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    A PREMIUM TECH NIGHT OWL LIVE EXPERIENCE! Welcome to Tech Night Owl+! For a low monthly or annual subscription fee, you will receive access to an ad-free higher-resolution version of The Tech Night Owl LIVE and other exclusive content. For more information and simple signup instructions, click here.

    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: On this week’s all-star episode, we present columnist Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” He returns this week to discuss Black Friday sales, and how he recently had his Internet connection upgraded so he finally receives speeds that are appropriate to the power user (36 megabits downloads, 9 megabits uploads). He also talks about the possible failure of the Mac Pro that received a major upgrade in late 2013 and hasn’t been upgraded since. Kirk has moved on to a 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display. There will also be a brief discussion of the ongoing VW emissions scandal.

    You’ll also hear from Jeff Carlson, Senior Editor for TidBITS, who will offer a lengthy discussion about Apple Watch, partly in response to one tech pundit’s claim, in a major newspaper, that this gadget was a turkey. Jeff will explain why he disagrees. He’ll also talk about the use case of the new iPad Pro, about Tim Cook’s claims that this, and an iPhone, are his only computers. Jeff also responds to the question of whether he’d buy an Apple Car, assuming one appears and the price is reasonably affordable.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — November 28, 2015

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    Making Smartphones is Bad for Business — Except for Apple and Samsung

    November 18th, 2015

    I assume that most companies are in business to make profits. Sure, some might want to save the planet, but at the end of the day, if revenues and profits aren’t up to snuff, a business might go under. Well, maybe not Amazon, which manages to somehow prosper despite reporting barely any profit over the years. But look at the terrific cash flow!

    I’m not about to evaluate Amazon’s business model. The company continues to expand, although the promise of one-day delivery hasn’t arrived in the slum of a neighborhood in which I live. Regardless, Amazon is happy, Wall Street is happy, and if everything doesn’t come crashing down on Jeff Bezos, that’s just fine. He also owns the Washington Post, by the way, and that property appears to be doing well I hear.

    Continue Reading...

    The Refrigerator and Toaster Oven Argument Heats Up

    November 17th, 2015

    After Tim Cook suggested that we no longer needed a PC, and an iPad was just the ticket, some people took his words out of context. So was he telling us that Macs or PCs were now passé? Yesterday’s news? Certainly that fact that Cook boasts that he no longer takes a Mac with him on his travels was compelling. This is a busy executive who asserts that his iPad Pro and his iPhone (presumably an iPhone 6s Plus) were all he needed when he left his office.

    As a practical matter, perhaps he’s correct, for him at least. But it is hard to dismiss the clear marketing connection. Maybe he is just trying to salvage falling iPad sales, even if it comes at some level of inconvenience to him. Sure, he can crunch numbers in Numbers, and even use Microsoft Excel if he’s a mind to, if only to see how the other half lives. With the Smart Keyboard, he should be able to conveniently manage all his emails and messages to his staff, and the Apple Pencil can surely suit if he wants to jot down a quick note.

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    Newsletter Issue #833: Apple’s Future Prospects — Repeating the Same Old Nonsense

    November 16th, 2015

    Some stories never go away. There are still bloggers, both financial and tech, who proclaim Apple dead and buried, or designated to fail real soon now. They’ve been saying that for years, prompting The Mac Observer to post occasional “Apple Death Knell” articles from time to time. What is clear is that the company must follow a different, tougher set of rules. Every single product or service must be an instant success or that’s it. Kaput!

    Of course, just about every company has its failures. How many products and services has Microsoft cancelled or relaunched because they didn’t do so well? Yes, Windows and Office remain pretty successful despite the PC sales slowdown. The Xbox may not be the number one game console nowadays, but it does well enough, even though Microsoft suffered from multibillion dollar losses before it became profitable. But how many people assert Microsoft is doomed? Well I have, half seriously, written installments of my own “Microsoft Death Watch” from time to time. But I recognize the successes and the failures.

    Yes, it is true that, some day, but probably not very soon, Apple will fail big time in launching a product or service that might cripple the company. The decline of the PC market may really hurt Microsoft going forward, which is why they are trying to focus on products and services that also embrace other platforms. So there are really good versions of Office for OS X, iOS and Android. It only makes sense not to depend fully on operating systems, and certainly not on mobile phones. And I’m sure Apple is looking at the time when the iPhone isn’t such a significant factor in quarterly revenues.

    Continue Reading…

    Apple and Model Proliferation

    November 13th, 2015

    Some lessons of Apple history: Back in the mid-1990s, Apple suffered from a severe bout of model proliferation. The consumer-based Performa lineup was available in so many configurations, it was hard to tell one from the other without a cheat sheet. In some cases, a model number was customized for a specific dealer, meaning that two different models might otherwise be identical.

    What a mess!

    Now this practice was hardly different from the rest of the electronics industry, and that problem persists until this every day. The number of different Samsung smartphones in the Galaxy line can be daunting.

    At one time it was rumored that Apple executives had trouble sorting things out, so when Steve Jobs took over as CEO less than a year after his return to the company, a lot of people might have applauded his key decisions. He ditched whole product lines, and cut back on the number of Macs. The lineup was reduced to a consumer version and a professional version in desktops and notebooks, with a few minor variations.

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