Welcome to the June issue of About This Particular Macintosh! This month all eyes and ears are focused on the upcoming WWDC or World Wide Developers Conference. The conference was moved from May to June ostensibly to provide more time for Apple to mature Mac OS X 10.3, code-named “Panther,” for developer release. Panther is planned as the next incremental upgrade to Apple’s Unix-based operating system.
But it wouldn’t be an Apple conference without rumors and speculation run amuck! Much of the Mac-using world is anticipating news of new processors at the June developer gathering. Whether or not Apple provides news of the much-expected move to IBM’s 64-bit PPC 970 may overshadow news about Panther.
iTunes, iPods and International Ire (Part II)
Last month in this space we mentioned the release of Apple’s new iTunes Music Store. In the first two weeks of the digital music store opening its doors, Mac users have downloaded over two million songs; half of the reported downloads were part of full album purchases. At press time no additional reports on download rates have been released.
However, Wall Street analysts and journalists have come out en-masse to decry that Apple’s new music service won’t bring the company a lot of new-found success. Excuse us? Has any Apple executive claimed the iTunes Music Store is the in and of itself a pathway to new profitability?
At $.34 margin per song before costs it would take hundreds of millions of song downloads to create a significant profit for Apple. After paying the labels their $.65 fee on each $.99 download, Apple must cover its own expenses, including expenses to Akamai for Internet-based content delivery, credit card transaction fees, and the high costs of maintaining and further developing the service.
Apple’s goal isn’t to just sell music. It’s to sell iPods and other iTunes Music Store accessories. At gross margins of 30% or more, the iPod is Apple’s way to cash in on its popular music service. The date of release for the Windows version of iTunes has yet to be announced. One can expect an adequate supply of iPods will be available in stores when Apple delivers the Windows version of the music store to consumers.
In the meantime, overseas Mac users are still clamoring for access to the music service.
The Browser War Is Over, But the Real Work Begins
In late May, AOL Time Warner and Microsoft settled their dispute over Microsoft’s use of its monopoly status to overtake Netscape in the browser business. AOL had purchased Netscape and filed suit against Microsoft on behalf of its subsidiary following the acquisition.
To settle the dispute, Microsoft agreed to pay $750 million to AOL Time Warner and in return the two companies agreed to work together on various digital media initiatives. Under the deal, AOL is permitted to use Microsoft’s Windows Media Player.
This agreement poses new challenges for Apple and its QuickTime product. The AOL Time Warner and Microsoft feud had kept Microsoft’s push to dominate the media player market at bay. The agreement settling the browser war may raise more questions than it resolves.
Buy Now, Learn Later
A quick look at the calendar indicates schools will soon be out of session. Just in time for the summer break, Apple is offering students a $200 rebate on the purchase of a qualifying laptop and iPod. Even those of us who have been out of school for a while can do the math. A laptop and iPod purchased at the same time equals a healthy profit for Apple and a cool savings offer for students. There’s no word at press time as to whether or not the rebate offer will be extended to consumers for the summer months.
Bondi Bye Bye
Five years after its much-heralded introduction, the CRT iMac has been discontinued. The computer that revitalized Apple Computer and reestablished the company as a leader in technology innovation is no longer available for purchase.
First released in a colored shell intended to mimic the color of water found along a section of the Australian coast, the classic iMac eventually appeared in a variety of colors and designs during its storied history.
The classic CRT iMac has been replaced in Apple’s product line by the one-color G4 eMac that is now available to consumers at a starting price of $799. This price is $500 lower that the cost of the original Bondi blue iMac that debuted five years ago at $1,299.
Before We Say Good Bye Until July
Before we say goodbye until our July issue, please don’t miss any of the reviews and columns in this June issue of ATPM. While the Mac world waits in anticipation of news from this month’s WWDC, our pages this month are filled with informative reviews and interesting columns about everything Mac.
Our June issue includes:
The Candy Apple: Checking in on the Home Front
Let’s visit the Apple home page and see what’s going on.
Machine Language: Apple Goes to Ex-streams
Matt Coates discusses the recent spate of music “swapplicationing” that has occurred vis-à-vis iTunes 4, and Apple’s recent remedy.
Hollywood: Rupert Murdoch Owns a Mac
Mike Shields discusses the Digital Cinema Initiative, Apple’s music service, and convergence.
Segments: Jumping Directly from OS 9 to Jaguar
Resident ATPM curmudgeon Evan Trent makes the switch from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X 10.2. He details his experience in doing so, and offers up his likes and dislikes of the current Mac OS.
About This Particular Web Site
This month’s ATPW helps you learn about your name and put it on a license plate. It also offers fifty-two (well, OK, thirty-eight) projects you can try, none of which will help liberate innocent garden gnomes, but once you’ve worked up a thirst there’ll be plenty of milk to look at.
Roll Your Own: Getting the List of It
Chuck Ross delves more into software creation, showing how to wrap AppleScript lists into an object.
Report: MacFest 2003
Robert Lewis reports on the phenomenon of mini Mac conventions by attending the one held by the Houston Area Apple User Group.
What’s Under the Hood: Tips
Robert Lewis has tips about the System Preferences toolbar, opening new Finder windows, and adding a SuperDrive to your Mac.
The desktop wars continue in the latest round of Cortland cartoons by Matt Johnson.
Desktop Pictures: Landscapes
ATPM reader Katherine Sears-Lent offers up a fantastic collection of pictures for your desktop enjoyment. Katherine’s photos feature Savannah and Calloway Gardens in Georgia; Sonoma Valley in California; Long Island; and Tampa, Florida.
Review: d2 External FireWire CD-RW Drive
For those whose old Macs don’t include internal CD burners, Dan Boland reviews LaCie’s d2 External FireWire CD-RW Drive. Screaming fast and bundled with Toast Lite and SilverKeeper, this drive is well worth your consideration.
Review: David Faxes Goliath
In David Faxes Goliath, Ken Gruberman reviews two OS X faxing programs, the well-known giant FAXstf Pro and the lesser-known shareware program Page Sender. While FAXstf offers little but trouble and disapplicationointment, Page Sender comes through beautifully.
Review: HTML Character Converter 1.0
Mac users like simple things to work simply, and no exception is made for writing Web pages. Lee Bennett introduces you to HTML Character Converter, a program which will save you the trouble of learning and typing entity codes for unusual or accented characters for display on the Web.
Review: Legion 1.0
Fans of Civilization-type games will want to check out Gregory Tetrault’s review of Legion, a similar turn-based strategy game. While the chief focus of the game is organizing and deploying armies, only a few crude commands are available, after which you have no control over the battle.
Review: Path Finder 2.1.1
Sylvester Roque wasn’t sure at first why he volunteered to review Path Finder, but after checking out the program, he was glad he did. Path Finder replaces most of OS X’s Finder with a file management interface which is in many ways superior.
Review: Unix CD Bookshelf 3.0 (CD-ROM)
If you want all the value of a Unix library but don’t want to have to carry it around, Kirk McElhearn has the solution for you: O’Reilly & Associates’ Unix CD Bookshelf, with seven Unix titles all on a CD, at a price substantially lower than the print versions.
Review: Wipeout 2097 1.2.1
Those who remember playing F-Zero on their Super Nintendos will want to check out Eric Blair’s review of Wipeout 2097, a fantasy-style racing game in which you can run a course for time or compete against other racers.