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    Coming December 20: On this week's all-star episode, we present commentator Kirk McElhearnMacworld's "iTunes Guy," who will discuss Amazon's pilot program, underway in New York City, to deliver your stuff in two hours, coping with ISPs and bandwidth caps, the possibilities for Apple TV, and the recently-ended iPod antitrust trial where a jury found in Apple's favor in just three hours.

    You'll also hear from cutting-edge columnist Daniel Eran Dilger, of Roughly Drafted Magazine and AppleInsider, as he exposes false and misleading tech reporting, often about Apple. So in this segment, he'll explain that, no, Apple didn't exactly lose the top spot in education to the Google Chromebook. His revealing remarks will also include the iPod trial and the possibilities for the Apple Watch.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — December 13, 2014

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

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    Newsletter Issue #785: The Night Owl’s Follow-up Report

    December 15th, 2014

    In recent months, I've written some preliminary reviews of several products. But due to the press of time and other events, I haven't gotten around to actually playing catch-up. It's time that I make up for some of that, which is the purpose of this article.

    Now several weeks ago, I received an iPad Air 2 for review. Apple sent a top-of-the-line silver model with 128GB solid state memory and a cellular radio. So if I need to get online without ready access to a Wi-Fi hotspot, I can order up a data program from a wireless carrier.

    For me, though, the iPad mostly stays at home, although my wife has taken it with her when visiting her sister. Barbara is the devoted iPad user in the Steinberg household. She takes it wherever she goes around the house, and, when taking a break, she'll catch up on email, the latest news, or checking out merchandise for a small eBay business she is starting up with the help of her sister.

    Continue Reading…

    Curious Tests of Apple Gear

    December 12th, 2014

    First and foremost, when I write about how people test tech gear, I speak from experience. I started in the game in 1994 when, as the author of my first computer book, I got an email from a Macworld editor. For several years thereafter, I wrote for that magazine before moving elsewhere. Nowadays, most of my reviews appear in these columns and on The Tech Night Owl LIVE.

    Over the years, I've reviewed everything from one of those early digital music players — all very bad until the iPod arrived — to smartphones, audio gear including computer speakers, TV sets, quite a few personal computers (Mac and PC), tablets and printers. As I write this column, I have an iPad Air 2 and an iMac 5K in house for hands-on evaluation.

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    About Beating Apple to the Punch

    December 11th, 2014

    There's something perfectly boring about hearing a statement that some company has beaten Apple to the punch by releasing a certain product or feature. But it's not as if Apple is first to market with most of their new gear.

    So the Mac wasn't the first personal computer with a graphical user interface, and the iPod was surely not the first digital media player. But both took off; the latter launched a market that was filled with nearly useless devices. Apple managed to solve the problem of poor user interfaces and performance with a much better solution, which is the Apple way.

    The iPhone wasn't the first smartphone to market. There were others from Palm, BlackBerry and other companies that became the playthings — and often essential tools — for busy executives including potential future presidents. But the iPhone and its strictly touch interface made such gadgets warm and fuzzy for regular people. That's why other companies quickly copied Apple's inventions, and why there's still a legal action involving their largest component supplier, Samsung.

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    The Apple Innovation Slowdown Myth

    December 10th, 2014

    As I've said in the past, some of those who fancy themselves as informed critics of Apple Inc. seldom pay attention. Rather than take time to understand the progression of the company and the details of its history, they make assumptions. Sometimes those assumptions are based on what others might believe without supporting evidence. Sometimes those assumptions are meant to take advantage of the value of putting "Apple" in the title; in other words hit bait. Sometimes those assumptions may even benefit a rival company.

    So we have the claim that the pace of innovation has slowed severely at Apple since Steve Jobs passed away, that Tim Cook has concentrated more on minor product refreshes, with a few exceptions. That is part and parcel of the demands that Cook should be replaced for — well — one reason or another. Maybe they just want to hold a seance and have Jobs run Apple from the hereafter.

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