Above Avalon Episode 112: The Art of Disclosure

The fourth season of the Above Avalon Podcast kicks off with a discussion focused on Apple Watch sales disclosure. We take a closer look at the debate surrounding disclosure to see how Apple now stands to benefit more from disclosing Apple Watch sales than from keeping them hidden. The discussion goes over the four major changes that have swung the disclosure debate in favor of Apple providing Apple Watch data. We look at one possible path that Apple can use going forward to disclose Apple Watch sales on a quarterly basis. The episode concludes with a broader look at financial disclosure at public companies and how Apple manages its financial disclosure strategy. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.        

Show Notes:

It's Time for Apple to Disclose Apple Watch Sales (weekly article)

Above Avalon Episode 102: Apple Cash Influence (podcast)

Apple Watch Installed Base and User Base Estimates (member email)

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Above Avalon Episode 111: Let's Talk iPhone X

Apple was faced with a choice: Stick with the familiar and milk the iPhone business for all it’s worth, or throw familiarity out the window to pave a new iPhone journey for the next 10 years. Apple chose the latter, and iPhone X is the byproduct. Episode 111 is dedicated to discussing iPhone X. We begin by going over Apple's motivation behind iPhone X. The discussion then turns to my initial impressions and thoughts from using the device. We go over Apple's strategy regarding iPhone X reviews and conclude with Apple's ultimate goal with iPhone X. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

iPhone X (weekly article)

iPhone X Initial Impressions (video)

Apple 4Q17 Earnings Review (email for Above Avalon members)

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Above Avalon Episode 110: A Double Standard

Apple is a Silicon Valley and Wall Street leader with a bull's-eye on its back, and rightly so. Leaders should be held to a higher standard. Episode 110 is dedicated to discussing how Apple is being held not only to a higher standard, but also to a double standard. We begin by going over what it means for Apple to face a double standard. The discussion then goes over examples of how companies not named Apple are being graded on a curve. After looking at how Apple's double standard impacts the company's Apple Watch and China narratives in the press, we go over my three theories for why a double standard is being applied to Apple. The episode concludes with a few solutions for removing this double standard. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

Apple Is Facing a Double Standard (weekly article) 

Apple 4Q17 Earnings Preview (email for Above Avalon members)

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Above Avalon Episode 109: Apple's Grand Vision

Apple's product strategy has been receiving more attention lately as voice-first and AI-first become buzzwords in Silicon Valley. Episode 109 is dedicated to discussing the vision behind Apple's product strategy. We begin by analyzing Apple's current product strategy and how the company's four major product categories are connected to each other. The discussion then turns to Apple's shifting product priorities. This brings us to Apple's grand vision and how there is a role for design to play in entirely new industries. After discussing issues and roadblocks Apple has faced following its grand vision, we conclude with how HomePod marketing sheds light on Apple's inevitable product path. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

Apple's Grand Vision (weekly article)

Above Avalon Episode 103 - Apple Glasses Are Inevitable (podcast)

Above Avalon Episode 95 - A Mac Headache (podcast)

Estimating the iPhone Installed Base and User Base (daily email for members)

Apple Watch Installed Base and User Base Estimates (daily email for members)

iPad Installed Base and User Base Estimates (daily email for members)

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Above Avalon Episode 108: iPhone Courage

The amount of risk Apple is taking with iPhone X should not be underestimated. Episode 108 takes a closer look at how Apple is displaying courage by not letting fear of change and customer rejection dictate iPhone design decisions. The discussion begins with my iPhone X impressions. We then go over how the iPhone X fits within Apple's overall iPhone strategy. We go over examples of how Apple has displayed courage with iPhone in the past and why design has such a large impact on iPhone's future. The episode concludes by comparing Apple's approach to design with Samsung's approach. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

iPhone Courage (weekly article)

Estimating the iPhone Installed Base and User Base (daily email for members)

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Above Avalon Episode 107: Back from Apple Park

Episode 107 is dedicated to discussing Steve Jobs Theater. We begin with my impressions from attending Apple's inaugural event at Steve Jobs Theater. The discussion then turns to how Steve Jobs Theater is an Apple product, and a closer look at the building uncovers a side to Apple that few have seen before. We go over additional items that stood out to me about the theater and Apple Park, including why the most crucial takeaway ends up being about Jony Ive. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

The Significance Behind Steve Jobs Theater (weekly article)

The Jony Ive Promotion (weekly article) 

Project Titan Buildings Revealed / Map of Buildings (daily email for members)

Apple Event Review (daily email for members)

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Above Avalon Episode 106: Getting Ready for Steve Jobs Theater

Apple's largest product event in years is just a few days away. In episode 106, we look at the big picture ahead of the inaugural event at Steve Jobs Theater. We begin by going over the top three trends taking place in the smartphone market. The discussion then turns to the major themes in the wearables market, followed by TV, and then the home. The goal is to set the stage for Apple's upcoming product announcements. I will be attending Apple's inaugural event at Steve Jobs Theater. My full thoughts and observations on the event will be sent exclusively to Above Avalon members. To receive this analysis and perspective, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership. Members also receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails.

Show Notes:

Major Tech Trends Ahead of Apple's Big Event (weekly article)

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Above Avalon Episode 105: Apple in China

In episode 105, we focus on Apple's business in China in an effort to answer whether the country represents more of an opportunity or risk for Apple. The discussion begins by going over some of the numbers, including those that show Apple's volatile performance in China. We then look at the major trends unfolding in the smartphone market in China, which leads to a deep dive into the major issues impacting Apple in China. After going over the WeChat versus Apple debate, we discuss the various positive signs reappearing in Apple's Greater China operating segment. The episode concludes with a look at some strategy adjustments Apple can make in order to leverage the most opportunity from China. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

Apple in China (weekly article)

Kantar Worldpanel (iPhone sales share data)

Apple's China Problem (Stratechery)

Why Apple Is Losing Its Shine in China (Wired)

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Above Avalon Episode 104: Obscene Amounts of Cash

Episode 104 is dedicated to discussing how Apple's business model predisposes the company to cash generation unlike that of any other firm in Silicon Valley. The discussion begins by comparing Apple's financials to those of the leading consumer-facing technology companies. We then take a closer look at Apple's business model to see just how the company is able to generate so much free cash flow. The stationary speaker market is used as an example to demonstrate how Apple plans on making money differently than others in the space. We conclude by going over questions regarding Apple's cash machine in the future. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

Apple Has the Best Business Model for Generating Cash (weekly article)

Episode 102: Apple Cash Influence (podcast)

Episode 99: HomePod (podcast)

Episode 103: Apple Glasses Are Inevitable (podcast)

Apple 3Q17 Earnings Review (daily email for members)

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Above Avalon Episode 103: Apple Glasses Are Inevitable

Episode 103 marks the introduction of a brand new topic to the Above Avalon podcast: augmented reality glasses. All of the pieces are coming together for Apple to sell glasses. We begin the episode with the reason why now is the time to talk about Apple Glasses. The discussion then turns to the seven reasons why Apple Glasses are inevitable. This sets the scene for the big picture (a deep dive into glasses as a device, Apple's evolving thought process about glasses, and an overview of how Apple would actually sell AR glasses). Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

Apple Glasses Are Inevitable (weekly article)

Apple 3Q17 Earnings Preview (daily email for members)

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Above Avalon Episode 102: Apple Cash Influence

Episode 102 has a financial tone as we discuss how Wall Street is thinking about Apple in a new way. After breaking up the last five years of Apple stock performance into four eras, we go over my theory on why Wall Street now looks at Apple's excess cash as the most influential factor impacting the stock. This means that the iPhone business is losing influence over the stock. We go over the four reasons why I think investors are now valuing Apple's future cash flows at a higher level. The episode concludes with three implications of Wall Street giving more attention to Apple's balance sheet, excess cash, and share repurchases. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

Wall Street Has Begun to Think About Apple In a New Way (weekly article)

Above Avalon Episode 90: Buying Back 50% of Apple (podcast)

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Above Avalon Episode 101: iPhone Turns Ten

This week marks the tenth anniversary of Apple launching the iPhone. Episode 101 is focused on how ten years of iPhone sales changed Apple. After going over three sets of data that stand out when thinking about the iPhone, we take a closer look at three lessons Apple learned from iPhone (ambition, control, platform). The episode concludes with a discussion of how the iPhone's legacy is already beginning to appear. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

iPhone Turns Ten (weekly article)

Above Avalon Episode 98: iPhone Evolution (podcast)

Steve Jobs introduces the first Apple Store (video)

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Above Avalon Episode 100: A Glimpse of the Mac's Future

The 100th episode of the Above Avalon podcast is dedicated to how WWDC contained clues hinting at the Mac's future. We begin by discussing how management's WWDC keynote marked a turning point in the awkward Mac stretch that has been unfolding over the past few years. We then compare the Mac portion of the keynote to the iPad portion in order to see the significant difference in tone and strategy. This difference ends up helping us map the Mac's direction. After going over some of the possible changes to the Mac line, we conclude the episode by talking about why this is unchartered territory for Apple. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

WWDC Clues Hint at Mac's Future (weekly article)

Above Avalon Episode 95: A Mac Headache (podcast)

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Above Avalon Episode 99: HomePod

I am back from San Jose and WWDC. Episode 99 is focused on the most intriguing new product at this year's WWDC: HomePod. The discussion begins with an overview of the expectations heading into last week's HomePod unveiling. Apple's sales pitch for HomePod caught quite a few people by surprise. We then go over my impressions from listening to HomePod play various music genres. The episode then turns to HomePod's value around augmented hearing in the home and the broader strategy behind the product. After discussing HomePod pricing and a few challenges Apple faces with the product, we conclude by going over Apple's overall goal for the device. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

HomePod (weekly article)

The Battle Lines in Tech are Being Redrawn (weekly article)

Above Avalon Episode 87: Change Is in the Air (podcast)

WWDC 2017 Review (member email)

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Above Avalon Episode 98: iPhone Evolution

The iPhone's role in our life doesn't remain static, but rather it evolves. Episode 98 is focused on how the iPhone has evolved over the past 10 years. We cover the major implications this ongoing evolution will have on iPhone pricing, screen size preference, upgrade trends, and demand for other Apple products. The episode concludes with a discussion on the item responsible for breeding the evolutionary process found with iPhone. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.

Show Notes:

iPhone Evolution (weekly article)

Video of Steve Jobs Introducing Original iPhone in 2007 (YouTube)

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Above Avalon Episode 97: Apple Wearables Are a Thing

In episode 97, we discuss one of the major themes from Apple's 2Q17 earnings report. There were a number of interesting observations found in the "Other Products" line item. In particular, Apple wearables (Apple Watch, AirPods, Beats headphones) sold quite well. After going over the methodology I used to derive 2Q17 Apple Watch and AirPods unit sales, we discuss the best way to put Apple wearables sales into context. It turns out Apple wearables outsold iPhone over the first two years on the market. We also discuss why the wearables discussion should be about more than just Apple Watch and the impact a wearables platform will have on adoption trends. The episode concludes with some thoughts on Apple wearables sales over the upcoming year. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.    

Show Notes:

Apple Wearables Sales Outpacing iPhone out of the Gate (weekly article)

Apple 2Q17 Earnings Review: Major Themes (for Above Avalon members)

The Curious State of Apple Product Pricing (weekly article)

Daily Emails for Above Avalon Members

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Above Avalon Episode 96: Defining Apple

Apple continues to be misunderstood. Episode 96 is focused on how best to define Apple. The discussion begins with all of the labels used to describe Apple over the years. We then go over the major clues that help us define Apple, and this takes us to my thesis that Apple is a design company. We go over what design means and the difference between a design and tech company. The discussion concludes with a few examples of how Apple, as a design company, approaches core technologies. We use these examples to map where Apple is headed in the future. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.    

Show Notes:

Apple Isn't a Tech Company (weekly article)

Above Avalon Episode 88: Grading Tim Cook (podcast)

The Shape of Things to Come - Jony Ive Profile (The New Yorker)

Inside Apple (60 Minutes)

Charlie Rose Interviews Jony Ive (Charlie Rose Show)

Apple 2Q17 Earnings Preview (for Above Avalon members)

Daily Emails for Above Avalon Members

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Above Avalon Episode 95: A Mac Headache

In episode 95, we discuss how the Mac business has become a headache for Apple management. We begin by going over Apple's recent private meeting with outside journalists to talk about the Mac product pipeline. We then assess Apple's success with Mac by comparing it to the rest of Apple's business. The discussion turns to Apple's Achilles' heel and why the tail end of Apple's product line is beginning to pose a challenge. Apple's decision to come up with a new Mac Pro, while likely the right move, raises a number of red flags. After looking at each red flag, we end with a big picture view of why the Mac will have trouble fitting within Apple's longer-term mission. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.    

Show Notes:

The Mac Is Turning into Apple's Achilles' Heel (weekly article)

Transcript of Apple's private, on-the-record Mac meeting (TechCrunch)

The Grand Unified Theory of Apple Products (weekly article)

Daily Emails for Above Avalon Members

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Above Avalon Episode 94: Getting Aggressive with iPad

In episode 94, we discuss how Apple is pulling out all the stops when it comes to selling iPad. We begin by going over the significant changes to iPad strategy unveiled last week. The discussion then turns to the reasoning behind the changes, which involves taking a closer look at iPad sales according to screen size. This brings us to how Apple's aggressive iPad actions are related to the company solving its Mac dilemma. The episode concludes with how Apple plans to return the iPad business to growth. Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple throughout the week via exclusive daily emails. To sign up, visit AboveAvalon.com/membership.    

Show Notes:

Apple Is Pushing iPad Like Never Before (weekly article)

Above Avalon Episode 89: The iPad Asterisk (podcast)

Above Avalon Episode 93: Underpricing Luxury (podcast)

Peak iPad Mini (weekly article)

Above Avalon Episode 80: Let's Talk the New MacBook Pro (podcast)

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Above Avalon Episode 93: Underpricing Luxury

As Apple pushes deeper into luxury brand territory, the company is making its products more accessible through lower pricing. Apple is underpricing AirPods and Apple Watch. In episode 93, we discuss Apple's evolving pricing strategy. We begin by looking at AirPods and Apple Watch pricing and why I think the products are underpriced. The discussion then turns to three possible theories on Apple's wearables pricing strategy. After analyzing each theory, we take a closer look at how Apple is using pricing to grow its user base. The episode concludes with a number of things to look for when it comes to future Apple products and how Apple is using lower pricing to redefine luxury. To receive additional Apple analysis throughout the week, become an Above Avalon member by visiting AboveAvalon.com/membership.    

Show Notes:

The Curious State of Apple Product Pricing (weekly article)

Above Avalon Episode 92: Wearables as a Platform (podcast)

The Curious State of Apple Profit Margins (daily email for members)

Daily Emails for Above Avalon Members

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