Apple to be 'the iPhone company' within two years?
By Stephen WITHERS
A US investment bank is predicting that by 2011 the largest portion of Apple's revenue will come from the iPhone.
Despite the growth of iPod - and more recently iPhone - revenue, the largest single portion of Apple's income has long come from Mac sales.
But according to Caris & Company, rapid growth in iPhone sales will be spurred to such an extent by the handset's official entry to the China market that they will match Mac revenues in 2010 and outstrip them in 2011.
Caris analyst Robert Cihra said "We continue to believe Apple has proved itself the single most innovative and profitable consumer technology company in the world and continue to see headroom for growth via both iPhone and Mac (market) share gains." (Via AppleInsider.)
This view seems to assume Apple's product mix will remain more or less stable during the period.
If the company decides it's time to move the Apple TV from a "hobby" (as Steve Jobs put it in 2007 and again in 2008) to a serious business, or to enter a new segment (ebook readers?), those revenue shares could be quite different.
Another factor would be the widely predicted arrival of an Apple tablet. If that was a member of the Mac family as opposed to an iPod/iPhone and it proved as successful as some people predict, it could see an extension of the Mac's reign as the bedrock of Apple's income.
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So, how's your Snow Leopard experience?
By Stephen WITHERS
My copy of Snow Leopard didn't arrive until Monday, and thanks to deadlines I didn't have time to install it until Tuesday evening. The installation process went smoothly, but I can't tell you how long it took as I left the computer to get on with things.
When I returned, the job was done and I breathed a sigh of relief that I didn't have one of the faulty Snow Leopard discs that fellow Hydrapinionist Adam Turner reported elsewhere.
Yes, Snow Leopard did free up some disk space - around 11 'new' gigabytes. If you don't get that reference, Apple has followed the lead of disk manufacturers and ISPs by (re)defining 1G as 1000M. Since I cloned my old system immediately before installing Snow Leopard, the sizes reported by Get Info use the same kind of gigabytes for both volumes. Some of the saving came from opting out of the non-English translations, so it's not a true like-for-like comparison.
Having just splashed out for a 1T drive to store my media collection, 11G is not the big deal it would have been for me a couple of months ago when I was having to do a weekly cleanout to keep some space on my internal drive.
Is Snow Leopard any faster? Frankly, I have no idea. I find any apparent speedup so quickly becomes the new normal that it has to be spectacular to notice. But - touch wood - I think I'm seeing fewer delays.
So far, almost all my software is working.
As soon as Snow Leopard started up it was apparent that I needed to download the latest version of ETVComskip (it automatically marks the ad breaks in EyeTV recordings), and that MenuMeters hadn't loaded. I knew MemuMeters wasn't compatible, so that was no surprise. I'll probably take the opportunity to switch to iStat Menus when the Snow Leopard version arrives.
Shades (which I find essential to reduce the brightness of the iMac screen to a comfortable level) still works, but its menu bar control doesn't. I rarely change the setting, so that's no big deal, and the alternative floating slider does work.
I'm not sure about Sophos Anti-Virus. The scanner still seems to be working, but after the first Snow Leopard startup it tried to download a huge update and failed, and subsequent attempts result in a "Could not update Sophos Anti-Virus" message.
The current version of SAV is supposed to be Snow Leopard compatible, but I have a suspicion that unlike other products, SAV automatically downloads signature updates but not program updates. More on this when it's resolved.
Apart from that, everything else I've tried so far has worked, though it is irritating the way System Preferences must frequently re-open to handle a 32-bit preference pane. I'll be glad when all my third-party preferences have been upgraded to avoid this.
I did suffer a kernel panic a few hours into the working day, but I was working in TextEdit at the time and when I restarted everything I had typed was recovered. It's been so long since I last saw a kernel panic that I can't recall the circumstances, but I have a feeling it wasn't long after an earlier update.
I'm not convinced by some of the cosmetic changes. The Character Viewer icon in the menu bar is a dull substitute for the flag that was previously used. And I use a predominantly black desktop picture, so the black background on the new-style Dock menus don't show up as clearly. But Dock Exposé looks like it could be a convenient feature.
So while I don't (and didn't expect to, as things like Exchange support just aren't relevant to me) see anything exciting in Snow Leopard, the process hasn't been too troublesome.
Postscript: After writing the above, I realised that I hadn't tried printing. Despite having told the Snow Leopard installer to load the software for existing printers, my print queue has gone and the printer doesn't show up in the Add Printer browser. Great - and my Canon MP800R was supposed to be supported in 10.6. I'll be irritated (to say the least) if I have to connect it via Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi - or worse, USB.
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Snow Leopard and the Apple tablet
By Stephen WITHERS
Most of the Mac buzz this week concerns the imminent release of Snow Leopard, but the rumoured tablet is still getting attention.
Snow Leopard goes on sale this Friday (August 28), so with any luck I'll have some first-hand observations by next week.
One person purporting to be relaying information from Apple say the $A39 upgrade is exactly that - an upgrade that will only install on top of 10.5. But another says Apple told them the opposite. (I'm writing this out of hours, so I can't go directly to Apple for a definitive answer.)
I hope the latter is correct, because otherwise starting from scratch would mean installing Leopard and then Snow Leopard, making the job even more time consuming. At least that task isn't a common one. The last time I needed to do it was after replacing a hard drive.
Since the Mac Box Set is aimed at Tiger users (it contains Snow Leopard, iLife 09 and iWork 09), presumably that installer will work from bare metal regardless of what happens with the upgrade disc.
As for the tablet, multiple US publications are reporting that Steve Jobs has taken an active role in the project and is cracking the whip on the team.
Most - if not all - of these stories are based on a Wall Street Journal article which asserted that the advertising and marketing side has come in for particular scrutiny from Jobs.
If that's true (and apparently Jobs has told the WSJ that many of its 'facts' were wrong), that does suggest to me that the project is well advanced and that an early 2010 launch really is feasible.
Wouldn't it be ironic if Apple released the tablet in January, the traditional time for Macworld Expo? Apple's no longer attending Macworld, and the organisers have shifted the event to February. Part of Apple's reasoning was reportedly that it wanted to free its release schedule from another company's timetable.
Or would Apple launch the tablet to coincide with or immediately precede Macworld Expo's opening as a way of further downplaying the Expo's significance?
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Apple tablet could arrive with a familiar name
By Stephen WITHERS
There's a lot of speculation that Apple is preparing one or more tablet computers for launch in anything from a few weeks to more than 12 months.
It's been suggested that one of them could be a (vaguely) Kindle-like reader. Think of it as an iPod for the printed word.
If anyone can get the user interface and aesthetics right for such a device, it's Apple.
The company already has the infrastructure in place to sell the content - the iTunes Store - and its experience in negotiating with music labels and movie/tv studios would stand it in good stead.
A whole range of books and magazines could become available wherever you are in the world (the latter are rarely encumbered by territorial rights to make life difficult for an international operator like Apple), and remember that Rupert Murdoch is looking for ways of charging for news.
Apple has been known to recycle names ('Cocoa' was used for a children's Internet authoring system before being applied to the Mac OS X programming framework), so it already has the ideal trademark waiting for such a device.
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Smooth sailing with Mac updates
By Stephen WITHERS
It's probably not a good idea to update multiple pieces of software in one fell swoop - if something goes wrong, it can be hard to isolate the problem.
But due to pressure of work I'd fallen behind, so I took advantage of a relatively quiet weekend to bring my iMac back up to date.
Given all the horror stories that have been doing the rounds about the Mac OS X 10.5.8 update as well as Microsoft Office 2008 SP2, I was mentally prepared for a stint of troubleshooting.
But even though I threw GarageBand 5.1, iMovie 8.0.4 and iTunes 8.2.1 on at the same time - along with some Adobe updates, a NeoOffice patch, the latest version of Silverlight, and a few other application updates that I'd previously downloaded but hadn't got round to installing - everything seems to be working fine.
Now I know the Office 2008 12.2.1 update overcomes some of the reported problems with SP2, and I know that Mac OS X update issues can be hardware-specific, so there's no particular reason why I should have run into any issues.
But I still reckon that restarting a Mac immediately before installing an OS X update goes a long way to a trouble-free experience. And I'm also developing the habit of walking away once the updater is doing its job - that way, I'm unlikely to worry about the amount of time it is taking and interrupt things before they're finished.
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