Regarding Ashok Kumar’s Track Record on Apple

Om Malik, in a piece headlined “Is Apple Working on a 7-Inch Screen iPad?”:

Apple, perhaps worried about competition from the Android camp, may be looking to develop a new version of iPad, this one with a 7-inch screen. It would bring such a device to market some time in 2011, according to a research note put out by Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar this morning. He writes that the second generation iPad will have both front and rear facing cameras to make it easier for video conferencing on the device, using Apple’s FaceTime.

So why a second generation iPad with different specifications this quickly? I have a theory.

Will Apple make a 7-inch iPad? And if so, would it be the new size for the iPad, or a second size, alongside the existing just-under-10-inch size? I don’t know. But I do know that Ashok Kumar has quite a track record regarding prognostications regarding the iPad and other Apple products.

Regarding the then-imminent iPad, Kumar told CNet on January 20:

“Apple will have two different (offerings). Taking a page out of the Google book, one will be subsidized through a (telecommunications) carrier and the other one will be direct through their stores.”

Wrong. The iPad comes in both 3G/Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi-only flavors, but both are sold directly from Apple, with no carrier subsidies (and no contracts).

One day later, just a week before the iPad was unveiled as a GSM device on AT&T in the U.S., Kumar gave the following “exclusive” information to TheStreet.com:

The hotly anticipated Apple Tablet — or the Apple Newton II — will feature a wireless chip made by Qualcomm. This discrete little fact would confirm that Apple has chosen Verizon as its telco partner, says Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar.

Right after the iPad went on sale in April, Kumar had this to say about demand in a report by The Financial Times:

Apple had told manufacturers it wanted to produce a million iPads per month and “that’s clearly in excess of demand,” said Ashok Kumar, an industry analyst at Rodman & Renshaw. “Eventually it will find a niche and a success, but it’s not going to be of the scale and scope of the iPhone.”

In fact, the supply of iPads was unable to meet demand until just a few weeks ago. The iPad is selling faster in its first year than the iPhone did.

This is the same Ashok Kumar who on 12 October 2009 issued a “research report” asserting:

“Sales of iPhone through China Unicom, to state it mildly, have been disappointing. Volumes since launch have run at a fraction of stated goals.”

The iPhone did not go on sale through China Unicom until 15 October 2009.

This is the same Ashok Kumar who, in another “exclusive” to TheStreet.com, “confirmed” back in January that the iPhone 4 would be on Verizon this summer. (That’s the summer that officially ends this week.)

This is the same Ashok Kumar who in July 2007, one month after the iPhone went on sale, declared it a dud:

“In the Harry Potter books, a squib is the offspring of a witch and wizard that lacks the ability to produce magic,” Kumar explained. “In the technology world, the iPhone is a product from Apple teamed with the wireless network of AT&T that lacks the ability to produce magical business growth.”

Betting on a 7-inch iPad based on a Kumar “research note” is pretty much like betting on the time of day based on a stopped clock.

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