Tag Archives: Saint Nicholas

The Saint’s parcel

Today it is December 5th, in the Netherlands that means it is St Nicholas day. It is the Dutch version of Santa Claus, but with a difference. The story goes back to the Greek bishop of Myra, what is now known as Turkey (270-340 AD). Saint Nicholas is the patron Saint of children and the day preceding his birthday (6th December) it is the evening of presents and all the kids (until a certain age) will receive a present.

As you might imagine the week before all this, things can get really hectic, especially in the toy stores, on a global scale when we see Thanksgiving, St. Nicholas and Christmas, the numbers given to us by power retail ‘Cyber Monday Breaks Record, Becomes “Biggest Sales Day Ever”‘, these numbers makes sense as moments like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other deal moments with discount sales is what people look for globally so that they can show their kids that there are happy times, even if it is just for a day or two. Variety gives us (at https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/nintendo-switch-sales-holiday-sales-figures-1203038569/) even more. With their headline ‘Nintendo Sold $250 Million in Products from Black Friday to Cyber Monday in U.S.‘, they are showing a setting that is awesome.

More important it is their e-commerce sales of games that is partially taking the cake with the statement: “The Nintendo Switch is now the best-selling Nintendo console in U.S. history for that five-day period, surpassing even Wii system sales, the company announced Wednesday.” Even as we see “Nintendo’s overall goal for the financial year of 38 million units sold, though analysts are still predicting it will fall just short, hitting about 35 million“, yet in all that the analysts are eager to avoid the one setting that matters, in under two years the Nintendo Switch is about to equal the lifetime sales of the Xbox One, a number that is very impressive as the Xbox One had 300% of the time frame to get to this point. And overall the entire Microsoft issue is expected to hit a few more bumps in the road. Software was the key in all this and Nintendo does comprehend quality software. The curve is changing for the better for Nintendo as their demo stations are all over game shops like EB Games. Parents can see how amazing it looks and as the kids are having a go at playing kart and playing Mario Odyssey, we see (as I saw) that the parents are getting a smile on their faces. It is a family friendly system, where violence is limited to a paint gun with a colour. And as we see the greats (Diablo 3) added to the Switch, we see an amazing list of games titles we see a system that is more and more overwhelming when it comes to quality gaming. A game setting where quality is not the silly notion of high level graphics, no! Quality gaming is the level of fun you get out of it and Nintendo is turning heads around and for the first time in history Sony is starting to get worried as the setting now is that this year Switch surpassed the Sony PlayStation. Now that does not means that Sony is number two, they have well over 250% in number of consoles in the field, yet the fact that Nintendo is closing the gap slightly and surpassing Microsoft has never been seen before in the age of gaming. I loved my GameCube (I still miss Mario Sunshine even today), I loved the games I had and when I saw that the Wii was backward compatible I did not hesitate, yet the Switch is showing to be up to the challenge of equalling this in quality gaming. In this we see that Nintendo is getting it right and even as I questioned the stupidity of analysts with their ‘predicting it will fall just short‘, I believe that their entire setting is bogus. Nintendo has the goods and is showing it has equaled the challenge gaining on the larger advantage that Sony has and surpassing what was once the great Microsoft console and the most powerful console? It might be, yet when it offers a mere 25% of the family fun, I wonder what some people choose.

Now, we do not state that the Xbox cannot deliver the goods, yet we have always known that Nintendo was a family and younger player system. Now that we can be on the road, play on TV (via dock) and have access to some of the most addictive games (Diablo 3, Mario Kart, Skyrim, Minecraft, Rocket league) and so many more titles we need to wonder what the others did wrong.

Well they didn’t!

They made a choice and they continued on that path, Microsoft thought what it had to compete with Sony and they did not end up doing that, they soured their own milk from the very beginning in policy and hardware, they refused to listen to their gamers and they are still losing traction in the process. Even as some corrections and some really good ideas have been launched (Game Pass), they have too much to catch on. Nintendo remained on the family fun and family friendly path and they merely gained speed, and within a year they pushed for a speed that would surpass Sony annual sales and they seemed to have done it in 2018 (the official numbers are not out yet). However the consoles and the quarter of a billion in online store sales in under a month is now showing to become the monster truck of revenue. So as I personally sneer at “Nintendo stock hit a five year high of $58.45 a share this year, only to shed more than 40 percent of its value this month, with a year-low of $33.90“, I see clear numbers that do not support the actions and recommendations of these analysts. The titles Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2 represent 40 million copies sold. This implies that every Nintendo Switch has at least one of these games and that is an amazing result. Now set this against a company like Ubisoft (as a mere example) with Assassin’s Creed, 100 million copies over 11 titles on 3+ systems, Far Cry, 25 million copies over 6 titles on 3+ systems and Watch Dogs with 2 titles on 3 systems, 10 million copies sold. These are all decent games and when compared to four titles on one system, we start seeing the first part where the others seem to be getting it wrong. That is the comparison that some analysts do not seem to grasp. In addition, the close to flawless results against other titles on other consoles show and we have not even started with the millions of players playing Pokemon on Nintendo handheld systems.

On the day of Saint Nicholas we look at these kids and we see the overwhelming need and desire for gaming, consoles and handhelds. For the next 4 weeks it will be about that group and I predict that Nintendo will be looking at another half a billion if the previous record is anything to go by. It is likely that Boxing Day sales will add to that revenue surpassing my prediction. Clever grandparents adding an optional $30 gift card for their grand-kids to get several games cheap on boxing day sales, adding even more to the Nintendo profit coffer.

Even Forbes gave me the thumbs up (virtually that is). They had the top purchase mention with Nintendo as one of the titles and the PS4 as the most talked about, no mention on Microsoft. Even as Apple got a few mentions, the words ‘Microsoft’, ‘Surface’ and ‘Xbox’ were absent in that view (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-finds/2018/11/12/5-best-headphones-under-100/#47cb25aa5239), in addition the aggressive discount that the Nintendo gives with their Switch plus Mario Kart in the Netherlands is seeing its own fair share of mentions. If the feast of Saint Nicholas has one drawback then I would think it is the longer absence of board games. Playing a game like monopoly whilst unwrapping a present whenever one player passes go was heaps fun. There was the tension which name was drawn and as present by present was opened; whilst we played monopoly and had hot chocolate milk (it is cold in the Netherlands in December) was a level of fun I still miss.

Yet, we must not forget the hardship either, and there is a lot of that and a lot more coming; in the last year over 50,000 children died in Yemen from hardship, disease and famine. I expect that in 2019 we will see that the 2018 numbers will surpass the passing of 100,000 children. The children are too young to face what other children have to go through in other places, yet we adults cannot afford to do that. If I had to forego my optional Nintendo Switch for one child in Yemen to have a decent meal, I will end up not playing a Nintendo Switch for some time to come, even as the child still dies and I merely prevented it from dying on an empty stomach, I would do so. Even as the peace talks are being held, I fear for the lack of progress, as this is not in the interest of Iran. It is still progressing on arming Houthi; it is still facilitating via Hezbollah and the children are merely in the way there. From my point of view Europe is enabling it as they want their nuclear accord, an accord that is not likely to be the value of printed paper, the Iranian missile tests can be considered proof in this. In this part Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is actually in a very dangerous place. Even as he is with an ally, as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, we see that the danger is twofold. As more and more US politicians are seemingly ‘bashing’ Saudi Arabia, yet they seem to ignore the danger that Hezbollah is there, we see the start of imbalance, and as this imbalance continues, so do the events in Yemen killing even more children. The hollow words like ‘Iran has praised Yemeni peace talks scheduled to take place soon‘, they want their version in charge in Yemen, not the elected one and they are willing to let millions of kids die to get that done. So whilst the US gives us “The United States has displayed pieces of what it says were Iranian weapons deployed to militants in Yemen and Afghanistan“, whilst at the same time US politicians are unbalancing their allied commitment to Saudi Arabia, we see that in the end it is a political stalemate with the lives of all the Yemeni children in the balance and there is no reasonable chance that the children there will get a better deal out of it.

So as we see the independent giving us the goods and the stage of truth last week with: ‘US struggles to find footing on Yemen, as Iran increases influence‘, we see (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-yemen-civil-war-iran-influence-saudi-arabia-bombing-trump-weapons-houthis-rebels-a8661546.html) that the US and mostly its politicians seem to have lost their perception on the larger game. the quote “The US Senate, angered in part by the White House response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Wednesday voted in a surprise move to advance a bill that would cut American participation in the Yemen conflict“, the emotions towards a previously unknown journalist (and ignoring all those imprisoned and dead journalists in Turkey) is setting the stage of enabling the Iran agenda. Vetoed or not, it will up the pressure on Saudi Arabia and in all this, the populist pressure is one that historically has turned anti Saudi more often than not, increasing the larger issues towards Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in other directions as well.

In all this does America even know who their allies and enemies are? The question is more important than you think, as we see on the feast of Saint Nicholas that millions of children in Yemen are abandoned. So what did this have to do with games?

When you watch your child play some Call of Duty game and you realise that it is not Battleground 5, it is not Call of Duty, or Fortnite, but it is the game ‘Holy Defense’, created by Hezbollah to let gamers and players kill ISIS members. When we are treated to: “Hezbollah has developed a 3-D computer game to capture the minds of its youth, while showing them a good time.” When you see your children play this free downloaded game in Europe and America, how much safer was the Nintendo Switch with their family values to begin with?

I agree that this is not a fair remark for Sony and Microsoft and they are not part of this in any way, but when it comes to First Person Shooters, can parents even tell the difference anymore? And when it is getting to close to the factual truth, can they even perceive how many children are getting killed in the process whilst Yemen is facing delay after delay? Should that not be the central issue on the day of the patron saint of children?

 

 

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Annual medical bill $864,685

Yes, that is the price for keeping the doctor away. An Apple a day keeps the doctor away, yet at $2,369 per iPhone it will be a hefty bill, let me tell you that. And the news gets to be worse after that. Apple has been in the news and not in a good way. We all remember the big news earlier this year, when Apple announced that they had become the first trillion dollar company. It was just as the new Apple models had come to town and the impact has been seen. First we get the Financial Times 2 days ago with: ‘Apple falls into bear market territory‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/c9dd38f0-e839-11e8-8a85-04b8afea6ea3). I thought it was merely metaphorically, yet it is not. You see, bear territory is when a company got into the state of: “The drop takes the stock’s decline from its intraday high of $233.47 on October 3 to 20.3 per cent, meeting the definition of a bear market“, the first corporation to surpass 1 trillion and lose 20% value soon thereafter. Apple did this t themselves in a few ways. It takes me to my dark Apple moment. Now do not get me wrong, I do not hate Apple, I still have the very first iPad and I will get the iPad Pro if my budget would ever allow for it, hopefully before my iPad passes away.

I bought an Mac Book Pro in 2005, I loved it and it set me back $5099, it was all I had and it after 11 months I had one line in my screen, then 3 then I went to the Apple store and I realised that my warranty had past. Two weeks later the screen was no longer usable, $5099 and nothing to show for it. When it ran it ran great, so for 11 months I never regretted buying it, and then the onslaught came. I was not happy, the $5099 was all I had, so there was nothing left for the Apple care and after 6 months I had forgotten to get it, it is my own fault, yet the longevity of Apple (lack thereof) will never be forgotten. The opposite is also true, my G5 and first iPad as well as an iPod Classic are still doing their stuff. So overall there is more good than bad. The previous parts I mentioned matter, as you are about to find out. Forbes, who also on last Thursday gives us (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2018/11/15/apple-new-iphone-xs-max-xr-upgrade-price-cost-camera-sales-face-id/#78e1e0302932): ‘Apple’s new iPhones have a Serious Problem‘. Here we see: “AMS revised its Q4 2018 revenue estimates down from highs of $610M to new lows of $480 citing “recent demand changes from a major consumer customer.” AMS is the latest in a string of iPhone suppliers to announce revenue cutbacks“. The setting here is not merely the suppliers; we see ““Many suppliers have lowered numbers because of their unnamed ‘largest customer,’ which is Apple,” Elazar Capital analyst Chaim Siegel told Reuters“. This shows that the shareholders could optionally panic before the end of the year and it will be an additional downturn for Apple, who is currently worth a mere $US886 billion, in addition the second wave might lower it to somewhere between $794-$811 billion, making Q4 2018 one of the worst moments in Apple history, lowering its value by almost 30%. So if 20% is bear territory, will passing the 30% make it the Groundhog tree stump area? #JustAsking

Yet all is not lost, there is still last moment Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Saint Nicholas (Belgium and Netherlands), and Christmas. It will mean a massive level of facilitation (by Apple mind you), but there is space for a partial turnaround and it was their own doing, this economy is not ready for upper class latest techno prices. Consider the $2365, whilst their opponent is offering a decently close solution for $1499 (Google) and $1599 (Huawei) all top end phones and the next model is 33% cheaper, in an economy where most people are turning around pennies (just look at Debenhams). It was a really bad market moment; one could argue that Apple believed their marketing whilst it was nowhere near realistic. In addition we see (at https://www.macrumors.com/2018/11/16/new-ipad-pro-bend-test/) ‘New iPad Pro Models May Be Prone to Bending‘, the image is very expressive on the curve, which might be moving towards boomerang shape over time (just guessing here). The quote “both forum complaints and a new bend test video suggest the two devices have the potential to bend without a huge amount of force“, gives us that the news is already out there, which gets us the Achilles heel of any corporation that is ruled by marketing deadlines. It is the proper testing of last minute changes. You see, if that was not done it implies that proper testing was never done and that is a lot worse at present for Apple. As the new iPad Pro could set you back $2689 that issue is a lot more important than you think. MacRumors also gives us: “Despite the video and the forum complaint, this does not appear to be a widespread issue. There are a couple of other complaints from MacRumors readers who were seeing slight curves in their devices and received replacements or sent the tablet back, but there aren’t complaints that match the complaints we saw back in 2014 with the original iPhone 6 Plus bendgate“, which should be noted too, just be certain (as it counts for me too) to keep an eye on it, and even as a prospective Apple marketeer gives us: ‘Apple released their folding display before Samsung 😉‘, we need to be certain that any gospel truth involving Apple, just in case it is still partially owned by Microsoft.

For Apple things are escalating in a few ways. First there is ‘Apple admits iPhone X ‘ghost touch’ screen issue, offers free repair‘, which we got form the Sydney Morning Herald last week (at https://www.smh.com.au/technology/apple-admits-iphone-x-ghost-touch-screen-issue-offers-free-repair-20181112-p50ffl.html), yet Apple did respond with: “Apple has announced that it has found issues affecting some of its iPhone X and 13-inch MacBook Pro products, and said the company would fix them free of charge“, which is good, but it is water under the bridge, the damage is optionally already done. The question rotates around the core of properly testing issues before the audience gets them.The issue gets worse when we see: “For the 13-inch MacBook Pro, it said an issue may result in data loss and failure of the storage drive“, no matter how repairs go, the entire matter of data loss is a nightmare for many people, the idea that a days work is lost for whatever reason is a massive push to look elsewhere for a solution and that will hurt Apple down the track as well. The battery issue has put a dent in faith in Apple with many people and the keyboard issue in the Macbook and Macbook Pro models only make matters worse, so as the list is added to the media and as the media gives more and more light to it all, Apple might be in extremely rough seas this coming January. A setting that proper testing might have avoided to a greater extent. If this was not enough, CNBC adds fuel to the fire two days ago with ‘I tested the new iPad Pro and it still can’t replace my laptop like Apple says it can‘. The article (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/15/apple-ipad-pro-review.html) also gives us: “I’ve been testing the iPad for the past several days, and while it’s a very nice tablet, it’s still not capable of replacing my regular laptop. In fact, most people should probably just buy a Mac, or Apple’s cheaper $329 regular iPad“. I saw it in the store myself and the new Apple Smart Keyboard is a game changer, which is not available for the normal iPad. He might have a point to some degree, especially when we have to shell out a difference of $1200 at least. The only core issue is that the graphic part of the Pro is close to 300% faster than the not pro, so that is still a consideration to take in a graphic tablet life, but beyond that his view is harsh and optionally not wrong. I found the review of Todd Haselton extremely genuine, especially when he gives us: “The iPad Pro is great, but it isn’t for most people. Let me explain why“, he gives it the proper support, so it is a good part, yet it is also bad for Apple in another way, let’s go there together.

You see, the competition is never far behind and the device already available and several sources give it to us. In this case I selected ‘Huawei’s Matebook X Pro Is The MacBook Rival People Have Been Asking For‘ (at https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2018/11/huawei-matebook-x-pro-review/). Whilst we can look at Like Apple, Huawei starts with a solid aluminium body and then adds surprisingly powerful speakers to the sides, a big one-piece trackpad down below, and clever power button/fingerprint reader combo in the top left – and all of it is top notch. Then there’s Matebook X Pro’s backlit keyboard. While it is a bit on the shallow side, the keyboard’s relatively high actuation weight and deeper key travel feels vastly superior to the garbage you get on modern MacBooks” from more than one direction, it is the setting that gives is weight (as well as the keys I reckon). We also get two more interesting parts. The first is “the X Pro’s chin is equally thin too, resulting in a screen-to-body ratio of 91 per cent. That’s better than devices like the new XPS 13 (80.7 per cent) and the Galaxy S9 (83.6 per cent) by a fair margin“, as well as “Regardless of how shamelessly you think Huawei has copied Apple’s formula, it has absolutely improved on that template in a number of very important ways“. The second part is the most damning one. Apple had a good thing going and was willing to let marketing rule the ways, whilst improvements have been lacking (many users have made similar statements). When we see that the original has been improved upon and we see an equal in a field where they optionally did not belong, that is when the goose of Apple remains to be cooked (optionally for Christmas). With the final part “As of today we finally have Australian pricing and a release date for the Matebook X Pro, which is November 22, 2018. They start at $1,899 for the i5/8GB/256GB model and at $$2,599 for the i7/16GB/512GB model” we see the nightmare of Apple become a reality, not only is there an alternative available, as CNBC reflects on, we see that this alternative is out and it is with Huawei, which should upset Americans to no end. In addition that model comes with Windows 10 Pro Signature Edition, so you get the good stuff. Even as it is not a gaming PC, the optional Nvidia GeForce MX150 would enable you to truly enjoy places like Facebook in several ways and that is definitely an additional plus point all over the board. The battery was stated as good, not much beyond that, yet in light of the bank hey are bringing, we see that Huawei is optionally pushing into Apple territory and even as that is a really large field, the fact that Huawei moved into laptop space is something no one had really prepared for and that might be an issue over the next two months depending on how the Huawei Matebook X Pro is embraced by the audience, the fact that they are clearly on the radar should be regarded as an optional threat for Apple, they quite literally have a lot to lose at present.

There is also an IOS issue (and it goes way beyond IOS. hackers were able to exploit the JIT compiler flaw with a malicious access point, which Apple is expected to have patched in an upcoming iOS 12 update. This is always going to happen, we get that as an issue by itself it is not a biggie (or at least it is optionally not a biggie). When we see “An iOS 12 Security Flaw Allows Access to Deleted Photos on iPhone“, so OK, it is an issue and it will be fixed, in the worst case if you take photos of your wife/girlfriend you will just have to refrain from deleting them until the patch is out. It becomes a little more of an issue as the Mirror reported (at https://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/iphone-x-explodes-during-ios-13593046). The article ‘iPhone X EXPLODES during iOS 12.1 update – and Apple’s response is laughable‘. The article itself gives us: “@Apple iPhone X just got hot and exploded in the process of upgrading to 12.1 IOS. What’s going on here???“, yes it was done over twitter and the response: “That’s definitely not expected behaviour. DM us, so we can look into this with you” was indeed funny, yet not incorrect. Twitter is limited in the response usage, so it was an acceptable answer in all this. The article was not that great, but there is optionally another issue and whether this is a mere IOS 12.1 flaw, or a larger issue is unknown, leave it to the Mirror to not properly look into this and let emotions rise via responses on a mere Twitter setting and few words. The responses were exactly the ones we should expect to see and not worthy of repeating other than ‘And this deserved an article devoted to it?‘ This is acceptable and fair enough, yet the issue behind it is larger. You see if this is the update that is supposed to deal with the JIT compiler flaw; the update could optionally merely be making matters worse. The grand total is negative for Apple as a multitude of issues on devices and drop of value, as well as intensely lowered sales at present shows that Apple is in a not so good place. We cannot tell for certain because the end of year is 6 weeks away and a lot could optionally be repaired by then, yet the fact that there is a list of issues spanning the range of Apple models is not the greatest place to be in at present and proper testing could have prevented a lot of the issues involved before they happened, which leaves us to the setting: ‘Has Apple become too complacent in all this?

It is important because it only means that whatever comes out in the next 6 months could be as messy as anything they have released in the last year and it has not been a great year for Apple technologically speaking, and now that they have both Google and Huawei nipping at their heels on several fields could be a decent sign that there are more issues on the horizon making their shareholders even more nervous than in the previous 4 years altogether, so that too is likely to impact the total value of Apple over the coming quarter, they will survive, no doubt about that, yet it might be a while until they get to that 1 trillion mark again.

 

 

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