We’re really fortunate at TechnoBuffalo to have the chance to appear on global news networks to discuss technology from time to time. I was recently asked to appear on CNBC to talk about Apple and whether or not I was worried that its stock price was down. I really think its issue this week was related to investors trying to take capital gains before a possible tax hike on them, and that, ultimately, was why the stock was down.
But I don’t usually answer finance related questions and instead discuss companies and products from a consumer point of view. I said I don’t think Apple has anything to worry about and, really, that the biggest two concerns are supply (the larger iMac won’t ship until after the holidays and there’s still a wait for the iPad mini) and a concern that the iPad mini is cannibalizing sales of the fourth generation iPad.
Then yesterday, Bloomberg and NBC both had a chance to interview Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. His answers to most of the questions really solidified, in my mind, that Apple knows where it’s going and has a fantastic future ahead. Readers might be quick to call me captain obvious, but clearly there’s some concern in the finance world – otherwise I wouldn’t be asked to provide my opinion on TV. So here’s m opinion, here in writing.
Tim Cook hinted once again that Apple is taking the living room and the television seriously. This is going to be huge for the company when it finally inks deals with content/cable providers and releases its own television set. Yes, I 100% believe this is a product that will eventually hit the market. I’m tired of remote controls, they seem so outdated and are loaded with useless and confusing buttons. Imagine being able to say “last channel” or “go back” instead of trying to search under the couch for the remote. Or saying “record the Brooklyn Nets game at 7:30” instead of looking through the directory for the show and hitting record. And I’m not even getting into how terrible the current set top box software is.
“Our whole role in life is to give you something you didn’t know you wanted,” Tim Cook told Rock Center last night. He suggested that the company has a 10 year plan already, something that many other firms clearly do not have. That’s what has made Apple so successful against its competitors. Microsoft and others have largely been playing a game of catch-up, especially in the mobile space. Microsoft’s Xbox is the best home entertainment system I can think of now, but how will it respond to a TV from Apple? How will HP, Dell and other computer firms distinguish themselves in the PC market? Windows 8 with touchscreen functionality is amazing, but we already know that sales of those devices are off to a slow start.
Then we can go into what we already know the firm will do: add an iPad mini 2 with a Retina display; release an iPhone 5S with a faster processor and better software. A new iPad will launch in 2013, too. We don’t have to guess, Apple’s product history repeats itself – even as new devices are introduced.
I think Apple’s biggest struggle will be competing with lower-priced products. As I’ve argued, it’s a tough bargain to pick up an iPad mini for $329 when you can buy a $200 tablet and fill it up with $130 worth of apps and media for the same price. It also needs to continue focusing on supply in order to meet demand. It’s a marketing tactic to say devices are sold out, for sure, but there’s a point where you need to make sure you can meet demand, especially ahead of the holidays.
I also like where Apple is headed by building a line of Macs in the United States next year. Sure, it will probably still employ Foxconn, a foreign firm, but it could help create thousands of jobs in the United States. As a large U.S. company, it’s Apple’s responsibility to help where it can – and Tim Cook has even said that.
I’m excited for Apple’s future for a number of reasons. I like that it’s looking ahead, that it already knows it’s developing products that will change our lives, and that it’s bringing jobs to the United States. I think its falling stock price is merely a speed bump as the market adjusts to its past success, and I don’t see anything but a positive future for the company.