October 2012
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Month October 2012

5by5 | The Critical Path #58: Going Commando

We discuss composing presentations on an iPad while on the road and, at long last, the completion of the Critical Path book. We examine Apple’s honing technique in design, and how it contributes to forging products that are as uniquely experiential as the traditional samurai sword.

What job is there for the iPad mini to do? How do we stay focused on fundamentals when it comes to analyzing Apple’s stock price?

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #58: Going Commando.

Sponsor: Igloo Software

You start your day, grab a coffee and update Bob.

Then you swing by your manager’s office and update him. He’s like, “Oh. Em. Gee.” (He thinks that’s cool).

Now you’ve got to update his boss.

You get back three conversations later and tell Janice what happened. You try to ignore the guy listening over the cubicle wall… but then you update him so he doesn’t spread the wrong story.

Now your coffee’s cold. You start your day.

Or, you could write a blog post inside your team space.

Work better, together inside the Igloo.

Sponsorship by The Syndicate


Why are tablets and smartphones insulated from tough economic conditions?

The iPad launched in April (i.e. Q2) 2010. Since then the PC industry (excluding Macs) has seen a decline in growth. The following graph illustrates global shipments as reported by Gartner:

Note that the growth rate has been negative for 4 out of the eight quarters since. The latest data shows a decline in shipments of over 9% bringing yearly growth to negative territory for the first time since the recession of 11 years ago.

What are books hired to do?

My talk at the TOC Frankfurt is available as a free Perspective download.

What are books hired to do?

[Originally presented October 9th, 2012 in Frankfurt Germany.]

I spoke about what books and other media are really hired to do. The basic needs of users are met by story tellers but the products of commerce often chase user attributes rather than their needs.

A talk on Manufacturing Miracles

My talk at the Tribute to Pike Powers is available as a free Perspective download.

Manufacturing Miracles.

[Originally presented October 8th, 2012 in Austin Texas.]

I present a short history of manufacturing ramps during World War II and the effects on the outcome of the war. A comparison is also made of value created vs. modern smartphone production.

Swipe Conference 2012 Keynote (Updated with audio track)

My Swipe keynote presentation is available as a free Perspective download.

Swipe Conference 2012 Keynote.

[Originally presented September 5th, 2012 in Sydney Australia.]

In it I present the history of personal computing and the shift to new platforms that foreshadows the dawn of a new era.

Using Capital Expenditures to predict Apple’s share price

It takes money to make money. That’s a cliché. But it’s also true. The interesting question is how much can be gained from how little.

In previous articles I explained how Apple’s expenditures of capital for equipment used in manufacturing affects their output of products. The relationship between capital in and product out should stand to reason.

The more surprising aspect of that analysis is that we get to know in advance how much Apple spends (since they tell us their budget a year before it’s spent.) and therefore it becomes possible to get a rough idea of how much they will produce. And since demand has generally been higher than supply we can get an estimate of how much Apple will sell.

The only missing piece to this logic chain is to estimate how much will shareholders benefit from the capital expenditure. I’ll try to establish the relationship through a build-out of graphs.

The first graph shows Apple’s share price at weekly resolution.

The time frame stretches back six fiscal years. The time span includes some dramatic periods including the financial crisis and the launch of the iPhone and iPad.

To illustrate the effect of the iPhone and iPad on this share price appreciation, I’ve overlaid a quarterly resolution graph showing revenues over the same time period with each product line shown separately.


Note that I’ve indexed the vertical scale to match approximately the highest peaks of both graphs. The two axes scales are shown separately on the left.

Sponsor: O'Reilly Titles on Inkling

For years, those who’ve wanted to teach themselves programming have been caught between the trusted content found in books and the ease of use with online materials. Now, O’Reilly Media and Inkling have teamed up to reimagine the world’s most trusted technological resources for iPad, iPhone, and the web.

From embedded coding sandboxes to notes with web links, syntax highlighting, and more, books in the Animal series, Missing Manual series, and others are amplified with Inkling-only features not found in any other e-book version. Copy-and-paste bits of code as you go on your laptop, or drill down into the logic behind the syntax when reading on your iPad or iPhone.

Budding developers and tech enthusiasts alike now have some of the world’s best tech resources right at their fingertips. Watch a video that shows how it all works, and shop for books.

Sponsorship by The Syndicate

The Critical Path #57: There Were Too Many Newspapers in New York

A conversation with Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Apple’s relationship with the media. How did the relationship evolve, is it changing and how is Apple addressing different media channels. Philip brings 30 years of experience to Apple journalism and provides some poignant anecdotes about Steve Jobs, the folklore of Apple and the disruption of journalism itself.

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #57: There Were Too Many Newspapers in New York.

The Crucible of the Phone Market

[The following was originally published on LinkedIn.]

The US is in the forefront of smartphone usage. This has not always been the case. Five years ago only 3 percent of US phone users were using a smartphone, lower than the global average. At the time Palm and BlackBerry were the prominent devices in the US while in Europe Nokia’s push with Symbian and Microsoft’s licensing of Windows Mobile led to a smartphone adoption rate of about 7%.

All that changed with the iPhone. After 2007 the US began to rapidly catch up and eventually overtook all other regions in terms of smartphone adoption. The latest data from comScore Mobilens shows that the US is now effectively 50% penetrated. The following chart shows just how quickly this happened.

In December 2009 only 17% of Americans used a smartphone as their primary phone. As of August the total reached 49.8%. By today the US is effectively a majority smartphone usage country and it looks like there is no slowing. We might very well see the US reach saturation with 80% smartphone usage in another two years.