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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a snippet from the Globe and Mail business section (breaking news)....

"Apple Computer can never manage to live up to the hype that precedes a major computer show, since Macolytes inevitable spin themselves into a frenzy of wishful thinking, convinced that Steve Jobs will display a faster-than-light warp drive or something similar. It's probably safe to say, however, that the news at Macworld this year was even more disappointing than usual ? and so was the company's fourth quarter." Matthew Ingram

It's pretty clear he didn't set foot anywhere close to MWSF and that he didn't talk to Mac users about the show (given that there was fairly uniform excitement over the new apps and laptops). I also fail to understand the point of this negativism. It's as though there is a sector of the population who just want Apple to go away. Maybe the Switch ads aggravate them or perhaps they think that Apple is damaging to the general stock market by being innovative? Perhaps, being in the publication industry they are particularly miffed at the lacklustre progress in the Pro desktop line? What they don't get is that by picking out Apple, they are in effect demonstrating that the company has influence way beyond its marketshare. In other words, Apple does matter, QED.

BTW, Mr Ingram, I think you'll find that Nortel (not to mention Palm, Gateway and RIM) stockholders have lost a damn sight more than Apple shareholders over the past 2 years.
 

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Normally, when a company makes a modest profit ( $11 million) during a slow time for a sector, it's good news.

Taking a restructuring charge ( in this case, $17 million) also is generally looked upon favorably by the business press. It usually indicates making the company leaner and eliminating underperforming assets and the costs associated with them. My guess is this is related to the layoff of 120 employees recently.

Layoffs are typically applauded by the stockholding class as well, as it generally points to improved profitability in the future.

Maintaining a small profit in the wake of a 24% drop in sales to the Asian-Pacific market also looks to be positive for future earnings; everybody in the tech sector will have to deal with similar slowdowns in that part of the world.

Finally, Apple managed to sell more than 108,000 iPods to people who don't use Macs.

With around 40 million shares outstanding and $4.4 Billion in the bank, Apple's stock price again seems undervalued.

Compared to the rest of the tech sector, Apple is hardly amongst the worst performers.

Yahoo Finance
CBS Marketwatch Apple

Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, and my words as well as Matthew's are just that. It is a relief, though, that Matt doesn't expect anything from Microsoft except a conduit of money, so he's rarely dissappointed
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Gordguide, apparently most of the restructuring was due to the closure of the Singapore manufacturing unit. Your points are well taken and it makes little sense to criticize Apple over their actions, which all seem pretty logical. Given the dearth of progress in processing speed, Apple has pulled out the stops to improve everything it can control. I just don't get why the press like to kick Apple around.

My copy of Keynote just arrived. Heh....
 

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I just finished writing a letter. I have copied it and posted it here for you guys to check out as well.

--------------------------------------------
Re: Apple needs more of the old Magic

Undoubtedly, you have received a flood of email. Both reactionary and angry letters from Mac Users as well as more well thought out ones. It tends to happen when the media jumps all over Apple (whether justified or not).

But your latest article I feel, misses the point of many of the elements it brings to light. Commentary that not only can be misconstrued as reactionary itself, but to some as downright misinformed.

The article doesn't really start off very well. Rampant speculation that we as Mac Users expect Steve Jobs to bring about Star-Trekkian technology. Nor, I feel did you really understand exactly how exciting this year's MacWorld Expo in San Francisco turned out to be.

Apple has always focussed on innovation, even if it took a back seat to profits from time to time, but this year a small loss, certainly compared to other hardware and software giants, was nothing to become upset about. Sure, it's disheartening when your favourite company doesn't get to jot down numbers in black ink, but a slow economy certainly should be considered a factor here. Every other company involved in computer hardware and software sales appears to think so. I don't see why Apple should be excluded from that club merely because it doesn't follow the Microsoftian way.

Rumours are just that. Rumours. Sure, it's fun to guess, to stretch ones precognitive abilities, to see if your predictions of cool new announcements and upgrades is accurate. But to think the Mac Faithful shed tears of angst when something doesn't come about... well, it sounds like you were just trolling for a reaction.

Apple's announcements held quite a bit of weight this year. More than usual considering the somewhat downbeat nature of the previous Expo held in July last year. The laptop announcements hold quite a bit of potential. The first ever 17" screen full-featured laptop and probably the first full-featured 12" laptop (by full featured, it means it has everything you would need in a desktop as well as portability). and a remarkable price are nothing to dismiss out of hand. neither was the introduction of the Airport Extreme following the 802.11g standard or Bluetooth compatibility in every G4 machine.

The fact that you dismiss out of hand the iPod-ready jacket as "Cool? Definitely. But when it comes to earth-moving products that might drive revenue or profit growth for Apple in the near to medium term, Macworld had very little to offer." seems to miss the point of the announcement. Apple is working with 3rd-party companies to develop products and ideas it integrate current technologies as well as future ones. The jacket may be a niche market, but what other ideas will spring forth in the next 11+ months?

The software announcements were also quite substantial. iTunes 3 (which has been out for months now) is being joined by a tightly integrated iPhoto 2, iMovie 3 and (the one you missed in your article) iDVD 3. All upgrades to popular and (except for iDVD 3) free for download as of their release date of January 25th. iDVD (which weighs in at about 2GB, due to the amount of extra stuff it comes with) will be available in the iLife package that same day. Significant? Perhaps not to the average PC User who doesn't know much beyond the name of the software, but to someone who has actually taken a look or even used these products, it will be a step further as these four iApps are tightly interconnected to provide ease of use even greater than their predecessors. And that doesn't even take into consideration the improvements a version number increase adds to these programs.

You dismiss KeyNote and Safari right away. A shame since you obviously don't understand their significance. KeyNote is a PowerPoint with actual power under the hood. It takes advantage of OS X's Quartz Rendering and provides complete compatibility with all the top PowerPoint-like file types. It has begun fulfilling on the promises that Microsoft's PowerPoint has always failed to do on the Mac.

Safari has been an unmitigated success within 24 hours. Already the most downloaded free application from Apple's site, it's poised to become the replacement to Microsoft's Internet Explorer for many Mac Users, considering Microsoft hasn't bothered more than a point-oh upgrade in their buggy, crash-prone browser in more than a year and a half. It also has been rated as faster, more streamlined, and more W3C compliant that Internet Explorer while still at it's beta stage. Up until now, Internet Explorer could sit on their share of the browser pie and claim to be the victor, since it's competition was either nowhere near as compliant (OmniWeb and iCab) or still in beta itself (Chimera and Mozilla). AOL Time Warner's Netscape isn't even a blip on the radar, so why you chose to include it in your article baffles me. They are not connected to the gecko-based Mac browsers that are impressing Mac Users around the globe.

"As for the software announcements, while Keynote and Safari are nice additions to the Mac world, even the most devoted fan would have a hard time believing Apple can actually compete with PowerPoint or Internet Explorer at this point. " Again you fail to see the obvious. These products already are showing promise to compete against Microsoft's Mac offerings. In reality, the majority of Mac Users are actively seeking an alternative to anything and everything Microsoft.

In one of his recent postings, journalist Andy Inhatko watched as dozens upon dozens of people grabbed up their free copies of KeyNote right after Steve Jobs left the stage and converted their own PowerPoint presentations to the new software on the spot. As well, Safari having already exceeded 500,000 downloads by the weekend seems to put credence in the idea that already 10% of the Mac OS X using population has jumped at the chance to use a non-Microsoft browser days after it was released and while it is still officially in beta.

"It's no surprise that the day before Steve Jobs's keynote speech, Merrill Lynch put out a "sell" recommendation on the stock, since..." No, it's not a surprise. However, connecting the two incidents seems rather amateurish. Do you really believe Merrill Lynch had based their decision on Steve Job's as yet unspoken Keynote speech? Number were involved in their consideration, not words.

This years MWSF Expo, unlike the financial report, was far from disappointing. And if this is how Steve Jobs starts off the year 2003, I suspect we'll be in for more exciting and interesting announcements throughout the year.

Hopefully you will be able to see that next time you write an Apple-themed article.

Robert Hammond
Adobe Support Technician and Mac Enthusiast


--------------------------------------------

Will it amount to anything? Not likely. But I feel a bit better now...

:cool:
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Strongblade:
I just finished writing a letter. I have copied it and posted it here for you guys to check out as well.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

*Snip*

Well said, Strongblade! :cool:
 

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My take on his take - here's what I sent :rolleyes:
"Not sure what show YOU watched but general consensus amongst Mac users across Canada was that Steve put on one of the better shows in Apple history. Yes it was a different mix of software and hardware BUT that's the nature of the Mac business these days and most Mac owners are very happy with Apple's progress.
Apple is NOT being driven by shows and that's a good thing.

I've been supporting the Mac community in Canada since 1985 and I also think that was one of the top shows. They are not playing to Wall Street, they are playing a good long term game and listening to Mac owners.

Perhaps actually asking Mac users here http://www.ehmac.com/cgi_bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=002086
instead of pontificating would be more in the spirit of "reporting" instead of speculating."



 

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There are idiots, and then there are idiots who try to look smart...

And of course then theres humanity who do idiotic things for the most absurd reasons but only in hindsight :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I sent the following email to Mathew Ingram prior to the posting of the full article (I'd only seen the first paragraph teaser and the title):

Mathew,

In reading the trailer for your article in the breaking news section of the G&M (I'm a subscriber), I really hope that you are not going to hammer out another prediction for the demise of Apple Computer. The last MacWorld was hardly disappointing with two new laptops (I've already put in an order for the 17" puppy), new browser and other new applications. The real news of that keynote (another new application) was Apple finally daring to stick it to Microsoft (with the creation of products that directly compete). This, coupled with the Switcher campaign, suggests that open warfare is all but declared between these two companies. That is somewhat more interesting than the flat-lined financial performance (which was actually in line with market expectations). The other story here is the embracing of open source standards. Not a sign of desperation, but a realization that one person/companies idea is often not the best.

In case you missed the other information, other surprises at the show were FireWire 800, 801.11g integrated into laptops and an 801.11g base station with USB printer server. No apologies for Apple overall. We'd all like to see this company do better financially and in marketshare, but considering the entire rest of the sector (excepting the Borg-like business of dull Dell), Apple isn't exactly limping and neither are its customers.

Cheers,

Jim Woodgett

The full article, along with a picture of three people looking at a demo of the 17" powerbook, is in todays Report on Business section. Ironically, the front page of the Careers section of the same paper has an article on "knowing your customers" and has a 3 year old picture of Jobs looking at an iMac DV. The article exemplifies Jobs willingness to understand his customers as being key to business success!

BTW, the letters sent by EhMaxi are great (specially Strongblades).
 

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used to be jwoodget wrote:
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> What they don't get is that by picking out Apple, they are in effect demonstrating that the company has influence way beyond its marketshare. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Just to add to that - Apple's marketshare is not insignificant compared to any single PC maker in the market they are in is it? And don't forget DELL has to share the proceeds with Microsoft... So I don't think picking [on] Apple really overblows its importance - as you say, it demonstrates a fact: Apple just IS a force to be reckoned with, no need for media to prove this (involuntarily or not). And if Apple has more mindshare than others for it's size, I would give Apple's marketing all the credit.
 

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My letter to Matthew (sent yesterday)

----------------------------
Hi Matthew. Some thoughts on your column:
(not for publication)

> It's no surprise that the day before Steve Jobs's keynote speech,
> Merrill Lynch put out a "sell" recommendation on the stock,
> since it is selling for 50 times earnings estimates for this year,
> despite having fallen sharply over the past six months.

I don't have a head for finance, so I can't dispute this. However, Merrill Lynch and everyone else was surprised by the announcement of the two new PowerBook models. Apple usually tries to keep new product secret, and there are always rumours before Macworld, but NO ONE predicted new PowerBooks.

> What Apple needs is something to drive sales in 2003 and 2004, and
> it's not clear that a new large laptop and a new small laptop will do it,

I think they will. Jobs' keynote made it clear that he expects an increasing percentage of hardware sales to be in portables instead of desktop machines.

The new 12" PowerBook is perfect for the UNIX developers and programmers who wanted G4 power without paying the Big Ticket price of the 15" PowerBook. Meanwhile, video editors and pro musicians are lusting after the new 17", and they have the money to buy 'em.

Also, I'm hearing that there will be more new Apple hardware before February -- retailers report that the channel is almost empty of product. That may just be 'speed bumps' for the iMac and iBook, or it could be something more. The new versions of the 'iApps' are scheduled to arrive on January 25...

> As for the software announcements, while Keynote and Safari
> are nice additions to the Mac world, even the most devoted fan
> would have a hard time believing Apple can actually compete
> with PowerPoint or Internet Explorer at this point.

Apple now has free software to sub for Entourage (Mail, Address Book, iCal), free software to replace Word (TextEdit) and US$99 Keynote to replace PowerPoint. I've been able to play with it, and it's superior to PowerPoint in many ways, plus imports and exports PowerPoint format.

Does Apple provide a feature-by-feature alternative to Office? No. (They could -- AppleWorks is long overdue for an update, but Apple says AW is strictly for the Education market.)

Furthermore, the under-the-radar release of Apple's version of X11 (aka "X-windows) means that the completely free Open Office software, which DOES compete feature-for-feature with MS Office, is now available in an Aqua-fied version that runs on OS X. Installing X11 and Open Office still requires a degree in UNIX, but I bet that won't last. Apple's X11 blurs the line between OS X and the UNIX X-windows environment -- users can now even drag and drop files, images, etc. between the two environments.

Strategically, Keynote prevents Microsoft from taking the price of MS Office X back up to $799. They're going to be stuck with their "Office Party" price (now held over until after Valentine's Day). You may recall that MS and Apple had a spat last fall about why Office isn't selling. MS said it's because Apple isn't promoting OS X enough; Apple responded that it might be the price tag. (I wonder how happy MS is now that Apple is more actively promoting OS X... as an alternative to Windows?)

Meanwhile, Safari is all about Apple taking control of HTML rendering in OS X. The foundation of Safari (WebCore and JavaScriptCore) are powerful tools for developers, and will make OS X apps that use HTML rendering (e.g. Sherlock, Mac Help) much, MUCH faster than they've been.

Note also that Apple is now explicitly teaching developers how to 'port' their software from Windows to OS X: http://developer.apple.com/macosx/win32porting/

It should be an interesting year.
Sandy
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> free software to replace Word (TextEdit) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sorry, your letter was good except for this line. There is no way that TextEdit is comparable to Word except in the fact that you can type text into both.

That said, we have been expecting a new version of AppleWorks for a looong time now, and with the introduction of Keynote, I can forsee them coming out with a Word-esque wordprocessor in the near future. In fact it wouldn;t really surprise me to see a word replacement and an Excel replacement sepearatly, and then a bundle of the three. Probably free with iMacs, eMacs and iBooks, just like AppleWorks is today.

One thing that has always bothered me, why does Apple not include Appleworks with PowerMacs/Books? it seems kind of silly.

--PB
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey Sandy, good to see you in the forums (Sandy used to write in the tech section of the Sun family of papers and now does more freelancing - inc. for the G&M as well as running TechStuff, a news site for Canuck computer users).

TextEdit isn't a Word replacement but it is quite powerful due to its pure Cocoa structure. There are serveral "service" apps that add to its capabilities. Sure, it is pretty useless for long docs and a host of other bloatware features present in MS Word but I set RTF docs to open in TextEdit and I've not yet hit any limitations with Word docs sent to me as RTF.

I still use Word as my main word application (and I'll probably always have a copy on my laptop to maintain full compatibility) but it's pretty obvious that Apple is not-so-discreetly offering competition for the Office suite. The only exception is Excel.....

It was also funny that Jobs repeatedly referred to the new versions of the iApps as offering the same degree of integration that MS Office brought to documents. Suggests to me that the next versions of Keynote, iCal, Mail, iSync, Safari, FileMaker, AppleWorks, etc. will have even more interconnectivity. The links are probably in there right now (via services and Applescript).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ha, just noticed that the Hot News section at Apple.com points to Sandy McMurray's iPod for Windowns review in
Globe Technology.

Way to go.... BTW Sandy, I didn't realise that the iPod's rechargeable battery is removable - you note this twice. There is nothing about this in the on-line tech specs and no part number for a battery (my wife's 5 gb iPod doesn't seem to have a replaceable battery - at least not owner-replaceable).
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by PosterBoy:
Sorry, your letter was good except for this line. There is no way that TextEdit is comparable to Word except in the fact that you can type text into both.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Oh MAN! *NOW* you tell me? I just converted all my Word .docs to TextEdit 'RTF' format for cross-platform use.

Seriously, TextEdit may be a Simpletext variant, but other than the bloated number of features hardly anyone uses, TextEdit is a solid and free Word Processor program.

I'll agree (on a less tongue-in-cheek perspective though) that TextEdit might not be the best example of a Microsoft Word competitor. However, there are several other choices that could do in a pinch. Some are pretty cheap or even free.

<Strongbabble On>

I just had a discussion tonight with a colleague regarding stuff of this nature... The Apple-branded MS replacements.

Other than Excel, and the fact that Entourage is the only OS X solution for email on an Exchange Server (and even that is lackluster compared to it's PC brethren) One can find a low cost, even free replacements for pretty much every other Microsoft product available. Word, Powerpoint (since KeyNote's introduction) Access (FileMaker is pretty much the Mac version, since no Mac Access exists) and now Internet Explorer (with Safari shaping up nicely).

Can anyone think of something missing? Is ther eany other desired replacement for a "must use" Microsoft product?

Since ThinkFree Office came about, I've replaced everything except IE, and that's only around until I can squeeze some more compatibility with commonly-accessed websites from Safari.

Seriously, this looks like the year I can finally go Microsoft Free!

If I need a secondary browser, I will probably stick with Chimera if Safari runs into more beta-based snags. Say, like Hotmail... Oh wait... I'll want to avoid that site if I can ;)

:cool:
 

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Maybe I'm just jaded but I was not insensed while reading through that article. It just seemed to me to be another misguided and incomplete analysis, and I've read so many over the years that I think I just tune them out unless they're egregiously inaccurate.

I thought though that if he was going to go to the trouble of implying that Apple was on shaky financial footing on the barest whiff of weakness in the quarterlies, that he ought to at least note that it's market share is growing (I know 2.9 to 3.0% is the barest of improvements but it's certainly in the same order of magnitude as the numbers he quotes to imply financial weakness).
 
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