iPad Air reviewers praise tablet for being slim, speedy and long-lasting

Published: Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 | 7:59 AM ET

By: Wilson Rothman

Source: Apple Inc.
Apple introduces the new iPad Air at an event in Cupertino, California.

It’s the Tuesday night before the iPad Air goes on sale, and that means … here come the reviews. No surprise, it’s a hit. If there’s any “but” in the messages of this first wave of reviewers, it’s that shoppers should sheath their credit cards until the arrival of the Retina-screen iPad Mini, which will likely be the Air’s biggest threat this holiday season.

The gist is summed up by Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal and AllThingsD.com, who praises the tablet for being thinner and lighter while getting faster and maintaining “industry-leading battery life.” Mossberg writes that he ran the tablet for more than 12 hours straight, and others also experienced 10 or more hours while running fairly aggressive video and wireless regimens.

(Read more: Apple’s earnings call)

This is good news for Apple, because one of the key criticisms of the season’s other major iOS launch, the iPhone 5S, is that its battery life is not as long as many of its competitors. With no performance issues to be concerned with, this new 9.7-inch iPad is simply a better option than the ones that came before it, for the same price.

Play Video
The Week That Was: Apple unveils ‘iPad Air’
CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen looks back at the week’s top business and financial stories.

So why not buy it? For starters, you may not “need” one, as Damon Darlin — filling in as guest reviewer in the New York Times’ State of the Art column, recently vacated by David Pogue — points out. “Even though I love shiny new objects, I really can’t tell you to replace your old iPad,” he writes. “The improvements on the new one are incremental, not revolutionary.”

Mossberg, too, writes that it’s not a “radical rethinking of what a tablet can be,” while Ed Baig at USA Today writes that the “iPad Air breaks no major ground.”

But the real reason you may not soon become a proud owner of a $500 iPad Air is because, in your quest for the perfect tablet for you, there are lots of other options that must be entertained, including that scrumptious-looking iPad Mini.

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Before we get to that, there’s also the Android and Windows competition to consider. Mossberg sings the praises of the famous magnetic keyboard accessory for Microsoft’s Surface tablets, for instance, as well as the stylus that Samsung includes with its tablets and larger phones. Darlin points out the entertainment value of the cheaper Amazon Kindle Fire HDX tablets, while Baig praises those tablets’ time-limiting parental controls. Darlin and Engadget’s Brad Molen wish the screen were easier to read outside — a perennial annoyance.

Though several reviewers brought up competition such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Kindle Fire HDX, only Engadget noted that the iPad Air’s screen pixel density — the actual number of pixels per inch — is far lower than those of its competitors. It’s the same screen as the past two generations, and when viewed next to those other tablets, it’s not as sharp. And that’s not all: “Heck, as soon as the Retina iPad Mini launches, the Air won’t even be the sharpest tablet in Apple’s lineup, let alone anywhere else,” writes Molen.

(Read more: Apple’s iPad Air is a major improvement, but pricier)

Yes, that’s just one reason the new iPad Mini plays the lurking villain in tonight’s play. You can see it hiding around every corner: “If all you want to do on a tablet is read books or watch movies, the smaller screen is excellent, and you can save $100,” writes Darlin. “I expect some consumers to be lured by the Mini’s even smaller stature,” writes Baig.

There will be an audience for that larger tablet. Darlin, who uses an iPad for work, writes that he needs that bigger screen in his day-to-day life. But Apple fans with cash will have it rough this fall. “We don’t envy the decision you have to make,” writes Molen, “but it’s hard to go wrong with the Air if you’re in need of as much screen space as possible.”

By Wilson Rothman of NBC News

Business Opportunities Not Taken & the 9th Rule of Acquisition.

By David Docekal, Editor The Hypercapitalist

@DavidDocekal

When I am feeling depressed or uninspired in my creativity or work, I turn to the good book: the Rules of Acquisition.

This week I have been inspired by the 9th Rule and how that would apply to a particular scenario. The 9th Rule of Acquisition: Opportunity Plus Instinct Equals Profit.

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This was brought up by a couple of my friends who patronized a local movie theater where there was a celebrity appearance. They said they had to wait in line for 4 hours outside before entering the theater to meet this person. My friend had a great idea: The theater should be making food and serving drinks in the line outside with a mobile cart. This particular theater already has full service food preparation in it as it is one of the theaters that serves full meals during their movies.

The issue for the theater is that these celebrity appearances are generally operated at a loss due to the cost of having the person show up. Granted they probably wouldn’t profit under the guidance of the 9th rule in this situation but it would be a way to make some of that money back.

Hungry people in line? Sell food.

Thirsty people in line? Sell bottles of water and beer!

People standing? Rent them folding chairs!

Cold and rainy? Sell blankets and umbrellas with the theater logo printed on them!

You could easily sell a $10 umbrella for $30 to a cold and wet person.

Its all about opportunity! On top of that those people would be more likely to come back know they will have those thing provided to them. By not taking advantage of this, they are missing out on a grand money-making and customer service operation.

Too bad for them.. This also fall upon the guidance of the 374th Rule: Only a fool passes up a business opportunity!

Netflix Shares Jump as Earnings Quadruple

Roger Yu, USA TODAY 6:07 p.m. EDT October 21, 2013

Netflix, the video streaming service provider, said Monday that its net income more than quadrupled as its membership topped 40 million worldwide.

Its net income rose 315% to $31.8 million for the quarter that ended Sept. 30. Earnings per share of 52 cents beat analysts’ average estimate of 49 cents.

Revenue rose 22% to $1.1 billion

Shares jumped almost 10% in after-hours trading. Netflix rose $21.49, or 6.4%, to close regular trading at $354.99.

As more cable TV customers cancel their subscriptions, Netflix has enlarged its library of titles by funding and producing original programs. Its shows, particularly, Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, have been well-received by critics and viewers. The strategy and the accompanying social-media buzz have helped redefine Netflix as more than just another streaming service provider.

Michael Pachter, an equity analyst Wedbush Securities, noted that the stock’s surging price indicates investors seem unconcerned about the gap between net income and cash flow. The gap, which totaled $85 million for the first nine months of 2013, stems from Netflix’s heavy investment in producing original content, he says.

“That suggests to me that their earnings growth will be a lot less dramatic than the share price suggests,” Pachter said.

Including customers who canceled its service, Netflix added 1.3 million new U.S. customers during the quarter, an 11% jump from a year ago, bringing the domestic membership total to 31 million.

“While our original series get most of the headlines, a bigger percentage of overall Netflix viewing is generated by our exclusive complete season-after series,” wrote Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in a letter to shareholders.

During the quarter, Netflix released the just-ended seasons of some popular TV shows, including The New Girl, The Walking Dead, Scandal, Breaking Bad, Revolution and Pretty Little Liars.

With more customers signing up for the streaming service in the Nordic nations, the Netherlands and Latin America, Netflix’s net additions of international members rose by 1.4 million. “We plan to launch in new markets next year,” Hastings wrote. “Our success this year in increasing international net additions to nearly the level of our domestic net additions shows substantial momentum.”

Despite other big names in video streaming, including Amazon and Apple, Netflix views its primary competition as HBO. Netflix plans to double its investment in original content next year.

This quarter, Netflix will launch its first animated original series with DreamWorks Animation, and the partnership will continue next year with several other series.

Meanwhile, Orange is the New Black will end the year as its most watched original series ever, and House of Cards became the first TV series to win a major prime-time Emmy without ever airing on a broadcast network or cable channel, Hastings said.

While Netflix is often seen as a direct substitute for cable TV, the company could be eyeing opportunities in the pay-TV business. In the U.K., Netflix partnered with Virgin Media to offer Netflix as an option in the cable company’s set-top box.

“We are open to more of these integrations with cable set-tops around the world,” Hastings wrote. “But given the fragmented technology footprints, we think it will be many years before cable set-top boxes match Internet set-top boxes for Netflix streaming volume.”

Government Spending… Or rather, Overspending.

By David Docekal, Editor, The Hypercapitalist.

@DavidDocekal

money-down-the-toilet-zaw2

What is my biggest problem with this administration? Spending.

Overall I see the value in what the Obama Administration has to say. In fact, on many issues I am aligned with their ideology. My issue however is with the money being used to close memorials to bar vets from entering. This was an obvious game for publicity. It probably cost the government more to shut some things down than to simply allow them to operate. That bothers me. Money should never be a pawn in an argument especially when it is wasted. Granted, the staff used can save their money or spend it to help the economy but that is still short-sighted.

Why won’t universal healthcare work like other countries? We can’t afford it.

Why can’t we constantly provide aid to other countries while our own citizens need assistance? We can’t afford it.

Why can’t the government help every single individual affected by a disaster all the time? We can’t afford it!

Now I look at it this way: People want a brand new iPad every year and not live with their parents. The problem? They can’t afford them!! Sometimes we can’t afford the things we want and the solution does not come from floating on an island of credit.

Hmmmm… I just recklessly maxed out my credit card and spent all my money on a fancy new car I didn’t need and now I can’t afford to go to the doctor…. Maybe I’ll call the credit company to raise MY debt ceiling!!! God bless America!

Quiet About Shutdown

David Docekal, Editor The Hypercapitalist

@DavidDocekal

It should be noted that we have been noticeably quiet about the US government shutdown during our writings here. It’s not necessarily intentional but what else is there to say about it? I always love to hear conspiracies about September 11 because some people believe that was orchestrated by our own government. I have a hard time believing that. The reason is because the planning that would need to be involved in that is extensive. They can’t even balance a budget!

Maybe the show South Park is right about that. Perhaps the 9/11 conspiracy itself was perpetrated by the government in order to make people think they are capable of something like that. I don’t think they are just from what we’ve seen the last few weeks in Washington. Do you think a private entity would be able to get away with shutting down like this? NO! They would go out of business. Maybe our government should go out of business. Let some other organization take over. That good be good or bad I guess.

My point of all this is that whatever needs to be said about the shutdown has already been said. It just goes to show how important money is in this world. That’s what this shutdown is all about. Don’t forget it!

Saving Detroit: The Privatized Solution (Part 3: Shareholders)

By David Docekal, Editor, The Hypercapitalist

@DavidDocekal

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I briefly mentioned this in a comment on my last Detroit post but I still wanted to go more in-depth on the subject of shareholders for the City of Detroit.

Residents, I believe, would take more pride and feel more accountable if they had direct ownership in their city. One could argue that this is true with government as it is now but people don’t see government as an investment. They see it as an expense. Holding stock in a corporation, however, is like owning property. It goes up and down in value (hopefully you make a profit) and if you need to sell it, you can sell it. By holding a piece of paper that says you own equity in Detroit would be something that empowers you to be involved.

Residents would automatically get a set amount of shares for free when the city becomes private. These shares would not be allowed to be sold for a minimum of two years. This is to help maintain the stability of the investment pool. The free shares are given out in order to gain buy-in for the program and to release the burden of buying shares for residents who may not be able to afford them. This enables them to vote in city elections. Only shareholding residents may vote for the board of directors.

The return on investment would come in the form of shares of stock to investors in the city corporation. The shares would be valued by a marketplace set up specifically for the buying and selling of stock in the city. The value of course is worth the demand. Citizens of the city would automatically get a certain number of shares without having to purchase upon their first tax return (to prove residency) living in the city. That gives them the ability to be vested in their hometown without having to suffer a possible burden of purchasing shares. It would otherwise be like owning any other stock in a company. It would have the chance to increase in value and be sold as needed.

Additional shares can be purchased anytime. However, they would be designated “non-voting” until proof of residency is provided. Then they would be converted to voting stock.

The investment account could be managed online, on the phone, through your regular broker or at an office for the Department of Shareholder Affairs. This would accommodate low income stockholders who may not have access to the internet or even a phone.
Residents would be able to buy voting shares in the company. The annual voting would elect a board of directors that would in turn hire a CEO and vice presidents to manage the city day-to-day. Executives would receive sizable but not outlandish bonuses based on the city’s performance for that fiscal year.

Outside investors (or non-residents) can buy shares in the Detroit Corporation but they would be non-voting. This would minimize the risk of outsiders deciding city management but would afford the opportunity for the rest of the world to put their faith and support into Detroit. Non-voting shares are also given to any corporation regardless of residency. Voting shares are designated for resident individuals only.

This would all be backed up by the “I Own Detroit” ad campaign featuring everyday residents along with celebrity residents, like Eminem, sharing their pride in ownership and pride in their hometown.
The point is to promote pride, faith and commitment in the city. And above all: accountability.

Taxes would still be a factor. Property and Income Taxes would be used strictly for infrastructure, payroll and other day-to-day city services. Investment capital would be used for capital projects such as beautification, stadiums, parks, etc.
Other revenue would be from sales tax that could be partly allocated to a special fund for low-interest loans for qualified locally-owned small businesses provided by the company’s banking subsidiary. Other money would be donated to registered, accredited food pantries within city limits.

The corporation would take possession of all current city services including emergency services, schools, libraries, infrastructure, etc. Each department with a dedicated vice president appointed by the CEO.

Corporate America: Apparently Big Equals Evil.

By David Docekal, The Hypercapitalist

@DavidDocekal

starbucks-concept-storePhoto: Business Insider

I resent it when people refer to big companies as evil empires. God forbid you be successful! If you are an independent coffee shop (aka “a little guy”) for example and you are extremely successful. You are successful to the point that you could open another location. and another. and another. Where is the point where you become the evil empire?? Because YOU WILL whether you like it or not. Because big equals evil in America. Starbucks is called “Big Bucks” and if you aren’t making big bucks like they are, well then you are the underdog and that entitles you to shoot your mouth off about how evil Starbucks is.

How many times have we seen McDonald’s and Walmart do charitable work? A lot! Why? because they started as family-owned small businesses and that’s what they have done from the beginning. Its not because they are evil and trying to save face in the eyes of the public. I’m sure some are but not these examples.

The “Duffin” (as its called) is a combination of a donut and a muffin. Starbucks is trying to trademark the name and that has some smaller businesses up in arms about it because they also make Duffins. The video I have attached portrays Starbucks as the evil empire. Even presenting the Starbucks logo as the emperor from Star Wars. Now I agree that Starbucks is in the wrong on this particular issue but come on liberal media!

http://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2013/10/09/2951917/

Comcast & Clear Channel Should Merge

comcast-logo

By David Docekal, Editor The Hypercapitalist

@DavidDocekal

Comcast (CMCSA) has become the largest cable operator in the United States, the third largest phone provider (now they have an agreement with Verizon Wireless to bundle cell service) and one of the largest media companies in the world. Before acquiring NBC Universal, they made an unsolicited and unsuccessful bid for The Walt Disney Company (DIS) in 2004. After the failed Disney Bid, General Electric (GE) agreed to sell their controlling stake in NBCUniversal to Comcast in 2009. Comcast has been integrating the NBC branding into all of their properties.

Comcast currently has a major TV network, numerous cable channels, content distribution, movie studio and even sports teams at its disposal.

It is still missing one key thing though after all of that: Radio.

Comcast would still be missing another item: An Outdoor Advertising network (Electronic Billboards) but we are gonna hit two birds with one stone with this solution.

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The company that should be targeted here is Clear Channel. Clear Channel Communications (Private) is a major player in the radio industry. Owning over 850 stations, the company would be a perfect plug-in for Comcasts other properties. The massive radio platform and outdoor advertising business would be a perfect fit for NBC. The network could expand on to IHeartRadio and the 12 channels the company leases from SiriusXM (SIRI) to resurrect the NBC Radio Network.

The outdoor advertising would compete directly with CBS which owns billboards across the country.

Maybe someday we will see a Comcast/Clear Channel combination. Time will tell.

The Rules of Acquisition #150 Easy to find shops and profits

By David Docekal, Editor The Hypercapitalist
@DavidDocekal

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Here is one of the most forgotten rules:

150th Rule of Acquisition: Make your shop easy to find.

Interpretation

Seems like common sense right? Well some businesses lack it.

Making things difficult for the customers who are trying give you money gives your competitors an edge. Customers seek out your business but they will only try so hard. If your business is off the beaten path, you can usually eliminate the chance of walk-ins.

Some businesses understandably choose a location based on cost of ownership or rental of the property. But you have to remember to find a balance. If a property seems to good to be true for the price, it usually is. You have to ask yourself “Why did the other businesses in this 100-year old-building fail one after the other? What makes mine different?”Implementation

This rule parallels another rule (#199 Location, Location, Location). The best way to handle an undesirable location is to balance it out with advertising and word-of-mouth. People will turn down that alley or side street if they know for sure what they’re in for. Again, you may lack walk-ins but that’s not the end of the world. Assuming you are providing a quality, much-desired product, the customers will follow.

If you choose a storefront that has high turnover, more than likely it is the location that is the issue (or it could be that the building owner is a douche). Either one is a possibility. Be prepared to compensate for a cheap property and make sure you have the capital to do it!!

And…..For the love of god…. Don’t overextend your resources!!

Review: Five Guys Burgers & Fries (When they say fries, there are no lies)

By David Docekal, Editor The Hypercapitalist

@DavidDocekal

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I had the opportunity to eat at Five Guys for the first time in my life and I have to say it was enjoyable. The restaurant was clean and managed well. This is on top of the food (which was prepared quickly) was very good. Of course, my body slightly revolted at the addition of grease to its system but that’s me. It was worth it. The burger was fresh and prepared to order with exactly what I asked. The portion sizes are good and not business-killing. (Big portions tend to hurt business in the long run).

When they say fries: get ready. They are tasty but there are a lot of them. Expect a “Regular” to be an extra large in reality. Plus, make sure to eat them quickly as cold is not a friend of the french fry.

I went to the restaurant at about 11:30 in the morning so I can’t say how busy this particular location gets but I imagine it gets packed during the lunchtime rush. Get there early!

Price: Burger and fries for one person: $5.00-$7.00 Roughly

Kid friendly: They have index cards and crayons available to occupy the little ones.

I almost forgot: Complimentary Peanuts!

If you are looking for a greasy burger joint, this is the place. Not to be frequented by the health conscious but occasional visit.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars