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ATPM 12.08
August 2006



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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the August issue of About This Particular Macintosh! While intense summer heat works its way across the nation, we’ll start this month’s issue with some cool news as the swift winds of change continue to breeze through the PC economy. This month we look at the climate in the PC business and provide you with an August forecast and a call for participation.

AAPL: Will Lightning Strike Again?

We all know thunderstorms can change the weather. But will lightning strike AAPL again? Apple’s share price closed July at $67.96, up $2.37 on the last trading day of the month. Propelling the share price higher was an upgrade from a major brokerage firm that sees potential for significant sales and earning growth for Apple in the months ahead.

Over the past three years, AAPL has had an amazing run, showering shareholders with new wealth and many small investors with prosperity. Will lightning strike Apple’s share price again to ignite another major rally? The company is pinning its short-term success on a strong back-to-school sales season.

Hot Days in San Francisco

No matter the ambient heat outside, what will be announced at this year’s WWDC may heat up the rooms inside the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The Moscone Center has been the place for many of Apple’s most important events and product announcements. While most industry watchers don’t expect Apple to announce revolutionary new products at the Worldwide Developers Conference this month, most expect the company to showcase the next upgrade to Mac OS X called Leopard as well as the release of Intel-based Macintosh mini-towers.

Winds of Change

In July, Apple Computer released its results for the three-month period ending in June. For the quarter, the Mac and iPod maker announced the second highest revenue and earnings period in the company’s history. Revenues were $4.37 billion and net earnings came in at $427 million, meaning almost ten cents on every revenue dollar flowed to the after-tax bottom line. During the quarter, the company shipped 1.327 million Macs and over 8.1 million iPods. The company ended June with well over $9.1 billion in cash and short-term investments. No wonder many Wall Street analysts are taking a second look at Apple yet again.

The Intel transition and the continued popularity of the iPod are transforming Apple Computer into a leading manufacturer of consumer lifestyle products. The winds of change have pushed the company far beyond the realm of its previous counter-culture icon status to a newfound position as a true innovator in the convergence of content creation and distribution. The PC industry, following a 25-year run, has found itself stalled and stagnated by commodity-grade product and banal ubiquity. In that climate, Apple’s innovative drive has created its own inertia and crafted its own economy. The iPod Nation is now its own economic force propelling Apple ahead of its competitors and financing Apple’s technology advancements in digital lifestyle solutions.

Rain on Dell’s Parade

It wouldn’t be a PC weather report without a mention of rain somewhere in the world. After Dell drenched the markets with a flood of bad news, the world’s number one PC maker has seen its fortunes take another trip south. The company’s deteriorating profit growth picture is directly related to its lack of investment in product R&D. Unable to raise prices to boost results, Dell will again resort to price cuts as a means to increase product sales. Whether or not Dell can weather another round of price cuts without further harming the company’s balance sheet remains to be seen. $20 billion worth of share repurchases may only be delaying the inevitable as the company quietly implodes.

Our August Forecast

Early August will bring unseasonably hot weather to much of the nation. As we progress through the month, Apple’s good fortunes from new product announcements will bring welcome relief to Mac users. Things will heat up for Apple as back-to-school buying boosts sales and market share.

ATPM Wants You

ATPM is looking to add more regular reviewers to our staff. Though all positions with About This Particular Macintosh are volunteer, reviewing is a great way to share your product knowledge and experience with fellow members of the Macintosh community. If you’re interested, contact ATPM’s Reviews Editor, Paul Fatula.

Our unseasonably cool August issue includes:

Bloggable: Earth Tones

In this summertime silly season, Mac bloggers still need something to write about. The end result has been another month of much ado about Mark Pilgrim’s switch from the Mac to a Lenovo PC, and from OS X to Linux. That, and more on WWDC, Windows on the Macintosh, and Net Neutrality, in this month’s Bloggable.

MacMuser: Beeping Mad

Are you tone deaf? Have you become desensitised to the world around you? Should Apple save the world from mono-tonality?

MacMuser: Rockin’ With a Roller

Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou my Alfa Romeo?

Personal Computing Paradigm: Mac OS X’s Increasing Stability

Despite its protected memory, Mac OS X was initially less stable than Mac OS 9, and it still crashes now and then. But stability continues to improve, to the point where computing feels different.

Web Accessibility: Sandvox: Sand in the Eyes

Miraz Jordan returns to ponder whether other popular applications are any better than iWeb.

Segments: My Life With Automator: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

In a few weeks, students everywhere will be returning to school. Their teachers will ask what they did on their vacations. Here’s what I did.

Segments: Spotlight

“True character is revealed in how you live your life after you win the lottery.…it’s time to see how our favorite computer company faces up to its destiny.”

How To: Sending Automated Birthday Greetings Via Automator

Are you always forgetting to send someone birthday greetings? With Automator’s help this may help you never you forget again.

Desktop Pictures: FIFA World Cup

Reader Robert Reis shares photos from the FIFA World Cup in Germany.

Review: Adobe InDesign CS2 One-on-One

Plenty of full-color screen shots; an enjoyable, vernacular writing style; a high-quality video to go along with every lesson—what better way to finally teach yourself how to use Adobe InDesign?

Review: EyeTV 250

Paul Fatula reviews Elgato’s EyeTV 250, a hardware and software combination that lets a Mac be used for watching and recording analog television. Move over, VCR; the 21st century is here.

Review: Keep it Simple With GarageBand: Easy Music Projects for Beginners

Being new to GarageBand and having “questionable” musical ability, I found this book helpful. Perhaps you will, too.

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