Economist and Hedge Fund Manager Shayne Heffernan of www.livetradingnews.com takes a look at Apple Inc NASDAQ:AAPL and the iPad Mini

Some investors worry that Apple might have lost its chief visionary with Jobs, and that new management might not be able to stay ahead of the pack as rivals innovate and encroach on its market share, and they might be right.

Apple Inc NASDAQ:AAPL iPad Mini has made its debut in Hong Kong, with about 30 people queuing up to collect pre-ordered devices before the Apple store opened. This contrasts with the hundreds who lined up for the iPad2 last year and the 1,500 who camped out for the iPhone 4S.

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As the iPad mini made its Asia debut, Samsung Electronics said it’s sold more than three million Galaxy Note Two smartphone since its launch in September. The firm says the figure is higher than the two million Galaxy Note phones it sold in the first three months after its launch in November last year.

Apple Inc’s global gadget rollouts are typically high-energy affairs drawing droves of buyers who stand in line for hours. But a proliferation of comparable rival devices may have sapped some interest.

About 50 people waited for the Apple store in Sydney, Australia, to open, where in the past the line had stretched for several blocks when the company debuted new iPhones.

There were queues of 100 or more outside Apple stores in Tokyo and Seoul when the device went on sale, but when the company’s flagship Hong Kong store opened staff appeared to outnumber those waiting in line.

The iPad mini marks Apple’s first foray into the smaller-tablet segment, and the latest salvo in a global mobile-device war that has engulfed combatants from Internet search leader Google Inc to Web retailer Amazon.com Inc and software giant Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft’s 10-inch Surface tablet, powered by the just-launched Windows 8 software, went on sale in October, while Google and Amazon now dominate sales of smaller, 7-inch multimedia tablets.

Apple Inc. NASDAQ:AAPL Dividends and Disappointments by Economist Shayne Heffernan of www.livetradingnews.com

“It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy.” [1982, Steve Jobs quoted in Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple, 1987] over the last year, Apple Inc, paid a dividend, seen wide spread insider selling and is abut to release a product just because Samsung has a successful product in a particular space, in short, with the release of the iPad Mini Apple Inc joins the Navy.

While I did not expect Apple Inc to struggle with the loss of Steve Jobs for 5 to 10 years, the changes are coming fast. The dividend was unpleasant, a useless token gesture designed to placate a few fund managers and media, asked in 2010 why Apple has never paid a dividend and rarely bought back its own stock, Jobs said dividends do not increase the value of the company for shareholders. “Our goal is to increase enterprise value,” he said. “Which would you rather have us be? A company with our stock price, and $40 billion in the bank? Or a company with our stock price and no cash in the bank?”

Tim Cook went with the stock price, and then was fast to cash in on the move along with some other AAPL Execs, Cook announced the sale of shares on 26 March 2012 at $600.79 for some 106,640 shares, total more than $64-M.

Senior Vice President, and Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer sold on 26 March a total 80,147 shares at $598.76 on average, total almost $48-M.

Other sales from insider were as follows:

Senior Vice President Philip Schiller sold about 120,000 shares at a price between $596.05 to $603.05.

Senior Vice President Robert Mansfield sold 56,016 at $596.05/shr on average.

Senior Vice President Scott Forstall sold 55,849 shares at $596.05/shr on average.

While I am old enough to expect people to be greedy and ruthless, I should have seen more in this move.

Tim Cook is too soft to hold Apple Inc together as it was, he buckles to media and investor pressure, he makes politically correct decisions, he is not an innovator and is not filled with the passion of Jobs, the release of the iPad Mini is a testament to his mediocrity.

After the next Jobs inspired project hits the streets, APPLE HDTV, the product that should have been next for Apple instead of the iPad Mini, Apple will change forever.

I don’t think Apple will collapse, I still think that we will see $1000 plus in 2013, but we will not see the ongoing innovation or the quality of design that Jobs delivered, and that alone is good cause for concern, if Apple is not Apple, then it just becomes Microsoft.

 

Shayne Heffernan

Shayne Heffernan oversees the management of funds for institutions and high net worth individuals.

Shayne Heffernan holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reached a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.Read the Terms of Service

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