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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Macworld 2008

Apple yesterday unveiled a series of updates to their existing product line.

iPhone: They added maps with creepy location sensing. Google will triangulate your position by reading the last cell towers you’ve used. This could be useful for reconstructing the prior evening’s debauchery for you blackout drunks. They’ve added a customized home screen. You can text message multiple people at once – a wireless provider data charge bonanza. The iPod function receives lyrics and video will have chapters, subtitles and language support. They’ve sold 4 million of iPhones so far and they claim they took 19.5% share of the smartphone market in 4Q07, half of the 39% share they attribute to Research In Motion’s Blackberry. The iPhone developers kit will be ready in late February – until then, suck mediocre apps.

I had one of these things for a few days and my advice to you is wait for the 3G version later in the year (the edge data crawls) and make an appointment for finger-size reduction surgery ASAP so you can use the keyboard.

iTouch: Email for your iTouch. I can’t think of a more useless function for a device that has no connectivity to the internet without passing through a computer. [ed note: the iTouch has wifi. oops. -rh 1/18/07] It also gets maps, lyrics and video chapter, subtitle and language support.

Time Capsule: Basically a wifi hard drive. This is a smart product for them to offer. Networked storage is intimidating to consumers and the Apple name makes the category much friendlier. It’s priced reasonably at $299 for 500mb and $499 for 1tb of storage.

AppleTV: No longer requires a computer to run – it’s really a set top box with iTunes restricted content. Download movie rentals for $2.99 - $4.99 that expire 24 hours after you start playing them. You can move the film to your iPod or iPhone to bring it with you, watch it on TV or on your computer. The 30 day lag between release of the video and appearance on iTunes defeats a lot of the advantage of being able to pull it up on demand. The content providers probably didn’t want to create an environment where they wouldn’t be able to sell a zillion copies of the DVD on release into the channel – that’s how big a threat digital distribution is. It’s going to eliminate countless jobs in the old world economy – delivery men, packagers, professional DVD distributors, DVD fabricators. It will reduce revenue in store bought media substantially, though profit margins should go up quite a bit for the large media companies once they get around to embracing the change.

Macbook Air: Thin, light, sexy. Full sized keyboard, 13 inch display. It’s an impressive design.

Apple stock responded by taking a wicked nose dive – no 3G iPhone and post-Macworld hangover would be my explanation. I like the stock and expect them to trounce analyst expectations this quarter on the back of iPhone and notebook strength. I worry a little about the iPod line as the new nano looks like a stunted version of a real iPod. Apple stores were mobbed all through December.


GideonBlaze said...

FYI: The Touch has built-in wifi. It's really just an iPhone sans phone and camera.

Roy Howard said...

Thanks for that clarification.

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