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    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: We feature outspoken blogger and podcaster Peter Cohen, who focuses on the questions raised about Apple’s ongoing commitment to professional users. And what about published reports, since denied, that chief designer Sir Jonathan Ive may no longer be fully involved in developing new Apple gear? The discussion also includes ousting the manager of the automation division, home of AppleScript, Apple’s decision to give up building its own displays, and the ever-controversial Late 2016 MacBook Pro, which features the contextual Touch Bar and a much higher price.

    You’ll also hear from columnist Joe Wilcox, of BetaNews, who will explain why he prefers his new iPhone 7 Plus despite the fact that he finds some of Google’s services, such as its voice assistant, to be superior. What should Apple be thankful for during the holiday season? Joe offers his opinions about his 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bear, and also the impact of Google’s Chromebook in American school systems, and whether its cheap price and focus on cloud-based apps makes it a better educational alternative. And what about Microsoft’s controversial decision to force Windows 10 upgrades on users, and what about sharing telemetry data culled from users with third parties?

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    The Things Apple May Be Taking Away

    November 22nd, 2016

    As much as Apple has added products to its lineup over the years, other products have gone away. Some of that was due to the bloodletting after Steve Jobs took over as “interim” CEO in 1997. So Apple tightened its focus on its core products, and gave up digital cameras, after being a pioneer in that market, the Newton and even printers. Lest you forget, the original Apple LaserWriter, with Adobe PostScript, pioneered an entire industry. And put one I worked in for a number of years out of business.

    One of the biggest changes, however, was just making the Mac product lineup understandable, reducing it to the consumer and professional desktop and notebook models. Apple still follows that approach, more or less, although the Mac lineup spread out somewhat before the current MacBook Pro refresh.

    But other changes are afoot, and Apple customers will no doubt be confused over what’s going on.

    Continue Reading...

    Newsletter Issue #886: The Things They Want Apple to Do

    November 21st, 2016

    It’s perfectly fine to make a company know what you’d like them to do, the products they should make, the products they shouldn’t make, and the changes that should be made. Apple has attracted a particularly loyal user base, so it’s understandable they feel part of a family and free to make suggestions. Compare that to most tech companies that build commodity gear. Are Dell’s customers as concerned about the form and features of that company’s PCs, which largely resemble the PCs made by other companies?

    To some, whatever Apple does is wrong. When a product doesn’t seem as successful as it might have been, the anger level increases.

    So I recall when Apple released the Power Macintosh G4 Cube in 2000. It was an attractive box, and I wrote at the time, in one or more of my reviews and commentaries, that it struck me as a potential museum piece; I was echoing a piece of dialog from an Indiana Jones movie. It was also flawed, with occasional cracks showing up the plastics at the curves of the case, and it was probably too small, which made installing some internal PCI upgrade cards difficult or just not possible. In short, it struck some as an overpriced indulgence. Perhaps Steve Jobs wanted to duplicate the original NeXT Cube in modern form.

    Continue Reading…

    Apple and “Made in the U.S.A.”

    November 18th, 2016

    At one time a large portion of Apple’s production was based in the U.S., when the gear wasn’t being assembled in Ireland. Regardless, over time, as Apple built more and more mobile gear, it has become highly dependent on a very sophisticated Asian supply chain. As a result of the lower wages and heavy use of robotic construction techniques, the costs to Apple are much lower, so you pay less while still leaving them with a hefty profit margin.

    Now the issue of building Apple gear — and gear from most tech manufacturers — overseas has become a hot political issue over the past year or so, particularly when it comes to President-elect Donald J. Trump. Should the U.S. government be taking draconian steps to return lost manufacturing to this country, or is it a lost cause? Well, I’m not about the delve into the political issues. I’d rather look at the practical issues.

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    The “Apple Should Buy This Company” Report

    November 17th, 2016

    At one time, tech pundits wondered what company should buy Apple, and it’s true that, in the 1990s before Steve Jobs returned, that was not beyond the realm of possibility. In early 1996, Apple evidently negotiated with Sun Microsystems — do you remember them? — to sell itself. This came in the wake of the news that Apple lost $69 million in the December 1995 quarter.

    In previous years, such tech companies as Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Oracle were also named as potential suitors, but negotiations reportedly went nowhere. One press report that covered the alleged negotiations with Sun claimed that, “Apple’s options are clearly narrowing.”

    But Apple CEO Michael Splindler couldn’t make such a deal happen. Shortly after the talks with Sun failed, he was replaced by Gil Amelio, who actually tried to rebuild the company. So Apple went operating system shopping, trying to acquire technology to replace the aging Mac OS. The company’s own efforts, which included the failed Copland project, couldn’t bring its crown jewels up to modern standards that included advanced multitasking and memory management.

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