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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Business Insider stuff

A bunch of posts from one of my favorite blogs.

CHART OF THE DAY: Android Is Blowing Everyone Away
"Android's share of the smartphone market is still blowing away all competitors in the U.S. according to new data from comScore. The only company that's hanging on is Apple, which saw its share of the market tick up ever so slightly."

VERY ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: This T-Shirt Uses Ambient Sound To Charge Your Phone
"Yep, you read that correctly. A t-shirt equipped with everything needed to charge your electronics using nothing but noise.

Sound activates piezoelectric material in the shirt that charges a battery, the battery charges your device. For more detail, check out the video below:


This is crazy... and impressive.
“Apple's… Exclusive Supply Chain Of Advanced Technology [Is] Literally Years Ahead Of Anyone Else On The Planet”

"An amazing take by an anonymous user on Quora on why Apple products sometimes seem so superior. Because they are. Because they get them before anyone else.

We'll just quote it because it's great as it is:

When new component technologies (touchscreens, chips, LED displays) first come out, they are very expensive to produce, and building a factory that can produce them in mass quantities is even more expensive. Oftentimes, the upfront capital expenditure can be so huge and the margins are small enough (and shrink over time as the component is rapidly commoditized) that the companies who would build these factories cannot raise sufficient investment capital to cover the costs.

What Apple does is use its cash hoard to pay for the construction cost (or a significant fraction of it) of the factory in exchange for exclusive rights to the output production of the factory for a set period of time (maybe 6 - 36 months), and then for a discounted rate afterwards. This yields two advantages:

Apple has access to new component technology months or years before its rivals. This allows it to release groundbreaking products that are actuallyimpossible to duplicate. Remember how for up to a year or so after the introduction of the iPhone, none of the would-be iPhone clones could even get a capacitive touchscreen to work as well as the iPhone's? It wasn't just the software - Apple simply has access to new components earlier, before anyone else in the world can gain access to it in mass quantities to make a consumer device. One extraordinary example of this is the aluminum machining technology used to make Apple's laptops - this remains a trade secret that Apple continues to have exclusive access to and allows them to make laptops with (for now) unsurpassed strength and lightness.
Eventually its competitors catch up in component production technology, but by then Apple has their arrangement in place whereby it can source those parts at a lower cost due to the discounted rate they have negotiated with the (now) most-experienced and skilled provider of those parts - who has probably also brought his production costs down too. This discount is also potentiallysubsidized by its competitors buying those same parts from that provider - the part is now commoditized so the factory is allowed to produce them for all buyers, but Apple gets special pricing.
Apple is not just crushing its rivals through superiority in design, Steve Jobs's deep experience in hardware mass production (early Apple, NeXT) has been brought to bear in creating an unrivaled exclusive supply chain of advanced technology literally years ahead of anyone else on the planet. If it feels like new Apple products appear futuristic, it is because Apple really is sending back technology from the future.

Once those technologies (or more accurately, their mass production techniques) become sufficiently commoditized, Apple is then able to compete effectively on cost and undercut rivals. It's a myth that Apple only makes premium products - it makes them all right, but that is because they are literally more advanced than anything else (i.e. the price premium is not just for design), and once the product line is no longer premium, they are produced more cheaply than competitor equivalents, yielding higher margins, more cash, which results in more ability to continue the cycle."

Wal-Mart Is Backing A Group Trying To Force Amazon To Pay More Taxes

"Wal-Mart is secretly backing a group that is trying to get states from California to Illinois to collect sales tax from Amazon on its affiliate sales.

Affiliates are people who earn commissions on online sales because they generated that sale; so for example a blogger who reviews a book might get a cut of sales of that book to anyone who buys it through her site. Affiliates are anyone from individuals making a few bucks to businesses who make their living from it.

The states are ostensibly doing this to plug their gaping deficits, but when they pass the laws, Amazon just cuts off their affiliates, so the states get nothing.

The Amazon tax laws are lobbied for by a group called the Alliance for Main Street Fairness. And their biggest member, reports GeekWire, is Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart is trying to sock Amazon with a tax increase instead of competing with them fairly.
(Read the rest here!)

THE FUTURE IS NOW: 10 Everyday Things That Were Impossible 20 Years Ago

"Your entire music collection in your pocket.

The iPod shook the world when it arrived. Suddenly you could carry around more music than you could listen to in a week, and have it with you everywhere.

Of course, it's only gotten better since then in terms of capacity, video display, and the ability to run apps."

"64-bit processors.

Moore's law is an idea in computing that states that processor speeds will double approximately every two years. It's held true since 1965 and is expected to stay true through 2015-2020.

The 64-bit processor is an amazing piece of processor design that can tear through computer calculations faster than the previous 32-bit processors."
(Read the rest here!)

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