Let me put on my officially certified prognosticator hat and predict record revenue, record profits, record iPhone sales, record Mac sales, and decent iPad sales, not to mention records for everything else Apple sells. Those are all well and good, of course, but these numbers are more interesting.
The Samsung Swoon
For the first time in ages, Apple competitor and premier vendor, Samsung, will post a profit decline. Why? Cheap Chinese knock-off brands ate their profits, leaving Apple alone at the top of the smartphone and tablet spectrum.
Why? Samsung’s devices are mostly plastic and so are all the cheaper smartphones and tablets, including Chinese darling Xiaomi, a company which prefers not to sell in countries with strong intellectual property laws.
Plastic equates to cheap. Samsung’s devices also run Android, also available on all the cheap phones, so by association, Samsung’s devices should be cheap, not expensive, therefore, ipso facto, Apple owns the high end of the market. The place where all the profits reside.
Wait. There’s more numbers. A few months ago Google introduced a new version of Android, this one called Lollipop. Ha ha. It’s for suckers, because Google recalled Lollipop right away. You know. Deadly bugs.
A few months have gone by and Apple’s iOS 8, itself not without a few problems out of the starting gate, nears 70-percent penetration. How does that compare to Android Lollipop? Nobody really knows because it’s hard to find any smartphones running Lollipop. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has a good rundown on what went wrong, but suffice it to say, Apple’s iOS 8 is in no danger of being eclipsed by Google’s latest and greatest Android for three or four years.
The Thin Broadband
Finally, broadband penetration in the United States is eclipsed by a few dozen European and Asian nations, because, well, you know– competition. Or, lack of. Where I live, broadband starts just above 128k modem speed, and usually stays put at 4-5Mbps, with an occasional spurt toward but not to double digits.
The United States Federal Communications Commission now proposes to raise the minimum speed for broadband from 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up, to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up. If so, I wonder if I’ll be forced to pay Comcast’s higher price tag for more bandwidth.
Here’s the problem. All the FCC is doing is changing the definition. We broadband internet users still need to pay the freight, so to speak, to get the broader band. My solution is simple. Declare internet access a public utility, with the infrastructure run by a single utility in each area. Competition comes from internet access providers who pay the public utility for access to the infrastructure, and sell that access to users.
That’s the way it is in many countries I visit in Europe and they pay less for faster broadband access, have more ISPs to choose from, and better service.