Saturday, March 14, 2015

Apple Jumps Shark, Invents Chevy Volt for Your Wrist

It was with absolute delight that I listened to Tim Cook roll out the Apple watch.

Strutting across the stage, all smiles, Cook was talking about all of the fantastic features of the watch. They've been working on this for 3 years. They have 3 basic models. The watch ranges from 349.00 to 17,000.00 for the gold encased one. Apple claims an 18 hour battery life which undoubtedly will be far less if you actually use the thing. You must have an I-phone 5 or newer as a companion piece which is where this new watch gets really stupid and really expensive if not just a bit duplicitous.

So this is where I should tell you- why I once loved Apple and why I now hate Apple- if you don't mind my extremism.

I received my first Apple laptop in 2007 as a parting retirement gift from my girlfriend. Apple laptops cost 750-1500 dollars more than other competing brands. Here is where they succeed.

They are smaller and lighter, they fire up faster, they are easier to use, they do not get viruses, they are fixed fast and usually free at any Apple "Genius Bar", their charger cords are magnetic so that if you trip over the cord it breaks free rather than dumping the hard drive on the floor, and they have better software features for photos and music with superior access to ancillary services.

Where do they fail? Apple doesn't want users who try to hang onto 5 year old laptops. Once they hit 5 years- Apple won't even work on them. They want you to buy a new one- which I did. The funny part is- is that after 5 years and another 1500 bucks- I did not see any significant difference in the new laptop except that it had a silver case and was a little skinnier. Hardly worth the additional 1500 bucks.

I do not fault anyone for buying an Apple laptop. They are simply superior to other laptop brands like this Toshiba I paid 300 bucks for at X-Mas. I especially love that Apple's laptops read all incoming data for viruses- something that Bill Gates could have done with Windows- had he not been such a pirate and screwed people over by allowing viruses in and thus forcing the hoi polloi to pay for a variety of software and repairs.

My hatred for Apple came when I discovered that all of their products are assembled by hundreds of thousands of Pacific Rim employees making a dollar an hour and working 16 hour days- 6 and 7 days a week. I have never been a fan of any corporation which exploits workers by paying sub par wages while subjecting them to horrible working conditions. If Apple wants to dispute this- then I suggest that all of the Cupertino, Ca management staff that are making mountains of money should switch jobs and salaries for one year with Chinese workers at FoxConn. Then we'll see if they find some sort of conscience.

In addition to exploiting slave labor, Apple has 700 billion dollars sitting off shore which is the largest cash horde that any company in the history of the world has ever amassed. Apple will undoubtedly become the first trillion dollar company. They will not pay taxes on that off shored money but they will gladly ask consumers for top dollar for their devices while letting you pay your taxes- which unfortunately- we cannot avoid even if we leave the country like Apple did. Thus there are no Apple manufacturing jobs for Americans beyond Cupertino- nor tax shelters for the middle class who they hope will buy this gadget.

If only people would quit patronizing these pirates. But they won't. People don't think that way anymore.

The problem with the watch is that it doesn't really do anything special. It has a small screen, you still have to have an I-phone with you, you must recharge the watch everyday, and you will look like a dork wearing it. I don't even think it's waterproof or water resistant which means that maybe a nice plunge into a sink will kill it.

With a giant Galaxy screen available to me and a bazillion free apps- what advantage could an I-phone user find with this watch? I think it measures your heart rate- and there is always some nerdy geek at the gym who wears a similar device on their arm- which costs 29 bucks.

How many ways can you re-invent a computer? Will they come up with an Apple necklace next?

I miss Steve Jobs. He always saw the big picture. I can't help but think Jobs would have shit canned this watch. Jobs would have probably shit canned Tim Cook for any number of reasons as well- such as paying investors dividends- which Jobs was adamantly against. Cook surely owes his longevity, and his smiley face, to the corporation Jobs built. Successors can often live on the laurels of their predecessors- at least for a while.

Apple has so much money that it can suffer a few missteps. A few people will run out and buy this watch and we will see what it is really like then. My gut tells me that the Apple watch will go the way of toaster ovens and the Chevy Volt. Rolling it out in April just as consumer spending has all but dried up. It's going to be interesting to see the pre order sales figures.

I wonder if Cook will be talking about this watch and how much it added to Apple's bottom line at their next annual meeting. I have a feeling it won't be taking up too much of his time.


Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with you about Apple booking and keeping billions in profits off shore. You want them to move the money here so the fucking government can steal 35% to feed it's insatiable appetite? That doesn't sound like you at all Brian.

How about we lower the highest fucking corporate tax rate IN THE WORLD so these companies repatriate their money here-don't fucking bitch at Apple for using legal provisions in our 70,000 page tax code to avoid paying taxes. Don't you take every possible exemption you can? And of course you know that corporations don't PAY corporate taxes, they only COLLECT them. From you and me when we buy their products. I believe your anger is misplaced here.

As for your Apple computer dying after 5 years, I have had an opposite result with my 2 Macs.

I got my first one in 1996(?) and it lasted just fine until 2004 when I got my current MacBook-I sold it as a working computer because I liked the new screen on the MacBook. I'm still using it, it runs great, 11 years later.

I've had to replace the keyboard and hard drive and maxed on the memory I can install but so what? I update it with any new OS and Apple is always sending me update for my software.

I am with you on their use of cheap labor in
China. A couple things though. I know that when those jobs become available, they're instantly filled which speaks pretty accurately about true conditions in China(it must be a nightmare) but these people aren't conscripted, are they? No, they're not, they literally fight for these jobs.

I don't know that kind of incentive you could offer companies like Apple to return their manufacturing back here, if any. None the less, it's their decision. You of course have the right for what ever reason, to avoid their products but it just sounds too much like people raging at Nike for using cheap Vietnamese Labor but buying the latest Jordons. I also am a huge fan of Nike tennis wear, it's the best and I don't care who makes it or how much profit Nike banks.

Brian said...


I didn't say I disagreed with Apple avoiding taxes by keeping profits off shore. I just said they did- which is a fact.

It is the government's policies including nafta which destroyed American jobs. And btw, if you can show me one American corporation which pays 35% I will kiss your ass. That leviathan of a tax code doesn't exist simply for no reason- it exists so that American business and the elite can dodge taxes. That's why Mitt Romney pays less than I do.

I hate the subject of taxes because we all get in arguments about who pays what. That unfair playing field was created by our government who refuse to stop spending money. Last night I saw a special on TV about whether Congress could "save" social security. After they stole all of the money in the fund- including 60 years of inflation created by the FED- they are worried and then in turn, they worry us. It's like a burglar coming into your home- stealing everything you have- and then telling you they are worried about your lack of wealth.

I hate Apple because they offshored 200,000 AMERICAN jobs, then gouge the living fuck out of us for their products.

Apple has become a foreign company. Pure and simple. They make their products offshore, exploit workers, and they keep their profits offshore- I think they should have to sell their products off shore. How do we get them back? We don't. And the truth is- they can stick their products up their ass. Their markups and prices are not competitive. I can buy five laptops for the price of one.

Th greed of Apple is awe inspiring. The only concession I will make is that they HAVE to use American labor in Apple stores.

Let me address the last problem.

You can no longer buy American only made products.. They simply do not exist. Everything is made offshore.

Let me leave you with this question MM. If the government said to Apple- we will let you come back tax free forever- but you will have to quit using foreign labor?

Do you think they would? That math is 200,000 jobs times 3000 hours per year by 1.00 an hr.


Anonymous said...

Of course there are "loopholes" , how could there not be with a 70,000 page tax code written, for the most part, by lobbyists. I'd just as soon see the whole damn thing scrapped but none the less, most companies starting up can't afford millions in lobbyist fee's consequently, we have this past year, for that reason and others, fewer start ups then business closures for the first time since that record has been kept.

Apple is not in the charity business, they're in business to make a profit. If you had bought Apple stock at under a hundred back in the 80s, would you be bitchin' about the phenomenal return you've made? It was over $700 for a while before the split. Seriously, would you have sold your stock because of the cheap labor they're using in China-if you honestly say yes, I'll meet you in CO and kiss YOUR ass!

Like I said, I'm very happy with my Apple product and plan on buying another when the need arises. In the time that I've had my MacBook, a friend of mine is on her 3rd laptop-fuck that. Plus she's constantly getting viruses which necessitate more down time-I've never had, in almost 20 years, a virus on my computers. It's a well built product and paying more upfront pays off in the long term(at least it has for me)

My IT guy is always on the lookout for older Macs-he says any fixes are usually minor and he can easily resell them-maybe if you want a Mac, that might be an avenue?

I'd love to see those jobs back here but I agree they're not coming back. Fine, let's do things in this country that are more productive then assembling computers or iPhones like drill baby drill.

Do you want to pay union scale to have your shirts made in Vermont? To have your tomatoes delivered to your store? For so many things, I'm after a well made product as inexpensive as possible, who isn't?

As we increase our available energy and drive the cost down, it takes away the advantage of cheap labor that countries like China enjoy. I've read there is already a huge, global shift away from using Chinese labor as other production costs are driven down.

Brian said...

Get prepared to pucker up. I owned a few shares, 25, of Apple. I bought them at 150 and sold too early around 300. Long before this last split.

When the whole Foxconn, sleeping at the factory and working 16 hour days for a buck an hr. with a few suicides thrown in revelations occurred- I vowed I would never buy another Apple product.

I lied. I bought my g/f's daughter a pair of earbuds for xmas.

Your current thinking represents what I refer to in the piece. People don't care about what's right- they only care about what's in it for me.

They could hit those employees with whips and kill a few just so long as our culture got their precious I crap.

The piece if you will recall- centered on that stupid fucking watch which nobody is going to buy.

If you wanna buy nothing but Apple- I don't care. They make good stuff, MM.

Please send me a photo of your watch when you get one. You better order early and beat the rush. LOL.


Anonymous said...

Ditto Brian. APPLE should be pressured to manuf at least 1-product line here. They're so smart, figure it out.

I've never, ever, worn any watch or jewelry. Can't stand stuff hanging on me.

Here's a great cartoon on the phone - watch thing: