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    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: On this week’s all-star episode, commentator Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer, considers the Apple rumor front, where speculation continues about a rumored iPhone 8 and the alleged problems Apple might be having in finalizing the design for production. But are such reports made by or influenced by bloggers who have been inspired by Apple’s competitors? What about the tepid updates for Apple TV? Has time passed Apple’s set-top box by, or is it possible for the product to be improved enough to realize its potential against the competition?

    You’ll also hear from tech columnist Joe Wilcox, who writes for BetaNews. This time Gene and Joe talk about Microsoft’s sales in the most recent financial quarter, and how it is succeeding beyond expectations at cloud services and Office 365. But is there any significance in the fact that sales of Surface PCs remain relatively flat? You’ll also hear Joe’s observations about the iPhone 8 and whether it’s potential might overshadow the expected refreshes of Apple’s mainstream models, which will probably be named iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus. With Comic-Con San Diego in force, Gene and Joe have a pop culture discussion, where they talk about super heroes, including Batman and Superman, and having the same characters played by different actors in the TV and movie versions. And what about a rumor that Ben Affleck may be encouraged by Warner Brothers to give up Batman’s cape?

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — July 22, 2017

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    Does the Mac Mini Have a Future?

    July 21st, 2017

    The launch of the first Mac mini in 2005 came in response to the question of whether Apple would ever build a cheap Macintosh computer. During a quarterly conference call with financial analysts the previous October, Apple executives, asked that question, said that Apple doesn’t build junk.

    At $499, the first Mac mini, with a PowerPC, was decidedly minimalist, and surely not a junk computer. It sported the guts of the cheapest PowerBook of the time, and was shipped without keyboard, mouse or display. The assumption was that you might just use what you had with your PC, since this was a neat way to switch. Or just buy some low-cost accessories.

    The Mac mini was redesigned for Intel processors, and went through other changes. The original configuration was user hostile if you wanted to upgrade RAM. You needed a putty knife or some other tool to open it, and there was the ever-present risk of damage to the case. Some folks designed custom versions of this tool that may or may not have been easier to use.

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    Tim Cook and “Imaginative CEOs”

    July 20th, 2017

    Over the years, there has been a perception that Tim Cook is not quite the master of innovation Steve Jobs was and thus not suited to lead Apple. After all, it was Jobs who, after his return to Apple in late 1996,  shepherded the introduction of the iMac, the iPod, the iPad, and, of course, the iPhone. And let’s not forget the Mac and the original Apple computers during the early years.

    A seasoned CEO would be lucky to manage even one of these achievements, let alone all of them. His very appearance at an Apple event, or during a keynote address, signaled insanely great. He had this aura about him that some regarded as a “reality distortion field,” meaning he was such a talented salesperson that he could make you believe just about anything.

    Legend has it that all or most of these products only exist because of Jobs’ uniqueness, that no other CEO could possibly have done as well. Forgotten was the fact that he had his failures, too. So, although NeXT is remembered for its innovative, Unix-based operating system that formed the basis of today’s macOS, the company failed at selling hardware, and was otherwise reduced to niche status before Apple acquired the company in 1996.

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    The Haters Say: Don’t Buy the iPhone Because It’ll Be Late and Overpriced!

    July 19th, 2017

    By fall, many of you will have an iPhone (or perhaps an Android smartphone) that is at least three years old. That’s virtually forever in the mobile business, so you’ve just got to think about what to buy next.

    That doesn’t mean you should, of course. It may well be that what you have is perfectly suited to your needs, and you really don’t care about the extra features and the snappier performance. After all, an iPhone 6, for example, has a camera that was state of the art just a few years ago. Touch ID, which might have been a tad laggy on the iPhone 5s, works pretty well. It will also run iOS 11 (but the same can be said for the previous model).

    All right, if you have an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5c, iOS 11 will pass you buy. That may not make a difference either. Mrs. Steinberg only uses the latter for phone calls. Her mobile device of choice is an iPad, and it’ll be compatible with the next OS upgrade. But she really doesn’t care about those fineries. She focuses mostly on email and Facebook, plus an assortment of fashion-related sites. They’ll continue to work regardless of which iOS she uses.

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    iTunes and the 24-Hour Movie Rental Conundrum

    July 18th, 2017

    Most of you know about this, but it doesn’t make the policy any easier to tolerate. So Mrs. Steinberg and I were looking for something to watch Saturday night. Most of our favorite TV shows are on their summer hiatus, and there are a handful of summer shows, from SyFy and other channels, which only occupy a few hours of our time each week.

    So we went hunting on iTunes for something worth watching, and there wasn’t much to see in terms of recent action and sci-fi fare. A couple of weeks back, we ran across “Doctor Strange,” the movie about the Marvel magical super hero, on Netflix. We’re currently catching up with Iron Fist, yet another Marvel super hero.

    We returned to iTunes, and ran across a recent Tom Cruise film, “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.” It’s about a former military investigator turned vigilante who has a penchant for beating up bad people and performing impossible stunts. To be fair, it’s what might be called a “B” grade action movie, and Cruise’s age is starting to show.

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