Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Windows of Opportunity: iPad Trojan for Apple

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Author: Michael Evans

Fascinating to see research that shows just over 50 percent of new iPads have gone to Windows households. It looks like the pad is following the trend started by the iPhone: It's an Apple Trojan in an alien environment. 

You could argue that the iPod was the first example of an Apple product that exposed non-believers to the world of Apple; it has been credited with starting the renaissance in Apple computer fortunes in the early '00s. But it is the iPhone that really opened th floodgates for Apple. Upwards of 100m people have experienced the Cupertino way of doing things on phones and touches. Many of them, am sure, have been heading the line for the new MacBooks and Pros. 

The iPad will reinforce the trend. Satisfied owners will start to wonder about the experience of owning a Mac computer. Apple's tight branding policy and great design strengths will draw in many of the new iPad owners. The closed hardware/software system--once a liability--is now one of Apple's greatest strengths.

Apple CoxBook: Origin of the Mac name

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Author: Michael Evans

Yesterday's Mac history post by Tony Cole had us both ferreting around to discover the origin of the Mac trademark. Not too many Wikiclicks later I had found an article by Jef Raskin who worked on the original Mac Project. 

Jef was the 31st employee of Apple in January 1978. It was Jef who had a thing for an especially delicious apple, the McIntosh. The spelling had to be adjusted for legal reasons, but that's how it started. 

I got to wondering: what if Jef had preferred the Cox's Pippin, billed as the best-flavoured apple ever? Would we now have an iCox on the desk? Or a CoxBook Pro in the Crumpler messenger bag? Stranger things have happened.

Apple Then and Now: From open to close

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Author: Tony Cole


Way back on the day in the early 1970’s when Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, two young longhaired more-or-less hippies, created their Blue Box (a device intended to enable them to hack into AT&T’s network in order to make free telephone calls), and in passing, probably without realizing it, laying the foundations for the first practical PC, a major revolution took place, but quietly, obviously, as they were attempting – and succeeding – in being thieves in an electronic manner.

This was the start of Apple, as a computer maker.   A curious start when one looks at the monolithic and respectable company that it has now become.

Originally the ideals and thrust of their work, well, actually it was mostly Wozniaks work, was to create a PC that was completely accessible to its users.   As with most PC’s in the early days, users were actively encouraged to open up the box and tinker with everything inside it.  I remember those days with affection, as I was an Amiga owner in the mid 80’s and spent as much time with a soldering iron inside my computers as actually working with them.  This was completely normal in those days.   Everything was open and accessible, both hardware and software.

For Wozniak, this was more than simply a matter of practicality; it was almost a religion for him.   He believed strongly that computer users should be free to add software, written by whoever, hardware, bought or self-made or do anything they wished with their computers.   To this end, he ensured that its OS was accessible to us, and that the computers themselves came with a whole range of expansion slots, I/O sockets and enough power to drive anything we cared to bung into the PC.

Unlike Jobs, he wasn’t too concerned about how it all looked; function and freedom were his watch words. He was simply one of the first computer nerds in fact.

iAd: Apple’s “next big thing” comes on April 7

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I love Arnold Kim’s MacRumors.com for keeping me up to date on the latest in the MacWorld. I’ve heard Arnold on several podcasts and he has great knowledge of the Apple world. Here’s a guy who is a qualified doctor of medicine but decided to defect to blogging.

Thanks to MacRumors I first heard about Apple's “next big thing” and it has set me wondering. Apparently it is iAd, a mobile ad platform that represent a “personalised, mobile advertising system.” I confess, I am not a lot nearer at the moment, but no doubt, all will be revealed on April 7 (or was it to be on April 1?). Could it be something similar to Google’s AdSense? Something that we bloggers would be interested in?

Read more here.

iPad choice: to 3G or not to 3G

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Mercifully, here in the UK we have an extra few weeks to make up our minds on whether to go for the basic wifi iPad or the more expensive 3G model. Friends in the USA report they have already placed their orders and are prepared to wait for the 3G model. I have very mixed views and all my doubts centre on that non-standard micro SIM that Apple have chosen to use in the iPad. The physically smaller iPhone still uses the larger, standard SIM card. But I suppose we can expect the micro model to be present on this year’s 4G iPhone when it arrives in the Summer.

The problem is that I want to be able to use my existing data subscription with both the iPad and my MacBook Pro. I wouldn’t mind swapping a SIM card around because, most of the time, it would stay in the iPad. Currently, as regular readers will know, I use a Novatel MiFi unit which means I can create a mini wifi network for up to five devices. At the moment, I’m minded to stick with the MiFi and with my £15-per-month 3GB Vodafone subscription.

Presumably, over the next twelve months, these micro SIMs will become more popular and it is highly likely that mini-routers such as the MiFi will soon become available with the smaller slot. In the future, therefore, I can see sense in having a 3G-equipped iPad for those occasions when I am travelling without the MacBook Pro and don’t even want the extra weight of the MiFi.

For the moment, therefore, the sensible decision is to buy the cheaper wifi pad and reserve judgement on the 3G model until the second generation model arrives in mid-2011. 

iPhone: over-complicated time-zone support?

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Photo Am I the only user who finds the setting of time zones on the iPhone to be confusing? In common with many owners, I regularly move between time zones. On my MacBook Pro I have time zone set to automatic and all I need to remember is to manually change the time-zone support in iCal. On the phone, the zone changes are manual and are buried in Settings app. The general time zone is in General/Date & Time but it’s necessary to type in the city rather than select from a list or, ideally, select from a few personal common destinations. But it’s the time zone support for calendars that always gets me. One week after returning from Athens I looked at my iPhone calendar today and realised all the appointments were two hours out (why I hadn’t noticed before, I don’t know). So I have to go to Settings and choose Mail, Contacts, Calendars and then, hidden away at the bottom of the long list, is Time Zone Support. Again, I have to type in London to replace Athens. I can understand that many people might want to leave iCal fixed to their home time zone so appointments are viewed with the correct times, but I always prefer to change over. With appointments in several time zones it is desirable not to have errors and misunderstandings creeping in. This applies particularly to plane departure times which are always designated in the local time zone. It would be a useful enhancement to the iPhone OS if we could have the ability to link the two settings when required: that way, changing the time zone in Date & Time would also adjust the calendar settings. Personally, I would also value an automatic time-zone change for both general and calendar settings. Whatever happens, I think there is room for improvement in the next edition of iPhone OS.

iPhone app for loyalty card swiping–lighten that wallet

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By Michael Evans

I'm not a great fan of loyalty cards because of the bulge they make in my wallet. I am continually being asked if I have such-and-such a card when making a purchase and have to admit that I do indeed have one, but not with me. In most cases the loyalty cards are credit-card format with an embossed number and swipe strip; or, in some cases, they have a bar code.

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Here's a wonderful opportunity for some enterprising iPhone app developer. Wouldn't it be great to store all your loyalty card information in an iPhone app? All you would need to do would be open the app and have the retailer read the barcode or whatever from the phone. The technology exists and would be welcomed by all shoppers. I wouldn't mind a percentage of the proceeds for contributing the idea.

iMac G3, forsaken by Zeus

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By Fergus MacOldie

IMac G3 JUST ENDED a mini-excursion to visit some old haunts in the south of the island of Crete, the southernmost tip of Europe. There, in the remote mountain village of Zaros, in the foothills of Zeus' birthplace, Mount Idi, lives my old friend Hebe and her veteran 1999 G3 iMac, complete with pink highlights (the Mac, that is). I was summoned to discover why Skype wouldn't run, but I found more than I bargained for. The venerable iMac had been bought in 2000 for the enormous sum of one million drachmae (over 2,500 euros by present reckoning) but it has been hardly a bad investment. With its 10 GB drive, 266MHz processor and 512MB of memory, this old girl has been soldiering on without attention for ten years. 

But crunch time approaches, as I soon discovered. Over the years well-meaning friends have supplied software and other updates on DVD, including an OS update to Panther. I found the root folder littered with redundant folders and files, including a number of data files that had somehow found their way there, so I spent a couple of hours on housekeeping. Hebe produced an ancient-looking external hard drive that someone had given her, but it turned out to be a godssend--80GB of pristine storage. I was able to offload some old stuff and, even, set up a backup schedule to copy the contents of the miniscule internal disc to the capacious drive. So far so good.

I also showed Hebe how to import photographs into iPhoto but stopped short of importing everything because we were down to a free disk space of only 1.7 GB, just about enough to keep things ticking over. However, after I left, a newly enthusiastic Hebe uploaded the 650 photographs from her camera and soon got an ominous "disk full" message. No wonder that, later in the evening, her well-viewed Sound of Music DVD wouldn't run. Clunk, clunk, the hills were no longer alive with music.

I've advised her to take the camera to the local photo store and have the memory copied to CD, then to delete all these photographs from the iMac. But what to do mediumterm? Unfortunately, the sad fact is that the iMac has reached the end of its computing days and needs replacing.

After all this, though, Skype (the latest version) still will not run. The icon bounces a couple of times and then goes back to rest in the dock. There's no obvious explanation for this. But Skype seems to be the least of the Mac's problems at the moment. She's about ready for the Dun Computin' rest home for Macs. Zeus has given up on her.

Convergence means iPhone

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Tomtom-iphone-app TOMTOM'S announcement of an iPhone navigation app and an in-car kit is proof if it were needed that convergence is alive and well. And everything seems to be converging on the iPhone, the world in your pocket. Manufacturers of gadgets of all descriptions, from pocket calculators to in-car navigators will be examining their marketing plans and asking themselves if people really want a dozen and one different bits of kit, every one with its own charger and accessories, when the iPhone can do everything just as well. 


In the past couple of years we've seen convergence come to television and video. More and more people are using computers such as the Mac Mini as a media server and the television is likely to become nothing more than a big monitor. There is a general tendency for fewer devices to do more things and to combine all these different facilities in one easy-to-use interface. 

So TomTom's iPhone plans will send a shiver through the boardrooms of rival navigator hardware companies; and we doubt it will do much to improve the sale of TomTom's own hardware. For occasional use, the iPhone makes eminent sense as a navigator.

Marcial: Apple shines, no matter who’s in charge

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INTERESTING analysis of Apple with or without Steve Jobs on Yahoo Business today. The article, by Gene Marcial, argues that Apple now has a very strong presence, spearheaded by the MacBook, iPhone and iPod, and a solid management team that could withstand even the departure of Steve Jobs. The confirmation that he will return to work before the end of June is seen as icing on the cake. Analysts are now bullish on the prospects for Apple Inc and, of course, the continuation of the old 3G iPhone model at bargain prices will do nothing to dent sales.