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ATPM 14.03
March 2008




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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the March issue of About This Particular Macintosh! This month we move the clock forward earlier than in the past to provide more evening daylight before winter finds its end. The editors of ATPM have worked hard on our March issue during the last of these snowy days to bring daylight on the issues that impact the quality of your personal computing experience. We do this in our unique and popular monthly format.

Saint Patrick’s Day and the Emerald Isle

It’s no coincidence St. Patrick is a popular saint here in the States. There are more Americans of Irish ancestry than there are people in Ireland. On Saint Patrick’s Day, some rivers are made to run green, and Irish pubs pack in the crowds. This year’s Saint Patrick’s Day will be a bit of an anomaly. For the first time since 1940, March 17th, the traditional day to celebrate the life of Ireland’s patron saint, falls during Christianity’s Holy Week. Celebrations will be moved forward or back depending on where you live, and in some locations they will not be moved from the traditional date.

No matter when Saint Patrick’s Day might be celebrated around the world in 2008, the Emerald Isle will no longer be green with iPhone envy. Just in time for this year’s celebrations, the folks in Ireland will have Apple iPhones to connect with friends and family. On March 14th, the iPhone officially goes on sale in Ireland. Perhaps it’s the luck of Irish for the phones to arrive just in time.

iPhone Holy War

No matter the rescheduling of Saint Patrick’s Day due to Holy Week in 2008, debate over the importance of the iPhone SDK (Software Development Kit) has taken on the fervor of a holy war. Now scheduled for release on March 6th, Apple boards and blogs have been filled with comments concerning the importance of the SDK to the iPhone’s future.

Media reports suggest the iPhone’s sales momentum has stalled since the first EU releases in November, and many consider third-party development of iPhone applications essential to the iPhone’s market penetration. For some, the debate has been an education in what an SDK is and why it might even matter. After all, many people bought an iPhone primarily to make phone calls. For others, the SDK is seen as vital for the development of the iPhone as not only a phone, but as a personal handheld communications, entertainment, and information assistant. We’ll be following the SDK issue in the coming months.

Tim Cook For President

It’s an election year in the United States, and the presidential primary process will soon be coming to a close. Thanks to his late February presentation at the Goldman Sachs Technology Investment Symposium 2008, there’s talk he should be elected president. Not of the United States but of Apple Inc. Mr. Cook currently serves as Apple’s Chief Operating Officer. His upbeat view of the company and its product plans caused a mini rally in the share price. On February 29th the Tim Cook rally ran into a wall of worry, and the share price ended the month at $125.02. As Apple’s COO, he’s increasingly seen as the president-apparent as Steve Jobs continues his transformation of the company and broadens its consumer product line.

iTunes Surpasses Best Buy

In late February it was announced iTunes was the #2 music retailer in the US during 2007, surpassing Best Buy and closing in fast on Wal-Mart for the most music sold. In 2008 it’s expected iTunes will outsell the big box retailer and become the highest volume music retailer in the land.

Wither the iPod?

It’s ironic as iTunes becomes increasingly popular for the purchase of music and movies and has become arguably the most important commercial music distribution system in the US that critics are suggesting the iPod has passed its prime as the dominant force in the digital music player market.

It’s not disputed that the iPod’s unit sales growth has slowed due to the transition to higher-priced video iPods and increasing storage capacities. But slower unit sales growth doesn’t mean the product line has seen better days. The iPod is being positioned to deliver more product as more video content becomes available through iTunes and other sources.

The iPod shuffle recently saw a price decrease on the one-gigabyte model as a two-gigabyte model was brought to market. Starting at $49, the iPod shuffle is now being pushed as a high-volume promotional gift item for the corporate world.

What’s most ironic about claims the iPod has seen better days is that just a few years ago commentators were claiming Apple was a one-product company—the iPod. Today commentators are suggesting Apple is a one-product company—the Mac. A few short years from now, commentators might be claiming Apple is a one-product company—the iPhone. Different product lines have unique sales cycles. History would provide lessons if commentators cared to take a look.

Our March issue includes:

Bloggable: A Cold Day in Redmond

Wes Meltzer finds parallels for Microsoft’s attempt to buy Yahoo, plus what everyone else up to, and including, the Sage of Omaha have to say. That, and the whole wealth of the Indies, in this month’s Bloggable.

MacMuser: The “Can Do, Just Works” Principle

“Apple excels at looking at something that is hard to do or at markets that are under-performing, then coming up with simple solutions that ‘just work.’”

FileMaking: FileMaker 9

FileMaker 9 has been released, and Charles Ross returns with a tour of the good and the bad of this new version.

Desktop Pictures: Havana Vehicles

Reader Jennifer Curry offers this month’s photos of vintage vehicles taken during a 2006 trip to Cuba.

Cartoon: Cortland

Lisa is history, and the Mudrix code dissolves to nothing as Cortland makes a huge sacrifice to save the woman he loves. But, is that sacrifice enough to save Angie from Cortland’s enemies in meatspace?

Review: ArtixScan M1 Dual Media Scanner

As someone who has spent a reasonable amount of time with both high-end, professional flatbed scanners and low-end consumer scanners, Lee Bennett looks at a mid-range scanner for the first time.

Review: LicenseKeeper 1.3.2

Keeping track your software registration is one of those things you often don’t think about until you need the information, and a tool for simplifying the process can help you keep on top of it.

Review: MacPool 8.9

It is definitely simple and easy to use. It might be a little too simple.

Review: Wi-Fire

A $79 paperweight that’s too light for weighing down paper.

Review: Xslimmer 1.5

Save hard drive space by removing code that your Mac doesn’t understand or languages that you don’t comprehend.

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