that win, and nothing iPhone can offer today as a counter advantage.

- faster flash. The primary reason I see my iPhone4 stutter is when it needs to hit flash (most likely to write). I don't know if we'll see this in iPhone next, but Android has nothing to gloat about here. Apple's crappy iPhone flash still seems to be faster than what is used in all competitor devices (I'm guessing because this is where competitors can cut costs in a way they think most people won't notice).

- better speaker audio. At the very least this would involve a horn design that both splits the audio between the two grills and impedance matches. This would reduce the problem one has today where holding the phone naturally covers the speaker to some extent with the hand. Better solutions would be to couple the speaker to the back, front, or sides to have essentially a soundboard, but I don't know if that's practical.
Once again, Android can't gloat here since they have nothing better.

- truly innovative additions. This could include
+ a 3rd camera mounted in the top of the phone, for virtual reality apps (where holding the phone vertically rather than horizontally is a pain)
+ a bolometer for temperature measurement
+ an eye-safe laser, for ranging, laser pointer, plumbline, etc.

The message I take from this list is that there's plenty of scope for better devices here, and only a fool would claim that their camp has reached perfection.

And no, I did not include 4 cores in the list. As far as I can tell, these still make no sense in a tablet, let alone a phone. More cores in a GPU yes, on the phone not yet.
However a third low-power core ala Tegra makes perfect sense. It wouldn't surprise me if iPhone next DOES have that. It also wouldn't surprise me if Apple says nothing about it --- after all it won't be programmer visible --- and simply trumpets better battery life under various scenarios.

The other checkbox item is RAM. I see no evidence that iPhone is hurting for RAM anymore, unlike in the 128MiB and 256MiB days; and that extra RAM does draw power. So I would not be surprised to see iPhone next stick with 512MiB --- and of course I fully expect a loud and ignorant cacophony about how awful that is --- fully backed up by zero examples of actual situations in which it is a problem.


By TakinYourPoints on 8/1/2012 3:34:52 AM , Rating: 1
I completely agree that there's LOTS of room for improvement in mobile devices, and we'll see it for sure. Compare smartphones with media players from ten years ago, amazing!

That said, if we're comparing what is actually out there, to say that the iDevices are lagging in any way is weird given hard performance numbers (not even going to get into the developer ecosystem).

Can they get faster than they are? Certainly. Are competitors barely keeping up as they are? Certainly. It makes sense too given that everyone has access to a similar pool of resources (flash memory, wireless technologies, etc). The biggest difference is GPUs, and that is mainly NVIDIA's fault for not keeping up with PowerVR.


IBM and Oracle
By hiscross on 7/31/2012 8:59:32 PM , Rating: 2
And maybe Dell. Why doesn't DT write about them? Too hard I suppose.




Apple's motto
By Pirks on 7/31/2012 6:25:30 PM , Rating: 1
"If it's not broken - ain't fix it."

So far it always worked so expect huge line ups and tents/sleeping bags with bums near your local Apple store coming September. Dunno if Apple really doubles its sales Swash style but they are poised to rake in much more money next two to three quarters. Prospects of them swelling their war chest to $150B doesn't look that unreal now...




Keep up with Android? What a joke.
By web2dot0 on 7/31/12, Rating: -1
RE: Keep up with Android? What a joke.
By Tony Swash on 7/31/12, Rating: -1
RE: Keep up with Android? What a joke.
By Pirks on 7/31/2012 8:01:41 PM , Rating: 2
Well, asymco has failed miserably with his iPhone sales forecast last quarter, so I don't expect his analysis to be that much precise for next quarter too, to be honest with you.


RE: Keep up with Android? What a joke.
By name99 on 8/1/2012 12:37:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well, asymco has failed miserably with his iPhone sales forecast last quarter, so I don't expect his analysis to be that much precise for next quarter too, to be honest with you.


Where by failed miserably you mean he predicted sales of 28.5 million and the actual sales were 26 million?
You might consider that a miserable failure but I consider that pretty damn good.

Let's take that level of inaccuracy --- call it 10% --- and apply it to his Q3 and Q4 predictions. So maybe we're talking sales of "only" 45 million in Q3 and "only" 100 million in Q4. ie double all of Apple's iPhone sales for 2011, and with 2012 total sales as triple those of 2011. (iPhone Q1 and Q2 sales so far are 68 million).
Yeah, I think Apple can live with "only" those sales.


RE: Keep up with Android? What a joke.
By othercents on 8/1/2012 8:46:38 AM , Rating: 2
Is apple really going to have those type of sales for a minor upgrade from iPhone4/4s? Are there a ton of people still trying to move away from Android to produce that many sales? Are people now looking at Android devices and saying how slick they look compared to Apple? Is the new device interface going to keep people from buying the iPhone5?

I like the new Galaxy S III. It is a very nice looking device and seams much slicker than the iPhone4/4s/5 design, however you have your Apple diehards and people who are looped into Apple since all their apps/music/videos are there. I think the iPhones perform well, however I don't see anything that would entice someone to move from a 4/4s to a 5.


By JackBurton on 8/1/2012 9:50:50 AM , Rating: 2
"Is apple really going to have those type of sales for a minor upgrade from iPhone4/4s?"

I wouldn't classify 4G/LTE as a "minor" upgrade. IMO, that just perfects the iPhone, and is really all I was looking for Apple to include. A faster processor, SLIGHTLY larger display, improved camera and iOS6 are really just icing on the cake for me. And I will be buying 2 iPhone "5's" when Apple announces them. :)


By name99 on 8/1/2012 3:39:51 PM , Rating: 2
People said the same thing when the 4S came out. Plenty of sneers that it looked the same, that the only difference Siri which "didn't work", and a bunch of technical features (dual core, HSPA+, BT4, CDMA) which "normal people" did not care about.
But, as we have seen, the 4S sold in twice the volume of the 4.

I assume at least part of the reason Apple thinks the iPhone new will sell well is that they seem to have lined up their partners in China now, with both the underlying technology and the distribution deals in place.
An alternative possibility (which does not change the big picture for Apple) is that the iPhone new sales will be basically the same as the iPhone 4S sales, but there's a price drop ahead for the iPhone 4S as the cheap Apple "world phone", and a big push to sell this to the middle class in places like Indonesia, South Africa, and most of South America.

Either way Asymco is not simply guessing these numbers. They are based on such public information as is available, for example money that Apple has spent on capital improvements (which mostly means money spent to help Foxconn and Pegasus expand their production facilities).


By aharris02 on 8/2/2012 10:37:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Is apple really going to have those type of sales for a minor upgrade from iPhone4/4s?


Yes.

People always have an opinion about sales, but regardless of what the experts, Apple haters, or Apple fanboys say, Apple always sells boat-loads of their phones.

And as an iPhone 4 user, I'm ready for a speed & screen boost to my device. New games on iOS are using graphics that tax my CPU enough to justify the upgrade. Also ready to switch from AT&T to Sprint.


By name99 on 7/31/2012 11:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
"The next frontier for mobile phones is mobile payment and personal assistant."

I agree with your general sentiments, but I think you are wrong in these details.
Mobile payments (at least in the US) is such a goddamned nightmare I can't see it coming soon. (One idea that COULD kickstart things is for Apple --- or anyone else --- to bypass the banks, partner with the large mutual funds, and run the payments from a money market account, but no-one seems to be pursuing that idea.)

So what replaces mobile payments as the next big thing?
(a) Identity. This is the direction Passbook (ghastly name, I hope they change it before release) is headed. The more tickets --- and later other sorts of qualifications, credentials, notarized documents, maybe eventually the infamous virtual SIM --- Apple can get in there, the more convenient it is. No different from the way that it's a whole lot easier to get your car to control an iPhone than anything else.

(b) The smartwatch business. It's coming. And the winner there will be the company whose device does the best job of integrating with the rest of a user's compute environment. IMHO Apple has long had the best story for this transition.

The Google/Amazon story is too tightly insistent that you do everything in the cloud.
The Windows story is hobbled by incompetent execution and a bizarre OS philosophy that appears determined to piss off every possible market segment.
Apple, the company that supposedly insists on telling you what to do, more and more comes off as the company that in fact is offering the largest range of choices in terms of either in the cloud or local, and either using items from their store or otherwise acquired.
Windows is (and probably always will be) more HW open, but it's not clear that's worth anything outside the enterprise, if you can't create an OS that delights users.

So in summary
- Passbook has a far bigger future ahead of it than is apparent today. It will (probably) morph into mobile payment, but in a piecemeal way, and perhaps even in a way that varies across countries.
- Smart watches strike me as THE hot segment of 2013 (though maybe that's pushing the tech too hard, like early netbooks; maybe we need to wait till 2014 for the equivalent of the MacBook Air to show the world how it's done properly).


By Rukkian on 8/1/2012 9:23:32 AM , Rating: 2
While I am somewhat onboard with most of your comments, the last paragraph makes me think that you are Tony, just posting under a different name.

Just because more money is made on iphone apps does not make them better. I have yet to find anything that runs better on my wifes iphone than on my galaxy nexus, and with the small screen (and much lower resolution) that should not be hard. Most times I can get apps cheaper, since I have multiple sources - Amazon's app of the day is awesome, and they are just as smooth, if not better than my wife's phone.

I have more apps with more functionality for less money than what my wife has. The company is not making more money, but that just means I get more for my money, I don't care how much the company makes, as I don't own google or apple stock. I just want good value and apps that work.

I am not married to any one company, and when it is time to get a new phone in a year or so, I will look at what is all out there and make an informed decision.

Don't just spout off sheeple propaganda, as it makes you no better than the android fanboys.


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