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Apple continues to impress

Two tidbits of news today have likely helped reverse the recent decline in AAPL:

The Android platform is growing increasingly fragmented and subject to virus and spyware attack. Apple's "closed" platform for iPhones and iPads is proving to be superior, despite being widely criticized. Amazon's Fire tablet, launched today, uses an extensively revised and customized version of Android. Those who want to develop new apps for Android devices now must contend with dozens of products, each of which work just a bit differently, and now, with the Fire, have a variety of screen sizes. Already it can be said that the Android platform does not provide customers with a consistent user experience, and at the rate Android malware is proliferating and new Android-based products are launching, this could become a nightmare for both users and developers pretty quickly. Meanwhile, the best that can be said of the best Android-based phones and tablets is that they are almost as good as Apple products. Competition is good, but I don't see how any product out there can overtake Apple's commanding lead, ease of use, quality control, and seamless integration among a variety of devices.

Apple's iTunes Match was launched yesterday and is receiving rave reviews. I'm not a consumer of music, but my son-in-law is, and he reports that last night it took him only an hour and a half to install the latest version of iTunes on his computer, pay $25 to activate iTunes Match, and then let iTunes scan his 6,000 song music library. He now has his entire music collection—including many thousands of tracks that he had scanned from CDs over the years—in Apple's iCloud, available to listen to on his iPad, iPhone, and iMac. Very impressive, and he didn't have to upload any music to do this. iTunes Match even allows you to receive free a higher-quality version of a song you may have scanned long ago at a low bit-rate. It will be tough for others to beat this offering.

Full disclosure: I am long AAPL at the time of this writing.

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