Welcome to the December issue of About This Particular Macintosh! The editors of ATPM wish you a happy holiday season, and we look forward to providing you with our unique mix of news, views, and reviews throughout the coming year.
PC Market Share? Who Cares?
In a recent report by market research group NPD, it was estimated Macintosh computer sales now represent close to 50% of domestic revenue for PCs sold at retail. The report is based on October sales activity and suggests that Apple’s revenue take in the PC industry continues to rise.
Netbook unit sales have shrouded problems in the Windows PC market. While netbooks are popular with consumers, they sell at comparatively lower prices and foreshadow a continuing consumer migration to lower-cost personal digital devices. Though Apple has been reducing the prices of its consumer PCs, Macs have been increasing the percentage of revenue Apple realizes in the domestic market relative to Windows PCs.
All market share is not created equal, and Apple’s disproportionate take of PC retail revenue indicates that the company’s economic influence on the PC market is greater than market stats alone will indicate.
Developers, Developers, Developers
The now infamous chant of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer while addressing a gathering of Windows developers has been memorialized on video, parodied in skits, and replayed on the Web countless times. While his innate sense of rhythm may be called into question, his passion for the company he heads and appreciation for those who support the Windows ecosystem through software development is beyond question.
Microsoft achieved a global monopoly in desktop operating systems largely through the support of developers who expanded the uses of the OS into virtually all areas of commerce and personal productivity.
An argument can be made that the PC market has reached maturity, with slowing rates of growth in aggregate as consumers embrace smaller, hand-held device that offer specific-use functionality in a move away from the PC-centric product paradigm.
Emerging as a clear winner in the consumer migration to handheld devices is Apple through its iPhone OS product line. Encompassing both the iPhone and iPod touch, iPhone OS offers over 100,000 applications via the iTunes App Store and has been intriguing developers with its easy sales process and in-application sales opportunities.
There’s no disputing the fact that commercial content (software, games, music, movies, etc.) makes hardware devices more attractive to consumers. In all of the discussions about the success of the iPhone and the iPod touch, one cannot overstate the importance of developers in creating a profitable OS platform. Just ask Steve Ballmer about the importance of developers to a platform’s success, or just watch as iPhone and iPod touch sales continue to grow as more and more commercial content becomes available for iPhone OS devices.
Verizon’s iPhone Envy
For those of us who do watch TV these days, the sparring ads between Verizon and AT&T cannot be avoided. AT&T’s success with the iPhone also cannot be disputed. AT&T has invested heavily in iPhone subsidies and has been racing to add infrastructure to meet the unprecedented demand of iPhone users. Much of the iPhone’s market growth has come at Verizon’s expense.
Verizon, seizing on discontent with AT&T’s reported service issues, is playing to its strength in exploiting the public’s perception of its superior cell service in efforts to battle migration from Verizon to AT&T and the iPhone. Verizon now offers a Motorola smartphone branded as the “Droid” and running the Android 2.0 OS as an alternative to the iPhone for its customers.
Despite Verizon’s efforts and its expensive advertising campaigns touting the Droid and exploiting AT&T’s high-profile iPhone traffic service issues, the company has no real answer to the iPhone’s success. Android 2.0 phones will be released by multiple handset makers and will be offered on multiple cellular service networks. There’s no replacing the iPhone in the contest for wireless customers.
Verizon desperately needs an Apple wireless device to combat defections from its service. Whether that device or devices (the iPhone and/or the much-rumored Apple tablet) come to the Verizon network will be determined in time.
Verizon Wireless is a co-venture between Verizon and Europe’s Vodafone Group. While Vodafone is among the authorized iPhone service providers in various European territories, the iPhone’s conspicuous absence from the Verizon Wireless portfolio of handsets is a competitive disadvantage for the nation’s number one provider of cellular services.
AT&T’s exclusive agreement for the iPhone is expected to end in 2010. Watch for Verizon to push hard for versions of the iPhone—and Apple’s future wireless devices such as the much-rumored tablet—to work on the Verizon Wireless network. Until then, there’s no solution for Verizon’s iPhone envy, and AT&T’s wireless growth has a hefty cost to Verizon as both companies compete heavily for customers.
Holiday Season Sales
By most accounts Apple is expected to have an impressive holiday season for product sales. The recently refreshed iMac line will bolster Apple’s Mac sales in the December quarter, and the iPod will once again serve as a holiday season favorite among shoppers. Apple continues to open new retail stores around the globe. These stores serve as sales and service centers, as well as effective marketing tools to introduce Apple-branded products and accessories to shoppers worldwide.
Apple will most likely report record revenue and earnings for the three-month period ending in December, and many expect record sales of the iPhone and its non-phone companion, the iPod touch.
Apple’s continuing growth and the attractiveness of the company’s consumer products makes Apple not only a success story for investors, but it also creates a highly functional set of products that complement each other in enhancing the user’s digital lifestyle. Increasingly, consumers are buying multiple Apple products and taking advantage of the sum functionality they provide. Each Apple product purchase sets the stage for the purchase of complementary Apple products.
Watch for new Apple product announcements after the holiday season as the company prepares for a second decade of success in the second decade of this millennium.
Our December Issue
ATPM continues its monthly chronicle of what we call the “personal computing experience” as new products come to market and as our readers demand the most from their personal computing devices. We wish all of our readers a happy holiday season, and we look forward to a new year of new opportunities and a return to normalcy in the world’s economies.
Our December issue includes:
“The same companies who sell the contracts to use their cellphone network in the UK will charge you an arm and a leg to use their network 50 miles away across the English Channel.”
In case you were ever unclear that Mark Tennent likes the Mac platform, this plea to his IT department should set the record straight.
Ed Eubanks Jr. updates his GTD Master List and talks about how to get back on track if you, as most people inevitably do, get a little behind.
You don’t have to be a Photoshop expert to improve a photo. Ed Eubanks Jr. has five simple ways that should improve virtually any photo.
By 2009 standards it does not do much, but it was Linus Ly’s first lovely possession in the Mac universe.
Seth Dillingham shared this month’s photos from an orchard in Connecticut.
Matt Johnson’s new series, Out at Five looks at the workplace and its boundaries from all angles, revolving around many of the same characters from his former series, Cortland.
When I was your age…
PDFClerk Pro is a good replacement for Preview and can do great impositions.
A classic black suit for your iPhone to go along with the classic black suit you already own.