Welcome to the September issue of About This Particular Macintosh! It’s been an exciting summer for Apple product enthusiasts, and new products release will continue into September. We’ll cover the outcome of the company’s early September media event and the new products that are revealed in our October issue.
We begin this issue and head into the waning days of summer with a nostalgic look at the cultural, social, and economic changes that have been brought about by the emergence of ultra-portable digital devices. In particular, devices developed by Apple.
A Man and His iPad
It used to be said that a dog was a man’s best friend. That was before backyards became so small that their only use might be as a putting green, and the costs of caring for and keeping a canine at home went through the proverbial roof. It’s not that we don’t like dogs. But in our inter-connected world, the iPad and the iPhone have become the best devices around for keeping in touch with all of one’s best friends, provided they are of the human variety.
In this month’s Segments section, we look at one man’s effort to buy an iPad. It has become his best friend for news and information gathering while at home, and in a future Segments section the author will detail his efforts to use the iPad at work.
Change Back From Your Buck
Some of us may remember the days before McDonald’s had sit-down eateries. One would walk up to a counter under the golden arches and order a hamburger, fries, and a soft drink and get change back from your buck.
Today, there’s another well-known outlet that has served up billions of product to tens of millions of happy customers. It’s the iTunes App Store. In August, the App Store surpassed 250,000 apps available for purchase or free download. We expect Apple to forego the super-sized craze that brought derision to the McDonald’s brand name and continue to offer apps for purchase that give consumers a penny back on their buck.
Superman Has No Place to Change
For most of the Man of Steel’s fictional existence, Clark Kent would change into Superman garb in a common telephone booth. The iconic standalone telephone booths that seemed to populate almost every city street in post-war urban American are almost as hard to find today as Superman himself.
The global adoption of cell phones, and now the mass migration to smartphones, has eliminated the need for pay phones throughout our nation. The iPhone 4 with its FaceTime feature and 5-megapixel LED flash camera is now replacing the need for a separate point and shoot digital camera and even a PC and Web cam for video chats.
If recent sales trends are a guide, Apple will sell well over 10 million iPhones in the September quarter. In the meantime, AT&T, the sole authorized service provider in the US for the iPhone, is racing to sell as many iPhones as possible before its exclusive contract with Apple also fades into our cultural history. Watch for announcements of new iPhone service partners in the coming months as iPhone supply eventually catches up with demand, and the calendar eventually brings AT&T’s exclusive iPhone contract with Apple to a close.
Big Change for the iPod Line
It wasn’t long ago that Apple’s iPod product line was the revenue and earnings driver for the company. The line of popular digital music players sustained Apple during the Intel transition of the Mac, and the iPhone has catapulted the company into a new era of success.
In the June quarter, the iPod line represented less than 10% of the company’s reported revenue. In that period, unit sales fell 8% below prior-year sales, yet revenue increased 4% due to a higher percentage of the iOS-based iPod touch in the unit sales mix.
The performance of the iPod touch and Apple’s focus on iOS-based devices provides clues to the future of the iPod product line. The days of single-use digital music players may now be fading into history. Consumers want more for their dollars, and people are expecting more and more from their digital devices.
Our September Issue
It’s an exciting time to be an Apple product enthusiast, and it’s an exciting era in which we live. The editors of ATPM chronicle what we call the “personal computing experience.” The digital devices we use may be getting smaller, but living large in the digital age requires an understanding of these products and the ways in which people use them.
Our September issue includes:
Mark Tennent has been talking to Dragons.
Companies may brag about using less paper, but Mark Tennent believes their reduction efforts have only resulted in us, the consumers, using more paper.
Heather Sitarzewski is a graphic designer by day and all around artsy/creative the rest of her waking hours. She chats with a member of our editorial crew on artsy, crafty, Mac-y life.
Wes Meltzer shares his rationale for traveling without a heavy Mac laptop or expensive MacBook Air and opting for an EeePC netbook running Ubuntu Linux.
Robert Paul Leitao shares his purchase story, noting that the iPad is a revenue and earnings monster.
Reader Sterling Garwood shares this month’s desktop pictures of flowers taken in North Carolina with a Nikon D80.
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.
Ed Eubanks Jr. finds these business accounting software tools to be a delight to use.
Eric Blair is pleased with this simple iPad stand.