Welcome to the February issue of About This Particular Macintosh! We start the second month of our twelfth calendar year of publication with the Macintosh community in an envious spot: a growing network of users; new Macintosh products in the stores; and increasing opportunities for users to enjoy and exploit new technologies that help us inspire the mind, express, the heart, and sometimes stir the soul.
January was a spectacular month for the Macintosh community. Were it not for winter’s cold and our desires for the calendar to advance toward spring, January was a month many of us wouldn’t have minded to let linger.
Intel Core Duo
For years Intel chips seemed everywhere except inside a Mac. In January, Steve Jobs introduced the first Macintosh computers with Intel Core Duo chips inside. The new Macs were introduced with a top Intel executive dressed in a company “bunny” or clean-room suit alongside. The clean-room suit was similar to the attire Apple spoofed in the G3 v. Pentium advertisement eight years ago.
iMacs with Intel chips have already begun to ship and are available in stock configurations at Apple retail stores. The new MacBook Pro (which replaces the legendary Macintosh PowerBook) will begin to ship this month.
Apple v. Dell
In January, for a brief moment, Apple surpassed Dell. No. Not in market share but in “market cap” or market capitalization. In other words, Apple Company as a company had a higher market value than industry volume leader Dell.
During the first part of January, Apple Computer’s share price hit an all-time high of $86.40. At that lofty share price the total value of the company eclipsed Dell’s value, prompting an internally distributed e-mail from Steve Jobs to the staff noting the event. The event had symbolic significance because in October 1997 Michael Dell responded to a reporter’s question about what he would do if he were the head of Apple Computer. Mr. Dell suggested he would sell off the company’s assets and distribute the cash to shareholders, essentially liquidating the company and putting it out of business.
A bit over eight years later, Apple Computer’s popular products and record earnings contrast with Dell’s struggles to maintain its earnings per share growth. A quick look at Dell’s balance sheet indicates that the world’s number one PC maker has had to buy back billions of dollars of its own stock in order to keep its share price at current levels. In short, Apple has achieved through organic sales growth (gains in earnings per share) what Dell has only been able to achieve lately by using up its own cash to reduce the number of its shares outstanding.
Following the release of Apple’s fourth calendar quarter (first fiscal quarter) financial reports, the rise in Apple’s share price subsided. At press time the shares were trading in the range of $73 per share.
As Steve Jobs suggested in his e-mail to staff, we don’t know what tomorrow brings. But for a brief time in January Apple’s bright shine caused a financial eclipse of Dell on Wall Street.
1st Fiscal Quarter Results
Buoyed by rising iPod sales, Apple Computer reported record sales and earnings for the three-month period ended December 31, 2005. During the quarter Apple shipped just over 1.25 million Macs and over 14 million iPods. This lead to record revenue of $5.75 billion and record earnings of $565 million or $.65 per diluted share.
During the quarterly webcast with analysts, Apple executives offered subdued guidance for this fiscal quarter. Apple’s performance for the period ending in March will depend on Intel’s ability to deliver sufficient Core Duo chips to meet demand for the new iMac and MacBook Pro and will also depend on whether or not consumers in the market for a new Mac will buy iBooks and G5 mini-towers this quarter or wait to buy their Intel-based successors soon after they arrive.
The subdued forecast from management caused Wall Street analysts to take pause and review their recommendations for the quarter as Apple works to complete the chip transition in the Macintosh line. Management’s cautious outlook for the quarter is what caused the stock price to retreat from its January new highs.
While it didn’t take a Rosetta Stone to decipher Apple’s record breaking revenue and earnings report, it will take Rosetta to dynamically translate instructions for PowerPC-based applications on Intel-based Macs. A new icon symbolizing what Apple calls Universal applications will now appear on software boxes. The Universal designation indicates software that will run natively on Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs. Watch for new versions of popular Macintosh software products to appear with the Universal icon as Apple continues to release new Intel-based Macs.
Apple’s latest version of its popular digital content creation product suite was released simultaneously with the new iMac Core Duo. iLife ’06 introduces a new product called iWeb for the easy crafting of Web sites. The product suite carries the Universal icon on its box.
Our Latest issue
ATPM has become an icon of its own. Our universal readership looks to our staff each month to consistently deliver the best Macintosh-related news and views in our friendly and easy-to-read monthly format. Our iconic stature isn’t revealed so much by a symbol on our cover page, but through the thoughtful content that fills every page.
Our February issue includes:
The Candy Apple: Google Tells Big Brother to Take a Hike
Some questions about the flap between Google and the US government.
Bloggable: Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun
Macworld only comes once a year, but it’s worth the wait. This year, Steve Jobs unveiled the Intel-based MacBook Pro and iMac, unleashing a full-scale Reality Distortion Field around them. But Wes Meltzer penetrated the Field for this month’s Bloggable, plus a variety of other Web chatter.
Pod People: Proud to be a Pod Person
Traditional radio broadcasts tired old content to its hapless listeners. Find out how to break free of the straitjacket with podcasts.
About This Particular Outliner: Two New Outliners: Mori and iKnow & Manage
This month’s ATPO outliner column examines two new outliners, Mori and iKnow & Manage.
Segments: Thanks For All the Fish
After years of speculation and false starts, the Mac OS finally ships on Intel architecture. Angus Wong goes beyond the technical analysis to explore the cultural ramifications of this monumental milestone.
Desktop Pictures: From ATPM Readers
Readers contribute this month’s photos: Mt. Baker, St. Louis, Snowy Sunrise, Dominican Republic, and Thailand.
In this month’s Cortland, Lisa makes peace with her maker, the other Steve steps in to foil plans of world dominance, Chad returns to the throne at Weiser Graphics, and Cortland decides the fringe benefits are worth going in-house again.
Review: Cult of iPod
Leander Kahney is obsessed with people obsessed with Apple, and his latest coffee table book has everything to do with everyone’s favorite music player, the iPod. It’s just a shame he can’t string together a good narrative.
Review: CyTV 0.5.3
If you have an EyeTV receiver and two computers, you need CyTV. This is the best free TV transmitter your money can’t buy.
Review: Lapvantage Loft
The acrylic specialists at the Plasticsmith update the Lapvantage to match Apple’s current designs.