Sunday, February 17, 2013

Apple's Steve Jobs: The Crazy Ones

Steve Jobs narrates the first Think different commercial "Here's to the Crazy Ones". It never aired. Richard Dreyfuss did the voiceover for the original spot that aired. However Steve's is much better 1997.

Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Branson, John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog), Frank Lloyd Wright and Pablo Picasso.

The young girl at the end is Shaan Sahota

Monday, February 11, 2013

Apple's iPhone 5 v Samsung's Galaxy S3

A Samsung US commercial poking fun at Apple, that would have driven Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder, nuts if he was alive:

It has been a bad few weeks for Apple which reported flat holiday quarter earnings last month even though it sold 28% more iPhones and 48% more iPads, its two biggest products, than the year ago final quarter of 2011 - -  the firm sold a record 47.8m iPhones in the quarter.

Samsung Electronics of South Korea reported that its quarterly profit  jumped 76%, as its Galaxy smartphones beat Apple's iPhone in each quarter of 2012. Apple's shares are off 33% since hitting an all-time high of $705.07 on September 21 last, just as the iPhone 5 launched in stores and in January, ExxonMobil, the oil giant, reclaimed its crown as the world's most valuable public company. Apple's market value is however back on top and at close of business last Friday, Apple was worth $446bn compared with Exxon's $399bn. Samsung Electronics' market cap on Friday was $196.5bn.

Samsung is estimated to have held 28% of the global smartphone market last year - -  the key growth sector that is also the most profitable -- up from 20% a year earlier, according to IHS iSuppli. Apple's share, meanwhile, just moved up from 20.5% in 2012 from 19% a year earlier.

Bloomberg reports that Apple said last week that the board and management are discussing the return of more money to shareholders, after a proposal by hedge fund manager's Greenlight Capital Inc.’s David Einhorn to pay out more of its $137.1bn in cash and securities, possibly with higher-yielding preferred stock.

Gross margin fell to 39% last year from 45% a year earlier and was caused by the introduction of the iPad mini, other products with higher costs and price cuts for existing products but as competition intensifies. Apple's world premium price will be under relentless pressure.

Almost 20% of China's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012 was spent on transporting goods. In recent years, high fuel prices, labour costs and road tolls have boosted logistics' costs. This compares with an estimated 13 to 14% in India in 2011; 8.5% in the US; 12.5% in South Korea [pdf]; about 10% in France and 18% in Ireland [pdf].

China's labour costs surged 15 to 20% on average. Fuel prices tripled from that in 2000, while road charges made up one third of the total logistics costs, according to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP).

The New York Times reports today that Samsung has emerged as a potent challenger to Apple, the top consumer electronics maker. The two companies are the only ones turning profits in the highly competitive mobile phone industry, with Apple taking 72% of the earnings and Samsung the rest.

Yet these two rivals, who have battled in the marketplace and in the courts worldwide, could not be more different. Samsung Electronics, a major part of South Korea’s expansive Samsung Group, makes computer chips and flat-panel displays as well as a wide range of consumer products including refrigerators, washers and dryers, cameras, vacuum cleaners, PCs, printers and TVs.

Where Apple stakes its success on creating new markets and dominating them, as it did with the iPhone and iPad, Samsung invests heavily in studying existing markets and innovating inside them.

The once mighty Sony of Japan, inventor of mobile music and modern television technology, is struggling badly in Samsung's wake.

With Samsung showing success in offering a range of phones at varying prices, Apple is reported to be planning to launch a cheaper iPhone. In the meantime, the main battle is between the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S3.

The Apple has the same impressive design that it introduced in the Apple 4. Some reviewers have judged the S3 to be more plasticy. However, it is argued that the S3 using Google's Android operating system does a lot more for less money. Apple even changed the power adapter in the iPhone 5 to raise more revenue.

However with its world price, it appears to have made a big miscalculation in particular in Asia.

50 Reasons Why Galaxy S3 Is Better Than iPhone 5

In this video, 50 reasons are detailed as to why the Samsung Galaxy S3 is better than the iPhone 5. The reasons include both hardware and software features that the Galaxy S3 that the iPhone 5 does not (or if it does, it doesn't work as well).

Keep in mind that not everything in high tech works as well in reality compared with the marketing claims.

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. iPhone 4S Drop Test

Can the Samsung Galaxy S3 pass the drop test against the iPhone 4s?

Global mobile phone sales fell in 2012

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

William Dalrymple on Afghanistan's first quagmire for the West: 1839-1842

The historian and author of "Return of a King" describes the hasty British takeover of Afghanistan in the 19th century, and the bloody defeat that soon followed

A review in The Daily Telegraph says: "In April 1839 Britain invaded Afghanistan for the first time. When the British Army left in 1842, after first suffering and then avenging its worst military disaster of the 19th century, a contemporary wrote that it was 'a war begun for no wise purpose… Not one benefit, political or military, has been acquired with this war. Our eventual evacuation of the country resembled the retreat of an army defeated.'”