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    oming August 23: On this week's all-star episode, you'll hear from cutting-edge commentator Daniel Eran Dilger, of Roughly Drafted Magazine and AppleInsider. This week he'll continue to talk about the platform wars, but he'll also focus on the continuing demands from the tech media that Apple build cheap gear and why it doesn't make sense. You'll also hear his comments about the issues facing Google and companies building Android gear and what Microsoft has to do to solve long-standing problems.

    If you are irritated by offensive web advertising, such as pop-ups and interstitials (ads that insert themselves above content on a site), you'll want to hear from Ben Williams, director of PR for Adblock Plus. He'll talk about protecting yourself from annoying online ads, and the advantages of the company's free browser add-on.

    You'll also hear from Kirk McElhearnMacworld's "iTunes Guy," who will discuss whether you need gigabit Internet, or even 4K TVs for that matter. He'll also talk about blind tests putting CD against higher resolution audio, what lossless audio is all about, and whether most of you can reliably hear a real difference between a CD and a compressed audio file, such as the AAC tracks Apple offers via iTunes.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — August 16, 2014

    For more episodes, click here to visit the show’s home page.

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    Newsletter Issue #768: If There’s a Competitive Threat, It Must Be About Apple

    August 18th, 2014

    After being the tech media's darling as the company that would take over the mobile handset industry and destroy Apple, Samsung is finding the traveled road more and more difficult. Sales are flat or declining, and profits are down. They are being hit on the high end by Apple, and on the low end by some new Asian manufacturers, particularly Xiaomi.

    To add insult to injury, Xiaomi is clearly making a bid to reach a wider market with their low-cost gear. The initial move in that direction was to hire a former Google executive to handle International sales, although there's no clear message of a major push into the U.S. But you can still find the products listed at Amazon.

    Now Apple and Samsung don't always compete for the same customers. Apple has concentrated mostly in the premium category, although you can get an iPhone free with a wireless contract or extended payment plan. That, indeed, is Apple's way to reach a wider audience in China, India and elsewhere without sacrificing profits.

    Continue Reading…

    Calling Out Industry Analyst Failures

    August 15th, 2014

    As most of you know, IDC is a major industry analyst. The company is also a division of IDG Group, which also brings you, among other properties, Macworld magazine and the Macworld | iWorld Expo. So you sort of expect that IDC would be fair to Apple.

    But expectations are sometimes not met. So you have the case of IDC "misunderestimating" Mac sales in the last quarter, claiming U.S. sales declined. But according to Apple, which has obviously the actual sales figures and not estimates, they increased by double digits. This is the second consecutive quarter where IDC's numbers undercounted true Mac sales.

    The long and short of it is that those who report on IDC findings ought to include the fact that those findings may be subject to error.

    Continue Reading...

    Get Ready for the iPhone 6 Hype Machine

    August 14th, 2014

    If the published reports are correct — and they have yet to be confirmed by Apple — there will be a media event on Tuesday, September 9th to announce the next generation iPhone. Keeping with past as precedent, it'll be called the iPhone 6, and will present some heavy-duty changes in form factor, particularly a larger display size, or two larger display sizes. The recent reports have settled on 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches; the latter puts Apple in the phablet camp, though they certainly won't call it that.

    Now it does appear Apple has been pushed perhaps kicking and screaming to build larger iPhones. Despite claiming that the 4-inch size is ideal for one-handed use, it's still true that Samsung and other companies sell an awful lot of larger handsets. You can argue all you want about quality, the worth of Android versus iOS and all the rest. But if customers want larger smartphones, and they are willing to pay for premium gear, Apple finds it hard to ignore the market.

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    Running Out of Macs to Upgrade

    August 13th, 2014

    So it is now pretty well known that Apple won't be able to take advantage of Intel's latest chip family, Broadwell, until 2015. Well, not unless there's a low-power Mac in the works that would represent a slimmer MacBook Air, or an Air-Lite version. The low-power version is the only Broadwell chip that's come out so far.

    Now I can understand that it's not always possible to predict exact release dates of new chip technologies. In large part, however, it appears Broadwell's biggest advantage is in power consumption, which would make your MacBook Air and MacBook Pro run longer on a single battery charge. That's a good thing, certainly,

    But not so good if all you want is a faster computer, since performance improvements in Intel chipsets have tended to be relatively minor in recent years. Absent a solid state drive, which really makes your Mac soar, the differences in performance for each model iteration have been relatively minor. Yes, a 2009 iMac is noticeably slower than a 2013 iMac, but the difference is mostly measured with apps that take extra time to do their thing.

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