Apple Acquires Workflow, Apple Repositioning iPad in Education, Thursday Q&A

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • Apple Acquires Workflow
  • Apple Repositioning iPad in Education
  • Thursday Q&A

We begin today's email with my thoughts and observations on Apple acquiring Workflow. We discuss the app's future, Apple's motivation for acquiring an iOS productivity app, and the most likely way Workflow will be integrated into Apple's product line. The email then turns to how Apple is repositioning the iPad in education to better battle Chromebooks. We end the email with the latest installment of member Q&A, and I answer the following questions from Above Avalon members: 

  • Given this week's product announcements, what are your thoughts on Apple's keynote schedule in 2017?
  • Why did Tim Cook visit a bike-sharing startup in China?

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Apple Adjusts Watch Strategy, The Apple Watch Band Business, Swatch Developing Smartwatch OS

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • Apple Adjusts Watch Strategy
  • The Apple Watch Band Business
  • Swatch Developing Smartwatch OS

We begin today's email with a discussion on the significant changes Apple made to its Apple Watch strategy yesterday. None of the changes were discussed or mentioned in a press release. It is becoming clear that Apple is doubling down on Watch bands. The discussion then turns to a broader look at the Apple Watch band business and why Watch bands are much more important than consensus assumes. The email concludes with my thoughts and observations on Swatch developing its own smartwatch operating system. 

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Apple's New Products

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

Apple's New Products (five sections)

  • Overview
  • New 9.7-inch iPad
  • iPhone Updates
  • New Apple Watch Bands
  • Clips App

Today's email is focused on Apple's new products. The company issued a series of press releases unveiling a new 9.7-inch iPad, iPhone updates, new Apple Watch bands, and a video editing iOS app called Clips. The email is split into five sections. I share my thoughts and observations on the new products. We also discuss Apple's motivation behind the more strategic moves, including the company's new iPad pricing strategy. 

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iPhone Sales Trends in January, Spotify and Labels Near Deal, Chance the Rapper Talks Apple Deal

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • iPhone Sales Trends in January
  • Spotify and Labels Near Deal
  • Chance the Rapper Talks Apple Deal

We kick off today's email with a closer look at iPhone sales trends in January. The discussion is focused on three regions: U.S., China, and Europe. The email then shifts to music streaming and news of Spotify and the major music labels nearing a licensing deal. We go over the good and bad news for Spotify. We also discuss potential implications from the deal on the broader music industry and Apple Music. The email concludes with my thoughts on Chance the Rapper's Apple Music deal. The musician disclosed details about his arrangement with Apple. While the focus is on Chance, there are implications that transcend music streaming and relate to Apple's overall approach to content. 

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The Curious State of Apple Profit Margins, Snap Isn't Like Apple, Thursday Q&A

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • The Curious State of Apple Profit Margins
  • Snap Isn't Like Apple
  • Thursday Q&A

We begin today's email by continuing the discussion kicked off in my article, "The Curious State of Apple Product Pricing." We go over some of the financial implications related to Apple's product pricing strategy. We address why Apple's gross profit margins are increasing as the company lowers entry-level product prices. The email then turns to Snap. We discuss why I don't think Snap is like Apple. There is a fundamental difference between the two companies that most people are ignoring. We end the email with the latest installment of member Q&A, and I answer the following questions from Above Avalon members: 

  • How would you explain Apple's Mac pricing strategy given your latest Apple pricing article?
  • Why isn't Apple utilizing Apple TV's potential?
  • When is Apple going to create a premium offering that combines Apple Music and their iTunes video catalog? 

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Apple Releases New Sticker Ad, Why Stickers?, My Apple Sticker Ad Theory

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • Apple Releases New Sticker Ad
  • Why Stickers?
  • My Apple Sticker Ad Theory

We begin today's email with a discussion on Apple's new iMessage sticker ad. After going over my thoughts on the ad, we look at why Apple dedicated an entire ad to stickers. The email then turns to my theory on why we are seeing a new iMessage ad in March 2017 and what it may suggest about current iMessage third-party app usage and future plans for iMessage. 

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Intel Buys Mobileye, Mobileye's Motivation, Intel's Motivation, Apple Implications

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • Intel Buys Mobileye
  • Mobileye's Motivation
  • Intel's Motivation
  • Apple Implications

Today's email is focused on Intel's Mobileye acquisition. We begin the discussion by going over the deal itself, including why Mobileye likely decided to sell at $15B. The email then takes a closer look at why Intel views owning Mobileye as essential for competing in the next major battle in tech. We conclude with a broader overview of what Intel's Mobileye acquisition means for Apple and Project Titan, its transportation R&D start-up. 

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Building iPhones in India, Siri's Advantage, SoundCloud Is in Trouble

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • Building iPhones in India
  • Siri's Advantage
  • SoundCloud Is in Trouble

We kick off today's email with a closer look at Apple's plans for bringing iPhone production to India. In recent weeks, we have gotten a better view of how Apple is thinking about its emerging markets opportunity. The email then turns to how Siri "learns" new languages. We go over my thoughts and observations on the process, including where I think Siri stands today. The discussion concludes with an update as to SoundCloud's long-term prospects. We go over the Recode article saying SoundCloud is running out of cash. We then discuss why I think SoundCloud is having trouble finding a buyer.

These stories are available for Above Avalon members. To continue reading, click here.


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Mobile World Congress Was Irrelevant, Tech Trade Shows Are an Endangered Species, Didi Opens R&D Lab in U.S.

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • Mobile World Congress Was Irrelevant
  • Tech Trade Shows Are an Endangered Species
  • Didi Opens R&D Lab in U.S.

We begin today's email with my thoughts and observations on this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC), the biggest tech trade show focused on mobile. This year's MWC felt different. We look at what the conference told me about the changing smartphone landscape. The discussion then turns to why I think consumer tech trade shows are an endangered species given where the industry is headed. The email concludes with news of Didi opening a new R&D center in the U.S. We look at the most likely use for the center and what it means for the broader race to make autonomous cars. There has been a change in perception recently when it comes to Silicon Valley and autonomous driving. 

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Apple Brings Back the iPhone 6, Tim Cook Reassures Pro Users, Spotify Crosses 50M "Paying" Subscribers 

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • Apple Brings Back the iPhone 6
  • Tim Cook Reassures Pro Users
  • Spotify Crosses 50M "Paying" Subscribers

We kick off today's email with my thoughts and observations on the iPhone 6 making a return in select markets. Apple appears to be making a minor change in its global iPhone product strategy. The discussion then turns to Tim Cook once again reassuring pro users that Apple remains focused on doing more in the pro area. We discuss why Cook's comments on the subject continue to worry some Apple users. The email concludes with news of Spotify crossing 50M subscribers. There is a backstory to Spotify announcing 50M subscribers that very few are discussing. 

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Apple and Hockey Stick Growth, Apple Watch and Hockey Stick Growth Potential, Apple Losing in Classrooms 

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • Apple and Hockey Stick Growth
  • Apple Watch and Hockey Stick Growth Potential
  • Apple Losing in Classrooms

We kick off today's email with a closer look at hockey stick growth, or the idea of an inflection point leading to a dramatic change in revenue and unit sales growth. At first, we look at a few examples of hockey stick growth found with Apple. We then expand the discussion to include Apple Watch and assess the factors needed for the device to see hockey stick growth when it comes to consumer demand. The email concludes with a closer look at the NYT's article about Apple losing the battle for the classroom to Chromebooks. We go over my thoughts and observations on the topic, including Apple's stance on the issue. 

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Wearables as a Platform, New 2017 and 2018 Apple Watch Sales Estimates, Deep Dive into 4Q16 Wearables Market

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • Wearables as a Platform
  • New 2017 and 2018 Apple Watch Sales Estimates
  • Deep Dive into 4Q16 Wearables Market

We begin today's email by continuing the discussion kicked off in my article, "The New Leader in Wearables." Specifically, we go over a few examples of how Apple's wearables products demonstrate wearables are becoming a platform play. We then discuss my revised Apple Watch unit sales estimates for FY2017 and FY2018. I altered my methodology to better reflect recent market trends. We then discuss how Apple Watch unit sales growth should be viewed with iPhone and iPad sales growth serving as the backdrop. The email concludes with an overall view of the 4Q16 wearables market. We go over my additional thoughts and observations on 4Q16 wearables sales trends, including Apple's smartwatch market share. 

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A $1,000 OLED iPhone, USB-C and iPhone, Thursday Q&A

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • A $1,000 OLED iPhone
  • USB-C and iPhone
  • Thursday Q&A

We begin today's email with my thoughts and observations on The Wall Street Journal's article about the new iPhones scheduled to be released later this year. We discuss the probability of Apple shipping a $1,000 OLED iPhone. The discussion then turns to the WSJ saying the new iPhone will come with a USB-C port instead of Lightning. After going over some big picture takeaways regarding USB-C, we look at a scenario where this change would make sense. We then weigh the likelihood of that scenario occurring later this year. We end the email with the latest installment of member Q&A, and I answer the following question from an Above Avalon member: 

  • Is it common for a large company like Apple to have its top five shareholders own as much as 20% of the outstanding shares?

These stories are available for Above Avalon members. To continue reading, click here.


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YouTube TV, Google Calling It Quits with Pixel Laptops, Google Assistant No Longer Pixel Exclusive 

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • YouTube TV
  • Google Calling It Quits with Pixel Laptops
  • Google Assistant No Longer Pixel Exclusive

We kick off today's email with my thoughts and observations on YouTube TV. Google is getting on the skinny cable bundle bandwagon. The discussion then turns to news of Google getting out of the laptop hardware business. We revisit Google's broader hardware strategy. In addition, we go over why Google's Pixel smartphone strategy is increasingly looking shaky as Google brings Google Assistant to other Android smartphones. 

These stories are available for Above Avalon members. To continue reading, click here.


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Warren Buffett Bets Big on Apple, Buying the iPhone Company, Buffett on Apple Share Repurchases

Today's Above Avalon email includes the following stories: 

  • Warren Buffett Bets Big on Apple
  • Buying the iPhone Company
  • Buffett on Apple Share Repurchases

Today's email is focused on Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway becoming the fourth largest Apple shareholder by purchasing an additional 72M Apple shares last month. We begin by going over the timeline of Berkshire Hathaway's Apple share purchase activity, as well as why Buffett is willing to talk now about his Apple purchases. The email then turns to Buffett's motivation for buying a $18B stake in Apple. He doesn't look at Apple as just a technology company. We then look at Buffett's commentary regarding share repurchases and how it relates to Apple's current share repurchase program. The email concludes with my thoughts on Buffett's shockingly simple thesis regarding his Apple investment going forward.   

These stories are available for Above Avalon members. To continue reading, click here.


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