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    DOWNLOAD — Free Version: We feature outspoken commentator/podcaster Peter Cohen. During this segment, Gene will discuss his efforts to get decent support from AT&T wireless, which involved multiple phone calls, and frustrating encounters with more than 20 different reps. Did he finally succeed? Gene and Peter will also discuss prospects for new Mac notebooks at Apple’s 2017 WWDC developer event in June. And what about Apple’s decision to deliver subpar gaming performance on the Mac? As a former Macworld gaming columnist, Peter explains what is going on, and what he believes to be Apple’s reasons for not paying attention to the needs of avid gamers.

    You’ll also hear from independent tech journalist Joe Wilcox, who writes for BetaNews. This wide-ranging discussion will include Joe’s observations about the quality of the four major wireless carriers in the U.S., as he explains the surprising result of his efforts to switch from one company to another to get better download speeds. Were there any notable announcements at the 2017 Google I/O conference in Mountain View, CA? Was it all about photos? What about the voice assistant platforms from Amazon, Apple and Google? Should Apple respond to the Amazon Echo with its own version? Gene and Joe will also talk about the prospects for new Mac notebooks at the WWDC, and is there a possibility that Apple will pull the plug on one of its three notebook models?

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    The Mac-with-Touchscreen Argument Revisited

    May 22nd, 2017

    Just the other day, I read an article from a somewhat confused pundit that started with some accurate statements. But it then went off the rails.

    So it correctly pointed out that Mac sales were up in the March quarter, whereas Microsoft Surface declined. This despite the arrival of the $2,999.99 Surface Studio all-in-one, a touchscreen-based PC that the critics claimed that Apple should emulate.

    Things start to go astray in this article when the reader was informed that PCs with touchscreens are the only success stories on the Windows platform. This is the sort of claim that’s difficult to pin down, because PC makers don’t routinely break down sales by model or model configuration. The percentage of machines with touchscreens may indeed be higher as a product mix, so therefore you’d think they are more popular. But most people buy the cheaper models that don’t offer such extras.

    Besides, I’ve read other reports claiming that 2-in-1 PCs aren’t doing so well, perhaps because they are more expensive, and that’s not where the market has moved.

    Continue Reading...

    Newsletter Issue #912: The 4K TV Revolution: Full Stop!

    May 22nd, 2017

    You may not recall this, but HDTV was actually demonstrated in the U.S. in the late 1980s. After the standard became official, it took a while for broadcast stations to begin to adopt the technology. The first was WRAL-TV, a CBS affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina, which began transmitting digital HD on July 23, 1996. But it took until November, 1998 for HDTV sets to go on sale.

    It must have seemed strange for a TV station to be offering a technology that benefited nobody, except manufacturers and professionals, for 28 months. Over the next decade, TV sets offering 720p and, later, 1080i and 1080p resolution, blanketed the country. They got cheaper and cheaper until you could buy a decent set with a huge flat screen for only a few hundred dollars. But the original HD sets were CRT and they were very expensive.

    Once HDTV was ever-present in people’s homes, and many people had more than one set with high-definition capability, manufacturers had to find ways to persuade you to buy new sets. But a well-designed TV can easily survive for eight or 10 years before requiring major repairs, meaning a long replacement cycle. A standard definition CRT set that I bought around 1994 lasted 20 years before it was put out to pasture.

    Continue Reading…

    Believing Spin From the Critics

    May 19th, 2017

    I do enjoy the back and forth of friendly debate. I realize that my opinions are strictly those of one person, so I don’t make a big deal of their relevance. But I will defend them when I feel necessary.

    Now as you know, Apple has loads of critics. So does Google and Microsoft, and all the rest. But it seems the emotions are higher with Apple, not to mention the false or misleading assumptions. That’s why I probably use an inordinate amount of space in these columns to set things right. It’s the old-time journalist in me.

    So I have had a back and forth with a reader who is unhappy with Apple’s design directions. As a result, he went ahead and bought a Windows all-in-one, specifically a 2-in-1, which has a touchscreen. Now I’m not going to argue preference, but I felt that the reasons were exaggerated.

    For those who read these columns regularly, I had a similar argument with another reader a few months back, one who voiced similar excuses. I wouldn’t assume it’s the same person, because such views aren’t uncommon.

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    Where Unsuccessful Products Are Successful

    May 18th, 2017

    I don’t want to consider the crazy developments in the world of politics, where the definition of “fake news” depends on your belief system. Instead, let’s look at the crazy developments in the tech world, where Apple is always failing or about to, and supposedly successful products really aren’t successful after all.

    In yesterday’s column, I mentioned a main offender, Microsoft Surface PCs. Quarter after quarter, sales failed to grow all that much. They exceeded one billion dollars and then they dropped 26% in the March quarter.

    But every time Microsoft had something new to announce, it was proclaimed potentially disastrous for Apple. Even the $2,999.99 Surface Studio, a large all-in-one PC with a touchscreen display that can lay nearly flat, didn’t help to boost sales. Well, maybe it kept them from going even lower. I mean, it’s not a bad idea, but it sort of brings to mind the complicated articulated arm of an iMac G4, though the latter wasn’t nearly as flexible in the way you could move the screen.

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