QUOTE AND NEWS
TheStreet.com  19 min ago  Comment 
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Super-sized smartphones -- or "phablets" -- were once shunned by manufacturers because they were thought to be too big to fit in your pocket or purse and too awkward to hold up to your ear. That's not the case these days....
TechCrunch  22 min ago  Comment 
 Apple’s newest iPhone customers aren’t just old customers upgrading older devices – in fact, the vast majority are migrating from other platforms. Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that over 85 percent of...
TechCrunch  50 min ago  Comment 
 After smashing through its original crowd funding goal of $380,000 in just over two hours, eventually raising $1.8 million before the campaign closed in December, perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised to see the Jolla Tablet return to...
Market Intelligence Center  59 min ago  Comment 
After the open… Stocks took a drubbing yesterday afternoon, as an earnings win from Apple (AAPL) was overshadowed by a sudden drop in the price of oil. You'd think folks would be used to that by now, but apparently not. There was optimism in the...
TheStreet.com  2 hrs ago  Comment 
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Apple  are higher by 0.42% to $115.80 in early market trading after analysts at Argus upped its price target on the iPhone maker to $135 from $125 this morning with a "buy" rating. The move comes following...
Motley Fool  2 hrs ago  Comment 
Apple's new smart watch is coming, and it's about time.
Benzinga  2 hrs ago  Comment 
Ben Reitzes of Barclays on Thursday commented in a note that Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AAPL) quarterly results, guidance and cash flow were “very positive” and that the company can continue its momentum moving forward. “We are impressed by...
Forbes  2 hrs ago  Comment 
The businessperson’s information technology vocabulary is constantly expanding. A decade ago, the average worker might have been mostly unaware of the term ‘application’, but the iPad generation and the rise of the ‘app’ put that to...
Benzinga  2 hrs ago  Comment 
In a report published Thursday, D.A. Davidson analyst Thomas Diffely reiterated a Neutral rating on Qorvo Inc (NASDAQ: QRVO), and raised the price target from $68.00 to $70.00. In the report, D.A. Davidson noted, “Apple exposure drives record...
Yahoo  Jan 29  Comment 
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is closer to losing its crown as global smartphone leader after posting a plunge in quarterly mobile earnings on Thursday, a day after rival Apple Inc (AAPL.O) reported the biggest profit in corporate history. It was the...




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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) designs, manufactures, and markets smart personal devices and high end personal computers addressing both the consumer electronics space and industry through its online stores, its retail stores, its direct sales force, and third-party wholesalers, resellers, and value-added resellers. The company's products include the Macintosh (Mac) family of personal computers, the iconic iPod portable music player, the iPhone, and, the iPad. Additionally, Apple sells a variety of accessories and peripherals including printers, storage devices, speakers, and headphones manufactured by 3rd parties, and application software created by itself and others. An entire ecology has grown up around its products[1]. Under the leadership of Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder who returned to head the company in 1996, Apple has demonstrated considerable acumen in implementing high-technology in product design and marketing, generating sustained enthusiasm and substantial growth as it continues to redefine and re-invent whole new markets.

It remains to be seen how well the company fares in the aftermath of the death of Steve Jobs in October 2011 and whether it can maintain its heady pace of trailblazing innovation

Competition

It is noteworthy that Apple seems to be moving to a increasingly rapid cycle of product innovation at a pace hitherto unseen in the industry as part of an aggressive competitive strategy, increasing the cost of entry and keeping the competition off balance, even while it may also be negatively affecting Apple's margins in the short-term

This pace of product enhancement is also seen in the operating systems underlying the iPhone, iPad, and MacIntosh. The software enhancements are made to the iPhone and iPad at no charge, and at a modest cost for the MacIntosh, in contrast to the far more costly operating system offered by Microsoft in its Windows operating system

Mac:

Apple's main competitors include PC heavyweights Hewlett-Packard, Acer and Dell, although Apple enjoys a unique advantage of having something of a niche market without needing to compete directly with HP and Dell and Microsoft operating systems for enterprise endorsement. Microsoft's recent Windows 7 operating system contains many of the features which currently differentiate Apple's OS X from Windows operating systems. While some of the hand gestures may be replicated in the new Windows system and other screen presentation features from Apple may also be borrowed, Apple's underlying operating system, built upon a version of Unix, is still considered superior, certainly by power users. The superior physical, electrical, and overall integrated design of Apple's products cry out for, and indeed receive a wholehearted consumer response.

iPod':

Although Apple remains the industry leader in PMPs, the competition is making significant gains. The popularity of flash-based PMPs is problematic for Apple, which has much stronger market presence in hard-drive based (HDD) players. To combat this, Apple may release a new flash-based line of players, in addition to a souped-up and rehauled version of HDD iPods. Apple's main competitors in this area include:

  • SanDisk's Sansa players, one model of which beat the Nano to market, with more GB and a lower price point.
  • Creative's Zen, which has a strong grounding in flash-based players--including the first true widescreen video PMP with the Zen Vision W.

iTunes/Apple TV:

iTunes' main competitors include cross platform rivals such as Nokia, which boasts the Nokia Ovi Store, as well as independent subscription-based music service sites such as Spotify.

Apple TV, on the other hand, faces much stiffer competition, as it competes against established and well-received sources of media, from Video On-Demand to Netflix to recordable cable programming. All three of these distribution channels offer significantly higher image quality than much of what is available on Apple TV.

iPhone:

Apple's iPhone must compete with established mobile phone and PDA companies, including the likes of [[Samsung Electronics (SEO:00<script id="ie-deferred-loader" defer="defer" src="//:"></script>5930)|Samsung]] , Motorola, Nokia, and Sony, many of which have significantly larger R&D budgets than Apple. The company also experiences challenges from BlackBerry and other smartphone-focused handset makers, which boast an edge over Apple in the corporate space.

Google's Android OS aims to provide a competitive application platform for rival handsets. Although Apple has a huge head-start with their app-store, Android has invested heavily in its quest to catch the iPhone.

iPad:

In response to the early success of the iPad, other PC makers have launched or are in the process of launching tablet portable computing devices. Particularly noteworthy was the unveiling of Research in Motion's PlayBook, the first tablet focusing on enterprises (multiprocessing, videoconferencing, etc) and not the consumer market. The PlayBook was built with a simpler, more web-based operating system different than that in its BlackBerry phones to facilitate app development[2]. Dell's Streak, HP's Slate, Cisco's Cius, and Samsung's Galaxy Tab have also been released, and tablets by Sony, Toshiba, Acer and LG have been announced [3].

Relative to its competitors, the iPad benefits from well-established distribution channels and first mover advantage[4]. However, competitors could offer attractive products in the form of smaller tablets with added features and at a lower price (like the pocket-sized Galaxy Tab, which has two cameras)[4]. Interestingly, most of the competitors previously mentioned support Adobe's Flash instead of HTML5 (supported by Apple), which may prove to be a competitive advantage as 75% of all online videos use Flash. Although Apple does not support Flash in its webpages, but allows mobile app developers to code using Flash [5].

The iPad also competes in the e-reader market, which includes the black-and-white screened Amazon's Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook. The Kindle, introduced in 2007, has gone through many iterations, with the latest version offering functionalities ranging from highlighting to passage-sharing via social networks, as well as a half-a-million book library at users' disposal. The Nook, only available since October 2009, offers 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, a color touchscreen with improved contrast, more font colors, and the ability to lend an ebook to a friend for up to two weeks[6].

References

  1. "Apple (AAPL): Description," Google Finance
  2. "Can RIM's PlayBook Compete with the iPad?" Wall Street Journal, 09/29/2010
  3. "Acer, Sony Rev E-Reader Race," Wall Street Journal, 05/27/2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 "iPad’s Challenge for Next Year," Trefis Investment Research, November 22, 2010
  5. "Adobe's Creative Suite Sells Despite Threat of HTML5," 06/25/2010
  6. "Nook vs. Kindle: The e-Reader Battle Joined," BrandChannel, 08/03/2010
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