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ATPM 10.11
November 2004



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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the November issue of ATPM! So much has changed in the past month that our editors worked feverishly up to the deadline to bring you the latest news and most informative views about the new world of Macintosh computing. However, our biggest challenge this month was deciding just where to start! So…

Let’s Start at the Top

In this case it’s the top of the stock charts. Apple Computer, trading under the ticker symbol AAPL, finished October at it highest trading levels since later September 2000. On the last trading day of October, Apple reached new four-year highs, rising to a new trading high of $53.20 and closing at a new high of $52.40.

Apple began 2004 at $23.25 per share. In ten months, its shareholders have been rewarded with a $10 billion increase in the company’s market value and the share price has more than doubled since the beginning of the year. At the end of October, the company’s market capitalization stood at more than $20 billion. What a difference a little music player can make!

Why so High?

Among the reasons Apple’s share price has flown north for the winter is called an earnings and revenue model. Wall Street analysts can more accurately estimate iPod sales than they have been able to estimate Macintosh sales. Apple’s popular iPod is gaining new users each day, and the iPod/iTunes Music Store combination has established a formidable lead in the nascent digital music market.

In the three-month period that ended in September, Apple sold about 2,016,000 iPods including about 120,000 units under the Apple iPod from HP brand name. In the same period Apple sold 836,000 Macintosh computers.

Let’s Look at the Numbers

In Apple’s fiscal fourth quarter, the company had net sales of about $2.35 billion and net income of $106 million. That worked out to $.26 per diluted share. The diluted share count includes unexercised stock options, and Apple has a boatload of unexercised options on the books. In the prior year period, Apple had net sales of about $1.715 billion and earnings of $.12 per diluted share.

To better understand the economic power of the iPod, in the fiscal fourth quarter (the third calendar quarter), iPods represented $537 million in net sales versus $121 in net sales the year before. Make no mistake: the success of the iPod is moving Apple’s stock price higher.

Is the U2 iPod for You, Too?

In late October, Apple released a special-edition U2 iPod. Not only is the back engraved with the signatures of the members of the band, but it also comes with a face colored in red and black, rather than the iPod’s trademark white enclosure. The U2 iPod costs $50 more than a white iPod of the same capacity, but U2 iPod buyers receive a $50 coupon redeemable on the purchase of the $149 U2 music set available through the iTunes Music Store. We’ll see if U2 fans gobble up the special-edition iPod when the U2 music set becomes available around Thanksgiving.

From U2 to Two Devices in One

The day Apple announced the U2 iPod the company also announced the new iPod Photo. The photo version of Apple’s ubiquitous iPod can connect to a TV or projector so that owners can share photos on a big screen with family and friends. The iPod Photo also comes at a higher price, starting at $499 for the 40 GB model.

Virginia Tech Revisited

The folks at Virginia Tech put the computing world on notice when the school brought online last year the world’s fastest super computer cluster and the world’s third fastest supercomputer overall. Comprised of Mac G5 mini-towers, Virginia Tech’s cluster has helped to craft a new paradigm at universities and research laboratories. For an investment of just over $5 million the school crafted a supercomputer cluster from commonly available computers.

Virginia Tech has retooled its supercomputer for 2004. The university has replaced its cluster of G5 mini-towers with Apple Xserves. Virginia Tech is reporting its “Big Mac” supercomputer cluster is performing at 12.5 teraflops. The cluster’s new standing among the world’s fastest supercomputers will be announced later this month.

The G5 iMac Has Arrived…in Quantity!

Finally…the G5 iMac supply is catching up with demand. Apple is air-shipping the new iMac from the manufacturing facilities in Asia, and according to reports ample supplies of the new iMac should be in stores in time for Thanksgiving and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

While consumers wait for the new G5 iMac at stores, we want to let you know what’s in store in our November issue. Our latest issue includes:

The Candy Apple: Buy Low, Sell High

It is sometimes of little comfort to do the right thing and then see that you could have done it even better.

Bloggable: A Civil War of Attrition

Wes Meltzer is back from a brief hiatus with a look at what’s been happening in the Mac blogosphere.

Segments: My Mac OS X Switching Saga

Reader Jon Allen Boone shares his switch story.

How To: Share Content Between Web Sites: Creating a Dynamic Hypernetwork Using PSS

Andrew Kator explains PHP Shared System.

Cartoon: Cortland

Cartoonist Matt Johnson takes Cortland into the Mudrix.

Cartoon: iTrolls

The iTrolls become art critics, then ask a rhetorical question.

Desktop Pictures: Ireland

Ireland landscapes, Kilkenny Castle and gardens, Jerpoint Abbey, and the Mt. Juliet gardens and golf course by reader Mark Dickson.

Frisky Freeware: Meteorologist

Frisky the Freeware Guinea Pig checks out Meteorologist.

Review: Waterfield Design Medium Cargo Suite Spot

Christopher Turner examines the Jan sibling of Waterfield Design’s Cargo bag line-up.

Review: FrogPad USB

While manufacturers call it the keyboard of the future, Wes Meltzer calls it an expensive novelty.

Review: IOGEAR and Dr. Bott KVMs

David Zatz puts two KVM switches into the ring to duke it out.

Review: Nisus Writer Express 2.0

“Nisus Writer Express shows a high attention to detail in what really matters: the act of writing.”

Review: StuffIt Deluxe 9

“Much to my surprise, I found many features in StuffIt Deluxe 9 that make it well worth the purchase.”


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