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ATPM 12.05
May 2006




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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the May issue of About This Particular Macintosh! In this month’s column, we look at recent product announcements and some important trends emerging in the Macintosh world of personal computing and the PC business in general. Our publication celebrates what we call the “personal computing experience.” We encourage you to read this month’s issue in its entirety. We bring you the latest news, views, and reviews in an easy-to-read monthly format. We begin this month’s Welcome where we left off in April.

Boot Camp

In last month’s Welcome we alluded to Apple announcing Windows functionality on the Mac. While Mac OS X is known to be a superior, more secure operating system, the perceived comparative lack of applications for the Mac versus those available for users of Windows XP was considered a drawback for Mac owners.

In early April, Apple announced Boot Camp. Boot Camp provides the means for installing Windows XP on a Macintosh computer and allows users to choose between Mac OS X and Windows XP at startup. Released now as a public beta, Boot Camp will be included as a commercial solution in the forthcoming upgrade to OS X called Leopard.

In addition to Boot Camp, solutions are coming to market allowing the installation of Windows on a Mac through “virtualization” or running Windows on Mac OS X. The principal benefit of this solution is the ability to run Mac OS X and Windows applications simultaneously and without the need to restart the computer.

Apple’s migration to the Intel architecture will provide greater opportunities to install and run applications for other operating systems that have this architecture in common. Whether or not Apple will provide Mac users with its own virtualization solution is a matter of much speculation.

The 17″ MacBook Pro

In late April, Apple debuted the new 17″ MacBook Pro. Introduced in time for the NAB2006 media show, the new portable replaces the 17″ G4 PowerBook while adding new features specifically designed for the needs of media pros such as FireWire 800 and a dual-layer SuperDrive.

Dell vs. Apple

Dell Computer is the undisputed leader in global PC unit sales. Apple Computer is considered the world’s leader in PC design. Aside from acknowledged leadership in different aspects of the PC business, what might these two industry giants have in common? For one, the two companies have similar market vales. At the end of April, Dell was valued on Wall Street at $60.44 billion while Apple was valued at $59.77 billion, a difference of only $670 million in value between the two companies.

Why is it that the world’s leader in PC unit shipments, with revenue in its last fiscal year of about $56 billion dollars, has similar market value to a company such as Apple with annual revenue in its last fiscal year of about $14 billion?

The answer: research and development. Apple invests significantly more in the development of new products than Dell, and this investment provides the company with higher gross margins on each product sold.

In fact, to keep Dell’s market value from dropping through the floor the company has used more than $18 billion in cash to buy back its own shares. Reducing the number of shares outstanding is the only means the company has to keep earnings per share rising at a rate acceptable to shareholders. The company has now used $5 billion more in cash than the aggregate net profits the company has earned since incorporation. In other words, Dell is cannibalizing itself in order to keep investors from fleeing the company.

The more of this story: Investment in innovation is often the better path to shareholder wealth. Dell pushed innovation in manufacturing and distribution during the 1990s, and this innovation lead to Dell’s market leadership and financial rewards for the company’s shareholders. Absent meaningful investments in R&D, Dell’s share price has remained relatively flat for the past few years.

Apple continues to grow in revenue and market influence due to award-winning products and a commitment to research and development. Watch for Apple’s fortunes to continue to rise as the company completes its transition to the Intel architecture and releases new iPods and the next upgrade to Mac OS X in time to compete head-to head with Microsoft’s much-delayed Windows Vista.

Quarterly Results

For the quarterly period ended April 1, 2006 Apple reported its second highest three-month revenue total in the company’s history with revenue of $4.36 billion and net earnings of $.47 per diluted share. Mac shipments increased four percent year-over-year to 1.112 million units. In the same period Apple shipped over 8.5 million iPods.

Buy a Mac, Give a PC Back

In late April, Apple announced a free computer recycling program beginning in June for US customers who purchase a new Mac through the online Apple store or at any of the company’s retail store locations. The recycling program is intended to reduce the amount of hazardous waste created by the disposal of personal computers and consumer electronics. Environmentally conscious customers interested in a new computer may see this program as another reason to consider purchasing a Mac.

Our May issue includes:

Bloggable: Yes, Drill Sergeant!

Something’s wrong: Apple’s demeanor has turned so military-oriented lately. First, they went from hippie fruit-“flavored” computers to plain white and metal dress uniforms. Now, they’re even calling their dual-booting software “Boot Camp.” Hey, Steve, while you’re at it, resuscitate “Be All You Can Be,” and we’ll be set, booting XP in our standard-issue white and silver dress code…. Or not, if this month is any indication. Consensus opinion is that Apple is actually subverting our monolithic corporate overlord, Microsoft. Either way, plus more blogosphere awards, Jason O’Grady, 20 years of Apple, and more in this month’s Bloggable.

MacMuser: Data Composting

What on earth does one do with back copies of ATPM? Feed them through the shredder? Send them for recycling? Is there any use for digital detritus and electronic ephemera?

MacMuser: Fish Out of Water

You can talk to the trees but they won’t listen to you, so try sea gulls instead. Their window on the world opens new vistas for Mac users worried that Boot Camp spells the end of Mac OS X.

Web Sites

ATPW returns with music from a hundred years ago, modern music you probably haven’t heard, and the delicate sound of the Internal Revenue Code. You’ll also find shortcuts through the labyrinth of telephone customer service and a game you can play while you’re waiting for someone to pick up the phone.

FileMaking: Text Parsing With FileMaker

This month, FileMaking returns by looking at building functions for text parsing.

Outliners: Outlining Workflows and ConceptDraw

Ted Goranson looks at outliners in a work flow in this month’s ATPO, with ConceptDraw Suite as an example.

Desktop Pictures: EAA AirVenture

Aircraft enthusiasts will enjoy this month’s desktop pictures provided by Chris Lawson. The images feature planes being shown and flown at the 2005 Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture event.


We learn Cortland is a James Brown fan, and there’s a lot more to Brody than meets the eye—much more.

Review: Footlights Pro 2.1

After a recent How-To for performing video extraction, Sylvester Roque learns of another utility for the job and takes it for a spin.

Review: Hardsleeve

ATPM continues its long-running offerings of case reviews. This month, Frank Wu looks at Axio’s hard exterior laptop sleeve—the Hardsleeve.

Review: iPod 5G

Apple’s iPod juggernaut continues its revision cycle with arguably the best iPod yet.

Review: iTunes Catalog 2.0.1

iTunes Catalog provides handy access to your library from a remote location—even the ability to play music files. Though it was found to have a few rough edges and bugs, it’s still a very cool way to access your music.

Review: SmartBoard USB5000

Is there an affordable ergonomic keyboard built for the Macintosh that will hold up under the worst a touch-typist can deliver? Datadesk may have built one.

Also in This Series

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