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Jan 25, 2012

Ah, the tech-soap that is Apple will run and run

Just in case you stayed under your rock longer than usual this morning, there's been two huge stories about the world's richest technology company overnight.

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Complete the following sentence. Apple [verbs] all the things. This morning my section of the Twitterverse reckons the correct verbs are:

That’s how you do technology journalism these days, right? Crowdsourcing your lede is modern and ethical. And compulsory, according to Andrew Hedge.

Just in case you stayed under your rock longer than usual this morning, there’s been two huge stories about the world’s richest technology company overnight.

One, Apple’s record of breaking sales records broke its own record. Apple sold 37.04 million iPhones, up 128% year on year. That kinda puts paid to the whingers who complained that the iPhone 4S was not an iPhone 5. Add to that the sale of 15.43 million iPads, up 111% on the same quarter last year.

In fact, Apple sold more iOS-based devices (that’s  iPhones and iPads, as well as the iPod touch) than all of the Android-based devices put together. And we all thought Android was winning. Hah! Take that, Google!

Apple’s quarterly gross revenue was around $46 billion, generating net profits of $US13.06 billion, up 118% from last year. Yes, another record. Oh, and Apple sold 5.2 million Macs, should anyone still care about Macs.

Reporters around the world opened last quarter’s Apple story, changed the numbers, left in the word “record” and pressed “publish”.

OK, maybe that’s not such a big story. “Rich company still rich.”

“We are very happy to have generated over $17.5 billion in cashflow from operations during the December quarter,” said Apple chief finance officer Peter Oppenheimer. I’m sure you are, Pete, I’m sure you are.

As usual, Apple had downplayed its earnings expectations, and as usual everyone acted surprised when the numbers were better than expected. This is how the quarterly Apple Ritual is played out.

Did I mention we’ve seen this all before?

Now much was made of the fact that this is Apple’s first full quarter with Tim Cook as chief executive officer rather than the late Steve Jobs, but it’s a bit too early to consider any of this to be Cook’s work.

The design of the iPhone 4S and the opening up of iPhone availability to more US mobile carriers would have all been done when Jobs was still at the helm. New models take months if not years to develop and refine.

It remains to be seen whether Cook has the drive and sheer force of will to override, for example, engineers’ concerns about antenna design because the purity of form of the iPhone 4’s body was more important than radio reception. Or the charisma to create a reality distortion field so powerful that fanboys couldn’t even see that purity of form is ruined if you have to wrap a fancy-named rubber band around your phone.

Wait another year. And consider the secret attack turtles.

Meanwhile, a Dutch court has found that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet did not infringe Apple’s design rights. That’ll doubtless be appealed. And we still have a German court decision next week, an EU decision some time, and an Australian decision in April or May or, if the lawyers keep piling documents onto the judge as they have been, August. Before it’s appealed.

And then there’s the counter-suit of Samsung back at Apple, because Apple has yet to pay the same sort of licensing fees for Samsung’s 3G telephony technology that the rest of the industry is paying. In Australia, that decision’s timeline is interlinked with the Apple versus Samsung one. Before that, too, is appealed.

Ah, the tech-soap that is Apple will run and run! Readers click on links, click-throughs are converted to advertising revenue, and the world turns …

Apple story written. Can I go now?

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