Sunday, May 30, 2010

Let's compare Apples with, umm, Apples?

OK, I can see what they are getting at - the iPad looks like a hit. Despite tablet PCs being on the market for yonks, when Apple releases a slick product with some key features (and the usual missing ones) it gets massive media attention - and somehow people feel the urge to queue. Not everyone, but well, lots do, anyway. As a product it's well designed and styled but probably needs a key long-term driver, other than pure hype. It may be that we "need" another e-reader or a bigger iPhone - and the swish iPad combines enough features of these genres to provide that enduring push. Although sheer numbers sold may also allow it to become a quasi-standard in such things as automotive electronics by simply dominating the "ecosystem" like the iPod has done.  It depends upon standardised connections and incoming competitors. If someone offers easier connection coupled with similar packaging at a lower price that may shove the iPad off the ecosystem stage. But Apple would adapt it - slowly - as they do with all of their products, to mesh with the market drivers.

But exactly why are we comparing the Mac with the iPad? Just for fun? As in "Oh, here's an interesting stat. This new device is different and cheaper and is selling more!" Wow, that's an insight!

Hmm. More seriously it's a competitor, sure, and may cannibalise some Apple Mac sales. But it's complementary, really. Of course if people don't want full functionality in a computer and really just want a few key things in a portable package then, yes, it may well kill off the severely niche-borne Mac. Is that what they are looking - or hoping - for? To me that's a sad view - let's accept that the tablet is finally here and that it will settle into its niche, just like the Mac has done. And let them both live on.

Apple iPad Sales Expected to Exceed Mac Sales Internationally | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD
Noting that the nine countries in which the iPad debuted today are among Apple’s strongest international markets, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky said he expects the company to sell more iPads than Macs internationally–600,000 to 700,000 or more in the third quarter of fiscal 2010. Abramsky figures international Mac sales will come in at around 500,000.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Labelled as Gen Y but nothing of the sort - how to twist and distort stats

The article itself balances its comments with the obvious - that we cannot assume that what we may call "Gen Y" will retain its current preferences and habits from here to eternity. In fact we should assume the opposite - that they will indeed change their comforts and attitudes as they age. So why does the headline writer claim that "Gen Y" wants its privacy? Why bother with the generational label at all? Why not simply say "young people, ie those in this age group" express these current behaviours?

It's highly likely that what we perceive as generational change is just aging. What we think and do and how we see our selves and the world changes as we age, mature and accrue responsibility - and as we shrug off social ties we no longer need or trust and instead bind more strongly to the families we build. It's not a "Gen Y" thing at all - it's just how we are at a certain age.  

Look Out Facebook: Gen Y Wants Its Privacy | BNET Technology Blog | BNET
Younger adults are more careful about their online reputations — and, as a result, more concerned about privacy — than older generations. That bodes ill for companies that trade in the details of consumers’ lives.

Market cap means little unless you want to buy a stake... or boast about what you are "worth"

Apple, Microsoft and the Market Cap Myth | BNET Technology Blog | BNET
It seems that the press has found this week’s Next Big Topic: that Apple (AAPL) surpassed Microsoft in market cap. In the U.S., it’s now second only to Exxon (XOM). Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer essentially dismissed market cap as a measure of importance.