Apple’s 45 Million iPhones in 2008

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster took a lot of heat back in June 2007 when he predicted, three weeks before Apple even began selling the iPhone, that the company would be shipping them at the rate of 45 million a year by 2009.

[From FORTUNE: Apple 2.0 Analyst: How Apple sells 45 million iPhones in 2009 «]

It’s not entirely outrageous but the handset market is super competitive and it’s certain that Apple’s leverage will diminish in the absence of another Jesus-phone, and 3G alone ain’t gonna be that. I’ve used my iPhone since last September and am generally pretty loyal to Apple products, but I’m lusting for the Nokia N95. I might even go back to a Blackberry.

Apple is clearly a player in the handset market but to go from where they are to 45 million is beyond aggressive (mind you, as I read this article, Munster was talking run rates and not absolute shipments.) The carriers clearly want this handset and the association with Apple, but the price points are pretty steep and with no subsidies they are capping their market.

Blackberry is the most serious threat to Apple’s ambitions, but they really phoned it in (no pun intended) with the Blackberry 9000. It’s basically the same ‘ol crappy BB with rounded corners and a pretty background image. This surely can’t be the best Blackberry can do, can it? And don’t call me Shirley.

Here’s why I wouldn’t buy another iPhone even though I generally like the one I have:

1) No copy/paste. It’s a small point but incredibly frustrating that Apple didn’t include this cuz it would have screwed up their UI.

2) Battery life. Keep that wifi turned off. In all fairness, most of these uber-handsets have crappy battery life.

3) No video from the camera. The camera is okay, but just okay.

4) Clunky email interface, slow as well. I do like the virtual keyboard much more than I would have thought.

5) It’s heavy and kinda large.

One final note, the SDK will be a big step in the right direction but I suspect that Steve Jobs is only going to go the full distance on openness while being dragged kicking and screaming along the way. I want apps on my iphone and it kinda pisses me off that I can’t have them right now.

Alternate Payment Models

I was pretty intrigued when I saw this, mostly because it’s a really straightforward affiliate marketing concept that uses some product, in my case it was Foxit’s PDF app, as bait for converting a new customer for a service partner.

Although I find it interesting, I remain skeptical just because I can’t imagine the finders fee for a new eBay or Netflix customer is more than a few dollars. I do know that eBay pays out some percentage of the first transaction as an affiliate fee but not sure how much. At any rate, Offerpal Media must have a complex financial model to drive this business.

I think this could work for products that have little opportunity to maintain a price point in the market, but beyond that I’d see this as creating an artificial barrier between you and a potential customer.

Anyone know what affiliate deals are worth today?

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Hollywood’s Disconnect

Maybe Hollywood should look at the video game industry to see what is selling to American audiences. Despite Hollywood’s best efforts, there is no audience for a movie that portrays American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines as criminals, thugs, and dishonorable cowards, and Hollywood’s version of “dramatics” is clearly not what audiences want. One would think that Hollywood would stop producing movies that clearly have no mass market appeal, but apparently the only applied aspect of capitalism in that town has to do with salaries.

Meanwhile over in video games, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare continues it’s winning streak, landing in 2nd place on Xbox 360, 3rd place on PS3, and 3rd place for PC games for week 10 of 2008. CoD4 was also the top selling game for the month of Feb, shipping 296,200 units, which at retail is about $15 million in sales, and the title has been out for 8 months. Activision originally projected they would sell 7 million units of this title, translating into a total take of $350 million.

Friday’s No. 7 Stop-Loss fell a spot to 8th after it opened to only $1.7 million Friday and Saturday from a limited 1,291 plays. It eked out a $4.5M weekend. Although the drama from MTV Films was the best-reviewed movie opening this weekend, Paramount wasn’t expecting much because no Iraq war-themed movie has yet to perform at the box office. “It’s not looking good,” a studio source told me before the weekend. “No one wants to see Iraq war movies. No matter what we put out there in terms of great cast or trailers, people were completely turned off. It’s a function of the marketplace not being ready to address this conflict in a dramatic way because the war itself is something that’s unresolved yet. It’s a shame because it’s a good movie that’s just ahead of its time.”

[From Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily » ‘21? Holds Winning Hand At Box Office; ‘Superhero’ Is Superflop; ‘Stop-Loss’ DOA]

Zimbabwe “Elections”

I won’t hold my breath about a change of power in Zimbabwe. Reports of voter intimidation and the regular “irregularities” are already rolling in, suggesting that Mugabe’s thugocracy will continue unabated.

For those of you who wonder why Zimbabwe has gotten under my skin the way it has, all I can say is that every Somalia, Sudan, Congo and Rwanda begins with a Mugabe. As is the case with Rwanda, the world is silently watching a human catastrophe and will only act when the body bags become too many to count.

Sec. of State Rice said it best:

“But really, the Mugabe regime is a disgrace to the people of Zimbabwe and a disgrace to southern Africa and to the continent of Africa as whole,” she said.

[From World news Feed Article | World news |]

On the bright side, it is beyond question that Zimbabwe will continue to hold their leadership seat on the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. I guess the world body, in their infinite wisdom, believes this is something they are probably qualified for given the complete collapse of their economy, chronic fuel shortages, a few hours of electricity per day, and 80% unemployment has certainly reduced their carbon footprint.

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More on this topic (What's this?)
Zimbabwe's 2008 Gold Outlook Bleak
Lopping off zeros in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe settlement – a cause for celebration?
Read more on Investing in Zimbabwe at Wikinvest

Willie Fiddles While T5 Burned

UPDATE: hat tip to Jackie Danicki for sending me this link via twitter.

yeah, I always have a string quartet at my “staff communication events”. Seriously, did this spokeswoman comprehend the idiocy of that statement before saying it? With so many flights canceled in the first three days, 20% of the European flights yesterday alone, they must have a warehouse full of those “free gifts” on hand.

A spokeswoman said: “It was not a party – it was a staff communication event. There was a string quartet, doughnuts and food but we would not describe that as a party. Free gifts were given out but they were the same items passengers received on the plane.

[From BA'S bosses partied as as Heathrow Terminal Five crashed - Sunday Mirror]

(note the red footprints on the floor behind Willie, most surely a sign of the blood that will be spilled as a result of this massive PR disaster, the financial bill owed to passengers under EU rules, and embarrassment to the UK government.)

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More on this topic (What's this?) Read more on European Union at Wikinvest

Dear LiveLeak, The Problem With Beliefs

UPDATE: LiveLeak has had a change of heart, Fitna is now available on their service and they have issued another statement. I commend LiveLeak for changing their position but have to question the intellectual honesty of the statemen, which says, to paraphrase, that they are unbiased yet personally offended by the film. 

Having them isn’t hard, standing up for them is. First it was Network Solutions and now LiveLeak, who really must be naive if they think Islamic extremists give a shit about “freedom of speech on the net” or “accepting one another’s culture”. It’s too bad Mr. Wilders’ government basically threw him under the bus rather than stand up for what is a universal human right, free speech. Despite LiveLeak’s pretty language about many opinions, the fact remains that when it counted they chose to censor one opinion out of fear of another, and this won’t foster a “discussion that could benefit and educate us all”, rather it will only serve to embolden one group of extremists.

Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, Liveleak.com has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers.

This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else.

We would like to thank the thousands of people, from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realised LiveLeak.com is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one.

Perhaps there is still hope that this situation may produce a discussion that could benefit and educate all of us as to how we can accept one anothers culture.

We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too high.

[From LiveLeak.com - Redefining the Media]

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Google News Delivers

Sometimes you have to wonder if someone from Google News is deliberately placing headlines for maximum irony. Check out the “10 reasons to fly through Heathrow’s new terminal” article sandwiched between the Heathrow in chaos stories. In all fairness the Forbes piece does acknowledge the chaos but then goes on to list the Tiffany boutique, spa services, and fancy first class lounge as reasons to fly through the new terminal… maybe they should write a piece on how keeping your core business in order is more strategic than accessorizing failure.

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Man Machine Failures Plague Heathrow Terminal Opening

Heathrow’s Terminal 5 opened yesterday with a resounding thud that left travelers and employees stranded and BAA and British Airways officials red faced and shamed. This is as much a failure of man as it is the systems that have been designed and implemented.

There is simply no excuse for employees not being able to log on, baggage systems not synchronized with baggage handler actions, insufficient parking for employees, and a traveler information system that failed and then ground to a halt with literally thousands of travelers in the terminal.

Rumor also has it that the much talked about biometric system that fingerprints travelers wasn’t blocked by regulators but because the system failed to work in the days approaching the launch. Seriously, BAA (the airport operator) can’t really expect anyone to believe that government regulators who knew about the system while it was being considered, designed, and then implemented, waited until the days leading up to the terminal opening to say “no dice”.

All I can say is that my strategy to avoid Heathrow for connection and destination flights will remain in force. If I’m connecting I’ll fly into Frankfurt and if I need to be in London I’ll get a direct flight to Gatwick instead. It also makes me wonder if London is really able to pull together the massive logistics challenge that is the modern day Olympics.

Computer glitches and other problems plunged London’s Heathrow airport into chaos for a second straight day on Friday, causing British Airways to cancel numerous flights.

[From British Airways Cancels Heathrow Flights Amid Computer Chaos -- Heathrow Airport -- InformationWeek]

The Origami Space Shuttle

This is actually really cool, but considering there is no opportunity to instrument a paper airplane I am unclear on how you would study it’s flight effectively.

Japanese scientists and origami masters hope to launch a paper airplane from space and learn from its trip back to Earth. It’s no joke. A prototype passed a durability test in a wind tunnel this month, Japan’s space agency adopted it Wednesday for feasibility studies, and a well-known astronaut is interested in participating.

[From Japanese hope to launch paper plane from space - San Jose Mercury News]