Five Fake Apple Stores Discovered…

Last week, 5 fake Apple stores were discovered in China. Today, it’s reported that the Chinese government has closed two of them. Three others were left open because they had operating permits, even though they are not sanctioned by Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL).

Apparently, Apple hasn’t said a thing about these fake stores, or the ones that were left open. That’s just weird, because Apple obsessively protects its products and reputation. If you breakdown an iPhone and reveal the components on the Internet, Apple might sue you or have police arrest you.

So it’s odd that Apple isn’t cracking down on unlicensed re-sellers in China. But this brings up a really interesting point about Apple’s China strategy.

Apple has 5 stores in China. That’s it. And they’re all in Beijing and Shanghai. Last quarter, Chinese bought 1.07 million iPads. Nearly were bought through unauthorized channels. For comparisons sake, Bloomberg reports that Lenovo has 10,000 outlets in China.

It might seem that Apple should get control of what’s going on in China. But, on the other hand, if the demand and products are there, Apple doesn’t have to add to its expenses to make sales in China.

US Debt – An Illustration

If you were to stack $100 bills to depict the US debt, here is what it would look like…


A visualization of the U.S. Debt in 100 dollar bills

The Dark Knight Rises – Teaser Trailer

Warner Bros Pictures has just released the first teaser for the  Christopher Nolan’s third “Batman”  released in conventional and IMAX theaters on July 20th, 2012.  The movie will appear just two weeks after Sony’s “Spider-Man” reboot.

More Big Soccer U.S. TV Ratings: Women’s World Cup Final Sets Record For ESPN

Following great TV ratings for last year’s Men’s World Cup Finals and this year’s UEFA Championships Final, yesterday’s FIFA’s Women’s World Cup Final between USA and Japan drew 13.5 million viewers, the larges audience ever for a soccer match on ESPN.

Overall, the game, which USA lost on penalty kicks after a 2-2 tie, was the second most watched women’s soccer match ever behind the 1999 final between USA and China on ABC, which still holds the ratings record for a soccer telecast in the U.S. with 18 million viewers.

Apple Destroys Q3 Earnings Estimates With Record Revenues, Profit, iPhone, And iPad Sales

Following Google’s stellar earnings last week, Apple has today announced their own earnings for their Q3 period. As expected, they’re good. Massively good.

Apple set several new records last quarter in terms of both revenues and sales. Most notably, Apple’s revenue was a staggering $28.57 billion — over $5 billion ahead of their (always low) guidance, and nearly $3 billion ahead of the $24.92 billion that Wall Street had been expecting. What’s perhaps most crazy about those numbers is that they’re a new record for the company, and it comes in a non-holiday quarter (typically the best for consumer electronics companies). Apple’s last holiday quarter earnings, Q1 2011, saw revenues of $26.7 billion.

As for some other key numbers, Apple saw net quarterly profit come in at $7.31 billion — also a new record, by a long shot (last holiday quarter was $6 billion). Earnings per share were $7.79, far, far ahead of the $5.03 EPS guidance, and way ahead of the $5.80 Wall Street had been looking for.

Apple sold 20.24 million iPhones in the quarter, a new record. The Street had been hoping to see sales around 16.5 million. The iPad numbers were just as bright, with 9.25 million units being sold. Wall Street had been looking for 7.8 million there. One slight dim spot were Mac sales, which came in at 3.95 million, blow the roughly 4.2 million Wall Street was hoping for.

Microsoft to open 75 more retail stores in next two to three years


Microsoft is continuing full-speed ahead with its plan to open more brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Microsoft will be opening 75 Microsoft Stores in the next two to three years, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner told attendees of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference on July 13.  (In 2009, Turner announced Microsoft’s retail store plan for the first time to partners at the Worldwide Partner Conference, noting that the goal was to open stores as close to Apple’s as possible.)  Look for  stores in major retail centers in the U.S. with high volumes near you.



Xbox Kinect helps Surgeons in the Operating room

One of the first things a new nursing student learns is how to maintain clean technique when working with patients. Later on, the nursing student steps it up and learns surgical technique — the amped-up, uber-sterile version of clean technique. The idea is that our environment is rife with disease-causing organisms. There are certain techniques that can be practiced to protect our patients (and ourselves) from infection.

Maintaining a pristine sterile field is extremely important in the operating room. The problem is that doctors sometimes have to step in and out of the sterile field to gather additional information on the state of a patient in surgery.

One such example is the operation of a CT imager, which may require a surgeon to step out of the surgical field to operate the computer with a keyboard and mouse (you don’t even want to know how many germs are on a typical keyboard and mouse). The surgeon then has to scrub up to the elbows once again, and then re-enter the surgical field. Rinse, wash, and repeat as needed.

Because of the time and hassle involved in re-scrubbing each time the imager is used, doctors may not use it as often as they might like, or rely on their recollection of the last image they saw.

The following video shows how doctors at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Canada are using the Kinect to solve the “touching dirty things” problem. Since they can just gesture in the air, they can control the computer and adjust images without ever having to sacrifice the sterile field.

Watch the video. It’s amazing, and shows where medicine might go with a little help from Kinect. Welcome Kinect, the newest member of the surgical team.



Amazon Is Building Out Warehouses Like Crazy

Amazon is on a building boom: the company has announced two new fulfillment centers in the last two days, adding a total of more than 2 million square feet.

The new centers are in Phoenix (adding to three others there) and Plainfield, Indiana, and join three other centers announced earlier this year.

During its last earnings call, the company said it would add up to 9 new centers this year, after building out 13 new ones last year.

This is basically good news for Amazon — it means that sales are booming (up 38% in Q2 from the previous year), and that the company is optimistic about the future. But it also means a temporary increase in expenses, which is what drove the stock down after Amazon’s last earnings report.

Read more:

Cisco Layoffs Coming?

Bloomberg is reporting today that up to 10,000 employees will be laid off in effort to shore up lacking sales in the last several quarters.  Up to 7,000 will be direct layoffs and another 3,000 will be given early retirement packages.  Given that this week’s government jobs report showed only 18,000 new jobs being created, this represents a big hit….

Let’s hope all the analysts are wrong on this one!

First Image from “The Adventures of Tintin” –

The notion of canine sidekicks seems to have gone out of fashion as of late, and that’s a shame.  After all, where would Dorothy be without Toto?  Who is Superman without Krypto the Superdog?  And who gives a damn about Turner without Hooch?  Luckily for dog-lovers everywhere, in Steven Spielberg‘s motion capture epic The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the UnicornHerges globally-beloved Belgian reporter Tintin will assisted by his trusty dog Snowy (so named not for his white fur, but on account of his voracious appetite for a particular Colombian export).  A new image from the film has Tintin and Snowy doing some research in an outmoded artifact that primitive cultures referred to as a “book.”

The image first dropped at Animatie.

The Secret of the Unicorn is directed by Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson, and the sequel, Prisoners of the Sun, is directed by Jackson and produced by Spielberg.  This first entry is written by the British power-triumvirate of Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish.  Jamie Bell provides motion-capture performance for Tintin, and he’s joined on the mo-cap stage by the likes of Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Mackenzie Crook, Toby Jones, and Cary Elwes.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn hits theaters in 2D and 3D on December 23rd.