Reading the links yesterday off of John Gruber’s Daring Fireball, especially the commentary, was nothing short of exhilarating. As a Mac user from 1987 (roommate’s SE with internal hard drive) it is heartening to know that the company that makes technology products I used and believed was the right choice for me back in 1987 is alive and thriving like never before. In the Dark Times of the 90s, I staked a lot of my career on developing Mac skills and using the machines to further my career. It was a hard sell to upper management to get them to purchase any Macs. I remember a lot of spreadsheets and slides showing the productivity gains and other malarky. It mostly worked. While PowerBooks and the Quadra AV series were some of the last great pre-iMac Apple products, the cost of the machines and the software was staggering. I think a whole publishing setup, software and peripherals included was somewhere in the $6,000 – $10,000 range. Higher if you wanted a better scanner and printer. So given this nearly 25 year (!) obsession of mine, Tuesday’s Apple news was nothing short of insane from a company that was considered months away from dying in 1996. The links below are from Daring Fireball.
Before we get to the links, if you don’t know what I’m on about, it’s this bit of Apple News:
Here’s the gist of it from the press release:
“Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2012 first quarter which spanned 14 weeks and ended December 31, 2011. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion and record quarterly net profit of $13.06 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $26.74 billion and net quarterly profit of $6 billion, or $6.43 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 44.7 percent compared to 38.5 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 58 percent of the quarter’s revenue.”
$46.3 BILLION USD. Massive quarter. Massive. Yet in the tech and financial punditry, there are those who still insist that Apple is dying. That the iPhone is “done” or the iPad hype is “over”. For a lot of Apple users who have been around for longer than 10 years, these stories were constantly running online and in traditional media. Which is why it’s nice to get the perspective of another, newer Mac user, 37signals’ David Heinemeier Hansson:
“When I switched to Apple back in 2002 after the introduction of OS X, it felt like a renegade position. The world was running Windows and anyone bothering with a Mac was by definition an outsider.
We had to deal with incompatibilities of all kind. There was the ridicule of overpriced shiny white plastic. We were somewhere in between the ‘first they ignore you’ and the ‘then they laugh at you’ state of adoption. But for those of us who endured it, the result was not disillusion but a hardening of the resolve.”
Read it here: Watching Apple win the world – (37signals)
It’s staggering to think about just how big the money is that Apple is making in a single quarter, much less an entire year. If you time-travelled back to 1997 and told me that in 15 years, Apple would be larger in value than ExxonMobil, I would have laughed in your face and gone back to working on my 1024 x 768 washed out crappy CRT monitor (how did we ever look at those screens for longer than 10 seconds?) and waiting to connect to the internet at the blazing speed of 56k over dialup. That translates to 5kb/second down, people. 5kb. At the average U.S. broadband rate of 11Mbps (1100kb/second) today, we get our data 220 times faster than in 1997. 220.
Despite all the changes in the computing landscape since 1997, the one constant is that writers in the tech pantheon are going to try to convince the world that Apple is going to die any day now. Which is why one of my favorite things that Gruber does on Daring Fireball is post what he calls “claim chowder”; where he calls out people who have been very wrong about their claims. These people have usually been very wrong in high profile places, some of them multiple times. Here are a few of the most recent ones:
HuffPo, January 22, 2012: Apple Q1 2012 Earnings Call Could Reveal Chinks In Armor
Business Insider, April 2, 2011: Android Is Destroying Everyone, Especially RIM — iPhone Dead In Water – Business Insider
BGR, November 15, 2011: iPad demand said to be fading as competition heats up
The commentary Gruber adds is worth a read, so you should definitely head over to Daring Fireball. Just look for the Claim Chowder posts. Gold.
Before I sign off, here’s a chart that shows the insane rise in Apple sales: