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    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: On this week’s all-star episode, we can’t escape speculation about an Apple Car. Is this something Apple is really planning, or just a bunch of assumptions based on the decision to hire car industry executives? You’ll also hear speculation about Apple’s March 9th media event, where the final details of Apple Watch will be disclosed, along with some other possible product intros. What about the potential for a larger iPad, known as iPad Pro, and can it help jumpstart moribund sales. Topics also include the FCC’s approval of a set of rules to enforce net neutrality.

    Our guests include author Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus, a skeptic of the possibility of an Apple Car, who also talks about his new TV show, and Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer, who asserts that his publication is on solid ground that Apple is really designing a motor vehicle that will be introduced several years from now.

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    Newsletter Issue #795: Junkware Goes Off the Cliff

    February 23rd, 2015

    No you might wonder just how a PC company can sell you a notebook for $400, and a desktop PC for $300 and somehow stay in business. Just what sort of components do you expect in computers that cheap, and where’s the profit? Well, it’s not that PC companies are, in general, all that profitable, except for Apple of course. Apple manages to exist in a different universe, ranging from the MacBook Air, at $899, which is in the middle of the price range, to the Mac Pro, which sells for close to $10,000 if you get carried away with the option list on a custom model. Either way, profits are exemplary.

    Well, one way the PC makers make up for the profit shortfall is to sell the desktop to third party companies. So you unpack your spanking new PC, turn it on, and you find the Windows desktop cluttered with stuff that you never ordered. It may consist of demo software, which works for a short time before you have to buy a license to keep it working. Or perhaps a six-month trial for a security app, or maybe something that’ll provide some value that you don’t quite understand.

    So it seems that Lenovo, one of the fastest growing PC makers, one of the few companies that continues to increase sales, recently installed a possibly insidious variation on the junkware theme, or did. It seemed they loaded a number of PCs with adware from a company known as Superfish. So when you visited a site in your browser, Superfish would insert itself into your request and stick some ads in there, ads that, of course, you never requested. Aren’t the targeted ads you already see online quite enough?

    Continue Reading…

    Apple Watch: A Failure, But They Can’t Stop Talking About It!

    February 20th, 2015

    It’s likely that Apple Watch sales won’t match expectations right away even though it might be hugely successful. There’s too much anticipation, and that can be a dangerous thing, though it’s likely that the initial publicity will attract early adopters. It’s also likely there will be an Apple media event late next month, or early in April, to herald its arrival, and perhaps introduce some other Apple gear.

    What other Apple gear? Well, there are reports of a 12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display and/or possibly a 12.9-inch iPad, dubbed Pro, or perhaps both. A brand new MacBook Air, however, wouldn’t warrant special event status unless the release just happened to coincide with one.

    Now there are unconfirmed claims of alleged missing features, including blood pressure and stress sensors, because they didn’t work reliably, particularly with hairy wrists or dry wrists. So we really don’t know the full bill of particulars yet. No doubt Apple is saving something for the launch event.

    Continue Reading...

    About Things That Apple Probably Won’t Make

    February 19th, 2015

    This is a story that still has traction, despite the very questionable concept. The Wall Street Journal publishes a report about an alleged Apple project, code-named “Titan,” to build an electric car. Or maybe an electric van. Or maybe an electric motorcycle? How are we to know what they are really up to even if you assume the project name is correct and that it’s related to the car business?

    As you might expect, there are loads of copying machines in the blogosphere, and this very prospect was picked up and taken seriously by loads of scribes who are trying to justify the possibility that such a product is actually under development. Of course that depends on whether or not the WSJ’s original report is accurate and not a serious misinterpretation of a set of facts or hints.

    Continue Reading...

    Do You Really Want to Drive an Apple Car?

    February 18th, 2015

    Recently I spent several hours fiddling with the audio settings on my Kia’s sound system, such as it is. I’ve had a lot of cars over the years, cheap, mid-priced and expensive, and never had the audio hardware that just worked without some manual labor to fix the tonal balance. Not once. The default settings were usually at the extremes of what I can tolerate. Car audio is notorious for boomy bass, and sizzling highs. Impressive in the showroom, but not so impressive when you have to live with those systems day in and day out.

    Maybe it needs an Apple solution, but why just the audio system?

    So there are reports that Apple is making a huge push into getting more involved in the auto industry. A Wall Street Journal report mentions several hundred engineers being involved in an Apple project that’s code-named “Titan,” which may be working on an electric car, shades of Tesla. There are even reports that Apple and Tesla are busy plucking employees from one another, although there’s a natural affinity in a few areas, such as advancing battery and infotainment system technology.

    Continue Reading...