I don't know how they do it. Apple sold eight million iPods last quarter, into a market I was sure would be showing signs of saturation already. And this without having much new to flog — where is the iPhone (on hold, apparently) or the wireless iPod? It is good to see that they're thinking about making the iPod speak the track selection, an addition I've long wanted. When you have 8,000-odd tracks on shuffle, there's a lot to remember.
But even better news is that Mac sales are up 12 percent. The transition to a new processor is always a tricky business, with the chance that customers will wait and see how well things work and that developers will not want to make the various investments necessary to keep up. It's even trickier when you're transitioning to the same architecture as your major rival, enabling all sorts of curious cross-fertilisations that you may not really want but might be out of your control.
Apple's pulled it off, with only the occasional blast from the tuba of stupidity. Leather cases, anyone? It's still making very desirable equipment, maintaining its differentiation and keeping its army of rabid fans happily on-side — even if some are publicly defecting to Ubuntu. It might seem churlish, when faced with such success in such a competitive market, to accuse the company of coasting, but we have high expectations of continual Apple cleverness and a rather prejudiced wish for the company to succeed. I want to see a proper digital home strategy — I couldn't care less about that normally, but Apple has the gumption to make it work so well even curmudgeons like me will want a part of it. I want to see a decent attempt at enterprise computing. I want to see Apple buy Moog and produce the world's gnarliest synthesiser. With sparking electrodes.
Sorry, sorry, got carried away there. But enterprise would be good: I can't make any case for work to buy me a Mac, and while I can deploy Linux on my own and integrate it with the work systems I'm not going to shell out tons of dosh to do the same experiment with Macintosh. Much as I'd like to. Get it sorted, Steve.
Oh, yes, Ubuntu. Ups and downs this week: Gaim has stopped letting me start group conferences on Yahoo IM, which is annoying, and twice now the machine has descended into massive disk thrashing and glacially slow response. The first time I had to hit the big red switch: the second time I managed to pull up a text console despite the GUI being effectively dead, find the problem (the clock applet had decided to use 1.3GB of virtual memory, which I suspect is not entirely how it is supposed to work) and recover from it. So I'm getting there — when I finally understand the file system, I'll be happy.
Doesn't take much when you're a geek, really.