Welcome to the December issue of About This Particular Macintosh! We enter the season of lights with many positive signs of continued growth in Macintosh market share and yet another holiday period with the iPod as the unrivaled leader in the digital music player market. We look forward to the release of Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) in early 2007 and more news at the January Macworld Expo about Apple’s iTV and the long-anticipated iPod phone. Our December issue highlights many of the happenings in the world of Macintosh computing as we continue our monthly celebration of the personal computing experience.
Apple Hits a New All-Time High
In late November, Apple Computer’s share price hit an all-time high of $93.16 and finished the month’s trading at the lofty price per share of $91.66, giving the company a market capitalization (the sum value of all outstanding shares) of $78.29 billion. To put these impressive numbers in perspective, Apple Computer now has a market value almost $18 billion dollars greater than rival Dell Computer and places the Mac and iPod maker among the most highly valued companies in the technology and consumer electronics industries.
The Zune Balloon
Once billed as the great “iPod Killer,” Microsoft’s much-hyped iPod competitor turned out to be nothing more than a lot of advertising hot air. Soon after its November release, the Zune’s PR balloon was unceremoniously popped by lack of consumer interest. The iPod Nation’s economic force of gravity dealt its latest challenger a hefty dose of market reality. The Zune has all but disappeared from retail advertisements and can only be found in abundance sitting idly on store shelves and in inventory rooms.
The stunning lack of demand for the latest consumer product from the owner of the Windows OS code may be leaving the executives in Redmond clueless as to the reasons for the digital music player’s overnight demise. Lampooned in the press and the source of material for late night comics, the reasons for Zune’s spectacular failure may be found in published comments—its size, its price, its DRM scheme, the lack of simple functionally and, of course, complications working with the company’s OS. But what else would you expect for the maker of Windows? Few people seemed surprised.
The Amazon Jungle
Those who braved Black Friday’s pre-dawn store openings have likened the experience to shopping in a suburban jungle—heavy traffic, scant supplies of sales items, and merchandise strewn all over the floor as shoppers battled for deeply discounted promotional items.
Internet shoppers sat back in amusement while watching the fight for market dominance survival in the Amazon Jungle. This year the best selling items list on Amazon.com has taken on new interest as analysts, investors and consumers watch product-makers battle it out in one of the world’s largest virtual storefronts. A quick look at the electronics best 25 list finds 11 iPod models including the two top selling items and 6 of the top 10.
Is Amazon.com’s bestseller list a harbinger of iPod sales for the Christmas seasons? Many market watchers are answering “yes.” On the best selling computer list, Macs fill 14 of the top 25 spots, including the top 3 spots and 7 of the top 10. Indications are that Macintosh portables continue to gain impressive amounts of market share from their rivals.
Apple Will Soon Be #3
Before December comes to an end, Apple Computer should reemerge as the #3 personal computer maker in the United States behind Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Already out shipping Gateway in total units sold, Apple should surpass the struggling PC maker’s US sales this holiday quarter.
iPods For the Holidays
You may have a radio station in your area that has succumbed to the latest holiday trend—Christmas music 24/7 from Thanksgiving Day until Christmas Day. We’re not opposed to holiday music, but it’s always better for listeners to be able to listen to tunes of their own choosing. This Christmas season, Apple offers more iPod models than ever, including the new iPod shuffle in clip-on form. Starting at only $79, the new Shuffle may change (yet again) the way people choose to enjoy music, especially over the holidays.
Positioned as both a digital music player and fashion accessory, the diminutive Shuffle may be the answer to the holiday music blues by offering the blues and any other genre of music of the owner’s choosing. It may make the perfect holiday season survival gift for music lovers on your gift list.
Our December issue includes:
Mac About Town: Where Did You Hear That?
Mike Chamberlain takes a quick tour through his bookmarks on a quest for the best Apple-related blogs. Join in the fun!
Photoshop for the Curious: An Overview, Part 1
This new series is not Photoshop For Beginners. It’s more like Photoshop for the Curious. In fact, it is Photoshop for the Curious!
Web Accessibility: SeaMonkey 1.0.6
SeaMonkey 1.0.6, though similar to its cousin, Nvu, is lacking in some important areas.
How To: Use Activity Monitor to Monitor Your Mac’s Memory
Sylvester Roque is back with another installment about the Activity Monitor—this time with tips for using it to monitor your Mac’s memory and tracking down memory leaks.
Desktop Pictures: Europe
The pictures in this series were taken by Mike Chamberlain in England, France, Rome, and Spain during a five-week summer tour.
We continue to see the genesis of Cortland’s employment at Wieser Graphics while dark forces prep their move to the Midwest.
Review: Fission 1.1
You might be just as surprised as I am to realize that Rogue Amoeba didn’t already produce an audio file editor. But now that it does, you can likely rest assured that, before long, it’ll be widely regarded as the audio editor that’s kicking butt and taking names.
It’s not exactly cheap, but the iRecord truly is one-touch recording. Plus, unlike its competitors, it uses the superior H.264 codec and allows recording to almost any USB storage device.
Review: OpenMenu X 1.0.2
We review the shareware utility OpenMenu X, which greatly widens the scope of what contextual menus can do. Add scripts, services, and any number of other functions to the menu that’s always a mouse-click away.
Review: Synergy 3.0
Synergy is an excellent small, single-purpose program that integrates the OS X menu-bar with iTunes. It allows the user to play, pause, skip forward, and skip back a track from the menu bar. In addition, Synergy will display the current track and album art for the current track in a “floater” that displays briefly at a location of the user’s choice as each new track begins.