Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Apple's iRony

UPDATE: Just read the "interview" responses of Steve Jobs to Walt Mossberg in the WSJ. Ummm... the answer to 3 of the 7 Qs was "[Apple] doesn't talk about future products." All Mossberg was trying to find out was
  1. if iPhone was going to be stuck on the same slow EDGE network offered by AT&T,
  2. if there would be less expensive models of iPhone released, a la the Shuffle for iPod, and
  3. will you be fixing the issues with the iPhone that we didn't like, such as video, IM, and GPS (See article)?
The answer to all Three Questions: "We don't talk about future products." Oh yeah, Steve Jobs? What do you call the last 7 months since your stunt at the MacWorld Conference? The one where you talked all about your future product?

The Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone will hit stores on Friday, June 29th. The media and tech worlds wait like eager dogs at the foot of Steve Jobs' dinner table. But all may not be well in the iWorld-- At $499 and $599 for the 4 and 8 Gig units respectively, some call it overpriced, overhyped and overloaded with unnecessary features.

iPhone may also be overpromising. Recent releases say it will now deliver eight hours of talk time, compared with the five hours it originally promised and the four hours available on current Über-PDA competitors Blackberry Curve and Palm Treo 750. Other small print reveals that ownership of the unit will require a two-year contract with AT&T (NYSE: T). Hmmm... that is a fact that should be printed in Super Bold.

Lastly, serious corporate America is not jumping on the Apple Bandwagon. The technology that allowed Research In Motion Ltd.'s (NASDAQ: RIMM) Blackberry to meld easily was created by an early partnership with business-friendly Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). IT experts report that the Apple app IMAP is a security risk. That's enough to keep most businesses from sync-ing the piece with their internal email systems. That leaves iPhone die-hards with the extra hastle of Re-Forwarding everything from the office through POP servers... something BENEATH most Mac Addicts that I know.
Ad Age Editor Jonah Bloom, says
"Rational thinking has nothing to do with it.
Consumers will lust after the iPhone and thus ignore
both necessity, price and service contracts."

Ah, but will they also ignore the near uselessness of its internet, corporate email, and battery-draining irrelevant features? I vote there'll be a big "no" from the world's business professionals. But what's Apple doing trying to get into business anyways? Stick to Consumer Electronics and your iLife… ipod-toting teens and megalopolitan hipsters will line up for miles awaiting Steve's future table scraps. --Shawn Butler

Friday, June 15, 2007

If you can't beat 'em… call them nerds

Although hailed as a new tier of clever competitor-specific comparative advertising, the "iconic" [sic] Mac vs. PC Ads are nothing new to consumers. For decades, we have watched the world's Super Brands go head-to-head in the beverage industry. We've enjoyed ring-side seats between The Choice of a New Generation and Always Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), as well as Budweiser (NYSE:BUD), undisputed King of Beers battling the "President of Beers," Miller Brewing Co., now SABMiller (NYSE: MO).

In these instances, it is nothing more than Madison Avenue's take on a tactic we've all used since grade school-- make fun of anyone doing better than us! Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) controls a 90% marketshare in the computer/software ind. Mac (NASDAQ: AAPL) is by far the underdog, and in retaliation, they are not going after the usual mix: price, prod. quality, availability, instead they post ads saying, "90% marketshare and undisputed dominance in business? Well, atleast I'm cool!" For all the lauds of "cleverness" and subtle "jabbing" TBWA\ is receiving for the Mac vs. PC ads, let's take an honest look at what Steve Jobs is really saying:

Personally, I prefer Alltel's Chad campaign. It's the exact same concept-- Alltel, (NYSE: AT) the smallest of the 5 major wireless carriers, poses their spokesman, Chad, as the suave, popular, cool guy who is competing against the huge established companies, characterized as geeks and nerds. Basically, aren't these all just new iterations of the playground joke "Sure you get better grades, but atleast I'm not a dork!" --Shawn Butler

Friday, June 1, 2007

Indians and iPods

Many of you have already found this. This image was taken from space of a hill that looks a lot like A Native American Listening to His iPod. Google Inc.-- the same company that gives us Google.com, Blogger.com, Google Moon, and a host of other fun things I use everyday provides Google Maps for Free. This site is great fun, inspiring Andy Samburg to call it "the best. . . Double True." But I want to tell you that there are things to do on GoogleMaps even after you're done finding your house, your job, and cyber-stalking your exes from Global Satelites.

Google Sightseeing is one of many spin-off sights where people are posting the funny stuff they find as they mouse all over the planet. Sightings of UFOs and monsters, as well as rumors of amassing armies on the Chinese-India border abound, complete with KML coordinates and clickable photos. Here are some other funny sights at Haha.nu. Including the boy who built his own Location Balloon.

Fast Company labels Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) as an "authentic" brand and calls it "purpose-driven." Google is not humble about this, boasting a corporate philosophy that they "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Deeper into their homepage I found this: "You can make money without doing evil," and, "Work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun." Busy, busy.

Company shares today trade at $487.11, way down from their high at $513 in Nov, but still well above the market's avg. share price-- I'm predicting a split this summer, like my YUM shares! I think we should all pitch in, buy Google stock, and drive up this share price! (NOTE: The writer is not qualified to give stock advice or counsel, as he knows next-to-nothing about any of this stuff.)

Midway through writing this post, I realized how much Google really does for me to make our modern, internet-facilitated world a better place. Thanks Google! Good luck on your mission of taking over the world! --Shawn Butler

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