The Apple Roundup: Microsoft got iOS license with promise not to copy

Here’s our daily pick of stories about Apple from around the web that you shouldn’t miss. Today’s installment: revelations about Apple and Microsoft’s licensing agreement, the super-secure iPhone, signs point to a September iPhone launch, the mythical Apple television, and the death of optical drives.

Analyst talks three possible routes for future Apple TV

A dedicated Apple TV set was a hot topic at the end of 2011. So far in 2012, news on that front has been relatively quiet, but a new note by longtime Apple TV set booster and Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is reigniting the discussion.

Today in Mobile

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster is attracting attention today with the claim that downloads from Apple’s App Store are up 61 percent this year over the same period in 2010, and that users are paying 14 percent more per app. There are lots of theories for these trends, including the idea that Apple users are somehow substantially more affluent (and therefore less frugal) than Android users. But I think we’re seeing a natural progression as we move beyond the novelty stage and into an era when people want real value from their apps, so they’re willing to pay a bit more. And because Apple and its users have consistently led the way when it comes to mobile data, it makes sense that they’d be out in front of this trend, too.

Has Google Admitted Defeat in the Social Web Race?

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says Google has “given up on social,” because it doesn’t stand a chance of competing with Facebook. The problem with doing this, he says, is that as advertisers continue to chase the social graph, Google will have little to offer them.

Munster Answers 14 Questions No One Was Asking

Good old Gene Munster. He’s just obsessed with Apple (s aapl), ain’t he? In a note yesterday to clients, and reported by AppleInsider, Munster answers 14 “questions” about Apple that cover such topics as its iPhones, iPods, Apple TV, Retail Stores, AT&T (s att) partnership and more.

In short, it’s nothing we haven’t heard from him before, but just in case you haven’t been keeping up with Piper Jaffray’s Senior Analyst this year, here are the highlights.


Munster predicts AT&T’s exclusive deal with Apple will end next year, allowing the iPhone to be sold by other carriers. He cites the end of Apple’s exclusive deal with French carrier Orange. “For various reasons the company moved from an exclusive relationship with French wireless carrier Orange to a multi-carrier model,” he says. Well, I wouldn’t exactly describe it as “various reasons,” Gene, the reason was made quite clear. The Competition Council in France deemed the five year exclusivity deal unfair and cut it (and all similar future deals between carriers and hardware manufacturers) to a more competition-friendly three months.
But hey, “various reasons” sounds more knowledgeable, I suppose. Don’t forget, he’s a Senior Analyst.

No Cheap iPhone

Munster predicts there won’t be a sub-$99 iPhone 3G offering from Apple any day soon because the company is not interested in competing with the $10 basic cell phones that dominate markets like India. Call me an old cynic, but did we really need an analyst to tell us this? Here, try this: I predict that Apple isn’t interested in offering a sub-$500 MacBook because the market is swamped with $299 offerings from manufacturers of small form-factor PC notebooks. There. That sounded good, can I be an Analyst, please? Read More about Munster Answers 14 Questions No One Was Asking

Why Apple Won’t Release an HDTV

Last week, analyst Gene Munster’s prediction that there would indeed be an Apple television caused quite a stir. Munster believes that if Apple remade one mature market in the mobile phone market, there’s no reason the company can’t do it again with TVs. Despite the commotion, I’m still not convinced. In this analysis, I examine the reasons Apple will stay away from HDTVs.

Macbook Video DRM Problems Continue to Make Waves

macbook-defectiveApple (s aapl) continues to find itself in hot water over its decision to support strict copy protection standards with its new line of Macbooks. Owners of the new generation of Macbooks and Macbook Pros were up in arms last week about the fact that HD movies bought at the iTunes store wouldn’t show up on many external displays, such as LCD screens or digital projectors. Instead, users were greeted by a warning that their displays were “not authorized to play protected movies.”

Apple reacted to the brouhaha this week with a Quicktime update that disabled the copy protection scheme. That apparently wasn’t enough to appease the Free Software Foundation (FSF). The open source advocacy organization just started a holiday-themed “35 Days against DRM” campaign that attempts to point out flaws of consumer electronics with DRM support and dissuade shoppers from buying them, one device a day. Think of it as an advent calendar from the Church of Linux, if you will. Apple’s new Macbooks have the dubious honor of being featured on the campaign’s very first day.

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Question of the Day: Is Jobs Using ‘Scarcity Illusion’ to juice iPhone2 debut?

We’ve written previously about Harvard marketing guru John Quelch’s research into how companies deliberately create an “illusion of scarcity” to elevate product successes and profits. See, How to use the ‘Scarcity Illusion’ to boost your launch.

For a while now people have been writing about the perceived scarcity of iPhones. Earlier this week Om conducted a reportorial gut check, and determined–once and for all–that there is a shortage of iPhones nationwide. See, There *Really* Is A Coast To Coast iPhone Shortage.

The bigger quandry now is whether this is a production/supply chain problem at Apple, or a deliberate marketing strategy to keep the perceived value of the iPhone artificially high (even if it naturally would be very darned high!)

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster thinks the latter (for the record, so do I), and that Jobs’ may be using scarcity to lay the groundwork for a successful debut of iPhone2. According to Barron’s, “Munster figures there is an 80% chance that a new iPhone is coming earlier than expected; he sees a 20% chance that there is a production or manufacturing issue with the phone.”

So this forms our Question of the Day:

* Is Jobs using the “Scarcity Illusion” to boost iPhone sales, or an iPhone2 debut?

* What effect does this strategy have on you as an Apple consumer? (Like it, or hate it?)

* Would you emulate this strategy at your startup, or does it risk alienating customers too much?

For more from Prof. John A. Quelch, including how you can use his “Scarcity Illusion” at your startup, see this Sept. 2007 essay, How to Profit from Scarcity, originally published in in Harvard’s Working Knowledge.