iPad mini reviews, Winer and Apple Store Riches!

This week on Your Mac Life: "iPad mini reviews, Winer and Apple Store Riches!"

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Is Chris Matyszczyk of CNET intentionally obtuse?

I've often railed against the poor writing, thinking and reasoning skills of CNET's Chris Matyszczyk. He's supposedly an "award-winning creative director" and he very well may be exactly that. But he most certainly is not someone who thinks well about Apple and its place in the world. CNET should be embarrassed to have him writing for their site.

His latest piece of headshaking thought is "Are Apple stores just too crowded?". While his premise might have some validity, he completely destroys it with...well..his writing.

He says:
It's not as if it's Apple's fault that these places are more popular than churches.

There...you're done. End of story. Stop writing. But no - he continues to whine and complain about Apple's success like the grumpy old white guy he appears.

He says:
Despite Apple's firing of retail head John Browett, its stores are performing very well.

I honestly don't even know what that means. Is he saying if Browett was still there, the Apple stores would be less crowded?

And finally, Matyszczyk goes on to prove that he has absolutely zero understanding of how Apple, retail or mall economics works by saying:
(Apple) could also simply take over the mall stores on either side of the Apple store, knock the walls down and create breathing room.

"Simply"? How could anyone be so dense as to think it's just that "simple" for Apple?

The only thing "simple" here is Matyszczyk.

Interview with Ben Bajarin of Techpinions about the iPad mini

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies and columnist at Tech.Pinions. Shawn checked in with him last week to get his personal and professional opinion on Apple's iPad min.

Interview with Ben Bajarin of Techpinions about the iPad mini.

It's also posted to the iTunes Store under the Your Mac Life Podcast section so it's probably just easier if you went ahead and subscribed to Your Mac Life on iTunes.

As always, we hope you enjoy it and let us know what you think!

Archives for November 7th, 2012

This week's show "Hands on with the iPad mini!"

Hands on with the iPad mini!

This week on Your Mac Life: "Hands on with the iPad mini!"

Live Video is on Your Mac Life thanks to MacOSG.com and available on your desktop, iPhone and iPad! You can watch the show live from anywhere at this URL:
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Or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at:
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You can also join the Chat Room that runs during the live show - on the Live Video Feed itself or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.chat-solutions.org in the #yourmaclife Channel.

Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.

Apple paid less than 2% income tax on earnings outside US in 2012

The Washington Post says, "Apple Inc. paid an income tax rate of only 1.9 percent on its earnings outside the U.S. in its latest fiscal year, a regulatory filing by the company shows."

THOSE BASTARDS!

Apple made $36.8 billion on foreign earnings in the fiscal year ended Sept. 29 but yet only paid $713 million in tax on those earnings. According to the general tech media, that's disgusting, irresponsible and, according to the Washington Post, completely legal.

So...yeah..no story here...but of course, that doesn't stop the media from jumping all over Apple for doing it because, to those of us working stiffs who don't have access to the nuances and vagaries of the US Tax Code, it seems like Apple should have to pay more, doesn't it?

Granted, it doesn't help when the Post describes some of the accounting moves as “Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich,” which routes profits through Irish and Dutch subsidiaries and then to the Caribbean. It just sounds suspicious, doesn't it?

Interestingly enough, the Post has another angle that a lot of the Tech Media is ignoring. Apple is actually hurting itself a little bit by holding back some of its overseas profits just in case US Tax law changes and Apple is forced to pay taxes on it. If they would stop doing that, it might increase Apple’s profits for past three years by as much $10.5 billion, according to The Associated Press.

But let's just go ahead and bury that bit of news because it doesn't fit the preconceived notion of Apple as the Big Bad Capitalist screwing America.

Apple's "disappointing" weekend iPad sales numbers. How many Surface tablets were sold, Microsoft?

This morning, Apple announced they had sold three million of the Wi-Fi only models of the new iPad mini & fourth generation iPad.

And the Tech Media immediately started whining about it.

The first and only question they to want to ask is, "How many exactly of each model did Apple sell?" But Apple rarely if ever breaks out sales numbers by specific model and, if they did, the media would then ask, "How many white? How many 16GB? How many white, 16GB iPad minis to women with 2.5 children and a poodle?"

Apple considers all iPads to be just that - iPads. No differentiation.

Note how conveniently the tech media ignores the fact that Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Samsung and RIM rarely, if ever, report their sales numbers. As usual, they hold Apple to different standards than they hold other tech companies.

Crappy Computers

This is a sentiment you often hear from people: casual users only need «entry-level» performance. Even casual users themselves perpetuate it: «Oh, I’m not doing much on my computer, so I always just go with the cheapest option.» And then they buy a horrid, underpowered netbook, find out that it has a tiny screen, is incredibly slow, the keyboard sucks, and they either never actually use it, or eventually come to the conclusion that they just hate computers.

In reality, it’s exactly backwards: proficient users can deal with a crappy computer, but casual users need as good a computer as possible.

"I’ve had it on my first home screen for weeks now..."

"I’ve had it on my first home screen for weeks now..."

Developers sell their children for that kind of recommendation from Daring Fireball's John Gruber. While it's not a selling point for me, I'm certainly going to check out what he's talking about if it has some relevance.

In this case, he's talking about a new iOS app called "Watercooler". I went to their web site to see its feature set and see this:

In order to help you make an informed decision, note that there are a few things Watercooler does not support at this point in time:
No push notifications.
No direct messages.
No searching all posts for keywords.
No support for Twitter lists.

it's unlikely that push notifications or direct messages will be supported on Twitter in the near future.

Wait....what? It doesn't do those things? I had no idea Gruber didn't need, want or care about those features.

For me, they are essential. This app not only won't ever be on my iPhone's home screen, I have no intention of ever paying $5 for such a crippled app.

Archives for October 31st, 2012

This week's show "The iPad mini and Apple's Corporate Shake Up!"

The iPad mini and Apple's Corporate Shake Up!

This week on Your Mac Life: "New iPads, iMac and MacBook Pros - Oh My!"

Live Video is on Your Mac Life thanks to MacOSG.com and available on your desktop, iPhone and iPad! You can watch the show live from anywhere at this URL:
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Or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/yml-audio-only

You can also join the Chat Room that runs during the live show - on the Live Video Feed itself or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.chat-solutions.org in the #yourmaclife Channel.

Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.

Why Apple doesn’t Care about its Competition

There are three questions, then, which real people will ask about the iPad mini. Do I want it, can I afford it, and which model should I get. The answers to those questions will determine how many iPad minis Apple manages to sell. But the question which most of the press concentrates on — how does the iPad mini compare to its non-Apple competitors — is one which gets asked much less often than the Apple-as-company people tend to think.

Which is why the bellyaching about the iPad mini’s pricing is very weird to me.

Interview with John Moltz about Microsoft's Surface

A Very Nice Web Site's John Moltz went up to Seattle to check out the launch of Microsoft's Surface tablet at their very own Microsoft Store. He was kind enough to sit down with YML to give his impressions of the store, the launch event and the Surface itself.

Click here for the Interview with John Moltz about Microsoft's Surface.

It's also posted to the iTunes Store under the Your Mac Life Podcast section so it's probably just easier if you went ahead and subscribed to Your Mac Life on iTunes.

As always, we hope you enjoy it and let us know what you think!

Apple doesn’t need a $200 iPad mini

With a starting price tag of $329, Apple’s new iPad mini may be too expensive to attract budget-conscious consumers drawn to Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which, at $249 and $199, are significantly cheaper. But does that even matter?

Honestly, when has Apple ever played at the bottom of the pricing barrel? The company’s M.O. has always been to build premium products that command premium prices and offer great margins. As Mike McGuire, research vice president at Gartner, told AllThingsD, “Apple didn’t need to come down to $200; they’ve never done products to hit competitors’ price points.”

Interview with Dave Hamilton about Apple's Fusion Drive

Dave Hamilton of The Mac Observer's Mac Geek Gab wrote an article - "Digging Into Apple’s Fusion Drive Details" - that helped to explain Apple's announcement of the new kind of drive in the latest version of the iMac and Mac mini. He took the time to talk to Your Mac Life about the Drives.

Click here for the Interview with Dave Hamilton about Apple's Fusion Drive.

It's also posted to the iTunes Store under the Your Mac Life Podcast section so it's probably just easier if you went ahead and subscribed to Your Mac Life on iTunes.

As always, we hope you enjoy it and let us know what you think!

Sly's Website of the Week - October 24th, 2012

Without a doubt, the most disturbing Website of the Week in a long while.

I weep for humanity.

Reflecting on the iPad mini Event

Tim Cook took special care to note what an amazing year it has been for Apple, just as he had promised when the year began. The list of updated Apple products is pretty astounding: Mountain Lion, iOS 6, the new iPad, another new iPad, MacBook Pro Retina, iMac and now iPad mini. Equally astounding is the continued lack of improvement to Mac Pro. With every passing day, Apple makes it priorities more clear.

All in all, I thought this presentation gave us a boatload of interesting stuff.

Archives for October 24th, 2012

This week's show "New iPads, iMac and MacBook Pros - Oh My!"

New iPads, iMac and MacBook Pros - Oh My!

This week on Your Mac Life: "New iPads, iMac and MacBook Pros - Oh My!"

Live Video is on Your Mac Life thanks to MacOSG.com and available on your desktop, iPhone and iPad! You can watch the show live from anywhere at this URL:
http://yml.macosg.com

Or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/yml-audio-only

You can also join the Chat Room that runs during the live show - on the Live Video Feed itself or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.chat-solutions.org in the #yourmaclife Channel.

Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.

Archives for October 17th, 2012

This week's show "Apple's Press Event and Viewer Mail!"

Apple's Press Event and Viewer Mail!

This week on Your Mac Life: "Apple's Press Event and Viewer Mail!"

Live Video is on Your Mac Life thanks to MacOSG.com and available on your desktop, iPhone and iPad! You can watch the show live from anywhere at this URL:
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Or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/yml-audio-only

You can also join the Chat Room that runs during the live show - on the Live Video Feed itself or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.chat-solutions.org in the #yourmaclife Channel.

Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.

How to Opt out of PayPal's "Agreement to Arbitrate"

Every now and then, companies send out information to their customers updating them on various aspects of things like End User Licensing Agreements and Terms of Service. Most of the time, we just glos over these dry legal documents. But PayPal sent out a notice this morning that not only had me reading it, it had the added effect of really pissing me off.

Under the title of "Notice of Policy Updates" (you may need to be logged into PayPal to access that link), PayPal list what these updates include.

What got my blood boiling was the lines, "You will, with limited exception, be required to submit claims you have against PayPal to binding and final arbitration" and "unless you opt out of the Agreement to Arbitrate you will only be permitted to pursue claims against PayPal on an individual basis, not as a plaintiff or class member in any class or representative action or proceeding..."

In other words, PayPal is trying to abrogate your rights to sue the company in a court of law.

Now, I know a lot of people really dislike PayPal and there have been plenty of horror stories about the company but I've been using them for years and have never had an issue. I don't anticipate ever having an issue. But, if I did, I would certainly want to have at my disposal every legal tool in the book to fight for my right for relief. PayPal is trying to prevent that.

And worse - they are doing it in the typical sleazy way corporations do things.

Five Reasons to (not?) join App.net Now

Jon Mitchell of ReadWriteWeb has an article called "Five Reasons To Join App.net Now". In light of our last show discussion about Twitter and App.Net, I was interested in the article. Unfortunately, he really doesn't make his case.

He starts off with, "Don’t think of App.net as a Twitter competitor."

But that's exactly what it is. It's exactly what it was set up as. Or perhaps, more accurately, a "Twitter alternative". Regardless, a competitor is exactly what it is right now.

His number one reason is, "App.net has lowered the membership price." He's right - App.Net started off at $50/year but they recently lowered the price to $36/year or $5/month. But Twitter is still free to join - so a lower price may not be muh of a draw for a lot of people.

His number two reason? "There are 20,000 people on App.net." Umm...so? That number has since risen to 25K+ users but still....so? Why is that number a reason to join App.Net?

Number three? "Great apps are coming out." OK...but great apps are already out for Twitter. "Great apps soon to come" isn't a reason to join App.Net *now*. It might be a reason in the future though.

While his number four reason may be valid - "App.net pays developers to build experiences you love" - it may not hold a lot of water for the average user. I can't see a critical mass of people joining the service because at some nebulous point in the future, you *might* have some great apps that *might* give you an "experience you love".

And finally, his number five reason, "App.net is more than a Twitter clone", not only echoes his first sentence but may not be the audience draw he seems to think it is.

Don't get me wrong - I'm intrigued by App.Net and am as active on it as I can be but the kind of "feel good" reasoning of articles like this really aren't going to convince those who are on the fence.

Archives for October 10th, 2012

This week's show "Twitter, App.Net and "secret" Apple Repairs"

Twitter, App.Net and "secret" Apple Repairs

This week on Your Mac Life: "Twitter, App.Net and "secret" Apple Repairs"

Live Video is on Your Mac Life thanks to MacOSG.com and available on your desktop, iPhone and iPad! You can watch the show live from anywhere at this URL:
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Or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at:
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You can also join the Chat Room that runs during the live show - on the Live Video Feed itself or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.chat-solutions.org in the #yourmaclife Channel.

Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.

Archives for October 3rd, 2012

This week's show "Maps Controversy and Apps of the Month"

Maps Controversy and Apps of the Month

This week on Your Mac Life: "Maps Controversy and Apps of the Month"

Live Video is on Your Mac Life thanks to MacOSG.com and available on your desktop, iPhone and iPad! You can watch the show live from anywhere at this URL:
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Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.

Personal Preference is Personal Preference

Ben Bajarin is a principal at Creative Strategies and a guy I've interviewed a couple of times. He's really smart and writes really well about this tech stuff.

His latest column, "I Chose the iPhone, You Chose an Android Phone — So What?" got me thinking about why we argue/discuss/flame over our tech du jour.

Ben says:
What really stumps me is the desire to criticize others’ choices of personal technology products. It’s as if one person choosing a different product is going to drastically alter the quality of life of another person.

Should we harshly criticize those who like different music than us? Should we criticize those who buy different car brands than us? Should we criticize those who like different foods than us?

I understand that personal technology is just that: personal. Because of that reality, there will be emotions attached to personal preferences.

And there's the rub - emotion. Ben (and most of us) would like people to make rational, logical choices and decisions based on facts and evidence. But as human beings, we see so many things through an emotional prism. We criticize others over their different choices - whether it be the car they drive, the soda they like or the phone they use - because of our need to have our emotions affirmed.

We think, "If I bought this thing and you didn't, then (because I can't be wrong) you are wrong and must be told so." It's even worse when it comes to things we develop an emotional attachment to. We need our emotions and feelings validated and to be "told" we did the right thing.

Apple Maps: adventures in crisis management

Many have reacted positively to Tim Cook’s letter, finding it refreshingly honest.

Personally, it made me squirm a bit. Not because I prefer Apple to be untruthful, but because I want it to be even more truthful.

Counter-Perspective

My good friend John Moltz (actually, I don't even like the guy but his wife is great and his kid is cute) on his "Very Nice Web Site" (it's pretty boring) has an opinion called "Perspective". He quotes all his usual buddies (name dropping sycophant that he is) but it's the last line that got my attention:

So many of these Apple critics, however, are just reveling in the mistake.

For those of you old enough to remember when Apple was (rightfully) always described as "beleaguered", you'll also remember how we Mac users revelled in every single misstep of "The Dark Side". How many of you remember Bill Gates demoing a USB scanner (back in the day when USB was just getting off the ground) during a demo at Comdex for Windows 98 and getting the Blue Screen of Death? Oh, how we Mac users laughed and mocked and derided everything PC based.

And that wasn't the only example of the incredible Schadenfreude of Mac users.

So when the shoe gets put on the other foot and the chickens come home to roost, suck it up and take it. We Mac users dished it out for long enough. We can eat a little crow every now and then.

(could I have jammed any more cliches into that above paragraph?)

(PS: All those mean things I said about Moltz in the lead paragraph? I was just kidding. Moltz is one of the nicest guys on the web - but he does have freaky bug eyes....)