AAPL post-iPhone announcement

So, the Apple iPhone is out. There are enough blogs covering every single aspect of that little piece of history made, so I will not dwell on the product features much. I want one very badly. You want one. And if you don’t, you likely will at some point quite soon.

Instead, let me share some initial thoughts I had from the amateur investor angle. No buy/sell/hold verdicts, just aspects to consider.

  • AAPL is on fire here. They did not come out with a cool phone, I believe they created a new segment for themselves. When buying the iPhone you do not comparision shop based on detailed feature list, but buy yourself a ticket into a harmonious bundle of great functionality, form and usabilty of a specific device plus another puzzle piece in the evergrowing very integrated ecosystem (iPod, iTunes, iLife, Apple TV, MacOSX, .Mac, …) that has made Apple now to drop the obsolete “Computer” part of it’s name. Forget the hours spent at GSMArena, just get your communication and portable media stuff solved and move on.
  • The known history with iPod is a good comparision point. There were a number of great portable MP3 players already out there in 2001 when Apple launched, however they have now sold close to 70 million pieces and had a quarter of market share globally in 2005. In comparision the global smartphone sales in 2006H1 boosted to 41 million units, growing 57% on the path to increase their share in the 1 billion overall mobile handset units in the world. Play with the figures however you want, if Apple gets a double-digit share of the 2012 smartphone pie, absolutes are huge.
  • The relationship between Apple and mobile operators are yet to be seen. It is weird to see iPhone, with all its multimedia-intensity to lack 3G, which probably saddens charge-by-mobile-data-transfer-volume incumbents and might build hesistance in more advanced markets (Japan?) where operators and consumers even don’t rememeber what GPRS and EDGE were. If they ever knew in their 4G-bandwidth networks. I don’t know enough about US mobile market to understand what does Cingular give to Apple, but they certainly benefit from being the sole operator for initial iPhone hype. I’m more interested to see how Apple will handle Europe. Hopefully without country-by-country exclusivity deals.
  • Some market fun from yesterday’s announcement time:
    • AAPL actually dipped for a moment when Jobs started his keynote with a line like “Today I’m going to talk only about Mac…”. Shows how much emotion was and is out there around this topic.
    • Jobs currently holds 5,426,451 of AAPL shares. Which means that he made around US$40 million for the 1h47m he spent on MacWorld stage, rockstar as he is. Which is a much better billing rate per hour than George Michael’s previous “world record” was. 🙂
  • ANOTHER TIDBIT: it has been brought up before as a legal risk and potential settlement liability for Apple that the iPhone brand is actually owned by CSCO. CSCO even has a line of Skype phones called Linksys iPhone on the market, so the brand has been used in a similar segment. The fact that iPhone was announced as iPhone and not something else (as opposed to Apple TV, formerly known in pre-launch rumors as iTV) indicates that likely AAPL and CSCO already have an agreement on the usage terms? UPDATE: Nope, still a quick lawsuit coming up.

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