Steve Jobs Resigns as Apple CEO, New Mac Design This Year?, DRAM Prices to Plunge, and More
This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News
News & Opinion
- Steve Jobs Resigns as Apple CEO
- Apple Planning to Release a Completely New Mac Design This Year?
- Piper Analyst Pours Cold Water on Rumor of Radically Different Macs
- Apple's Success Not Due to 'Liberal' Ideology
- Gartner: Europe's PC Market Down 19%, Apple Only Top 5 Vendor Up
- iSuppli DRAM Pricing to Plunge Rest of 2011
Products & Services
- Free BarracudaDrive Cloud Service License Turns Your PC or Mac Into a Personal Cloud Server
- iFixit Releases Dual Hard Drive Installer Kit for Mid 2011 Mac mini
- OWC Upgrade Service for Mid 2011 iMacs: Up to 3 SSDs, 3 TB Hard Drive, 32 GB RAM - and eSATA Interface for 27" iMac
- iFixit Launches Dozuki, a New Way to Write How-to Manuals That Don't Suck
- Sophie's Cards 22.214.171.124.1 Released
News & Opinion
Tim Cook Named New CEO and Jobs Elected Chairman of the Board
PR: Apple's Board of Directors on Wednesday announced that Steve Jobs has resigned as Chief Executive Officer, and the Board has named Tim Cook, previously Apple's Chief Operating Officer, as the company's new CEO. Jobs has been elected Chairman of the Board, and Cook will join the Board, effective immediately.
"Steve's extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world's most innovative and valuable technology company," said Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple's Board. "Steve has made countless contributions to Apple's success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple's immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration."
"The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO," added Levinson. "Tim's 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgment in everything he does."
Jobs submitted his resignation to the Board and strongly recommended that the Board implement its succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO.
As COO, Cook was previously responsible for all of the company's worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple's supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries. He also headed Apple's Macintosh division and played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace.
In a resignation letter addressed to the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community, Jobs wrote:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
The Japanese Apple-watching tech blog site Macotakara's danbo says that according to information from suppliers in Asia, Apple is planning to announce a new Mac later this year that is different enough from anything in the current product lineup as to rate a new name, although no details are supplied.
Barrons' Tech Trader Daily's Tiernan Ray cites Piper Jaffray's Apple-watching analyst Gene Munster expressing doubt about the Japanese Macotakara blog's rumor of radically new Mac systems coming later this year, suggesting that the most substantial change in Apple's Mac lineup coming will be a slimmer line of MacBook Pro models next year, and that an introduction of a dramatically different model this year seems an unreasonable fancy, observing that Apple seems to have most PC system needs well-covered at this point, making it difficult to discern where there's a niche to fill.
Salon's Andrew Leonard says while Steve Jobs may have hippie street cred, Apple doesn't owe its success to left-wing values, noting the company's demonstrated ability to play the game of cutthroat capitalism as well as - or better than - anyone else, asking rhetorically whether it can be considered "liberal" to exploit cheap Chinese labor in massively dehumanizing monster manufacturing complexes, to lock down absolute control over the computing ecosystem, and to wield a ruthless intellectual property litigation strategy to ward off competitive threats to market share.
Leonard contends that open-source software, which anyone can modify or copy, fits the definition of "liberal" much more aptly, and that fighting aggressively for higher wages and better benefits for all employees, across borders, would probably be more "liberal" than offshoring all one's manufacturing operations in search of the lowest possible operating costs, and summarizes that cool does not equal "liberal."
Publisher's comment: The core values of liberalism are liberty and equal rights, and liberals tend to support democratic principles, free and fair elections, due process and the rule of law, core freedoms (freedom of thought, expression, religion, assembly, etc.), fair trade, and human/civil rights. Classical liberalism believes in individual responsibility and limited government, while social liberalism tends more toward corporate responsibility and that government has an obligation to actively support social justice. Steve Jobs appears to be more of a classical liberal, while Leonard is differentiating him from social liberals. dk
PR: PC shipments in Western Europe totaled 12.7 million units in the second quarter of 2011, a decline of 18.9% from the same period in 2010, according to Gartner, Inc.
"The PC market in Western Europe suffered from weak demand in both the professional and consumer sectors, a market which also faced inventory issues caused by overstocking in 2010," says Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner.
The mobile PC market was particularly hit hard with a 20.4% decline, as mini-notebook shipments decreased 53%. Desktop PCs declined 15.4% year-on-year.
"The much anticipated uptake in the professional segment, in the wake of migration to Windows 7, was subdued by the negative economic outlook," says Ms. Escherich. "PC shipments in the professional segment declined 9% in the second quarter of 2011. The biggest decline continued to come from the consumer segment which decreased 27% year-on-year.
In the Q2 2011, Acer lost the No. 1 position as a result of significant inventory adjustments and a decrease in mini-notebook sales. Acer's weak performance resulted in HP moving to the No. 1 position while Dell remained in the No. 3 position. Asus shipments declined 22.9% as consumer demand remained weak and mini-notebook shipments fell rapidly.
"This quarter's results highlights the ongoing weakness of consumer demand, and could indicate a structural change in the market that threatens to continue in the near future," Ms. Escherich comments.
UK: PC Shipments Fell Further Due to Acer's Steep Decline
PC shipments in the UK totaled 2.5 million units in the second quarter of 2011, a decline of 15% compared with the same period in 2010 (see Table 2).
"Acer's decline of nearly 50% in the second quarter pulled down the market further than expected, says Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner. "Acer had significant inventory that led to its weak performance, but it also prevented other vendors from pushing new shipments into the channel. The poor performance of Acer this quarter does not mask the fact that the consumer market in the UK remained weak with a decline of more than 15% in the second quarter of 2011. Most consumers continue to hold back spending on PCs by extending life cycles on existing PCs and purchasing other devices."
The professional market remained weak with a decline of 13.5% in the second quarter of 2011. The migration to Windows 7 and replacement of aging PCs continued to be muted by the negative economic outlook.
HP moved to the No. 1 position while Dell maintained the No. 2 position. Apple and Samsung were the only vendors in the top five vendors ranking to post single-digit growth.
"PCs are not attracting consumers' disposable income, particularly in light of alternative devices. While remaining an important device to consumers, there are few compelling technological reasons to drive PC replacements," comments Ms. Durand.
Fourth Consecutive Quarterly Decline for the PC Market in France
PC shipments in France totaled 2.3 million units in the second quarter of 2011, a decline of 17.8% compared with the same period in 2010 (see Table 3).
"For the fourth consecutive quarter, the PC market in France showed decline," says Ms. Durand. It also exhibited the weakest PC growth of the three major countries in Western Europe in the second quarter of 2011.
The PC market in France performed below expectations and remained weak due to slow consumer demand and lower sell-in PC shipments. In addition, Acer's high inventory adjustments had a negative impact on the PC market in France.
The consumer market declined 33% partly due to the rise in popularity of media tablets and smartphones, which impacted PC purchases.
The professional market increased 9% in the second quarter of 2011 but volumes were not significant enough to compensate for the drop in consumer demand.
In the second quarter of 2011, the mobile PC market accounted for 67% of total PC shipments in France, with volumes declining 18 per cent. Desktop PCs declined 18% year-on-year. Of the total mobile segment, mini-notebook sales declined 49% in the second quarter of 2011.
Apple made its entry in the top five PC vendors ranking in the second quarter, and it was the only top five vendor to exhibit shipment growth., moving to the No. 5 position and displaced Toshiba. HP remained in the No. 1 spot achieving solid growth in the professional market, but it continued to face challenges in the consumer segment.
"The French PC market is expected to improve in the second half of 2011, with more attractive back-to-school promotions compared to a year ago and product refreshes, says Ms. Durand. However, the availability of new media tablet models will lead to a price battle in the mobile market. Some level of government austerity measures due to the recent economic issues could also impact consumer confidence and spending in France."
Germany: PC Shipments Saw Second Consecutive Quarter of Double-Digit Decline
PC shipments in Germany totaled 2.4 million units in the second quarter of 2011, a decrease of 13.3% compared with the same period in 2010 (see Table 4). The PC market in Germany exhibited its second consecutive quarter of double-digit shipment decline.
"The PC market in Germany is in a period of adjustment after exhibiting strong shipment growth of consumer PCs for several years," says Ms. Escherich. "For the second half of 2011, we expect to see a modest increase, rather than high double-digit annual growth patterns."
The PC market continued to be hit by poor mobile PC sales that decreased 14% in the second quarter of 2011. Desktop PC shipments declined 12% in the quarter. The double-digit fall in mobile PC sales was mainly caused by a steep decline in mini-notebook shipments, which decreased 43% in the second quarter of 2011.
HP continued to lead in the German PC market as it accounted for 13.3% of PC shipments in the second quarter of 2011. Demand in the professional PC market has improved as organizations released budgets to migrate aging PCs to Windows 7. HP in particular seemed to benefit from this upturn in the professional market.
Acer's problems stemmed from its low-price, high-volume business model, which is no longer effective. Further inventory clearance saw Acer's shipments decline 43%, as a large number of mobile PCs were cleared out of distribution. Lenovo's takeover of Medion did not have any impact on the overall PC shipments this quarter, but the Chinese-based company is poised to gain market share in future.
"Given the hype around media tablets such as the iPad, retailers were very conservative in placing orders for PCs," says Ms. Escherich. "Instead, many of them wanted to secure space for media tablets."
PR: IHS iSuppli's Mike Howard says that a dramatic oversupply and freefalling prices are in store for the dynamic random access memory (DRAM) sector during the third quarter of 2011, which will result in a turbulent second half for besieged DRAM suppliers, according to a new IHS iSuppli DRAM market brief from information and analysis provider IHS.
The average selling price for Double Data Rate 3 (DDR) in the 2 gigabit (Gb) density - the bellwether DRAM product - is projected to drop to $1.60 in the third quarter, down 24% from $2.10 in Q211. The dive would be the biggest decline for the year, following a surprisingly solid second quarter during which pricing fell only 5% from the first. However, going into the fourth quarter, the price could plummet another 22% to $1.25 - dangerously close to cash costs for many manufacturers. Only a year ago in Q310, pricing stood at $4.70.
Contrary to typical seasonal patterns in which prices are very soft during the second quarter, that period this year saw relatively unchanged DRAM pricing compared to the first quarter. However, companies did not capitalize on the healthy pricing levels to increase shipments in the second quarter which, in retrospect, may have been the best time to do so.
DRAM manufacturers attribute the low growth in shipments in the second quarter to two primary reasons: bloated inventory and challenges in transitioning to new process technologies.
Nonetheless, says Howard, if trends in the past are any indicator, DRAM companies not only will shift inventory rapidly but also will move quickly up the yield curve. As a result, the events of the second quarter wont continue for long this year.
Should historical patterns hold fast in the third quarter - and nothing suggests that they won't according to Howard - the industry could see a oversupply in DRAM inventory and an ensuing drop in prices. As much as a 15.9% increase in shipments is anticipated in the third quarter, and prices are not expected to ramp up anytime soon because of that, IHS believes.
For DRAM suppliers faced with the inevitable - a descent in pricing sure to provoke more concern in the industry -there's some room left to maneuver during the period. A weakening DRAM market will encourage manufacturers to optimize their product mix, moving toward increased production of a higher-margin memory such as NAND flash. And for manufacturers still weighed down by lagging technology, capacity could be cut back to reduce overall DRAM supply in the market.
Both these measures could help stabilize DRAM prices in what is shaping up to be a buyers heaven for the rest of the year.
Products & Services
PR: Real Time Logic, maker of the BarracudaDrive personal cloud server, has announced that a free license for home users is available on the BarracudaDrive Facebook fan page.
With BarracudaDrive, it's easy to store, access, and share files online, but BarracudaDrive is different from the standard "online file service" provided by a myriad of providers. BarracudaDrive turns your home network into a powerful online file storage.
For example, BarracudaDrive turns your PC or Mac into an online file server, so whatever is on your computer can be accessed from anywhere, such as from work. You can also give your friends limited or unlimited access to your computer, so you can easily share documents, photos, music, and so on. You specify what you want to share. BarracudaDrive is similar to the iDisk service provided by Apple, but without the monthly fee. BarracudaDrive also includes other services, such as a powerful blog that you can connect with your friends on Facebook.
The free license on the BarracudaDrive Facebook fan page gives home users who are on a tight budget access to one of the easiest to use personal cloud servers for Mac, Windows, and Linux. (Note: This is a time limited license. You must install a new license when the above license expires by navigating back to this Facebook page and by repeating the license installation.)
Can you really trust content stored by online service providers? Since BarracudaDrive is exclusively hosted by you, it becomes your personal cloud, allowing you to store and access your files and appliances anytime from anywhere but without the vulnerability inherent in third party web portals. BarracudaDrive transforms your home network into a powerful online storage system, letting you access and share files from any computer, anywhere.
BarracudaDrive is a consumer product developed by using the Barracuda Embedded Web Server SDK.
PR: iFixit says that when they took apart the 2011 Mac mini, they found the optical drive conspicuously absent. And while few are bemoaning Apple's efforts to hasten the death of physical media, they were saddened that Apple didn't make better use of the extra space. However, iFixit now has a solution to bring your mini back to the space-efficiency you'd expect in an Apple product.
They've custom designed a kit with all the parts and tools needed to install a second hard drive inside your 2011 Mac Mini. This kit includes:
- Proprietary SATA hard drive cable
- Shock-absorbing mounting grommets
- Mounting screws
- Mac Mini Logic Board Removal Tool
- 26-Piece Bit Driver Kit
You're free to install whatever combination of SSDs and/or spinning drives that suits your fancy. Both drives are recognized as a regular internal drive, and performance is identical in either position.
The Chef Recommends:
- Seagate's 500 GB Hybrid SSD Hard Drive
- Seagate's 750 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
- Samsung's 1 TB Massive Hard Drive
The iFixit installation guide makes installing this kit a breeze.
Works with: Mac mini Mid 2011
- 2.33 GHz (A1347)
- 2.5 GHz (A1347)
- 2.7 GHz (A1347)
Don't have the newest Mac mini? iFixit has a solution to add a second drive (9.5mm maximum drive thickness) to any Mac mini:
- Model A1103 for Early 2005 and Late 2005 G4 Mac mini
- Model A1176 for Intel Mac mini
- Model A1283 for Intel Mac mini
- Model A1347 for Mid 2010 Intel Mac mini
Unfortunately, due to overwhelming demand, they're already out of stock of their first batch of kits, but are working hard to make more. Click the 'Notify me' button on the product page and they'll email you when they have more in stock.
OWC Upgrade Service for Mid 2011 iMacs: Up to 3 SSDs, 3 TB Hard Drive, 32 GB RAM - and eSATA Interface for 27" iMac
PR: Other World Computing (OWC) has announced its OWC Turnkey Upgrade Installation Program for the Mid 2011 Apple iMac that enables any 2011 21.5" or 27" iMac model owner to have OWC professionally install up to three award winning OWC Mercury 6G Solid State Drives up to 480 GB each, a larger capacity hard drive up to 3.0 TB, and OWC Memory Upgrades up to 32 GB. 27" iMac owners also have the option of OWC installing the industry's only eSATA interface for the iMac and experience data transfer rates up to 600 MB/s. OWC's installation service program offers multiple configuration options starting at $169 with a 48 business hours or less installation turnaround.
OWC Options Create a Better Than Factory Built 2011 iMac
Owners of a 2011 iMac can experience the following benefits from the OWC Upgrade Program and enjoy a superior performing iMac than what is available direct from the factory:
Over Twice as Fast & Double the Capacity Solid State Drive
OWC Mercury 6G SSDs offer capacities up to 480 GB, nearly double the capacity of the single factory 256 GB SSD option, and offer read/write speeds in excess of 550 MB/s - over twice the performance of the factory 3G speed limited SSDs. Support for a RAID-0 configuration allows data rates of up to 1 GB/s (1000 MB/s), nearly four times the data performance vs. factory options in available multi-SSD configurations. Depending on other options selected, up to three OWC Mercury 6G SSDs can be installed for a total of up to 1.44 TB SSD capacity.
More Main Bay Storage Configuration Options
iMac owners requiring more storage capacity than the factory stock 500 GB - 1 TB hard drive can have OWC replace it with up to a 3 TB drive for up to 6x greater platter-based storage. Or, instead of a traditional hard drive, OWC can add additional OWC Mercury 6G SSD capacity of up to from 480 GB to the 3.5" drive bay.
Additional & Lower Cost Memory Options Than Factory
Add up to 4x the factory maximum installed RAM with the OWC RAM 32 GB option. Or, select from OWC Memory Upgrade kits providing 8 GB total RAM starting from $80. For iMac owners only seeking a memory upgrade, OWC Memory Kits for the 2011 iMac are also available with savings up to 77% compared to factory upgrades and come backed by OWC's free installation videos and lifetime support.
Only eSATA Interface Option Offered for iMac
With fast data transfer rates up to 600 MB/s, OWC's external eSATA port option for the 2011 27" iMac lets users take advantage of plentiful and affordable eSATA external drives for data backups and transfers at up to 6x faster than the built-in FireWire 800 interface.
"The 2011 iMac comes equipped with up to Quad-Core i7 Intel Processors and can provide performance that rivals the currently available Mac Pros, except for inherent upgrade limitations based on its design and factory options," said Larry O'Connor, Founder and CEO, Other World Computing. "Being able to add memory and drives through our Turnkey service, iMac owners now can utilize the full potential of their iMac for intensive A/V, graphics, and other professional creative services tasks and turn their machine into a full blown desktop production workstation."
The Turnkey Upgrade Installation Program for 2011 Apple iMac is available for immediate ordering at:
For answers to frequently asked questions regarding the program, OWC has created an easy to follow FAQ.
PR: "User manuals are stuck in the 20th century," says iFixit's CEO Kyle Wiens. "Even the best manuals are still distributed as static PDFs. Service technicians are often stuck with documentation that is months, if not years, out of date. Users hate IKEA-style manuals with vague instructions, confusing graphics, and no photos."
Publishing service manuals that don't suck
"We started iFixit with the idea that there was a better way that useful documentation could help people do amazing things," Wiens explains. "iFixit's intuitive, step-by-step repair manuals changed the world. Millions of people have fixed their own electronics using iFixit's manuals - making it the most popular service documentation platform ever created."
iFixit is announcing Dozuki, the software behind iFixit's manuals. Dozuki has two products, Guidebook and Answers, which you can find online (link below).
Guidebook is a modern procedural documentation platform that makes it easy for anyone to create how-to instructions or publish service documentation for complex devices. Every manual is available online, as downloadable PDFs, through dedicated mobile apps like iFixit's iOS app, or through custom API applications. It's simple for technicians to suggest changes and updates, so manuals consistently get better over time.
Answers is enterprise-grade Q&A for experts. Answers is a structured tool for focusing expert conversations into a useful (and searchable) knowledge base. Answers gives companies the ability to make their products a hub for knowledge exchange.
Building Expert Communities
iFixit won top online community this year at South by Southwest (SXSW). This announcement makes their expertise at building communities available to manufacturers of all sizes.
"Dozuki isn't just a content management system - its a community platform that empowers companies to give their expert customers a voice," says Wiens. "Companies that allow their customers to extend their documentation will see consumers flock to sustainable, durable products. By joining the community, manufacturers have the opportunity to set a positive tone, provide leadership, and increase long-term demand."
Dozuki also targets enterprises needing collaborative workgroup tools. Imagine improving the productivity of distributed teams by giving people access to domain expertise already available within the company. Dozuki can transform existing procedures and support documents into a framework for social interaction.
Dozuki's powerful framework has powered iFixit onto Inc's list of the 5000 fastest growing companies for the past three years. iFixit is now one of the largest Apple parts companies in the world, hosting complete service manuals for every major Apple product. iFixit's popular gadget teardowns receive millions of views and drive consistent ecommerce growth.
Dozuki partnered with O'Reilly to bring Make Magazines exciting do-it-yourself projects into the digital realm. Their successful Guidebook community, Make: Projects ( http://makeprojects.com ), allows users to post their own DIY projects alongside Make's professional articles.
The software is in private beta now and will be launching publicly this fall.
I'd love to talk to you about why this is important to iFixit, and to the electronics industry. Manufacturers need to step up and provide users with better documentation, and we want to make that possible. I'm available all day today and tomorrow for interviews.
PR: With Sophie's Cards, you can personalize, email, or print greeting cards, note cards, holiday cards whenever you would like, as often as you would like, using your own photos or the program's bundled unique images. Sophie's Cards includes a Saved Cards feature so you'll never send the same card to the same person twice.
New in version 126.96.36.199.1:
- A completely re-mastered, easy to use interface.
- Selection and Design changes now appear instantly on the same screen.
- You can now email cards.
- The Sophie's Cards logo on the back of the card can now be replaced with your own logo or text, artists and photographers love this feature.
- Saved Cards feature, fully searchable, let's you build your own Card Store.
- Now offers Business Cards.
- The ability to enter and edit text directly on the card.
Includes a short tutorial movie, simple steps guide you how to make a card.
- Any Font on your computer is now available to use formatting a card.
- Dramatic speed improvements.
- Terrific new and unique images
You can check out the Sophie's Cards promo video on YouTube.
System requirements: PowerPC G5 or faster with at least 256 MB of RAM, or an Intel based Mac with at least 512 MB of RAM, running at least Mac OS X v10.5 or newer (note: Sophie's Cards has not yet been tested with OS X 10.7 Lion); 1 GB of available hard disk drive space, and a photo quality inkjet printer; CD-ROM drive for CD versions of Sophie's Cards.
For printing, you need either U.S. or International paper, including envelopes, in note card, half-fold, or postcard sizes, or US Letter or A4 sheets for quarter-fold cards or frameable art.
Purchase Sophie's Cards sells for $39.95.
Also see Charles W. Moore's review of Sophie's Cards, Make Your Own Custom Greeting Cards with Sophie's Cards.
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