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AAPL Improves Year-over-Year. Again.

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:52 AM

Tim Cook commenting today on Apple's second quarter performance for 2012:

“Just two years after we shipped the initial iPad, we sold 67 million,” he said. “It took us 24 years to sell that many Macs, and five years for that many iPods, and over three years for that many iPhones.”

HT: Gruber

AAPL and the "Butler Curse"

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:04 AM

My dad has always joked about the “Butler Curse,” a curse that dooms any stock that a Butler invests in to sinking share prices or something worse. He came to believe this after having the two or three forays he made into the stock market plummet quickly after he took ownership of the shares.

At times, I almost think there was something to it. As you may recall, I purchased a small number of shares of AAPL (that's Apple, if you don't keep up on your stockspeak) right before Jobs' keynote at MacWorld in January. The stock went up about ten dollars beyond what I bought it at ($72 a share, I believe it was), but then began a steady decline that continued until about two or three weeks ago. The shares sank when the new Intel Macs came out ahead of schedule. They sank when critics lauded the new Intel Macs. They sank when more Intel Macs came out. They sank when Apple outperformed the rest of the industry. They sank and sank, bottoming out at about $50.

I planned to buy more before WWDC '06, but it started going up just before I did so, and I almost did not go through with the plan to buy my pre-WWDC shares. I decided to go ahead and buy some at $69.50 yesterday and then sell it when it appeared to top out after the keynote — I'm thinking we'll see it hit between $85 and $90 after the keynote.

That sounded really good when I ordered the shares right before the market close yesterday. I logged on this morning to find something had happened last night: Apple announced it would have to restate its earnings back to 2002 due to accounting irregularities with stock options. Fortunately, my order did not go through until this morning, when after-market trading had already forced the stock's opening price down to $67. Unfortunately, it was already about a dollar lower than that and sinking by the time I looked.

I almost decided to cut my losses and sell. I actually setup a trigger to sell if it hit $64. The Butler Curse had struck AAPL shares not once, but twice — in six months! I was a believer, I really could destroy companies by buying their stock. Sure, I own a bit of a few funds, but the only standard stock I own falls every time I buy it. (This could actually be a thing I could make money with, I suppose, but killing companies isn't exactly my type of business.)

Fortunately, the stock closed up about a dollar from where I bought it, but I'm still not so sure. Beware if I buy into any company you own equity in or work for. :evil:

A Year of Mac

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:10 AM

It dawned on me the other day that I ordered my first modern Mac, the Ruby iMac G3/400, off of eBay one year ago yesterday (June 5). Over the last year I have had the enjoyable pleasure of getting to know another UNIX-like operating system, and I must admit, I've really come to like it.

The Ruby iMac is a neat machine, certainly it was a bargain for $999 in 2000 when it was new, considering that even then it came standard with Firewire, a NIC, 128 megs of ram, a 12 gig hard disk, a slot loading CD drive, Harmon-Kardon built-in speakers, and a 15” CRT monitor. While the eMac offers a much more modern replacement for the old iMac G3, its white case opaque with super larger tray loading DVD drive door just doesn't seem as bold and exciting as the system that is often said to have saved Apple. While design doesn't make a system, it can make it more interesting.

This particular model was a later iMac, sometimes referred to as an iMac DV, although the DV title was dropped by that time (partially, I suspect, since it didn't have a DVD drive). It is referred to unofficially as the Indigo series and officially as the “iMac (Summer 2000).” You can read more about it here.

It's kind of a shame that the colorful computer trend died off. The iMac was really a fun concept and even today the Ruby iMac looks almost more like a piece of modern art than simply a computer.

A Week with the iPhone

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:36 AM

After a week, I can still say I love this device. I'm working on a full fledged review for OFB, so I won't go into details, but all I can say is that despite the well publicized limitations, the device is such a pleasure to work with, one forgets about those things. There are a few complaints I have, but all of them are software related and could easily be fixed when iPhone OS 1.1 is pushed out sometime (I suspect) in the near future.

I setup my visual voicemail today and was surprised I didn't have to encounter a single voice prompt menu to do so. The iPhone recorded my message and set my passcode all from its own interface, then sent both the recording and the passcode to AT&T for me. No “press 1 to save your message, press 2 to hear it, press 3 to rerecord your message.”

I am a bit paranoid to walk around with this thing. I wish AT&T would offer its phone insurance for it. But, I figure I carry my laptop around all the time, so why not a phone?

A Sign of the Times

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:19 PM

From the Microsoft Bing blog:

What you're seeing today is only the beginning. Lasso moves Bing beyond the search box. Although it will only be available in Bing for iPad to begin with, we're already thinking about how to take Lasso even further — so stay tuned.

Lasso is a novel idea — the sort that fits the “new Microsoft” that seems to be emerging and releasing really great products like Windows Phone 7. Note, however, that Lasso is being released first on the iPad, not Windows 7 Tablet Edition or even Android. This speaks very clearly about what Microsoft understands about the mobile OS market right now.

HT: John Gruber

A New Kind of Problem

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:36 AM

Well, the new pope has been in office for two days (well, unofficially, I guess — I know his installation into “office” has not occurred yet) and he already has a 21st century kind of problem to deal with. Cybersquatting, namely.

It seems that a creative Floridian decided, just before Pope John Paul II died, to buy up the names he thought a new pope might go by. As it turns out, he hit the “jackpot” with BenedictXVI dot com (personally, I do not recommend visiting the site, as I understand he has ads on it, and I have no desire to support cybersquatting). He wants a papal hat and a free stay at the Vatican in exchange for the name.

I wonder where that puts him in Dante's Inferno?  ;)

A Little Less than KIN

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:57 AM

If you are curious about the Microsoft KIN phones, my review of them is now available on Open for Business.

A 64-bit UNIX Workstation...

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:42 AM

…for under $900? Now, this looks like a tempting deal. Now that Solaris comes with the Java Desktop System as its primary desktop environment, I'm betting these should sell pretty briskly.

493.17

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:06 AM

I'm more than a little puzzled at what caused AAPL to jump up $16.49 per share today. There have been some rumors about the iPad 3 circulating — but nothing terribly surprising. In any case, I'm not complaining, and I do expect the iPad 3 to be a significant upgrade (the Retina display alone ought to guarantee that).

25. Billion.

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:59 AM

It seems the the App Store has reached 25 billion downloads. It is hard to even recall the days long past where people questioned whether the App Store could even succeed. It may not be perfect, but I've never seen another form of application distribution that makes getting the apps everyone actually wants so easy.

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