Tag: Mac OS X

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Apple Needs to Think Differently

I watch with wonder and concern about Apple, as a longstanding customer (starting in December 1998). As a journalist, I developed a reputation for hating the company (I don’t) so long loved because my stories aren’t kiss-ass fanboyism. What’s that saying about being hardest on the ones you love most? Kind I am not.

Today’s theme isn’t new from me and repeats my analysis that Apple has strayed far from the path that brought truly, disruptive innovative products to market. In 2016, the company banks on past successes that are not long-term sustainable. We will get a glimpse after calendar fourth quarter 2015 earnings are announced on January 26th. You will want to watch iPhone and international sales, particularly emerging markets. 

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Steve Jobs Who?

I shouldn’t be surprised, but…While in Apple Store the other day making a purchase, I chatted with the staffer helping me about the retail shop’s legacy. I don’t remember what influenced me to mention being at the original store’s opening in May 2001, which I covered for CNET News. “In Virginia?” She asked. I affirmed, Tysons Corner. “I have a picture”.

After which I fumbled like an old fart bringing up the image above from Flickr on my phone. She politely suggested the app, which wasn’t installed, as I clumsily used the browser. When I finally got the image on screen she asked, with some giddiness: “Is that Tim Cook?” Not cofounder Steve Jobs, who sits next to Apple’s current CEO. 

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My Summer Sojourn: OS X 10.11, OS 9

Due to a rather startling accident, my wife’s laptop is no longer among the electrically living. She will use my beloved Chromebook Pixel LS for a few months, while I step back into the Apple lifestyle to test El Capitan and iOS 9. Eight days after Apple released developer previews, I finally am getting around to installing them, on 13-inch MacBook Pro and iPad Air 2. Whoa, I dunno about the new font!

The Mac is a new purchase. Our cameras and computers are all insured, and late last week I filed the second claim in more than a dozen years (the first replaced a hard drive, for $250, after my daughter dropped her aluminum MacBook during finals week two years ago). I grudgingly picked the 2.7GHz Core i5 MacBook Pro with Retina Display, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. 

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Chromebook Pixel or New MacBook?

Two new laptops launched this week, both pioneering USB-C and packing 12-inch displays. The likenesses stop there, and the distinctions can’t be overstated. One computer you can buy now, the other comes next month. Should you consider either? My primer will help you decide.

Apple unveiled the new MacBook, which measures 1.31 centimeters at its thickest and weighs less than a kilogram, on March 9. Sales start April 10, 2015. Yesterday, Google launched the second-generation Chromebook Pixel, which is immediately available for purchase (mine arrives tomorrow from the new Google Store). Both laptops adopt USB Type-C for power and, using adapters, hooking up to other devices. USB-C puts both computers at the bleeding edge for charging and connectivity, But their approach to ports couldn’t be more different. 

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Anyone Calling This Article Clickbait Doesn’t Get It

In December 2014, I cajoled: “Writers, Own Your Content!” All my work-written blogs—thousands of posts—between mid-2003 and April 2009 are gone. The companies shut down the sites (because of acquisition and restructuring). Now, to prevent future deletion calamity, everything I want to preserve cross-posts here, as is the case with yesterday’s “Whatever Apple Was, It Isn’t Anymore“, which appears on BetaNews as “Apple’s core is rotting“.

Unsurprisingly, the BN version generated more reader reaction—119 comments as I write. You can consider the post as example of what I referred to two days ago when answering question: “Where are the Comments?” Most of the reaction to my stories takes place elsewhere. As such, I sometimes feel need to transplant some of the interaction here, as I did four months ago with post “Who’s the Troll Here — This Dude or Me?” I do so again, today. 

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My Macintosh Moment

Macintosh is 30 years old. If this were “Logan’s Run“, January 24 would be Last Day. Or the 1960s, time to ditch the computer because, you know, don’t trust anyone (or anything) over 30. Declaration: I am a Mac user, which surely surprises the long line of people accusing me of being anti-Apple. My Mac sojourn started on a Winter’s day in December 1998. I’ve abandoned Apple a few times since, even briefly boycotting, but always come back.

My first Macintosh sighting was August 1984. I spent the summer in Chapel Hill, N.C. and often hung out on the University of North Carolina campus. The college book store displayed the Apple, which I found remarkable. I wasn’t a computer geek, nor am I one now, but nevertheless found the device charming. A decade later, I started using a Windows PC and for a while was a Macintosh bigot. I particularly enjoyed ribbing the graphic designers with whom my wife worked when their Macs crashed, wiping out hours of Photoshop or QuarkXpress work. “Get a PC!” was my common retort.

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Apple's Gang of Four

Ten years ago—that’s right, 2001—Apple made four investments that bore fruit in a 21st-century success story. Everything that came afterwards, even iPad and iPhone, traces back to what I call the “2001 Four”.

Apple made these investments during difficult times. The dot-com bust rippled disastrously through the tech industry, the United States was gripped in recession and Apple’s stock value had collapsed. Shares opened at $343.72 today about four bucks off the 52-week high. Apple’s market capitalization was $317.21 billion at yesterday’s close. Going back in time, Apple shares traded for less than $10 a decade ago. As I explained last month, Apple’s fortunes have dramatically changed. 

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2001: An Apple Odyssey

It is not uncommon for bloggers and journalists to get hung up on the present. For Apple, there’s big noise about soaring stock price, even considering economic recession, and increasing demand for iPhone. But the past defines the present. For Apple, products or services launched in a single calendar year—and the consistent execution that followed—define current successes, including iPhone.

I contend that next to 1984, when Apple launched Macintosh, 2001 was the most important year in the company’s history. 

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Microsoft’s Shadow Ecosystem

There are many measures of success, and some are less desirable than others. Windows is the standard by which cybercriminals measure their wares—eh, malware. Their devotion to Windows is testament to Microsoft’s success. The company should just accept the feint praise for what it is.

Microsoft claims that Windows is more widely attacked by malware than, say, Mac OS X because of volume; many, many more people use Windows PCs than Macs. The claim is great PR, because it kind of makes sense and is unprovable without Macs gaining lots more marketshare. But on closer examination, the claim is pure BS. Microsoft security experts know so, or they’re delusional.

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The Great Mac-PC Debate

It’s funny how far the protagonists championing either PCs or Macs will go to push their cause. I moseyed into my local CompUSA on Jan. 19, 2003, where I found two ViewSonic representatives showing off Microsoft Windows Powered Smart Displays in the store’s Mac section. As I approached, one of the salesmen lithely snatched two shoppers eyeing an Apple iBook and pitched them on a Smart Display.

I returned later when the salesmen was alone and piped, “Say, you’re going to scare all the Mac customers away.” “That’s the idea,” he shot back. I must have made some kind of brilliant observation, because he gave my daughter a set of promo street style headphones for my troubles. So, now she can wear a Windows logo while plugged into an Apple iPod. 

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Jaguar: One Cool Cat

Mac enthusiasts say Apple is the mother of all invention. Maybe they’re right. Microsoft took six years to deliver the kind of operating system the company promised in 1995. Windows 95 didn’t live up to the hype until Windows XP. Apple managed the same feat in less than two years. Mac OS X 10.0, released in March 2001, lacked fundamental features such as CD burning and DVD playback. Successor 10.1, which debuted in September 2001, delivered better performance but couldn’t match some of XP’s best features. But Mac OS X 10.2, also known as Jaguar, beats Apple’s original promise of a robust, modern operating system and outclasses Windows XP’s handling of multiple programs running simultaneously. Still, many important changes are mere catch up to XP or even Apple’s older Mac OS 9.

Apple delivered my official Jaguar copy on Aug. 16, 2002, about a week before OS X 10.2’s official Aug. 24, 2002 release. Talk about efforts to woo the reviewer: Apple preloaded Jaguar on a PowerBook G4 800. But I already had been working with betas and final code obtained though “special sources”. Before Apple’s woo-the-reviewer package arrived, I had the “unofficial” official release running on three Macs: Dual 1GHz Power Mac G4, 700MHz flat-panel iMac and another PowerBook 800.