Mac News Review

Apple's Best March Quarter Ever, Tweetie for Mac, Apple Tops in Customer Service Experience, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.04.24

MacBook, PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Products

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Best March Quarter Revenue and Earnings in Apple History

PR: April 22, 2009 - Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2009 second quarter ended March 28, 2009. The Company posted revenue of $8.16 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.21 billion, or $1.33 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $7.51 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.05 billion, or $1.16 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 36.4%, up from 32.9% in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 46% of the quarter's revenue.

In accordance with the subscription accounting treatment required by GAAP, the Company recognizes revenue and cost of goods sold for iPhone™ and Apple TV over their estimated economic lives. Adjusting GAAP sales and product costs to eliminate the impact of subscription accounting, the corresponding non-GAAP measures* for the quarter are $9.06 billion of "Adjusted Sales" and $1.66 billion of "Adjusted Net Income."

Macintosh quarterly unit sales, late 2004 to early 2009
Macintosh quarterly unit sales, late 2004 to early 2009

Apple sold 2.22 million Macintosh computers during the quarter, representing a 3% unit decline from the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 11.01 million iPods during the quarter, representing 3% unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhone units sold were 3.79 million representing 123% unit growth over the year-ago quarter.

"We are extremely pleased to report the best non-holiday quarter revenue and earnings in our history," said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's CFO. "Apple's financial condition remains very robust, with almost $29 billion in cash and marketable securities on our balance sheet. Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter of 2009, we expect revenue in the range of about $7.7 billion to $7.9 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about $.95 to $1.00."

Apple will provide live streaming of its Q2 2009 financial results conference call utilizing QuickTime, Apple's standards-based technology for live and on-demand audio and video streaming. The live webcast began at 2:00 p.m. PDT on April 22, 2009 at www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/earningsq209/ and will also be available for replay for approximately two weeks thereafter.

More information on potential factors that could affect the Company's financial results is included from time to time in the Company's public reports filed with the SEC, including the Company's Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 27, 2008, its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended December 27, 2008, and its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 28, 2009 to be filed with the SEC. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or information, which speak as of their respective dates.

Apple Beats Windows in Customer Experience (by a Lot)

Forrester customer service rating, PC vs. MacCustomer Experience Matters' Bruce Temkin reports:

"When it comes to the customer experience of PC firms, Apple stands alone.

"In a new Forrester report, I examined results for the five PC brands in Forrester's customer experience index (CxPi): Apple, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, and HP. The analysis examines feedback from more than 4,500 US consumers about their interactions with these firms. Here s some of what we found:

"Apple came out on top, with a good rating of 80%. Compaq, HP, and Gateway ended up between 63% and 66% while Dell came in at the bottom with a poor 58% rating....

"The bottom line: The Windows ecosystem needs an extreme customer experience makeover...."

5 Tips for Reading Mac Security Stories

Tidbits' Rich Mogull says:

"From industry publications to the mainstream press, even the slightest Mac security hiccup spurs an onslaught of articles, debates, and even the occasional cable news headline. Some stories declare us invulnerable to attacks, while others give the impression that by the time you jump up from your armchair and rush to your Mac, it will already be infected and funneling your life's savings and family photos to Nigerian spammers. For us Mac users it can be difficult to discern the lines between truth, hype, and outright fantasy.

"As someone who spends most of his time reading, writing, and speaking about security, there are five things I tend to look for in Mac security news to cut to the heart of the story. After all the hype in recent days over the 'Mac botnet,' I thought it was time to share some of my tricks."

No Good Excuses Not to Power Down PCs at Night

InfoWorld's Ted Samson says:

"I can appreciate why companies don't pursue certain green-tech initiatives. A massive server virtualization and consolidation effort can be costly, complex, and time-consuming....

"But there's one green tech initiative that I firmly believe every organization out there should embrace now: PC power management. Computers and monitors all over the world are left powered during non-working hours, wasting electricity...."

RAMseeker's Free Shipping List

The RAMseeker Blog says:

"When buying memory and shopping for the best price/value one of the dealbreakers can be the cost to ship the things. It's my opinion that shipping should be free. At very least in the same country you live in and for the first chip anyway. Shipping is so cheap, and if you're in the online sales world you don't have the same costs as a brick and mortar store and should pass on the savings to the shopper....

"I used to sort by shipping, but I confess that I've slipped in recent years. So, to redeem myself here we are: A list of vendors and what they charge to ship in the US. (International shipping is a whole other ball game - if you're getting something shipped internationally, chances are it'll cost ya. sorry about your luck)...."

Visual Organization in OS X

AppStorm's Barry Wiseman says:

"I'm a very visual person and, due to the nature of the Mac environment, I m sure there are many like-minded people in the OS X community who share my optical tendencies. We tend to think the wallpaper has to be just right, the icons in the dock and on the desktop have to be organized by category, and we take time to find just the right icon for our removable media.

"Did I just hear an amen?

[Charles Moore says, "Amen!"]

"No matter how OCD you may be about your computing environment, we can all agree on the importance of creating some organizational structure on our computers so we can be more productive. Thanks to the features of our chosen OS (and some free or inexpensive software), there are some very simple ways to maximize our productivity in the most geeky way."

Network Copying Not Working Due to Persistent 'Insufficient Privileges' Errors

MacFixIt says:

"When transferring files between two computers on a local network, occasionally the system will not have enough privileges to complete the transfer.

"Workarounds and fixes are outlined."

60 Open Source and Free Mac Apps

AppStorm's David Appleyard says:

"We regularly feature commercial software on AppStorm, so decided it was time to bring a roundup of completely free (and often open source) apps to your attention. If you re on a budget, you ll be pleased to know that a variety of great OS X software is available free.

"Applications are broken down into various categories, with each one containing a featured app and several other free solutions. I hope you find something useful, and do let me know if your favorite freeware app isn't on the list!"

Products

NewerTech New Guardian MAXimus RAID 1 Storage Solution with Energy Efficient 'Quad Interface' Design

PR: New model features up to 2 TB x 2 hard drives for "live activity" data redundancy, FireWire 800/400/USB 2.0/eSATA interfaces, and energy efficient technologies for up to 40% lower power usage

Newer Technology, Inc., has announced the award-winning Guardian MAXimus® RAID 1 mirror storage solution has been updated to now provide "Quad-Interface" connection choices - eSATA plus standard FireWire® 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 interface ports - and an improved energy efficient design with up to 40% lower power usage for high performance "live activity" data redundancy/backup at speeds up to 300 MB/s.

'Live Activity' Backup for Maximum Data Protection

Guardian MAXimus is a Plug And Play "live activity" data redundant/backup solution for financial records, medical files, business projects - any critical data that consumer and professional users simply cannot risk losing. Always guarding against data loss and costly system downtime, Guardian MAXimus writes the same information in real-time to two separate drives, each offering up to 2 TB of storage capacity, for a "mirrored" copy. Guardian MAXimus also protects users from costly system downtime and data recovery after a hard drive system crash. Even daily scheduled software backups can't protect users from their last backup to the time when the hard drive fails.

Saves Power & Environment While Saving Data

Utilizing the latest technology advances in energy efficiency, Guardian MAXimus provides up to a 40% power reduction, reduced thermal emissions, and extended drive life versus traditionally powered external storage solutions. It accomplishes this feat with a combination of hard drives requiring less operating power and a thermo-regulated "Smart Fan" that increases in speed during heavy drive usage. Guardian MAXimus further adds to its "eco-friendly" design with RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) certification.

Four Interfaces for Maximum Speed & Compatibility

With a "Quad Interface" of two FireWire 800, one FireWire 400, one USB 2.0, and one eSATA ports, Guardian MAXimus doesn't require any configuration to work with legacy Macs, the latest 2009 Mac models, as well as PCs. It provides data transfer speeds up to 300 MB/s and can be moved between different systems utilizing its supported interfaces with complete interoperability for maximum data backup performance and flexibility.

"The new Guardian MAXimus builds upon an award-winning, expert reviewed reputation established by the previous generation "Triple Interface" Guardian MAXimus," said Larry O'Connor, President, Newer Technology Inc. "With its best in class combination of speed, reliability, and compatibility, the new Guardian MAXimus is the ideal backup solution for creative professionals requiring both high performance and multiple interface flexibility."

Guardian MAXimus Line Features:

  • Up to 2.0 TB + 2.0 TB of mirrored storage capacity
  • Up to 64 MB of drive cache (32 MB per drive)
  • Custom Oxford 936DS bridge solution
  • 2 FireWire 800 9 pin ports
  • 1 FireWire 400 6 pin port
  • 1 USB 2.0 "B" port - backwards compatible with USB 1.1
  • 1 eSATA port
  • Front panel drive status LEDs
  • Thermo-regulated "Smart Fan" for super quiet operation
  • RoHS certified
  • 9.3" x 2.8" x 5.6" size, 2.68 lb. empty enclosure weight
  • US/International 90~240V 4.2A UL- listed power supply
  • All interface connecting cables included
  • 3 year solution warranty
  • Compatible with Apple OS 8.6 to 9.2.2, OS X 10.0.x and later (10.2.8 or later required for FW800 and eSATA), and Windows 98SE and later operating systems.
  • Includes $200 retail value utility software bundle consisting of ProSoft Engineering® Data Backup 3, NovaStor NovaBACKUP®, Intech® SpeedTools Utilities™, and Carbon Copy Cloner.

10 Preconfigured Models up to 2 TB Starting at $229.99

Guardian MAXimus is available immediately in 10 preconfigured solutions, from 250 GB to 2 TB capacity and disk speeds from variable up to 10,000 RPM, priced starting at $229.99 MSRP from NewerTech's exclusive distributor, Other World Computing (OWC®), as well as through the retail channel. The 0 GB "Add Your Own SATA Drives" kit is also available for $149.99 MSRP.

Apple's Customer Experience Stands Out from the Crowd

PR: This is the seventh document in the "Customer Experience Index, 2008" series.

Forrester's Bruce D. Temkin with William Chu and Steven Geller report that Forrester asked nearly 4,600 consumers about their interactions with a variety of companies, gauging the usefulness, usability, and enjoyability of those experiences. Based on these consumer responses, they calculated the Customer Experience Index (CxPi) for 113 firms in 12 different industries. In the Forrester document, the researchers examine the five large PC manufacturers in the CxPi: Apple, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, and Hewlett-Packard (HP). The summary: Apple leads and Dell lags.

The document can be purchased for US $749

Software

atebits Introduces Tweetie for Mac

Tweetie for MacPR: atebits has introduced Tweetie for Mac, an extension to its popular iPhone client. Tweetie for iPhone is a fast, full-featured twitter client for iPhone and iPod touch. It offers everything you'd expect - from your timeline to trends - all with an incredibly polished user interface, fantastic performance, and unparalleled use-of-use. Tweetie for Mac will bring the renowned performance and usability of the iPhone version to the desktop, plus much more. It's more than a port - in fact, it's a complete rewrite. The new core is faster, more stable, and more extensible than its predecessor. Not only will it form the foundation of the Mac version, but also the foundation of the next generation of Tweetie 2.0 for iPhone.

Tweetie for Mac"I kept hearing people say that they used Tweetie on their iPhone even when they were sitting at their desk, because the experience was so much better than anything that existed on the desktop." said Loren Brichter, President and Founder of atebits. "Tweetie for Mac should let them keep their iPhones in their pocket a little more often."

Tweetie for Mac is available as a free, full-featured version with ads powered by FusionAds.net. Registration will disable the ads, licenses are available for a two-week introductory price of $14.95 (normally $19.95).

Tweetie for iPhone has been one of the top selling apps on the App Store since launch. It has won much acclaim, including being one of Gizmodo's best iPhone apps of 2008.

iCab 4.5 Beta Browser with New 'Top 10' Feature

The iCab folks have been busy, releasing three new beta updates a four-day period this past week. The reason for the flurry of updates is wringing the bugs out of a significant new iCab feature in Betas 73 through 75, a "Top Ten pages" view that provides a thumbnail overview (similar to the "Tabs Overview") for your most visited, last visited and favorites pages. Useful and kinda' slick. You access it from the "Navigate" menu. I found that after some uptime it displays thumbnails in the cells, but they're slow to load over my dialup connection.

Top 12 sites in iCab 4.5 beta

Also new are Labels for bookmarks in the bookmarks window, and new JavaScript filter setting for disallowing JavaScript to "kidnap" Cmd-Clicks. There are also some bug fixes and improvements. Note that iCab beta releases are only available to registered users.

iCab 4.5 displaying Low End MacNew in version beta 75:

  • Fixes a problem of releasing the Top Ten overview window while thumbnails were loading.

Changes in Beta 74:

  • The "settings:" URL didn't work in Offline mode
  • The "Top Ten" icon in the favorites toolbar can now be switched off in the experimental settings (enter "settings:" in the URL field).
  • Closing the Top Ten Overview could crash if there were still several overview pages loading data from the internet.
  • The "Favorites" section of the Top Ten Overview didn't work anymore.
  • Now there's a global closer button for the Top Ten Overview (though this is not really necessary because the overview can be closed as well when clicking somewhere in the background)
  • Using the Top Ten Overview does longer adds pages to the history.
  • The keyboard shortcut Cmd-1 to open the Top Ten Overview can now be also used to close the overview.
  • The last beta version appended a small triangle to the label of folders in the favorites toolbar, so the folders can be recognized even when the icon was switched off. Now the triangle can be switched on/off in the experimental settings as well.

Changes in Version 4.5 Beta 73 include:

  • Added Labels in the bookmarks window. It's possible to set different colors for the bookmarks.
  • It's now possible to set tags for bookmarks folders too.
  • There's a new "Top Ten" feature (through the "Navigation" menu and as button at the left of the favorites toolbar), which lists the most visited, last visited or the favorites pages as thumbnails, just like the "Tab Overview" feature.
  • New setting in the JavaScript preferences and in the Filtermanager added, to allow/disallow JavaScript code to process Cmd-Clicks. More and more web sites simply "kidnap" all mouse clicks instead of just normal "clicks" in order to do some stuff and therefore prevent that a links can be opened
  • in a new Tab or window (by Cmd-Clicking on it). With this new setting, the user can decide, if the JavaScript code is able to process all clicks.
  • Bugfix: Undo in the Bookmarks window could cause a crash.
  • Spellchecking will now be deactivated for the "user defined StyleSheet" text field in the Filter Manager.
  • The authentication dialog box is now displayed and processed by iCab itself, instead of letting this handled by WebKit. This makes it possible that iCab is able to get the Cookies which might be set by the server within authentication challenges.
  • iCab now stores the file encoding information into the meta data of files when saving a web page as HTML or text file.
  • IRI support can be configured for the URL field and the status bar in the experimental settings. If IRI support is enabled, encoded characters in URLs ("%nn") are interpreted as UTF8 and then displayed as clear text. This can help reading URLs which use such characters, but because not all URLs do use the UTF8 encoding for these characters, this might also cause some issues. This is why this is disabled for the URL field and only enabled by default for the status bar.
  • Modified the Icon for a Tab Group in the Bookmarks
  • Bugfix: When closing the bookmarks window while editing a bookmarks item, the changes were not saved.
  • Saving the bookmarks will be now done in a separate thread. This will avoid small delays when saving extremely large bookmarks lists.

System requirements for iCab 4.x:

  • Mac OS X 10.3.9 and newer,
  • Mac OS X 10.4.x or 10.5.x is recommended.

System Support: PPC/Intel

$25 Shareware/Freeware (Nagware)

Drive Genius 2.1.1 Improves Defrag

Drive Genius 2PR: ProSoft Engineering, Inc. announces the availability of Drive Genius 2.1.1, an update to its award-winning disk utility.

Is your Mac running slower? Is your hard drive filling up and you don't know why? Are you seeing the beach ball more and more? Try Drive Genius 2, the most comprehensive hard drive utility on the Mac platform - Defrag, DriveSlim, Repartition-on-the-fly and Clone are only a few of the award-winning features of Drive Genius 2. Recently awarded the Editor's Choice award from Mac Life Magazine.

Drive Genius 2.1.1

  • Improved defragmentation functionality
  • Update to Apple's latest boot disc technology.
  • Additional improvements in speed and performance.

"We are continually improving and adding features to Drive Genius 2 for our users. We are dedicated to create the best utility on the Mac platform. ProSoft prides itself on great customer service and support, alongside award-winning products," says Greg Brewer, CEO of ProSoft Engineering. We're also excited to offer a competitive upgrade to Drive Genius 2. Details can be found at our website."

Drive Genius 2 is available for purchase online at www.prosoftengineering.com and at Apple Stores.

See Charles Moore's review of Drive Genius 2 on Applelinks for more.

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