Welcome to the September issue of About This Particular Macintosh! We end the summer season with a brief look at the state of the Mac. We anticipate based on inventory traffic reports a stellar back-to-school selling season for Apple and anticipate further gains in consumer market share for our favorite make of computer. Few times in the past twenty years has the future of the Mac looked brighter, and the iPod continues to rule the digital music player market. New products from a variety of technology and consumer products companies will be unveiled in the coming weeks as attention turns from the heat of summer to the shorter days and cooler nights of fall.
A generation ago, this term was a euphemism for someone in need of a laxative. Today, the term might describe the lax manner in which many high-tech companies have awarded and recoded their employee incentive stock options. Apple Computer and slew of other high-tech companies have reported irregularities in the manner that stock option dates and share prices for option grants were determined. Apple Computer has publicly stated the company will restate earnings for certain option grants made in the periods of 1997 thru 2001. Apple proactively launched its own internal investigation of option grants in response to Securities and Exchange Commission concerns about option abuse particularly in the high-tech industries.
Due to Apple’s own investigation, the company has delayed its regulatory 10-Q filing for the period ending July 1, 2006. The delay puts Apple outside of compliance with the NASDAQ market listing requirements. The financial impact of any changes in options expense is expected to be minimal. More important is completion of Apple’s internal investigation and the timely filing of required financial statements following the review of the company’s previous options practices.
Great Balls of Fire
Dell, the world’s leader in PC shipments, recently announced the recall of 4.1 million Sony laptop batteries. To be fair, the battery problem was caused in Sony’s manufacturing process. But the damage to Dell’s reputation for product quality has been significant. Following reports of some Dell laptop batteries turning into great balls of little fire, an agreement was reached between the Round Rock, Texas-based company and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall the millions of batteries.
Reading the reports of the Dell recall and looking at the batteries made by Sony for their own laptops, Apple voluntarily chose to recall up to 1.8 million laptop batteries. Sony is footing the bill for all of the potentially flawed mobile power units recalled by Apple and Dell. In public comments and executive interviews, when queried about the battery recall, Dell executives have mentioned Apple more frequently in the past few weeks than in all of the past few years. Misery wants company.
When Steve Jobs returned to the helm at Apple he immediately reshaped the company’s board of directors. Not only did he solicit the resignations of almost all of the board’s members, but he also temporarily reduced the number of persons serving on the board and began appointing members who were famous, infamous, and often brilliant. Larry Ellison, the co-founder and CEO of Oracle, joined the reconstituted board, and former Vice President Al Gore is currently a member along with Mickey Drexler, the person credited with the Apple retail store design and current CEO of J. Crew.
In late August, Apple named Dr. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, to the list of luminaries serving the shareholders of Apple as a member of the company’s board. Some have thought this appointment to be a bit of a peculiarity. But it may be peculiar only to those who don’t see the looming battle between Google and Microsoft in the productivity products market. Each of the board members mentioned above has brought a particular interest or expertise to Apple’s board. Apple has often times been hamstrung by the its reliance on Microsoft for a Mac version of Office. Google’s recent foray into productivity solutions may be a way for Apple to set itself free from reliance on Microsoft for productivity products.
Falling Inventory, Smoking Gun
We like movie titles from the Far East, and we enjoy reading far-out Macintosh rumors. Long-time Apple watchers know to look to channel inventory reports and manufacturing contract announcements from Apple and component manufacturers for indications of new products and changes in manufacturing activity.
Several Apple products were on delayed shipment schedules during the back-to-school season. Apple may have applied as much inventory as possible to meet the immediate needs of education market buyers as demand from students reached its annual peak. While we anticipate inventory levels on several Apple products soon returning to normal, we also anticipate new product announcements before the end of this month.
Our September Issue
The colors of autumn will begin to appear as the nights become cooler and the days shorten in length. This month our editorial staff brings you a colorful mix of news and reviews in our easy-to-read monthly publication format. We say goodbye to summer and hello to each of you, our readers.
Our September issue includes:
Bloggable: The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Early in September, a security firm released what looked like a very serious potential 802.11b/n exploit for MacBooks. But after a few days sitting in the harsh light of the sun, some bloggers thought it smelled as rotten as Denmark. Plus, a Switcher update, the Mighty Mouse Bluetooth, and Dell calls uncle on selling MP3 players, all in September’s Bloggable.
MacMuser: Trickle Down
Why is it that ISPs’ description of download speeds seem more elastic band than broadband?
Outliners: Examining New Business Models
This month’s ATPO column looks at novel business models for developers of outliner software. We focus on Mori.
FileMaking: FileMaker 8.5
Charles Ross takes a look at FileMaker 8.5 and its new features, giving you an idea of whether or not to upgrade.
Web Accessibility: RapidWeaver: A Useful Tool in Need of Sharpening
Of the software I’ve explored so far for making accessible Web pages, this is the best. It’s a useful tool for an ordinary person wanting to put together a good Web page, but it has some quirks that make it somewhat clumsy and rather blunt.
How To: Running Classic Software on an Intel Mac
Charles Ross shares the steps he took to get classic Mac OSes, all the way back to System 6, working on his Intel-based MacBook Pro.
Desktop Pictures: German Countryside
This month’s photos of the German countryside were taken by ATPM reader Robert Reis while on a train to Gunzenhausen.
Review: Guest PC 1.9.6
Need Windows applications, but don’t need another computer on your desk? This review examines Guest PC, which emulates any version of Windows from 95 to XP on your Mac desktop. Be the first on your block to run Windows in a window!
Review: TVMax and TVMicro
Hot on the heels of last month’s EyeTV 250 review, Lee Bennett takes a look at alternative hardware for digitizing video from analog sources.
Review: WriteRoom 1.0
When you’re working, it’s really easy to get distracted, isn’t it? Wes Meltzer searched mightily for a solution, for years, but until WriteRoom came along, there wasn’t anything available. WriteRoom blacks out your screen—literally—except for your work, so now you can get your work done. He thinks it’s a godsend.