A lot has changed since Steve Jobs flipped off IBM 30 years ago. Photo: Andy Hertzfeld
2014 will go down as one of the biggest years in Apple history. The stock hit record highs. The company’s first wearable was revealed. And Apple dropped $3 billion on its biggest acquisition ever. But of all the huge news Apple dropped in the last 12 months, nothing is likely to have as big an impact as the previously unthinkable announcement that Apple and IBM buried the hatchet and partnered up.
The move was significant not only for the historic aspect of the two rival tech titans uniting, but also for how it will impact all of us in the workplace. In his final note of the year, top Apple analyst Horace Dediu dubbed the IBM partnership “the most significant technology news of 2014.”
That may sound ridiculous considering how much hype Apple Watch is getting ahead of its release, but Dediu points to the first wave of apps created by the partnership. These offer an early indication of just how transformative the relationship could be. For the first time, enterprise apps are being designed for their users (the employees) rather than their employers.
Just take a look at the difference between IBM’s new Expert Tech app compared to the closest equivalent from Oracle, and see which one you’d rather work with:
Tim Cook onstage at the 2014 WWDC. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Tim Cook stepped up as the CEO of Apple on August 24, 2011. The soft-spoken Southerner, who has worked at the Cupertino company since 1998, had previously acted as interim CEO when Steve Jobs stepped down to battle cancer.
Cook’s ascent to the permanent CEO position marked a sea change for Apple. Once called the stage manager to Jobs’ star, he’s now running the show. After endless speculation about whether Cook’s rule marked the end of Apple or signaled a bright new era, going by the numbers, it looks like he’s earned a solid B.
Here’s a look at his first three years as the head of Apple, a job he got paid $4.25 million to perform in 2013.
A colorful iPhone 5c advertisement brightens the Powell Street BART Station in San Francisco. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
In four months, Apple will reveal new iPhones. It’s as certain as the changing of summer to fall: Leaves die, kids go back to school, and the world gets a shiny new iPhone, delivered with love from Cupertino.
But when Tim Cook takes the wraps off this year’s version, what’s to become of the poor, sad, unloved iPhone 5c, still begging the world to caress its unapologetically plastic frame?
Is this “the best book about Apple so far”? Read it and find out!
Jony Ive takes extra pains to keep his personal life private, but Leander’s book Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products shines a light in corners of Jony’s life and at Apple HQ that few have ever seen, especially when it comes to Apple’s design processes.
The book garnered praise from readers during its release last Fall, but we were super-giddy this afternoon to see that the world’s leading Apple analyst, Horace Dediu, just plowed through all 320 pages and says it’s the best book about Apple so far.
Three years ago, Tim Cook very memorably said that although Apple was selling $40 billion worth of products every year (that number has since more than quadrupled), all of Apple’s products could fit on a dining room table. That amazing quote was slightly disingenuous — many of Apple’s products are virtual, and take up no physical space at all — but it still made a point: Apple chooses what it does so carefully that everything has its place. What Cupertino doesn’t do is just as important as what it does.
It’s all interesting food for thought, to be sure, but what if we took Tim Cook’s table metaphor and broke it down? For every foot of table, how much money does Apple make on each product?
Apple may not be snapping up big companies all over the place like Yahoo!, but it is buying lots of shares in one major corporation — itself. Last quarter, the Cupertino company spent $16 billion on 36 million of its own shares, which cost, on average, just over $444 apiece.
Over at Asymco, noted Apple analyst Horace Dediu takes a moment to look at the iTunes App Store from the perspective of a “break even” model, a perspective that Apple has only recently started to discuss as perhaps more than breaking-even. Dediu notes that with the quintupling of growth of the overall beast that is iTunes (including music, video, and iOS app software), an analysis of Apple’s business practices as well as the App Store’s economy of scale suggests that Apple is doing quite a bit better than “breaking even.”
In its first year, the Mac sold just 372,000 units. PC clones were reaching two million units, or six times the amount of sales of the Mac. And things got worse from there, climbing to a vertiginous 60x by 2004.
Now, though, according to everybody’s favorite Apple analyst and Christopher Walken soundalike Horace Dediu, the gap has dropped to just 2:1 – if you count iOS in with OS X.