Listen to The Tech Night Owl LIVE

DOWNLOAD — Free Version All good things must come to an end. After 17 years as a pioneer in online radio and podcasting, this will be the final original episode of The Tech Night Owl LIVE. For this show, we’ve gathered some of our favorite guests to reminisce and talk about the present and the near-future of or favorite fruit company, Apple Inc.

Guests for this very special episode include tech commentator and publisher Adam Engst, Editor and Publisher of TidBITS, outspoken veteran tech commentator Peter Cohen, cutting-edge commentator and podcaster Kirk McElhearn.

Click to hear our special wrap-up episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — July 6, 2019

For more episodes, click here to visit the show’s home page.

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Newsletter Issue #987: Apple and the Failing Upgrade Argument

April 17th, 2020

The best way for me to put this in perspective is to turn back the hands of time to my early days as the owner of a personal computer, in the mid-1980s. In those days, I was in a position to upgrade frequently, even though it was fair to say that I could put off some of those purchases for a while without my workflow suffering.

Really, the main improvement for me was the upgrade from a 14-inch Apple color display to a 19-inch something-or-other. As an historical aside, that original 14-inch display soon became a 13-inch display because of a revision in the way display size was calculated.

In any case, I took advantage of my status as a tech journalist to upgrade Macs every year or so. In large part, the performance improvement was worth it more or less; that is, until the Power Macs arrived in 1994. With the promise of a high-performance RISC processor from IBM and Motorola, Macs held the promise of achieving amazing performance, but it didn’t quite work out that way.

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Newsletter Issue #986: The Return of the “Small” iPhone — More or Less

April 16th, 2020

For several years after a tremendous growth curve, iPhone sales began to hit a wall due to size; the physical size of the device that is. Although Samsung and other companies delivered handsets with displays of five inches or more, compared to the iPhone with four inches, Apple had an argument against that approach.

The argument, that those devices were too large for easy one-handed use — well except for basketball players I suppose — was perfectly logical. But customers don’t generally make purchase decisions mainly or even partly on logic. There’s a lot of emotion involved, and the attraction of a larger display was also perfectly logical.

The iPhone 5s, for example, was in many respects superior to its Android competition, but the limitations of its relatively tiny four-inch display loomed in bold relief. Even though I became accustomed to the original 3.5-inch iPhones, writing any email of more than a few works proved a chore. I compensated by looking real close. But this approach wouldn’t work so well even with reading glasses when my contacts were on. My regular glasses, with progressive lenses, also didn’t fare so well, so I usually removed them whenever that move was convenient — or safe.

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Newsletter Issue #985: How a Company Kills Itself

April 15th, 2020

As usual, this will be a long and complicated story.

So when cable TV subscriber lists soared, there were many areas in the U.S. that were all or mostly unserved. That’s because, in sparsely-populated rural locations, it didn’t make sense for a company to lay wire, or if they did, it would cost the customer an unseemly amount of money.

Forget about a TV antenna. Cable TV was actually created to provide a central connection point to provide TV service in areas too distant from the transmission tower to get decent reception by a regular antenna — or any reception.

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Newsletter Issue #984: The 2020 Silly Season Starts Early

April 9th, 2020

Apple critics have plenty of ammunition to post attacks, but not because of anything the company has done, or any of its possible failures. It’s in large part very much about the novel coronavirus and its impact on supply chains and sales. Most Apple Stores remain closed, and anyone who actually needs to get their gear fixed, and requires fast turnaround, is going to have a whale of a time getting it done.

That’s true with any tech gadget, but Apple tends to get the lion’s share of attention even if it really isn’t doing anything different from the competition, or even if it’s doing something better.

So if you want a ride into an alternate universe, let’s climb aboard and get going.

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