Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Apple stock market manipulation - it is back, or it never left?

As I have watched Apple's stock price rise, I recall what felt like years of stock market manipulation lifting as the year over year sales increases by Apple won out over the pundits (at best) and manipulators.

Bert Dohmen at Forbes has a new article that is a great example of the behavior: Apple: Icon, Icahn Or iGone?

I actually think Mr. Dohmen has a good point when he says, "Remember, market tops are made when everything looks best, not when they are bad."  Another possible way to think about it is that money can be made when someone can short stock and then drive down the stock price.  FUD - fear, uncertainty, and doubt - and another statement from his article that I agree with but at best creates price uncertainty, is, "My rule: when everyone is in, avoid!"

He talks about "Wall Street firms" competing to raise their future stock price estimate for Apple, and argues that the recent large drop is an example of fund managers starting to get out as the peak is reached.

Then he talks about how Apple is losing market share, and how market share is important to investors.  These feel like arguments made over and over again, over years, and are specious.  If Apple were to lose market share because somehow the market is growing, it could be a view into a huge future market opportunity for Apple.  This can actually be a good sign instead of a sign of doom.  This concept seems evident in another Forbes article, Apple Is Starting To Claw Back Some iPhone Market Share.  Even Mr. Dohmen states both that Apple is both losing and gaining market share.  He says, "Apple is losing market share in the U.S." and in the same paragraph also says, "[...] the iPhone 6 was launched and sales boosted market share above 40% once again."  He is using the same analytics data and company.  He also says, "Sales in Europe and Japan are lackluster. In Japan, market share dropped a big 15.9%.".  Using the same data source, Daniel Eran Dilger says something very different in his appleinsider article, 'Huge' iPhone 6 sales drive iOS to 40% smartphone market share in Australia, US, UK, Japan.  Mr. Dohmen's comment about this?  He dismisses it, saying "But that was the typical new product bump."

Without referring to share of profits in a market, market share is or can be meaningless.  Articles like Mr Dohmen's which carefully avoid such concepts while

Even while talking about Apple Pay, Mr. Dohmen attempts to create new fear and doubt with statements like, ... the competition was ahead of Apple. A competing system is MCX, over two years old.  MCX doesn’t have the potential vulnerability of NFC (technology used by Apple)."  My question is what potential vulnerability?  This sounds like a completely manufactured non-existent vulnerability.  In any case no references to this vulnerability are cited by Mr. Dohmen.  Another very misleading example is, "competition has virtually destroyed the sales of the vastly overprice iPod."  Sales are not as high, but destroyed typically refers to something that is not a dip in sales.  And the concept that large iPhone sales might hurt iPad sales, which is of great financial benefit to Apple, is a concept Mr. Dohmen would not touch with a ten foot pole.

I think Forbes should not publish misleading articles like this one.  They do seem to publish articles with many different opinions, but when is misleading information something that can be considered legal manipulation?


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Reporting and the "news" that iPad sales are slumping

Forbes has an article today titled iPad Sales Slump As Android Tablets Soar by Ewan Spence.

  • Ewan cites IDC sales data.
  • Ewan describes Android advantages, such as the diversity of devices, lower cost options.
  • He argues that a cheap tablet is not pretty, but is functional, and that that is what most people want.  He says Apple is out of step with the rest of the market.
  • He argues that there are "other forces" tending towards Android and away from iOS.
Things not cited include who is making money making tablets.  Are manufacturers making money?  Cellular providers?  Google?  Android app makers (specifically from Android tablets)?

Others have other theories.  Mark Hibben of Seeking Alpha has a new article, (must be registered to read the whole thing) Why iPad Sales Will Recover In 2015.  This seems to run along the same lines as a detailed article on October 30th by Daniel Eran Dilger on Apple Insider, How Apple, Inc. went thermonuclear on Samsung, erasing Android's primary profit center.

I am surprised that statistics-generating companies like IDC can get away with ignoring articles like the Apple Insider article.  They are supposed to be performing analysis.  Part of analysis is looking at analysis from others.

IDC and Ewan Spence do not look at all the evidence.  There is a cherry-picking of evidence to lead to a conclusion, ignoring other evidence.  Mr. Spence does not acknowledge in any way the new breadth in the ipad line - a breadth that frankly I think is kind of crazy, but would think would quiet exactly the kind of feedback provided by Mr. Spence.

Where is the Macalope when we need him?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

More experiences with Yosemite and ios8

I have been working further with Yosemite and ios8.  I have found some features of interest to me, and learned a bit more about iphoto icloud options, and a bug.

First for the bug.  Now that I have SMS messaging available to me on my macbook pro, I am using it.  I texted a co-worker with some connectivity issue, and my message to his iphone went green, bypassing Apple's messaging infrastructure and going through as an SMS message.  Messages on my macbook pro showed an unread message from this specific message.  So I read the message.  It was marked read.  Then I went about my business and saw that messages showed an unread message.  It was that same message, which I read again.  This kept happening.  For at least a couple of days.  I see it is now marked read, perhaps after a reboot.  Annoying.

Next - iphoto icloud.  When I use iphoto, I have to attach an external drive.  I just do not have room on my internal drive for my iphoto library, which is around 180GB.  Thus I am interested in having my photos in the cloud if possible, hopefully both protecting my photos and removing my need to hook up an external drive to manage my photos.  With ios8 (or is it 8.1?) ios devices are ready for photos in icloud beta.  Apple has information at https://www.apple.com/icloud/photos/
It is not yet available for Yosemite -see more at imore: http://www.imore.com/photos-os-x-yosemite-explained

There are features I am not yet testing, but I am interested in looking at soon.  If you have family members with Apple ID's and you share with them, they could interest you.  You can can now share other icloud item types:

  • Reminder categories
  • Calendars
If you run the OS X Yosemite version or log in to icloud.com, these now have options to share!  I look forward to sharing calendars and reminder categories with my family.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Some notes (and problems) working with ios 8.1 and Yosemite for a little while.

OK!  I was excited - I finally got Yosemite AND ios 8.1!  Full continuity and handoff!

First I switched all of my devices to use iCloud Drive.  Then I had some fun:


  • I texted from my computer to a non-iPhone number!
  • I received a call and answered it on my computer!  A headset is most useful...
  • I received a call during a meeting, and it rang on my iPhone, iPad, and computer!  I used my computer to text back that I was not able to answer as I was running a meeting and (record scratch followed by silence) and audiobook on my iPad started playing!  And, I could not quickly log in, and forgot to swipe up to silence it, and it was already in silent mode and that didn't help.  I turned the sound down to nothing.  Whew!
  • I used handoff to:
    • Finish a text
    • Finish an email
    • go to a webpage on my computer immediately that I was looking at on my ipad and iphone (tried each, and the other way around from my computer)
    • Edit a numbers file
    • Edit and view reminders
    • View contacts (used it to verify a contact I had just added on my computer was indeed on my iPhone)
  • With Yosemite I have used new features:
    • I drew on a picture in my email on my mac - annotating it.  OK I did this many times just because I can!  It is also very useful, for directions.  I circled a place to park on a map.
    • Now that email is more integrated with contacts, I have been cleaning up my contacts lists so I see little pictures of my contacts in my emails on my mac.  Where I have triple copies of a contact, I am working towards only one.
    • I'm trying out notification center as an alternative to Feedly.  I like having both!
    • I used spotlight to search for more.  I regularly look up word definitions using spotlight at this point, for example.  I can cut and paste numbers now, which did not work well before (cutting from spotlight)
    • I air dropped photos from my iPhone to my computer to share them via Google Drive from my computer, after changing the names and putting them in a folder.  This was amazing and fast for the full-size photos.
I keep my phone in vibrate mode nearly all of the time.  I am so used to the vibration, that I can now ignore it, and also feel it when it is not there at times.  The ability to answer phone and texts on my computer is extremely useful to me.

OK, I'm also playing with Apple Pay.  I've used it, and find that when I needed to get the fingerprint ID'ed on my phone while paying, it did not always work.  However, normal unlocking of of my phone is flawless.  What is the problem?  I'm holding it differently during payments and so needed to rescan my thumb for this different angle for paying.  Some cards work, some do not.  I also used having my credit card in my Passbook to check what I was charged for a non Apple Pay charge - and found one that was wrong!  It helped save me $60 by spotting this before I even left the store.  I am a fan of Apple Pay.


I do not have 1password 5 working with iCloud on my mac.  I have the app store version on my mac, and I am asking AgileBits for help.






Shut up and take my money? Homekit hopes

I remember my smart phone experience before iPhone.  I had a Palm Treo.  I was able to do many things I do on my iPhone:

  • Watch movies
  • Listen to music
  • Download useful apps from the internet
  • Synchronize my contacts, read email, todo list(s)
I wanted to do all of these things.  However, they were all hard.  Watching movies caused it to crash, and there was the tiny screen, and even with an SD card, there was not room for much.  Listening to music?  There was a similar set of problems.  Music playlists were a nightmare.  I was thrilled to download applications, but it was not centralized and it was hard.  The rest mostly required a computer at times, at best.  The iPhone made all of these things vastly better, and really is a computer in my pocket.

The area of home automation, frankly, sucks.  Nest was a breath of fresh air in the space.  I was dreaming of a Nest home irrigation management system like rach.io.  I live in California and saving water while keeping my plants from dying is an attractive idea.  What all could be in home automation?
  • Door locks - closest match:  http://august.com/
  • Irrigation management - closest match: https://www.rach.io/
  • Lighting management - one option: Phillips Hue
  • Power - one option: WeMo Home Automation
  • Sensors and alarms:
    • Moisture sensors - closest match: http://www.wallyhome.com/
  • Home security
    • Cameras
    • Door/window open/close/lock management
    • Window covering management
    • Lights management
    • Sound management (maybe should make some sounds if I am away?)
Here is a narration of what I would love in terms of smart home management:
1) Temperature management in the house would take into account different household members having preferences for different temperatures in different locations, even in a small-ish house.
2) All of the options I have, I therefore want the system to have:
  • Know about the sun (or lack of sun), and its effect on temperature.
  • Know about rain and its effect on temperature, and the desirability of using open windows.
  • Know where people are and will likely go in the house.
  • Know how secure I need the house to be at a given time.
  • Have awareness of motion outside the home to decide how much to have windows open.  Be aware of squirrels/cats/racoons or other animals/pests and do not let them in!
  • Open/close windows to heat/cool.
  • Open/close window coverings to heat/cool.
  • Adjust vents/air flow to cool/heat only specific locations.
  • Use air flow to bring cool/hot air from another place in the house to affect where people actually are.  This can be with windows, and can be with the furnace fan.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Summary of Apple announcements 10/16/14

Today Apple had the second of two fall announcement meetings.  Here is my summary of the announcements today which I watched on my iphone via streaming video.  I'm ignoring the discussions of iPhone, Apple watch, Yosemite, and iOS 8, and Apple Pay, with two exceptions:
  • We cannot use Apple Pay without iOS 8.1, not available until Monday Oct 20, 2014
  • We cannot do SMS messages on your computer without iOS 8.1, still not yet available.
So it was primarily about new hardware:
  • iPad Air 2
    • nearly 20% thinner
    • A better display in that it has fused layers and an anti-reflective coating
    • A8X CPU - the best Apple has for mobile computing
    • TouchID
    • barometer
    • Networking
      • 802.11ac fastest available networking
      • 20-band LTE for cellular users, with a "one SIM" option that works with multiple carriers! (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile at this time)
    • Camera - the rear camera appears to be like an iPhone 6 camera in newer better specifications and 8MP.
  • iPad Mini 3
    • They added a gold color option, touchID, and lowered the prices
  • iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini:
    • all still for sale with reduced prices
  • Mac Mini
    • CPU: up to 3Ghz Intel Core i7
    • Storage: Up to 1TB flash storage
    • RAM: up to 16GB RAM
    • GPU: up to Intel Iris Graphics
    • Ports:
      • Audio In, Headphone
      • SDXC
      • 4x USB 3
      • 2x Thunderbolt 2
      • HDMI
      • 1GB Ethernet
      • IR Receiver
    • Wifi: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4
    • OS: Yosemite - no OS X server OS
  • iMac 5K Retina
    • 27" 5120x2880 pixel display
    • CPU: Up to 4.0Ghz quad core Intel Core i7
    • RAM: Up to 32GB
    • Storage: Up to 1TB flash storage
    • GPU: Up to AMD Radeon R9 M295X with 4GB GDDR5 memory
    • Ports:
      • Headphone
      • SDXC
      • 4x USB 3
      • 2x Thunderbolt 2
      • 1GB Ethernet
    • Wifi: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4
    • Comes with Yosemite, Apple wireless keyboard, and Apple Magic Mouse
Update:

I made this much too dry.  It is worth watching minute 28 or so on for a bit even if the rest does not interest you.  They showed continuity in use, and included Steven Colbert as their supreme commander of security.  They also had a video showing the security procedure to get into a building which is worth watching.  The entire demonstration is really worth a look-see.  Humor in a presentation like this is far too rare.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review of prognostications - was I right?

My prognostication report card:  It looks like I was pretty much right, aside from when iPhones would ship.  It will not go to my head.

I think predicting possible problems or supposed problems might be something to think about next time...

Here were my detailed predictions and some comments:
  • MacBook Air [Was wrong about this one.  Just wrong.  They have a retina 5K imac instead?]
    • Bump to retina.  If not now, in 2014.
  • New iPhone 4.7" and 5.5" [Aside from the ship date, I was right]
    • with a better camera, both with TouchID [Very true]
    • NFC [Yes]
    • some new sensors that aren't rumored
      • We have a 2nd motion sensor for low power use, and an barometer.
    • a sideways mode for some iphone built-in apps that is more like iPad [True for iPhone 6 Plus]
    • higher resolution screens [Yes]
    • Shipping by mid-October [ok this was wrong - they shipped in a couple weeks with 10 million sold the first weekend]
  • iWatch [I think I was right on the money]
    • with more fashion than I can imagine
    • fewer sensors than imagined - definitely no glucose monitoring this time around
    • coming out in early 2015
    • comes with more HealthKit discussion
  • Services: [I think I was right]
    • Definitely mobile payments, and NFC seems very likely, rolling out with many major retailers across the US, tied to TouchID