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    DOWNLOAD — Free version: On this week’s all-star episode, we feature Adam Engst, of TidBITS and Take Control Books. The main focus will be on Apple’s decision to discontinue displays, and the deal that resulted in the development of the troubled LG UltraFine 5K Display, which was announced along with new MacBook Pros. What went wrong, and why did some units fail when in close proximity to a Wi-Fi router? Adam will also discuss the possibilities for future upgrades to Mac desktop computers, and the rumored use of ARM processors to manage more Mac functions. What about replacing Intel processors with Apple’s A-series silicon?

    You’ll also hear from Adam's colleague, Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles. There will be a complete discussion of the hopes and dreams for the Apple TV, and how Apple has failed, so far, in its plans to conquer the living room. What about attempts to forge content deals with the TV networks? When does Apple TV support 4K and HDR, and where is the rest of the industry going? Can Apple find a way to dominate the set-top box market? Will the networks and cable/satellite companies let them? What about the lack of new AirPort Wi-Fi routers, and is it true, as published reports claim, that Apple moved its AirPort engineering team to other divisions in the company? Is there room for an AirPort in the current marketplace, and what about combining AirPort with Apple TV?

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    Newsletter Issue #899: Learning From Old Apple Critic Nonsense

    February 20th, 2017

    Over the years, Apple’s critics have been busy claiming that the company should do this, that and the other thing. When the requests — or demands — aren’t acknowledged, or are shown to lack logic, they are just repeated ad infinitum. In fact, you hear the stories so often that you wonder whether they are just copying from one another, or living in a vacuum.

    A common complaint is that Apple needs to bite the bullet and cut prices. How dare they make big profits from the sale of their gear? Wouldn’t they sell more units if they just sacrificed some profit?

    I suppose they would, to some degree. But would sales increase enough to compensate for the loss of profits? I suspect not, because other tech companies are not nearly as profitable with hardware. Apple earns more than 90% of the profits in the smartphone industry, and Samsung receives most of the rest. That means that loads of smartphones, many sold at lower prices than the iPhone, aren’t generating profits for their manufacturers. You wonder why they are even making those things, since a company lives and dies by cash flow and profit.

    Continue Reading…


    Welcome to the Rounding Error

    February 17th, 2017

    A few years ago, a certain industry analyst firm suggested that Windows Phone, or whatever Microsoft intended to call it, would be the second most popular mobile platform on the planet by now. Seriously. Obviously somebody spent a little too much time reading Microsoft’s press releases of hope and change and didn’t consider the reality.

    In its various implementations of Windows Phone, Microsoft moved to making it possible to use Windows 10 on both regular PCs and mobile gear. I’m not at all sure if anyone cared, but Microsoft has long believed in this Windows-anywhere scheme. Unfortunately, the world has moved on.

    Part of the argument was that Apple must inevitably fail, just as they failed to take control of the PC market, and were reduced to a single percentage market share. That was supposed to make them irrelevant, but not to 75 million or so Mac users. Apple has continued to sell millions of Macs  and, in the December 2016 quarter, sales even climbed a bit compared to a PC sales slowdown.

    Continue Reading...


    Apple and the Cheap Stuff

    February 16th, 2017

    So let’s consider this: For years, Apple has sold premium-priced gear. With few exceptions, sales are high and profits are high. Even when sales fall, as they did for the iPhone over several quarters, and the iPad since 2014, Apple doesn’t lose money.

    But the critics have other ideas. You can see it implicit in their ongoing demands about Apple, every single year. So there is the long-term demand that Apple license its operating system. It was made even before the first really useful version of Windows came out, Windows 95. So in that year, you could buy an official Mac OS clone from several third-party companies, such as Power Computing.

    Before then, some companies unofficially built Mac clones by using the ROMs from an older Mac to assemble a computer that sort of worked, although they tended to be buggy.

    Continue Reading...


    Missing the Apple TV

    February 15th, 2017

    I have a third-generation Apple TV. Released in 2012, it was mostly identical to the 2010 second-generation model, except for support for 1080p HD. As a practical matter, the difference between 720p and 1080p two is slight unless you look real close, especially if you don’t have a large screen TV. Besides, streaming video is heavily compressed, so quality is far removed from that of a Blu-ray.

    So it went until the fourth-generation model arrived in the fall of 2015. At the time, it was rumored that Apple was working on its own TV subscription service, sort of in the mold of Sling TV, a streaming service that features channels culled from the regular Dish Network satellite system. The rumors sort of died off after it was reported that Apple and the TV networks just couldn’t get together on an agreement. Maybe Apple’s contract demands were too onerous, although that’s may just be a cliche.

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