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Apple, tablet form factor and the banking community

On Monday Apple announced their 2010 Q4 fiscal earnings via their regular open conference call and webcast. The results of their most recent quarter are impressive. Here’s the financials:

            Record revenue of $20.34 billion (year ago quarter: $12.21 billion)

            Net quarterly profit: $4.31 billion (year ago quarter: $2.53 billion)

            International sales accounted for 57% of Q4 revenue.

Products Sold

            3.89 million Macs (27% increase over year ago quarter)

            14.1 million iPhones (91% increase over year ago quarter)

            9.05 million iPods (11% decline over year ago quarter)

            4.19 million iPads

The rise in iPhone sales, I must say surprised me, and to be honest the iPad figure is a lot lower than I expected, however the consumer market will be waiting for the holiday season to go mad over the device (I see A LOT of iPads delivered by Santa), and the enterprise is still waiting for the iOS to update and address perceived security issues.

Steve’s rant about Android being fragmented is absolutely correct. His example of Tweetdeck having to deal with over 244 different Android handsets and over 100 versions of Android OS–illustrates how the platform can be challenging when compared to iOS.

It was interesting Apple really pushed the boat out when talking about outselling RIMs Blackberrys. I’m still amazed how Apple is able to sell that many iPhones that are based on two models, and outsell the operator subsidized multiple model Blackberry line up! Against I think this is evidence of the power of Apps on a device, as in the case of Android – who although selling well don’t have the data consumption rates of iphones or the variety of Apps for the reasons above, and more importantly an unclear remuneration policy for developers.

All in all – impressive, there was a hint of a surprise in the next few months so I will wait with baited breath to see what this is. On one final note – Mr Jobs (not surprisingly seems to be in agreement with my recent comments about 7 inch screens not being big enough to be considered a tablet computer, and I for one think this is correct, at 7 inch the form factor is an oversize phone.

Full conference call here :


Size Matters

It’s worth looking at where we are now and where we are going in the mobile world, and boy how things have changed over the last couple of years.

I think the rest of the world is catching up now, the tablet is no longer seen as a plaything of the rich, no longer is it only seen as the platform of choice for Angry Birds HD alone.

The Investment bank community is starting to look at the device with a real appetite for change, applying some real world concepts to mobile computing and this device in particular.

Don’t get me wrong there are other devices coming to market – in fact just this morning I was mugged by a girl in a white lab coat and a Galaxy tablet in her hand extolling the virtues of Android in a slightly bigger format than a phone (the launch is upon us here at last).

But lets look at some figures.  The most impressive being revenue generation by the iPad for Apple – from zero in the first quarter to $2.17 billion by the third quarter, this isn’t bad for a device some said didn’t have a market.

So what do the analysts have to say – well Gartner predict worldwide sales of Media Tablets to be 19.5 million units in 2010 growing to 54.8 million units in 2011.  In their forecasts they see this media tablet category growing 181% next year. They predict Apple will hold around 80% of the tablet space in 2010, and that’s a big chunk.

What does this mean for us then in the banking community?

Well for one, the wide spread take up of this computing format will put pressure on IT to provide solutions for the format. This is already happening and some on the boat already, those who are not are scrambling around for a ticket before the boat sails. This ticket however is hard to define – what’s the business case? What’s the benefit?

Its not far off that of the explosion in email use driven by the Blackberry – you don’t have it – you don’t have the information up to date and to hand – your customer service (this applies to both internal and external customers) suffers.

It’s not a fact that your going backwards, just that everyone else is moving forward. It wont be long before NOT having Apps to access latest information will hurt revenue by the back door. Clients now expect it.

Apple still have to answer the security questions for the enterprise but I have been assured that this is happening in upcoming releases of the iOS for iPad. 

In the recent Gartner report this paragraph really sticks out for me:

“10-inch media tablets to play a role as companion devices in the enterprise market

In the enterprise space, for the immediate future, the main use of media tablets is as a notebook companion or as a secondary device to take on the road or use for fast access to e-mail, calendaring, interrogating Web applications and information sources, and showing PowerPoint presentations.”

“Forecast: Connected Mobile Consumer Electronics, Worldwide, 2008-2014.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at

This yet again backs up my ascertain that the shift in the way we work driven by larger tablet devices is as big as the introduction of mobile email (in the correct format) by Blackberry.

Having said this, Im still dubious of the smaller form tablets, which to me are nothing but a slightly larger touch screen phone to play games on. I’m not sure 7 inch screens (widescreen or not) will survive in the enterprise.



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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Innovation in Financial Services

A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.

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