Apple: the Last Uncommoditized Company

Mon, Jun 9, 2008 | Jared Woodard

More to Life

You won’t be able to avoid this story tonight: the 3G iPhone is here, and it’s everything everyone was hoping for. It’s faster, supports Exchange, has GPS, and is half the price of the first version. The other big announcement at today’s WWDC keynote was the rebranding of Apple’s .Mac service, now called Mobile Me. Billed as “Exchange for the rest of us,” the new service will enable you to sync your mail, calendar, contacts, photos, and files across multiple machines, including your Mac and iPod/iPhone, but also PCs.

Signal vs. Noise reports that Mobile Me will not support Internet Explorer 6, which is a bold but entirely welcome move. (IE6 is absolute torture. If you’re still using it, please check out Firefox 2.) This is entirely consistent with Apple’s modus operandi since Jobs returned – refusing to play to the lowest common denominator, insisting on control over every aspect of the user experience. As noted in a recent episode of John Gruber’s podcast, there’s absolutely no reason for Apple to sacrifice on design or security or stability just to expand their market share, since they can compete on quality rather than on price. Let Microsoft/Dell/HP reign over the commodity end of the market; Apple generates cash quite well by selling high margin products to a dedicated user base.

From a financial standpoint, that insistence on quality over quantity is an attribute that sometimes gets overlooked. Good design doesn’t get a line on the balance sheet, but if you’ve spent as much of your life as we have in front of soulless gray WIndows boxes, you can recognize that Apple’s success has less to do with just pushing units out the door, and more to do with doing things right.

What about the stock?

Down $4 today on very heavy volume (was down $7 intraday). Buy the rumor, sell the news, or something. No matter. Long AAPL.

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Jared Woodard specializes in trading volatility as an asset class. With over a decade of experience trading options and other volatility products ... Read More


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