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.
Does 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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Richard Waters, Chris Nuttall, April Dembosky and Tim Bradshaw in the FT's San Francisco bureau share their views - plus tech insights from Maija Palmer and Robin Kwong in London and Sarah Mishkin in Taipei.
Richard Waters has headed the FT's San Francisco bureau since 2002 and covers Google and Microsoft, among other things. A former New York bureau chief for the FT, he is intrigued by Silicon Valley's unique financial and business culture, and is looking forward to covering his second Tech Bust.
Chris Nuttall has been online and messing around with computers for more than 20 years and since 2004 has reported from the FT's San Francisco bureau on semiconductors, video games, consumer electronics and all things interwebby.
Maija Palmer has been writing about technology for the FT since 1999 and is fascinated by cybercrime, privacy and all the other issues of the information society. Based in London, she covers European tech companies and hopes that they won't all get acquired by American rivals.
Robin Kwong is the FT's technology, media and telecoms page editor in London. Formerly he was the Taipei correspondent and wrote about the companies that manufacture the vast majority of the world's computers and gadgets. He is interested in the intricacies of the technology supply chain and how China is increasingly changing the tech landscape.
Tim Bradshaw is the FT's digital media correspondent, and has just moved from London to join our team in San Francisco. He has covered start-ups such as Twitter and Spotify, as well as the online ambitions of more established media companies, such as the BBC iPlayer. He also covers the advertising, marketing and video-game industries. Tim has been writing about technology, business and finance since 2003.