In the 1990s there arrived a powerful trope from Microsoft and Intel: That the only explanation for continuing Mac use was that Mac users were, in fact, crazy. Why couldn’t they see the advantages of a dominant computing platform (Wintel) with its commodity pricing and greater base of software applications? They just weren’t getting with the plan.
How things have changed. As a longtime Mac watcher, I continue to find it amazing to read Windows market surveys that show that a sizable number of PC owners want Macs. Now, I like other Macphiles have always proclaimed the Mac platform as the best choice, much to the annoyance of my PC-using friends and colleagues. And Apple keeps reporting at its quarterly conference calls that a majority of the Mac sales in retail are to Windows users.
Despite such high belief in its higher security value over Windows 7 and older OS, at least 78 percent answered that they do not intend to purchase a new computer sooner just to have Windows 8. More than a quarter of respondents in fact do not plan to buy a Windows-based PC at all, instead intending to go with an iPad or Mac.
Maybe not so crazy, after all.
Something very old, and the same thing very new
The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) recently posted a story on how video game designer Jordan Mechner, the designer of Prince of Persia, had recently ported an early game of his to iOS. The game is called Karateka, which was originally sold by Broderbund Software for the Apple II platform back in 1984. In a video on the TUAW page, Mechner discusses differences between then and now in the software industry, thoughts about the App Store and of course, the game itself. Very interesting viewing.
Thunderbolt isn’t just the new FireWire, it’s FireWire’s rescuer
Apple at times can be very aggressive at revving it’s connector technology. Look at all the complaints this fall with the new Lightning adapter that replaced the classic 30-pin adapter. For users it’s all about the investment in the technology, while for Apple, it’s about the continuing enhancement of usability and performance in its products. Those don’t have to be the same things at the same time.
Many longtime Mac users have a great investment in FireWire technology, which is now confronting professional Macs without FireWire. However, in a post on EE Times, Dave Thompson of LSI reminds us that Thunderbolt is the bridge technology that will let FireWire products keep working into the future.
The advantage for system providers is that the hardware for that 1394 connection can be moved "outside-the-box" to increase flexibility while reducing cost. This is true of any hardware that sits on the PCI-Express bus inside the box. The advantage for consumers is that their investment in 1394 products has been extended indefinitely through Thunderbolt technology.
Yes, iCloud document syncing isn’t perfect, or really, even very good
There are many things to be happy about iCloud but syncing documents isn’t necessarily one of them. Developer Gus Mueller, founder of was interviewed recently at MacStories and mentioned the problem, for users and developers.
I’d also like to see syncing improved. I think they way Apple implemented iCloud document syncing was a big mistake – each app lives in its own silo and it’s pretty difficult to share documents between applications. Something along the lines of Dropbox would have been much better, and it’d be great if they did something like that in the future.
Making your physical wall be a virtual desktop
Susan Kare was the designer of many icons used in the original Mac 128K Finder interface. Those with a nostalgic bent, or an appreciation of Mac pioneers, can purchase limited edition prints of some of these icons or plastic posters from Walls360 that come in a range of sizes.
These “wall graphics” can be easily repositioned, the company says.
For example, there’s a version of the Mac’s pointer arrow that is available in sizes from 7.5x12 inches ($9) to 45.5x72 inches ($125). A lot of fun.
Apple’s daring positioning of the iPad mini.
We’re so used to companies protecting their existing product lines, it’s difficult to comprehend when a company with so much to protect — talking about Apple here — doesn’t do the obvious. This excellent blog post by David Chartier analyses the positioning of the major 7-inch tablets. Of course, Google and Amazon have positioned these compact tablets devices for media consumption. Not Apple.
Apple’s core message around the iPad mini is what might really set it apart from the competition—if consumers buy it. In his opening pitch, Johnny Ive lays it all out: “Our goal was to take all the amazing things you can do with the full-size iPad but pack them into a product that is so much smaller.”
For me, a significant difference between the larger iPad line and the mini line is how easy it is to collaborate with the device. If you want to work with someone on an iPad then you will need the bigger size. Customers appear to be buying both sizes.