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HTML5 vs. Apple's App Store, iPhone vs. Android (and other burning questions)

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster played 12 questions with Apple's future and touched on a few key issues ranging from apps vs. HTML5, the enterprise plan and future smartphone competition.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster played 12 questions with Apple's future and touched on a few key issues ranging from apps vs. HTML5, the enterprise plan and future smartphone competition.

We're not going into all 12 questions---Munster is upbeat on Apple's business; there are plenty of iPhone and iPad components and the campus extension is progressing well---but here are a few of the more notable items addressed.

What's the impact on Apple's iPhone launch on Verizon? Munster said that Apple's move to Verizon will give Android significant competition. In other words, Munster argues that we'll see what Android is made of. Munster said:

Currently, Android phones outsell iPhones in the US, but we believe when Verizon gets the iPhone that trend could be reversed. As an example, in countries where the iPhone is available on multiple carriers and competes with Android, we see the iPhone outselling Android. The greatest factor in the success of Android has been Verizon. Customers are loyal to their carrier, and once Verizon gets the iPhone, we believe Android's success in the US will be tested.

My take: Munster is on target here. Android has benefited from all of Verizon's marketing attention. As a result, Android and iPhone have walked on two different sides of the wireless street. When the iPhone hits Verizon there will be pent up demand.

Will HTML5 hurt the App Store? Munster said:

While HTML5 and other rich internet technologies will continue to improve, we do not expect web apps to approach the usability of native apps for several years. And by the time web apps are equal in function to native apps, this early stage of the smartphone wars in which the app catalog is essential, will be over. In other words, we do not see web apps as a threat to Apple's competitive advantage in smartphones: its App Store.

My take: It's far too early to declare the HTML5 vs. app fight. I'd argue that apps are the product of poor browsers and wireless bandwidth constraints. As 4G ramps and browsers improve, Web apps will look better.

Will Apple play the cloud game? Munster argued that consumers will want to access their content on any device without syncing. That's a potential opportunity for Apple. "We expect that Apple will roll out some sort of cloud-bases content storage service, perhaps connected to its MobileMe service, by the end of 2011," said Munster.

My take: This projection is a no brainer. How enterprise focused is Apple? Apple is facing a massive tablet market---44.2 million tablets in calendar 2011 and 70.7 million in 2012---and business will tag along. Apple has positioned itself to "to fully go after the enterprise opportunity in the mobile space." Munster said:

We expect the iPad, for example, to be widely deployed in the sales, hospitality, health care, banking, and manufacturing segments over the next several years. Moreover, we believe Apple is expanding its enterprise sales force to help generate and meet rising demand in the enterprise space.

My take: The iPad and iPhone are quickly becoming enterprise juggernauts. All Apple has to do is become a little more serious about it. The wild card is whether iPad and iPhone will pull the Mac into the enterprise.

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