Rotten Apple, iPhone SE review

by,

Suzanne Coleman

 

For years I have wanted a new iPhone and a couple weeks ago I finally got one.  I bought the new iPhone SE in the rose gold 64 gigabytes.  I was really excited when I got it in the mail, finally, after waiting for about three weeks; the stores were all sold out.

When I opened it up, it came in a beautiful white box with a raised image of the phone on it, and all the text on the box was in the rose gold color.  Nice touch Apple.

I opened the white box and liked the way the phone looked, for the most part.  The problem started though, when I turned it on.  I immediately found the screen very glaring and difficult to look at, in fact really difficult to look at.  I went into the settings after I was able to activate the phone and adjusted them for contrast and other vision options under the accessibility feature, it did help, but not enough.

I also had issues with the phone after about 12 hours asking me to reenter all the data from the very beginning, starting with the white screen with the Apple on it.  According to the Apple Store staff, that was not supposed to happen.  The other issue I noticed was that the phone was rattling, but when I asked the Apple Store staff about that, they said that that is the auto-focus on the camera.  

I tried to give the phone a chance.  So I tried the video out, and after recording for five minutes my phone got extremely hot which made me concerned.  The main reason I bought the phone was for video and photo, especially macro photos and high-quality video, as this is something that I do as a pretty serious hobby.

What did the video look like?  I tried out the “60 fps 1080 p video” and wasn’t very happy with it.  I was videotaping a bird as it was flying, and I was moving the phone as I filmed it, to follow the bird’s motion.  I had two major issues with this.  First of all, the results were not 60p 1080.  The camera did not properly capture the number of images.  The video was very jerky, the images were not smooth.  It seemed more like i than p.  The moving birds’ wings were only showing at a few positions on the video instead of a smooth motion which I get using my 30p 1080 iPod touch 5.  The other issue was that when I moved the camera to follow the bird, the camera couldn’t keep up with the data and the background image became pixelated.  This has never happened with the 30p iPod and is unacceptable.

On the plus side, the images had good resolution; they were very sharp for the most part.  The video result had a much higher resolution than on the iPod for distant images (but not for macro, tested later).  Also, the brightness of the image on the phone while filming was great.  The exposure values were good, though there were some issue with over-exposure.  

Then I switched to 4K video to try that out (supposedly at 30p).  When I went to play it back on my iMac in iPhoto it was terrible, the video image was jerking as the video panned slowly to the right.  When I tested it again by playing it back on the phone, I did not notice this jerking, so this may be a software issue with iPhoto.  I’m also running an older version of the OS which may be the issue- though you would think that they would have updated the software to properly handle 4K. 

Also, when I first connected the iPhone SE to my iMac, iPhoto went crazy and kept flashing back and forth between different screens.  This was very disconcerting.  After I disconnected the iPhone and restarted the computer it seemed to be ok.  When I re-connected the iPhone the next time, it did not do this.

Then I went to try the camera for still images.  The images were OK, they were not outstanding at all.  Next, I used the macro camera and macro video.  In one case the video was good, but in another it was poor.  The camera was ok for macro pics, but not outstanding.   It did not measure up to the iPod in this area.  The macro video was also not able to properly depict the motion of  a moving subject (running carpenter ant).

Since my main interest was the camera and video capabilities of the phone, I decided that this was not the right tool for me.  Plus, its overall cheap-seeming construction and components were not worth the price at all.

I went into the Apple store and I was able to return the phone without any issues within their allotted time frame.  I am pretty disappointed in the quality of the phone, having both hardware and software issues.  And with the company for not properly identifying these problems before releasing the phone to the public.  But this has been their M.O. for quite a while now.  I think there are some deeper issues that need to be addressed at Apple.

Delayed Product Fulfillment, Apple and Nikon

by,

Suzanne Coleman

After not receiving my very eagerly-anticipated newly released Nikon camera on April 29th, I started looking into what had happened.  When I called the store I ordered it from, they had no information, so I turned to Amazon.

Amazon’s item page now states a release date of July 1, instead of what it said before, which was April 29th, but there was no reason for this sudden and significant change in release.  So I had to dig further.

I searched Nikon’s website for info and they revealed the reason behind the delay.  A recent earthquake in Japan has impacted their ability to produce or deliver the item.

Dang.

So I thought, maybe I can just use my new iPhone camera in the meantime?  The phone I ordered almost two weeks ago but still have no tracking information on?  The one that is still unavailable in the stores all across my area?

Yeah, that looks like it’s not going to happen either.

On a hunch, I researched where iPhones are produced and learned that their screens and some chips are produced in the area where the earthquake hit.  Double damn.

This is not good on many fronts, not good for Apple (I still own some of their stock) as its stock price drops on decreased sales due to their own outstanding product successes in the past, not good for Japan and its people, and not good for people hoping to upgrade their electronics in the wake of this natural event.  It cannot be determined how long it will take for this area to recover and be able to produce and supply these products again.

I had finally found the “perfect” camera after years of considering the options.  Now I will likely need to choose another, less perfect option to complete my upcoming documentary.  Any suggestions?

And I guess I’ll be keeping my old phone number a little bit longer too…

 

iPhone SE flies off the shelves, yet production is “slowed?”

usa-1026228_1280

by,

Suzanne Coleman

I decided that I wanted to buy the iPhone SE, so I went to the store to check it out and make sure it offered the features that I wanted.  While its camera isn’t very good and the 4K video looks ok, on a tiny screen, it did have dictation capabilities  which I think will be great for writing my books more efficiently (though Apple gets to screen everything you say, wonder what the fine print is on that??  NSA….).

I asked the store representative if they had any of the rose gold (I call it pink) 64 G in the store and she said they were sold out.  They’ve been mostly sold out for weeks.

Hmm…

If this is the case, then why are news outlets reporting a pull back on production of the iPhone?  Is this information accurate?  It seems to have been, in the past, when similar reports were released in the US.  This report was very vague though.  There were no indications of which phone/s’ production was/were slowed.  Maybe they slowed production of only certain models, like the iPhone 6.  Apple is expected to release the new iPhone 7 this year, so it would make sense if they decreased production of last year’s model, no well-managed company (not that they are…) would want to have tons of unsold overstock.

I asked the store’s staff how could I find out when they have the phones back in stock.  They told me that I could use http://www.apple.com to select the phone I want, and then I should hit “check availability” to see if the store has it.  So when I went home I tried this.

On Saturday, a couple of days later, most of the stores in my search results (about 15 stores) had the phone.  But the next day, all of the stores in my area were sold out.  I repeated this search over the next 10 days or so and none of the stores seemed to receive a new shipment (poor management…).

This is “vaguely” familiar, Apple not fulfilling customer demand.  Now as a stock-holder (not sure for how long that will continue), I have a problem with that.  You can’t bring in income if you don’t have the product available.  Apple has had so many issues with this over the past decade or so, yet management is the same as far as I can tell.  There is clearly demand for the phones, but there are no phones to fulfill that demand.  Why?

Then we hear that they are slowing production.  If that applies to SE, are they saying they made a mistake in selling this phone?  Do they want to pull back on it for some reason?  I don’t know.

I finally decided to order one for delivery, it “only” takes 3-4 weeks, though the website said 2-3, the dates were 3-4, another oddity.  So here I sit, iPhone-less for now.  Typing this article with my own two hands.  The old-fashioned way.  Man are they tired.

Why do I mention all of this?  As a shareholder the stock has performed poorly over the last year.  This company makes billions in profit annually (well, quarterly) yet investors are losing money.  Something needs to change, and as an analyst, I see the issue being at the top.  Management isn’t making the best decisions when it comes to production, sales and distribution.  There are also innovation lags compared to the competitors.

Maybe those nay-sayers were right, in fact they were, the stock was $135 and now it’s around $105.  That my friends, is not how you want to invest your money.  Waiting for a turn-around may be a long wait.  Maybe it’s time to take the losses and invest in another business…

 

Will Apple Continue to Shine? The Future of Apple

by,

Suzanne Coleman

Apple (AAPL) reported its holiday quarter earnings today and they were pretty much in line with expectations.  You can get those details anywhere, so I will talk about some observations you might not.

“The Wall Street Journal” reported in its earnings blog that one billion Apple devices are out there.  That means that about one out of every seven living human beings world-wide uses an Apple device.  What?!  That is crazy.  The impact that the “i” products have had on the world is anyone’s dream.  To be so wide-spread and utilized as to become household names, categories within yourselves in our languages, is amazing.

Tim Cook says that the Apple Watch had its best quarter ever.  That correlates with my personal observations that the watch is spreading throughout the populace.  I see more and more as I move around society.  I think that the key to the watch is a slow but persistent adoption rate, which will be greatly boosted by an untethered device which I hope they do have and release this upcoming holiday quarter.  I believe that the watch will become a part of everyday life, while not for as many as the iPhone has.

In the future I would like to see new devices, which I will not detail here but Apple is free to contact me to discuss ideas.

Samsung had a bad quarter, Apple is holding steady with its high sales numbers world-wide.  Will this be the relative end of Samsung?  This comparison should give some perspective to the doom-sayers out there who think Apple has become rotten.

Tim Cook (CEO) goes on to discuss that Apple is looking to the future with long-term growth in mind.  China still has room for significant growth due to an exponentially expanding middle class.  I wonder if this factors in China’s overall growth retraction though.

He mentions an important note, 60% of iPhone users are still in the iPhone 5 category, so there is signifiant room for switch-0ver there to new products, plus the 6+ billion potential new customers and carrier-switchers.

Wow, as I finish up my report, I review other sources’ articles from this evening.  Yikes.  It’s interesting how manipulative “journalism” has become just to get clicks.  Readers, please review the numbers for yourselves, don’t get sucked into headlines which are inaccurate or misleading.  Apple had a record year with their 6-series phones last year, they are not breaking out of that this year as they did not release a similarly-new phone product.  They aren’t falling apart, they are doing amazingly well for the current world-wide market conditions, and as that stabilizes over the next 2-3 years and the market again booms (at least relatively) they will boom as well I expect.

Oh yes, I still own Apple shares, but I’m no institution 🙂

———————

Sources for the earnings report information are the WSJ and Marketwatch.com’s blogs plus my own analysis.

 

Apple Stock Dives, but do you know Why?

by,

Suzanne Coleman

Apple stock (AAPL) is down 3.66% as I write this story.  Not good.  Is this because Apple sold a record number of its new iPhone model this past weekend?  No, that’s not it.  Is it because Apple is coming out with a free software upgrade for its computer users?  No, I doubt it.  But, I think I know what it is.

I own Apple stock (let’s question why another time…) and I just received a margin call on this equity.  E-Trade raised its capital requirements SIGNIFICANTLY and the call is due on Thursday.  Previously requirements were only 30% equity, they raised it to 45%.

As the stock fell yesterday, people are likely selling to cover their margin requirements today.  I could call around and see if other brokers have also raised their requirements, but since this is an unpaid gig, you’ll just have to include that as a likely possibility based on the stock’s recently unstable and unpredictable performance, with no underlying logic.  I wouldn’t throw my money at it without securing it either, at this point.  The company is good, but it could be better in many aspects, but that’s America today.  It’s one of the best though and I repeat myself yet again, there’s no logical reason for this drop in price.

In fact, today another analyst has started coverage with a 12-month price expectation at $150.  The average is now an expected $145.77 per Yahoo! charts.  With a PE of 12.51, that’s pretty good.  Exclude all the lofty dreams of google glass (oh wait, different company…), a magical Apple iCar, Apple streaming TV service, etc., this company still outperforms most businesses today.

Apple To Buy Netflix?

by,

Suzanne Coleman

I think the best next move is for Apple to buy Netflix.  Why not?  What do you think?  Maybe we’ll find out more tomorrow…

Apple Beat Expectations for iPhone

By,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

Ok, so let’s review this one more time.  I am tired of the manipulations and lies.  In the most recently-ended quarter Apple BEAT expectations for the iPhone sales.  Many bloggers/”journalists” are saying that they missed, and that everyone should bail out of Apple (wow, great analysis, based on literally, nothing).  No, they beat.  No one even mentions that their “miss” is actually based on hyper-inflated dream-idealogy numbers, not analysts’ consensus expectations.

So there you have it folks, something I like to call “the facts.”  Beware of what you read on other blogs, or even “news” outlets.  There are many people/organizations out there who have some kind of issues with Apple doing well, and are doing whatever they can to destroy it.  In medicine, we call those people psychopaths.

By the way, if you are investing based on what people are writing about stocks, you need to do some more homework, and get your information from several sources.  That way it will be closer to fair and balanced information, which is always the best for you and your portfolio.

_______________________________

Yes, I still own Apple stock.

“… And Carry a Big Stick”

by,

Suzanne Coleman

Well good, Tim Cook finally acted.  As the CEO of a massive company, a big part of your job is managing your reputation.  Apple has historically done that quite well, especially with often overly-aggressive legal actions.  But in the last few months, they have sat passively by while their company has been defamed by “journalist” after “journalist.”  Manipulating public opinion by manipulating reports is sleazy, but since we as a society have lost most of our journalistic quality over the last few years, companies and individuals need to step up and act when necessary.

And let’s define necessary as when your investors are being destroyed due to false statements of fact meant to deliberately manipulate public opinion and therefore your stock price.  Yeah, let’s start with that.

I was going to call investor relations today (yes I own Apple stock, which you probably know by now) and have a conversation with them about this issue.  A nice class-action lawsuit brought by investors against reporters who spread falsehoods about Apple just might be what is needed to revive journalistic integrity.

I know, most of you have probably never heard of that…

_____________________

“Speak softly and carry a big stick.”  -Theodore Roosevelt, prior President of the United States of America

Speechless

by,

Suzanne Coleman

Wow, Apple.  Wow everything.  What is going on here people?!  This stock market trading is insane.

First off, when you trade, you trade in pennies, not dollars, OK?  Geez, it’s like these people have no idea what they’re doing…

Yeah, let’s start with that.  I’m getting to be a broken record here, but, maybe before you buy or sell a stock you might want to GET A CLUE?  Since I own Apple, I’ll be focusing on that as a cornerstone for this conversation.

A good company’s stock doesn’t lose 30-40% of its value in a couple of weeks.  This isn’t Netflix or Amazon, the two stocks that continue to be super over-valued compared to their actual earnings, this is Apple, a proven stock with quickly growing earnings and a PE that is actually too LOW for its pre-drop price.

Now let’s play on people’s “reason” behind the recent decline, worries about the loss of income from sales in China.  Let’s say China literally falls off of the face of the earth, maybe the earth’s crust crumbles and the surface detaches and it just simply floats out to space.  Now, who knows, maybe they have cell service out there, I don’t know, but let’s just say, just for fun, that they don’t.  So if this happens, does Apple whither and die due to the loss of this entire market?  What do you think?

Yeah, you’re right, the answer is NO.

Would its growth suffer?  Yes, yes it would, but I must say, this is a ridiculous scenario because as far as I know, and yes I have personally checked this myself this morning, the earth’s crust under China is in fact, securely adhered to the globe.  So traders, you really don’t need to worry about China disappearing completely as a market today or any day in the next millennium or so.

So now, back to what most of us perceive to be reality.

China is in the predicted retraction phase, our world’s economies are almost all interconnected now, and those of you who didn’t realize this after our economy pulled back, well, I guess you’ll believe me now?  🙂  It’s all physics, the “ripple effect” created by the waves that we made earlier has reached China.  Recent published reports stated that their economy might only grow like 5-7% this year.  Wow, that is “terrible!”  Of course, it can get worse, they might actually stop growing.  Or even go into a recession like we recently did…  But they’re not there yet.  Their growth is decelerating (and has been for maybe 2-3 years).  During this period of time Apple has been consistently seeing INCREASED sales and profits coming from China.  So, maybe a little perspective will help stabilize this market?  I hope you’re paying attention people…  Maybe I need to be more blunt?  Apple will not collapse and die because of a contraction in China’s economy.  Yes, it’s possible they might not grow as quickly as they have been, but that’s expected in any new market, right?  Yes, right.

A little more perspective.  Apple continues to be in an expansion phase due to the overseas markets’ late adoption of its extremely popular cell phone products, and it continues to innovate, providing consumers products that they can’t live without.  This stock was fairly valued before this series of drops.  And now with a PE of 11- something, this high-growth stock which is backed by billions in cash, is a great bargain.  People who bought in today will be very happy they did, and hopefully very soon.

Compare this to Netflix, with a PE of around 200 recently (i.e., the price is way too high), which has had similar growth and management success in the last 2 years or so.  Their price is still flying high; I would have expected their price to drop way more than Apple, but logic doesn’t seem to be the reigning force in the market this year.

Apple deserves more stability than this people, let’s start trading with some respect.  12-month estimates average 146.88.  So that’s about 40% upside from the current price of $104.50.  Yes, people, that is VERY good.  Buy.

More Apple Insanity

by,

Suzanne Coleman

So Apple reported it’s quarterly earnings this afternoon, and guess what?  They again blew away expectations beating both gross and net income.  Their profit surged 38%.  But traders sold the stock and caused it to plummet the instant the results were reported.  Why?

Insanity, that’s why.  The only valid negative in their report so far (which actually came AFTER the drop) was that sales were DOWN in China.  Now this is important as China was a major income source.  We don’t know why sales are down there, nor what it portends for the future of the market all-around.  But even with this negative, Apple’s earnings and sales were outstanding.  iPhone sales were up 35% to 47.5 million phones.  This is the main profit contributor.

Other items increased as well, including services (I believe this includes Cloud and Apple Pay), and the “other” category where they have currently placed the new product the Apple Watch.  They also added later that the Watch brought in more than one BILLION dollars in sales this reported quarter.

In the future, this growing and ridiculously financially-stable company will continue to do well.  So again, why are people selling it?  These people are likely day- or hour- traders who jump in and out of stock positions and disrupt the market at times with their actions.  Long-holding owners and institutions would be wise to buy in now.  I believe that it will go back up.

Its stable price point over the last several months has been $125-126.  It will return to that level, or more likely, surpass it to at least $128-129.  Analyst estimates should again rise after this report, likely up to $160.  So, again, why are people selling?  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.  These are generally the same people buying into stocks with outrageous PEs and no profits.  Speculators is what they are called, and sometimes they do very well, but other times, they are wrong.

_________________

Yep, marketwatch.com (where I got the reported numbers above) just wrote that Piper Jaffray’s analyst Gene Munster raised estimates to $162.  4:29pm CST

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