Archive for the ‘Android’ Category

[This is an Apple iPhone Tech Support post.  Totally skip it unless two-step activation has locked you out of your iPhone… and if it has, this may be one of the most valuable posts you ever read!]

I’m writing this after about 10 hours of the most horrible customer services experiences I’ve ever had.  EVER.

I’m telling my story in hopes that Apple fix this… and to save others from the horror I went through.

Background:

I lost the ability to make or receive calls.  WIFI still worked so I was able to get text and email, which actually masked the problem for the first day or so.

Verizon said it had to do with upgrading to 10.3.3, that it could be mucking with the digital antennae or something, and that the solutions was to backup, wipe the phone, reinstall, then restore the backup.

So, I called Apple Support.  They concurred with Verizon and started walking me through the process.

What Apple Support did NOT do, however, was ask me if I was using two-step authentication AND whether I had a second trusted device.

Turns out when I turned on two-step authentication, I thought it was only naturally to designate my iPhone as my trusted device.  Sounds reasonable, right?

WRONG!

This turns out to be DEATH.  And incredibly irresponsible of the Apple Support folks that helped me!

Because when I wiped my phone and reinstalled from scratch, it meant I had to reactivate my iPhone with Verizon… but Verizon requires that I enter in my Apple ID and password and, as the second step of the two-step authentication, the six-digit code that Apple would send to my — you guessed it — inactive device!

I went down Apple’s recovery path… and the automated Apple process told me it would take a few days to add a second trusted device… “for my protection.”  When a few days came, it said it would take a few more.  Then a few more.  Then it said a WEEK!

Before I continue, I want to say that these time estimates were a BIG FAT LIE.  It just kept pushing the date out on me.

And, I want to say it doesn’t matter that Apple was doing all of this “for my protection”… I use my phone for work… and it can’t be non-functional for even a few days!

I literally almost gave up and just bought a new phone… because, after TEN (10) hours of Apple Support help, I wasn’t any closer to a solution.  And — please listen to this, Apple — I was damn close to considering an android, too.

I have no idea why I called Apple Support one more time.  Maybe because I was bleary eyed and wasn’t really thinking.  Maybe because I just wanted to yell at someone.  Maybe because I own Apple stock and just couldn’t believe I was really hung out to dry here.  But I did call one more time, and spoke to Ginger L… and — TO MY INCREDIBLE SURPRISE — she actually had heard of a clever work around for this situation.

And, what do you know, IT WORKED!

Bless Ginger L., she should be CEO of Apple!

Apple, PLEASE FIX THIS.  No customer should ever, ever, ever endure what I had to go through.  PLEASE!
The Ginger L. Solution:  How to activate an inactive device when Apple two-step authentication insists on sending the activation code to the inactive device

*  Plug your iPhone into a computer that has iTunes on it.

*  Log into iTunes and back up iPhone to the cloud or your computer.

*  Restore iPhone to a new phone… initialize phone just like it’s a new one (i.e., chose language, what time zone, WIFI, etc.)… BUT — AND THIS IS KEY — do NOT enter your Apple ID, keep choosing options that bypass Apple ID.

*  Activate your account (in my case, I had to call Verizon).

*  Test that your phone can send & receive calls and text messages.

*  From a computer, log into AppleID.Apple.com.

*  Enter Apple ID and password.

*  Apple will try to send you your second-step authorization code to Message but that won’t work yet.  Click the “I didn’t receive my code” link and choose the “Send text message” option.

*  IMPORTANT NOTE:  Respond to any other text messages you see… because once you restore your backup, you will lose those newly downloaded text messages.

*  Enter code and from your computer and follow the links/instructions to turn OFF two-step notification.

*  Plug your iPhone into your computer and from iTunes restore your backup.

*  Activate your iPhone again (again, for me  with a call to Verizon)… which may require you to enter your Apple ID and password… but WON’T require Apple sending you an second-step auth code to an inactive phone!

There, I just saved you 10 hours of customer support misery!

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People are weirded out because the iPhone “lost” its marketshare leadership position in China.  (Here.)

But are high-end products really supposed to be marketshare leaders?

I think not.

There’s not a business school prof or business textbook in the world that thinks so, either.

What investors should be focusing on is not that Apple “lost” their #1 marketshare ranking…

… but rather how utterly amazing it is that the high-end supplier in the market is anywhere close to the #1 ranking…

… especially during their OFF-CYCLE!

Now that speaks to the phenomenal momentum Apple has in China.

I can’t understand why AAPL recently touched $110 and isn’t instead cruisin’ up to the $140’s by now.

I mean, I intellectually understand why people might be worried about China…

…. but not really…

… the China stock market “crash” happened so fast I can’t believe anyone actually noticed.  Even with the crash, the market is still up about a third year-over-year, so most investors (as opposed to traders) are still holding on to nice gains.  But to further minimize any effect on the Chinese consumer, 90% of Chinese households don’t even own stock.

On the other hand, there are some pretty irresistible AAPL drivers right now, including:

  •  AAPL has a consensus P/E of 12.7 vs. 17.7 for the S&P… however, Apple is increasing EPS a whopping 45% vs. a paltry 7.9% for the S&P… hardly seems fair, eh?
  • AAPL has upgraded only 27% of their existing iPhone installed base… which gives them a lot of room for continued organic growth
  • AAPL still has very large external targets, though… for example, India… and a bunch of unhappy Android users
  • Oh, yeah, AAPL has other billion dollar products, too
  • AAPL may be set to release iOS TV… which could do to the TV biz what the iPhone did to the cell biz… which is, of course, completely turn a huge, massive industry on its ear
  • AAPL has more money in the bank than, well, everyone

.

All of which is why — with full disclosure! — I’m back on the AAPL bandwagon.  <smile>

There’s a great maxim in investing:  Buy the rumor and sell the news.

It means that things go up in anticipation… but when the news is released, reality usually puts the hype in perspective.

It will be interesting to see “if it’s different this time” (so to speak)… that is, if AAPL keeps rising after the expected September 9th iPhone 6 introduction.

I think it will.

Because Apple isn’t making just one introduction this year… they have more queued up… the iWatch… a payment system… and — hopefully before it’s too late — iOS TV.

Even the iPhone 6 could be a multiple shot… since everyone in the world will be speculating how many zillions they sold in the first 30 seconds of introduction… over the first weekend… by the end of the year… etc.

Guess we’ll know the answer soon enough.

Disclaimer:  I continue to be on an AAPL bandwagon… sorry in advance!

Just read a Motley Fool piece entitled, “Samsung’s CFO Said Something That Might Concern Apple Shareholders.

The article suggests that if Samsung is having mobile problems (particularly in emerging markets), maybe Apple could be, too?  That’s certainly a reasonable suggestion.

But, what the article doesn’t even contemplate is this:  Maybe Apple is gaining marketshare?

Wasn’t AAPL’s last quarter bolstered by some smart discounting in the emerging markets?  Maybe that good trend is continuing?

But from the bigger picture point-of-view:  Does anyone really think the mobile business is slowing down?

Like clothes and food and water, mobile is the one thing that everyone on the entire face of the planet really, truly might have to buy… and given the changing nature of technology, apparently buy over and over again.

Except, unlike clothes and food and water, which you can buy from literally about a zillion companies… it feels like you can only buy mobile from two places right now:  Apple and Samsung.

(Take a step back for a moment… that’s a pretty freakin’ amazing statement to make… no wonder Apple is the world’s most valuable company.)

So… when the CFO of Samsung says their quarter isn’t “look[ing] too good,” I kinda read that differently than Sam at The Motley Fool.  What this suggests to me is that AAPL’s upcoming quarter might not be as “throw away” as a lot of people think.  I believe AAPL has meandered downwards over the last few weeks exactly because of this type of erroneous thinking.

If Apple, indeed, pulls another rabbit out of its hat (like it did last quarter), that could set up another potential earnings pop… unless, of course, AAPL starts climbing in anticipation of that beforehand.

Either way, I think we’re higher by 5-10% after quarterly earnings than we are now ($91.98), especially after touching the $80’s last week.

We’ll see.

At the risk of becoming, “All Apple All The Time”… I will share with you the approach Daniel Sparks over at The Motley Fool just took evaluating AAPL:

As I attempted to make the doom-and-gloom case for Apple stock at $91.28, I kept running into walls.

So he threw it out to readers to chime in… here’s what I had to say:

 

I love the approach of this article, thank you.

I’m most worried about upcoming earnings.  Even though recent inventory checks seem bullish for the quarter, common sense tells me that people really may be waiting for the iPhone 6 (I am)… that’s gotta hurt on some level.

On a macro level, I’m worried about a war breaking out… or oil spiking to $140… or some such… which, of course, would spook the entire market.

I also worry that AAPL could shoot itself in the foot and make a dud product… Newton, anyone?  Specifically Apple could underpower the iPhone 6 relative to Android devices… they seem to do that… and at some point that will catch up with them.  I also think Apple made a user interface mistake taking away the “button” controls in iOS7… used to be easy to know what to tap… now it’s a bit more guesswork… the point is that Apple isn’t infallible and we may see things get more complex, not less… which could hurt adoption.

Finally, I worry about contrarian things… everybody really is jumping on the bandwagon… you know it’s bad when even an author has to resort to a bear challenge!

 

With all of that said, I can easily see — actually do see — the counters to all of these.

Fewer iPhone 5’s sold could just as easily mean even more iPhone 6’s will be sold.  In that contrarian way, a net positive.

When war breaks out, that reduces uncertainty… and generally speaking people look for a “flight to quality.”  Another net positive.  (Though, if oil misbehaves, that’s an entirely different story… that’s one to watch for the entire market.)

And Apple has already shown people a lot of iOS 8… and we know from the history of Apple laptops, Apple will figure out that smokin’ fast hardware will count in mobile, too.

More to the point:  AAPL has been in the penalty box for so long that the stock really has been depressed for years… if you normalize the terrific gains over the last year with the disappointing performance over the last few years, the chart kind of suggests Apple ends up where it should be… with the trajectory still aiming high and to the right.  Given I’m a big believer in the pendulum swinging too far in any direction, I don’t think we’re at “enough” yet… because even a mediocre iPhone 6 upgrade cycle will be staggering… and if you throw on an iWatch (personal health/info development platform), iTV (entertainment development platform), and maybe a massively-connected payment system and such…

… it’s just hard to see — given that Apple is one of the top brands and cash machines in the entire world — AAPL *crawling* into simple p/e parity with the rest of S&P as being crazy.

Just p/e parity alone represents about a 24% increase in stock price… or up to just under $115 a share.  For a company that arguably is the most relevant in its growing space, does $115 feel so far from where we are?  Not really.

Imagine what AAPL can be worth if actually gets a multiple it deserves… ?

Arg, I’m not sure I was very helpful to the bear case, sorry!

I haven’t been a fan of the iWatch.  Well, I mean, it’s not bad… I just didn’t see how it was going to move the needle.

Until now.

I had an epiphany.

It’s not a “watch”… duh… but a wearable computer… duh again.

My epiphany, though, was about why I would need a wearable computer:  Because I’m currently wearing pants without pockets… which is forcing me to actually carry my smart phone in my hand with me… and place it vulnerably on a table in a public place… to keep it in earshot because I need to hear an upcoming meeting reminder alert.

Bingo.

A wearable computer.  No more carrying in hand.  No more carrying bulgingly in a back pocket.  No more fishing it out of a purse.

Now I get it.  <smile>