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ATPM 10.01
January 2004


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by Robert Paul Leitao,

This issue officially begins our 10th calendar year of publication! That’s why it’s called 10.01. We’re still a little distressed that Apple chose to use our issue numbering system as the basis for the name of the company’s modern operating system. Apple could have at least sent our staff members iPods as compensation. But the problem with the ubiquitous digital music player is that new ones have recently been in short supply.

Retail reports indicate supplies of iPods in the retail channel were exhausted before Christmas. That is, if buyers was shopping someplace other than Apple’s own retail and online stores. We’re confident that once the supply issues clear up, we’ll receive their free iPods upon formal request. We considered calling this the official ATPM iPod issue, but since the staff haven’t received their iPods yet, we are holding out in protest.

Which iPods Should We Choose?

We polled the staff about which iPod to request from Apple. This wasn’t an easy process. A few staff members chose from among the much-rumored $99 iPods, including the one with flash memory for song storage rather than a hard drive. One staff member chose one in stripes, and yet another wanted the one with GPS. We just hope whatever new iPods might be announced, buyers won’t need a global positioning system to locate one for sale.

The Expo

It’s January, and for Mac fans that means another Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Steve Jobs will keynote this year’s rendition of the annual event at the Moscone Center that begins next week. In addition to the rumors about new iPods, the Mac world is expecting a speed bump to the G5 and news about the iTunes Music Store. This leads us to our next topic…

BCS, The Super Bowl, and New iPods

The New Year’s Day Rose Bowl by any other name is still the Rose Bowl. No matter that most sports writers, sportscasters, college football head coaches, and just about everybody who follows the sport considered it to be the national championship game. That is, except for a few holdouts in Oklahoma and Louisiana who about a month ago embraced the quirky BCS system as their own. It’s too bad the Virginia Tech Hokies dropped so quickly from the national spotlight. The folks who run the BCS could have made use of the school’s G5-based supercomputer to try to explain to the public how the BCS ranking system is supposed to work.

But that’s beside the point. Even if the Rose Bowl were named the national championship game of the year, it would still be the Rose Bowl. It’s kind of like the iPod Bowl scheduled for February 1st. Even though Pepsi will commence its $100 million iTunes Music Store song giveaway during the game, the event might still be called the Super Bowl by some members of the public.

By press time, the Sugar Bowl will have determined the second best college football team in the US. But for now music buyers are still wondering what service might be crowned the second best digital music store in the States. Not only does Apple hold about a 50% revenue share of the digital music player market with the iPod, but the iTunes Music Store also holds the major revenue share of the legal digital music market.

Roxio, the parent of the new Napster service, insists its service is the undisputed number two legal music download service in the nation. According to company officials, the Napster service is generating revenue at the rate of $5 million per quarter compared to Apple’s more than $25 million in song sales alone since the service was launched in April.

This brings us back to the iPod. What Roxio executives and many stock analysts have failed to realize is that song sales alone don’t produce a profit. Apple makes its money on song sales from the purchase of iPods. At a 30% or higher gross manufacturing margin, the iPod represents not only 7% or so of Apple’s gross sales, but on average at least $100 in profit on each unit sold. Even the folks who concocted the BCS college football ranking system can’t argue with Apple’s math.

Who Wins the iPod Bowl?

That’s a question that won’t have to wait until February 1st to be answered. Later this month, Apple will release its quarterly results. Most educated guesstimates put the number of iPods sold during the holiday quarter at well over half a million units. Add to that success the continued consumer interest in the G5 and the premium-priced 20" iMac, and the holiday quarter looks like a winner. The question overhanging Apple’s results is when interest rates will begin to rise so that the company can actually make money on its $4.6 billion in cash.

What’s in a Name?

That’s a good question. Our e-zine began publication nine calendar years ago as About This Particular Macintosh. ATPM is just an abbreviation. In honor of our tenth year we discussed changing the name to ATPM X. That would have made this issue ATPM X, 10.01. We decided not to do that. It would give the appearance that we were trying to play catch-up to Apple. The company has already released Mac OS X 10.3.2, but we would naturally overtake it in April. By then our complimentary iPods should have arrived.

One of the reasons we chose to maintain our original name is that while the world of Macintosh computing has changed, we believe the quality of our work has remained the same. Inside each issue of ATPM you will find the best reviews and the most thought-provoking views in an easy-to-read monthly publication format.

Rumors about Apple and its products come and go on a daily basis. We prefer to take a more circumspect approach to covering the world of Macintosh computing. Whether new iPods come in stripes or striped pajamas makes little difference to our staff. We’ll be at this long after Mac OS XX makes its way to market.


Our January issue includes:

The Candy Apple: Changing the World, One Piece at a Time

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates crack a top 50 list. But what does it really mean?

Machine Language: Polishing the Apple Predictions for 2004

Matt Coates breaks down what Apple products possibly will—and those that most likely won’t—turn up in 2004.

About This Particular Web Site

In this month's ATPW, Paul Fatula shares several site findings you never knew you wanted to visit—until now. The topics are: the South Pole, stereogram puzzles, gourds, early Macintosh history, and a veterinary version of WebMD.

Bloggable: Around the Mac Blogosphere in 32 Links

Wes Meltzer joins ATPM with a new column of highlights from the Mac blogosphere because, as great as NetNewsWire is, most of us don’t have time to read all the Mac blogs!

Quick Tips in Design: Part 7—Type as Shape

Andrew Kator continues his series of graphics tutorials. This month’s installment defines typography and offers a brief history of the earliest forms of written communication through today’s modern typefaces.

How To: Burning Up the Network

Sylvester Roque shares his experience in burning CDs and DVDs over a network.

Web Accessibility: Part 1

Imagine your Web site with half its content missing and a bunch of links that don’t work. If you’re not paying attention to Web accessibility, this may well be what it’s like for some people when they visit your Web site. In this series, we’ll explore ways to make your Web site more accessible.

Cartoon: Cortland

NeoCort gets the Mac lab back online.

Cartoon: iTrolls

The iTrolls poke fun at Mike Dell, huge iMac displays, and the Star Trek red shirt curse.

Desktop Pictures: Oregon Coast and iTrolls

Reader Allen Watson offers Oregon Coast images and Gregory Maddux offers a new wallpaper based on his iTrolls cartoon.

Review: Blender 2.31a

Andrew Kator is extremely pleased with a 3D development package that doesn’t cost thousands or even hundreds of dollars—it’s free!

Review: Mac Digital Photography (book)

Gregory Tetrault shares his less-than-impressed thoughts after reading this book for amateur digital photographers.

Review: Nicecast 1.0

Lee Bennett reviews an Internet streaming broadcast server with more features than you might expect from software that’s this inexpensive and simple to configure.

Review: Showcase

Eric Blair reviews another iPod case that offers excellent protection while still allowing the vanity of letting people see that you have an iPod.


Also in This Series

Reader Comments (3)

Paul Barker, London, ON · January 5, 2004 - 10:42 EST #1
Congratulations on ten years of keeping us informed and helping us loyal Mac users to better understand our Macs!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · January 5, 2004 - 11:47 EST #2
April of this year is, technically, ATPM's ninth anniversary—not tenth. Isn't it weird how volume numbering works!? Regardless, Paul, the sentiment is no less appreciated. Thanks!
Robyn Lyons · January 16, 2004 - 17:50 EST #3
I still remember downloading the first issue in DocMaker format from AOL. Sniff...I miss the blazing fast speed of what was my new 14.4k modem!

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