Disassociated conscience of a nation

Maybe our constant technology use is affecting our effectiveness.

I read a letter in the local paper—I hate to read them because they often just make me mad; I live in the Bible Belt, after all—the other day that made me actually agree with someone I probably would never have agreed with had I met him in person. I didn’t agree with what he was saying—that our constant technology use is the cause of violence in our culture, not guns—but I did agree with the sentiment. I think our constant use of technology may be separating us farther from each other, causing us to become less compassionate and human as we bond via the Internet.

I am a huge Internet proponent, of course. I think it should be free—SOCIALIST! I hear it already; pshaw, I care not!—and I think it’s a great equalizer when it comes to education, job opportunities and even simple connections around the world. If used well, it could create much more educated societies, and its uses are limitless.

That said, I think that its use as a social instrument should be kept to a minimum. I don’t think that the Internet itself—or texting, or other forms of technology—are to blame for shootings (though the woman whose baby died while she played Farmville does make me wonder). We’ve had shootings before technological advances; in fact, bullets were once a technological advancement! But I do think that we are growing apart as we rely more heavily on our techie instruments for personal connection.

I remember being with friends and family before the texting at dinner, the app sharing on Thanksgiving, the click-click-click of instant messaging and Guitar Hero as background noise to a birthday party. To me, those were sort of good old days—though I don’t believe in good old days, not really—when we could all enjoy one another’s company and focus on the now rather than the pixels.

I’m not sure if this will ever improve, though. I can’t see people giving up their Facebook—or especially their texting—anytime soon. But I could see us all making a more concentrated effort to enjoy one another’s company when we are together, if we only gave it a try. I like the cell phone games where you put your cell phone down at lunch (some people play where you have to pay if you answer or look at yours first!), and I like simply making no cell phone rules during family gatherings. What other ways can we stay connected as human beings (and did you ever think we’d need an answer to that question)?

Big news out of Cupertino

Maps chief fired, iTunes 11 debut and more

With incessant talk of the Apple stock price target being $1100 according to quite a few analysts, the tech giant heads into the holiday month with an important change in personnel and more expansion. Scott Forstall was fired last month and now it is Richard Williamson who has taken a lot of heat over the Apple maps fiasco.

The Maps app actually gives 3D views and is pretty nice to see compared to Google maps. However, the missed landmarks and wrongly marked roadways render it pretty useless. I was hoping the same team would be put to work to correct the issues such as incorrect navigation directions (a must have for this type of app). But it is not going to be so.

Apple map creators had the right idea and if it can be done right, it would be a wonderful app. For now, Apple is losing considerable market share. A lot of users don't seem to want to upgrade to iOS 6 so that they can keep the existing Google Maps app. Yet, iPhone 5 sales have been pretty good.

Apple is continuing to innovate and move forward, though. iTunes 11 was out yesterday to much fanfare and will offer seamless integration with iCloud among other things.

Additionally, Apple is aggressively expanding as it drives innovation and in demand products. The tech behemoth has started construction in Santa Clara, CA as it continues to take Silicon Valley and the globe by storm.

Indeed, Apple is moving at a fast pace. And only time will tell whether the 'remapping' of the organization will work out for it.

Apple getting ready for a good Christmas quarter

Apple has been tested as of late.

The Christmas season is here to redeem Apple (AAPL) which has the highest retail sales per square foot, beating out Tiffany & Co.

Trouble brewing with Samsung

Apple has been receiving stiff competition from Samsung and the Samsung executives are appealing the outcome of the Samsung Patent Trial. It appears that Samsung will not give in and will seemingly pursue other strategies to punish Apple.

But the fact of the matter is that Apple has not been forthcoming with Samsung the way it has been with Google. It might be because the Android fight with Google may not be worth the time and money like a tussle with Samsung that is really the big fish. It may also be a sign of the times with Tim Cook having different views to Steve Jobs.

What about that hot Apple stock?

Apple investors have been in for a turbulent ride these past few months. Yet, sophisticated traders would have loved the large appreciations and declines of the stock price. The current price of $536.88 is a far cry from the $1000 a share that bullish analysts were predicting. I guess it was the disappointing iPhone 5 sales (when comparing with Apple’s standards) that were responsible for the stock not surging remarkably.

Apple will continue to remain hot

Apple is always one step ahead of its contemporaries and is always looking forward and developing at a rapid pace. This is why the Cupertino, CA based firm does not hear the danger signs that are often painted by several observers.

Apple by the numbers

Mixed bag earnings report on Thursday afternoon.

The FQ4 revenue was a staggering $36B that beat Wall Street estimates by $200M. There were as many as 26.9M iPhones sold which were above expectations. But the 14M iPads and 5.3M iPods sold were below expectations.

Apple stock halted trading as the earnings report for Q4 came through. When they did resume trading, they were down 2.5 percent. When looking at the earnings report, the thing that sticks out is the EPS of $8.67 that just missed the estimate of $8.75. The EPS bodes well for Apple.

There was a rally in stock markets across the globe with the imminent earnings report release of the largest company on this planet by market capitalization. But the lackluster earnings reports from tech stocks have made investors nervous as we head into a tightly contested U.S. presidential election on November 4.

By contrast, Apple has done a pretty good job as demonstrated by its earnings report.

Apple's tablet market growth

The tablet market that was pioneered by Apple is a highly segmented market. Apple was able to grow really fast in this new tech market and early challenges by competitors Research in Motion Limited (NASDAQ: RIMM) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NASDAQ: HPQ) resulted in total failure.

However, other competitors sensing a new way of winning the tablet war have strategically taken market share away from Apple. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) with its Amazon Kindle is a tablet that is great for shopping and reading. The Microsoft Surface has provided consumers with a tablet that is as close to a laptop as possible.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has outdone Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) with its 7" tablet that appeals to kids and offers a lower cost version of Apple's iPad.

There is a lot more comprehensive coverage out with a live blog where you can follow along and a webcast that you should check out as an Apple investor and fan.

Investors still bullish on Apple stock

Apple shares are in correction territory

Apple stock price did drop for a bit recently that has frustrated investors who have bought at prices of around $650. The drop may be due to a market correction after it hit some highs due to the iPhone 5 being released last month.

The P/E ratio of 15 points to higher earnings and a possibility that Apple could hit $1000 a share by the end of 2013. It is supposed to be an incredible buying opportunity at its current price of $632.20 a share. Still, I am pretty skeptical about Apple's short-term prospects and though it may seem like a good time to buy, investors should wait a little.

The other problem is that Foxconn is responsible for the iPhone 5 shortages that is making customers who pre-ordered - creating the initial buzz - to switch to the Samsung Galaxy S3 and other similar smart phones.

I guess the reason why Apple stock is getting hammered is because it is losing its dominance in some markets; an inevitability. Competitors are obviously going to catch up at some point with the top players being Samsung, Amazon, Google and Microsoft among others. The other thing is that the market will mature, but there is still hope for Apple as the iPad "Mini" could see some resurgence in the stock price.

Apple's profit margins are high compared to its industry peers and this was responsible for the massive cash pile. But these profits are falling and since Apple is not a monopoly like Google or Microsoft it will have trouble sustaining profits in the future.

Nonetheless, Apple could have some tricks up its sleeve. History has shown investors that Apple stock should be bought when market participants are really pessimistic about it.

Apple’s stock bubble, Steve Jobs tribute and more

Keeping you in the loop about Apple this week.

Apple is one of the more talked about companies. Despite the recent fiasco with Apple maps, Apple still enjoys a lot of demand for its innovative products and owes a lot of its success to its former leader. There was a tribute to the late Steve Jobs yesterday as it has been a year since he passed.

The case of Apple Maps being used instead of Google’s maps in the iPhone 5 and the iOS 6 reeks of Steve Jobs. But the quick apology by current CEO Tim Cook may not be reminiscent of the late founder. I still feel that Cook did the right thing to acknowledge the inferiority of Apple maps and keep customers hopeful of the technology being improved. But Jobs was not one who apologized for Apple technology.

Jobs was all out for control and dominance, but this may not always pay off. Embracing rather than stifling competition can be a good strategy and this is precisely what Cook seems to be doing with his desire to make Google Maps and other such apps available in the iPhone. It is tempting to go the Microsoft way, but common sense has to prevail.

As for Apple’s stock price and where it seems to be heading, investors feel that it is in a bubble after looking at its stock chart pattern. This is not necessarily good news for Apple shareholders because the stock price could come crashing down in a hurry. However, the fundamentals and a close look at the historic chart pattern point to a long-term uptrend.

iPhone 5 lives up to the hype

Demand is greater than supply!

The iPhone 5  was recently released to a lot of fanfare. Buyers had their usual frenzy and stayed up all night in the hope of getting to hold a device for themselves. It was definitely a sight to see and hear about.

Hundreds Turn Out to Purchase New IPhone in NY

The iPhone enjoys a lot of brand loyalty and as a proud owner of the iPhone 4S I can definitely see why. I know that there is an argument that the Samsung Galaxy III might be better with more advanced technology, but there is something about Apple that makes it prestigious and a must buy.

It is really the third-party applications that make the iPhone so appealing and probably the reason why it has become the smart phone of choice surpassing Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry. The sheer number of apps that the Apple iPhone offers is definitely awesome. There are 700,000 apps from TV shows to games and so much more.

Investment banking analysts are bullish about Apple and expect three to five million units to be sold this weekend. A problem with the new operating system, iOS 6, is that it has Apple's Maps instead of Google Maps which aren't as good. But the marketing genius behind Apple's success is that people feel great and high tech by just owning the device. It definitely worked for me.

Still, I have always wondered why people would rush to buy the latest technologies when their price falls so quickly. We have Dr. Michio Kaku talking about laptops costing merely pennies in the year 2030.

Tim Cook's leadership style

Cook is known to be a workaholic, sending e-mails at 4 in the morning!

The iPhone 5 is here. Tim Cook will be assessed on its success almost a year since taking over the leadership of Apple from the late Steve Jobs. His job is very tough when Steve Jobs is the yardstick! But Cook has done reasonably well to move from the shadow of the late founder of Apple.

There were a lot of challenges that Apple faced when Cook became CEO last year, but he has been able to get impressive results for Apple with its stock price climbing to unprecedented levels and also revenue really going up. But critics have pointed out that Cook is basking on the decisions made by Steve Jobs and only time will tell how great of a leader Cook really is. But Cook is different from Jobs in that he is a more empathetic CEO and has also been willing to try different things.

Cook has made some mistakes like when it came to the hiring of Jon Browett and also using celebrities to endorse Apple products - something that Jobs never did. There is also the feeling that suppliers don't fear Cook the way they did Jobs who was known to be very ruthless. This was revealed in how the iPhone 5 event really didn't surprise anyone as most of the information was released.

Even with all these mistakes, Cook has taken some risks that have paid off big time like aggressively suing "copycats" and then winning the landmark 'Samsung Patent Trial.' Apple employees are also pleased with Cook for addressing a lot of pending issues and for taking the time to sit down and talk to them.

The Apple iPhone 5 event

The iPhone 5 launches on September 21

We knew what to expect on the updated next generation iPhone 5 with lots of information being leaked before its official press conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. The iPhone 5 event had everything confirmed and one thing that has been promised is a better camera. The iPhone 4S has probably the best camera when compared with other smartphones. The iPhone 5 will take better low-light pictures and be quicker at capturing photos. Panorama is something that needs to be checked out too.

There are other reasons that make this smartphone better than its predecessor with an A6 processor that has better graphics performance. Also, it will offer better battery life despite the addition of 4G LTE. The iPhone 5 has a bigger display too at 4 inches, which is about half an inch more than its forerunners. The Samsung Galaxy S III is still bigger, but the iPhone 5 has the advantage of being lighter and easily carried in the pocket.

A bigger display means that the home screen offers five rows of apps to the viewer and it will enable you to get to your favorite apps faster. It is these apps that make smartphones like this so appealing and I especially love the App store of the iPhones. The other thing to make your iPhone 5 experience that much better is the high-quality headphones that come with it. They sound like $100 headphones!

There is a new mapping system on the iPhone 5 that should be better than Google maps. This is mainly because the iPhone 5 virtual assistant, Siri, will give directions to the 3-D views offered of many big cities.

The iPhone 5 is great looking, offers a lot of versatility and new technology and it would come as no surprise to see massive crowds queued up outside the Apple stores next Friday. The iPhone 5 smartphones start at $199 and have the same price options as the previous iPhone versions.

American verdict favors Apple in patent suit

Korean verdict favors Samsung in a different patent suit

The news is huge: Apple just won a $1.05 billion case against cell phone rival Samsung for its iPhone. There are a few ramifications and possibilities for the cell phone market as a result of the recent lawsuit and verdict. The news is even bigger when you consider that a second ruling in South Korea--on the same day--is forcing the iPhone off the market in South Korea. 

Here are some possibilities and implications as a result of the verdict in the Apple versus Samsung smart phone case in the United States. 

First, the New York Times is speculating that the costs for patent infringement lawsuits in tech and other industries are enormous and may possibly be passed onto the consumer, especially for customers of the losers of future lawsuits. 


Second, the Apple-Samsung lawsuit may set the stage for an enormously high volume of lawsuits in the future. Currently, there are 250,000 patents for the different smart phones in existence today. The downside of the volume of innovation is that there are now 250,000 opportunities for different patent infringement lawsuits in the cell phone industry alone. 


Third, as Money reports, there is a strong likelihood that Apple could force some Samsung cell phones off of the market as a result of the litigation. There is also a serious chance that Apple’s success in this particular lawsuit could encourage Apple to sue other phone manufacturers for different cell phone patent infringements. 


And finally, the upside of the recent case is that there will be an increased need for cell phone manufacturers to display innovation, especially in terms of design because of the particular ruling in this case. 


The ruling in South Korea for patent infringement will protect Samsung smart phones within South Korea; as it stands now, the 3GS, the iPhone 4, the original iPad and the iPad 2 will not be available in South Korea for very long because of the recent law regarding patent infringement within the United States. 


As a result of the court decision in South Korea, Samsung is claiming victory. Apple is claiming the same as a result of the court decision in the United States, Apple is claiming the same.