Wishful thinking: Why it’d be nice if Apple created a line of Ive-designed office technology products

Image: deskology.com

Image: deskology.com

I have a number of friends who can’t understand why I pay what they refer to as ‘the Apple tax’: the premium paid for Apple products over alternatives that offer much the same functionality.

I can argue about the functionality, of course. The usability, stability and (usually!) security of OS X are all things worth paying for in my view, but I’m not ashamed to admit that aesthetics also matter to me. When I’m going to spend 8+ hours in front of a computer, I’d rather I was looking at something sleek and beautiful rather than something plastic, ugly and a chore to use and understand.

I feel the same way about the other technology on my desk and in my office, but it isn’t always easy to find kit that works well and looks the part too. I can’t help thinking there’s a lot of office technology that could use the Jony Ive touch …  Read more

Apple loses key iPad, Mac operations VP Rita Lane to retirement

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 8.45.55 AM

Rita Lane, Apple’s vice president of operations for the iPad, Mac desktops, and Mac accessories, has retired from the company, according to her public LinkedIn profile. As vice president of operations, Lane was in charge of the supply chain and manufacturing for iPads, computers like the iMac, and Apple’s Mac accessories.

Due to her position, Lane was likely instrumental in the iPad’s rapid growth as a product and emergence in society over the past few years, making the departure a significant loss for Apple. However, the company likely has other experienced operations managers who could fill Lane’s role. Her exact successor is unknown…

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PC Market exodus continues as LG considers quitting, Mac prices & margins leave Apple almost immune

ultrabook

PC manufacturers seem to be dropping like flies at present. Shortly after Sony confirmed it was selling its PC business and Vaio brand, LG is rumored to be planning its own exit from traditional PCs, to focus on smartphones, tablets and ‘convertible’ PCs (touchscreen Windows tablets that flip round into a laptop).

Other manufacturers are witnessing falling sales, prices and profits – with The Guardian calculating that the average profit per PC in the third quarter of 2013 fell to just £14.87 ($24.09). One manufacturer of conventional-format PCs, however, has remained almost immune to the trend: Apple …  Read more

Watch Steve Jobs compare the Mac to the invention of the telephone in this video not seen since 1984


(Head to 37:40 in the video to see the telphone comparison)

Harry McCracken tracked down this video from the launch of the Macintosh that hasn’t been seen since 1984. It turns out there was a second ‘launch demo’ a week after the original launch at the shareholder meeting and the videographer forgot he had the video of that (woops!) in his garage. The audience this time wasn’t wasn’t Apple shareholders but actually members of the  Boston Computer Society and the general public, which made for a different type of presentation. The quality and tone of the video is often much different than the one given a week earlier at the Flint Center on the De Anza College campus near Apple’s then HQ.

Over at YouTube, you can watch the Cupertino presentation, along with a sort of a rough draft held as part of an Apple sales meeting in Hawaii in the fall of 1983. As for the BCS version, all 90 minutes of it are there in the video at the top of this post, available for the first time in their entirety since they were shot on January 30, 1984.

The Cupertino and Boston demos may have been based in part on the same script, but the audience, atmosphere and bonus materials were different. In Cupertino, Jobs spoke before investors, towards the end of a meeting which also included dreary matters such as an analysis of Apple’s cash flow.

What’s particularly interesting to me and not part of any other videos I’ve seen was Jobs’ comparison of the Mac (and eventually by extension GUI interfaces) to the invention of the telephone. Fast forward the video above to about 37:40 to see it. As McCracken puts it, the Mac wasn’t necessarily competing with IBM machines but competing with no computer at all.  This metaphor is striking in hindsight.

The video also has a Q&A with the original Mac team which is also pretty interesting if you are into that kind of thing.

McCracken has much more on the video here which is definitely worth a read.

The transcript of the Telephone/Telegraph bit pasted below:

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While everyone is looking back, the analysts look forward to Monday’s Mac numbers

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While there’s plenty of looking back going on todayFortune has gathered together analyst forecasts of the Mac numbers we can expect Apple to reveal at its earnings call on Monday. This follows earlier forecasts for iPhone and iPad.

The average prediction is for 13 percent year-on-year growth, predicting that Apple sold 4.6 million Macs in the final quarter of 2013 (Apple’s fiscal Q1). This is slap bang in the middle of the growth predictions for iPads (10 percent) and iPhones (16 percent) …  Read more

Apple continues Mac’s 30th birthday celebrations with special window displays

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A tip we’ve received from an Apple Store employee indicates that Apple will be putting up celebratory LED window displays at Apple Stores, showing a stylised ’3’ and a ‘Happy birthday, Mac’ message. iPhones and iPads in the window will reportedly be removed. The graphic came via special SD card.

Boxes of special t-shirts have arrived for the occasion (photo below the fold) …  Read more