Explaining Southern California's economy

Are U.S. households really paying an 'Apple tax?'

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The Apple iPhone 5. Does getting one mean that you're paying the equivalent of a tax to Cupertino?

At Reuters, Chris Taylor argues that they most definitely are:

The analogy of an Apple tax might sound facetious, but think about it. Median U.S. household income was $50,054 in 2011, according to the Census Bureau. A sizable chunk of that is getting diverted to Apple headquarters in Cupertino.

Remember, this is not something that consumers are being forced to pay. They are dipping willingly into their own pockets, because they're essentially slaves to the devices.

Taylor quotes an analyst who expects Apple-related spending to rise to over $800 a year per American household by 2015. How does that compare with other taxes?

Well, if the median household has two parents filing joint tax returns, and two kids, it's paying about half the 2015 "Apple Tax" each month in federal income and Social Security tax: close to $450. So households may be spending a lot on the Apple ecosystem of products — from iPhones to iPads to iTunes — but a lot more of their money continues to go to the government. 

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All I want for Christmas is an Apple iPad...or maybe an iPad Mini...but a iPod or iPhone would be OK, too

A third or more of U.S. kids between 6 and 12 would very much like to have an Apple device this holiday season.

Former Internet analyst Mary Meeker has produced another of her "state of the Internet presentations," as venture capitalists (and avid blogger) Fred Wilson called it. Meeker is  a VC too now, at the blue-chip Silicon Valley firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Buyers. 

The presentation that Fred notes can be viewed on SlideShare and is 88 slides long. It covers a lot of ground. But the slide above is particularly interesting, heading into the the crunch period of the holiday shopping season. You know, the time of wish lists children write and, in some cases, mail to rotund, bearded figure of legend who lives in the northernmost reaches of the planet with a band of industrious elves and a group of reindeer capable of impressive aerial feats. 

Meeker notes that American kids between 6 and 12 want iPads and iPad Minis in impressive numbers. They want iPod Touches and iPhones in nearly equally impressive numbers. 

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LA Auto Show: It's a rolling world of consumer electronics!

The 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show begins two days of press previews on Wednesday. The DeBord Report is there!

Toyota's Entune system fights distracted driving and keeps drivers connected via their smartphones.

Intel is just one of mant technology companies, including Google and Microsoft, that plan to join the automakers in transforming car into rolling consumer electronics platforms.

Wireless providers are also getting in on the act. Sprint has a booth at the L.A. Auto Show to display what it can do for drivers.

Don't be a dummy and drive while distracted!


The Los Angeles Auto Show has in recent years defined itself as the "green" car show. California has the largest auto market in the U.S., as well as the most environmentally preoccupied. But the most dramatic auto debuts during car show season, running through next spring, are traditionally reserved for Detroit, the auto industry's spiritual home. So L.A. has had to kick off car show season with its own  attention-getting twist.

The L.A. Auto Show focuses on the dream machines, the future of transportation and, over the past decade, on electric cars, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, alternative fuel vehicles — in short, things with wheels that aren't total slaves to gas. But this year, it's different.

The new story is technology. Specifically, how cars will soon become platforms for various consumer electronics, mainly smartphones. In the past, automakers have preferred to design and build their own in-vehicle infotainment systems or partner with tech companies. The most prominent of these has been Ford and its relationship with Microsoft;  Ford's CEO, Alan Mullaly, has also made regular pilgrimages to the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. General Motors has had a loose association with Google (and Google itself is the the auto game, with its driverless car). No one has yet broken through with Apple.

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Why the pressure is on Apple to have a big holiday season

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Apple's stock has been declining. Will the holiday shopping season bring it back?

What’s wrong with Apple? That’s what folks may be asking as the California technology giant’s stock price continues to slide. The company introduces a new iPhone and a new iPad Mini — and sees its shares hammered down by 100 points, from a high of more than $700?

What gives?

Wall Street is getting nervous about Apple’s ability to — essentially — continue printing money with its popular smartphones and tablets. The company reported disappointing earnings last week, the result of having spent a lot to revamp its product lines in time for the holiday season.

Apple also cautioned that it might not make as much money this holiday season — but some analysts think the company may be playing possum, underpromising in order to overdeliver.

Still, competition is heating up in the markets that Apple has owned. Microsoft and Amazon have introduced new tablets to rival the iPad, and Android-powered smartphones continue to gain customers.

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3 reasons why the Apple iPhone 5 is creating capitalism on the street

Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

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Customers take photos while waiting on line to purchase the Apple iPhone 5 outside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale. An entire shadow economy has emerged around the iconic device.

Today is Apple iPhone 5 day. At Apple stores across Southern California, hopeful shoppers have lined up in the hundreds to obtain the glistening new gadget. 

These folks will part with money, but they're also engaged in an ad-hoc iEconomy that's using the iPhone — versions both current and past — to generate profits. Here's how it goes...

It's all about real estate. According to LATimes, people who've lined up outside the Apple store at the Grove shopping complex are selling their places on line. Ten kids showed up at sunrise with the goal of selling five spots in line for $300 a pop, for a neat take of $1,500, pretty much all of it profit (they opportunity cost of standing in line at 6 a.m. when you're 19 is pretty much nil). But they miscalculated their market and could only sell the spots for...$100. Still, that's $500 in coin for...standing. In line. In warm and sunny L.A.

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