Welcome to the October issue of About This Particular Macintosh! Summer is done, and fall has begun. Trees are changing color, and this month we look at how Apple has changed its iPod product line. Apple’s goal is to keep seeing green despite the seasonal change in weather.
A September to Remember
In early September, Apple announced a new line of iPod products. Led by the new iPod touch, Apple is focusing on the video features of its new digital music and movie players. The iPod touch is essentially an Apple iPhone without the phone, while at the other end of the product spectrum the lowly shuffle debuted in new colors. But it’s the iPod nano that stole the late-summer show. Sporting a larger and better color screen, the iPod nano is the new product Apple hopes will keep the company in the green through the fall and Christmas shopping seasons.
Cut the Price, Raise the Intrigue
Almost as an aside in the press event to introduce the new iPods, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced Apple was eliminating the 4 GB iPhone and cutting the price on the 8 GB iPhone by $200. This led the press to spend far more time speculating on the reasons for the price cut on the iPhone than reporting on the new iPods. Although the iPhone is currently the most popular smartphone sold in the States, competition and falling component prices may have necessitated the price cut. Realizing the significant price cut was a customer relations disaster with consumers who purchased iPhones at their original prices, Apple offered those customers a $100 Apple store credit to assuage their anger.
The 8 GB iPhone is now offered at $399, and the company announced within a week of the price change that the iPhone had already sold more than one million units. Analyst reports indicate iPhone demand reached a new frenzy following the price adjustment. No matter the fall colors, the increasing demand for the iPhone at a much more competitive price will keep competitors in the smartphone market green with envy.
Also the name of Apple’s networking technology, bonjour may become a common refrain when the company begins its European iPhone rollout on November 9th. The European Union’s consumer economy is similar in size to that of the United States, and the much-anticipated iPhone arrival on the shores of Europe in time for Christmas may double the iPhone’s current pace of sales. Hello! may be said in different ways and languages throughout Europe, but the iPhone’s success and popularity are expected to remain the same.
The fall season may mean less sunlight, but Apple’s share price found new daylight in September, reaching a new all-time high of $155 as the month was coming to a close. With a market capitalization of over $130 billion, Apple has surpassed the market capitalization of Hewlett-Packard, the world’s leader in PC sales. Wall Street analysts have a lot of confidence that the early success of the iPhone, the introduction of the iPod touch, and the new iPod nano will keep the company’s revenue and earnings train on the proverbial fast track for the next few years.
Leopard in the Wild
Although Amazon.com is accepting pre-orders on Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5), at press time an official release date has not been announced. Apple has formally stated that the much-anticipated upgrade to Mac OS X will ship this month. So far the only sightings of the upgrade have been from the wild—developer reports on the latest pre-release builds.
A release date announcement from Apple is imminent, and Leopard’s importance to the Macintosh platform cannot be understated. This is the first 64-bit release of Mac OS X for the Intel platform. There are anecdotal reports of pent-up demand for Macintosh computers from enthusiasts who have delayed purchases pending the release of Leopard.
Since the iPhone commercials first appeared on TV last February, the Macintosh has not received a great deal of press attention. The question to be answered is whether or not Leopard’s release will spark wild interest in the Mac and further accelerate the pace of the Mac’s market share gains. In other words, what will happen when Leopard is finally let out of its cage?
Spend a Music Buck at Starbucks
Starbucks and Apple are teaming together to provide iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store access at Starbucks locations around the country. The deal will make Starbucks locations Wi-Fi distribution points for music sales, while adding to the customer-focused services provided at each of its locations. For Apple it makes purchasing music easier for customers with Wi-Fi enabled devices, and for Starbucks it extends the company’s foray into the retail music business.
Lean, Mean, Computing Machines
The pending release of Leopard may bring renewed press focus on the Mac. Apple has completed its Intel transition, and the next updates to the Macintosh product lines will further extend the Mac’s reach into the enterprise space. No longer perceived as underpowered or even less compatible, the Mac is gaining market share at a torrid rate. The Mac Pros have moved beyond the confines of desktop computing, and the MacBook and MacBook Pro are the desired laptops of college students around the country. Watch for some surprise announcements about Macintosh product upgrades as Leopard nears its release and the holiday shopping season begins.
Our October issue includes:
Bloggable: Harden your SIM
If you couldn’t stand the onslaught of blogosphere banter about the iPhone lately, you can catch up on the quick in this month’s Bloggable.
MacMuser: Need For Speed
Mark Tennent reviews networking speeds all the way back to AppleTalk and reminds us that every Mac since the turn of the century has the ability to share files with local computers at speeds nearly four times faster than Ethernet.
MacMuser: Now and Then Voyager
“Eventually, around 2020, power levels [in Voyager 1 and 2] will be too low to support any of the scientific instruments, and the Voyagers will turn off. Unless, that is, one falls into a black hole, meets a race of hyper-intelligent machines who fix it, truncate its name, and send it home.”
Photoshop for the Curious: I Love Layers
Lee Bennett is doing penance for not previously devoting a month’s column to talk about Layers.
Segments: What’s Your Mac’s Subjective Speed?
How quickly a computer performs a task may have more to do with your perception than actual benchmark numbers.
How To: Adding a Cooling Fan to the Mac Cube’s Video Card
High-power video cards can run hot, which lowers their life span significantly. Protect the performance and your investment by installing a cooling fan, such as the one added to this Mac Cube’s XFX GeForce 6200 card.
Desktop Pictures: Tim Allen
Reader and pro photographer Tim Allen (no, not that Tim Allen) offers a variety of images which, in spite of his love of Photoshop, have astonishingly received no alteration except for cropping and, in some cases, conversion to grayscale.
A premium-priced case for serious video watchers and the people who bought clear telephones in the 1990s.
Christopher Turner looks at Apple’s latest game-changing device, and is pretty impressed by what he says is “the best mobile phone I’ve ever used.”
Review: iWatermark 3.0.11
Though there are a variety of ways to manually watermark your images with copyright information, iWatermark is less labor intensive and provides more options.
This classy black leather case is a bargain that works very well but needs a beefier belt clip.
As DLO’s latest entrant in the FM transmitter market of iPod accessories, the TuneStik has a lot to live up to, and, unfortunately, falls far short of the mark.