Friday, 16 November 2012

Apple faces increasing competition in the tablet market

Apple has remained as the leading player in the tablet market since its debut with the iPad two years ago, but the company – now the most valuable company in the world – could very well lose its market share to Google-based Android devices.

This is the opinion of Christopher Riley, MD of The Notebook Company – one of the country’s leading notebook and accessories retailers – which also runs the on-line sites and

Riley said Apple is losing market dominance “fast”, one must also keep in mind they had all of it initially.  The third quarter of 2010 saw the iPad securing 87% of the market. Now Apple commands just over 50% of the market. “The release of the Apple iPad Mini has also affected sales of the iPad. There has been a lot of hype surrounding the iPad  Mini and many people put their purchase decisions on hold, waiting, instead, for the arrival of the mini tablet from Apple.

“In a way Apple seems to have shot itself in the foot with the launch of the mini Apple tablet, certainly as far as a diversion of consumer spending is concerned. But even with the fall-off of iPad sales, Apple will still remain very dominant in the tablet market. But it will share market leadership with Android-driven devices, and we can all agree Tablets are here to stay”

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Notebook Company extends credit terms to customers via RCS

The Notebook Company – one of the country’s leading notebook and accessories retailers - which also runs the on-line Sites: and – has announced that it has been approved as an RCS ‘acceptor’, allowing the company to issue and accept RCS cards as payment for goods for up to 24 months.

The RCS Group is an independent, financial services company operating in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Since its inception in 1999 RCS has provided credit and financial services to more than one million customers. Christopher Riley, MD of The Notebook Company, said that even though he is skeptical about selling to customers on credit – given the dire financial conditions facing many companies and consumers -  “going the RCS route enables us to enter into credit agreements with the call on an established, well run financial institution.”

He said he expects credit sales via RCS to grow over the next 12 months, and could have “a noticeable” impact on the company’s overall revenue.

“It is hard to project what revenue will now be generated via RCS sales, but I do believe it will be more than a blimp on the radar screen.”

Credit deals offered by The Notebook Company

The notebook Company offers short term rentals on laptops, iPads, projectors and related IT equipment. The company also offers a variety of longer term finance applications, from personal applications, business applications to Vodacom contracts.

Clients can apply online at

About RCS

The RCS Group is an independent, financial services company operating in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Since its inception in 1999 RCS has provided credit and financial services to more than one million customers.

RCS has since evolved to offer a diverse product range to customers, including private label cards, retail cards, personal loans and insurance.

The major shareholders in the RCS Group are The Foschini Group (55%) and Standard Bank (45%). Both the shareholders are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Notebook Company says sales of Apple iPhones are brisk

While notebook and accessories retailer, The Notebook Company, said it is essentially not in the smart phone market it is nonetheless making “brisk business” in the sale of the Apple iPhone 5 – although sales are not as robust as in comparison to Apple iPad sales.

According to Christopher Riley, MD of The Notebook Company clients were still clamoring for iPad 1 and 2s, with iPad 3 sales “consistently good”. “Apple iPad sales are consistently good, even though Apple has lost some of its market share in the last few months as the market expands on the back of what is a vibrant and growing market sector.”
While Apple has lost market share it has not really impacted on its revenues that much as the size of the cake in the tablet market has essentially gotten bigger.

Riley said The Notebook Company is “meeting a demand” by selling Apple iPhone 5 units, but said sales of the new smart phone would not have a material impact on the company’s total revenue.

“Apple sales in general certainly have a marked impact on our total revenue. It is well over 20% now – but we see the supply of Apple iPhones as a service to our client base as the smart phone market is not one we will seriously enter,” he said.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Core Group requests The Notebook Company to remove the Apple logo from its websites?

The Notebook Company – one of the country’s leading notebook and accessories retailers - has been asked by Core Group (aka Apple South Africa) to have the Apple logo removed from its websites.

This was confirmed by Christopher Riley, the owner and CEO of The Notebook Company – which also runs the on-line Sites: and Riley said he had already removed the Apple logo. “The Apple logo has been removed and we now merely reflect the fact that we sell Apple products by the use, only, of the Apple name – in a pure text form as requested by Core.”
An interesting point, however, is that Core itself is not allowed either to use the official Apple logo even as distributor, according to Sean Swanson from Core.

Last year a similar request was made by Dell, which, through its attorney’s Adams and Adams, demanded that The Notebook Company remove the Dell logo from its web-sites, and also refrain from using the domain name

This domain name was subsequently  changed to

The Notebook Company continues to successfully sell Dell product.

“I understand that the owners of brands have the right to decide how their logos can be used.  Our Brand Bar with different brand logos just makes it easier for the consumer to select which brand he wants to buy."

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Apple’s mini iPad will fly off the shelves in South Africa says The Notebook Company

There has been a lot of pre-launch hype with regards to Apple’s mini iPad – as
there was with the Apple iPhone5. Much of the excitement – when the products
were actually launched – had already dissipated due to all the pre-press hype.
Nonetheless, these two products are sure to fly off the shelves around the world,
re-affirming Apple as the number one technology company in the world.

This is according to Christopher Riley, MD of local notebook and accessories
retailer, The Notebook Company – and a big supplier of Apple products.

Riley said said his company will be selling the iPad mini at between R5000 – R8
000, with stocks accepted to arrive in early November.

“The Apple iPhone 5s have been flying off our shelves and we have been battling
to keep up with the demand – and we are expecting no less of the Apple mini
iPad,” he said.

Riley noted that there would still, however, be a sustained market for the iPad 3
and iPad2s. “Demand has muted somewhat, but they are still stalwart sellers.”

Commenting further, Riley said the 7-inch mini iPad from Apple is viewed by
many market watchers as an attempt by the technology giant to combat – and
“beat-out” – competitors in the fast-exploding 7 inch tablet market.

“It is war out there,” said Riley, “but Apple still has a keen edge. Right now the
company has the Midas Touch and although they are allowing more hype to
permeate the market prior to launches – something they did not do in the past –
their products seem to be hitting the right buttons with users. Apple is just the
product users want.

Acer sales are up at The Notebook Company – is Acer making a comeback?

Sales of Acer laptops are enjoying a resurgence at The Notebook Company,  one of South Africa’s leading suppliers of notebooks and accessories – an occurrence that seems to be in synch with the launch of the company’s i5 dual core range.

Said Christopher Riley, managing director of The Notebook Company: “Acer seemed to have fallen off the radar screen some four years ago – well, certainly at our company, in terms of sales. But they appear to be back with a vengeance and are now giving the other ranges we offer a run for their money. This is since the company launched its i5 range.

“This might be a recovery strategy on their part, because the Acer Core i5 is hitting the market at $999 – and seems to be proving incredibly popular. It is currently giving our Apple range a run for its money,” said Riley.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Apple iPhone 5 shortage creates concern

What appears to be an increasing shortage of the Apple iPhone 5 is spooking Apple investors according to a recent article in the New York Times, with this shortage expected to substantially affect landed prices of the new units in South Africa.

Said Christopher Riley, managing director of The Notebook Company, one of South Africa’s leading suppliers of notebooks and accessories: “We went through sustained shortages of the last two Apple iPads – which had a marked impact on prices locally – and now the iPhone 5 is facing the same obstacles.”
The iPhone 5 is causing quite a stir – perhaps more than was anticipated – and the big question is whether or not end users will pay the premiums they are now facing due to the stock shortages, or whether they will, rather, opt for other smart phones.
”If users vote with their feet, this will have a certain impact on Apple’s revenue from the iPhone 5,” said Riley.

Commenting further, he said that if the stock shortage does affect orders for Apple’s iPhone 5, it is likely that the company’s revenue stream will, however, be significantly augmented with sales of its mini iPad.

“Apple’s less expensive iPad – the mini iPad – is expected to be launched in the next few weeks. Some market watchers believe this unit will hit the tarmac running with sales more than making up for any drag on revenue caused by the stock shortage for the iPhone 5,” said Riley.
But, as they say, time will tell.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Spike in sale of the top end i5 and i7 laptops

The Notebook Company, one of the country’s leading suppliers of notebooks and accessories, said there has been a spike in the sale of the top end Intel Core i5 and i 7 laptops during the past two months, posing the question whether or not this trend suggests that users are replacing their desktops with more powerful laptops – or whether it is evidence that increasingly mobile users are opting for more powerful laptops rather than tablets.
This is according to  Christopher Riley, CEO of  The Notebook Company – which also manages the and online retail sites.
“iPads are undoubtedly maintaining their popularity – and the Apple iPads are still, by far, our top sellers. But we are definitely seeing a spike in the sale of top end laptops, which is an interesting occurrence. It will be interesting to see how long this trend lasts. But our clients are certainly investing increasingly in more powerful laptops – particularly the i 5 and i 7.”
In the meanwhile Apple is reportedly getting ready to announce its iPad Mini. Word in the press is that Asian suppliers have started production on the 7.85 inch tablet, with Apple possibly sending out invitations as soon as the 10th of October for the event – which has been pencil-marked for the 17thOctober.

Riley believes that due to the fact that Apple is announcing such a slew of products this year – including the Mini Pad and the new i Phone 5 – there is likely to be  a “modicum of cannibalism of Apple sales”.

But while some market commentators might think that Apple is introducing too many new products too soon, Riley believes the move is giving users more options, and is likely to increase the allure of the company – from an investment point of view – rather than decrease it.

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Notebook Company - the first to sell the Apple iPhone 5 in SA?

The Notebook Company, one of the country’s leading suppliers of notebooks and accessories – said it is already taking orders for Apple’s new iPhone 5, saying sales could have a “material impact” on fourth quarter revenue for the company.

This was confirmed by  Christopher Riley, CEO of  The Notebook Company – which also manages and online retail sites.

“We are already selling iPhones and we expect them to fly off the shelves.”  While the company is already taking orders for the iPhone, Riley said stock would be arriving in the first week of October, adding that prices would range from R11 000 – R14 000.

Riley said he expects the iPhone 5 to be well-received by local end users, saying that Apple has managed to make an “incredible phone even better”.

“There is no doubt about it, Apple has a jump on its competitors when it comes to the gee-whiz technology appeal. They are just pushing the right creativity buttons as far as users are concerned,” said Riley.

The iPhone 5 is slightly taller and wider than the iPhone 4 – which holds the title as the world’s most popular smart phone. But the new i phone 5 is said to be very light and thin - and is made of ultra-strong aluminum alloy with glass inlays.

“It is a feature-rich and attractive phone,” said Riley. “Inch-for-inch and gram-for-gram, it is going to be hard to beat – like its predecessor was.”

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

And the winner is – the Apple iPad

The iPad tablet from Apple is still the most popular tablet on the market – by far – and even the iPad 1 is on the wish list of some consumers before other new releases from Apple competitors, such as Samsung, Acer, HTC and Google.

This is according to Christopher Riley, CEO of laptop and accessories retailer, The Notebook Company – which manages the and online retail sites.

Recent research shows that there is actually a low level of consumer consideration and expectation levels for a non-Apple brand, with more than 75% of ‘hot prospects’ (respondents that are keen to get a tablet) considering purchasing an iPad 2- and a further three in five people expecting to get one.

“Interestingly,” said Riley, “the next most popular tablets are actually out-of-date – and that would be the original iPad, the iPad 1, and the Samsung Galaxy tab. Both tablets scored a yes vote of just over 10% of those polled, who are  expecting to buy one”

According to research conducted by YouGov other tablet competitors – like HTC, Blackberry and Acer – do even worse.

While 77% of those ‘hot prospects’ polled appear keen to purchase an iPad 2, just 3% of these ‘hot prospects ‘expect to get a HTC, 2% a Blackberry, and only 1% an Acer.

Riley said sales of Apple iPads have accounted for 40% of his company’s total revenue so far this year. “Two years ago – before the Apple iPad arrived – Apple sales were more or less a blimp on our sales sheets.”

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Notebook Company launches Online Retail Site to grow tablet sales


Notebook and accessories retailer, The Notebook Company – which manages and online retail sites – is to launch site as part of a plan to capture more of the tablet market.

Christopher Riley, CEO of The Notebook Company, said tablet sales now account for the lion’s share of the company’s revenue, with Apple’s popular iPads leading the revenue stakes by “a long way”.

“The Notebook Company took ownership of the online site in 1997 when thin laptops were referred to as notebooks, similar to now when thin Laptops are called ultrabooks.  We then took ownership of the site during 2008 and started managing it in parallel with

“For the past year we have been looking for the right online name to take our tablet business further – with some cyber squatters wanting up to R250 000 for some appropriately named domains. We thought long and hard before coming up with the name – and it is now our new online name for tablets. Who knows, maybe we might release some tabletZ branded tablets in the future. ” Riley quipped.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Repair centres – many of which handle warranty repairs for brand name products – are often “too slow, and not as good as they purport to be”, said Christopher Riley, CEO of notebook and accessories retailer, The Notebook Company, which manages the , and recently also online retail sites.

The Notebook Company has recently come under fire from some corners for steadfastly importing the iPad tablets, while not being an authorized distributor for Apple. Despite this, The Notebook Company was the first company to introduce the very first iPad into SA – and was also the first to import the much-vaunted New iPad better known as the  iPad 3 .  While other vendors – including the local Apple distributor – were unable to get their hands on product, The Notebook Company continued to lead the pack, finding a way to provide its clients with the popular iPads.
“We have always made it quite clear to our clients that we are not official Apple distributors. However, we have offered them our own warranty and, at the end of the day, if we are unable to repair a unit, we simply do a swap-out with a similar priced and featured model –  this has happened a few times - Apples also go faulty - much less than other brands in my experience,” said Riley.
Riley said while The Notebook Company is not an official Apple distributor, he believes his current service levels are “arguably on par with the Local Apple warranty, or even better, and definitely better than most other major brand's third party repair centres”.
These might be brave words, but so far The Notebook Company has been able to put its money where its mouth is.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Parallel importing – still the main way to get hold of the latest Apple iPads?

The availability of the latest iPad from Apple is still confounding and frustrating South African end users, with no sign of “any light at the end of the supply tunnel”, said Christopher Riley, MD of notebook and accessories retailer, The Notebook Company  ( and ) – a company who has been accused of parallel importing due to its continued efforts “to provide clients with what the want”.

Riley said shortages of the latest iPads are continuing, saying that the local Apple distributor, Core, has “given no clear indication of when this impasse will be resolved”.

He said that, as a result, his company would continue to use “any legal means” available to it to get its hand on stock due to ongoing requests from its clients – despite being branded by some companies, and people, as a “grey importer”.

“Frankly, right now this is a moot point. The marketplace wants the latest iPad and we are providing it to them – albeit at a higher price than the listed Apple price due to our higher import costs. We are making it quite clear to anyone that we deal with – and provide iPads to – that we are importing it ourselves or using our import partners.

“I think computer companies are also generally worried because they have to order a certain amount of stock – sometimes more than they want to. With the continual concerns about stock availability there is also the possibility that they could be out of pocket by committing to a certain stock consignment – and paying for it –and then having to wait too long to secure the stock in order to sell.”

Monday, 4 June 2012


 Retailers – or in fact, anyone trading via electronic funds transfer – are open to high levels of risk of falling victim to fraudulent payments since banks, like Standard Bank, no longer reflect bank-to bank EFTs on the same day or real time.

According to Christopher Riley, CEO of notebook accessories and retailer, The Notebook Company ( and, the fact that EFT payments at Standard Bank take longer then 24 hours to reflect, retailers are open to huge risks from fraudulent client payments. Operations are also often retarded as retailers have to ‘wait’ for transaction confirmations

Riley said it is a “massive problem” for retailers.  Banks appear to be ignoring the importance of reflecting same-day payments on the same day and “are turning a blind eye”.

No longer  is Standard Bank our Primary account

 It appears Standard Bank has  taken on this attitude.
“While Standard Bank was our main bank they showed no inclination to even listen to our concerns. The powers seemed unperturbed about the possible consequences for many of their clients. Consequently, The Notebook Company has changed its primary account to ABSA (after 22 years).

 “Frankly,” said Riley, “when queried about the 24 hour delay, Standard Bank staff simply dug their heels in, saying that Internet payments from one Standard Bank to another can take up to 24 hours to reflect. That’s just how things work.

Riley believes this is unacceptable. “We all know payments from one bank to another can take a few days - but we in retail all also understood same bank to same bank should be immediate. That is how we have been selling for over a decade. But ,” he said, “it seems Standard Bank has simply made an about turn and decided this is not how it is done.”

The implications of Standard Bank database updates not being immediate are ‘disastrous for the retailing sector’.

“This banking policy from Standard Bank is a huge problem for distributors and wholesalers – and for retailers that sell high value items.

Scamster continuesly  tries to dupe The Notebook Company

“Over time,” said Riley, “many scamster have tried to dupe us with a manufactured  stolen, or stopped cheques totaling over R1 million, which were "paid" to The Notebook Company’s  account as Internet payments.

“We know the tricks - but it does bring down our productivity and it wastes a lot of our time.    This is why we have banking accounts with all the major banks as it makes it possible for us to check that the money is irreversible before releasing.  But having to wait for 24 hours from Standardbank to Standardbank causes serious problems.