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All posts tagged "apple"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rumor: Apple to Exhibit at CES in 2010?

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 01:00 PM

"On the heels of announcing its plans to bail on Macworld Expo next year, Apple will be instead attending the more generic Consumer Electronics Show in 2010, according to sources familiar with the matter. The blogosphere has been passionately arguing both for and against an Apple appearance at CES, which is held in Las Vegas rather than Macworld Expo's San Francisco. Sources close to the company have indicated to AppleInsider that the move is a done deal, a remarkable turn of events given that CES has long been dominated by Microsoft's product announcements issued in keynotes delivered by Bill Gates and now by CEO Steve Ballmer."

If this is true, then Apple has pretty much embraced their new identity as a consumer electronics brand. It won't take long to know if this one is true, but I sure as hell hope it isn't because CES is a pain in the you-know-what for average people to attend. I've only done it once, and it was utter and complete chaos, not to mention mostly boring garbage. I'm sure Apple would have one of those gigantic setups like Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony have had for years, but it just wouldn't be the same for attendees. The flip side, of course, is that it would be much easier for me to go to (I can always make an excuse for a trip to Vegas!).

Tags: apple, ces, 2010

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Unsurprisingly, Green Peace Not Pleased

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Laptops" @ 12:00 PM

"The only new product Apple has announced so far at this year's Macworld was a new MacBook Pro with reduced amounts of PVC and BFRs. Which is good, but not what Apple had promised for 2009 and no substantial further progress than the MacBooks announced in October. Let's just take a minute to remember why this matters. Toxic chemicals in electronics are a cause of serious environmental pollution, putting workers at risk of exposure during both the production and disposal processes. Greenpeace investigations into the e-waste yards of India, Ghana and China over the past few years have uncovered numerous examples of poorly protected workers being exposed to toxic pollution. Removing PVC and BFRs would make Apple computers safer and easier to recycle, as well as allowing much higher recycling rates to be achieved."

It's nice to see GreenPeace taking on the important issues, like a continued vendetta against Apple. I don't see a whole lot of complaints against other companies (HP and Dell sell infinitely more laptops and desktops than Apple does) who are close to Apple on their scale of computer makers (see their chart here), but then again, most of those companies are big enough to not give a damn.

Two of the comments on their blog post particularly made me smile. They're after the jump if you'd like to follow along. Read more...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WebEx for the iPhone Now Available

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 02:00 PM

"A lot of companies make pitches to me using WebEx. Despite its patchy performance on the Mac, it is still an easy way to get through a PowerPoint. Well, WebEx just got better, thanks to the new WebEx for the iPhone app. It also works on the iPod Touch. In other words, you don't need to be in the office to get going - you can totally do meetings from anywhere - as long as AT&T's temperamental 3G network is working."

If the promise of working from home in your pajamas was a bit too much for you, have no fear; you can no work from your bed without even bothering with PJ's! Seriously, though, this is one of those things that could be a major convenience for people who fly a lot and travel a lot. If you do a lot of Webex presentations, this might be something you'll drool over.

Tags: apple, iphone, webex

Friday, January 2, 2009

Welcome to Macintosh: Not So Good Actually

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Classic Apple" @ 05:00 PM

""Welcome to Macintosh - The documentary for the rest of us." is the first documentary of its kind to mix history, criticism and an unapologetic revelry of all things Apple into a movie experience. Whether a long time Mac fanatic or new to computers, Welcome to Macintosh takes you from the early days of the Apple-I to the latest the company has to offer."

Photo credit: Welcome to Macintosh presents Steve Jobs (l.) and Steve Wozniak (r.).

I forgot that I had ordered this DVD when it was announced, and when I got the e-mail saying it was on its way to me, I was pretty excited. I finally had a chance to watch it today and I have to say I'm more than a little disappointed. I won't bother with a full review, but it just wasn't that interesting. They didn't talk to any of the original principles of Apple (unless you count Guy Kawasaki) and didn't provide any real insight you couldn't get from Wikipedia. In fact, I reckon most of you who have been long-time Apple users probably know this story as well as the makers of the film.

It's a fun watch, I guess, if you're a collector of Mac memorabilia, but don't let the number of film festival selections fool you; skipping this documentary wouldn't really leave you all that hearbroken. You can order it, if you were so inclined, from Filmbaby or maybe you'll be lucky enough to catch a screening of it at Macworld next week.

MobileMe Soon To Have Big File Sharing

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 03:00 PM

"Coming soon: Email large files. Soon a new feature in iDisk will make it simple to share files too big for email. iDisk will automatically send a message with a simple link. The recipient will just click the link to download the file."

Aside from being a bit pricy, I've always liked MobileMe / .Mac. I only really use it for Back to my Mac and to synchronize contacts with my iPhone but it's still worth it even just for that, at least for me. Being able to e-mail big files will be a nice feature to have, also, if you're into that sort of thing. It's not revolutionary, but if you've bought into the ecosystem, it's handy nonetheless.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Apple Bailing on MacWorld is Smart

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 02:00 PM

"The problem for Apple is that almost everyone in the Mac community knows that there's a chance of new products coming at Expo. Starting in the fall, there are almost daily sightings of potential new models or software revisions, the latest being the Mac mini rumor. So, what happens? It becomes common wisdom for Mac customers to avoid a CPU purchase in the month before the show, just in case a new, better model is released. Or to skip a software upgrade. This effect will happen even if someone doesn't want a new model - they might be able to get a deal on the older generation of machine out in distribution. The Mac market stops and waits for Expo."

Whether or not Apple is to blame for the vacuum that's created in the months after their fall event (which is usually all about iPods) is immaterial to the fact that there is indeed a vacuum. Apple does do well as far as selling Macs go over the holidays, but no one in their right mind would be an Apple product that hadn't been revised or updated in the months leading up to the holiday season. Even this year, while notebook sales were great, desktop sales were on the floor and hiding under the table mostly because the iMac and Mac Mini haven't been updated in (what feels like) an eternity. Knowing you would be buying a machine that's obsolete as soon as you walk it out the door, why would you do it? I know I wouldn't, and most people who are "in the know" wouldn't either.

There's been a lot of talk about Apple hurting the little guys by backing out of the expo. What the talkers fail to realize is that Apple is hurting itself, in some ways, by staying in, and Apple has a bigger obligation to its shareholders than it does to some accessory maker that makes another iPod speaker dock or pair of headphones. They have to maximize holiday sales, particularly in rough economic times, and that just isn't going to happen when a good majority of your user base is aware that you're updating your products a few weeks later.

Tags: apple, sales, macworld

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Orange Can't Maintain Exclusive

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 12:00 PM

"A French watchdog agency has decided that the exclusive deal between Apple and France Telecom's Orange is not fair and must be suspended. The suspension of the deal is set to take place no later than Thursday of this week. The reason for the short time frame for implementation is to give a chance to Orange rivals SFR and Bouygues Telecom to capitalize on holiday iPhone sales. An SFR spokesman said they were planning to begin selling the iPhone within a few hours of the decision, if Apple is cooperative."

I'm sorry, but I just don't understand the hubbub. I didn't understand it in the US last year and I don't understand it in France this year. Exclusivity agreements may not be great for customers, but I don't understand how they hurt customers. The only downside is you can't use the iPhone if you have some other carrier. Sorry, but why is that Apple's problem?

Exclusivity is a carrier's way of enticing you to join their network and I see nothing wrong with it. I know that puts me straight into the minority, but maybe that's a product of working for a cellular company and seeing the business from the inside. And no, I don't work for Orange or AT&T so I have nothing to gain from Apple's exclusivity deals.

Theory: Apple Leadership Change Underway

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"So who will be the next head honcho at Apple if and when Steve Jobs steps down. Who knows, but Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster thanks the announcement that Phil Schiller, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will do the keynote at next month's Macworld Conference & Expo is "in our view, a clear message that a leadership shift is underway.""

I was kind of interested in the story on Tuesday, but after a full day of theorizing by every Tom, Dick, and Harry, I just can't take any more amateur hour analysis of Apple's pull out of MacWorld and Phil Schiller giving the keynote. Honestly, the amount of speculation is ludicrous at this point which is why you didn't see any of it here. Anyone that's ever been associated with Apple journalism was quoted at some point yesterday spouting off on what this whole thing means. The reality is that none of us know anything, Gene Munster included, and professing these theories as if there is some kind of inside knowledge behind them is just flat out dumb.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Business Week Columnist Not Concerned About 1%

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 02:00 PM

"Today's Wall Street Journal focuses on how according to the latest NPD figures, Mac sales in November as compared to November of last year are down by 1%, and thus rushes to ring the alarm bells: Apple is being dragged down by the recession."

The article presents an interesting perspective. We'll have to see how it plays out, but one thing's for sure... Entering the low-profit netbook market isn't going to make that big a dent in their sales. The answer? I don't know it and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I think the upcoming Macworld San Francisco ought to set the tone for the next few months and give us a better idea of Apple's direction because right now, everyone's guessing and the theories range from plausible to ridiculous.

Tags: apple, sales, earnings

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Apple Out of Macworld After This Year

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple News" @ 03:21 PM

"CUPERTINO, California-December 16, 2008-Apple® today announced that this year is the last year the company will exhibit at Macworld Expo. Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will deliver the opening keynote for this year's Macworld Conference & Expo, and it will be Apple's last keynote at the show. The keynote address will be held at Moscone West on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Macworld will be held at San Francisco's Moscone Center January 5-9, 2009.

Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Apple's Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.

Apple has been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone."

I really don't know what to say to this... I'm pretty surprised, stunned, shocked, and disappointed because without Apple, you can pretty much bet this will be the last Macworld, or at least the last one that really matters. With Apple having its special product announcement shows throughout the year, it really is becoming less necessary to have a Macworld event yearly. Just look at this year; Apple refreshed almost every product line well in advance of the January show making people wonder what they were even going to announce in San Francisco, if anything. And as much as I think Schiller is great and is the heir apparent to Jobs' desk, people aren't going to Macworld to see him; they're going to see a Stevenote.

It's a sad day for the Mac community.

Amazon is Number Two... By a Mile...

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPods" @ 02:00 PM

"After its first full year selling tracks from all four major labels, Amazon's digital music store has become the second-largest a la carte service, according to industry estimates," Billboard reports. "But it's a very distant second to iTunes," Billboard reports. "Major-label sources say that they had hoped the company would have fared better than it did."

I both use and like Amazon's MP3 store. They're the first non-Apple service to get the integration with the iPod ecosystem correct and they do a damn good job of it. That being said, Amazon is almost never my first choice. You can't buy MP3's on remote devices (ie: the iPhone and iPod Touch) and browsing is nowhere near as intuitive as it is in iTunes (although the search feature on Amazon is infinitely better than the garbage Apple cranked into iTunes).

The bottom line is that the music industry was terrified of Apple becoming an online music monopoly so they gave Amazon things they wouldn't even give Apple to keep them at bay. While that may have scored them some "zing" points, it didn't really knock it out of the park from a business perspective and it didn't create the iTunes destroyer they hoped it would.

Amazon will continue to do well, but it's going to take a long time to knock iTunes off that pedestal, particularly in a time when we aren't even talking about iTunes being only the number one online retailer of music, and are now comparing it to the likes of Wal-Mart and others in the brick and mortar world.

Tags: apple, itunes, amazon

New Cinema Display Reviewed by Engadget

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Other Apple Hardware" @ 12:00 PM

"Prior to October 14th of this year, Apple hadn't updated its Cinema Display line in years. Literally. There's no doubt that this refresh is entirely overdue, and we still hold that Apple should've taken the opportunity to refresh its now-archaic 20 and 30-inch counterparts. All that aside, this writeup is about the new 24-incher, a LED-backlit beauty that doesn't mind being called glossy and is clearly partial to notebooks. The screen packs the same 1,920 x 1,200 resolution that was on the 23-incher it replaced, but ditches that DVI connector in favor of the newer, less widely adopted DisplayPort. So, is the newfangled screen worth $899? Read on to find out."

Photo Credit: Darren Murph, Engadget

Engadget puts the new 24" Cinema Display through its paces and finds plenty to like and dislike about it. I won't steal their thunder by quoting too much about it, but I think I can interpret the bottom line thusly: It's a great screen, albeit glossy, with great sound and neat connectivity options (read: the MagSafe port) but at the same time they don't like that it uses only MiniDP rendering it useless for everything but the new line of notebooks. For more in depth explanations / detail, do check out the review. It's quite thorough.

As for whether or not I'll be buying one? I honestly don't think so. At least not until the price comes out of the stratosphere.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Statistically, $0.99 vs. $0.99+ Means Nothing

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 02:00 PM

"Two days ago Craig Hockenberry wrote an open letter to Steve Jobs complaining about the prevalence of 99 cent apps on the App Store and the "rush" to that price point. He suggests the rush to the bottom is damaging the chances of more significant apps being developed for the platform. We've covered the "gold rush" on the iPhone App Store before, and dissected the App Store data to discover that the cheapest apps aren't the ones making the most money (sounds obvious, but many of the complaints assume it isn't so). 99 cent (or free!) apps do no more harm to pricier iPhone apps than open source or shareware apps do to commercial PC or Mac software. But the point still stands.. are 99 cent apps really that popular on the App Store? In terms of quantity, there are a lot, but are they significantly more popular than more expensive apps?"

The takeaway here is obvious: pricing your app doesn't, in a tangible way, affect the sales of that application. While Craig Hockenberry may have a point in that applications cost more to develop than meets the eye, his other point, that $0.99 apps are hurting sales of more expensive apps and making the App Store an unsustainable business, doesn't seem to be supported by the numbers.

I have a ton of problems with Hockenberry's "Open Letter," and this is just one of them. I'm glad someone addressed it with statistics rather than anecdotal "evidence."

OSX 10.5.6 Now Available

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple News" @ 12:44 PM

"The Mac OS X 10.5.6 Update is recommended for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard versions 10.5, 10.5.1, 10.5.2, 10.5.3, 10.5.4, and 10.5.5. It includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac."

So... Yeah... Those rumors that this update would have a lot of bug fixes? All true. This 668 megabyte (that's the Combo Updater of course!) update is packed with all kinds of updating goodness.

There are a lot of good fixes in here, most notably a few AirPort fixes that might save a few of you from pulling out your hair, and even a few updates for Address Book and iCal that make it push and pull data from MobileMe more quickly.

Me? I'm most excited about this nugget:

"Improves the performance and reliability of Chess."

Thank GOD they fixed that, huh?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is Right For You?

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 02:00 PM

" is a powerful productivity suite-including tools for word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows and more-with one major additional feature: it's free. Whether OpenOffice 3-the first version to run natively on OS X and Intel-based Macs-is right for you essentially comes down to this decision: can you live without the latest features in Microsoft Office 2008? Most of the tools you need for productivity are here, minus an e-mail client. There's Writer, a powerful word processor; Calc for spreadsheets; Impress for slideshows; Draw for basic drawing and graphics; and Base to serve as-you guessed it-a database."

I've tried Open Office in the past and never really liked it. Neo Office was closer to what I expected as far as being a Mac App, but that was before decided to go with a native Mac UI. Brandon seems to like Open Office, but calls it an 80-20 product; it has enough oomph for 80 percent of the people who need an office suite. And, unlike Microsoft's watered-down "don't compete with the Windows version or else" version of Office, it's 100% free. Maybe it's time I gave it another look...

Interesting Use For Promo Codes on the App Store

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 12:00 PM

"For the first 20 purchasers who send in an iTunes receipt showing a Hexy purchase, Fifth Ace will generate free promo codes allowing buyers to gift the second copy of a game to a friend. It's a pretty small marketing push in an arena where sales need to be in thousands, not tens, but it's a move that is built to attract attention by its cleverness more than its reach."

As Erica points out, this is a small push, but in reality it demonstrates a very good example of the kind of outside the box thinking that distances good developers and great developers from the rest of the pack. There are many uses for the new promo codes aside from giving a copy of your app to Apple Thoughts (although I wouldn't object to receiving them from any app developers out there) so use your imagination!

Apple Should Leave its Prices Alone

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"Apple has the luxury of being, well, a luxury brand. Most consumers don't look at Apple and put the company on the same level as a Dell or HP. For consumers who want to save money on a computer or don't want to worry about learning Mac OS X, Apple isn't a consideration anyway. But for those people who have some money to spend, they want the most value for their money. And although some would disagree with their sentiment, I think many believe they get more value from a Mac than any other company's products. People who buy Macs aren't looking to save money; they're looking to buy a premium brand because of the perceived value of the product. Apple understands that; we understand that; why don't analysts? Sure, the market is moving towards cheaper alternatives and some people want smaller laptops, but hasn't anyone noticed that over the past few years, Apple's market share has grown considerably in the face of "cheaper" computers?"

Don is so right on this one. Why should Apple lower its prices and compete in the low-end market? So they can flood the market with sub-par machines that people aren't happy with? Don hits the nail on the head when he points out that people are willing to pay more for Apple because they perceive Apple as a luxury brand that's "worth" more. He even correctly notes in the very next paragraph that, despite the fact that we're in a recession, that has no effect on perceived value. It's amazing how many people have opinions on how Apple should run its business. You would think, from all the unsolicited advice, that things were falling apart or something.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Apple Losing Market Share Due to Netbooks?

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Laptops" @ 02:00 PM

"According to DisplaySearch-a provider of information, consulting and conferences on the display supply chain and display-related industries- netbook shipments grew by 160 percent in the third quarter of 2008. This means that "companies that have missed or decided not to play in the netbook market-such as Apple-have lost market share," reports The Guardian."

Okay... Maybe mathematically this might be true, but I'm not even sure I buy it in that regard either. Anyway, this isn't the first time Apple has been criticized for its prices and not catering to the low-end and playing the margin game and it probably won't be the last.

Besides... Who says Apple isn't going to pull a Netbook out of its hat in January?

Just sayin'.

Welcome To Newton: Original Welcome Video

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Classic Apple" @ 10:00 AM

I've always said that the only reason the Newton failed was because it was too far ahead of its time to succeed. I'll never be convinced otherwise. Enjoy this trip down memory lane, and remember; this video is only 20 or so years old. Look how far we've come (and at the same time look how much has stayed similar or the same) since!

Tags: apple, classic, newton

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

MacBook Pro EFI & SMC Firmware Updates Now Available

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Laptops" @ 07:47 PM

Apple has released EFI and SMC updates for the new MacBooks that were introduced in October. The updates apply to the new aluminum MacBook, the new MacBook Pro, and the revised MacBook Air and increase stability, fix the infamous sleeping issues, and do all kinds of other fun stuff including fixing the charging light on the Magsafe adapter.

All of your necessary updates are available in Software Update for your downloading, installing, and updating pleasure. If you're one of the lucky ones who snagged a new machine recently, let us know how the updates went for you. Be aware that the updates will download separately. Software Update will show you the first update. Do it. Then run Software Update again and you'll be presented with the second.

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