10 Sep 2015

iPad Pro and Apple TV: The Most Interesting Apple Products in Years

Yesterday, Apple unveiled two of their most interesting products in years. No, I'm not talking about the pink Apple Watch or the iPhone 6S. Rather, Apple finally made a concerted upmarket push into content creation and productivity with the iPad Pro. In addition, Apple also refreshed the Apple TV with a new interaction model and an SDK / app store which allows developers to build and distribute native apps. This obviously has implications for media and gaming, but it could also have a profound impact on advertising and commerce.

26 Aug 2015

Analyse Asia Podcast: From Alphabet to Uber

On the first anniversary of Bernard Leong's Analyse Asia podcast, we discussed the implications of Google's (or Alphabet's) recent corporate restructuring announcement, Apple Watch sales, upcoming Apple product announcements, the eventual fate of Samsung and, finally, Uber’s financials and ballooning valuation.

6 Aug 2015

Benchmarking Uber's Financials

Uber - Revenue vs. Operating Costs

Uber's leaked financial reports from 2012 to 2014 have spurred a polarized debate on late stage valuations. Optimists have pointed to Uber's strong revenue growth as a sign of business model validation. Meanwhile, skeptics latched onto the fact that the company's losses ballooned to hundreds of millions of dollars even as its valuation exploded. Both are strong, but incomplete, arguments because they lack a frame of reference. Uber's revenue growth does appear strong, but how does it compare with those of previous IPO stars? Are Uber's steep operating losses consistent with successful companies that preceded it? And what do these comparisons mean? These are the questions I hope to tackle in this post.

22 Jul 2015

My Apple Watch Estimates: 3 million shipments, 2.5 million sales

Apple Watch Shipment Estimate

After months of speculation, Apple finally released some vague numbers related to the Apple Watch. As a part of their fiscal Q3 2015 earnings release, Apple announced that revenue from "Other Products" including the Apple Watch, iPod, Apple TV and other accessories totaled $2.64 billion during the quarter. This compares to roughly $1.69 billion in fiscal Q2 2015, before Apple Watch sales began. Combined with some comments from Tim Cook, this should help us get to a rough estimate of Apple Watch shipments (if not sales) for the quarter. We can then also compare this estimate with the third party data sources I highlighted in my last post.

13 Jul 2015

The State of Apple Watch

It has been roughly 3 months since the Apple Watch hit the market and, as we expected, we have received no hard sales figures from Apple. However, there have been multiple reports from third party analysts and analytics firms that give us some sparse data about its progress. Joining these disparate pieces of data may give us some insight into the current state of Apple Watch demand.

8 Jul 2015

Introducing Platform Hunt

Platform Hunt

Asymmetric and platform-driven business models are among the most important topics in the mobile industry today but as I've pointed out before, they're also very poorly understood. Depending on how platforms subsidize, build network effects and monetize, they can be categorized into different buckets. But each platform category also tends to favor a different approach to gain critical mass and stave off competition. These complications make it very challenging for the uninitiated to understand, leverage or respond to threats from platforms. My colleague Michael Vakulenko just started a very interesting project, Platform Hunt, to tackle these problems.

24 Jun 2015

Analyse Asia Podcast: An Asian Bubble?

A discussion about Google I/O and Apple WWDC 2015, and how some of the announcements will impact Asia as a whole. And a deep dive into the investment climate in Asia and how it differs from the US. Is the asset inflation problem in Asia worse than it is in the US?

18 Jun 2015

Google Now on Tap: PageRank for Apps

Google Now on Tap

Google's implementation of PageRank algorithm was a transformational moment for the desktop web. In the pre-PageRank era, scouring search directories for relevant websites and manually typing long URLs into a browser's address bar was common. Google's use of links as a "voting" system for discovering websites changed online discovery forever. The app interaction and discovery model prevalent today bears many similarities with the pre-PageRank era of the web, with apps listed under numerous app store categories. Google's Now on Tap may usher in the very "PageRank for Apps" era we have been waiting for.

27 May 2015

Facebook and Google: Mistaking Narratives for Business Models

Asymmetric Business Model
Source: VisionMobile

Digital and mobile business models are a tricky beast. Many refer to them and analyze them, but few truly understand them. This is because successful business models in the digital era are markedly different from from the simple, direct, "make and sell" models prevalent (for now) in most consumer industries. This is why some very smart people who have studied and worked with direct business models tend to falter in digital and on mobile.

6 May 2015

Benchmarking the Apple Watch Launch

iPhone vs. iPad vs. Apple Watch

Now that the Apple Watch's launch is behind us, we may finally have the opportunity to study its (early) impact. The lack of data certainly poses a challenge as Apple has declined to reveal sales figures of its new wearable. However, there are public resources, notably Google Trends, that could give us some measure of insight about how this launch compared to those of the iPhone and iPad. While Google search volumes may not necessarily reflect real-world sales with any degree of accuracy (my own work proves as much), it does give us some directional insight.