bbc.co.uk Navigation

Rory Cellan-Jones

Is Apple recession proof?

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 22 Jan 09, 09:11 GMT

A year ago, Apple's shares stood somewhere around $155 when I posted here about a hugely impressive set of results. The shares fell back because Wall Street was disappointed with Apple's forecast. They then climbed to around $200, before plunging downhill with the rest of the market.

iPhoneNow Apple has produced another sparkling set of figures for the last three months - perhaps even more impressive given that they come in the depths of our harsh economic winter. Record quarterly revenues - more than $10bn for the first time - record profits of $1.6bn, and the company is now sitting on an enormous cash pile of $28bn. So surely the shares will now leap ahead from their current level of $83? Well, maybe. Let's first take a closer look at the results.

Where is the cash coming from? 22.7m iPods, 4.7m iPhones, more than 2.5m Macintosh computers - and a profit margin of nearly 35%, with Apple benefiting from falling component prices.

On the analysts' conference call, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer and Tim Cook, the stand-in CEO in the absence of Steve Jobs, basked in the admiration of Wall Street, with some analysts prefacing their questions with congratulations.

So is Apple that rare corporate creature - the recession-proof business? Well, lurking in the results there were just a few warning lights.:

iPods: Despite having more than 70% of the MP3 player market, the iPod just keeps on growing. But has it finally peaked? Apple revealed that all the growth in the last quarter came outside the US (where sales actually fell) and, but for an amazing last week when frenzied present-buyers apparently stormed the stores in search of Christmas presents, there would have been an overall fall. Endless innovation - colour, video, touchscreen - has so far kept new buyers coming. It is difficult to see what the next trick will be.

Mac: While the halo effect of the iPod and iPhone continues to drive customers to the Mac, there was a major shift away from desktops to portable computers. iMac sales, compared with very good figures the previous year when a new version came out, actually fell while the Macbook range saw sales rise 34% after it was refreshed in the autumn. Tim Cook said that this was all part of an industry-wide shift away from the desktop and that Apple had outperformed the market. But the growing phenomenon in portable computing is netbooks - cheap pared-down machines. Apple has stayed out of this market so far and Tim Cook was dismissive of netbooks - "less powerful than customers want, cramped keyboards, small displays... we don't think people are going to be pleased with those type of products". They are of course unlikely to provide the kind of margin Apple has achieved with its bigger shinier laptops. But perhaps they're just what a customer wants in a recession?

iPhone: The "Jesus" phone has comfortably passed Steve Jobs' prediction of 10m sales by the end of 2008 - but were quarterly sales of 4.3m just a tad disappointing? Wall Street had expected more. But Peter Oppenheimer and Tim Cook were more bullish about this product than any other during the call. "We continue to believe we are years ahead of the competition," said Oppenheim. But there is of course plenty of smartphone competition out there now . Earlier this month, Palm unveiled its Pre, the closest imitation so far of the multi-touch iPhone. Without naming Palm, Tim Cook issused a clear threat to rivals who might copy Apple too closely: "We like competition as long as they don't rip off our IP (intellectual property). We will not stand for having our IP ripped off and we'll use whatever weapons we have at our disposal."

Of course, the big unanswered - if not unasked - question during the conference call was when and whether Steve Jobs will return to the helm. But Tim Cook - an obscure figure until now to most outsiders - did himself no harm with a calm, if combative performance as he outlined Apple's performance. But the company admits that the road ahead through a global recession lacks "visibility", so these will be testing months.

A constant stream of innovative new products has kept customers coming to the Apple stores, even in a holiday season which was bleak for many retailers. Now, with nothing very new in those stores and consumers hunkering down for hard times, will this be the quarter where the iMachine finally comes to a halt?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    An impressive set of results given trading conditions although one would expect Apple's target demographic to be affected less than others.

    What's interesting though is the decrease in iPhone sales and the increase in iPod sales as it seems there is some cannibalisation there between the phone and the touch.

    I expect iPhone sales to tail off quite quickly now as market demand appears to be being met . In addition Mac sales seem to be plateauing in terms of growth.

  • Comment number 2.

    IMO (Java/Scala developer using Mac), this might well be a peak (given the general downturn); but as more people realise what Macs have to offer--user-friendly, advanced UI on industrial-strength Unix, plus closer hw/sw integration--sales will continue to grow in the longer term. Furthermore, said UI looks to be gaining further recruits thanks to the success of the App Store.

  • Comment number 3.

    It's doubtful the 'iMachine' will come to a halt. Apple has a number of new and 'refreshed' products in the pipeline. Microsoft is still losing marketshare to Apple as Vista was a flop and Windows 7 is yet to appear but is already fighting virus attacks.

    iPod and iPhone sales can be bolstered by incorporating technologies like Bluetooth and Apple have a two-years start on their competitors in the touch-screen phone market. Some big names seem yet to understand that many users want a simple and elegant interface for their phones. The iPhone may not be the most competent phone nor have the greatest feature set but, oh boy, it's easy and elegant.

    Apple will continue to benefit from perceived invulnerabilty to viruses which many computer users are finding an increasing burden. Prices, however, will remain seemingly high because most people don't look at the features but at the price point.

    Apple need to quickly update their desktop range and the company's green credentials (thanks to a generous 'booting' from Greenpeace) are growing.

    The other thing which has served Apple well is their retailing at Apple Stores. The marketing model is superb ... hands on everything / play and listen / high-speed internet / very knowledgeable staff who are infectiously keen on their products and are not on commission / genius bars / free workshops ... it works very well and UK competitors could learn a lot from Apple in this area.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am a new Apple Mac user and find it brilliant. I wish I had changed from Windows years ago.
    Apple should consider netbooks as I think that people who find phones too onerous for the Internet will certainly think serious about the portability of netbooks.
    I am sure that Apple could produce a fantastic netbook if they put their designers to work.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm personally surprised that the iPod still sells so well with more and more phones (including the iPhone) encrouching into its market. I really can't see any way to go here but down.

    With the iPhone I think it's becoming a victim of it's own success, a lot of people I know own one so the normal Apple 'I have something amazing that feels exclusive' trick is wearing thin. Easily solved by turn the phone into a range of different phones.

    The Macbook is where the potential is. It can run Vista, with its improved graphics it can also start attacking the gaming market. It's appealing more and more if you can slash out the cash.

  • Comment number 6.

    There is no doubt that iPods, iPhone and iMacs look good and perform well. Apple do what they do very well and I know someone who queued overnight for an iPhone. Personally I think they were crazy and I am sure many Apple fans will too.

    I would however, in response to other comments, like to point out that I find Vista to be a stable and fast OS. Currently my Vista partition outperforms the Linux and XP installations and is more stable. The perecption that Vista is so bad is unfortunate and Microsoft have tried hard with various projects to boost public opinion. Unfortunately the damage was done with early adopters reporting faults that took too much time to be fixed.

    I have downloaded the Windows 7 Beta, but haven't had time to install it yet but friends of mine who have are impressed so far.

    Viruses will always be a problem for Microsoft products whilst the majority of the planet use it's software. Money and disruption are the key here and until Apple or Linux have a larger market share they wont be targeted as much. It is interesting to note that Linux and Mac OS viruses increased last year quicker than any year before according to some reports.

  • Comment number 7.

    Surely the App Store and iTunes are driving a the revenues too? Is this where Apple actually has a competitive edge?

    Future innovation has got to be key, fundimentally it is buzz and great products that drive sales inall their range. No exciting new products, no buzz, does the shine go off and profits drop too. Or will music and app sales hold the thing togther?

  • Comment number 8.

    Personally I think Apple need to look at their hardware and pricing strategies. Yes a cool looking bit of kit will still drive some users to pay a premium, but in the current environment people are less and less likely to shell out for something which is in essence a luxury. I recently bought an Intel based Core2 Quad PC with oodles of RAM and disk space for almost half the price of a Core2 Duo iMac.
    I’d love to have a Mac, I think they are great not only to look at but to use, unfortunately my budget doesn’t allow me to be so extravagant and so “I’m a PC”.
    Unless Apple want to remain sellers of a niche product (certainly within the Desktop/Laptop space) they need to update some of the basic specs of the kit and make the price more realistic for the mass market, it’s the only way I’m ever going to be able to say “I’m a Mac”.

  • Comment number 9.

    D4lien ... You repeat the same old urban myth that Mac OS viruses have increased last year ... it is simply untrue. The only viruses have been notional, proofs of concept. In the real world there has been NOT ONE successful virus attack on Mac OSX. This is not because Windows has the major market share but because Windows is so much easier to attack. Do you really think that some serious money has not gone into trying to blow some holes in Mac software? If I were Microsoft I would ensure some black ops money went to just that! Market share is irrelevant, it's the quality of the product that is important. Would you accept being more at risk of an accident if you drove a Ford rather than a Mercedes? No! But we all know which is the safer and more expensive car.

    You nailed the Vista problem yourself ... "the damage was done with early adopters reporting faults that took too much time to be fixed". Precisely ... Microsoft, the biggest, richest computer corporation couldn't fix its main project in time, let alone releasing it with so many problems.

    I don't have a problem with Windows. For the vast majority who use it as a workstation don't even know it's Windows. Most Windows users feel more comfortable with Windows and won't move to Mac. Just like me, I prefer Mac because I'm used to it.

    The fact is that Apple have a particular niche in the computer market and are considered 'high-end, expensive'. They want to stay there but you'll never take away the inherent quality of their products and much of that is because they design both software and hardware to work together. They don't always get it right but the do more often than their competitors.

    "To create a new standard, it takes something that's not just a little bit different, it takes something that's really new and really captures peoples' imagination and the Macintosh, of all the machines I've ever seen, is the only one that meets that standard." ... Bill Gates.

  • Comment number 10.

    D4lien

    A quick google of the term "OSX Virus", "Mac Trojan", or "Mac Worm" provides plenty of articles, some from Sophos and Symantec and even some white papers that indicate you should perhaps check your facts re: Macs and Viruses

  • Comment number 11.

    @ascylto...Glad your keeping your quotes up to date, i think that ones about 24 years old? But in the line of old quotes heres a nice one from Steve Jobs for you;

    "If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth -- and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago."

    And to add Macs can get viruses, just like Windows and any Linux distro, Windows viruses are more prolific because theres more machines running Windows in the world. People who write viruses want information or to cause distruption to computer users and the best way to do that is to target the biggest audience.

    Saying that Windows is less safe is like saying that Fords are more dangerous than Ferraris because there are more Fords involved in accidents. The only reason thats its true is because theres more of them.

  • Comment number 12.

    No Mac malware you say?

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=2418

    Hmm...

  • Comment number 13.

    Quote, "It is difficult to see what the next trick will be."

    That's just the point. They single-handedly created the iPod market, then they re-invented it with the iPod Touch market.

    Nobody saw either of them coming.

    I imagine the same will be said again..

    As for the Macs : I like my Macbook Pro more than any piece of technology I've ever owned. It's a pleasure to use - and it simply never infuriates me.

    Those who can afford it - and there is a significant price premium - never regret it.

  • Comment number 14.

    @flynnstudio7

    Everyone saw the iPod touch coming, it came out months after the iPhone. It was expected.

    I expect the iPod touch to cover for a decrease in all other iPod sales over the next few years, thanks to the eco-system currently being built around it with the App Store.

  • Comment number 15.

    Of course they single-handedly created the iPod market, just like Microsoft single-handedly created the Zune market, its their product, so they're the only ones going to be creating the market for it.

    However if your talking about the DAP (digital audio player) market, then the iPod is just an advance from the cd player or the cassette player, which Sony started. And Compaq created the first hard drive based mp3 player four years before the iPod. Apple were simply quicker off the mark than their competitors. I'm quite sure a lot of people predicted the move to hard drive based music players.

  • Comment number 16.

    Another bad week for Redmond and another record breaking quarter for Cupertino.
    Microsoft is losing market share (not just to Apple) through poor consumer confidence in it's ability to keep it's products clean. To say there are no Mac horrors out there is foolish and somewhat arrogant, as the Mac gains so will the threats. Apple is fully aware of this and to keep the brand profile will stay on top of the problem through a tight rein holding on the Mac experience (Apple can react immediately and very efficiently).
    Microsoft need to learn this and build it into Windows from the core. Enterprise is already sniffing at Linux and OSX.
    Recession proof - only Dr's and journalists are recession proof though if was one of the 5000 with a P45 I'm sure Cupertino is nice this time of year.....

  • Comment number 17.

    I think most people have had enough of junk products that cost less to buy but cause problems and quickly become worthless.

    Apple is continuing to innovate and as Tim Cook said, it will spend on R&D through this recession like it did in 2001.

    It is likely not going to be recession proof, but comparing Apple to the others will make it look like it is.


  • Comment number 18.

    The Apple business model of continual "refreshing" of backwards-incompatible proprietary-hardware products is basically a legal Ponzi marketing scheme.

    They are not unique in that. For example the big carmakers have been doing much the same for most of the last century.

    Of course it will end it tears. The only question is when.

  • Comment number 19.

    Yawn! Same old FUD coming out again about viruses on Mac and Linux, some people just can't seem to grasp the fundamentals of computer OS security architecture, that some designs are just inherently better and Windows picked one that was inherently worse. It's a simple fact, deal with it.

    The best counterargument to the 'more windows boxes so the hackers target them more' argument is that over 60% of the internet runs off Linux servers, so if I was a hacker looking to spread a virus or worm I'd be targetting Linux as the best distribution medium, but they instead pick Windows as it's an easier target.

    And don't get me started on some of the woolly maths going on. Sure the rate of increase in viruses is higher fo Mac/Linux, when you come off a small base figure the rates will always be larger than if you come off a large base like Windows has. Going from 1 virus to 2 is a 100% increase, going from 1000 to 1100 is a 10% increase, which is worse?

    As for Vista running well, how much RAM do you have? Anything less than 2GB and you quickly get problems, which is a rod MS made for its own back by allowing under-specced machines to be shipped with it installed. Windows 7 is an improvement, they needed to, and I don't think it's a coincidence that the program is now being run by Ray Ozzie a proper Software Engineer rather than a marking droid.

  • Comment number 20.

    I daresay all the other tech companies would be reporting good figures if their products were honoured by the same free and disproportionate publicity given to Apple products by fanboys and the media. The BBC is as guilty of this as others. Claiming to be simply reporting on the hysteria of others is not an excuse.

  • Comment number 21.

    Impressive results, but unsurprising given the anti-competitive tactics used by Apple that they would be able to pofit from competitors inability to hit the same profit margins.

    I will have no respect for them until they end the frankly illegal link between iPods and iTunes. Let's see how many they sell if it was a more open platform shall we?

  • Comment number 22.

    but as more people realise what Macs have to offer--user-friendly, advanced UI on industrial-strength Unix, plus closer hw/sw integration

    --------

    The percentage of the market that cares even slightly about that is less than 1%. More people will not realise because they simply don't care about that.

    What they care about is:

    1. What's the cheapest computer that will do what i want?

    2. Which one does all the games work on straight away?

  • Comment number 23.

    Without wanting to throw this completely off-topic, there has not been a successful mac virus attack for a very very very long time. Of course market share plays its part, but no-one who actually knows anything about operating system architecture (be they an MS employee, an Apple fanboy, or someone totally disinterested) will attempt to argue that Windows is as inherently secure as MacOSX.
    It is unfortunate that a serious malicious Trojan attacking MacOSX has been put into the wild in the last 48 hours, but if you're comparing it to Windows, well, there isn't any comparison really - it's just one after all.... and let's be clear a Trojan, no matter how clever, is ultimately something that requires user interaction in the form of admin password entry etc - it's not entirely the operating system's fault if it gets through, unlike a virus.

    Back on-topic:
    "The percentage of the market that cares even slightly about that [user-friendly UI etc] is less than 1%."
    ...in that case I would say all the more remarkable that Apple's market share continues to grow, currently standing just over 10%...

  • Comment number 24.

    @hackerjack

    'I will have no respect for them until they end the frankly illegal link between iPods and iTunes. Let's see how many they sell if it was a more open platform shall we?'

    May I ask how exactly is it illegal? Surely it is up to Apple to decide how to connect their MP3 player to a computer. They have kept the same concept since the original iPod, so surely they are not capitalizing on their monopoly by locking people in.

  • Comment number 25.

    yawn...

    apples do look nicer but several of my friends who have them regret it. 'little' free software, they still crash when fully loaded up (unlike my lovely loaded up dell that's 4 years old). totally compatible with all my work stuff and any other personal stuff I might ever want.

    the only reason that windows has more bugs is because it is far more comprehensively generic and the only 2 reasons that there are lots of windows/trojans are
    1. some people just don't like microsoft AT ALL
    2. People use windows lots, so fraudsters and the like target it.

    Let's see what happens to apple as global disposable incomes fall.

  • Comment number 26.

    I admit I'm an Apple Fanboy, Why? because in 20 years of ownership I have not lost a single byte of my precious data, I did try Windows 98 (still having nightmares, everyone remember Tiny?),
    Last week however my Macbook Pro Hard-drive died, and only 30 months old!, Rung Applecare, new hard-drive installed in one day back with me the next, three hours after that (thanks Time machine) everything back as it was pre failure. My only hardware problem in 20 years of professional use is forgotten, fixed, done!.

    My PC using colleague spends longer each week updating his virus software!

    Smug, Of course I am.

    BTW All my work is produced for PC users and always has been..........go figure LOL!

  • Comment number 27.

    "My PC using colleague spends longer each week updating his virus software!"

    More than 3 hours a week? Sorry, your credibility disappeared right there.

    Incidentally, when I moved from 32bit to 64bit Vista - which, of course, unlike Leopard actually is a true 64 bit OS - it took me 90 minutes to install and reload all my applications.

    Just a thought.

  • Comment number 28.

    Good at maths?, I did not mean it literally, though he (my PC Friend) does spend quite a while housekeeping , my point is I have never had to worry about downtime due to a flaky OS that needs almost constant maintenance (if connected to the outside world) and on the one occasion that the hardware did let me down, Apple proved their customer focus and were quick of the mark with outstanding service.
    That is why I believe they will weather the current economic climate better than most.

    Just a thought.

  • Comment number 29.

    "More than 3 hours a week? Sorry, your credibility disappeared right there."

    Sorry Mark, but I'm afraid this does sound like normal behaviour for a PC.

    I work in a place where we are phasing out Windows PCs and replacing them with either Macs or just replacing Windows on the PCs with Ubuntu.

    As a publisher, as long as we can produce a PDF at the end of any project we will use whatever software is best. And unfortunately, Windows is simply not good enough.

    Pointless eye candy, malware attacks, Virus software constantly updating (all costing ££££s in yearly subscriptions and lost time), insecure design etc. etc. on all flavours of Windows add up to a daily headache for a system admin.

    With OS X and Ubuntu, you can concentrate on getting the job done, instead of worrying about what dreaded virus is round the corner.

    And Time Machine? No comparable solution on any other platform. And that's a fact.

  • Comment number 30.

    There are many reasons why Apple can expect to continue trading well through the recession. It has a diversified business: the 'ecosystem' of Mac, iPod, iTunes Store, and iPhone each being thriving businesses in their own right. Each of these has unique strengths within their market. Its customers are loyal. Its market is not saturated (iPod being the possible exception). Its largest customer bases are the creative industries, education, and high income home users, who are less likely to be affected by recession than the PC platform's key customers in business and mid to low income home users. Laptop computing is growing much faster than desktop, and this is where Apple excels.

    However unless the whole edifice fails, we can never know how well some of their individual products are performing: I would guess that the iPod Classic, Apple TV, and Macbook Air are relatively weak, for example. And if they repeat the kind of fiasco we saw with iPhone 2.0 and MobileMe, the reputational damage could be serious. As ever, Apple's supreme secrecy allows them to lose the inconvenient detail behind their general success.

  • Comment number 31.

    It worth noting that in my comments I wasn't Apple bashing, merely trying to point out that I have had no problems with Vista since SP1. I appreciate the software is comprimised now and that no-one really wants to adopt it due to the early faults it encountered.

    Apple does what it does very well, my first computer was a Mac Classic with Clarisworks etc running on it. It makes innovative software and hardware to make itself a profit which is exactly what all the companies are trying to do.

    In defence of my comments on viruses I should point out that I mentioned "some reports" suggest an increase in viruses. To say there are no viruses for Mac's thogh seems a little strange. Various sources report viruses for mac software and I recently read of ZDnet a flaw with Safari which Apple was taking some time to fix. All of these could be wrong hence my use of the words some reports. I don't have a mac anymore so wouldn't know.

    On a side note comment 29 my PC happily updates and scans for viruses without interrupting what I am doing. Also remember that Ubuntu has had loads of updates, my initial Hardy Heron install ended up downloading over 100 updates immediately after installation. I have no idea if Apple supply lots of updates as I no longer have an Apple computer anymore. Creative companies seem better suited to the Apple model as the software used works better with Mac OS software and I know people who work for Advertising agencies/Web Design companies who are all based on Apple machines.

    Anyway I'm not bashing Apple, Microsoft or Linux based software. Ultimately I use my Ubuntu machine more than any as it takes around 20 seconds to boot up and get me on the web and it's free.

  • Comment number 32.

    Rory, is there really any need to bring Jesus into this?

  • Comment number 33.

    @twelveightyone

    No, it isn't. It's a ridiculous figure to quote. If you need to spend 3 hours a week maintaining a PC then you're doing something wrong.

    Now what he might be doing is scheduling a weekly virus scan, defrag and malware scan which could take some time but this isn't typical. Defragging Vista is pointless because it takes care of storage well enough, virus and malware scans take 30 minutes tops and can be scheduled for when you're away or asleep and even if you're not run quietly in the background.

    Sorry, but it's nonsensical to suggest this figure is typical.

    As for your comapny, I'm glad they've chosen the best solution for their needs - if Apple and Linux meet their needs then it would be silly to choose a weaker solution. That said, MS dominates the vast majority of business and domestic situations precisely because the boot is almost always on the other foot - the software and support are simply better or at least more familiar.

    On the subject of securityware, for the private user this is either free through the likes of Zone Alarm and Avast or fairly inexpensive at £30 year which, if you work it out over three to five years, is still a smaller cost than the premium you could pay for any comparitive Mac that isn't a basic model. I'd also say that assuming that any system is going to be free from malware is a bit thick as those unfortunates who pirated iLife '09 are finding out to their cost.

    Frankly, if you can find any commercial environment that doesn't run some form of securityware regardless of OS used I'd be surprised and I certainly wouldn't do business with them because whilst some viruses may not affect your systems they can be transmitted to customers who are.

    As for 'pointless eye candy' well that's rather a subjective viewpoint, isn't it?

    Finally, I think Time Machine is an awesome feature and at the moment nothing Windows or Linux has matches it. It's good to see that MS have learnt from this in W7 and made the system restore function a lot more intuitive and flexible although Time Machine is still the defining standard for now.

    @D4Alien

    I agree. I use Ubuntu and it downloads updates daily. A good number fo them require a system reastart too. Go figure!

    You're right though, people should use the OS that suits them best. It's not actually really important what OS that happens to be.

  • Comment number 34.

    @Mark_MWFC,

    Yes, it is. It's a quite generous figure to quote.

    "If you need to spend 3 hours a week maintaining a PC then you're doing something wrong."

    Am I really? Well Mr. Micro$oft, care to tell me how I can do it correctly?


    Microsoft are the epitome of "good enough". Mr Average loves Microsoft, because they just about do the job, albeit in a clunky, clumsy way.

    "On the subject of securityware, for the private user this is either free through the likes of Zone Alarm and Avast or fairly inexpensive at £30 year which, if you work it out over three to five years, is still a smaller cost than the premium you could pay for any comparitive Mac that isn't a basic model."

    Absolute hokum. Gobbldygoop. Nonsense. Tripe.
    What about ease of use, built in security, build quality, support?

    "I'd also say that assuming that any system is going to be free from malware is a bit thick as those unfortunates who pirated iLife '09 are finding out to their cost."

    You download illegal software at your own risk Mark. As soon as you give your admin password to an installer, you are giving access to the system. If you give your password to something you have downloaded illegally, well, you are asking for trouble.

  • Comment number 35.

    @twelveightyone

    Quoting 3 hours to update/patch, scan a PC does seem rather excessive to me too. I will shamefully admit, as I hadn't before, that I am a sysadmin. I have never had a PC require 3 hours worth of work done on it weekly.

    Of course, I have had issues when creating a new base image and I haven't slipstreamed a service pack and that has left me waiting for a few hours on patches downloading etc.

    As Mark_MWFC says pick what is best for you and what you do. It's the same for everything in life. Who cares what OS people use, does it make them better people? No. Of course it doesn't.

    Let's not kid ourselves into believing that these corporations care about their customers. Ultimatley they only care about profits and increasing them every year.

    Apple have produced devices people want and have moved the, previously stalled, mobile phone world along considerably with iPhone. But they have also with these devices adopted the "good enough" idea. The iPhone has just been patched to ensure that Safari works properly now, but alas it still doesn't have flash support. Does it affect what I think of the device? Not really. Will it affect an Apple fans choice of mobile phone? No. (Before taking offence feel free to make your way to Lifehacker or pleasefixtheiphone)

    My current Samsung mobile phone, which I don't use to browse the web, crashes and needed patches installed too.

    So again I'm trying hard not to bash Apple as they are just trying to make money like everyone else.

    My next mobile will probably run on Android and Ubuntu is my OS of choice at home. But solely because it works for me.

    I feel like saying something along the lines of "Can't we all just get along" to end this comment but wont. See I used wont....

  • Comment number 36.

    @D4lien, I agree... Group Hug anyone? :-)

  • Comment number 37.

    @twelveightyone .... Problem is we may have compatability issues trying to all hug at once without the correct emulators fo our OS'... Hee hee...

    Sorry I'll stop now.

  • Comment number 38.

    Is apple recession proof? The more appropriate question is "Will apple continue to prosper, recession or no recession?"

    Apple has been riding a wave of innovation, beginning with the all transparent, curvy iMacs of the last decade, then the often unnoticed, but amazing business innovation of the iTunes concept and then climaxing with the touch phenomenon in the mobile phone.

    And then what? Has apple reached it's level of incompetence? Honestly, that wouldn't be surprising at all. This is the time when apple insiders will call for milking their past innovations - to make more money from the iTunes, to sell more iPhones, in more countries, with more operators, to sell more macbooks and make cheaper ones, to become a volume player and steal market share from microsoft, nokia, dell, HP, symbian, sony...in effect, the finance guys take over leaving the tech innovators behind, by focusing on what all good companies do - MONEY. Money in various forms - market share, EBITA, gross margins, cash flow, operating capital. Quarterly finance stories will replace the significance of the annual apple ritual of tech innovation.

    Apple is recession-proof in the sense that it wouldn't have to fire staff, reduce bonuses or stand in the line for free soup. On the contrary, apple insiders will carry fat bonuses, well deserved, from innovations done in the pre-recession era. For a couple of years...

    And then, Steve returns with a bunch of crazy new ideas. Or a new Steve and a new apple are born.





  • Comment number 39.

    People say that Apple should drop it's prices if it wants mass market appeal.

    It doesn't want that though. They have become a high-end brand and I think that's where they are happy to be.

    They don't need to appeal to the masses with their computer business. They do that with their music players, but computers is a whole different ball game.

    The sort of customer that is happy to pay Apple's price for a computer will not be put off by the recession, simply because they target a market that is less affected by it.

 

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

BBC.co.uk