King of the Hill? Is Apple in Trouble?

Another day, another keynote by the great folks at Apple. It seems that this company continues to release products that are absolutely “magical”; but are they really?

On October 23, 2012 Apple released the iPad mini along with a slew of other products (13inch Retina MacBook Pro, updated Mac Mini, updated iMac) with a hoorah from the majority of the tech bloggers.  The iPad features a sleek new design incorporating a 7.9-inch screen packed into a lightweight chassis with incredibly slim bezel. This produces a beautiful product that will surely sell like hot cakes.

So what is the issue? Competition! Unlike the original 10inch iPad, the iPad mini launches into a market with some serious competition. The iPad mini has to contend with the likes of the Nexus 7 by Asus and the Kindle Fire HD by Amazon. On paper the competition sport much better specs and price points.


Most tend to agree the screen is the most important component of a tablet. Apple prides itself on producing products with screens that are the highest quality to produce the most like life images. Well if that is a fact, the iPad mini does not fit the bill. The Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD feature higher pixel density (216 PPI vs 163 PPI) that theoretically should produce a much higher quality images. That fact alone should make the iPad Mini a flop.

The second specification that many tend to focus on when buying a new device is the processing speed of the device. You guessed it the iPad mini falls short in this category. It uses Apple’s A5 chip employed in the iPad way back in 2011 unlike the competition that uses the latest quad-core chip by Nvidia – the Targa 3.

Third and probably the most important – price. The iPad mini is priced a full $130 higher then the more powerful competition. This will surely turn away some consumers.

Are we seeing the demise of Apple? Is apple slipping on the design of goods? Will Apple be the next Sony? Many Apple fans will argue that specs do not matter and I tend to agree. All the specs above do not necessarily mean anything if the device looks beautiful and functions as it should. The issue arises when the early adopters become disappointed with the products Apple releases. This is what I’m afraid is going on with the iPad Mini. Many tech writers and die-hard Apple geeks are absolutely disappointed with the specs and price point of the iPad Mini. What I am afraid of is there early adopters will spread their disappointment to the early and late majority of customers and hurt sales.


What do you think? Is Apple in trouble?

Free “Gas” for life? WHAATTT?!

Elon Musk is a name you should be very familiar with as in my opinion he is the most influential entrepreneur/inventor today. He is best known for creating SpaceX, a private rocket and spaceship successor for NASA, cofounding Tesla Motors which takes aim to revolutionize the auto industry and Paypal the worlds largest internet payment system. Talk about accomplishments!

On September 24th, Elon Musk had unveiled the Tesla Superchargers, a revolutionary charging method for its line of high-end luxury electric sedans- the Model S ($77,400 – $105,400). The Tesla Superchargers will use solar energy to charge the Model S with 100 kilowatts of energy that will be good for about 3 hours of driving at 60 MPH in an impressive 30 minutes. The amazing feature of these Superchargers is that all Model S owners will be able to charge their vehicles for free, FOR LIFE. Musk claims that the energy captured by the solar panels will be more than what the vehicles will require. This allows Tesla to actually make money by pumping the excess energy back into the grid.


Musk had also revealed that this network of superchargers is a reality. At the time of the unveiling there are six locations in California ready for use. Within two years he plans to cover the United States with these stations in all “high traffic corridors across the US.” Long term (2 – 4 years) Musk plans to cover the entire US and southern Canada as well expanding into Europe and Asia.

First thing that came into my mind after seeing the map above is that this is a very aggressive forecasting model. They are targeting to cover the continental US in a very short period of time. On top of that they have future plans to expand into Europe and Asia. With absolutely no data on how many Tesla drivers will actually attempt long distance drives the Tesla team is taking a huge risk in investing so much capital in building this network of superchargers. The second issue they face is either under-use or over-use of the stations.

Lets face it; today these are very expensive cars for most Americans. With the base model starting at $77,400 I don’t see it having much mass appeal and that is needed to make such a huge network be feasible.
On the other hand, as the years go by the technology will surely become less expensive and there could be a Tesla in everyone’s drive way. With an explosion in these vehicles they may not keep up with demand.

As Tesla goes through its product life cycle they can better define their forecasts. From the looks of it they are very optimistic. What are your opinions?

Chime in and check out the press release in the link below:

Tesla Motors Supercharger Event