iPhone Day

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iPhone Day 2014 has dawned anew. The eighth annual mass-demonstration of orgasmic consumerism that will result in another unprecedented transference of wealth from millions to just a few.

As usual, there is a large dosage of animus:

It may be my imagination, but this “haters gonna hate” thing seems to ratchet up with each successive launch. What I don’t get is why. Does a large portion of the population ridicule another for standing in line for Rolling Stones tickets? Or to get into a great breakfast spot on a Saturday morning? Or for Transformers 16? OK, maybe for the Transformers.

Bloomberg reported:

At Apple’s store on Fifth Avenue in New York, police officers put up barricades as the line stretched more than 10 blocks and the crowd cheered continuously for the 15 minutes before the phones officially went on sale.

I used to be that guy in line, but I’m not anymore. Maybe it’s because I’m older now (though I’d hate to think so), but I’m content ordering my phone like a civilized person and having it delivered to me, even if that means I’m not one of the first on the planet to post to Facebook from its virgin touchscreen.

I’d wait at the Apple store with hundreds or thousands of others. This is more social event than product launch. You do this to be with your tribe. Not unlike going to a collegiate sporting event. You all get to discuss the phone and the company and how long you’ve been an Apple customer (extra cred awarded for having owned a Mac from the years during Steve’s exile). It’s a warm and comforting thing, really.

Maybe that’s what the haters hate on. They have nothing like this. Their tribe (assuming the vast majority of them are non-Apple users) is significantly weaker. There is no binding energy in their brand affiliation. No embrace of kindred spirits. Perhaps they’re jealous.

To be sure, there must be a large number of people in the Apple Store line who were previously not Apple users. I remember what it was like in 1998 to use a Mac. We were few and very far between. So a large percentage of these cheering fans (and fans they are) must be converts. Know what they say about former smokers being the most virulently anti-smoking people there are? I bet it’s the same for Apple fans. Former Galaxy and Dell users cheer and sit on the cold Fall pavement with as much if not more excitement as someone who’s first Apple product was beige with a built-in screen.

In the last few years I waited, I did so at the AT&T store. There were fewer people and the phones were just the same. I lost the tribal element. These were more goal-oriented business-like folk who wanted to get in and get out and get on. I’d hear the Apple crowd chanting (yes, chanting) at the other end of the mall and feel a little sorry. For myself. For leaving their happy embrace. For being efficient rather than ecstatic.

So today, I’ll look at the throngs of hopeful iPhone buyers sitting in New York or Chicago or Sydney or London while waiting for my AT&T shipping notification email. I miss them. I’m happy for them. But it’s nice not to have to get up hours before dawn and sit in the dark. Alas.

Once-ler’s lament

9to5 Mac points towards an investment note that shows why Wall Street analysts are the worst people to pay any attention to if you want cogent thoughts about Apple’s future.

Says BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk:

The bottom line is that if Apple can’t deliver products, Tim Cook may have to pay the price. This is a public company. The shareholders own the company and they want profit growth. Making great products is a noble goal but if it doesn’t grow the business despite the massive market opportunity that exists that would be a larger strategy problem.

Didn’t this guy ever read The LoraxBiggering for biggering’s sake does not come without consequences.

As Siegler points out, iPhone is responsible for nearly 60% of Apple’s revenue. That’s a product that all by itself is bigger than Microsoft and is more profitable than just about any non-energy business on the planet. And it was created by focusing on making great products.

Regardless, what could Apple make that would drive profits in a meaningful way in the shadow of such a massive business? Watches? TVs? Oil and natural gas production? Also, let’s not forget that the China Mobile deal means the potential for iPhone growth continues for a while yet. Also also, Apple’s profits are still growing. Maybe not as fast as before, but you know, there are only so many people on the planet. It’s the insane push for profit growth at all costs that make companies do stupid things. Buy companies they shouldn’t. Produce products they have no business making. Lowering prices to chase higher unit volume. Apple, so far, hasn’t shown itself to be that short-sighted. They’re playing a longer game.

The real bottom line is Apple is only successful because they focus solely on making great products. If that’s not a business investors want to invest in, they should divest themselves of AAPL and find someone as short-sighted as they are to put their money behind.