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    DOWNLOAD: On this week's all-star episode, we present Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer, who explains what Steampunk is all about. No hints! He'll also hold forth on the comments Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made in response to Tim Cook's statements that, when it comes to Facebook and Google, you are the product, and you won't want to miss Bryan comments about the forthcoming Apple Watch.

    You'll also hear from tech commentator and Macworld contributor Rob Griffiths, of Many Tricks, who will discuss his recent article, "The paranoid person's guide to a complete Mac backup." He'll outline multiple "levels" of backup strategies to meet your needs, and some of this advice, using Windows backup software, may also apply to PC users.

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    Now About the Alleged Reasons for the iPad Sales Slowdown

    December 8th, 2014

    There has been no end of speculation as to why iPad sales, once soaring, are down slightly this year. True, Apple has recorded tens of millions of sales of the first truly successful tablet computer, but are the glory days over?

    Aside from the reasons why this might be so, it's unfortunate that the industry analysts who tally sales lump an iPad, which starts at $249 for the first generation iPad mini, with cheap media tablets that may sell for as little as $50, perhaps less. It's fair to say those devices are little more than toys and thus shouldn't be taken seriously for media consumption or for productivity. But if the goal is to minimize the success of the iPad, that strategy is a success.

    Continue Reading...

    Newsletter Issue #784: The iMac 5K: Four Hours to Instant Gratification

    December 8th, 2014

    Let me put my cards on the table. With the first release of the MacBook Pro with Retina display, I was convinced it would be a terrific addition to Apple's product portfolio if done right. The reviews and some hands-on exposure convinced me that Apple found a way to make me feel less sad about the decision to discontinue the 17-inch model. Surely the sharper display would compensate for having to examine content in a smaller space.

    After all, I was already convinced that a Retina display worked on an iPhone, so mirroring that concept on a notebook computer didn't surprise me. However, it wasn't easy to scale up the display, pack a graphics chip powerful enough to move all those pixels, and make it at least somewhat affordable. But prices have come down over time. Today's 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display starts at $1,299. The low-end 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display — low being relative — starts at $1,999. The latter is outfitted with 16GB of RAM, though the SSD drive is only 256GB. You really need twice that.

    As high definition notebooks go, those prices are actually quite competitive with PC hardware of similar specs, although Apple continues to possess the unfortunate reputation of charging an alleged "Apple Tax." But when rumors arose of a Retina iMac in the works, I was skeptical. As a long-time user of a 27-inch iMac, I felt the display was quite sharp enough. But why did I always gravitate to my iPhone to read long passages of text?

    Continue Reading…

    So Whither Apple TV

    December 5th, 2014

    The Apple TV has been considered Apple's next potential great thing for quite a while. First a hobby, it's now a supposedly full-fledged product that seems strangely unfinished. To many, it's just another streamer, a way to deliver TV shows and movies to your TV set, and content from your Mac or iOS device courtesy of AirPlay. But where does Apple expect to take it?

    In the wake of the best-selling authorized biography of Steve Jobs from Walter Isaacson, I'm sure many of you expected something amazing was about to happen. Jobs said Apple had devised the best TV interface anywhere, but where is it? Knowing his time was short, was Jobs merely trying to spook the competition into wasting money to compete with a product that was never to be?

    Just what is Apple's final solution to take the living room into the 21st century?

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    Make it Big, But Not Too Big

    December 4th, 2014

    Ahead of the release of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus phablet, you could hear the howls from the media critics. Apple is losing out on millions and millions of sales by not joining the bigger smartphone party. When Apple VP Philip Schiller one year demonstrated how you could use a four-inch iPhone with one hand, while that's not so easy with larger handsets, it was suggested it was just an excuse.

    Apple had to think big — or bigger than bigger — or whatever!

    It didn't matter that the iPhone 5s delivered record sales numbers. That was last year's news, and Apple had to get with the straight and the narrow and compete better with Samsung. If you wanted a larger smartphone, Apple couldn't deliver the goods. Samsung could, though it took a while before the media recognized that the newest high-end gear from the South Korean consumer electronics giant wasn't doing so well.

    Continue Reading...