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ATPM 9.08
August 2003



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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the August issue of About This Particular Macintosh! July was indeed a busy month for the Macintosh community. Apple released its quarterly results for the period ending in June, and many Mac users placed their orders for G5 computers that will arrive in August or September.

In the meantime, Apple used the first full month of summer to introduce a new iPod promotion with the folks at Volkswagen. People who buy a new Volkswagen Beetle get an iPod for free. They also get the iPod connection kit and an Apple Store coupon for $100 off a purchase of $999 or more.

Looking at it another way, buyers willing to pay $15,950 or more for an iPod and a handy connection kit are eligible to get a Volkswagen New Beetle for free. The Apple Store coupon may entice some buyers to close the deal.

Best Buy Again?

In late-breaking news, Apple has decided to sell a limited selection of Macintosh computers in a limited number of Best Buy stores. Long time readers may remember that Best Buy sold the original Bondi blue iMac but discontinued the sale of Macs following the release of the candy-colored version of Apple’s popular desktop computer. Best Buy desired to order the various colors of iMacs in different quantities. Apple would not oblige Best Buy’s request.

However, Best Buy has been selling Apple’s iPod digital music player for quite some time. The iPod, eMac, and iMac now come in only one color—white. Perhaps with more neutral colored products the buyers for Best Buys are less apt to see red when they think of their Apple relationship. Apple, in turn, hopes the renewed sales of Macs through best Buy will help the Mac maker’s bottom line remain green.

Quarterly Results

Speaking of green, for the period ending June 28, 2003, Apple Computer reported the following quarterly results:

  • During the quarter Apple sold 771,000 Macintosh CPU units.
  • Total revenue for the period was $1.545 billion.
  • International sales accounted for 39% of revenue.
  • Net profit was $19 million or $0.05 per share.
  • Gross margin on products sold was 27.7%.
  • Cash and equivalents stand at a strong $4.5 billion.

What isn’t mentioned in the press release accompanying the results is that interest and earnings on Apple’s cash and equivalents dropped dramatically when compared to the prior year period. For the three months ended June 28, 2003, Apple earned a meager $15 million on its cash pile. It is interesting to note that Apple’s after-tax-earnings for the quarter exceeded its pre-tax earnings on its cash. This means the company earned a profit from product sales, a feat Apple has struggled recently to achieve.

Give It Back, Bud!

Considering the size of Apple’s cash pile and the effect of low interest rates on its earnings, there are a growing number of shareholders who want Apple to declare a dividend and return some of the money to the company’s owners. So far Apple executives have been reluctant to reestablish a shareholder dividend.

Buy Now, Pay Now!

Of course there are others who would like Apple to use its cash to finance acquisitions. What companies Apple might purchase with its formidable cash reserves is a matter of speculation. If history serves as a guide watch for Apple to use small portions of its cash to purchase needed technologies or micro-sized companies with compelling technology products.

Apple ended July trading at $21.08, close to its 52-week high of $21.57. At that price Apple is trading at only $3.2 billion above its cash and equivalents balance.

Banned in Buckingham?

That’s right. The iTrip offered by Griffin Technologies that allows an iPod to play through the FM band on a car radio has been banned in the UK. Apparently the product violates a long-standing UK wireless communications act. Fortunately, buyers in the US who take advantage of the free iPod with the purchase of a Volkswagen New Beetle need not be concerned. That is unless a New Beetle buyer wishes to take his new car and new iPod to Britain for a visit with the Queen.


Speaking of royalty issues of a different kind, Apple reported that net of royalty payments to labels and artists the iTunes Music Store came close to breaking even in its first two months of operation. Potential competitors have been eyeing the success of the iTMS and making plans to offer competing music download services.

Apple has reiterated that the Windows version of iTMS will be available before the end of the calendar year. The Windows version of Apple’s successful digital music store will reportedly offers the same rights of usage to the purchased music currently enjoyed by Mac owners.

Apple’s first major Windows competitor in the legal music download business is a new service offered by BuyMusic. So far the rival has had more than its share of problems, including but not limited to, the inability of music buyers to transfer purchased songs from their computers to their MP3 players.

Our Risk-Free Guarantee

Our August issue of ATPM is full of insightful articles, columns and reviews. We guarantee that this issue ATPM can be easily stored on an Apple iPod with available space. But before you store our latest issue away for safekeeping, we urge you to read through our pages. We’re confident you’ll find several topics that will hold your interest and enhance your digital life.


Our August issue includes:

The Candy Apple: Making the Switch

Apple makes upgrading operating systems pretty darned simple. Then again, you knew that already.

Machine Language: Mac OS X’s Quiet Little Killer Application

After growing weary of saving Web pages as archives, printing pages, creating clipping files, and using programs like Apple’s Stickies and Chronos’ StickyBrain, Matt Coates discovered Xnippets by MacTelligence and his quest for a great “snippet” repository came to an end.

Segments: Farewell, Casady & Greene

Eric Blair takes a trip down memory lane in the wake of C&G’s demise, noting some of the quality Macintosh software the company produced in its 19 years of life.

Segments: G5s, Macs, and PCs

With the announcement of G5 processors behind us, Andrew Kator makes updated observations about Mac versus PC spats.

Segments: About Adobe, Premiere, and All That

Andrew Kator examines Adobe’s recent pattern of acquisition instead of innovation and contemplates whether we’re seeing the beginning of the end for Adobe.

Quick Tips in Design: Using Color

Andrew Kator returns with his second installment of design tips. This time, it's all about color, tints, and shades.

How To: FrankenMac

Sylvester Roque explores his options for replacing/upgrading his ailing CD-ROM drive.

Cartoon: Cortland

Things begin to make sense for Cortland, as the desktop wars continue in Matt Johnson’s cartoon.

Cartoon: iTrolls

Gregory Maddux joins us with four iTrolls cartoons: “The Search for Software,” “Learning the Rules,” “Independence Day,” and “Vidiot Professor.”

Desktop Pictures: Landscapes and Cortland

ATPM reader Katherine Sears-Lent offers a third and final batch of landscape desktop pictures for your enjoyment. Katherine’s photos feature Savannah and Calloway Gardens in Georgia; Sonoma Valley in California; Long Island; and Tampa, Florida. Matt Johnson contributes some desktop pictures themed around the characters in his Cortland comic strip.

Review: CVSTrac 1.1.2

CVSTrac is Web-based tool for tracking bugs and to-do items, which integrates with version control software and a wiki. Michael Tsai finds that it’s lightweight, elegantly designed, and easier to use than competing products.

Review: iCurve

Christopher Turner reviews this stylish and ergonomic notebook stand from Griffin Technology.

Review: iPod (30 GB)

Eric Blair finds that the 30 GB iPod bests its toughest competition: the previous generation of iPods.

Review: Two Books on Using iApps

Kirk McElhearn compares iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD Bible and Teach Yourself Mac OS X Digital Media, which cover Apple’s iApps in very different ways.


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