Columnist Bob Cringely once again delivers his weekly sermon from the pulpit of PBS. This time the self proclaimed minister of prognostication talks about Apple's 3G plans and upcoming product launches.
Here's my thinking. Apple has worked hard to become a company not solely dependent for its success on Christmas sales. For years Apple would run at break-even for three quarters then make nearly all its profit for the year in the Christmas quarter, which used to be the fourth quarter and was later changed to the first fiscal quarter for exactly this reason. While monster quarters are nice, what's even better is selling huge numbers of units all year long, which much more efficiently uses infrastructure and results in stock prices that go up, up, and up. Apple has lately done a pretty good job of smoothing earnings thanks to the iPod and iTunes, which has grown so fast that holiday sales have become almost inconsequential. But in order to make this work Apple has to deliver new products all year, they have to exceed customer expectations on a regular basis and, of course, they have to manage those expectations so they'll have a benchmark to exceed.