Welcome to the July issue of About This Particular Macintosh! The 2011 baseball season is in full swing. No matter the fact that Michael Tsai and I are Red Sox fans, we’re opening this month’s issue by paying homage to one of the legends of the game who came to fame while playing in pinstripes. It’s not his career stats we’ll highlight but a few of the colorful things he has said over the years and apply those phrases to Apple.
The editors of ATPM have been celebrating what we call the “personal computing experience” since 1995. The first issue of ATPM was uploaded to Apple’s quickly defunct eWorld service. eWorld was Apple’s first effort at online services. It opened in 1994 and was always under construction until construction abruptly ended in early 1996 with the termination of the fledgling service.
We covered the debut of Apple’s iTools service in early 2000. It was a collection of free services that offered subscribers a mac.com e-mail address. In July 2002, iTools was transitioned to a fee-based service called mac.com. In July 2008, mac.com was renamed MobileMe. In June 2011, iCloud was announced as the new nameplate for Apple’s cloud-based services. iCloud will offer most of MobileMe’s services but without the annual subscription fee. Quoting Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
For those of us who have endured nine years of fee-based services under the mac.com and MobileMe monikers, we have a bit of iCloud envy for those just starting now with the newly named suite of free services.
If the World Were Perfect, It Wouldn’t Be
Continuing with Yogi-isms, Apple caused a rift in the company’s product universe by not announcing a late June release date for the iPhone 5, and at press time no official mention of the new phone has been made.
In the absence of real news about the iPhone 5, there’s been much speculation. Some have suggested that the new iPhone 5 with Apple’s A5 chip and representing the 5th iteration of the phone will not be called the iPhone 5 but the “iPhone 4S.” Think about that for a moment. Then disregard it.
Among the hundreds of millions of Apple product users worldwide, many have come to admire the company’s attention to detail, the intuitive nature of the company’s products, and the near perfect way Apple devices are designed with the end user in mind. Some product users are disappointed that Apple didn’t keep to what might be considered a perfect timetable for the release of this year’s new iPhone.
But product development takes time, and for a product that may sell over 100 million units in the year following release, component supplies and manufacturing capacity impact when the phone can come to market. The iPhone 5 will be released by the end of September. If Apple attempted to maintain an annual June release date for the latest version of the iPhone, it would have been “déjà vu all over again” as customers endured long lines throughout the summer waiting for iPhones in chronically short supply.
It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over
Apple has now surpassed Microsoft in market capitalization (the total value of the company based on share price times the number of shares outstanding), quarterly revenue, and quarterly earnings. But efforts to surpass Apple’s old nemesis in other metrics haven’t stopped.
What began as a bitter feud between Apple and Microsoft over the “look and feel” of the Mac when Microsoft emulated much of the Mac’s GUI in the development Windows continues today in a global rivalry that stretches across multiple product lines including PCs, smartphones, and now tablet devices.
Microsoft remains one of the world’s largest developers for the Mac, and via iTunes Apple has become one of the world’s most successful developers of software for Windows. We don’t know when this rivalry will end, but the new version of Mac OS X that becomes available this summer and the recently updated iMac line of personal computers demonstrate that Apple is keeping up the fight on the battleground that started it all: the market for personal computers. Yogi never said it better: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be
We’ll close this month’s Welcome with a reference to one more Yogi-ism. When the first issue of ATPM was uploaded to Apple’s eWorld server 16 years ago, it was a vastly different era of personal computing than the era in which we live today. We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to chronicle the development of new products and celebrate the ways in which technology has enhanced our ability to live and communicate. Our world seems to get smaller by the day, yet more interesting by hour. “The future ain’t what it used to be,” and the possibilities of what the future may be get more interesting by the minute.
Our July issue includes:
A monthly summary of Wes Meltzer’s blogosphere news, originating from his Pinboard feed. This month: iOS/Android/Windows Phone links, iCloud Nine, iOS Everywhere, Lodsys, Windows 8 vs. iOS, and more.
Mark Tennent ponders what all that bandwidth gets us.
There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and change. Nowhere is the latter more prevalent than in the tech industry, and Apple is forcing change for its own benefit, rather than waiting to respond to what others might do.
A really in-depth look at TextEdit. There are hidden depths in that little program.
Chris Turner shares a variety of shots from around his north Texas home.
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.
In this cartoon by Grant Osborne, a user gets more than he bargained for with Apple’s Time Machine application.
This streaming content management utility meets its goal of the user spending less time looking for content and more time looking at content.
David Ozab is impressed with this novel-writing software, save for not being able to properly format the style of his text.
A simple tool to save and convert YouTube videos that loses the “best value contest” to its only-a-few-dollars-more sibling product.