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ATPM 13.03
March 2007




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Welcome to the March issue of About This Particular Macintosh! In just a few days, the US will return to daylight saving time. Moving the clock forward a few weeks earlier is designed to increase consumer spending because consumers apparently spend more when there’s more evening light. This month, we save your time by shedding more light on the state of the Mac and the iPod.


February came to close with a crash on Wall Street. The major market indexes suffered their worst one-day decline since the unfortunate events of 9/11. Apple fell victim to the bear romp on the Street, with its share price falling inline with the broader market. The sell-off created a buying opportunity for Apple watchers convinced the company’s shares were oversold. It provided a “daylight opening” for investors interested in long-term gains from a short-term drop in price.


That’s the state of the iPod economy. Following an amazing holiday season, the diminutive and ubiquitous digital music player continues to fly off store shelves like water droplets flow over Niagra Falls. Expectations for iPod sales this quarter are reaching 12 million units thanks in part to the colorful iPod shuffle. In a way, they are selling like candy. Really. iPod vending machines are now appearing in retail stores and at airports around the country. The vending machines save time and give the iPod’s future more daylight.


It’s what Apple competitor Dell realized on the first day of March. The company released preliminary financial reports indicating a significant fall off in revenue and earnings in its most recent fiscal quarter. Last year, Dell lost the PC sales crown to resurgent HP and, following the recent departure of Dell CEO Kevin Rollins, founder Michael Dell moved back into the executive top spot.

Some journalists are comparing the return of Michael Dell at Dell to the return of Steve Jobs to Apple. There’s one big difference: Michael Dell never left the company. He was the company’s chairman through the Rollins years, and his office at Dell was next to that of the ousted CEO. Only time will tell if Mr. Dell is willing to make the hard decisions needed to help the beleaguered PC maker. So far the talk from Texas isn’t convincing the market that Dell’s founder has a real plan to turn the company’s fortunes around. All the daylight provided by the change in time will be needed by Dell to search for the best road to recovery.

Stay Tuned For Apple TV

In late February, Apple announced a delay in the initial shipments of the much-anticipated Apple TV. The set-top box will debut in mid-March as opposed to late February. Buyers shouldn’t have to stay tuned for Apple TV much longer. Apple’s latest foray into consumer electronics will most likely ship in volume before the end of the quarter.


Viewers who tuned into February’s Academy Awards broadcast were greeted with a friendly “hello” by Apple’s latest television advertisement and its first for the forthcoming iPhone. The ad featured brief clips from memorable TV and movies moments as actors and actresses reached for the phone to simply say “Hello.”

Apple introduced the Macintosh in 1984 with ads that featured the same word pleasantly printed on the computer’s screen. Apple introduced the iMac in 1998 with the words “Hello again.” A few critics of the new Apple ad pointed out that nothing was written into the ad about what Apple was selling. They needed a gentle reminder this time that Apple is selling not a Macintosh, but a phone. Hello?

iTunes at the Movies

Each month movie fans are finding more of their all-time favorite flicks available for purchase through Apple’s iTunes movie store. Now with over 400 titles, the movie store is the perfect complement to the Apple TV set-top box. The movies are arriving before the box makes its debut, making for ample content to fuel Apple TV sales. The iTunes movie store not only enhances Apple’s clout in the entertainment content distribution business, but it also leverages the investment millions of households have made in home theatre equipment. In other words, Apple is exploiting the investments that tens of millions of consumers have already made. Stayed tuned. There’s more to this move than movies.

Tune in to ATPM

Each month our editors work through the light and the night to bring you the best news, views, and reviews in an easy to read monthly format. Please stay tuned to ATPM each month as we celebrate and chronicle the “personal computing experience.” Our March issue includes:

Apple Talk: Massively Useful

This month, Angus decides to Think Different and reward Microsoft for its recent marketing efforts.

Bloggable: Mr. Jobs, Tear Down This Wall

When Steve Jobs says something, the media pays attention. So when he published an open letter calling for an end to music DRM on Apple’s Web site, linked from the front page, it set tongues a-wagging and pens a-scratching all around the world. Don’t you want to know how Jon Lech Johansen, Cory Doctorow, Rob Glaser, The Economist, and The New York Times, et al., reacted to this news? Wes Meltzer pored over news reports and blog entries to compile the choicest bits for you, plus a lot of sticky notes in Redmond, in this month’s Bloggable.

MacMuser: 2-up in Publishing

Mark Tennent talks about two recent events that have significance for the publishing world.

Photoshop for the Curious: Color Calibration Capers

What good is Photoshop to you if it’s showing a purple sky that’s supposed to be blue or green hair that’s supposed to be blonde?

Web Accessibility: The Flip Side of the Coin

In the free-flowing time-space continuum that is ordinary life we all benefit from accessible Web sites. What’s more, with features built into the Mac operating system, we can bend sites to our will. At warp factor eight we can go for white text on a black background, zoom in, and even have the computer read a site aloud. Engage!

Desktop Pictures: Tasmania

Reader Le Anne Browne provides this month’s desktop photos from the island of Tasmania.

Cartoon: Cortland

Strange things are afoot for Cortland at the swing dance–hosting lodge, which appears to be more than meets the eye.

Cartoon: Qaptain Qwerty

The Art of Extortion.

Review: Art Text 1.0.6

With Art Text, there really are many ways to spice up plain text.

Review: ScanSnap S500m

A look at the Fujitsu ScanSnap S500m document scanner, a powerful and easy-to-use tool that might just make the paperless office a reality.

Review: Smack Mahjong 1.0

Once our Reviews Editor helped me figure out how to see the game to play it, it worked fine. Standard Mahjong tiles game, with one tile set kids or beginners might like.

Review: TuneView

Imagine attaching your iPod’s audio and video output to a home entertainment system. Now imagine leaving the iPod there, but being able to take the screen and controls with you wherever you sit. Keyspan’s TuneView is the closest you’ll come to this feat.

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