Abraham Maslow

iPhone: 'The mother of all halos'

February 28, 2011: 2:19 PM ET

Apple execs talk about their plans to cash in on the popularity of the iPhone and iPad

In a note to clients issued Monday, Bernstein Research's Toni Sacconaghi reports on a meeting with three top Apple (AAPL) executives: COO Tim Cook, CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Eddy Cue, vice president of Internet services.

Steve Jobs did not attend.

According to Erik Savitz, formerly of Barron's, now at Forbes.com, Sacconaghi reports that the execs are concentrating on what he called "the right things," including:

  • Expanding the market for the iPhone, which Cook referred to as "the mother of all halos."
  • Developing "lower priced offerings" and doing "clever things" to address pre-paid markets like China and India. (Cook doesn't want Apple's products to be "just for the rich," according to Sacconahi.)
  • Capitalizing on the "explosive" demand for the iPad, believing that tablets could end up being a bigger market than PCs. (If this is so, Sacconaghi calculates that the iPad could eventually be a $60 billion to $100 billion business for Apple.)
  • Adding carriers. Oppenheimer notes that Apple has only 175 carriers today, versus 550 for Research In Motion (RIMM).

Cook told the analyst, presumably tongue in cheek, that he felt the iPhone was just below food and water on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a reference to Abraham Maslow's theory that people can't focus on higher-level needs (like love, self-esteem and self-actualization) until they have met the most basic ones (like food, sleep and, apparently, cellular telephony).

See the chart below the fold.

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