Macintosh Stories February 20, 2020

Larry Tesler, an ex-Xerox PARC engineer who joined Apple in 1980 and rose to become the company’s chief scientist, has passed away at the age of 74. He was one of the engineers who demonstrated PARC’s graphical user interface and mouse to Steve Jobs, and which led to the creation of the LISA and Macintosh.

Tesler was a key figure in two computing concepts we now take for granted. The first, developed with fellow PARC colleague Tim Mott, was copy, cut and paste …

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Macintosh Stories February 13, 2017

sonos

The latest Sonos ad – shown during last night’s Grammys, alongside one for Apple’s Carpool Karaoke – echoes Apple’s famous ‘1984’ commercial, the hammer thrown through a screen replaced by a speaker thrown through a window. The Verge isn’t a fan.

This is no critique of capitalism, or the American way, or even the dehumanizing effect of technology — she’s only complaining because the people she’s observing haven’t dropped hundreds of dollars on Sonos speakers.

You can judge for yourself below. But if the ad does inspire you to invest in some Sonos tech, Brits might want to buy sooner rather than later as the company has announced that it will shortly be raising its UK prices by up to 25% …

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Macintosh Stories August 16, 2016

Tekserve Macintosh Collection

Tekserve, once the go-to third-party repair shop for Apple products in New York City, announced last month that it would be closing shop on August 15 after being in business since 1987. Now that Tekserve has officially closed shop, Apple fans will have the opportunity to purchase some museum-worthy vintage Apple and NeXT gear through auction.

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Macintosh Stories February 29, 2016

Apple expands ‘Think Different’ trademark to Apple Watch, Apple Pay, Apple Pencil, iPad & more

It’s been a while since Apple used its ‘Think Different‘ slogan. Launched with a one-minute TV ad in 1997 when Apple was trying to persuade people to buy a Macintosh instead of an IBM PC, it hasn’t been used since 2002.

But Patently Apple notes that the company has expanded the European trademark filing to cover seven new product classes.

Apple’s International Classes for ‘Think Different’ have greatly expanded from one class to eight. The classes now cover Apple Watch (Horological and chronometric instruments; watches), Apple Pay (financial services); Apple Pencil, iPad, (computers, stylus), games, business management, subscription services, telecommunications, broadcasting, music, television, educational services and Siri (maintenance of proprietary computer software in the field of natural language, speech, speaker, language, voice recognition, and voice-print recognition) …

Macintosh Stories December 31, 2015

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The view that Apple lost its innovative edge with the sad loss of Steve Jobs has been one of the oft-repeated criticisms of the company in recent years. But this idea is based on an entirely mythological view of Apple as a company that was constantly launching ground-breaking new product categories.

The reality is a little more mundane. The Macintosh, a truly revolutionary computer, was launched in 1984. We had to wait 17 years for the next groundbreaking product: the iPod in 2001. We had to wait six years after that for the next major product category: the iPhone in 2007. And a further three years for the iPad in 2010. (If you wanted to push things a little, you could argue that the MacBook Air was also so revolutionary that it deserves to be included; if so, we’re up to five new product categories in 26 years.)

Note, too, that none of the product categories were invented by Apple. Xerox, of course, invented the graphical user interface for personal computers. There were MP3 players before the iPod; touchscreen smartphones before the iPhone; tablets before the iPad. What Apple did in each case was what the company does best: take something clunky and used only by techies, and turn it into a slick product that will appeal to the masses.

So no, Apple never has churned out revolutionary new products on an annual basis. If we’re going to assess its performance today, it has to be against a realistic background. Zac recently reminded us of Apple’s product timeline for 2015. Looking at this in the context of a company whose true history is occasionally taking a new product category and doing it better than anyone else – and in between times merely refining its existing product ranges – how did Apple do this year … ?

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Macintosh Stories November 5, 2015

HTC copies Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial to advertise their iPhone copy

HTC’s launch of the One A9 has caught the attention of many. The company insists that the latest mid-tier device isn’t an iPhone copy, despite the fact that — from almost every angle — it looks like one. Having spent time with it, we agree in many ways. Even if it is, the very fact it runs Android 6.0 is a big enough differentiating factor for many consumers. Still, the Taiwanese manufacturer isn’t helping itself by releasing its latest advertising campaign.

The latest full length ad, named ‘Be Brilliant’ has a clear message: Be Different. Sound familiar?

Macintosh Stories August 28, 2015

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Apple is planning to retire its long existing One to One training program within Apple Stores on September 28th, according to a memo sent this week to Apple retail employees. One to One launched in 2007 as a $99 per year subscription program where a Mac user could make appointments with a “Creative” at an Apple Store to learn more about using their Mac and creating content with either consumer or professional applications. Apple cites “fewer customers” signing up for One to One as the reason behind the service’s upcoming closure:

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Macintosh Stories June 1, 2015

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Irish Examiner got an inside look at Apple’s EU headquarters in Cork along with some interviews with employees there. The campus holds around 4,000 Apple employees that the report points out span across support services, distribution, mapping and manufacturing. expand full story

Widow recycles Apple I computer, not realizing it was worth $200k

With only around 200 Apple I computers ever made, they fetch six-figure sums these days – but it seems not everyone knows their value. The San Jose Mercury News reports that a woman dropped off several boxes of electronics at a South Bay recycling company, saying she just wanted to “get rid of this stuff” to clear out her garage after her husband died.

The woman didn’t leave her details, and the company didn’t go through the boxes until some weeks later, when they discovered the vintage computer. They have now sold it to a private collector for $200,000.

It’s not all bad news for the mystery woman, though: recycling company Clean Bay Area says its policy is to give half the proceeds of sales to the original owner, so if she comes forward she’ll receive a check for $100k. Chancers will be out of luck – Vice President Victor Gichun, who took in the boxes from her, says he remembers both the woman’s face and her SUV. All she has to do to collect is show up.

Photo: TNW

Macintosh Stories April 8, 2015

apple-watch-faces

There’s an oft-told story about Steve Jobs insisting the wiring inside the Macintosh be made to look neat even though few owners would ever see it. Apple’s human-interface chief Alan Dye, interviewed in Wired, says the same attention to detail lives on in Apple today, and is reflected in the care that went into the Apple Watch.

We have a group of people who are really, really super-talented, but they really care. They care about details that a designer might not show in his portfolio because it’s so arcane. And yet getting it right is so critical to the experience.

Dye illustrated the point by referring to the animated faces of the Apple Watch …  expand full story

Macintosh Stories April 3, 2015

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While we haven’t gotten many details about the Aaron Sorkin-penned screenplay based on Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, we have previously learned that it will focus on three separate days in the life of the Apple co-founder, with each 30-minute act taking place just before a major product announcement. We also know that Michael Fassbender will star alongside Seth Rogen, Michael Stuhlbarg, Kate Winslet, Perla Haney-Jardine, and Jeff Daniels.

Today we got our hands on a copy of the screenplay (or at least a February 2014 draft of it) which reveals what many already may have already suspected based on previous reports: the three products Jobs will unveil during the biopic are the original Macintosh, the NeXT Cube, and the iMac.

The film opens with… (Read more)

Macintosh Stories February 20, 2015

Apple to begin offering web-based chat support for Beats hardware (update: live)

Apple will expand its support capabilities for Beats by Dre hardware products, like headphones and speakers, next week by launching web-based chat support, according to sources. Customers in need of support for their Beats devices will be able to instant message with a support representative via Apple’s support website beginning on Monday, February 23rd. In January, Apple began moving Beats phone-based support wholly in-house after still using the headphone maker’s outsourced support for most of last year. Apple began servicing Beats products in its retail stores late last year.

Macintosh Stories February 19, 2015

photoshop

Adobe is today celebrating the 25th anniversary of Photoshop, which first launched as a Mac-only app on 19th February 1990.

What went on to become the industry standard image editing app started life in 1987, when Thomas Knoll, a computer vision doctorate student at the University of Michigan, began developing it on his Mac Plus. Known then as Display, the app was designed to do nothing more than display grayscale images on the Macintosh’s black-and-white monitor. As Adobe showcases in the video below, the app has come rather a long way since then …  expand full story

Macintosh Stories January 6, 2015

iPad-controlled wireless power system charges devices via WiFi up to 20 feet away

While some have been disappointed that Apple hasn’t yet incorporated wireless charging technology into its devices, charging pads are really almost as clunky as wires: you still have wires going to the pads, and you have to put your device in a specific place to charge them. What we really want is true wireless charging, where power is beamed directly to the device through the air.

Which is exactly what Energous has been demonstrating at CES with a system it calls WattUp, reports Engadget.

WattUp […] works using a mix of RF, Bluetooth and a lot of patent-pending technology. The transmitter is where most of the magic happens. It communicates with and locates compatible devices using low-energy Bluetooth. Once they’ve established contact with a device, they send out focused RF signals on the same bands as WiFi that are then absorbed and converted into DC power by a tiny chip embedded in the device. These transmitters can be built into household appliances, TVs, speakers and standalone “energy routers.”

What looks like an oversized Internet router beams power up to 20 feet, so have enough of these – or transmitters embedded into other devices around the home – and your portable devices are powered wherever they are. All that’s needed is for the receiving devices to have the necessary chip.

Energous used an iPad app to demonstrate switching power between devices, but the plan is to build intelligence into the system so that it beams power to devices automatically depending on how much charge they have left. Once your phone has enough power, it switches instead to powering your iPad. As you move around the home, power transmission is handed off to the next source in much the same way as your phone switches between different WiFi networks.

Energous wants to license the technology to manufacturers, and Apple would clearly make a very attractive target.

The clunkiness of charging pads is, I think, why Apple hasn’t yet adopted wireless charging. This, not pads, is the way charging should work, and sooner or later this – or some equivalent tech – is how our iDevices will be charged. I’m very much hoping for ‘sooner.’

9to5Mac’s CES 2015 coverage brought to you by:

Macintosh Stories November 20, 2014

apple-smoke-detector

The Nest smoke detector may look decidedly old-fashioned if one Apple patent ever makes it into production. Apple has patented the idea of embedding smoke detectors into “electronic devices” and using those devices to provide a comprehensive response to a fire.

In response to detecting smoke with the smoke detector, the electronic device may issue an alert or take other suitable action. The electronic device may transmit alerts to nearby electronic devices and to remote electronic devices such as electronic devices at emergency services facilities. Alerts may contain maps and graphical representations of buildings in which smoke has been detected. Motion detectors and other sensors and circuitry may be used in determining whether electronic devices are being used by users and may be used in determining where the electronic devices are located. Alerts may contain information on the location of detected smoke and building occupants.

In other words, your Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad or Mac could detect smoke, alert you, alert other devices within range, activate sprinklers, call emergency services and use the fact that an iDevice is moving or in use to tell fire crews where in the building you and your family members are …  expand full story

Macintosh Stories November 7, 2014

Final IDC numbers for U.S. PC shipments confirm Mac hit highest ever market share

IDC has finalized the preliminary PC shipment numbers released last month, confirming that the Mac hit its highest ever share of the U.S. market at 13%. Apple regained the place in lost to Lenovo back in April, moving back into third place behind HP at 28% and Dell with 24%.

Apple reported year-on-year growth of more than 20% in its Q4 earnings report, with Mac sales of 5.52M. In a subsequent interview with the WSJ, Tim Cook asked:

Would you rather own the Mac business or any of the Windows OEMs?

We learned recently that Apple’s share of the worldwide tablet market fell markedly from 29.2% last year to 22.8% this year, thanks to both falling sales and an increase in the number of competitor tablets, especially at the low end. The news was not all bad, however, with U.S. data showing that the iPad continues to dominate web usage, accounting for almost 80% of North American tablet traffic on the web, leaving its three largest competitors all down in single digits.

Macintosh Stories October 21, 2014

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Apple not only announced record profits for Q4 results and smashed through its own revenue guidance, but out-performed even the most bullish of analyst estimates with earnings of $42.123B. The highest analyst estimate in yesterday’s Fortune roundup was for $41.8B.

The consensus analyst expectation for earnings per share was $1.32, against the actual 20% climb to $1.42, aided by Apple’s stock buyback program, which now totals $68B of the $90B target announced by Apple …  expand full story

Macintosh Stories August 18, 2014

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In honor of the Bank holiday in the United Kingdom, Apple is offering five Newsstand magazine issues per day at no charge. The deal started today (August 18th) and lasts through August 22nd…

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Macintosh Stories August 11, 2014

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Apple has been developing some revamped Mac laptops for several months and years, such as an ultra-slim 12-inch Retina MacBook, and the key to shipping these products is the availability of Intel’s upcoming Broadwell chip. Why? Because the new 14nm Broadwell Core M chip is fanless, small, and according to Intel, the most energy-efficient Intel processor yet. These facts about the processor lineup directly with the rumors of a fanless and light MacBook. Today, Intel has disclosed some new key points about the Core M Broadwell processor:

  • The combination of the new microarchitecture and manufacturing process will usher in a wave of innovation in new form factors, experiences and systems that are thinner and run silent and cool.
  • Intel architects and chip designers have achieved greater than two times reduction in the thermal design point when compared to a previous generation of processor while providing similar performance and improved battery life.
  • The new microarchitecture was optimized to take advantage of the new capabilities of the 14nm manufacturing process.
  • Intel has delivered the world’s first 14nm technology in volume production. It uses second-generation Tri-gate (FinFET) transistors with industry-leading performance, power, density and cost per transistor.
  • Intel’s 14nm technology will be used to manufacture a wide range of high-performance to low-power products including servers, personal computing devices and Internet of Things.
  • The first systems based on the Intel® Core™ M processor will be on shelves for the holiday selling season followed by broader OEM availability in the first half of 2015.
  • Additional products based on the Broadwell microarchitecture and 14nm process technology will be introduced in the coming months.

Notably, as Intel executives hinted earlier this year, Intel is still on track to ship out chips in time for new products to hit this holiday season, and it seems likely that the new 12-inch MacBook will be one of the first major computer launches with the new processor. Intel says that increased availability for the Broadwell processor will occur in the first half of 2015, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect various other new Macs (perhaps MacBook Pros or Airs) with more powerful Broadwell chips to hit the market during that timeframe next year.

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Macintosh Stories July 9, 2014

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In what will only continue the endless stream of iPhone 6 leaks, MacRumors brings attention to a couple of new photos and videos of the supposed iPhone 6 back. Interestingly, a new dark black piece has been seen for the first time, featuring a shade much darker than the current Space Gray iPhone 5s. Until today, only gray pieces have been spotted, which does make the legitimacy of the part somewhat questionable.

The post also highlights some new images and videos from Fed & Volk, who ostensibly possess mid-production units of the iPhone 6 rear. This case is the standard light gray variant, however, and matches the component leaks we have been seeing from other sources for many months now. See a video of the part after the break …

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Macintosh Stories July 2, 2014

AIM-iChatAs Apple previously announced in April, today marks the end of support for AIM in iChat using a me.com or mac.com ID for Macs running OS X Lion 10.7.1 or earlier. While some reports are claiming the change also appears to be affecting users on newer versions of OS X, we’ve confirmed with sources with knowledge of the situation that users running 10.7.2 or higher, including Yosemite, will continue to have support for AIM. expand full story

appl

Barron’s reports that institutional investors have returned Apple to its number one slot in its annual ranking of the world’s most respected companies, after it was beaten last year by Berkshire Hathaway.

Apple topped this year’s ranking by scoring 3.94, giving it a wide margin of victory. Berkshire scored 3.58, and the mean was 2.37. Apple received the highest number of Highly Respect votes …

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Macintosh Stories July 1, 2014

Applecare

Apple today will be rolling out a couple of significant changes to its AppleCare support offerings. As we detailed in a report last month regarding Apple’s future plans for AppleCare, Apple will making a significant push for its premium AppleCare+ service. AppleCare+ is the iPhone and iPad protection plan offering that provides support for an additional two years (on top of the free 90 days of support) and support for up to two incidents of accidental damage.

Previously, customers were required to buy the plan within 30 days of purchase of an iPhone or iPad, but today’s change brings that purchase window to 60 days. This gives customers more time to decide if they will need enhanced support for their mobile Apple devices. The AppleCare+ plan costs $99 for both recent iPhone and iPad models. The plan can be purchased both via Apple’s Online Store or inside of official Apple retail stores. The AppleCare+ change is supported in all AppleCare+ regions except Japan, where the timeframe remains 30 days…

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IFO Apple Store reports that Apple is revamping its back-lit in-store photo panels, replacing its signature white-background product shots with visuals inspired by its recent advertising. Out are clean, sterile close-ups of the products, and in are colorful visuals showing what people are doing with the products.

The new graphics were photographed like magazine ads, showing the iPad/iPhone being used in actual situations, complete with their surrounding people and places. Their colors, tone and brightness is much richer and darker than the previous graphics …

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