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Smile when you say “gadgets.” :-) says, “Buyers just can’t get enough of Apple’s gadgets.” I suppose when you talk about money all day, it is hard to pull your life out of your wallet for fresh air and a clear perspective.

(Note added May 29, 2010: I guess that I was right about their unclear perspective – iPad is now expected by some to PASS Macintosh sales by September 2010.)

Apple reported a profit of $3.1 billion today on revenue of $13.5 billion, once again blowing away the expectations of Wall Street, whose greed is at conflict with its ability to do math (1, 2). Sadly, greed, like stupidity, has no limits.

Apple sold almost 11 million iPods and sold a record 8.8 million iPhones during the quarter, doubling its iPhone sales from last year’s quarter. Lest we forget Macintosh, Apple sold 2.9 million of them in the quarter, up 33% from last year and a record for the period.

Steve Jobs reported their “best non-holiday quarter ever.” CFO Peter Oppenheimer said that the initial U.S. demand for the iPad (basic WiFi only; no 3G) “shocked” the company.

Well, it should not have.

Let’s look at a dictionary definition of “gadget” – “an often small mechanical or electronic device with a practical use but often thought of as a novelty.” Apple builds devices (more importantly highly RELIABLE devices AND SOFTWARE), surely enough. And the devices have practical use, which some individuals (who possess creativity and imagination) can see, and other individuals :-) cannot…. Far from appreciating the creativity and imagination of others, some of the latter group spend their days roaming the halls of their companies looking for sparks of creativity and imagination so that they can STAMP the sparks OUT! Creative people are tough to manage. As someone who has done project management with scientists, engineers, and artists, I know.

Sadly, most of the products and services that American and other “consumers” can choose are designed and produced by the LATTER group – so much so that pent-up demand for innovative products can “shock” even the CFOs of innovative companies! “Novelty” (from the definition of “gadget”) can be used dismissively, but at its core, the word means “NEW.” People hunger for new solutions, especially when they have walked the treadmill of sameness for much of their careers and lives.

While you are pondering your new-found meaning of gadget, you may also want to ponder the financial success of another company that I respect, which reported earnings on the 15th: Google. The headline read, “Google earnings soar 38%,” which, you guessed it, :-) also beat Wall Street’s expectations (see, no limits to greed or stupidity). Google’s net income was $1.96 billion in their first quarter, up 38% from last year, and its revenue climbed 23% to $6.77 billion.

So, it looks as though creativity and imagination have their place in capitalism, and that you don’t have to be a corporate criminal to win this game after all. :-) (Although many still try that path….)

My advice to media (not “mediums” – who talk with the dead [Do you see the dangers of “modern” English? :-) ]), is to be careful when you use words like “gadgets” that you really don’t understand. :-)

Congratulations, Google and Apple! You keep innovating, and we’ll keep shocking.

-Bill at

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