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Entries in Apple (351)


Retro Tech Tuesday: Original iPod Ad

It's amazing how quickly things can get dated. I can remember when I first saw this commercial, I thought it was a cool way to get people to understand the concept of the iPod. In retrospect, I have to agree with one YouTube commenter who said it looks like the iPod makes you dance like an idiot.

Here's a look at how far the iPod, and Apple's ad campaigns have come:


Retro Tech Tuesday: 1989 Macintosh Portable

I have no doubt that in twenty-odd years, we (and our kids) will look back and giggle at what we considered cutting edge technology. Still, that's no reason to keep us from looking back now, and laughing at the state of the art 20 years ago.

In 1989, Apple was ready to unveil the Macintosh Portable, with a blazingly fast 16MHZ processor. That's megahertz, folks... Still, looking back there were some cutting edge features like stereo speakers, save sleep state, and according to Apple''s numbers, 10-12 hours of battery life.

Given the increases in processor efficiency, you could probably operate a modern laptop for a month if we were all willing to lug around something the size of the Macintosh Portable. In this clip, we get prescient prediction that portables could lead to an explosion of the use of animated presentations in the business sector. Kudos to Microsoft for also sensing the growing market, and purchasing a then Mac-only piece of software called Presenter, which would later become what we know today as PowerPoint:


Apple Posts Quarterly Results. You Can Guess The Rest

It has to be the easiest post to write: Four times a year, Apple posts their quarterly results, and each time it is a record quarter, and the company has brought in a boatload of money. The latest results are no different, with Apple reporting $24.67 billion in revenue for the Jan-Mar quarter, along with net profit of $5.99 billion.

Of note, iPhone sales were up 151 percent compared to the year-ago quarter, and Mac sales continue to outpace the industry with growth of 28% compared to a 3% decline for the PC industry as a whole.

You can read the full results here, but suffice to say, Apple made a bunch of stuff, then a bunch of people bought it.



It's On: Apple Sues Amazon Over App Store Trademark

The world of trademarks is a fascinating, and incredibly (perhaps needlessly) complex one. At first glance, Apple's decision to sue Amazon over the use of "Appstore" in the name of Amazon's new Android, um, app store may seem a bit trivial.

Of course the tech world is full of generic words/terms that are claimed as trademarks by one company or another: Perhaps you're familiar with a little word processor called Word? Businesses have to defend their trademarks, or risk losing them. With that said, many times it can be questionable whether the trademark should've been granted to begin with, and this might be one of them. But again, trademark disputes usually quietly remain in the shadows: there's an initial flurry of coverage when a suit is announced, and then off in the shadows, things are quietly resolved.

The risk Apple always runs with picking a fight with Amazon, is the key role Amazon plays in how you purchase items from the App Store(tm) . When the original iTunes store launched, Apple licensed Amazon's one-click technology. That is Amazon's patented system by which you can buy something online without first putting it in an online shopping cart. And yes, whether that system even deserves a patent is a discussion in and of itself. And who knows, if things get ugly enough, Apple could open that can of worms.

Stay tuned, as this shapes up to have the potential to become a real cluster in the coming months.



Will Lion Be Apple's Last Boxed OS?

In what has become a yearly/bi-yearly tradition, Apple fans line up at an appointed time to get the latest version of the Mac OS X operating system at the nearest Apple store. (There are rumors that in my days working Apple retail, I may have had my hair painted as a tiger print to celebrate one launch. I will not confirm or deny.)

Are those days about to become a thing of the past? is the communal spirit of an OS launch about to disappear and be replaced, like so many things, with hunching over a computer in the solitude of your home and pressing "purchase?"

It would certainly seem that with the Mac App Store, Apple now has the perfect delivery model for the next OS, and it wouldn't be surprising if Lion ends up being available through the store. Of course not everyone can access the store yet, depending on how current their OS is. So this time around, shiny boxes of Lion at the Apple Store are pretty much a sure thing, but what happens next?

The most noticeable impediment to a download only model for operating system sales would be the lack of a backup disc, or other way to re-install if things go awry. But look at the iPhone and iPad: they both get along just fine without any kind of installation disk. Adding the ability to burn a startup disk at installation could be a quick solution, but given the indications that optical drives aren't long for the Apple world, a more innovative solution could be around the corner.

Sure people have already speculated countless ways the new Apple data center could be used, along with plenty of wishlist features/ideas for the next iteration of MobileMe. It doesn't seem like a stretch to think Apple could add the ability to remotely re-boot/re-install the operating system to those services.

Would the lack of a physical OS disk be bad? From Apple's perspective it is probably substantially cheaper to move bytes around, rather than shipping physical media. It would also cut out re-sellers like Amazon, Best Buy, etc: If you want the new OS, you go through Apple. It also wouldn't be a stretch to see one more aspect of iOS carry over to the desktop: free upgrades. With the cost of getting the OS to consumers reduced to the price of a download, and with the new features of each OS increasing hardware sales, or enabling more purchases from within the Apple eco-system (ie the App Store) it's certainly plausible for the OS price to drop to zero.

The bigger question would be what would this decision do to competitors, particularly Microsoft. If Apple commits to delivering free OS updates, how Microsoft continue to justify upgrades costing hundreds of dollars? Can Microsoft even survive without the revenue of OS updates? And won't they eventually have to bring Office into the App Store, where it will face new price pressures?

Stay tuned.