Monthly Archives: February 2007


It dawns on me that we could easily be a well respected Apple Mac Rumor site simply by posting occasional Random Apple Rumors (educated guesses, of course). Just by chance, we’d get some of them right and quite possibly have a higher accuracy rating than some of the “real” rumor sites.

To explain: Things change. Ignoring the fact that Apple sometimes uses fake information to track leaks, nothing it guaranteed in the business world. A manager could change positions and a project could be reassigned to someone else who isn’t interested in it and gets it canceled. A new marketing survey could change a roadmap. A supply chain problem could prevent a product going in to production. This happens all the time.

As a long-standing follower of both Apple and Disney rumors, these patterns seem obvious. So, starting soon, Appleause will begin offering occasional Random Apple Rumors.

You can tell us how we’re doing.

Mac Doesn’t Stand a Chance…

If I, a highly experience Mac user with a marketing, advertising and sales background, can’t convince the woman that loves me that she should get a Mac, Apple doesn’t stand a chance.

At least, not when it comes to the gamer geeks.

You see, while she admires all the things I easily do on my Mac, whether it be simple Internet mail and web surfing that “just works,” or advanced things like multi-track recording, podcasting or video editing, there is only little thing that keeps her from being able to afford a Mac.

World of Warcraft.

And, perhaps, The Sims 2.

In order for her to get a laptop that has a graphics card that will play these games decently, she has to spend $2000. And even then, unless she runs Windows on the machine, she won’t have access to all the plug ins and expansions and add ons she’s used to.

So, regardless of what I say or show her, and how “wowed” she is about everything she’s see, ultimately, her one “killer app” is something that the Mac just doesn’t have.

So, will someone please tell Cupertino we need a low-end MacBook that can play games? Please? I really don’t want to become XP tech support when she brings her new PC laptop over and tries to get it to connect to my wireless network or print to my printer wirelessly.

I went through that all with my ex who, fortunately, wasn’t a gamer and was able to buy an iBook…

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, after all.

Why the iPhone will iPhail

Although an overpaid computer engineer by trade, I’ve had bad times where I had to keep my landlord happy by selling wireless serivces. SprintPCS, T-Mobile, AT&T Wireless, US Cellular, NexTel, DirecTV and Dish Network were all part of the “sell this and make commission” plan. But, my experience lead me to great distaste for the industries. To this date, I refuse to purchase any similar service from anyone other than an official company store. Read the fine print. There may be a $150 cancellation fee from Verizon, but Universal Wireless Cell Company tags on their own similar fee to double get you. Buying “direct” prevents that and, as the iPhone has shown, there’s always the possibility for something just over the horizon that will make you glad you can get out of your contract (easier).

I could write a book on all the issues and problems (and how to avoid/prevent many of them) when dealing with cell phone companies. I could share stories from within the company I worked for that would make you fear ever filling out an application (with your social security number and such) again. But the real education I got turns out to be very significant in lieu of the iPhone release later this year.

Contracts, you see, are the key to making money in the cell phone business. My store didn’t even sell phones. You couldn’t buy one. Period. What we sold was contracts. My cut of activating one carrier was $45 for a one year agreement. $50 for turning on a one year satellite contract. You get the idea, and can imagine the money being made by the company itself, and the cell phone company (though they take the risk that the customer will keep paying those monthly bills; and if they don’t, there’s always those cancellation fees.)

More and more companies push for two year agreements. So did we, even though we were still able to activate one years; we were told not to offer them, period. That’s good for us (more commission) and good for the cell co (you can’t take your business elsewhere without them still getting money) but … bad for anyone trying to sell a phone to the majority of people walking through the strip mall.

“Sorry, I’m under contract” was what changed my job from a potential “$50,000 year” commission rate to a lousy $6.50/hour retail gig. And when working for a specific GSM company, with poor coverage in many areas of my state, they simply weren’t even an option for those who could have signed up (unless we lied about how great it would work on their farm; lying is also very important to successful cell phone selling, it seems).

So the iPhone comes out, and only folks like me who have been out of contract for years can even think of buying one without spending a few hundred more on cancellation fees. And even if you do that, or can get out of your contract using “other techniques,” will Cingular even work in your area?

Folks like me, smart enough to avoid contracts and perfect early adopters for anything high-tech with Apple on it simply can’t have an iPhone. There’s still question to whether or not I’m going to be able to buy them in my state, and even if I can, will I be able to use them anywhere outside the main city limits?

The iPhone will be an amazing device. It should easily be able to outsell the Treos and similar “smart” phones, but probably not touch the Blackberry corporate environment (who refuses to switch to Unix-compatible Macs while slowly embracing nonstandard standards of Linux). But none of this matters.

The iPhone may be a roaring success when compared to the Treo (and I’d toss my 650 in a minute if I could), but compared to the Apple iPod… it will be seen as an iPhailure. Apples to Apples, that’s what will make the iPhone seem like a failure.

Even if it manages to destroy many other competing smartphones easily…

Now, if only Cingular can find out if I can buy one in my area. I’m out of contract, and we finally got Cingular service here about two years ago.

I can’t wait to find out.

Computers? What computers?

Any entity that has passionate fans and followers is likely to have more than its fair share of Chicken Littles. Whether it be Disneyland fanatics fearing the changes coming to Uncle Walt’s Tom Sawyer Island (hello, Jack Sparrow), or the Apple faithful (mis)reading between the lines and fearing so-far non-existent doom and gloom, it happens everywhere.

The MacWorld Expo was without mention of upcoming Mac models when Steve Jobs presented the keynote. Instead, AppleTV and the upcoming iPhone got all the attention. Stepping back from the “reality distortion field,” all one has to do is realize, from a media standpoint, a new MacPro with faster processor (or more of them) or a MacBook with a larger hard drive would end up being mere footnotes to any article mentioning a brand new product bearing the famous Apple logo.

It makes sense to me, but to many, it is once again a signal of the End of Times, and Macs are surely doomed.

Have faith, brethren. The Mac will rise again. Apple has alot riding on the upcoming Mac OS X release that always drives new hardware sales, and they can’t sell that new hardware without having new hardware.

And after the iPhone introduction, you can bet the media will be lining up to RSVP for whatever “special product introduction” Apple presents next…

Apple Music

As a corporation, Apple has done much to generate both good karma and bad. In the early days, the name McIntosh was associated with a respected line of audio amplifiers. Apple Computers licensed the name for use on their new Macintosh computer, though one wonders – beyond both being “electronic” – the different name and target markets may have made such a name license not needed legally. But it certain was good for karma, and perhaps due to the legal action that happened years earlier when the Beatle’s Apple Record company filed suit for using the name “Apple.”

So here we are, decades later, with the occasional lawsuit from Apple for things that sound like “iPod” or look like an iMac and weird things happen. Apple Records is no more, at least not as we knew it. Recently, an agreement was made so Apple (formerly Apple Computer) now owns use of the company name Apple, and Apple Records is licensing use back from Apple.

Think about that. Between 1977 and 2007, “Apple” went from a name the computer company was getting sued for using (or, misusing based on earlier agreements), to being the name those who sued had to license to use.

It is, indeed, a very different time with very different realities than when the first Apple I rolled out of the garage assembly line. And because of this, the future is unpredictable based on past observations.

iPods pre-loaded with music? The Beatle’s in the iTunes Music Store? More music-related devices bearing the name “Apple” without fear of retribution from John, Paul, George and Ringo (or at least those who represent them)?

Indeed. 2007 should prove quite the interesting year when it comes to Apple and Music.

No Longer a Newbie

Although I’m not quite yet 40, I know I’m old. Ancient, even, by computer terms. I was born before the home computer, and grew up discovering just what “home computer” really meant. My first computer had 4K of memory. My next, 32K. Moving up to 128K then 512K and beyond was just part of the evolution. My first hard drive? 20 megabytes. Today, that wouldn’t even hold four photos taken by my digital camera. (And, for what it’s worth,my first digital camera came with a whopping one meg of memory and could hold about 32 images, though I later expanded it to 5MB.)

The point? Things change. What was once new soon becomes old, and what was once old soon becomes ancient. It seems only yesterday I bought my first Mac, an original model 1998 iMac. Eight years later, I realize I’m no longer a newbie.

Welcome to Appleause. Based on years of experience.