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Posts from — February 2008

Apple’s iPhone Vs. Other Mobile Hardware Makers: 5 Revenue Engines

iPhone Engines
Daniel Eran Dilger
While pundits like to fixate on how Apple may possibly be making less than they first postulated, and then mercilessly torture their invented strawman like a voodoo proxy for the as yet bulletproof iPhone, the reality is that Apple has built a series of revenue engines that will not only make the company money, but will also support the ongoing development of the iPhone platform and keep it well ahead of rivals.

Auf Deutsch: Das Apple iPhone im Wettbewerbervergleich: Die Kraft der fünf Profitcenter
Übersetzung: digital express
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February 27, 2008   46 Comments

Toni Sacconaghi Alert: Excessive iPhone Demand Reason to Panic

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Daniel Eran Dilger
Based on a handwringing report issued by Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein Research, Barron blogger Eric Savitz and Rex Crumb, a colleague of John Dvorak at MarketWatch, are both worried that Apple won’t be able to sell enough iPhones this year, and doubly concerned that a significant chunk of what the company does sell will be used unlocked. In other words, the iPhone faces a possible demand shortage problem that is complicated by excessive worldwide demand in markets where Apple hasn’t yet established an exclusive partner. Oh the humanity.

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February 26, 2008   30 Comments

The iPod Crisis Myth

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Daniel Eran Dilger
Pundits are using scary math and dangerous sounding language to portray the imminent collapse of Apple’s leading position with the iPod. Silicon Alley Insider has been plotting out a tumbling graph depicting falling iPod sales growth while iSuppli just released an announcement that Apple was “slashing” its Flash RAM orders. Taken together, it sounds like the economic outlook for 2008 will rip the iPod and iPhone apart. That’s wrong, here’s why.

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February 22, 2008   43 Comments

Lessons from the Death of HD-DVD

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Daniel Eran Dilger
Over the last few months, HD-DVD appeared to rapidly fall from its apparent position as promising new disc format–touted by supporters as being technically superior, significantly cheaper, and less restrictive–down to a harsh new reality of scheduled death. However, the fate of HD-DVD wasn’t nearly as unpredictable as some seemed to think. Here’s why HD-DVD’s end should not have been a surprise, what lessons can be learned from its death, and what its demise means for Microsoft.

Auf Deutsch: Lehren aus dem Tod der HD-DVD
Übersetzung: digital express
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February 21, 2008   75 Comments

Apple TV Take 2 review (part 2): HD Movie comparisons

Apple TV Comparison
Daniel Eran Dilger
The most obvious new feature of Apple TV is its ability to rent iTunes movies, including a new selection of HD flicks that turned up on the iTunes Store in the last 48 hours. Here’s a look at how Apple’s rental solution prices out against rival services in terms of prolonged cost, as well as a comparison of picture quality of Apple’s HD downloads when viewed side-by-side against other high-def content sources such as HD Cable and Blu-ray.

Our previous segment covered the new features of the Apple TV Take Two software: HD movie rentals, HDMI improvements, new iTunes Store integration, new podcasting features, new web photo albums, new Dolby Digital surround sound audio support, and ad hoc iTunes streaming over AirTunes. Apple TV revolves around HDTV and home theater. That leads potential Apple TV buyers to the question: how well does Apple TV stack up against other sources of HD content?

Continues: Apple TV Take 2 review (part 2): HD Movie comparisons

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February 14, 2008   No Comments

Apple TV Take 2: an in-depth review (part 1): what’s new

Apple TV
Daniel Eran Dilger
Apple is keeping itself busy. Along with the 10.5.2 update to Mac OS X Leopard and a new reference release of Aperture 2.0, the company quietly made available the free new “Take Two” software upgrade for Apple TV on Tuesday. Here’s a look at how Apple TV compares as a living room media player and source of HDTV content, what’s new in the software upgrade, and how well the device achieves its goal of bringing iTunes media to home theaters in its second try at inventing itself.

From a non-blazing 1.5 Mb DSL connection, the software update download takes about twenty minutes, and then takes another ten minutes to install. The update actually includes three software upgrades:

  • An EFI firmware update.
  • A firmware update for the Apple TV’s HDMI video hardware that enables 1080p output through upconversion.
  • The new Take Two menus and interface with support for HD downloads, rentals, AirTunes and more.

Continues: AppleInsider | Apple TV Take 2: an in-depth review (part 1): what’s new

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February 13, 2008   6 Comments

Is Apple Shedding its Final Cut Pro Apps at NAB?

Final Cut World NAB
Daniel Eran Dilger
Apple’s announcement that it wouldn’t be exhibiting at this year’s National Association of Broadcasters trade show sent the rumor mill into high alert, resulting in claims that the company may soon exit the Pro App business with a sale of its Final Cut Studio software to a third party after having lost its interest in the market for video editing software. They’re wrong, here’s why.

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February 12, 2008   29 Comments

MacBook Air face-off: HDD vs SSD (with video)

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Daniel Eran Dilger
In this fourth installment of our MacBook Air review series, we pit Apple’s standard hard disk drive (HDD) model against the standard solid state drive (SSD) configuration in a set of battery and benchmark tests to gauge the performance and power saving capabilities of each. Videos are used to demonstrate a side-by-side simultaneous boot, as well some application launch tests.

Most critics of the MacBook Air have largely focused on what it doesn’t have in comparison to the full size MacBook and high end MacBook Pro. This sounds a lot like complaining that a convertible lacks seats for six adults and the cargo room of a minivan. What’s more interesting about the Air is how well it serves the purpose it was intended to achieve: a light, thin, and highly mobile laptop.

The previous two segments looked at issues faced by early adopters. Early adopter issues: MacBook Air and Migration Assistant examined the problems related to using only its built in WIFI 802.11n wireless networking to import files and users from another computer. In initial testing, it looked like the problem was the speed limitations of WiFi, but our followup testing suggests that WiFi can be very competitive for installing software.

In addition to the customary features Apple pared away from the Air to make it lighter, thinner, and less expensive, the new laptop also offers a new option: a solid state drive. It’s not cheap, but it is fast and promises to be more reliable than a physical hard drive mechanism. SSDs use high density Flash RAM chips to store data in place of a conventional HDD’s magnetically read platters

Continues: AppleInsider | MacBook Air face-off: HDD vs SSD (with video)

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February 11, 2008   1 Comment

Early adopter issues: MacBook Air, SuperDrive, Remote Disc and Install

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Daniel Eran Dilger
The MacBook Air ships with software tools that allow users to do without the external drive option for most purposes. Remote Disc, Remote Install, and related technologies that enable the Air to share a network host’s optical drive both for reading files, installing software, backing up data, and even booting over the network. Here’s a look at the Air’s SuperDrive and how well early adopters can expect Apple’s software to actually work as an alternative to carrying around a physical SuperDrive.

Next to the missing FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet, the MacBook Air’s missing optical drive presents the second largest issue for new adopters of the ultra-thin, lightweight laptop. Apart from Sony, which has a reputation for shoehorning impossibly thin optical drives into its ultra small VAIO laptops, most other ultra mobile laptops drop an internal optical drive to shave off volume, weight, and battery consumption. Like the MacBook Air, they supply a matching, external optical drive; the difference with the Air is that Apple suggests that its SuperDrive is entirely optional.

Continues: AppleInsider | Early adopter issues: MacBook Air, SuperDrive, Remote Disc and Install

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February 10, 2008   3 Comments

Early adopter issues: MacBook Air and Migration Assistant

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Daniel Eran Dilger
Any time a car or computer is released with a significantly new design, there are certain to be issues found with its engineering. The more changes, the more likely there’ll be early adopter problems to manage. With the MacBook Air, Apple traded FireWire, an optical drive, and Gigabit Ethernet to save a few pounds and shed a few millimeters. Here’s a look at problems users face while trying to cope without those once-standard features, and how well the workarounds Apple provided actually work.

Air Migration Assistant Without FireWire.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for Mac users is the lack of FireWire and any strong alternative on the Air. This is particularly an issue for users accustomed to migrating data between their existing Mac and a new system. The lack of Target Mode also means the Air is trickier to boot up and examine or repair using another computer. To help in the grieving process for lost FireWire, Apple includes a new version of Migration Assistant that allows users to transfer user accounts and files to the new Air using the network rather than a FireWire connection. This network option is hampered further by the lack of Gigabit Ethernet, and the optional 10/100 Fast Ethernet that is missing

Continues: AppleInsider | Early adopter issues: MacBook Air and Migration Assistant

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February 9, 2008   No Comments

Why Does Microsoft Really Want Yahoo?

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Daniel Eran Dilger
Microsoft finally went public with its $44.6 billion offer to buy Yahoo, following years of aggressive efforts to talk the company into selling out in private negotiations. Why does Microsoft want Yahoo so badly, why hasn’t Yahoo jumped at the deal, and how would such a merger work out for Microsoft, Yahoo, and the tech industry in general? History suggests some answers.

[graphic courtesy Alf: Microsoft se intenta quedar con Yahoo “por las malas” [Actualizado] | www.faq-mac.com]

En Português Brasileiro: Por que a Microsoft na verdade quer o Yahoo?
Traducción: Ubiratan Olivério

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February 7, 2008   63 Comments

MacBook Air (HDD model): an in-depth review

 MacBook Air
Daniel Eran Dilger
Prior to completing our look at the MacBook Air, we asked readers to contribute questions and concerns about the new model in “What’s wrong with the MacBook Air?” The response was overwhelming, and helps underscore the fact that the Air has captured the attention of customers both with its new form factor and with its controversial design tradeoffs engineered to deliver its thin profile and light weight.

Continues: MacBook Air (HDD model): an in-depth review

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February 4, 2008   15 Comments

MacBook Air unboxing: notes and high-quality photos

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Daniel Eran Dilger
The MacBook Air just began shipping in limited quantities that quickly sold out of the retail stores that had any units available for purchase. All stores received a small number units for window dressing and hands-on display purposes, but only select stores received enough to have any extra available for sale. We snatched the final remaining unit at the store we visited, as Apple public relations representatives congratulated the first few buyers and took promotional photos.

We took some pictures of our own. Here’s a photographic look at the MacBook Air’s iPhone-inspired packaging, its thin aluminum shell reflecting the design of the new iMac keyboards, and its proportions and construction compared to its big brother, the existing MacBook Pro.

Continues: AppleInsider | MacBook Air unboxing: notes and high-quality photos

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February 2, 2008   3 Comments

What’s wrong with the MacBook Air?

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Daniel Eran Dilger
Apple shipped a few MacBook Air units to its retail stores Friday, leaving the scant supply to mainly serve as in-store demo units. While our SSD model remains on order pending shipment, we managed to snag the one of the few available HDD-based units from one of the company’s San Francisco outlets and have set to work on an in-depth review of its ins and outs.

Continues: AppleInsider | What’s wrong with the MacBook Air?

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February 2, 2008   3 Comments

MacBook Air spawns new software solutions for missing hardware

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Daniel Eran Dilger
Tech enthusiasts like to argue about whether Apple is a really a software company or a hardware company. Its earnings reports make it clear the company generates its revenues through selling hardware, but its unique software adds much of the differentiated value to its products. The MacBook Air is no exception, leveraging new software assets such as Remote Disc, Remote Install, and a specialized Migration Assistant.

Continues: AppleInsider | MacBook Air spawns new software solutions for missing hardware

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February 1, 2008   8 Comments