AAPL passes all-time high of $427 a share, market cap closes in on $400B

An interesting occurrence happened this morning: In a run up to Apple’s Q1 2012 earnings call, and amid a steady flow of 2012 Consumer Electronics Show announcements where Apple traditionally does not exhibit, the company’s share reached an all-time high by passing $427 a share for a market valuation of $398 billion (Exxon Mobile is at $408.86 billion). As noted by Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt, the company passed the $426.70 mark it hit briefly one day in mid-October

Interestingly, several analysts boosted their iPhone estimates for the December quarter. Goldman most notably upped their iPhone estimate to 31 million quarterly units, up from the previous 30.2 million estimate. Needham significantly increased their previous 28 million units projection to 32 million units.

By the way, the Apple iPhone turned 5-years-old today. On this very day five years ago, Steve Jobs took the stage at MacWorld Expo to announce the original iPhone. The rest, as the saying goes, is history…

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Market shifts: Samsung beats iPhone in sales, ZTE passes Apple in global cell phone volume

The third quarter of 2011 marks a shift in the cell phone biz as Samsung takes the smartphone crown from Apple and China’s ZTE rises to become the world’s fourth-largest cell phone vendor by volume and Apple slides to fifth place. The bad news for Cupertino arrives just as the company for the first time in years missed Street expectations after shipping 17.07 million iPhones in the September quarter, a modest 21 percent annual growth and a notable 16 percent quarterly decline in units. As you recall, Apple in the June quarter sold 20.34 million iPhones, allowing them to beat Nokia and Samsung and become the world’s leading smartphone vendor, prompting Samsung to stop divulging smartphone and tablet shipments for competitive reasons.

Everyone was waiting for the new iPhone 4S.

Samsung today posted their quarterly earnings and they passed iPhone by an estimated ten million units. According to Reuters which cited a Strategy Analytics survey, Samsung shipped about 27.8 million smartphones, up nearly four times annually and 44 percent sequentially. This gave Samsung a 23.8 percent global market share in smartphones vs. 14.8 percent for Apple. Such a strong growth is attributed to their Galaxy smartphones, particularly the Galaxy S II model which sold ten million units in the five months since its introduction. Strategy Analytics attributed Samsung’s success to “a blend of elegant hardware designs, popular Android services, memorable sub-brands and extensive global distribution”, adding:

After just one quarter in the top spot, Apple slipped behind Samsung to second position and captured 15 percent share. Apple’s global smartphone growth rate slowed to just 21 percent annually in Q3 2011, its lowest level for two years. We believe Apple’s growth during the third quarter was affected by consumers and operators awaiting the launch of the new iPhone 4S in the fourth quarter, volatile economic conditions in several key countries, and tougher competition from Samsung’s popular Galaxy S II model.

Apple also slid to fifth place in Strategy Analytics’s worldwide cell phone rankings as ZTE shipped 18.5 million handsets for a five percent global market share. Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the October 4 iPhone 4S introduction that iPhone had five percent share of the global cell phone market, hinting at Apple’s phone strategy:


via Fortune

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Forrester relents: Recommends Macs for business because your boss wants one

IT managers’ thinking is influenced by a myriad of business factors, including research studies advising them not to adopt Apple’s computers. But their attitude is changing as Forrester Research, one of the most outspoken proponents of the Mac-free business environment, now backpedals on their 2008 report which called for a total banishment of Macs in the workplace – even for the most mundane tasks such as handling email.

According to the Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt, a new Forrester survey (available for sale on the corporate card here) of 590 IT managers, Mac users comprise “the 17 percent of information workers who use new technologies and find innovative ways to be more productive and serve customers more effectively”. Wow, talk about change in stance. But wait, there’s more. “Mac users are your HEROes and you should enable them not hinder them”, the report concludes, HEROes being a Forrester acronym for Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives.

Just like with iPhone, “Macs are being freewheeled into the office” by corporate higher-ups – typically executives, sales reps and other workaholics – who rely on MacBook Pro machines rather than Windows notebooks which “are slowing them down”:

Employees want their PCs to boot in 10 seconds, not 10 minutes, and they don’t want to have to get a cup of coffee while opening a 20 MB spreadsheet in Excel. They’re drawn to uncluttered Macs — especially those with solid-state drives, which are more responsive and boot in seconds.

That, and the looks…

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Early biography publication “not related to any decline” in Steve Jobs’s health (BONUS: front and back cover detailed)


Image courtesy of Simon & Schuster. Click for larger.

The official Steve Jobs biography, which is based on forty interviews and set for publication by Simon & Schuster November 21, sports the memorable front cover shot depicting Apple’s leader touching his guru-like beard, his eyes piercing intensely at the camera and eyebrows slightly lifted as if he is imagining Apple’s next big thing. That image, also found on Apple’s recently revamped PR website under the Apple Leadership section, is the Albert Watson portrait taken in 2009, author Walter Isaacson revealed in a private email exchange with Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt. The back cover?

The back is a Norman Seeff portrait of him in the lotus position holding the original Macintosh, which ran in Rolling Stone in January 1984. The title font is Helvetica. It will look as you see it, with no words on the back cover.

More important to Apple fans, the earlier than expected book launch – which had been originally pinpointed for March 6, 2012 – has nothing to do with the state of Steve Jobs’s health, Isaacson told Fortune’s Elmer-DeWitt. Apple’s boss has gone on an indefinite sick leave in January 2011, his third health-related leave of absence from the company he co-founded. Here’s from Isaacson:

It’s actually not related to any decline. I turned most of the book in this past June. It’s now all done and edited. The March 2012 date (or whatever date it was) was never a deeply-considered pubdate. Like the original cover design, it came about because the publisher wanted to put something in the database last spring.

This is obviously an important tidbit for Apple fans concerned about Steve’s well-being. Go past the fold for the publisher’s long description of the book.  The book is available for Pre-Order at Amazon for $20.

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