Mac News Review

Could iPad Replace the Mac?, Mac Sales Up in 2010, Avoiding Windows 7 'Whenever Possible', and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.03.19

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

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

iPad vs. Macintosh

News & Opinion

Apple Updates

Reviews

Products & Services

Desktop Mac Deals

iPad vs. Macintosh

4 Reasons Your Next Mac Could Be an iPad

Mac 360's Ron McElfresh says:

"How many ways do you use your Mac? If you're like me or like many Mac users, there are dozens of practical ways we use our Macs. Do a quick and mental inventory of your Mac's apps.

"Could many or most of those uses we take for granted be supplanted by apps on an iPad? It's already that way with my iPhone. My MacBook gathers dust. Are there legitimate reasons why your next Mac (or, the one after that) could be an iPad instead?"

Ron's four reasons:

  1. Convenience
  2. Price
  3. Apps
  4. Usage

Why Apple Will (Eventually) Dump the Mac

industry.bnet.com's Erik Sherman says nothing lasts forever and predicts that Apple will eventually dump the Macintosh product line - not tomorrow, and not next year, but in the relatively near future - for a number of reasons

Sherman asserts that Apple's future is in products that consumers can drop into a pocket, with not only mobile ascendant at Apple, but also the iPhone OS, which the iPad will run on, and evidence suggests that Apple plans other hardware that will use it.

"Why support two operating systems when you could move iPhone OS onto laptops and desktops as well as onto Apple TV and have only one?" asks Sherman. "The move saves money, increases efficiency, and frees resources to develop new products and features," also noting that Apple likes to control markets and has shown willingness to bully competitors, the Mac turns 26 this year, original patents are now out of date and many more are nearing their end of life, suggesting that best strategy from the company's perspective is to shift from the existing Mac line to something powered by the iPhone OS, adding a potential 20-plus years of intimidation.

Sherman adds that Apple won't dump the Mac immediately, being as it represents 28.4% of its total net sales - and many fans would likely feel aggrieved if deprived of the Mac (hey, d'ya think?), but that the balance is shifting and Apple will be looking for ways to transition Mac users to iPhone-based machines for more revenue, lower costs, higher profits, and increased control.

iPad Could Kill the Mac

PC Mag's Sascha Segan says that the rise of the iPhone OS-based iPad could be the beginning of the end for Apple's 26-year-old personal computer platform - that the Mac's greatest enemy may not be archrival Microsoft Windows but Apple itself, noting that at a Goldman Sachs technology conference Apple COO Tim Cook himself defined Apple as a "mobile devices company."

Sagan theorizes that if Apple could do the Mac all over again, it would use the iPhone OS, and counsels us not to think of the iPad as a big iPod touch but rather as the new Mac - a home-based computing model that Apple hopes can bubble up through its entire product line.

iPad Not the Beginning of the End for the Mac

Macsimum News's Dennis Sellers says:

"In a report for PC Mag, Sascha Segan says that the rise of the iPhone OS-based iPad could be the beginning of the end for the Mac platform. I understand his reasoning, but that's just not going to happen....

"The iPad is a device for media consumption with some limited productivity features (such as the iWork apps customized for it). The iPad might make a great companion to a laptop or (especially) as a desktop Mac (I'll let you know as soon as I have mine in hand).

"However, none of the iPhone OS powered devices have the oomph to do major productivity work. Can you imagine trying to do video editing or working with FileMaker on the iPhone OS? At least as it is in its present form...."

However, Sellers thinks the iPad will kill many netbooks and probably the MacBook Air.

Is the Mac at Death's Door?

The Tech Nightowl's Gene Steinberg says:

"When I suggested recently that we had returned to the silly season, perhaps a little earlier than I might have expected, I didn't know how right I was. A recent article, from a site that I won't name, is now suggesting that the iPad is the first nail in the Mac's coffin, that it won't be long before only the Mac Pro remains in the lineup. We'll all be using iPads real soon now, at least according to what's being implied in that article....

"In the next few years, there may even come a time where the home PC is largely supplanted by the iPad and its competitors. But those who require a computer at work - and that's most of you I'm sure - aren't going to suddenly find an iPad on your desk replacing whatever you used before....

"Now if you ask me in 2015 about the iPad versus a regular Mac, I will probably have different answers. But that's then and this is now."

Was Intel's x86 the 'Gateway Drug' for Apple's ARM?

ZDNet blogger Jason Perlow suggests that Apple's move to the x86 Intel architecture for the Macintosh in 2006 may have only been a temporary stop on the way to its logical end-state: The acquisition of PA Semi and the creation of ARM-based personal computers.

Perlow acknowledges that this deduction is more than a bit of a reach, but says if you closely examine Apple's history you see time and time again the company making strategic choices that allow it to increasingly take control of its customers, its ecosystem, and its intellectual property, the company's $278 million 2008 purchase PA Semi) in 2008 allowing Apple to redraft its transition/migration roadmap toward multicore ARM-based Macs and enabling a return to the completely closed system they essentially enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s with PowerPC - but this tiime with ful top-to-bottom control.

News & Opinion

US Mac Sales Up 39% This Year

Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt says:

"In a report to clients issued Monday afternoon, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster - a long-time Apple booster - found much to cheer about in the NPD Group's US retail sales data for January and February.

"'We are buyers of AAPL based on Feb. NPD data,' he writes. He points to two trends in particular:

"Mac unit sales are up. An average of 39% year over year for the first two months of the March quarter, which according to Munster translates into sales of somewhere between 2.8 and 2.9 million Macs for the full quarter. The Street, he says, is looking for Mac sales to be up only about 22%."

Apple Headed for a 2.9 Million Mac Quarter

Digital Daily's John Paczkowski reports:

"Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has declared 2010 the Year of the Mac, and it's hard to disagree when looking over the latest retail sales data from the NPD Group: Mac sales during February were up 43 percent for the month this after a 36 percent spike in sales during January."

iMac Could Account for 25% of Global Desktop Growth in 2010

AppleInsider's Kasper Jade reports:

"After roughly two years of declines, growth in worldwide market for desktop PC sales is poised to rebound into the black during the 2010 calendar year, thanks largely to Apple's latest iMac offerings, according to a published report.

"In a research note issued Wednesday by Caris & Company, analyst Robert Cihra said growth in the overall PC market for 2010 is trending upwards of 15 to 20%, fueled by greater than 90% growth in combined sales of netbooks and notebooks . . . 'But believe it or not, we estimate Apple's iMac accounting for a full 1/4 of all desktop market growth in calendar year 2010.'"

Tech Writer Avoiding Windows 7 'Whenever Possible'

TechRepublic's Jason Hiner says that for many enterprises, 2010 is going to be the year they decide whether or not to jump on board with Windows 7 - or stick with Windows XP indefinitely until there's a compelling reason to migrate to something new. As TechRepublic's CIO Jury shows, it's a 50/50 tossup.

Hiner says he's going through the same thing, albeit on a much smaller scale, testing lots of different machines and using multiple operating systems - last week, for example, using five different operating systems on eight different computers - but that for a decade, all of his primary computers have run Windows. However, that's about to change with his decision to avoid Windows 7 whenever possible and rely on Mac and Linux to power his primary systems.

Noting that while, Windows 7 isn't too bad from a technological standpoint, Hiner's issues with Windows 7 are mostly bigger concerns with Microsoft, such as that it still badly overcharges customers for Windows and should have made Windows 7 a free upgrade for Vista owners, that Windows 7 does very little to innovate on the OS, that Microsoft refuses to change the default installation of Windows for better reliability, and that after so many versions, Windows 7 feels like the Weasley's house in Harry Potter, with stuff bolted on all over the place

Science Blogger: No More Apple Computers for Me

The Scientific Indian's Selva says:

"I had been a [sic] Apple computer user for the past 5 years and immensely enjoyed the hardware and the software. But, all good things come at a price. Apple's price for a polished user experience has lately turned out to be user freedom. The inability to take out and use the content stored in apple's walled garden is stultifying . . . Apple has broken faith with those who promoted its use and is now treading on freedom to innovate as a monopolising behemoth (especially with iPhone and now the iPad products).

"All said, in the end, there is only one thing to do for me. Stick with Freedom and give up Apple. So, as of yesterday night, I have migrated all music from iTunes to Ubuntu (Rhythmbox player) . . . All photos on Flickr (and F-Spot on Ubuntu) . . . Dropbox on Ubuntu to manage synched files (music and documents are synched to a Dropbox account, sensitive docs encrypted with Truecrypt and stored inside a bravely named 'Steal.me' drive file.)

"I am actively looking for a iPod replacement that works well with Ubuntu."

Macs vs. PCs: No Annoying Slowdowns

Blogger hkdezigner says:

"I'm 100% Team Apple."

Mac Classic"My very first computer was the [I think] 1990 Macintosh Classic."

"...down the road we got new PC computer . . . Then I got one of my own in high school that hooked up to the Internet. Wowza!"

"Off to college! I got a brand new PC [Compaq Presario] with Windows ME! I really loved my computer but gosh golly did it break down a lot!"

"Now to Design College . . . Naturally, the school was all Mac based running OS 9 at the time . . . This was about the time where my fellow classmates were updating to MacBooks and PowerBooks running OS 10.

"As a college graduation gift I received a brand new PowerBook [2004]. I've been running the same computer with zero problems up to this date - That's 6 years. I've never had a virus, I've never had crazy screens of death, basically up and running fast since 2004! The hard drive did go out, but it was covered by Applecare and the keys are wearing out but that is it - All wear and tear! No annoying slow stupid virus stuff. No late night calls to IT friends."

"It hasn't been the 'newest computer' for several years but it still ran like a champion, better than any PC! At my previous employer they had the 'state of the art' PC computers with chips and RAMs filled to the top. Might as well of been chips and DIPS . . . these computers were slow and almost always broken."

"Meanwhile, I would come home and use my 6 year old Mac and I would zoom all over the place with ease. I could have all of the programs open . . . no worries. A folder of photos open in Photoshop, you got it! I'm sorry . . . but I don't think I would ever like to own another slow virus prone PC ever again. I mean it's as clear as night and day in performance."

"PC Lovers, try to argue yourself out of performance! What? You enjoy viruses and drama? Be my guest! I know Macs are more money, but it is well worth it! No headaches!"

The Case for Standing While You Work

"Tired of sitting around all day? Perhaps it's time to ditch that desk chair," suggests Macworld's Lex Friedman, who says he's read one too many articles about how leading an overly-sedentary life can have negative long-term health implications, noting that for years he's spent long days sitting in front of his trusty iMac, now wondering if his professional life could be shortening his actual one, and relating that:

"After looking at yet another study with scary statistics (Sedentary living is responsible for about one-third of deaths due to coronary heart disease, colon cancer, and diabetes), I made an impulsive decision to convert my workstation to a standing desk a couple months ago."

Kicking the Chair to the Curb

OWC blogger Patrick has a tale of woe about breaking his tailbone (Coccyx) moving a riding lawn mower on an icy driveway, obliging him to either sit on a donut or stand for anywhere between six weeks and a year while the injury heals.

Working at the computer while standingPatrick says that in his 30 years of life, he's spent about 20 of them planted in a chair in front of one or several computers. A standing desk was a new experience, and it started out pretty rough. He relates that within an hour, his feet, legs & lower back were screaming for a break and he was seriously reconsidering the decision to stand, but five minutes sitting in his old chair to rest reminded me why I was standing, so he toughed it out the rest of the day.

On day two, his feet started hurting just as fast and his back was screaming, but he discovered he was practically bouncing with energy - throughout the day wide awake and concentrating on work with less effort.

By day five, he has acquired an anti-fatigue mat that made his feet hurt a little less and found his appetite had increased while dropping 1.5 pounds of weight.

He began trolling the Web for more reports of people working at standup desk and found that there seems to be a mini-movement of people moving to the standing desk, citing better attention spans, more energy, more creativity, better health, etc.

Here are some links:

Nearing the end of week three, Patrick says his feet don't bother him much at all and his back is no longer sore, he has more energy, his productivity is up, he can zone in on his work quicker and easier, he's not dying in pain, and as a bonos his trousers pants look better on him.

Patrick says that even after his injury is healed, he's fairly positive he'ill never go back to sitting at a desk.

Editor's note: I've been giving this a lot of thought as I'm preparing to reconfigure my office. The plan is to move my computer desk into the 6' wide, 25" deep closet with separate surfaces for the keyboard and mouse, three monitors, and three G4 Power Macs. I once had an IT job where the servers were at just the right working height for use while standing, and I think I would benefit from it. I'll share more when I get underway. dk

Apple Updates

Apple Releases Safari 4.0.5

This update is recommended for all Safari users and includes improvements to performance, stability, and security including:

  • Performance improvements for Top Sites
  • Stability improvements for 3rd-party plug-ins
  • Stability improvements for websites with online forms and Scalable Vector Graphics
  • Fixes an issue that prevented Safari from changing settings on some Linksys routers

System Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.6.1 or 10.6.2
  • Mac OS X 10.5.8
  • Mac OS X 10.4.11
  • Vista, XP and Windows 7

File Size: 30.52 MB (Snow Leopard) 38.59 MB (Leopard) 26.78 MB (Tiger) 30.18 MB (Windows)

Download: http://www.apple.com/safari/download/

About the security content of Safari 4.0.5

This document describes the security content of Safari 4.0.5.

Reviews

Mac mini Server 'Ideal' for the Small Office

Computerworld's Ryan Faas says:

"When Apple announced the server edition of its popular Mac mini late in October, I was excited that the company was finally offering a low-cost small-business server at a terrific price point ($999) for both the hardware and an unlimited license of Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server....

"For small businesses with limited - or, in some cases, no - IT staff, having a flexible and robust server platform is important. So is easy setup, management and backup. I've talked previously about the two most recent iterations of Mac OS X Server (Leopard Server and Snow Leopard Server), which offer simplified management through an administration tool - Server Preferences - as well as Mac OS X Server's more robust GUI management utilities and various command-line tools."

Link: Apple's Mac mini Server 'Ideal' for the Small Office

Products & Services

U-Board: Monitor Shelf and USB Hub in One

U-BoardPR: U-Board will give you a brand new experience. Whatever your job maybe, U-Board will simplify your working environment and help you to reduce the working time. Additionally, U-Board's simple and slim design will fit perfectly into your desktop.

Features:

  • U-Board will make your disarranged desktop simple and efficient.
  • Monitor too low, inconvenient keyboard, U-Board will make you notebook more efficient.
  • U-Board can make the most optimizd working environment possible-where you could use the keyboard and the tablet at the same time.

U-board was awarded the best design's award in 2009 Designtag. Designtag is a design online shopping mall sponsored by the city of Seoul and managed by Seoul Business Agency.

U-BoardU-Board specs.:

  • Material: Tempered Glass, Frame-ABS
  • Size: 555x210x80mm
  • Weight: 1.6kg
  • Made in Korea

USB Port

  • Power: 5V USB Power
  • Port: 3 Port
  • Operating Temperature: 5°C ~ 55°C

U-BoardSystem Requirements:

  • Windows Vista
  • Mac OS 10

Caution

  • Do not place monitors or objects that are heavier than 15kg (weight reference :20-inch iMac 18.4 pounds (8.3 kg)/ 24-inch iMac 25 pounds (11.3 kg).
  • Do not sit or stand on it.
  • Do not connect USB device with unstable voltage.
  • It is not recommended to connect many USB devices that take up lots of power, and it can be the cause for malfunction.
  • We do not take responsibility for data loss.

U-BoardPrice

  • UBoard, Black, $49.95
  • UBoard, White, 49.95

Made in Korea

Razer Releases First Gaming Mouse Specifically for Southpaws

Razer DeathAdder Left Hand EditionPR: Razer, manufacturer of high-end precision gaming and lifestyle peripherals, today announced the Razer DeathAdder Left Hand Edition, the very first gaming mouse designed with the professional left-handed gamer in mind. The Razer DeathAdder Left Hand Edition was created to meet community demands for a mouse that was purposefully engineered to give lefties the competitive edge, combining a comfortable ergonomic form factor with a powerfully precise 3.5G infrared sensor.

Razer DeathAdder Left Hand Edition"Leftie gamers have long been requesting that we develop a gaming grade mouse that is designed exclusively for the left-handed gaming community and we really value the feedback we receive from our fans," said Robert "Razerguy" Krakoff, president, Razer USA. "Not many gamers know this, but I am a southpaw myself and feel truly excited to have a mouse that fits perfectly in my left hand. There is really no substitute for gaming with your naturally dominant hand."

The Razer DeathAdder Left Hand Edition features a unique ergonomic form factor to give lefties a comfort they can call their own for extended gaming sessions. The Razer DeathAdder Left Hand Edition boasts five programmable Hyperesponse buttons, as well as the trademark 1000Hz Ultrapolling technology, providing gamers with the speed necessary to make every moment count. Loaded with a 3500dpi Razer Precision 3.5G infrared sensor that offers over four times more precision than a standard 800dpi mouse, the Razer DeathAdder Left Hand Edition is fully equipped to frag, especially when you strike from the blind side.

Razer DeathAdder Left Hand EditionProduct Features:

  • Ergonomic left-hand design
  • 3500dpi Razer Precision 3.5G infrared sensor
  • 1000Hz Ultrapolling / 1ms response
  • Five independently programmable Hyperesponse buttons
  • On-The-Fly Sensitivity adjustment
  • Always-On mode
  • Ultra-Large non-slip buttons
  • 16-bit ultra-wide data path
  • 60 - 120 inches per second and 15g of acceleration
  • Zero-Acoustic Ultraslick Teflon® feet
  • Gold-Plated USB connector
  • Seven-Foot, lightweight, braided fiber cable
  • Approx. size in mm: 128(L) x 70(W) x 42.5(H)

Razer DeathAdder Left Hand Edition sells for $59.99; €59.99.

Go Faster with eSATA and OWC

PR: Many OWC and Newer Technology storage solutions can be hooked up via eSATA. For those of you who don't know what eSATA is, it is a fast device connection currently capable of data transfer speeds up to 3.0 Gbps. This results in data transfer rates from your external drives that are comparable to those connected internally. As great as having that kind of speed on a portable drive is, there are two caveats to using eSATA.

The first thing to look out for is that, unlike FireWire or USB, eSATA is unpowered. This means you will need an external power source in order to run a portable drive. This is easily achieved via either a power adapter or - in some instances - hooking up a USB or FireWire cable for power.

The other issue with using eSATA is that no Macs currently ship with eSATA built in; you will need to add a controller card. This, too, is quite simple to do as long as you have either a tower Mac or a Mac notebook with an expansion slot.

Desktop Macs

If you have a Power Macintosh G4 or G5, you will likely need a PCI or PCI-X card. If you have a Mac Pro or a Late 2005 Power Mac G5 you will need an PCI Express card with an eSATA port. You can find one that is compatible with your model Mac using our MyOWC selector. Alternatively, if you have a Mac Pro, you can use the Newer Technology eSATA Extender Cable Adapter.

While certain eSATA cards, such as the NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 Controller Card, do not require drivers, other cards may require the installation of additional software in order to function properly. You should check the instructions that came with your card for specific information.

You can find instructional videos showing you how to install PCI/PCIe cards and the eSATA Extender both in our Tech Center and on our YouTube Channel.

Mac Notebooks

MacBook Pros with an ExpressCard slot and PowerBook G4's with a CardBus slot can also add eSATA. Choose the appropriate card for your notebook. You can find one that is compatible with your model Mac Notebook by using MyOWC.

Depending on the card and system being used, you may need to install additional software in order to get the card to function properly. This may vary from card to card, so double-check instructions that came with yours for specific information.

Simply slide the card into the corresponding port on your notebook. Once the card is recognized, a small icon should appear in your menu bar. When you're done using the card, use this icon to eject it.

Plug in to high speed

Regardless of whether you're using a desktop Mac or a notebook, once the card is properly installed, you can connect your OWC storage solution using an eSATA cable. Again, don't forget that eSATA is not a powered interface; you will need to have a power source for your drive in order for it to function.

For those who demand the best performance from their external drives, eSATA is the way to go. For those who demand high quality storage solutions with great performance and value, you need not look any further than OWC and Newer Technology.

Desktop Mac Deals

Low End Mac updates the following price trackers monthly:

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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