How can you tell whether news is fake or not? In many cases it isn’t easy. One surefire way to segregate news from opinion is the disparity between the headline and the article’s content. With news, the difference between the two is nominal, because, well, except for gory details, news is boring.
What about fake news or opinion pieces? That’s where the disparity between headline and article becomes obvious. Here’s an example.
Headlines, by nature, are designed to attract your attention and get you to read the article. Yet, headlines come in many forms; from boring and obvious, the salacious click bait where the headline does not match the content.
Here’s an example from Fool Jeremy Bowman. The headline first:
The Tragedy of Apple
Yes, Apple is so lame. APPL, too. If ever there was a technology company that just couldn’t make it amid all the competition, well, it’s Apple. Or, is it Motorola? Or, HTC? BlackBerry? Palm? Or, maybe Nokia?
After pouring billions into share buybacks instead of new product acquisition or R&D, the iPhone maker may finally be reaching a dead end.
Personally, I don’t like share buybacks because they seldom work, and Apple does not have a good history of buyback timing. APPL remains down a few hundred billion dollars so buybacks haven’t done much for anyone. As to dividends, what have shareholders done to deserve that money?
Well, so what? Poor Apple. What a tragedy.
Apple is one of the richest public companies on the planet. It has nearly $250 billion in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet, and no other company came close to the $59.5 billion in profits it made last year. In fact, only 53 U.S. companies had revenues that high in 2017.
Of course, Apple is a rather diverse company with strong revenue and profits across all major products. Mac, iPad, Apple Stores, Services, and, yes, iPhone. All are cash cows. You would not think Apple to be a diverse company thanks to iPhone.
After 12 years of evolution, the changes brought by each new iteration of the device have become so incremental that they are virtually meaningless. This has led to longer upgrade cycles which, in turn, has led to iPhone sales actually declining year over year from their recent peak. Customers see little need to buy new ones.
Apple sells over 200-million new iPhones every year. Only Samsung sells more, but Apple makes double the revenue and triple Samsung’s profits. Yet, somehow, only Apple is a tragedy in the making.
The shoulder of the information superhighway is littered with once-great tech companies that skidded off the road.
Sony, BlackBerry, and the aforementioned Palm, Motorola, Nokia, et al. Who helped to destroy their position as the top smartphone purveyors on earth?
However, in the Tim Cook-era (which began in 2011), the only significant new products Apple has launched are Airpods and the Apple Watch. While both products have found an audience, they are mostly complementary products to the iPhone. Neither qualifies as the type of standalone, breakthrough invention that the iPod, iPhone, or even the iPad were.
Tim Cook is the King of iPhone Accessories.
I don’t think that qualifies as tragic, but Apple is not functioning as it did under Steve Jobs, who seemed to roll out market disrupting products every few years.
This is where the so-called tragedy goes off the rails.
While Apple has focused on service, it has fallen behind in other fast-growing corners of tech. It came early to the voice-activated technology party with Siri, but its virtual assistant has since fallen behind Amazon’s Alexa.
Technology pundits make a lot of noise about Amazon’s Alexa, but the Echo device has sold a few dozen million since inception (about the same number as Apple Watch, far more expensive and profitable) and the number of devices in use pales in comparison to Siri running on over 1.4-billion Apple devices from Mac to iPhone, from iPad to Watch.
Pundits have long speculated that the iPhone-maker could buy Tesla or Netflix — moves that would instantly catapult it into a leadership position in electric cars or video streaming
Neither of those products makes as much money for their shareholders or companies as any of Apple’s major products, but I understand the sentiment. Giving away tens of billions to undeserving shareholders seems like a waste of money when Apple could be buying up a few other industries.
I struggle to see where Apple has become a tragedy.