Applesauce: All Things Apple
Michael Harper for Redorbit.com
This week, Apple had a small, yet not insignificant win in their case against Proview Electronics on their home turf and yet, the battle rages on overseas. Meanwhile, studies continue to reveal what most of us already know: Apple´s retail experience, particularly online is the tops and second to…well, one. But! The one company which bested them in online customer satisfaction also features an insanely great (sorry, Steve) 2-day shipping program and nearly everything under the sun. It´s a start, after all. Finally, as the days get warmer and young men´s thoughts turn towards brand new Apple devices (at least, this young man´s thoughts are) the iPhone rumors are beginning to flow like freshly melted snow to mountain streams. Welcome friends, to the weekend and your weekly bowl of Applesauce. Put some records on, it´s time to have fun!
There´s a great piece of folk literature which accurately describes the latest court decision in the ongoing legal battle between China’s Proview and Apple. Stand by your man.
Proview is the display company from the East who has run into financial woes as of late. Actually, it´s likely their trouble has been ongoing for several years now, as they were willing to part a piece of their intellectual property for a measly sum of $55,000. So, in 2009, Apple flew overseas to meet with the folks at Proview to settle a business deal, buy the IP for iPad from them, then rush back home to make billions on their new revolutionary tablets.
Of course, when Proview noticed just how much money they could have had, they began to kick themselves. Thus, the lawsuits which have been raging in China and until recently, the US. Proview wants the Chinese courts to halt the export, import and sale of any Apple product which violates the trademark. Meaning, Apple will be effectively shut down in the way of iPads. It´s a little extreme if you ask me, but I don´t understand the intricacies of the Asian legal system.
While the cases in Hong Kong haven´t necessarily been going Apple´s way, the courts here in the good ol´ U S of A have decided to throw out Proview´s case, saying they haven´t produced any evidence to suggest that settling their differences in Hong Kong was “unreasonable or unfair.” Apple, of course, maintained their position, saying “Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China.” So here´s to you, California, for sticking by the company which pays plenty of hefty corporate taxes. Because you see, you of all people need to be there to give him two arms to cling to, and something warm to come home to when those West Coast nights get all cold and lonely. You stand by your man, Courts of California. You tell the world that you love him, and keep giving him all the love you can. Stand by your man, bless your souls. Stand by your man,
Speaking of those ongoing court battles in China and Hong Kong, news came this week of Apple finally nearing a settlement with Proview in the Chinese courts. Apple needs to settle, really. They are, after all on unfamiliar turf, and while the people in China go batty for their products, if Apple isn´t able to settle these deals quickly, even more mayhem could ensue. Maybe they´ll begin throwing bootlegged Nickel Back CDs? That´d be ok with everyone, right?
A report from the Beijing Times claims Apple is ready to throw 100 million yuan ($16 billion American) at this Proview problem to make it go away. Of course, cash-strapped Proview doesn´t think that´s enough. Actually, let´s be fair. It´s the loan sharks who have been threatening to break Proview´s collective knees for years who don´t think that´s enough. Therefore, Proview rejected the offer, saying they would need at least $400 million to make the bad men go away“¦er“¦fill the void of that IP they sold 3 years ago. Remember the Trademark´s selling price in 2009? $55,000.
To be fair, MacRumors also reports Proview has already gone bankrupt and does owe $400 million to their creditors. These creditors, of course, are the real victims here. The only way they get their money is if one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world decides to pay off a company who is the complete polar opposite.
The case in China even had to be placed on hold while Proview fought off another court battle which would have rendered them bankrupt, unable to pay off any of their creditors and unable to hit Apple up for the rest of their cash.
So what are the Chinese courts thinking? It´s likely they understand there is a $400 billion tab left unpaid by Proview, and unless they get it from somewhere, local banks and creditors are going to suffer. So maybe Apple just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe they just happened to wander into the wrong store on the wrong day. And now, their future dangles on these court decisions. A hefty price to pay to fate, that´s for sure, but life is what life is, and sometimes you just have to pay the piper. It´s always the responsible ones who get hurt, isn´t it?
Could Apple and maybe even Google do to the wireless carrier industry what they did to the smartphone industry? That´s the talk of the wireless town, it seems, as yet another wireless and tech analyst suggests Apple could buy Sprint to make their great entrance into this new (to them) market.
Jeff Kagen, the tech analyst who has been following the industry for 25 years, even suggests a entrance by Apple and Google could almost immediately push Verizon and AT&T to numbers 1 and 2, respectively. After all, says Kagen, even though Sprint is a distant third to Big Red and Big Blue, with a name like Apple, they could soon be Big Number 1.
Why Sprint? Well, they have they fewest subscribers and least amount of spectrum to deal with, making the struggling carrier a great point of entry for either West Coast company. After all, the top two companies in mobile have been growing, so why not Sprint? And why not Apple? If they don´t want to buy Sprint right out, Kagen also says they could work out some sort of licensing deal with AT&T and Verizon, selling their service and spectrum under the warm glow of the bright, shining Apple orb. After all, Tracfone does the very same thing.
Those patents that resurfaced a few weeks ago, however, detail a different kind of functionality for this kind of plan. According to these patents, future iPads and iPhones would be able to, depending on location, sniff out the best network and jump on board, offering customers a very efficient kind of plan. The logistics behind this idea, however, make my head spin.
Knowing Apple, I´m sure they would simply email subscribers an easy-to-read receipt (much like their stores and iTunes store) with a 1-click kind of payability, but the process behind that on their backend must be crazy. So is Apple crazy to even pursue such an ideas? Not according to Kagen. After all, the opportunity to make money is there, and Apple is already known for doing two things very well: disrupting markets and making money. Oh, and innovating. And making their customers happy.
It´s always nice to get some statistical proof to backup what you´ve already known. For instance, when stats confirmed that women do talk more on the phone than men or when stats confirmed that unhealthy eating and watching TV can make kids fat. You´ve suspected these things all along, but it´s always nice to be able to back up any claims of your being right with actual, tangible numbers.
Prepare to rejoice, friends, for if you always assumed shopping at Apple.com was probably one of the best online retail experiences to be had, it turns out you were right. Those consumer pollsters at ForeSee have run through the gamut of testing and have found Apple to be second in online customer satisfaction only to Amazon.com. Amazon, by the way, boasts a pretty amazing shopping experience. The report does herald them as the standard by which all other online retail experiences are judged, by the way.
Apple´s score has even improved by 5 points from last year’s, scoring an 85, just four points behind Amazon´s 89.
ForeSee mentions that the computer industry as a whole saw some growth in the way of customer satisfaction. If you had some suspicions that Apple´s online experience was better than Dell´s, Microsoft´s or Sony´s, then you are correct once more. Dell scored highest of the three with an 80, while Microsoft and Sony both scored 79s. By the way, have you ever tried to buy anything from Dell.com lately? I decided to poke around to see if how the two experiences compared with one another and see what it was like to “buy” a Dell laptop from their website.
Speaking of statistics and data, here´s one that I found particularly appropriate. A 2010 study has shown people are more likely to make bad decisions–or be less satisfied with their decisions–when they are given too many choices.
For instance, when I tried to select a Dell Laptop, I was given a choice to customize nearly every aspect of the thing, from normal aspects like processor and memory to the size of the battery and what kind of speakers I could have. Maybe I´ve been an Apple fan for too long. Maybe I like making good choices. I´m not sure, but there´s something in me that doesn´t appreciate being bombarded with so many small choices when I´m buying a machine. After all, I´m not the computer-maker, you are. You tell me which battery is best.
All told, I had to click nearly 30 times just to select the laptop I wanted on Dell.com. To be fair, there was an option to skip much of the customization process, but I have to imagine once a person is asked to select their speakers and screen about 20 clicks in, they might not be so happy with their experience.
It´s been more than a month since the *new* iPad has been released, and people are still hung up on the missing number after the name. After all, if it happened once, it´s bound to happen again, right? “But what will they call it?” they moaned. “I mean, do we just call the next one the NEW new iPad?” You know what, we aren´t promised tomorrow. Maybe we won´t get an iPad. Maybe this is the last one. What then, belly-achers? I kid.
So just as MacBook Pros are labeled “Early 2011” or “Late 2011,” it seems the NEW iPad (3) has signified all future products will eschew those crazy, unaesthetic numbers and go straight for descriptive words. Which made the story from this week about Apple going to court for a particular web domain all the more interesting. You see, when Apple´s iDevice numbering scheme became apparent, there were those out there in the Internet who figured they could make a quick few thousand dollars by holding a domain hostage until Apple decided they wanted it. Shady? Yes. Ingenious? Well, yeah, a little.
After all, if you point your web browser to MacBookPro.com or iPhone4S.com, you´ll be sent straight to those product specific sites. It´s a neat trick for those who don´t know how to work Google.
iPhone5.com, however, is currently owned by someone, we don´t know who. It´s been bobbing around the quiet seas of internet culture, waiting for the massive Apple cruise ship to sail on by and pick up and wayfarers along the way. As they´ve been wont to do in the past with other domains (see useless names such as iPhonesex4S.com and useful names as the aforementioned iPhone4s.com) which may or may not apply to their products, Apple has decided to take legal action to acquire iPhone5.com. Which of course means Apple plans to name their new phone iPhone 5.
An interesting note, the fine folks over at MacRumors have also decided to play a little game of keep away with possible Apple domains. In doing some homework for this review, I began to tap away at a number of different possible Apple-themed domains. Imagine my surprise, then, when iPad2.com took me straight to the MacRumors.com front page. I couldn´t find any stories about Apple trying to buy the domain from Arnold Kim and crew, so perhaps they never really wanted to name the iPad 2. Thusly, maybe they just did it to throw everyone off their scent. Apple can be real spiteful that way…
What´s to happen next week? Will Apple make fools of us all by announcing they´ve never had plans to enter the TV market, opting instead for an entrance into digital photography? Or, will we instead discover that a young, affable yet clumsy Apple Engineer has left a prototype 50” TV at a local pub?
Or maybe, just maybe, will the marketing team at Cupertino gather together all the clips they could find of Steve Jobs dressed as historical figures and release a brand new ad campaign? You can rest assured that if any of these things happen, you´ll be able to read about them here, on RedOrbit.com!