The Robservatory

Robservations on everything…

 

Another way to look at 74.5 million iPhones in 90 days

My buddy Kirk came up with some analogies about just how much “stuff” 74.5 million iPhones represents. While I found his comparisons very interesting, as a Finance guy, I have a different method of comparison for you to consider…

I started with guesstimating the mix of of iPhone models and variations sold, using nothing more than common sense that says the mid-tier version would be most popular, with a few more people opting for high-end over low-end:

Pricing Sales Mix
Model Entry Mid High Entry Mid High
6 $649 $749 $849 15% 60% 25%
6+ $749 $849 $949 15% 60% 25%
5s $549 $599 50% 50%
5c $450 100%

I then estimated the sales mix by iPhone model, using Tim Cook’s statement that the iPhone 6 was the most popular. I distributed the rest of the mix assuming that the newer models would sell more than the older models. Once I had the mix percentages, that let me calculate an average selling price for each phone. Combine that with the estimated sales mix, and out pops revenue by phone line:

Model Avg Sale Share of Total Units (Mil) Revenue ($Mil)
6 759 50% 37.3 $28,273
6+ 859 30% 22.4 $19,199
5s 574 15% 11.2 $6,414
5c 450 5% 3.6 $1,676
Totals 74.5 $55,562

All those numbers and assumptions crunch down to this:

In one quarter, Apple’s iPhone business was somewhere around $55.5 billion dollars in revenue.

One quarter. Not a year. A quarter. Ninety days.

But just on that one quarter’s iPhone sales, “Apple iPhones Inc.” would be number 50 on the 2014 Fortune 500, coming in just below Caterpillar ($55.656 billion), and above UPS ($55.438 billion). Remember, those are full year results, versus just one quarter’s iPhone sales.

A couple other fun comparisons using these assumptions:

  • Google’s full-year revenue in 2014 was $60.2 billion, ranking them only four spots ahead of one quarter’s worth of “Apple iPhones Inc.” on the Fortune 500.
  • Using last year’s 169,170,000 total iPhones sold, “Apple iPhones Inc.” would be number 13 on the Fortune 500, ranking between CVS and Fannie Mae.

74.5 million iPhones in one quarter is a stunningly huge number. Huge enough to put the fictitious “Apple iPhones Inc” company well up the Fortune 500 based on just 90 days’ sales. Mind…blown.

A useless analysis of OS X release dates

Updated and republished for the OS X 10.10.2 release; skip it unless you really really care about all the OS X releases. Originally published on November 14th, 2005.

Below the break is a table showing all major releases of OS X from the public beta through the latest public version, which is OS X 10.10.2 as of January 27th, 2015. Note that this release marks the 85th release of OS X (counting major, minor, and released-then-yanked updates). Wow.

Note: Click the ⓘ symbol to read Apple’s release notes for a given update.

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Fix Messages’ image pasting by killing its engine

Kirk McElhearn explains how Messages in Yosemite has trouble sending pasted images. These problems typically only occur between people who use AIM accounts in Messages; sending pasted messages when using iMessages’ accounts seems to work fine. (I use an AIM account to keep iMessage traffic off my main Mac, and for its great screen sharing.)

Kirk’s article details the fix, which is to kill the imagent process, which is what controls Messages. He uses Activity Monitor to do so, which works fine. But I have to kill the stupid imagent many times a day, so I wrote the World’s Easiest AppleScript™ to do the work for me.

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My post-CNN news sources

With the horrendous redesign of CNN, I quickly determined I had to find a new news source (or sources). After browsing the comments to my post, and doing some searching, here are the changes I’ve made in my news reading.

The first change is the biggest—I now use an RSS reader for the majority of my news reading. I’ve always used an RSS reader for most non-news sites, but preferred reading news directly on a web page (not sure why).

But as most sites seem to be heading in the image overload direction, I decided to find news sites with good RSS feeds, and read them using Vienna, my RSS reader of choice.

Why Vienna? I’ll write about that in a future post, I think…but its excellent keyboard controls, and its ability to open articles in background tabs, are two of its key features for my reading habits.

The second change is obviously what sites/sources I use in Vienna. Here’s my list of new sources, with both the web site and RSS URLs provided:

BBC – US and Canada web RSS
UPI – Latest News web RSS
UPI – US News web RSS
Reuters – Top News web RSS
Reuters – US News web RSS

There’s obviously some overlap between these sources, but that’s OK; it’s easy to mark/skip duplicates in Vienna. When I’m visiting a site on the web, all three (BBC, UPI, and Reuters) present a clean interface, without invasively large photos, and zero auto-playing videos or scrolling marquees. In short, all three are a joy to use on the web, unlike the “new and improved” CNN.

Sorry, CNN, but you’ve permanently lost at least one viewer; your new site makes it too hard to get what I want, which is news. The BBC, UPI, and Reuters understand that news is what viewers come to a news site to see. Perhaps there’s a lesson there for CNN, if they can see it behind those enormous photos and CPU-sucking videos.

Send your Retina iMac’s desktop to deep space

Last week, I used the just-released Hubble Space Telescope images of the Andromeda galaxy to create a couple of desktop images for my Retina iMac. I liked the results so much that I spent some time collecting other suitable images from the Hubble site, and then cropping and/or scaling them to create interesting high-res desktop images. (I used Acorn for all the edits; it had no troubles, even with TIF images as large as 20,323×16,259!)

The end result is a collection of 50+ Retina iMac-sized (5120×2880) desktop wallpapers, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope. Here’s the full collection:

Tip: If you click on the caption below the image, you’ll be taken to the source page on the Hubble telescope site where I found the image.

There are at least two versions of nearly every image—one or more where I cropped out an interesting area of the photo at 5120×2880, and one where I scaled down and then cropped as needed to get as much of the full image as possible.

There are three ways to get an image (or all the images):

Method One: One at a time

  1. Command-click on the image (anywhere other than on the navigation arrows) you’d like to download. This will create a new background tab (in Safari, Chrome, and Firefox, at least), loaded with that image’s high-resolution page on my Copy cloud drive.
  2. At the top right of the page are Copy’s control icons, as seen at right. Click the downward arrow (the leftmost of the icons) to save the file to your Mac. Do not click the much-larger Save button (a bit further down the page). That button saves the file to your Copy account, which is not what you want to do.
  3. Repeat for each image you want, and then organize as you wish, and set them up as rotating desktop images.

Method Two: Another way to get one at a time

Open the full folder on Copy, and browse/download directly from there. Click on any image, and a preview column will open; click the down arrow, as above, to download the selected image to your Mac.

Method Three: Gimme the full set!

If you want all 54 images, just download this zip archive (286MB). Expand on your Mac, then look through and keep the ones you want.

Note: The above all-files link may disappear at times; if it’s not working for you, try one of these mirrors:

DropboxOneDrive

Images courtesy of NASA/ESA, and full image credits can be found on the linked image page for each image reproduced above.

Why I hate the CNN redesign, quantified

Yesterday I ranted on Twitter about CNN’s redesign:

This led to an exchange with a CNN staffer, and a couple people saying “me too!” But it felt it a bit unfair to criticize without specific data. So this morning, I gathered the data, and can now quantify my distaste for the new design.

I compared the current CNN homepage to the latest available on the Internet Archive, calculating how the space was used for each version of the site. The results were eye opening in many ways.


tl;dr summary: The new CNN design displays half as many clickable stories in the same space, with an image that takes 20% of the available screen, and sucks down over 20% of my CPU just to display its home page. Read on for the gory details.

Note: This follow-up entry details my post-CNN news sources and reading methods.


Please leave feedback for CNN if you share my frustrations.
Thanks to Raymond for posting this address in the comments.

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It’s snowing…in slow motion!

It’s just started snowing here in central Oregon, so I shot a bit of slow motion snowfall. The end result is very oddly mesmerizing (open the video in a new window to see it at full size):

The snow looks like some fake Hollywood effect when seen in slow motion. But hey, it’s falling, it’s sticking, and the kids may get a white Christmas after all!

I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday…I’m outta here to go play in the snow!

Fake fire … enhanced

To make our winter-air-blocked non-functional fireplace more visually engaging, I printed a huge fireplace image across multiple pages, and taped them to the fireplace blocker. The end result was usable, but definitely not professional:

So I set out to find a shop to print a 36″x48″ poster of the huge image. And because this was clearly an optional project, I wanted to do it as cheaply as possible. After much web searching, I found Poster Print Factory. Their online poster creation tool was easy to use, and the cost ($35 including shipping) was the lowest I found by at least $10.

It took about a week, but the poster arrived and the quality is fine. It’s printed on relatively thick stock, and the image itself looked stunning. So now, our artificial fire has been enhanced by a high quality poster overlay:

So much nicer to look at than the silvery surface of a piece of foam insulation! Anyway, if you’re looking for some inexpensive poster-sized prints, I was happy with what I got from Poster Print Factory.

Span one large image across multiple printed pages

I was looking for a way to print a large image across multiple pages, so I could make my own do-it-yourself poster-size printout. By way of background, I wanted to print a huge virtual fire, to cover a piece of insulation we put in front of a drafty fireplace in the winter. (We don’t like to burn wood, so the fireplace goes unused, but staring at a piece of shiny foam insulation all winter isn’t all that interesting.)

Conceptually, this seemed pretty easy: find a huge image, open it in some app that handles images, and print. What I found is that doesn’t work, at least not in the apps I had at hand (Acorn and Preview). After some web searching, I stumbled across an odd but effective solution: use Excel.

Open a new blank Excel workbook, then select Insert > Photo > Picture From File, and select your massive image. Now when you hit Print, you’ll see the output spans multiple pages. I used Page Setup to select a borderless US Letter size, and printed out 16 pages of a roaring fire.

After some cut-and-tape operation, the drafty fireplace’s insulation became more visually appealing:

Note that this was a “proof of concept” operation, so I printed in draft mode (hence the vertical striping on the printout) and wasn’t overly careful about lining up the pages. I had originally planned to print the final version on glossy photo paper, but instead opted to buy a 36×48 poster-size printout from an online vendor. (I haven’t yet received the print, but when I do, I’ll post about its quality. Until then, though, I don’t want to link to the vendor, as I don’t yet know what I’ve bought.)

I knew Excel could do a lot, but I never thought to try it for printing huge images across multiple pages.

Fun with iTunes’ new math

Unlike my previous incidents with iTunes and iOS devices, today’s report isn’t on a sync problem per se.

It’s more like a math problem which then leads to a sync problem. Here’s the tl;dr version: I have an iPad with 5GB of free space, and I cannot add a 1.8GB movie to it, as iTunes eventually tells me it needs another 526MB of space in order to do so.

During the attempted sync of this movie, iTunes displays some horridly bad math skills; just watch the video to see.


Here’s the video at its full size (1164×1056).

I have no idea how to resolve this, short of restoring the iPad, which I’d rather not do. (I’ve already unsynced and resynced everything, in an attempt to straighten out the math, but to no avail.)

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