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ATPM 16.12
December 2010


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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the December issue of About This Particular Macintosh! The holiday season has arrived, and the editors of ATPM wish all of our readers a splendid time with family and friends during this special time of the year. Please join us this month, and every month, as we celebrate what we call the “personal computing experience” and explore the fast-changing world of personal technology throughout the coming year.

The Magical Mystery Tour

In November, the music of the Fab Four came to iTunes and arrived just in time for holiday season sales. The recordings of the Beatles had been conspicuously absent from iTunes, the world’s largest digital music store. After years of discussions and negotiations, all parties involved reached agreement, and Apple spared no time and no space on the company’s Web sites announcing the news.

While much attention has been paid to the volume of song sales since the debut of the Beatles on iTunes, there’s a lot more to the story. The group’s music reflected the tumultuous cultural and social changes of the 1960s. The music has special meaning to members of the Baby Boom Generation, and bringing the music of the Beatles to iTunes makes for a powerful connection with those who remember the Beatles as an active recording group and the times in which the music was originally written, recorded, and released.

Watch for increased sales not only of the music of the Beatles through iTunes but also of Apple’s digital devices with iPod functionality. The music of the Beatles is a magical mystery tour through a time of extraordinary change in our society and remembered by all of us who experienced the era.

Let It Be?

The release of the iPad has disrupted the PC market. It’s not that the iPad is a PC replacement. Rather, it’s a device that transcends the PC paradigm as we know it today. As large as Apple has become, the spirit of innovation is inherent in the ethos of the company. Over the past decade, no company had done more to transform the ways in which use technology in our daily lives than Apple. Each of the company’s products initially released during the past ten years, from the iPod to the iPhone to the iPad, has disrupted established industries and reshaped the manner in which technology is used and the ways in which digital content is made available and sold.

The company’s penchant for disrupting markets and industries through innovation suggests that there are more new products to come and that nothing should be let be if there are practical ways to enhance how we communicate with one another and the world around us.

The iPad may herald the end of the PC era as we know it and may usher in a new era of digital content distribution. Watch for iPad-specific news publications and the migration of publications currently in print format to app-style distribution. Reducing the world’s consumption of newsprint and the need for fossil-fuel–based delivery of printed publications will do us all a world of good.

An Analyst’s Life

Moving from the rhythm of music to the flow of numbers, the long Thanksgiving weekend provided an opportunity to look at Apple’s financial reports with a different take on the results. To better understand the ongoing Apple success story, I’ve posted a quarterly comparison of the company’s major cost components over the past two fiscal years. While there’s much talk about Apple’s recent decisions to reduce gross margins (the difference between the amounts received on products sold and the costs of manufacture of the products sold), there’s much more to the story.

Although Apple has become more aggressive on product pricing, other major cost components such as operating expenses and tax expense have been reduced relative to the growth in revenue. In other words, Apple continues to increase profits even as gross margins have been on the decline. You can view the quarterly comparisons at Posts At Eventide.

The Annual ATPM Holiday Shopping Guide

Actually, we don’t have one, nor is a shopping guide from the editors of ATPM needed in our constantly connected world. There’s no shortage of product promotions from Apple, and anyone on Apple’s electronic mailing lists isn’t left wanting for notifications of new products and holiday gift ideas. We won’t add to the recommendations but for one new product that has captured the attention and imagination of Apple product enthusiasts around the world…

The New MacBook Air

For some, the new MacBook Air is appealing due to its entry price of $999. For others, it’s the slim size and weight. And for many, it’s the high-resolution LED-backlit screen. The new MacBook Air may be the PC industry’s success story of the holiday quarter. The Mac’s unit sales performance continues to lead the domestic PC industry. As consumers take an interest in tablet devices, makers of portable PCs will be under pressure. It’s innovation or elimination in today’s PC market.

ATPM Wants You!

The editorial staff of ATPM is comprised of talented writers who started their relationship with our publication as readers of our monthly issues. When we say that we “celebrate the personal computing experience,” we mean it. If you’ve ever had the urge to share your personal computing experiences with a large and influential readership, please contact us at

Each issue of ATPM, in its variety of formats, is read by tens of thousands of Apple product enthusiasts around the world. Join us today.

Our December issue includes:


A monthly summary of Wes Meltzer’s blogosphere news, originating from his feed.

MacMuser: Sophosticated Follower of Invasion

Mark Tennent shares a mini-review of Sophos Anti-Virus software.

The iPad Chronicles: The iPad’s Versatility

For Robert Paul Leitao, the iPad quickly became his general-use device, relegating an office PC and a home Macintosh to specific-use utensils.

How To: Updating Multiple Macs: the Combo Update Is Your Friend

Tips for managing multiple Macs in your home, especially in regard to operating system updates.

How To: Convert Stroke Masks to Transparency in Adobe Illustrator

A tale of discovery in Adobe Illustrator.

Desktop Pictures: Flowers of Life

Reader Jay Feuillet shares this month’s desktop pictures featuring flowers at a park in South Florida.

Out at Five

Matt Johnson’s new series, Out at Five, looks at the workplace and its boundaries from all angles, revolving around many of the same characters from his former series, Cortland.

Review: MAXPower 802.11n/g/b Wireless USB 2.0 Stick Adapter and Extension Cradle

An elegant-looking, but difficult and pricey, way of improving your computer’s wireless reception.

Review: ShareTool 2.1.2

This indispensable tool for staying connected to a computer from a remote location has been updated to make sharing much simpler, but at the expense of relying on the developer’s servers for authentication.

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