Welcome to the July issue of About This Particular Macintosh! July is traditionally a month of national celebrations and family summer gatherings. Many of us take to the road while others make room for friends and family on vacation. No matter your July plans, please take a moment to read our latest issue. Each month we explore what we call the “personal computing experience” in our easy-to-read monthly magazine format.
Sitting On Top of the World
Apple’s share price ended June trading at $122.04, not far from its all-time high of $127.61 per share established in early June. This closing price valued the company at over $105 billion dollars. Apple’s current share price places the company’s market value in the thin air region among the world’s most successful enterprises. It’s been a hard climb for Mac fans and the company’s shareholders over the past twenty years. The question to be answered this month is whether or not the share price will figuratively make base camp and pause following the iPhone’s release, or continue its ascent toward the top spot among the world’s publicly traded firms.
A Room With a View
With Apple’s prospects at the top of the world, the release of the Safari 3 Public Beta for Mac and Windows provides all PC users with a room with a view of Apple’s new products and technology. Windows users downloaded the beta release of Apple’s popular Web browser more than a million times within the first few days of release.
Increasingly, Apple is making Windows irrelevant in bringing content distribution and digital device management to PC owners. The Safari beta further extends the Mac-like experience on Windows, especially for those who already use Apple’s QuickTime media player and iTunes solutions. Apple is bringing its product user experience to consumers the Mac’s limited market share has yet to reach. Watch for Apple to further exploit the Windows installed base for content distribution and device sales in the coming months and years.
The Long Engagement
Apple has been engaged in developing the next upgrade for Mac OS X for well over two years. The delay in the release of Leopard until October is due to Apple’s need to move engineers from Leopard development to the iPhone project. Apple needed to be sure the new device shipped as planned with a full complement of advertised features. At last month’s conference for Apple software developers, CEO Steve Jobs highlighted many of Leopard’s advances in usefulness and functionality. The October release date for the commercial version of Leopard provides developers with more time to test and tune their products before Leopard hits store shelves.
The Odd Couple
From a social standpoint, the iPhone is a marriage of unequals: the banal and boring cell phone meets the panache of the ’Pod. The OS X–style interface of the iPhone only adds to the allure of this new product. The Apple iPhone is available through Apple retails stores and company-owned AT&T Wireless outlets, as well as Apple’s online store. Both companies see the iPhone as a new start in a maturing cell phone market. Apple is the master of the customer relationship, while AT&T offers an expansive national cellular network and packaged communications services. Watch for both companies to leverage the iPhone’s consumer appeal. Apple is interested in selling Macs and pushing the adoption of OS X, while AT&T is battling for gains in a very competitive communications services market. Apple will benefit from both the sales of the iPhone and monthly payments from AT&T on iPhone cellular service contracts.
The June 29th release of the Apple iPhone weds the popular Apple iPod with the functionally of the cell phone in one appealing new product. Media reports indicate first adopters, many of whom waited in long lines outside Apple and AT&T Wireless stores to be among the first to purchase the new device, were mostly happy with the purchase and purchase experience. The iPhone can be activated at either the retail store at time of purchase or through Apple’s iTunes. Activation delays through iTunes on the 29th caused many first adopters to wait hours before enjoying their new purchase. Preliminary reports indicate that overwhelming activation-related traffic experienced on the 29th did not carry over to the following day.
The release of the new iPhone ahead of the release of new iPods reduces the chances of sibling rivalry. We suspect that the next generation iPods will incorporate many of the iPhone’s most attractive features. The iPhone may represent a preview of forthcoming iPods as Apple chooses to compete with other PC makers not by releasing lesser functioning Macs at lower price points but by releasing digital devices that replace the need for someone to own more than one PC.
The iPhone will have its own halo effect on Mac sales due in part to the iPhone’s use of OS X. For millions of iPhone buyers this will be the first real look they will have at Apple’s modern operating system and its enhanced functionality, stability, and appearance. Reducing the need for consumers to have more than one PC enables Apple to focus its design and product efforts on a true digital lifestyle component system, with each piece providing independent functionality with full integration with other Apple solution components. Watch for the next-generation iPods to include an implementation of OS X similar to the implementation in the iPhone.
The iPhone may be the first release of a new generation of Apple digital devices.
Divorce and Remarriage
Apple’s iPhone partnership with AT&T brings back together two of Apple’s CEOs. Dr. Gil Amelio, who preceded the return of Steve Jobs to the helm at Apple, is a member of AT&T’s board of directors. Although Dr. Amelio authored a book about his tenure at Apple, his brief biography on the AT&T Web site makes no mention of his time at the company. Dr. Amelio has been a director of AT&T since 2001.
Our July Issue
Thank you for joining us this month, and every month, as we bring you the latest news, views, and product reviews. Our editors have developed content to celebrate the “personal computing experience” as we all celebrate the sights and sounds of summer.
Our July issue includes:
The Candy Apple: Beyond Pen Pals
Here’s a place to put all your leftover books and magazines, in case your local library is full.
Bloggable: Are You Out There, Steve? It’s Me, Wes
Wes Meltzer may have doubted the existence of the iPhone, many times, but he’s doing penance for his sins now while he waits out a year on his T-Mobile contract. He’ll also send you around the review world, with those lucky souls who have already held an iPhone, and through the Valley of Doubt, in this month’s Bloggable.
Mac About Town: Dear Steve: Hurry Up and Slow Down!
When in your computer’s life cycle did you buy? Beginning? End? Both can be right, if it is also the moment you need it. Mike Chamberlain relives both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in the continuing battle to have it all.
MacMuser: Furs Thoughts About the Big Cat
“Steve Jobs’ keynote speech at WWDC opened more, er, err…, windows into the domain of the Leopard.”
MacMuser: Stuffed, Eleven Years Ago
Mark Tennent finds it hard to open old DiskDoubler archives—but that may not be a bad thing.
Outliners: Some Perspectives on the Worldwide Developers Conference
Ted Goranson uses his ATPO column to provide some observations on WWDC and how Apple has changed.
Photoshop for the Curious: Effective Layer Effects
With just a couple of mouse clicks, and this introduction to Photoshop’s Layer Styles, you’ll find that it doesn’t take years of graphic design school and Photoshop training to create professional-looking effects.
Segments: About This Particular Upgrade
For those on a budget, the decision to buy an updated laptop is not one to be made lightly. With any computer purchase, there’s always the stigma of something coming out that’s better and cheaper than what was just purchased. The best way to minimize the pain of this phenomenon is to make hardware purchases just as new models are released. But is this practice of waiting worth while, especially when the new hardware’s “improved” specifications might only be marginal?
Segments: The Hunt for an iPhone
Christopher Turner was worried that his inability to wait in line might cost him an iPhone on the day of the product’s release.
Desktop Pictures: Crowders Mountain
Reader Forrest Brown brings this month’s desktop pictures taken at Crowders Mountain, North Carolina.
“Uncomfortable” is the word of the day: at the office, on the dance floor, or in MySpace. No one is having a good time on this particular night, well, except for maybe Steve.
Review: Crossword Express 7.4d
This powerful crossword maker could use a prettier interface and higher intergration of Web capabilities.
Review: PocketDock AV
An update to May’s review of the PocketDock Line Out USB—SendStation now carries an updated version that also outputs video.