All Articles by Chris Umiastowski

Why Apple is set to hit record numbers. Again.

Apple just finished reporting its fiscal Q4 2013 results, which ended in September. Overall it was a very solid quarter, with just under $38 billion in revenue, gross margin of 37% and earnings per share of $8.26 (fully diluted). Was it a record quarter? We have to keep in mind that Apple’s Q1 (December) is the big one every year, driven by holiday sales. But as far as comparable Q4 periods, this was a record setting quarter for iPhone sales, with 33.8 million units sold. They also tied last year’s Q4 shipments for the iPad (though no records were set on the Mac). So what does it all mean?

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iPads are overpriced... compared to what?

Before the iPad launched it was rumored to cost $1000. When Steve Jobs announced it at an Apple special event in 2010, the starting price ended up being $500. Given the expectation and the presentation, the price sounded great. Now, following the latest iPad event, and the introducing of the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini, there are grumblings that the price is too high. That Apple is blowing it. In a short, but very worthwhile blog post today, independent analyst and consultant Benedict Evans published his thoughts on iPad pricing.

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The mass misunderstanding of the iPhone 5c market

In the past week there have been countless stories run about the alleged production cuts of the iPhone 5c. I say “alleged” because that’s all it is right now. Allegation. And at least one of the analysts (who I shall not name) making this allegation has a very spotty track record on all things Apple.

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Many financial analysts don't understand that they don't understand Apple, and that's dangerous

Last week Apple announced the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. They'll be shipping both starting tomorrow, and shipped iOS 7 just yesterday. Surrounding this enormous product roll out has been some of the worst Apple coverage I've ever seen. It's been clear for a number of years that many mainstream financial analysts and media outlets simply don't "get" Apple. This week made it painfully clear just how badly they don't get it, and how big of a problem that is.

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Wall Street isn't very happy with Apple's new iPhones, and here's why!

Yesterday Apple made the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c official. And Wall Street collectively shrugged at the news. Rather than simply attack Apple's strategy or dismiss investor reaction, let’s talk about Apple the company and the stock. Let’s have a discussion about what these guys are doing (or perhaps failing to do) when it comes to meeting the expectations of the market.

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Apple's new iPhone trade in program will help them in emerging markets, and here's why!

It looks pretty much certain that Apple will unveil a trade-up program across its retail stores soon. 9to5Mac reported on it and iMore heard it was a go as well. TechCrunch claims it's already being tested at some stores, and has even through some numbers around. They’re suggesting an iPhone 4S in good shape might fetch as much as $200.

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How will Google's attempt to devalue hardware hurt Apple?

With Google’s recent release of the updated Nexus 7 tablet at $229, a lot of comparisons have been made between it and other low priced tablets on the market. It sure seems like Google wants to put pressure on vendors to offer solid specs with affordable price tags for consumers. After all, this helps sell more devices, and that increases the potential market for Google services, which is where the search giant makes its profit. This isn't dissimilar to how the race-to-the-bottom in App Store pricing has commoditized software, which benefits Apple's hardware-centric revenue model. But it does prompt the question, will it force down prices, or catalyze a price war, such that nobody really makes any money on hardware? And if so, what will become of Apple's business model?

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It's a lull in the product cycle and we know it, but Apple's doing fine

The results of fiscal Q3 are in, and Apple stock is actually up almost 4% in after hours trading. All this really tells us, of course, is that Wall Street is reasonably happy with the news. The Street expected an overall worse combination of Q3 results and Q4 guidance. So what does it all mean?

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Time Warner on Apple TV: Bold disruption or hopeless compromise?

Yesterday Bloomberg put out a story discussing a likely deal between Apple and Time Warner. The idea, apparently, is to bring Time Warner cable subscribers the ability to watch content via the Apple TV box in addition to being able to use the traditional cable set top box or iPad and iPhone apps.

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Tim Cook's new compensation plan bets long on AAPL

Over the last week Apple announced changes to CEO Tim Cook’s compensation. The changes are quite non-standard and there has been much discussion on the topic. Here’s the situation: Cook was granted one million restricted stock units after taking the CEO job. Some people incorrectly call these stock options. They aren’t the same thing but it doesn’t matter for this discussion. So, what's changed and what does it all mean for Apple investors?

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WWDC 2013, Wall Street, and what it will take to get Apple stock moving again

Starting first thing in the morning, Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference opens its doors. Tim Cook and other execs will take the stage to share all that is new from Apple. And unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that Apple’s share price has dropped from $700 last September to below $400 in April, and has now recovered slightly to about $440 as I write this.

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Apple vs. Android: The marketshare mentality, and why it's a mistake

Last week Techpinions.com posted a really good editorial by John Kirk discussing how much of a joke it is to consider Android the winner in the smartphone space simply because they have the most market share. The very next day, Business Insider tech editor Jay Yarow pubished a post with a headline that read, “Apple Should Be Furious That It Has Such A Tiny Sliver Of The Smartphone Market.” Here's John Gruber’s response at Daring Fireball. And here's my take...

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Apple already pays $1 out of every $40 tax dollars the U.S. collects. How much more does the Senate want?

Ahead of the testimony it will be giving before the U.S. Senate tomorrow, Apple (via The Loop) offered up a nicely detailed 17-page PDF document with all sorts of good information inside. The most interesting number is this: Apple pays $1 out of every $40 of income tax collected by the US Treasury. Isn’t it incredible to think that one company is responsible for 2.5% of all US income tax collection?

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Apple vs the U.S. Congress: Can Apple convince Congress to fix cash repatriation tax laws?

It’s quite popular for people reporting on Apple’s financial position to quote the absurdly high level of cash the company holds on its balance sheet. At the end of last quarter the $145 billion is more than a rainy day fund, which is why the board of directors approved a massive stock buyback and dividend hike. Of course Apple won’t be using much of its cash to do this. Instead, it raised debt. Why? Because so much of the cash -- about $102 billion -- is not on US soil. Instead this money is held in other countries.

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Does it matter if Samsung is gaining on Apple in mobile profit share? Nope - here's why!

According to research by Cannacord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley, Apple still rakes in a whopping 57% of the profits in the mobile industry, while Samsung grabs the other 43%. Note that I said “mobile industry” not “smartphone industry”. In case you’re wondering why this adds up to 100% despite the presence of other players, it looks like the small profits from guys like BlackBerry and HTC are offset by losses from LG, Motorola, Nokia and others. The report also apparently goes into some detail on how Samsung should overtake Apple to be #1 in profitability. This is a red herring, and here's why...

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Wall Street vs. sanity: Painting a clearer picture of AAPL

In the few days that have passed since Apple’s latest quarterly results, people can’t seem to stop writing about the so-called stalled growth and “margin collapse” that hit the company. Ok, the term “collapse” is excessively stupid (you know who you are, stop it). Apple’s revenue is still growing, but profitability is down year over year. The profit decline is due to undeniably lower gross margin. But what does that mean?

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Q2 2013 and investing in Apple

On Tuesday Apple reported a pretty solid set of financial results for Q2 fiscal 2013. Revenue was $43.6 billion, which is up 11% year over year. But it’s also fair to point out that earnings were down year over year. In fact Apple posted EPS of $10.09 which is a decline from $12.30 last year.

There are plenty of industry observers and stock market pundits who are pointing out that “Apple is not a growth company anymore”. Factually, I think it’s better to say that Apple did not achieve earnings growth this quarter. They did achieve revenue growth (and quite reasonable growth), but they didn’t grow the bottom line.

Question is - can they get back to delivering growth? I think they can and I think they will. Let’s remember this is a long term game.

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Why Apple's stock dipped below $400 and what investors should do about it

Today Apple stock dipped below $400, and is down about 5% as I write this. Yes, the overall market is down today. But Apple is down a lot more than normal. The reason? Cirrus Logic, a supplier of audio chips to Apple, warned today. To “warn” is Wall Street speak for press releasing preliminary results that are crappier than people expected.

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What could Dish + Sprint mean for the future of mobile video on iOS?

Satellite TV innovator Dish Network has thrown a monkey wrench into Softbank’s plans to acquire a 70% interest in Sprint by offering a 13% premium over Softbank’s bid, and rather than buy a majority of Sprint they’re proposing a full merger. For those of you who really want to understand the thinking that went into this, watch the AllThingsD video interview with Dish chairman Charlie Ergen . It’s a long video, but damn, you have to admire the straight-up answers Ergen gives to the audience.

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Betting against Apple: Why stock swarms only work when we let them

Earlier this week, Mal Spooner from Money wrote a piece about the swarming of Apple stock. In the article, he equates street swarming -- when a gang surrounds and often attacks an unsuspecting victim -- to the swarming of a stock by short sellers. The main difference, he suggests, is that in a street swarming there is no real motive. Yet in a short-seller swarming, the motive is to rob investors by driving the stock price down.

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