Monthly Archives: October 2012

Tim Bradshaw

The big headline from Apple’s latest results was its low earnings forecast for the months leading up to the holidays. Tim Cook warned that earnings per share would fall, year over year, to $11.75 – well below Wall Street consensus of $15.41.

The explanation is plausible: the costs of ramping up manufacturing of a suite of new iPhones, iPads, iPods and Macs all at the same time will hit margins.

But investors don’t seem to buy it. Apple’s stock, initially down when results first landed, is unchanged in the after-market. Read more

There wasn’t much in Apple’s Q4 results about China. But what few snippets there were to be found were revealing.

In an earnings season that has already seen a number US companies, including Dow Chemical, DuPont, 3M, FedEx, Caterpillar and Alcoa, blame faltering demand in China for their weak earnings, Apple has managed to buck the trend.

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Windows 8Does Microsoft risk confusing consumers with an operating system that tries to serve every kind of computing device and may end up satisfying no one? With its dual-interface, dual-purpose, dual-processor, mixed-up thinking, Windows 8 is a pushmi-pull­yu, half-man, half-biscuit, weird and occasionally wonderful creation that is guaranteed to bewilder – at least initially.

And that’s just the Microsoft end of the operation. The hardware makers have responded with their own Whirligig 8 – sorry, Windows 8 – of swivelling, swinging, sliding and snapping hybrid devices that veer from tablets to notebooks. Everyone is trying to cover everything while they wait to see what we consumers will go for.

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Richard Waters

After two quarters of declines, iPhone sales ticked up again in the latest period, to nearly 27m. Meanwhile, iPad sales dropped to 14m as rumours of a new iPad mini spread like wildfire. But for Wall Street, this was just the appetiser: the real banquet will be Apple’s current quarter, when iPhone sales are projected to jump to 50m and iPads to 22m. Speaking on the earnings call, Apple executives sounded optimistic about their ability to ship the new products in high volumes – though they warned that profit margins would suffer a temporary dent.

See below for our blow-by-blow take on the company’s latest earnings call. Read more

Will Windows 8 turn out to be Microsoft’s “New Coke”?

Messing around with one of the world’s most familiar everyday products is hardly something to be undertaken lightly – and with the new version of Windows, which goes on sale on Friday, there has been a lot of messing around. That almost guarantees some degree of user backlash. But it would be wrong to judge the outcome of what amounts to a bet-the-farm gamble by Microsoft on its initial reception.

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Richard Waters

If you’re one of those people who has been dying to use Excel or Word on a touch-optimised tablet, your wait is over. But that may not be enough to justify paying a premium for a device that is both Microsoft’s first foray into personal computing hardware as well as the flagship for the new Windows 8.

Try, for a moment, to put comparisons with the iPad out of your mind (admittedly not so easy on the day that Apple has just shown off the new iPad mini and a souped-up 10in version). The Surface, which goes on sale on Friday, deserves to be judged on its own terms: as a tablet that is designed to function equally well as a notebook PC. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apple's iPad mini

Apple’s introduction of an iPad mini and the second update this year of the original iPad positions it perfectly to take on all-comers in the tablet wars for this holiday season.

Having handled the new mini at Apple’s launch event on Tuesday, I think it could be onto another winner, the only doubts being over whether consumers will think it too expensive for a 7in-category tablet or so cheap and adequate enough that they need not buy the pricier 9.7in iPad.

Apple must feel it has dealt with the cannibalisation issue by introducing a new version of the “new iPad” it unveiled in March, so that the larger model feels fresh and still appealing to consumers.

Improvements include an even faster chip – the A6X – said to deliver twice the performance of its predecessor, an improved FaceTime HD camera, the new Lightning connector, dual-band Wi-Fi and support for additional LTE carriers worldwide. Read more

Stellar revenues and the continuing prospect of double-digit growth make British chip designer Arm Holdings a solid but very expensive buy for investors. Lex’s Stuart Kirk and Nikki Tait assess the challenges ahead including fierce competition, and a fast-moving and unpredictable technological landscape.

Chris Nuttall

Apple has unveiled a smaller version of the iPadthe iPad mini – and an updated version of the original iPad at an event in San Jose, California.

The Silicon Valley company also revealed new versions in its MacBook, Mac mini and iMac line of computers. The updates come three days before the launch of new PCs featuring Windows 8.

You can follow how the announcements were made in our live blog from the event at the California Theatre, after the jump. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Behind every daredevil stunt or eye-popping event of late, a pint-sized point-of-view camera costing a few hundred dollars has been there to capture the moment through the eyes of the performer.

And, until a new thrust by Sony into a booming category, behind every “action cam” there has been a maverick entrepreneur pursuing a dream, which in the case of GoPro could lead to a $500m reported IPO next year. Read more