Mac News Review

OS X User Base Triples, 'Snow Leopard' Divorces PowerPC, MailForge 1.0 Released, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.06.12

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

OS X User Base Tripled in 2 Years

Macworld's Peter Cohen reports that according to metrics cited by Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller on stage at the WWDC, Apple has tripled its active user base in just two years, from about 25 million active OS X users at the end of 2007 to near 75 million users today.

"That's thanks to extraordinary success of the iPhone and iPod touch, which both run a version of OS X."

Reassessing the 'Apple Tax'

PC World's Michael Scalisi says:

"Macs are often criticized for the high price of their hardware. This so-called Apple tax is the premium that Apple computers usually cost over comparably equipped PCs. But since the company dropped prices on its laptop line Monday, that difference is now smaller than ever....

"I've been playing with the numbers, and I've noticed something interesting: When the newest 13-inch MacBook Pro is configured with similar features and put head to head with a Dell XPS 1330 (arguably Dell's most similar computer), the two come within spitting distance in price...."

Apple Divorces PowerPC with 'Snow Leopard'

CNET's Stephen Shankland reports that, Apple, a company that's rarely bashful about taking technological leaps, has done so once again with its "Snow Leopard" upgrade to Mac OS X due in September, which will only support Intel-based Macs, with Mac OS X 10.5.8 or OS 10.5.9 "Leopard" to be the ultimate OS upgrade for Macs running on PowerPC processors.

Shankland notes that it's been just four years since Apple announced it would switching from PowerPC chips to Intel's x86 chips, and the first Intel-based Macs didn't start arriving until 2006, but suggests that anyone who hadn't upgraded to Intel by now isn't the sort who demands cutting-edge technology anyway.

Editor's note: This being Low End Mac, I'm happy to report that most of our writers are still using PowerPC Macs, mostly G4-based - G4-upgraded Pismos, G4 PowerBooks, G4 iBooks, G4 Power Macs (like the dual 1 GHz MDD I'm using as I write this), etc. Several of our writers use Intel Macs supplemented with PowerPC machines. A lot of us continue to use Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" even on hardware that supports 10.5 Leopard. Truth be told, computer users don't need "cutting-edge technology" for most of the things they do most of the time. dk

Does 'Snow Leopard' Do Dell a Favor?

"Consider yourself served," says Motley Fool's Tim Beyers, noting that Apple has filed for divorce from IBM's PowerPC chip technology, since Mac OS X 10.6, due in September, won't run on PowerPC Macs.

Beyers recounts how the once vaunted coalition among IBM, Motorola, and Apple to bring PowerPC to the desktop never really delivered on its promise and soon began to unravel.

He notes that some disgruntled PowerPC Mac owners my defect to the PC side, but doubts there will be many switchers.

Editor's note: Apple began using PowerPC processors in 1994 and discontinued its last PowerPC machines in 2006. Several times during those dozen years Apple was able to boast of the most powerful notebook or the most powerful personal computer on the market. As someone who still uses a PowerPC Mac daily, I have to disagree with Beyers' claim that it "never really delivered on its promise." Anyone who ever used a PowerPC Mac knows better. dk

Products

'If It's A PC, You Can Keep It'

Not PC T-shirtPR: Respond to Microsoft's "laptop hunters" campaign with a Fastmac "Not PC" T-shirt.

Fastmac offers softwear to complement their hardware with a wide variety of limited edition T-shirts that are becoming increasingly popular within the Mac community.

Not PCWith a unique blend of design and wit, FastMac's shirts possess all the elements that make for a classic T-shirt. They have just added three brand new designs, featuring a "Not PC" shirt, which is a response to Microsoft's "Laptop Hunters" ad campaign.

Don't forget to check out Fastmac's other popular additions to their collection, which commemorated the 25th anniversary of Macintosh computers with designs like "25 Years of Mac", "1984", and "Classic Mac". They also have shirts that honor our new president Barack Obama with designs such as, "OS X: Software We Can Believe In" and "HOPE". With so many styles, you'll easily find a shirt that fits you best.

Available in most sizes, these shirts will not be around forever, so pick one up soon before they're gone.

Prices start at $9.95

DSI Modular Mac Keyboard Has USB 2.0, Cherry Mechanical Keyswitches

DSI Modular Mac Keyboard
DSI Modular Mac Keyboard

Modular Mac Keyboard in blackPR: Dih Shin International (DSI)'s innovative Modular Mac keyboard with a small (15.5" x 5.75" x 1.5") footprint provides multiple configurations for different applications, including gaming, and features high quality Cherry mechanical key switches (analog to the the Alps used in the legendary Apple Extended Keyboard II of 20 years ago), providing superior touch type with an interchangeable keypad, touch-pad, and gaming modules. The ergonomic Mac keyboard is designed with the latest hot-key functions for the Mac OS including 16 Key N-Key Rollover function.

  • 90 full size keys featuring either Blue (tactile) or Brown (low force) German-made Cherry Mechanical Key Switches Good for +50 million cycles. These are claimed to be the most requested key switches on the market.
  • Optional modules for mechanical keypad, trackball, touchpad, card reader, iPod charger, mobile phone cradle & more coming soon, including a Blackberry dock, a touchpad and a numeric keypad.
  • modules for Modular Mac KeyboardThree high speed USB 2.0 ports enable you to easily connect the modules to either the left side, right side or back of the keyboard. The keyboard also comes with a separate AC adaptor (100V to 240V) that plugs in to provide 500mA of continuous power to each USB port for any power hungry USB devices that may require the extra power.
  • N-Key Rollover Function - Never miss a keystroke again. The Modular Mac keyboard is a power typists and gamers dream. It is pre-programmed to remember the last 16 keystrokes, so if you type really fast, nothing will be missed.
  • Comes complete with your favorite HotKeys, CD Eject and Volume control buttons, mute, and the Apple key with an enhanced white finish to match your Mac.

Compatible with all Mac, Windows, Sun, and Linux Systems'

  • MSRP - $ 179.99
  • Sale Price - $ 149.00

Software

MOD Converter for Mac

PR: MOD Converter for Mac is able to decode and convert .mod to other more common video formats like mov, dv, mpeg, avi, mpg, mp4, flv, mkv, etc at fast speed and with no quality loss. Mod converter for Mac also allows you to make .mod video understandable by most media player like iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, Blackberry, PSP, Creative Zen, iriver, iPhone 3G, iPod Touch, iPod shuffle, iPod Nano, iPod Classic, etc.

MOD Converter for Mac

Mod Converter for Mac can convert the .mod files recorded by most popular digital camcorders such as Panasonic SV AV100, Canon MOD Camcorders, JVC (MOD and TOD) and Panasonic (MOD only) to video for Mac then enjoy it on your computer, iPod, Touch, Nano, iPhone, PSP, Zune, Creative Zen and other Portable Devices.

Key features of MOD Converter for Mac

  • MOD Converter for MacDesigned specialized for Mac OS X.
  • A professional JVC, Panasonic, Canon Mod Converter for Mac fully compatible with Mac OS X, support Leopard and Tiger, which manage on computers with either Power PC or Intel processors.
  • Easy to use for mac users.
  • Only a few clicks to finish the mod video conversion with previewing all the process on real time. Free Technical Support and lifetime free Upgrade let you feel reassured to use the our software.
  • Professional Mod Converter for Mac to convert Mod to all popular video formats for Mac. Convert MOD, TOD to MOV, MPEG, MPG, MP4, DV, AVI, FLV, MKV and other popular video format on Mac.
  • Convert Mod to almost portable players.
  • This Mac Mod Video Converter can convert your Mod files on iPod, Touch, Nano, iPhone, PSP, BlackBerry, Zune, Creative Zen, iriver and other Portable Devices.
  • Trim your video clips.
  • Clip any segment of your camcorder movies by set the exact start and end time or just drag the slide bar.
  • Crop the play area of movie.
  • Adjust the playing area of the movies to fit for your player and your favor.
  • Merge several chapters of movies into one file.
  • With several files merged into one file for output, you'll enjoy a single long movie with a single click.

Price: $29.95

MailForge 1.0, Eudora-Successor Email Client, Released

PR: MailForge (formerly known as Odysseus) is the Eudora style email client that Infinity Data Systems began developing in late 2007, designed to be a best-of-breed email client, focusing on power, elegance, and simplicity, has been released in its first final version after a series of public betas.

When compared with other existing email applications, MailForge is designed to have the same features, options, and capabilities that power users have come to rely on... features that simply don't exist in other email applications, or are not implemented as elegantly. Compared to Eudora, MailForge has the advantage of being under active development by a software company dedicated to making MailForge the best email client in existence. This includes improving on areas where Eudora® had started to lag behind... such as integration with the individual operating systems that it runs on.

In addition to the features currently in MailForge 1.0, there are a number of other features that users have come to rely on that will be added shortly.

Harnessing the power of SQLite, MailForge offers significant performance advantages, ranging from the ability to have a virtually unlimited number of emails in a single mailbox, to search capabilities that offer near instantaneous results.

Why the name-change? IDS says there are several reasons. First, they say Odysseus was never intended to be anything more than a code name for the project until a more suitable name could be found. Secondly, Google, et al. - Odysseus is already widely used, including by some software projects, and of course the most well known use of the name is from Greek mythology, which meant if applied to this software program, it would always be fighting for attention in search engine rankings, etc. By contrast, MailForge is not used by anything else. Third, Odysseus is a name easily misspelled, and MailForge isn't. Symbolically, a forge is a place where something is created, even crafted... appropriate for a program that will be used to craft email.

Infinity Data Systems contends that only an application written from the ground up can adequately succeed a program as great as Eudora. Many Eudora fans agree and have been eagerly anticipating the day when Odysseus/MailForge reached the point where it could gracefully receive and carry the torch passed from Eudora.

New in version 1.0:

  • Manage POP3 and IMAP accounts
  • Quickly search through thousands of emails
  • Experience full Unicode support
  • View HTML or text emails
  • Send HTML emails, text emails... or both
  • Schedule when outgoing emails will be send
  • Easily redirect messages, preserving original sender
  • Edit every facet of an incoming email
  • Enjoy multi-window or tabbed interface
  • Easily navigate through email messages

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later

System Support: PPC/Intel

$19.95 Demoware

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