Welcome to the March issue of About This Particular Macintosh! We are nearing the end of a harsh, record-setting winter and approaching the optimism of spring. We begin this month’s issue with an optimistic view of today’s digital life and the new products and technologies that assist us in being more productive, more connected, and better informed about events that impact our lives.
Verizon Gets the iPhone
The company that “didn’t get” the iPhone and passed on an exclusive agreement with Apple before the landmark AT&T deal now gets the iPhone for sales to its customers. Much has changed in the four years since the first public announcement of the iPhone, and over that time AT&T has achieved virtual parity with Verizon in the number of wireless customers under contract. AT&T’s wireless subscriber growth since the original iPhone launched in the summer of 2007 can be attributed to the popularity of Apple’s smartphone product.
iPhone v. Android
There’s competition now between AT&T and Verizon to acquire and keep Apple iPhone customers. In the absence of the iPhone on Verizon’s network, the cellular services provider foisted the Droid, a branded Android smartphone product manufactured by Motorola, on the public as an iPhone alternative for its customers. Verizon’s continued pursuit of an iPhone agreement with Apple suggests there’s no real replacement for the iPhone, no matter the competition.
Much has been made of an iPhone v. Android competition. Not to disparage Android handsets and the manufacturers of the smartphones using this open source software stack, but Apple’s biggest competition may be its own race to expand production to meet global demand for the iPhone. While Android phones are selling in high numbers, the phones may have greater appeal to customers stepping up from so-called feature phones than creating real competition for the iPhone.
The emergence of Android-based handsets and the growing popularity of the iPhone may have been instrumental in Nokia’s decision to partner with Microsoft by offering Windows Phone, Microsoft’s smartphone operating system, on Nokia’s smartphone products. Neither Nokia nor Microsoft has been effective in competing with Apple, RIM (maker of BlackBerry smartphones), and Android-based phones in the marketplace.
The New MacBook Pros
In late February, Apple released updates to its full line of MacBook Pro personal computers. In addition to processor upgrades, all MacBook Pros now offer a Thunderbolt port for peripherals and FaceTime HD cameras.
In understanding Apple’s approach to the market, one must consider the company’s integrated, multi-product approach. For example, the new FaceTime HD camera is designed for video conversations between other Mac owners and owners of the iPhone 4, the latest iPod touch, and perhaps owners of the next-generation iPad, which may debut in just a few day’s time.
The Mac App Store
For all of the innovations and enhancements Apple is building into its newest Macs, one of the most overlooked enhancements for Mac users is the opening of the Mac App Store. The App Store icon was installed on the user’s dock in the Mac OS X 10.6.6 update released in January. The Mac App Store offers an impressive array of applications ranging from free and low-cost apps to more sophisticated design and productivity applications. The ability to immediately access, purchase, and install Mac OS X applications is yet another advantage for the platform.
The Future of Personal Computing
There’s much debate in the geek community as to whether or not the iPad is a PC. These discussions can range from the silly to the absurd. It’s not the tech specs that determine how people use technology, and many smartphone buyers make use of their handheld devices in ways once reserved for the traditional desktop or laptop PC. The lines between devices and their uses have diminished even as digital devices have become smaller and more compact.
The editors of ATPM don’t focus on the contrived barriers that are designed to classify technology products and their intended uses. We focus on how technology products are used to enhance what we call the “personal computing experience.” Please join us this month and every month as we explore the latest technology products and celebrate the ways in which digital devices enhance today’s digital lifestyle.
Our March issue includes:
A monthly summary of Wes Meltzer’s blogosphere news, originating from his Pinboard feed. This month: The Digital Future Is Now, Living In a Mobile World, iPad Is Still King of the Hill, Windows Phone 7, and Mobile Video.
Mark Tennent spends some time with Windows Vista.
Mark Tennent considers today’s variety of tablet devices.
Sylvester Roque shares a detailed primer for QuickTime X, helping you discover how to make it work best for you.
Chris Turner shares some photos from Downtown Disney, Disney Studios, and the Magic Kingdom, taken in August 2010 while on vacation in Florida.
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.
Frank H. Wu tries out this iCal alternative, nothing there’s not much going for it beyond the very different user interface compared to iCal.
A French company brings us another take on mahjong. But this time, those pesky tiles bring with them a headache.
You can potentially write the next Grammy-winning song.
Frank H. Wu is very impressed with his new MacBook Air.