Who was the real winner in Apple’s WWDC announcements? Apple or another company?
At the Apple WWDC keynote — an event that’s the Apple world’s CES and Computex rolled into one — the company had a series of announcements highlighting its new and refreshed products. Virtually all of Apple’s flagship products got a refresh, including Mac OSX, the (now Haswell powered) Macbook Air, Mac Pro, and iOS7.
One of the few outright new products that Apple announced today is iTunes Radio, the long expected advertising supported music streaming (to the estimated tune of $1 billion a year) service from the company that competes against Pandora.
The markets, however, didn’t react favourably to these announcements. As the trading day came to a close in New York, Apple’s stock was down to $438.89 having lost nearly $3 during the trading.
Shares of Pandora, the competitor to iTunes Radio, spiked on the NYSE. It closed at $15.50 up nearly 2.5%.
While the products announced at this year’s WWDC may not be soaked in earth-shattering innovation, there is a silver lining for Apple’s shareholders: the company has figured out how to add a new revenue stream to the mix via the ads in iTunes radio. Apple’s business model is selling high-margin low volume computers, high-margin high volume phones, and services. With an expanding services sector, Apple’s stock has the chance to rebound when markets open in New York on Tuesday — should investors feel confident that Apple is still innovating with its new revenue streams and products.
But looking away from Apple for a moment, there is another winner in the midst of today’s announcements: Intel.
Intel’s chips has made it into two of Apple’s flagship products that were announced at WWDC — the refreshed Macbook Air and Mac Pro. Apple claims the Macbook Air will have up to 9 hours of active use battery life and over a week of standby with Haswell’s mobile chips, while the desktop Mac Pro has a 12-core Intel Xeon processor.
Intel’s keynote at Computex was about getting Haswell and the rest of its chips into as many mobile platforms as possible. Having Haswell in the Macbook air will define Haswell as a power efficient mobile platform to be reckoned with while Xeon in the Mac Pro will give the chip a chance to shine in something more than servers.
Interestingly, one of the losers from the announcements at WWDC might be Nvidia. The Mac Pro ships with a pair of AMD Firepro GPUs. These will have mighty horsepower: 384-bit memory buses, 528 GB/s of total bandwidth, and support for multiple 4K displays. They also aren’t on Team CUDA. During the keynote a presenter solidified Apple’s support for OpenCL with a comment along the lines of “everyone should be using OpenCL.” Nvidia has been bragging how its Quadro GPUs crunched the data for some of the most impressive SFX scenes of late, yet considering that Mac is the go-to platform for multimedia work they might risk loosing a whole generation of desktop artists.