Daniel Eran Dilger
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Category — the Media

Analysts, Investors Take Apple to Task For its Best Quarter Ever

Apple Stock January 2008
Daniel Eran Dilger
According to Dan Frommer of Silicon Alley Insider, the Era of the iPod is over. That dramatic conclusion comes from the limited new iPod unit sales increase year over year in the December quarter; this year, Apple sold just five percent more iPods that it did last winter. However, reality isn’t quite so simple, and there’s no reason to buy into the professional panic being advanced by the usual suspects.

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January 23, 2008   38 Comments

How the MacBook Air stacks up against other ultra-light notebooks

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Daniel Eran Dilger
At last year’s Macworld Expo, Apple’s dramatic unveiling of the iPhone divided the world into two camps: those who were excited about the state of the art being pushed, and those who were irritated that Apple was the one doing it. This year, the role of the iPhone is being played by Apple’s new MacBook Air.

As with the iPhone, Apple wasn’t inventing a new category of product when it announced the MacBook Air. The ultra light notebook category has been steadily refined and advanced by Sony, Panasonic, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and many others; each manufacturer has delivered product lines designed to match their customers’ needs.

Sony targets high end consumers; it leverages its physical media engineering prowess to build DVD burners into most of its models, something that few other light notebook makers even attempt to do. Sony’s Vaio line is splashy and feature rich, but isn’t commonly regarded as well built or durable.

Panasonic is known for its ruggedized Toughbook line, designed to operate in rough environments. Its models commonly trade off high end performance and features for extremely light weight and compact size. That relegates Panasonic’s fans to mobile business users, and makes it less appealing to mainstream consumers.

Lenovo, which bought up IBM’s PC division, continues the venerable ThinkPad line as a highly regarded workhorse that delivers top performance in a thin but well constructed case — all work and no play. ThinkPads are also known for their long usable life and their fingertip controllers rather than trackpads, something that polarizes users for or against based on their personal preferences.

Fujitsu is another leader in light and thin notebooks, but also makes more general purpose machines that borrow from its leading edge thin designs. Its larger sized lines are powerful and economical while still remaining thin and fairly light. Fujitsu also makes Tablet PC convertible machines with the flip-around monitors that have yet to prove popular because they are gutless and expensive.

Asus, best known for its popular $350 EEE PC toy notebook, is also making inroads into the light notebook business. It’s targeting low powered thin models with small but higher resolution displays than most of the competition.

Of course there are many other makers of light notebooks. Dell and HP both make lighter notebook models, but none are really comparable to the top competitors in the ultralight market; instead, those two companies target the mass market, which hasn’t yet started chasing light thin notebooks because of the engineering tradeoffs they require to drop the pounds and millimeters and their commensurate price tags.

Continues: AppleInsider | How the MacBook Air stacks up against other ultra-light notebooks

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January 22, 2008   20 Comments

Who Was the Biggest Loser at Macworld?

Take this Job and Stuffit
Daniel Eran Dilger
There are winners and losers in life, and in accordance with the First Law of Thermodynamics, the heat and light generated by winners must result in a cold, dark shutout for an equal number of losers. Who won and lost a Macworld 2008?

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January 22, 2008   40 Comments

Apple TV Promises to Take 2008

Apple TV 2008
Daniel Eran Dilger
While 2007 was the Year of the iPhone, 2008 appears to be set as the Year of Apple TV. After languishing for a year with weak sales, derisive media scoffing, and an official designation as a “hobby” for Apple, the product’s newly unveiled software upgrade has already kick started sales, even prior to the new “take two” software being released.

As one Apple Store employee observed a day after Macworld ended, “Apple TV is crackin. We went from selling one a week to one or two an hour.”

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January 21, 2008   142 Comments

San Francisco, Muni Fall Apart For Macworld Expo

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Daniel Eran Dilger
A very long time ago, San Francisco was known as “the City that Knows How,” a slogan coined by US President William Howard Taft in 1911 on observing the monumental rebuilding work that followed the great earthquake and fire of 1906. Nearly a century later, the slogan still show up in places, but it’s hard to understand why, particularly if you’re part of the shrinking middle class minority that is wholly unserved by a political system designed only to entertain the wealthy and serve the needs of the abjectly destitute by the most inefficient and ineffective means possible.

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January 19, 2008   53 Comments

First Look: Apple TV 2.0 and iTunes Movie Rentals

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Daniel Eran Dilger
After suffering a year of media mockery and consumer indifference, Apple TV is poised to leverage its tight integration with iTunes to jump to the front of the line in living room media rentals. The best news: existing early adopters will gain all the new features via a software update without needing to replace or upgrade their existing hardware.

Steve Jobs originally floated Apple TV under the temporary moniker iTV back in the fall of 2006. In many ways, the device seemed to be a placeholder designed to inspire confidence in the company’s ability to maintain parity with competitors’ online movie sales. In parallel with the announcement, Apple upgraded iTunes video to “near DVD” quality, added Dolby Surround sound, and started into the movie sales business initially with only Disney as a partner.

After its official release following last years’ Macworld Expo, Jobs described Apple TV as a hobby and later as a ‘fourth leg’ that he hoped would help hold up the company’s platforms. Jobs told USA Today, “We have the Mac business, which is a $10 billion business, and music — our iPod and iTunes business — which is $10 billion. We hope the iPhone is the third leg on our chair, and maybe one day, Apple TV will be the fourth leg.”

While the iPhone quickly established itself as a powerful force in the mobile industry, Apple TV didn’t seem to get much attention at all. After appearing briefly in a TV ad showing a user moving iTunes video from his computer to an iPod to the living room TV, the device seemed to slip from Apple’s radar and spent the better part of 2007 collecting dust in conspicuously low trafficked corners of Apple’s otherwise busy retail stores.

Continues: AppleInsider | First Look: Apple TV 2.0 and iTunes Movie Rentals (photos, video)

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January 15, 2008   7 Comments

Something in the Air: Anticipating Macworld 2008

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Daniel Eran Dilger
New banners going up at Moscone Center in San Francisco present “There’s something in the air” as the tag line for the 2008 Macworld Expo, along with the rising Apple logo from last year. Here’s a look at what’s likely to be revealed, some promising ideas that are less likely to get delivered, and things that have no chance of happening.

AppleInsider | Apple hoists “There’s something in the air” Macworld banners
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January 12, 2008   37 Comments

CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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Daniel Eran Dilger
The 2008 Consumer Electronics Show wrapped up Las Vegas after a week of conspicuously non-noteworthy events. The highlight of the show was Bill Gates’ formal announcement of retirement from Microsoft, along with marginally larger TVs and boxes that look suspiciously like the Apple TV that everyone loves to hate on. Along with Gates, CES appears ready to itself comfortably retire into inconsequential clouds of vapor.

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January 11, 2008   67 Comments

Will Apple Rescue Intel’s Silverthorne?

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Daniel Eran Dilger
Sources familiar with Apple’s plans for 2008 report that the company is eyeing a new mobile processor from Intel code-named Silverthorne for use in a new generation of handheld devices. That has broad implications for Apple’s expanding role in consumer electronics, and holds out the prospect for the company to play the savior for a chip originally designed to power the second-generation of Microsoft’s beleaguered UMPCs.

AppleInsider | Will Apple Rescue Intel’s Silverthorne?
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January 2, 2008   7 Comments

John Dvorak Conceeds 2007 was a “Crappy Year” for Windows Enthusiasts

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Daniel Eran Dilger
John Dvorak looked back at “another crappy career year for tech” and decided “Microsoft, Apple, and Google were to blame.” Being right on one count out of three isn’t a bad record for Dvorak, who typically gets everything wrong. Considering his self-flagellating lamentations of 2007 in PC Mag makes for a comical framework for looking back at a year that was particularly distressing to Windows Enthusiasts.

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January 2, 2008   48 Comments

Newton Rising: Is the Next iPhone Device a G3 MessagePad?

Newton 3.0
Daniel Eran Dilger
Rumor sites have long been atwitter about Apple resurrecting the Newton MessagePad. While officially dead for nearly a decade, those rumors got a boost this year when Steve Jobs rolled out the iPhone as a combination “mobile phone, iPod, and breakthrough Internet device.” The iPhone first appeared to be Jobs’ version of the Newton, but after the iPod Touch revealed Apple’s long term plans for targeting a wider range of devices, the idea of a tablet assistant gained new credence as a realistic possibility. What does Apple’s past reveal about its future? Here’s a look.

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December 27, 2007   84 Comments

Daniel Lyons Cries Wolf: The Real Bill Gates Behind the Fake Steve Jobs

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Daniel Eran Dilger
Forbes’ Dan Lyons, author of the Fake Steve Jobs blog, decided it would be entertaining to parody the unplugging of ThinkSecret by pretending his own blog was under threat from Apple. Except that in order to do that, he had to stop pretending to be FSJ and start pretending that the real Steve Jobs was threatening him. That’s where he left the world of parody and reentered the familiar territory of lucrative scandal.

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December 23, 2007   52 Comments

The New Apple Patent: WGA Evil or iPhone Knievel?

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Daniel Eran Dilger
In another example of the “Apple is the new Microsoft” campaign, Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer recently reported his speculation that patents Apple filed related to restricted execution of applications were not only similar to Microsoft’s notorious Windows Genuine Advantage spyware, but actually a bit worse. That’s wrong, here’s why.

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December 22, 2007   19 Comments

Larry Dignan’s Zune Fantasy Highlights CNET’s ZDNet Blogger Credibility Problems

ZDNet Zune Larry Dignan
Daniel Eran Dilger
CNET’s ZDnet bloggers are becoming a parody of themselves in a mad rush to see who can serve up the most inane example of bottom feeding. Somewhat ironically, their excitement for all things Microsoft has been picked up by a major news source: as a joke.

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December 21, 2007   10 Comments

Vista vs Mac OS X Security: Why George Ou’s ZDNet Vulnerability Numerology is Absurd

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Daniel Eran Dilger
Notorious Zoon Award winner George Ou is again trying to convince the world that Mac OS X’s security is in shambles while Microsoft has solved the security crisis it created, at least for users of new PCs and when excluding that pesky problem of vast existing networks of compromised Windows bots that plague us all with mountains of spam no matter what platform we use.

This time, the problem isn’t just his penchant for getting facts wrong, failing to understand anything about the subjects he writes, orchestrating elaborate conspiracy theories, or dramatically casting derision on anyone who corrects him. Instead, he’s teamed up with ZDNet cohorts to disingenuously present false information he knows is wrong because he’s been corrected about posting vulnerability statistics from Secunia without context before.

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December 21, 2007   28 Comments