Apple woes from building great products!

Apple has out done itself! It has created phenomenal products that are so good and of such good quality and durability that customers are delaying the upgrade cycle and keeping their phones for more than 24 months. This success has led Apple to revise its forecast and attributed to the fact that customers want to keep their devices longer.

Of coarse the news included worries about China and a host of other uncertainties. Yet the fact remains, that the devices are so good that there seems to be few compelling reasons for a quick upgrade.

In my opinion this is a testament to Apple’s prowess in being the gold standard of consumer devices. Apple has always strived to take a mundane product like an mp3 player or a cell phone and creating a wonderfully thought out device that would perform all the same functionality in a very robust and beautiful package. That has been Apple’s success. Taking a product we have all been using and repackaging it in a way that the consumer will love. Then after tying it in to Apple’s efficient ecosystem, it becomes a must have item. Think iPod, iPhone, iMac and today the new AirPods!

I believe that these woes are transient because Apple’s business is thriving and doing well. Apple has built upon its products a giant services business, from iTunes, the Apple Store to its Apple TV platform. These services are growing at a double digit pace and I do not see that slowing down anytime soon. The hardware has become a necessity to enjoy the benefits of this walled garden ecosystem. You can delay upgrading the hardware and this may add some elasticity to the demand curve for Apple products but the fact remains that you need the hardware to continue using it. This has been the key success of the overall Apple strategy.

In my opinion, the current crisis is caused by multiple factors some of which are political and external but some are also due to the fact that some of the incremental upgrades to iPhones are not as enticing. There have not been too many new, must have, features that compel consumers to upgrade. Couple that with the fact that most carriers have stopped subsidizing new devices, consumers are keeping their phones for as long as they can. Also the cheap temporary battery replacement program that allows customers to swap out their phone batteries for $29 to $79 dollars is also a reason to keep the phone longer. A transient issue!

I believe Apple will always innovate and there will be new enticing features that will compel consumers to upgrade. Also the computing requirements of the hardware will also need to be upgraded with future IOS releases. So the future is bright, yet the elasticity of the supply curve needs to be better managed by Apple. This should either be done from a corporate marketing strategy or from a PR perspective in notifying Wall Street and investors in advance.

Nevertheless, there is a lot of love for the Apple ecosystem and consumers will always upgrade their devices to use it.


As the market for electric cars grows, there will be a need for more electric charging stations, this will bring about a drastic change in the filling station/charging businesses and surrounding landscape. With today’s technology we will surely start seeing gas stations convert some of their parking spaces to electric charging stations.

This first transition period will see a lot of new customers that want to charge their electric cars. With the average charge times being between 10 to 30 minutes, filling stations will start to realize that they have a captive audience for an extended period of time. This will be a boon for the convenience store industry and I can see how two and three story structures emerge to cater to the new captive charging customers while they wait. This will transform the small convenience stores at filling stations into larger venues and we will also see more food offerings with seating. This will change the whole dynamic at gas stations and may see revenue growth in this traditional and nascent market segment.

No doubt regular stores will find this additional revenue stream lucrative enough to construct charging stations in regular strip mall parking lots. Fast food stores will most probably join the fray and build charging stations. What better place to charge your car while grabbing some lunch.

Hence, the race for charging stations will be a race to capture those precious 10-30 minutes people will have to wait for their cars to charge. Consumers on the other hand will also look for things to do during the wait. Hence the shopping and eating dynamic might be influenced by this new technology.

Alas, this shall also be a transient phenomenon for a decade or so. For self-driving cars are not so far off the horizon. As more self driving cars appear, most probably companies such as Uber, Lyft and other ride sharing services will own these vehicles. These cars will also need to charge but here is where a second transformation phase for the industry will appear.

These driver-less cars will require unattended charging stations so that a car can park and connect to charge on its own. Thus the charging station technology will have to adapt and be upgraded. Today’s charging stations are mostly self-serve where a human has to park and then connect the power cable.

Also with this change, a large part of charging stations will migrate to less visible and hence much cheaper real estate. The gas station on the corner lot will most probably slowly disappear giving way to more industrial areas with larger parking lots where cars can go and charge on their own.

With the long-haul trucks becoming driver-less as well, I see that these charging stations will be much bigger but in more remote areas of the city. This will have an impact on the real estate market. Overtime, corner lot filling stations may start disappearing and giving way to new types of businesses.

The electric car is not yet a mass-market phenomenon. Yet change is coming and many industries will be affected by this. In my opinion we will see a transformation of approximately 10% of our workforce by these changes. Change is coming and coming fast!

Self-driving cars will change our TV/Media watching habits and reshape our world



Self-driving ready cars are about to shock our economy. Many cars sold in recent years are fully capable of driving autonomously with only a simple software update to activate various dormant features.


This is very important because this would mean that our transition to self-driven transport could happen literally overnight. There has been extensive ongoing testing of the technologies and they are being refined on a daily basis with some claiming that they will be ready for mass market within 1-5 years.


Whenever this switch happens, we will have a revolution of time management like we have never seen before. The average American drives over 1 hour per day. Imagine if the driver no longer needs to drive his car but can sit back and relax during this hour. Imagine that this person will most likely want to either surf the Internet or watch some TV or News, or even get some work done. This shift in time available during a commute will open a new window of opportunity for TV viewing and very interesting technologies to go with it.


Imagine that when we enter our car, we state our desired destination and sit back and relax till we get there. We are thus providing very important and specific information about our route, estimated time traveled and our ultimate end destination. This would be like a gold mine to TV or electronic media than can use this information to tailor make viewing content during your commute.


For example, lets assume your destination is 45 minutes away. You are going to work as usual, driving by a very large mall on the way. Thus the TV provider or more like targeted new Media can estimate that you have only 45 minutes total and thus decide to give you an early morning news broadcast of only 15 minutes of the subject matter that you may have selected as important to you. It might also add on some local news for your destination as well, just to keep you up to date on local information. Then as you are driving by the mall, a few ads may pop up to remind you to finish up your Christmas shopping, informing you about the latest deals and sales neerby. All these super targeted news and advertisements will be available due to the accuracy of the metadata that can be collected by your driver less car.


Of coarse, this metadata may also be a very important revenue stream to car manufacturers like Tesla where they can sell it and provide it to media companies at a price. This would in effect create a new monopolistic revenue stream for car manufacturers that was unheard of a few years ago. Which in effect, might bring about a lowering of car prices to entice more users to use the service and having a car manufacturer subsidize the vehicle price to capture the recurring revenue stream. (Wishful thinking here, but who knows maybe someone will bite the bullet and do it.)


All this technology will revolutionize how we spend our time and how we consume media and information.


In my personal opinion, this revolution of driverless cars will come about very suddenly and almost overnight. It will have far reaching effects on our economy and may catch millions of Americans by surprise.