Reuters blog archive
from The Edgy Optimist:
Apple’s quarterly results this week drew a flood of reactions – almost all negative. Given how well the company did under almost any absolute measure, this is odd, though, for Wall Street, not necessarily surprising.
But the arc of Apple’s rise and temporary fall tells a more troubling story about our current inability to maintain positive momentum about any aspect of our culture. We slay our heroes with casual abandon. Then we wring our hands about the absence of positive catalysts in our world today.
Apple’s stock, already in relative free fall from an all-time high of more than $700 a share, plunged nearly 12 percent on the news. The company has now lost 35 percent of its value in four months – which represents an astonishing $235 billion. This decline alone is larger than all but three companies in the S&P 500, and larger than the gross domestic product of more than 140 countries.
That equity collapse was echoed by deeply pessimistic analysis of the company in the financial and tech media. Jim Cramer of CNBC railed against the post-Steve Jobs management under chief executive officer Tim Cook for failing to communicate a compelling vision. Others were less kind, dismissing the company as having no pipeline, no vision and little growth. “I think this is a broken company,” said noted investor Jeffrey Gundlach.
Neil Young wants a convenient digital device to play music -- like an iPod -- but with higher-quality sound than consumers hear now with digitally compressed files.
The rock legend -- whose 'Heart of Gold', 'Old Man' and many others are still top-sellers on iTunes -- said he had discussed the idea with late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and that he and Jobs were working on the issue before he died.
Apple rolled out its iOS 5 mobile operating system, one week after pancreatic cancer claimed the life of its former CEO and visionary Steve Jobs. The update adds voice recognition software called "Siri", instant messaging and support for Apple's iCloud service, although the inclusion of Siri is limited to the iPhone 4S. MacWorld's Dan Moren says the free update is "ambitious" and that "there's hardly a part of Apple’s mobile operating system that isn’t altered in some way". Engadget's Dante Cesa says that "other than turn-by-turn navigation, more multitasking APIs and some delectable widgets, there isn't much, headline-wise, left on Apple's hit list for iOS 6".
Despite Jobs's death, investors still like what they see at Apple and want the company to start giving up some cash, according to a Reuters Poll. Apple has a cash hoard of $75 billion and record demand for the iPhone 4S has pushed its stock price near an all-time high. Six of the 11 money managers polled by Reuters called for a dividend payout as a reward for their loyalty.
Walking past Apple's sleek shop along London's Regent Street on Sunday, my wife asked me what I wanted for Father's Day.
"An iPad?" I ventured, half-jokingly.
"Are you sure you want one? Don't you care how they're made?" came her disapproving reply.
Hundreds of people across the U.S. lined up to get their hands on Apple's iPad 2, the update to last year's wildly popular tablet computer. If you're wondering how much the iPad 2 could cost you, Michael Hickins of The Walls Street Journal adds up the tab and discovers you could easily spend $300 on top of the $499 price tag for the cheapest model. Tablet sales are expected to surge to more than 50 million units this year, with Apple capturing more than 70 percent of the market.
If you do buy an iPad and you happen to be a politician, you might not want to use how much you paid for it as an example of why inflation isn't a problem when you head into a working-class neighborhood.
from Tales from the Trail:
As is increasingly the case, the United States is finding that talking pro-democracy is one thing. Dealing with the aftermath of uprisings another.
U.S. officials have been on the telephone with officials in Bahrain urging restraint after police attacked anti-government protesters.
Among the year-end lists popping up around the web, one of the most closely watched is Apple's annual Rewind lists. It's almost like an awards ceremony for the things we carry around on our mobile devices, and it's an especially informative proxy for trends that emerged in the burgeoning market for mobile apps.
Unlike previous years, Apple didn't break out the top-selling games and non-gaming apps into different categories, making comparisons a little tricky. Even so, there are a couple of interesting things to note. For example, the top-selling iPhone games of 2009 were largely from big gaming companies like EA and Gameloft. Four of the top five were from Electronic Arts alone, including the Sims and Madden NFL.
Music industry types must have had been reaching for their tranquilizers this afternoon, following a report that Apple is in early stage talks to buy Spotify. The report spread quickly, as these things do, and some thought it made a lot of sense. So Apple, maker of the world's most popular music device, the iPod, which already owns the No.1 music download retailer iTunes, would be buying Spotify --the much-loved and critically acclaimed music streaming service, just as it's finalizing deals to launch in the U.S.? This would be too much to handle for many music executives, who think Apple already holds way too much power.
They'll probably be relieved to know that after an initial flurry of panicky phone calls we got a helpful call from one person close to Spotify, who shot down rumors of a potential sale to Apple or anyone else as "completely untrue".
from Tales from the Trail:
If President Obama really wants to get his groove back with young voters, he might want to get a bit more in synch with their musical tastes and a bit less in line with songs their parents -- and grandparents -- listened to. He’s got about 2,000 songs on his iPod, but – as he put it – his selections are more weighted to his childhood – his very young childhood – than to much that 20-somethings are listening to today.
“There's still a lot of Stevie Wonder, a lot of Bob Dylan, a lot of Rolling Stones, a lot of R&B, a lot of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Those are the old standards,” Obama said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine released on Tuesday. He also listens to a lot of classical music. “I’m not a big opera buff in terms of going to opera, but there are days where Maria Callas is exactly what I need,” he said.
Death need not be a grim affair, especially for the living. At a new columbarium in Singapore, the deceased can depart, rock concert style. Unlike most traditional Buddhist funeral ceremonies that follow cremation, there is no incense and no monks offering prayers at the Nirvana Memorial Garden columbarium, where the urns holding the remains of the dead are stored.