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ATPM 14.08
August 2008




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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the August issue of About This Particular Macintosh! July was a month of scarcity and plenty. Plenty of popular Macs available for purchase, a scarcity of iPhones to meet overwhelming global demand. Fires in California were making headlines along with hurricane-caused rains in Texas and the east. July was a month of contrasts and a month of extremes. We’ll take a quick look back before moving forward.

Where Tectonic Plates Collide

The recent temblor on the Pacific coast was a reminder that no matter where we stand, the world is constantly moving. We know much about the dynamics of tectonic plate movements as it applies to earthquakes and the development of mountain ranges. Major tectonic plate shifts tend to crunch and push the earth around them. There’s a secondary definition for the word tectonic that mentions building and construction. At the epicenter of this economic commotion and movement is Cupertino, California.

Preliminary reports for the second calendar quarter of 2008 indicate that Apple has regained the #3 spot among domestic PC makers. Apple may have pushed past Acer, which took that spot following its acquisition of Gateway in 2007. Though still dwarfed by HP and Dell in domestic PC shipments, Apple’s economic impact in the marketplace is reverberating through the industry. One forecasting firm suggests that Apple controls roughly two-thirds of the domestic market for PCs sold at retail and costing one thousand dollars or more. As developers flock to the iPhone, they may discover the Mac is an equally lucrative market for games and applications.

In the first three days of release, the 3G Apple iPhone sold more than one million units. The line between consumer phones and smart phones, previously the domain of enterprises, is becoming increasingly blurred. Similar to the way some land might liquefy during an earthquake, Apple is putting what was thought to be solid ground for companies such as Research in Motion in motion.

Take a Number

Buyers waiting in line to purchase an iPhone 3G might have thought they were in line for a pastrami on rye rather than a new cellular handset. Overwhelmed by demand, Apple retail stores resorted to passing out numbers to iPhone customers in order to fulfill the first come, first served promise. At press time, three weeks following the July 11th release, Apple retail store iPhone supplies are still catching up with demand. There are no reliable reports as to when company-owned AT&T stores will be amply stocked. Until ample stocks arrive, pre-orders are being taken for Apple’s new phone.

The Number by the Numbers

For the three-month period ended June 28th, Apple reported revenue of $7.46 billion and net quarterly profits of $1.07 billion or $1.19 per share. The results represent a 38 percent gain in revenue over the prior-year period. During the three-month period, Apple shipped almost two and one-half million Macintosh computers or 41 percent more Macs in the June-ended quarter than last year. The iPod line witnessed a 12 percent increase in unit sales over the prior year period, with the company selling more than 11 million units.

Pick a Number

Apple’s executives have a way of raining on Wall Street’s parade. The torrents aren’t as heavy as what a hurricane might bring, but the company’s earnings guidance did shake the ground under the company’s share price. With the release of each quarter’s earning report, Apple’s management provides revenue and earning guidance for the current quarter. Most of us have learned to ignore management’s earnings forecasts. They tend to have little resemblance to the later revealed reality. For the September quarter, management estimated earnings of only one dollar per share, despite the June’s quarter’s much higher results. The lackluster guidance has contributed to the recent dip in the company’s share price as some analysts cut their own forecasts in response to management’s numbers. Those of us who follow the company closely pick our own earnings estimates no matter management’s public guidance.

In the conference call with analysts, management made a rather cryptic or shrouded statement concerning a yet to be released product. Management suggests the company’s September quarter earnings results will be impacted by expected lower margins on a new product approaching release. This leads us to a round of…

Pick a Rumor

Management’s references to this new Apple product that’s approaching release have the rumor mill swirling with so much air it’s like the hot winds surrounding a fast-moving western wildfire. We won’t predict what’s about to be released. But do believe it will put many of the company’s PC competitors in the hot seat. Watch for Apple to continue to shake the earth under the PC industry as the company seeks to compete with advanced technology products at attractive prices.

Pick an App

iPhone 2.0 swung the doors open on the iTunes Store’s newest sales department—the iPhone App Store. Apple’s software update for the iPhone works on both the original and 3G models and provides direct-to-consumer sales of iPhone applications via iTunes on Windows or a Mac and via the iPhone 2.0’s App Store button on the home screen of the device. With dozens of free applications, including the popular Remote application that allows iPhone owners to wirelessly control an Apple TV or iTunes, there are plenty of applications to keep an iPhone owner entertained and satisfied while 3G handsets remain scarce in the stores.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Take a Nap

It’s the dog days of summer. The hot, lazy days that make hammock lovers of many of us. If you didn’t experience the rainy remnants of the hurricanes, the smoky skies covering the west, or the shaky ground around Chino Hills, it doesn’t mean summer’s big events are over. While we can’t control the weather, we can forecast hot sales days ahead as the supply of iPhones finally scales to a level to meet extraordinary global demand. By the end of the year, Apple may sell, depending on manufacturing capacity, as many as 20 million iPhones in 2008 and ship more Macintosh computers than at any time in the company’s storied history. It’s a record-breaking season in Cupertino and Beijing.

Our August issue includes:

Apple Talk: Microsoft, Revisited

Angus Wong is back with Apple Talk and, where Microsoft is concerned, is ready to give credit where credit is due.

Mac About Town: A Midsummer Night’s Mare (a comedy in multiple acts)

Whether your experience of acquiring an iPhone 3G was pleasant, annoying, or nonexistent, you’ll be amused to read Mike Chamberlain’s tale.

MacMuser: Rowing Through Roquefort

Mark Tennent spends a brief moment on the topic of storage.

MacMuser: How to Get Pxl SmartScale Running on Intel Macs

Pxl SmartScale is a rather invaluable tool for many, but is a refugee for conversion to Intel CPU compatibility. Mark Tennent has discovered a workaround.

Next Actions: iPhone App Roundup, GTD

A look at GTD options for the iPhone.

Photoshop for the Curious: What If I Just Left It Alone?

Sometimes, the most important adjustment to a photo is choosing not to adjust it at all.

Desktop Pictures: San Francisco

These photos were taken by Julie Ritterskamp in San Francisco and Oakland, California.

Cartoon: Cortland

As the villainous legion regroups and remembers, the shocking truth about Cortland is finally revealed!

Review: Comic Life Magiq 1.0.1

Making comic strips gets even easier with Comic Life Magiq.

Review: Knapsack 1.1

Who are you? Where am I? Why am I here? Eric Blair looks at how Knapsack helps you answer the latter two questions. You’re pretty much on your own for the first, though.

Review: SmartMask 2.0

If creating masks in Photoshop is a common task, there are several Photoshop plug-ins on the market to aid the procedure. Lee Bennett finds out whether SmartMask is up to the challenge.

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