This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Apple's Problem Isn't Cosmetics, It's Google

Stock quotes in this article: AAPL, GOOG, MSFT, SNE, INTC, NVDA, QCOM, BRCM

In the bigger picture, though, for Apple to focus on changing the icon colors is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic -- almost literally. Apple has hit an iceberg, and it's losing water -- fast.

The name of this iceberg? Google (GOOG).

Google, together with a long list of hardware partners -- Samsung, Asus, Acer, HTC, Sony (SNE), Lenovo (LNVGY), ZTE, Huawei, Motorola and many more -- are attacking Apple like hyenas bite into a gnu. They're doing it through lower prices, improved hardware, and better services.

Let's examine those in turn:

1. Lower prices:

First, hardware: Apple laptops start at $1,000; Google laptops start at $200. Apple tablets start at $330; Google tablets start at $200. Apple's iPhone 5 smartphone starts at $649; Google's equivalent Nexus 4 starts at $349.

Components: Apple now makes (aka engineers) its own CPUs. Google and its partners work with Intel (INTC), Nvidia (NVDA), Qualcomm (QCOM), Samsung and Broadcom (BRCM) for CPUs. Yes, I know, Apple uses some of those, too, for selected lower-value/importance parts.

Second, software: Google offers more cloud services, and they are free. Google gives you 15 gigs of storage just for creating an account. Google gives you 100 gigs of storage for buying a $250 laptop, and 1 terabyte for buying a $1,300 laptop. Apple could charge you $50 per month for something like that.

2. Improved hardware:

Whether smartphones, tablets or smartphones, it is absolutely true that Apple had superior hardware on most fronts until a year or two ago. Android was laggy, had poor battery life,and Google's first laptops were slow.

So where are we now?


Smartphone: Almost everyone agrees that all the high-end Android smartphones are ahead of the iPhone in terms of the hardware experience. They have bigger screens, bigger batteries, and expandable storage, among other things.

Tablet: Whatever advantage Apple had in the early days has largely been eradicated. I could argue that most tablets are now the same, but Android invents more in terms of form factors, optional stylus, and so forth. In either case, and equivalent Android tablets tends to sell for $100 less than the iPad.

Laptop: Obviously, Google started out by focusing on $200-$450 laptops, but they are no longer too slow for their basic tasks. As for the high end, the $1,300 Google Pixel is starting to address the high-resolution (2560x1700) touchscreen laptops built with the tightest quality standards.

2 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,832.55 -210.35 -1.23%
S&P 500 1,954.21 -18.08 -0.92%
NASDAQ 4,436.9110 -56.4790 -1.26%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs