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ATPM 12.06
June 2006





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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the June issue of About This Particular Macintosh! We begin this year’s summertime series with a quick look at the MacBook and other recent news.

The New Apple MacBook

In May, Apple Computer released the long-awaited replacement for the popular iBook laptop computer. To the surprise of many, the MacBook is shipping with the same chip found in the MacBook Pro. To the surprise of many more, the new MacBook is very competitively priced compared to other laptops with the Intel Duo Core chip. It will come as no surprise if Apple sees a big jump in Mac CPU shipments this quarter due to the debut of the iBook’s successor. This is the month for Dads and grads, and the MacBook will be a very popular gift this season.

Apple Sells PowerSchool

School is moving out of session for the year, and PowerSchool is moving out of the Apple product line. Apple purchased the PowerSchool Student Information System from its developers in March of 2001. Now, five years later, Apple has sold its award-winning SIS to Pearson Education, a global publisher of educational content.

PowerSchool opened many doors in the educational community for Apple. Doors that just years earlier had been closed to the Mac maker as the company’s market share plummeted and schools, once the foundation for Apple’s sales efforts, turned to Windows-based products. Due to the success of PowerSchool and its popularity among educators and parents, the Apple logo was seen by millions of people as parents and students logged onto a PowerSchool server each day to check homework assignments and class grades.

Apple is first and foremost a hardware company. PowerSchool provided the company with renewed exposure in the education market, but that exposure didn’t necessarily lead to more school-wide CPU sales. Nonetheless, Apple made PowerSchool a success, and that success has enhanced the company’s product reputation in the education market. Watch for Apple to gain market share in education as the MacBook becomes available for students, teachers, and school district buyers this summer and in the second stage of the education buying season this fall.

Apple Store Fifth Avenue

Remember the Cube? No matter that Apple put the product on ice, the new Apple retail store on Fifth Avenue in New York gives the cube a cool new look. Gracing the entry to Apple’s first 24/365 retail location, a cube-shaped enclosure greets visitors to what is now the company’s flagship retail store.

Dell Goes Retail

Is imitation the greatest form of flattery? Or, are the folks at Dell just green with Apple envy? In an odd departure from the PC leader’s sales model, Dell Computer has announced it will be opening two retail locations. The stores will not carry product inventory, but will showcase the company’s PC products. Yogi Berra comes to mind. Is this “déjà vu all over again”? Gateway began its disastrous move into company-owned retail operations with Country Stores that at first did not carry inventory for sale.

Retail stores are again becoming popular with retail buyers in the US thanks in part to Apple’s retail store presence and the preference of many buyers to see a computer first-hand before they buy it. Gateway, the successor company of the Gateway/eMachines combination, is gaining market share in the US through sales at thousands of non-company owned retail outlets after closing its hundreds of Country Stores. HP is regaining lost market share from Dell as Dell’s competitors become increasing efficient and are able to match Dell on price with better quality products. Time will tell whether or not Dell can regain its lost sales momentum while seeking to protect what’s left of its average gross sales margin. However, opening company-owned stores that don’t carry product inventory may not prove to be the way to go.

iPod Refresh?

There’s no news at this time, but a refresh to the iPod line of digital music players is widely expected. Sales have begun to slow, and new competitors in the market the iPod currently dominates are emerging almost every day. The iPod has provided Apple Computer with strong revenue and earnings while the company completes the Mac’s transition to the Intel architecture. Make no mistake: the Mac is Apple’s past and the Mac is very much Apple’s future. But the iPod has put the Apple logo inside tens of millions of homes and in the pockets of tens of millions of iPod users. An iPod refresh is needed before the start of the Christmas shopping season, and the sooner new iPod models are released, the sooner the slowdown in sales will be reversed.

Vista Delayed Again?

Microsoft is sending subtle signals that the consumer version of its next generation operating system will be delayed again beyond the publicly stated January 2007 target date. Absent the availability of Vista for the Christmas season, PC makers have little incentive to build inventory of PCs capable of using Vista’s much-hyped but hardware hungry new features before the start of the new year. Ironically, for Christmas Apple may be the only personal computer maker with a full line of Vista-capable products available for sale.

But It’s Summertime

We have a few more months before we focus on this year’s Christmas season. A new hurricane season has just begun, and the editors of ATPM are busy creating big storms of our own. Each month we bring you the latest news and thoughtful product reviews in our easy-to-read and popular monthly format. Please join us throughout the summer as we continue to chronicle the personal computing experience in a decidedly Macintosh kind of way.

Our June issue includes:

Bloggable: Don’t Look Back

The iBook is dead. Long live the MacBook! Apple’s new product lineup may be on the verge of an Abbott and Costello routine, but the computers are so hot you might burn your lap with one! Wes Meltzer has MacBook reviews and comments, a little gloating over Windows users, zen dialog boxes, and more in this month’s Bloggable.

MacMuser: Bombed Out

Take two PC engineers and two Mac engineers, make them rendezvous with a load of computers at a grand hotel in Cheshire’s country, and see which pair wins.

MacMuser: iDisk Ennui

ennui: a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction. Yes, that sums up iDisk.

MacMuser: Make Mine Black

Bond takes his shaken, not stirred. The Rolling Stones painted theirs. I’ll just take mine black.

FileMaking: “Real” Programming with FileMaker

This month, FileMaking looks at scripting.

Segments: Promises and Pitfalls of the Digital Media Revolution

Just because we can create an integrated digital lifestyle doesn’t mean we are doing it well.

Desktop Pictures: EAA AirVenture

Chris Lawson offers part two of his desktop photo images featuring planes being shown and flown at the 2005 Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture event.


Uh oh—Todd thinks he’s landed a girl and a job interview the same night, but he might be headed for trouble. Also this month, the Boss Control Squad infomercial.

Review: PhotoComplete 1.1

PhotoComplete is a new image-editing program which wraps the usual basic editing actions into an unusual interface, making it easy to tweak digital pictures to make them look their best.

Review: Racer-X

Wes Meltzer finds the Racer-X to be a champion bag—a briefcase for those who thought they’d never carry a briefcase.

Review: SleeveCase

Even though laptop sleeves do not have a long list of things they’re supposed to do, Wes Meltzer discovers not all sleeves are alike.

Review: Worms 3D

Feral Interactive releases a game where teams of garden worms try to blow each other away with military ordinance—and ATPM is there. Check out this latest installment in the Worms puzzle and action series.

Review: Yojimbo 1.1

Yojimbo is one of the newest entries into the information management space. ATPM looks at how well the Bare Bones approach work in this crowded market.

Also in This Series

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