Written by Nick Heer.

Archive for January, 2013

Unreasonable Expectations

The Macalope, in the usual third-person:

The Macalope’s not saying that Apple doesn’t face challenges, but try telling him that it makes sense that Amazon’s P/E ratio is 4052 while Apple’s is 10.

These are bets on the future of each company and they’re completely out of whack.

Nose Jobs

John Brownlee of Cult of Mac:

“Jamis told me that Steve had an aversion to Groucho Marx glasses,” I said to Zimberoff during our photo interview. “So how hard was it to get him into ‘The Nose’?”

Zimberoff’s response was just a chortle. “Very difficult,” he told me, in a tone that suggested an ocean of understatement.

Fascinating story behind a fairly obscure (until now) photo of Steve Jobs.

AT&T Earnings

AT&T sold a record 10.2 million smartphones in the fourth quarter. […]

In the quarter, the company activated a record 8.6 million iPhones, […]

84.3% of smartphones sold in the quarter were AT&T. Shareholders had better watch out — with record-breaking performance of an Apple product like that, their stock is about to dive.

Why Does Google Still Reward Content Scraping?

John Herrman of Buzzfeed on content scraping sites like the Huffington Post:

A site should not be able to auto-post a stub of another story and immediately outrank it in the world’s most popular and powerful search engine — that is a bug. And on the surface, it seems like an easy one to fix: One story was posted days later, with a small word-for-word excerpt of the other’s text. Even to a machine, it seems like it ought to be easy to tell which one of these posts is derivative of the other.

Goodbye to Stepped Noses

Good news, everyone: today’s posts aren’t entirely going to be about Apple’s Q1 2013 results. There’s Formula 1 news, too. “Michalis K.” of GPUpdates:

Almost all of the teams adopted the ‘stepped’ design ahead of the 2012 season, with only McLaren and Marussia choosing to follow the path of the lower ‘banana’ nose. […]

To improve the aesthetic appeal of the cars in 2013, the FIA reached a compromise with all of the teams and it was ultimately decided that a non-structural fairing of prescribed laminate could be fixed on the nose surface to cover the stepped element.

Despite being a McLaren fan — a team which created an innovative workaround to the stepped nose — this is good news. This year’s Mercedes (also a fan) should be beautiful; we’ll find out for certain on February 4.

Spell It With Me: B-E-L-E-A-G-U-E-R-E-D

The Economist, of all magazines, on Apple’s Q1 earnings:

They got another fright on January 23rd when the firm revealed that its latest quarterly profit of $13 billion was flat because of higher manufacturing costs.

Which means lower profits. With me so far? Great. Here’s their advice on what Apple could do to improve its share price:

The firm has played down reports of a cheaper iPhone, but Apple-watchers expect an announcement this year. Slimmer profit margins in China and India may be worth it to woo millions of new buyers.

Lower profits in Q1 — which tanked the stock — should be countered with a much lower margin product. Genius.

Here’s Why AAPL Was Pummelled in After-Hours Trading

Smart article from Bryan Chaffin of The Mac Observer:

Put another way, Apple has been sandbagging its guidance for years, a practice has caught up to the company as analysts and investors alike expected the company to have blowout numbers every quarter. That practice will change going forward. Apple will also present its guidance as a range, rather than a fixed number.

Apple has done this for a couple of quarters now, but they officially announced it during yesterday’s conference call. In a nut, Apple’s guidance has always been low, and investors would bank a bit above that. When the results came in well above what both parties were predicting, the stock rose. Apple is now presenting much more realistic estimates, but analysts are still expecting them to deliver results well above their own guidance. Apparently the most profitable year in corporate history is a little boring.

The Xbox Hoax

Harry Marks on the blogs that published a bullshit Xbox rumour:

Boo hoo. How awful that it took one person to show you your model for reporting news is a farce and that you might want to do some actual investigative journalism before publishing every rumor that crosses your inbox.

Surely Gizmodo and CNet have sources in Microsoft’s Xbox division. But the page views of rumour stories keep the ad model afloat, so this shit will never end.

Apple’s Q1 2013 Results

Record quarter, $54 billion in revenue, and nearly 48 million iPhones sold. On the conference call, Tim Cook noted that “no technology company has ever reported numbers like these before”. You know all that already. There are two extra juicy bits of this earnings report. First:

Apple also sold a record 22.9 million iPads during the quarter, compared to 15.4 million in the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.1 million Macs, compared to 5.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

Mac sales are down, but the PC market is in decline in general. However, iPad sales are skyrocketing. Apple is cannibalizing itself.

Second:

Apple is providing the following guidance for its fiscal 2013 second quarter:

• revenue between $41 billion and $43 billion

If that’s true, Q2 will be the third-biggest in Apple’s history.

Internet Comments Still Suck: A Translation

Matt Burns and Elin Blesener of TechCrunch:

It was early 2011 and TechCrunch’s comment section was overrun with trolls.

It was a day of the week, and TechCrunch‘s comment section was overrun with trolls.

Bullies and asshats were drowning out our smart commenters.

Bullies and asshats are the only people who comment on TechCrunch.

We hated our commenters because, well, they hated us.

We still hate our commenters, as evidenced by the image we used to illustrate this post.

So we rolled out Facebook Comments in an attempt to silence the trolls — by removing their anonymity.

We don’t understand that assholes with a name are still assholes.

But we eventually discovered that our anti-troll tactic worked too well; The bullies and asshats left our comments sections, but so did everyone else.

Our precious ad revenue! Come back!

Now, several years later, after dozens of endless meetings and conference calls, we’ve decided we’re going to try out Livefyre instead of Facebook Comments.

We think the asshats of Livefyre are nicer than the asshats on Facebook. See above regarding ad revenue.

Frankly, our trial with Facebook Comments lasted way too long at too steep of a cost.

Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.

Sure, Facebook Comments drove extra traffic to the site, but the vast majority of our readers clearly do not feel the system is worthy of their interaction.

Facebook Comments drove less traffic to the site.

Some sites have killed comments altogether, turning instead to Twitter and aggregators for user interaction.

These sites are strangely more readable and more enjoyable. Coincidence? Well—

We want to know what you think about an article. Call out our typos, join the discussion, give us counterpoints — just don’t be a dick.

And Michael Arrington founded this site, so we know dicks. Boom!

Hands on With Microsoft’s Surface Pro

Anand Lal Shimpi:

Surface Pro features two fans that are audible under heavy load but attempt to remain as quiet as possible. The fans will adjust their direction of rotation depending on how you’re holding the tablet, with the goal of never exhausting warm air into your hands.

This is an elegant solution to a problem that shouldn’t exist.

Verizon Activated 6.2 Million iPhones in Q4

The first look at iPhone sales for the holiday quarter comes courtesy of Verizon, as reported by Mashable‘s Seth Fiegerman:

Verizon revealed during its earnings call Tuesday that it activated 6.2 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, almost half of which were LTE-enabled iPhone 5 devices. That means Verizon sold about 3 million iPhone 5s in the December quarter, up from 651,000 in the previous quarter (when the device had only been on sale for nine days).

That represents a growth of nearly 50% as compared to last year’s record-breaking holiday quarter. If that’s extrapolated across all iPhone sales worldwide (which is quite a stretch, granted), that could mean 55 million iPhones sold between October and December. This is obviously just one carrier’s sales in one country, but given the increased international rollout, it could be even greater than that.

Verizon did not provide a breakdown of how many of each iPhone model were sold in Q4 2011, but they did this year. As Fiegerman notes (above), over half of iPhones sold were of the older models, which is interesting. It’s not as if we’ve reached the peak of technological innovation, but perhaps we’ve reached a point where even the old stuff is great enough for the vast majority of people.

Anti-Apple Anger

Marco Arment has put up the full article I quoted in part back in November:

Where Apple says “You can’t do that because we think that would suck,” Microsoft and Android usually say, “You can do whatever you want, even if it sucks.” They give users enough rope with which to hang themselves, even when that results in asphyxiation, and it’s up to the users to tolerate or fix any resulting problems themselves. Google and Microsoft are platform libertarians: they don’t kick away the chair, but you have to cut yourself down.

Wonderfully said.

Going Postal

Laura Snapes of Pitchfork:

A website for the duo — comprising Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Dntel’s Jimmy Tamborello — appeared earlier today, simply stating: “The Postal Service: 2013”.

Finally. I can’t tell you how excited I am for their new alb—

And now Billboard has confirmed that Sub Pop will release a deluxe edition of the band’s sole album, “Give Up”, next month, in order to commemorate the record’s 10-year anniversary.

God dammit.