Enderle: ‘4th quarter will be Apple’s hardest since the first iPod Christmas’

“Apple held a media event on September 12th, 2006. While there was a lot of speculation about an Apple phone, my belief is that it is still coming, but the 12th didn’t appear to be an appropriate venue for that device. Phones tend to be heavily leveraged by the services that connect to them, and the coordination needed with the service provider tends to make it both easier and stronger to do a phone product alone. This clearly was being positioned as a movie oriented event, and as a result, our expectations were tied to movies,” Rob Enderle writes for Digital Trends.

“The most obvious product was an iPod tuned for movies, and this means a screen that has a panoramic aspect ratio. The existing iPod line is designed primarily to do music (and frankly, that is a big part of why it is successful, since it does this very well), but for a movie event we needed a large screen movie iPod, and what we got was something less. Granted, the 80-gigabyte model is slightly modified in capacity and battery life, but for movies, it just didn’t have the anticipated screen, so it fell short of expectations,” Enderle writes.

“The second was an iTunes-like movie service that did for movies what iTunes did for music. This was a huge miss, but probably not Apple’s fault, because the movie industry is much harder to work with in this regard than the music industry, and it is clear even Apple can’t make much headway. They only got Disney, which raised the question of whether Apple’s new closeness with that company is actually creating problems with the others,” Enderle writes.

“The third was a home ‘media center’ type of product. They did tease this product [iTV], but it will miss the critical 4th quarter where the vast majority of sales for this kind of device occur. Apple not only doesn’t “tease” products like this, they have a history of going after folks who do. This last product seemed strange and made it feel like they knew they were missing expectations by a mile and trying to fill the gap with a future offering. More likely, they are simply trying to keep folks from buying competing products until theirs shows up. Not a bad strategy, not even uncommon, but unusual for Apple,” Enderle writes. “Now, the iTunes improvements are rock solid; the product is more visually exciting, and it appears to provide a stronger overall user experience, both of which are very positive. With this Apple showcased why they deserve to be at the top of the heap.”

Enderle writes, “This week Microsoft released its new ‘Zune’ service which competes with the iPod and iTunes. The service has a number of interesting parts starting with a flat rate payment option (shared with Urge, Rhapsody, and Yahoo), a MySpace social networking component, and built in legal file sharing of purchased and rented songs. This is all built around a company-within-a-company which feels more like a record label than anything else. Unfortunately the Zune player is kind of large and clunky and folks must buy the player and then get the service, not the other way around. If Microsoft wants to play here they need to have compelling hardware.”

Enderle writes, “Apple is far from out of the game. They still have the most complete line of any vendor and arguably the highest quality user experience. However, the competitors appear to be rapidly closing the gap, and this announcement didn’t widen that gap appreciably. The 4th quarter will be Apple’s hardest since the first iPod Christmas, and next year will be vastly harder still.”

Full article in which Enderle writes that his opinion is “independent of Apple and avoids any bias—positive or negative” here.
In August 2005, Rob Enderle predicted, “fourth quarter, in particular, should be ugly for Apple” due to the company’s Intel transition. In the fourth (holiday) quarter, Apple shipped 1,254,000 Macintosh computers during the quarter, which represented 20 percent growth in Mac sales year-over-year and record revenue and profits of $5.75 billion and $565 million respectively. See Big surprise: Enderle was wrong about Apple’s holiday quarter Mac sales – January 19, 2006. If there is any constant in the universe, it’s that Enderle never learns. We look forward to seeing the results of the holiday 4th quarter and how it compares to Enderle’s prediction that it “will be Apple’s hardest since the first iPod Christmas.”

Related articles:
Enderle: Microsoft Zune ‘a design mistake’ – September 15, 2006
Enderle spouts some incredible nonsense about Apple iPod+iTunes – July 07, 2006
Enderle: If Apple can’t double market share it will abandon Macs – May 02, 2006
Big surprise: Enderle was wrong about Apple’s holiday quarter Mac sales – January 19, 2006
Tech Pundit Enderle: ‘fourth quarter should be ugly for Apple’ – August 09, 2005


  1. He’s just trolling for hits, that’s all. We all know he was dead wrong last year and that he’ll be dead wrong once again this year.

    He just puts out these bogus statements to generate hits, so don’t put any more undeserved money in his pocket than what he already has….

  2. “This week Microsoft released its new ‘Zune’ service which competes with the iPod and iTunes.”

    Really? Please tell me where I can buy a Zune today, Rob. The only thing MS released was hot air, as usual.

  3. Can someone explain to me how a supposedly professional columnist can use a phrase like “Apple’s hardest quarter”?

    What the Hell does that mean?

    “Hardest”? “Hardest quarter”? I must infer that he means “difficult,” but the word also means “firm, strong, not yielding to pressure.”

    This guy is not only consistently WRONG in his opinion about all things Apple; he’s a very, very poor writer!

  4. The so-called “competition” is scrambling to get the 25% US market share that iPod doesn’t have already, before Apple gets it. They can’t even make their “announced” products available (or even provide pricing and complete specs). Between iPod and Mac, Apple will have a record-breaking holiday quarter.

  5. I think that by using the phrase “hardest quarter” Enderle is covering his own butt. It’s a meaningless phrase. If Apple has a bad quarter, he can say he predicted it. If Apple has a great quarter, he can claim that what he meant was that it was hard do to the new competition, but they prevailed.

    Kind of like when medical people use ‘efficacious’ instead of ‘effective’ when describing a drug or device.

  6. I agree wholeheartedly, “ken1w”!

    And what do you suppose will be announced next Monday at the Apple Event in Germany?

    Whatever it is, Apple is proud enough of it to draw special attention to the rollout. Suppose that might have an effect on the ol’ 4th quarter bottom line?

    (NOTE: Enderle is a moron and, like Dvorak before him, has truly reached the end of his usefulness.)

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