Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Model T iPhone

 I distinctly recall seeing for the first time—this goes way back, kids—something on a car dashboard that wasn’t your basic odometer, or gas tank indicator, or engine light or battery gauge: it was a little outline of the car doors, with lights that went on when a door was open.
 It seemed, at the time, extremely silly—sort of like when somebody first stuck a camera on a cell phone—because, after all, who needed to know when a door was open?
 Turned out young parents did.  They loved it because they never had to worry about whether their toddler or car seat-strapped baby was going to fall out.  And it helped sell cars.
 That feature happened to be on a Subaru, and while it seems quaint given that nowadays you can see almost anything on your dashboard except the future, it was very near the beginning of the Japanese assault on the US car industry.
 And those little door lights came to mind while listening to the Apple call last night—specifically, when the subject of the iPhone’s screen size, which is one reason the iPhone is losing share to Samsung’s large-screen Galaxy, came up.
 Asked by one of Wall Street’s Finest whether “there’s a long term case for a larger screen size?” Tim Cook said:
 The iPhone 5 offers, as you know, a new 4-inch Retina display, which is the most advanced display in the industry, and no one comes close to matching the level of quality as the Retina display. It also provides a larger screen size for iPhone customers without sacrificing the one-handed ease of use that our customers love. So we've put a lot of thinking into screen size, and believe we picked the right one.
 In other words, he said, “We don’t think so.”
 Now that’s perfectly fine.  Since joining Apple, and well before he even became Steve Jobs’ successor, Cook’s been helping bring about a revolution in the way millions of people go about their lives every day.  So who’s to argue with Tim Cook?
 But it called to mind Henry Ford, who likewise brought about a revolution in the way millions of human beings went about their lives nearly a century ago, when he offered his Model T in “any color so long as it is black.
 Because, at some point, people want something different.

Jeff Matthews
Author “Warren Buffett’s Successor: Who It Is And Why It Matters”
(eBooks on Investing, 2013)    $2.99 Kindle Version at

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The content contained in this blog represents only the opinions of Mr. Matthews.   Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews’ recommendations.  This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice, and should never be relied on in making an investment decision, ever.  Also, this blog is not a solicitation of business by Mr. Matthews: all inquiries will be ignored.  And if you think Mr. Matthews is kidding about that, he is not.  The content herein is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.


Jeff Matthews said...

LST is indeed reading things into the post. We never comment on stock valuation, price, or whether a stock should be bought or sold. Ever.


Responsible_Development said...

Sounds similar to the comments that Nokia made about not making many tweaks to their Windows phones...

LST said...

Apologies, you just seem to have a knack for relevant + predictive posts. I understand the post(s) may be meant to be descriptive, as opposed to prescriptive, but it seems like I was merely pointing to the natural and logical conclusion(s)...

Jeff Matthews said...

No apologies necessary (by the way, your original comment seems to have evaporate in the Googlesphere, my apologies).

It's just that we always try to avoid any appearance of attempting to pass judgment on stock valuation. Fundamentals, yes. Stock value, no.