Welcome to the July issue of About This Particular Macintosh! What a time it’s been since our June issue was released! The Federal Reserve Board reduced interest rates to their lowest levels since 1958, Apple Computer announced what it calls “the world’s fastest personal computer,” and Arnold Schwarzenegger stated he would soon decide whether or not he wishes to become California’s new governor. An interesting month indeed!
At the annual conference for Apple’s software developers, the Mac maker unveiled its next generation computer technology. The new Power Mac G5 computers sport a 64-bit processor designed and manufactured by IBM. With speeds ranging from 1.6 GHz for a single-processor model up to 2 GHz for a dual-processor configuration, the new Macs also sport a hefty price tag starting at $1,999. Tricked out with most of the goodies (including eight gigabytes of RAM), the dual 2 GHz G5 comes in at a bit over $10,000.
Pay It Again, Sam
Apple has announced that Panther (a.k.a. Mac OS X 10.3) will carry a retail price of $129. This exciting upgrade to Apple’s Unix-based OS will be the fourth major iteration of the product for which consumers will be charged a fee if one includes the Public Beta. Promising many improvements over prior versions of the OS, Apple has scheduled Panther to hit retail shelves in the fall.
Web Surfin’ Safari
Apple finally released a non-beta version of its popular Web browser called Safari. This Cocoa-based Web browser has matured quite nicely. The release of Safari 1.0 comes on the heels of Microsoft’s announcement that the Redmond, Washington-based software giant plans to discontinue development of Internet Explorer for the Mac. Safari costs about five minutes to download.
OK, enough already with the funky “i” nomenclature. Apple has a new video camera called iSight to complement its latest public beta product, iChat AV (just when we thought all of the beta versions of new products were gone from the Dock). iSight is an aluminum clad video camera powered from a Mac’s FireWire port. It costs $149.
Final Cut Pro 4
Apple’s latest upgrade to its Final Cut Pro video editing software has arrived at an Apple Store near you. FCP4 comes at a retail price of $999 and an upgrade price of $399 for owners of any earlier version of the product.
Economic deflation is a phenomenon in which prices decline rather than rise. The opposite of deflation is inflation. Due in part to concerns that the US economy might be headed for its first deflationary cycle since the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve Board recently reduced interest rates to their lowest levels since the Eisenhower Administration.
Apple inflation is a phenomenon in which the company ignores the economy and announces premium-priced new products as other companies in the PC industry stagger to maintain pricing at current levels due to the effects of economic or industry deflation mentioned above.
A Word About PC Market Share
Apple’s market share is reported to be somewhere between three percent and five percent of the US market. While this may be true, most people don’t realize that the vast majority of PCs sold are in the low-priced or budget tier of the PC market. Not all market share is created equal.
Most of Apple’s PC products are priced well over $1,000 and most of the company’s CPU sales are in the top tier of the market. Last fiscal quarter Apple had a gross profit margin on PC units sold of over twenty eight percent. That’s more than twice the industry average. This means Apple makes at least twice as much on each dollar of sales than most of its competitors. Contrary to popular opinion, Apple doesn’t just need more unit sales. The company needs more of its kind of profitable unit sales. There’s a difference. The new G5s undoubtedly deliver more speed. The question for Apple is how well they will deliver new CPU sales. Premium-priced products such as the iSight and Final Cut Pro 4 are designed to add to the profit picture. The economically challenging times in the PC industry make Apple’s pricing decisions an interesting factor to watch.
Just One More Thing…
Prior to announcement of the new G5s, Apple’s aging G4 mini-towers had already lost their allure despite Apple’s deflationary steps to drop prices in order to maintain sales. But in yet another announcement at WWDC, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed that total iPod sales had passed the million-unit mark. The iPod has quickly become a significant contributor to Apple’s revenues and earnings.
In the August issue of ATPM we’ll look at Apple’s quarterly results, but we’ll leave the issue of Arnold’s potential gubernatorial run to the people of California.
In the July issue of ATPM, we might deflate some PC industry egos and inflate your Mac knowledge while providing some entertaining summer time reading. There’s just one sure way to find out! Please take a look through this month’s digital pages.
Our July issue includes:
The Candy Apple: Gadgets in the Toolbox
For her About This Particular Web Site-esque column this month, Ellyn Ritterskamp compiled a collection of online reference Web sites as she searched for the definition of “ungenius polyunfatuated.”
Machine Language: Clone Wars
Matt Coates continues about the iTunes Music Store in the second installment of our new Machine Language column, noting that “the brilliance of Apple’s plan is that it wasn’t especially brilliant. It was just common sense uncommonly well-executed.” Matt also offers his take on the end of Internet Explorer for Macintosh and his latest candidate for mystery Apple technology.
Quick Tips in Design: Using Value
Andrew Kator goes back to basics with this first-in-a-series article, explaining the importance of shades, value, and gradations, and giving a real-world example of these principles by updating a logo.
Networks in Action: Clandestine Wireless Networking and MacStumbler
An overview of wireless access points, covering basic use and misuse. Includes a functional review of MacStumbler and some notes on warchalking, a low-tech aid for high-tech network users.
Roll Your Own: Getting the List of It—Part 2
In this month’s Roll Your Own, Charles Ross continues his instruction with complex list objects by adding functionality with AppleScript’s built-in
list data type.
How To: A Little Help, Please? Tips for Getting Good Tech Support
Most people hate having to work with technical support people, and we’ve all laughed at the stories circulating the Internet about some of the crazy dialog that has come from some of the calls. But as long as we have computers, we’ll probably have to deal with tech support. Sylvester Roque tells us how to prepare for future tech support encounters to make them as painless as possible—for both you and the person you call!
The desktop wars continue in the latest round of Cortland cartoons by Matt Johnson.
Cartoon: Crazy Andy
Andrew Kator shows us what happened when the MacMania II and CruiseTrek gatherings were held on the same ship at the same time.
Desktop Pictures: Landscapes
ATPM reader Katherine Sears-Lent offers up a second installment 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: Little Snitch 1.0.3
Paul Fatula reviews Little Snitch, a Mac OS X preference pane utility that monitors outgoing network connections. While it doesn’t handle emulated environments ideally, it does a good job of letting you control when OS X can send data out over the Net.
Review: Myth III: The Wolf Age
Evan Trent reviews this real-time strategy game from God Games. The latest addition to the series of Myth Games, Myth III takes full advantage of the latest processors and graphic cards to project a visually stunning environment, but the storyline isn’t quite as good as in previous Myths.
Review: Steal This Computer Book 3: What They Won’t Tell You About the Internet (book)
Steal This Computer Book offers a great deal of information about some of the lesser-known or more hazardous aspects of the Internet. However, reviewer Eric Blair has a hard time seeing whom the book is aimed at, as it covers both common sense and rather technical topics.
Review: Two Books for Switchers
Kirk McElhearn offers reviews of two books aimed at computer users switching to the Macintosh: Mac OS X for Windows Users and Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual. While the two books cover similar topics, they actually speak best to two rather different audiences. Read the review to find out which book is best for your switching needs.
Review: Uplink 1.3.1
Ambrosia’s latest game, Uplink, pumps the adrenaline as well as a shoot ’em up but it’s actually a hacking game. Matthew Glidden tells you all about being an “agent,” breaking into computers to destroy or steal data, or of course to make money.