The single biggest threat to Apple is existential, in that it is not any where near for the next two to four years out — the single biggest threat to Apple is the Amazon Alexa operating system.
The fact is we are probably at “Peak Swipe” right now. And we might be at peak iOS operating system in the smartphone world right now.
Amazon’s Alexa is something that in Apple’s worst case scenario has the potential to suddenly, overnight, in the next couple years, make developers stop focusing on developing iPhone apps. Or at least quit focusing on apps in the way they have been. Because you walk into your kitchen and call it up on your Echo Show. You walk into your living room and call it up on your TV in the corner or you call it up in the projector on your wrist or the eyeglasses your wearing with the reflector device on it.
In 2017 the world will spend more than 17 trillion hours on apps. The world will spend at most a few million hours on Alexa devices. But therein lies the idea that Alexa is a great new disruptor. In a couple more years, you might be using the Alexa App on your smartphone to access “skills”, and you will also just be using the Alexa operating system on your television that Samsung sells you.
What we need to watch for is developers. There is an influx of developers right now, including the IAm App, that are building for Alexa.
At my company, The IAm App, we are now actively developing for Alexa. Of course, we are still developing for Apple too. Don’t get me wrong. We have more apps than ever coming out in the next three months for all kinds of celebrities joining the ones we already have in the store, including Jay Leno, Neil Patrick Harris, 50 Cent, Lauren Ash, Carl Reiner, Logan Paul, Sammy Hagar. All told, we have hundreds of new iPhone and Android smartphone apps coming out in the next few months. But we are also going to make sure you can pull the apps up on your Alexa Show or any other device with a screen that Alexa will be running in two years.
The question and potential of an Alexa-centric way of interfacing the web is there even if you are an iPhone user. Though to be sure, it is important to note that is the Alexa Show is built on Android. Which means Google/Android could be a huge beneficiary in what people are going to be accessing on a daily basis. They will be accessing Alexa “Skills” and/or Android-based apps and/or simple Alexa-based apps with voice interactivity, whether it is on their television or refrigerator or Echo Dot because they are talking to Alexa. And some of those skills will require Alexa to pull up an Android-based app.
So we are developing the IAm App for Alexa right now and I am learning a lot about this stuff. So I will know a lot more in coming weeks as we develop this skill for the IAm Apps on the Alexa Show. That is one of the reasons why by doing the IAm App that I benefit as an investor. I benefit from learning these trends and gaining insight and what we are using and who is supplying what. It is all part of it.
“Peak Swipe.” Copyright, Cody Willard 2017! You guys are my witnesses.
Since we’re on the topic of Amazon, let me answer the question I keep being asked about Amazon and anti-trust concerns. What I see happening is with anti-trust concerns and Amazon is this.
The Democrats will pretend they are going to go after Amazon for anti-trust, but it won’t really go anywhere because the Republicans and Democrats haven’t actually been actively anti-trust in decades.
Just last week, Chuck Schumer came out with a “Better Deal Platform” for the Democrats. To be sure, it drives me crazy when any Republican or Democrat like Chuck Schumer who has been in the system for decades says something like “The Republicans/Democrats have lost their way for years.” Well, the Democrats and Republicans have lost their ways for decades and people like that guy are part of the problem.) But the point being, one of the major bullet points that he focused on there (ie, that the propaganda that his PR people put together for him) is all about anti-trust.
Now remember that under Obama the beer companies and any other industry that wanted to and spent enough money lobbying Republicans and Democrats were allowed to roll up their competitors. There is almost a monopoly in beer in this country right now. That happened under Obama administration, under a Democrat administration. Then you read the Democrat’s new “Better Deal” and they are like “we have got to stop these mergers and acquisitions,” and they cite beer companies having been rolled up as an example! You can see why all this just drives me crazy because people are going to vote for these guys that have allowed the beer companies to become a monopoly because they are now propagandizing that they are now against that.
The point being you are going to see the Democrats really focusing on anti-trust and Amazon will be at least somewhat in the cross hairs of that. Since everybody recently has started talking about Amazon and anti-trust, the idea of Amazon and anti-trust is getting out there. And the Democrats and Republicans never have an original thought in their life. They just go with whatever looks like is going to poll better. If it looks like that is going to poll well (and I would think that Amazon anti-trust arguments will poll well — the reason the Democrats put that talking point in their new “better deal” thing is because it polls well) the Democrats are going to at least going to propagandize they are going after Amazon and other monopolistic/oligopolistic/dominant companies. Right now the people in power are the Republicans of course and it doesn’t poll well for them to go after anti-trust arguments. So they are glad to allow Amazon to do what it is going to do.
Finally, don’t forget that Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post.
So, yeah, I expect there will be a lot of noise around Democrats going after Amazon and companies like it. I don’t think it will get anywhere with Amazon though. And I am going to tell you right now, I hope the stock gets hit for like 20 or 40 percent off worries the government is going to crack down on some sort of anti-trust thing.
If there is one thing we know the Republicans and Democrats do not crack down on anti-trust. So they are going to let them do what they want to do. If the worry and fear gets built into the stock price, man I will take that opportunity to make Amazon my by far biggest position. If I could buy even more Amazon, which I’ve owned for years and at a much lower cost basis than today’s quotes — if I get the chance to buy more Amazon at $750 or 800 bucks in the next six months or year, I will do it. And Trading With Cody subscribers will be the first to know when I strike again. I don’t think I will get that opportunity though.
Why? Because of Alexa. Sure, there’s Amazon Web Services and there’s Amazon retail juggernaut and Amazon music and Prime and TV and movies and…but those are reasons I’ve owned Amazon for years already. The reason to own Amazon for the next five years is because Alexa is set to takeover the world.
Want to own the suppliers to Amazon Alexa? Want to learn more about how to invest in The Voice Revolution?
Note from the author: I do a live Trading With Cody conference call with my subscribers every two week. The below is the Part 1 transcript to this week’s Trading With Cody Live Q&A Conference Call. Part 2 can be found here and part 3 can be found here.
Lets give everybody a few minutes here to call in. Let me pull up the MarketWatch as we are waiting.
“Alexa, play Classic Rewind on Sirius XM [Alexa plays music.]”
Come on everybody, name the band…
ZZ Top! I’ve actually seen them perform this song stage side at the Beacon Theatre in New York a few years ago. I got to hang out with Billy Gibbons on his bus. Got to play his guitar a little bit. It was really cool! A friend of mine who used to do the marketing for minyvanville.com is good friends with Billy Gibbons. Billy even gave me his business card when I left and I gave it to a friend who has it displayed in his office. It says: “Gibbons, Friend of Eric Clapton.” I’ve always thought my buddy should have a business card that simply says, “Friend of Billy Gibbons.” I’ll have him send me a picture of it. (Here’s the pic):
I apologize if I ever miss any of your questions that you send in by email or in the chatroom I try to answer everything you guys ask. You Trading With Cody subscribers are a priority in my life, as you know. But I also have other things that I do including taking care of Amaris, Lyncoln and family; running the IAm App; running Trading With Cody; and researching all of our stocks and a few other things here and there. It keeps me busy. I am going to need to take a day or two off at some point here in the next few weeks. I have a bunch of traveling to do for work in the next few weeks too though. Doing the book is a lot of work, as is all the other stuff I am doing, and I am just up to my ears.
Speaking of the book, please take a sneak peak at the new site for the book and more! It is about all things Voice Revolution, www.thevoicerevolution.com. It’s not finished as we are still working on it, but for now the site is there to sell the book to people who do not subscribe to Trading With Cody. And it has a few other features.
Whew, I thought I forgot to record everything I just said, but it looks like I did.
An interesting thing in life right now is when you regret now recording something.
It’s like how right now I thought didn’t record three minutes of commentary so that we can put in a transcript and/or in the Podcast and have it together for you guys and I was bummed. I feel like that a lot when I forget to hit record or something. But, you know we used to never record anything! I only have one tape of playing little league football in seventh grade. It was the super bowl. We were the Colts and won I think 44 to nothing. We were pretty good!
Nowadays, kids have their practices, warm ups, games, everything archived on their parents’ pages, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
I don’t know about you guys, but I have a hard time doing social media. Especially in my life, I should be doing social media. I should be tweeting, posting pictures, commenting, etc. I should Facebook Live these calls. I have been meaning to Facebook Live these things for the last 3 or 4 of these calls. I thought of that 6 weeks ago, but I forget every time because it’s too much to keep up with. I am too busy, I don’t have time to talk to the camera and record everything.
But then afterward, sometimes I regret not recording and/or posting to social. For example, when I got home yesterday and there was a huge elk drinking out of the water container we have for the wildlife next to our house. There was like 3-foot-tall antlers on this guy and he got startled when I said ‘Hi’ to him and he walked off. I walked inside and I was like “Oh man, that was awe-inspiring. Oh, man, I should have gotten a picture of that.”
Sometimes we forget we should just be living life and we don’t have to archive everything. We don’t have to memorialize every moment. I mean I should be more of that, sure, because it is what I do for a living in some sense. I should be marketing myself and this company and my products like I used to. If Facebook and Twitter had hit 10 years earlier, I might be king of social media. Heck, I could have posted videos from side stage at ZZ Top! But as social media went mainstream, it was when I left TV and I just sort of…didn’t want to be recognized in public or be as high profile as I used to be.
One other point that this Record-My-Life world we live in underscores is that we are going to a future of wearables and voice-interactivity and we are no longer going to be holding up our phones to swipe or even to talk to them. In five years, we will have some way of recording ourselves without walking around looking at your camera, putting your life and others at risk as you guys are driving or walking down the street.
We all see see people walking in the streets looking at their phones. Including me, I might not be Snapchatting but I might be reading or looking at a map or something.
Matter of fact, I actually have a broken arm right now. You guys don’t know that but I broke my arm in Boston about ten weeks ago. I went to a sushi restaurant and I decided I wanted something a little more “Boston-y” so I was looking at my phone for other nearby, highly-rated restaurants and as I was walking on the 300-year-old brick sidewalk, I tripped and snap! I heard it happen, but I decided it wasn’t broken because it didn’t hurt that bad. Six weeks goes by and I finally got it x-rayed and sent it to an old friend of mine whom you guys know, Dr. James Shores, the Hand Transplant surgeon who introduced us to Axogen. He was like “Dude, your blah-blah-blah is broken. Better go get it in a splint and keep it immobilized for 6 to 8 weeks.”
That was probably 5 weeks ago.
We are not going to do look at our phones as much as we used to any more anymore. There are going to be better ways of looking at maps and recording yourself for Snapchat. You will be able to talk to that stuff and not have to swipe so you don’t have to break your arm break your arm walking down the sidewalk. We are investing in companies that are driving those revolutions. As you guys know we are ahead of that and have been ahead of that and we are staying ahead of that curve.
One day last week, I was sitting on the floor in the living room playing with both Amaris, our medically-fragile 2-year old and our 3.5-year old, Lyncoln, while my wife, Lori, was in the kitchen making feeds to give to Amaris. To make the feeds that we give to Amaris through a g-tube in her tummy, Lori needs to balance carbs, proteins, calories, and so on. She was using her iPhone to find out how many calories various new items she was putting into the feeds when she says to me, “I want an iPad that just stays here in the kitchen.”
So she turns to the old Amazon Echo we have in the kitchen and says, “Alexa, tell me about the new Amazon Echo Show.”
Amazon says something like, “Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, browse and listen to Audible audiobooks, and more. All hands-free—just ask. Would you like me to order you one?”
She looks at me and we communicate using our facial expressions and hands to agree that, yes, she would like Alexa to order us one.
Our new Amazon Echo Show arrived Friday. And we both love it. It’s far from perfect, and the third-party developer apps for the new screen-enabled Alexa device aren’t quite ready for primetime, but after two days, we’ve used it dozens of times to play videos, connect to our Samsung TV, to pull up recipes, to get information about calories in cooked brown rice (there are several varieties of brown rice, which Alexa listed for us along with the caloric value of a cup of each after its been cooked)…
For more than a year now, you all have been reading my commentary about how Alexa has already become a de facto operating system/platform and how Alexa is taking us to a future where we don’t swipe our smartphones, but we talk to a variety of smart devices, some with screens, including your smartphone but also new screen formats, including 3-D projectors and holographic imagery. By focusing itself as an operating system/platform in its own right, Alexa is several factors better than the competing voice interactivity solutions from Apple, Google, Samsung, Nuance or others. But the competition will make them all get much better in coming years.
We are quickly headed into a future where we engage with our devices by voice and not by swiping screens to pull up apps. In fact, the concept of “app” is about to become muddied, as the idea that you’d ever download an app to your smartphone will become passe. For example, when you want to enable your Amazon Echo device to play SiriusXM, you don’t download the SiriusXM app to it, you simply go into your Alexa app on your smartphone and enable the Sirius XM Skill (not app, but “skill”) and then you simply say, “Alexa, play channel 18 on Sirius XM” and she puts on the Beatles Channel.
You won’t be swiping around your smartphone to access various apps, you’ll simply say outloud, “Alexa/Siri/Google/Cortana/Bixby, open The IAm Jim Cramer App” and voila, The IAm Jim Cramer app opens up on your smartphone screen — or just as likely, the app pops open on your smartdisplay, perhaps an Amazon Echo Show or a 3-D holographic screen from your watch or just your car’s dashboard.
Remember back ten years ago when the iPhone first hit and I kept explaining that there would be billions of smartphones sold which would be used trillions of times every day and that there would be trillions of dollars of value created for investors? I called it The App Revolution. The Voice Revolution is going to be even bigger, as billions of people will use their Voice to work, play, search, learn, navigate, create and so on….everything you do on your computer, on your smartphone, on your car, in your kitchen — everything you do will be impacted by The Voice Revolution.
Voice-interaction (along with the artificial intelligence that enables voice-interaction to continually improve) is one of the most important new revolutions we’re about to live through. The Voice Revolution.
So my team and I are feverishly working on finding every company that will benefit from the Voice Revolution (clearly Amazon, but also dozens of other VIR publicly-traded companies and many more that will be coming public in the next year or two) and every company that will be disrupted by it (think about any company that depends on people clicking on ads, retailers, etc). We’re putting together a book called “How to Invest in the Voice Revolution” that will contain all of our research and will include both stocks to buy and stocks to short. We should have it published and in your inbox by the end of this month.
And The Voice Revolution site and app will cover all things related to The Voice Revolution, from headlines, news and how The Voice Revolution works, how to invest in it, how to build for it and much more.
The Voice Revolution will stand on the shoulders of the Artificial Intelligence Revolution which is built upon the App Revolution which is built Internet Revolution which is built upon the Computer Revolution and the Telecom Revolution which are built upon Electricity Revolution….
Stay tuned for many more trends, names, ideas, sectors and general analysis of The Voice Revolution, what could end up being as big and important a revolution as any before it.
I have bought two Amazon Alexa Shows for myself. One for my wife and I at home and one for my office. I am going to get another one for my other office. I sent an Echo Show to two of the team members at The IAm App. We are going to work on enabling Alexa “Skills” for our IAm Apps. (Maybe they are going to have to be called “IAm Skills” now?!)
My wife also bought one for her office. She is an attorney and her company got one or two for her. That is at least four or five Amazon Alexa shows that I personally bought in the last two weeks since they have released them. Clearly I love this technology thought it’s still far from perfect.
The Echo Show, with its screen makes the Alexa Voice Interaction just that much more awesome — and the the Echo Dot and Echo devices without screens are great already.
What is so amazing is that Amazon/Jeff Bezos did this classic Steve Jobs/Apple thing from years ago, when Apple would create products that nobody even knew they wanted and that is what Alexa is. You just didn’t know you wanted that interface until it was there.
I gave a speech introducing Steve Wozniak at the Apple Investment Summit, which was an honor, probably 5 years ago in LA I think it was. Steve talked for 30-45 minutes and he gave a great speech. One of the things he talked about was as revolutionary as the iPhone was that it was a device that took you to where you didn’t even know you wanted to go. And he pulled out his iPhone 4 or 5 at the time, and said I want to be able to talk to it like “iPhone, open up the movie I was watching last night.”
Everybody oohed in the crowd, “Oh that would be so cool!”
That was 5 years ago. Apple didn’t get us there. Steve Wozniak doesn’t work at Apple anymore, but if he did, he would have gotten Apple there first.
Instead though, it was Jeff Bezos who took us there.
Now I am telling you guys, whether you know it or not you want Amazon Alexa Show, Alexa Dot, anything Alexa related because the interface is getting better all the time. It is already establishing itself as the de facto standard for this Voice Revolution.
[Alexa, play channel 18 from Sirius XM. Music playing.]
[Alexa, show me Beetles videos on Youtube. Beetles video playing.]
[Alexa, play number one.]
And now I am watching Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on a screen. Oh sorry, it is Strawberry Fields Forever, I couldn’t see it from back here.
I will wrap up today with Strawberry Fields in the background and this thought, is the Alexa App on my iPhone going to get to the point where I am going to be able to talk to it and bypass Siri?
Is The IAm App developing for Apple or Google? Well yes, we make apps for their smartphones and tablets so we develop on the Apple and Google operating systems…
But we are getting ahead of the train and are starting to develop for Alexa and guess what, we are not the only ones!
Talk about disruptive perhaps Alexa is the Killer App of all-time. How disruptive would it be for me to be able to say “Alexa, open the IAm Neil Patrick Harris App” not just to the Echo Show, but if I could say that to my iPhone and the Alexa App hears it and opens up the IAm Skills set that we built for the Alexa operating system and it pops up on my iPhone screen just like it does on my Echo Show screen.
Is the App Revolution dead? Do we need to change the name to the Skill Revolution? That is what Alexa calls it. It allows you to enable “skills.” You don’t have to download an app to the Alexa, you just turn on the skill and start listening to Sirius XM, watching Youtube, jamming out to The Beetles, etc.
Oh come on, the Beatles Strawberry Fields video just ended just as I got up. Oh, it is going to the next one, and it’s them performing “Don’t Let Me Down” on top of the building there in NYC.
And with that people, I will do my best not to let you down.
Wise words from Johnny Boy Lennon. Peace, Love and Happiness.
Let’s hit on Amazon’s new Echo Show device that is a voice-enabled house assistant that includes a touch screen (most likely an Android-based touch screen like Amazon’s Fire devices. Essentially, this Amazon Echo Show device will work as a prototype for them to perfect the upcoming Echo smartphone that I’ve been telling you will be coming one day.
“You shouldn’t be compelled to go and interact with the screen — you should be able to do it with your voice,” Mr. Limp said in a product briefing. “It’s very different from traditional computing as we’ve known it for the last three decades.”
Apple and Google will eventually catch up with the idea that we’re going to speak to our devices (including our smartphones) and we will also have many other shortcuts to pull up (and/or download) apps by the hundreds on our smartphones, TVs, computers, refrigerators, Echo-Show’s, etc. (PS. The IAm Apps are positioned for this revolution…)
The Voice Revolution Site and App are your go-to resource to learn about and follow what might be perhaps the most important Revolution in our lifetimes.
Created by Cody Willard and hosted by Jake Fistes and Zilvinas Speteliunas.
The Voice Revolution Site and App are your go-to resource to learn about and follow what might be perhaps the most important Revolution in our lifetimes.
Created by Cody Willard and hosted by Jake Fistes and Zilvinas Speteliunas
About Cody Willard
Cody Willard runs TradingWithCody.com. His success at running a hedge fund propelled him from Wall Street to anchoring his own TV show on Fox Business. A former technology venture capitalist, Cody’s stock picking ideas and economic outlooks have been featured on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, ABC’s 20/20, CBS Evening News, CNBC’s Kudlow & Company and SquawkBox, Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, as well as in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and many other outlets.