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    Newsletter Issue #1016: So Apple Didn’t Fail Under Tim Cook

    May 16th, 2021

    Wall Street analysts must go back to the drawing boards after Apple reported two blowout quarters in a row so far this year. With total revenue of $89.6 billion for the most recent quarter, you’d almost think they had, by mistake, released the numbers for a holiday quarter. But no, this was correct. It was 54% higher than last year, with earnings of $1.40 per diluted share.

    Most important is that Apple’s “failing” products all had significant growth. That includes the iPhone and even the “old fashioned” Mac. So maybe Apple wasn’t so crazy switching to Apple Silicon and ditching Intel. Or maybe most Mac users don’t concern themselves with the niceties of parts selection and such and are more concerned with having a computer that, well mostly, just works.

    In passing, I go with the latter. While I don’t have any polls at hand, I rather suspect that the vast majority of Mac users wouldn’t know what sort of processor their machine has. Well, perhaps the numbers will be higher for the M1 Macs, since Apple has made such a huge deal in promoting them.

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    Newsletter Issue #1014: Some Modest Expectations for Apple in 2021 and Such

    January 10th, 2021

    Many of you have read various and sundry predictions from both tech and mainstream pundits who profess to know something about the Apple and its plans for this year. It reached a crescendo, as you might expect, when the end of 2020 approached. But I wonder just how much thought was involved in putting these ideas together. A lot of it was just plain common sense, or what passes for common sense in this broken world of ours.

    So you read about what the 2021 iPhone 13 might be like, and it was about a similar product with a few more features, perhaps a better camera and maybe even a tinier notch. One story, citing rumors from the Apple supply chain, a common source of real or imagined rumors, has it that the rear camera bump might also be smaller.

    Now in the scheme of things, the camera bump is the most awkward design factor, or would be if you decided to use your iPhone — or similarly equipped Android device — without a case. But since I always have a bumper case, it’s no matter to me. I have managed to avoid most instances of damage as a result.

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    Newsletter Issue #1012: About the Stuff Most of Us Don’t Care About

    December 1st, 2020

    I’ve worked for years as a tech journalist. I’ve written for a number of major publications, including a large national newspaper, USA Today, and thus I want to think that I have at least a passing idea of how the other half lives. In this case, other half means someone who can enjoy lots of tech gear without taking out the credit card or making monthly payments on it all.

    Now it’s not as if you actually get to keep the latest and most expensive gadgetry from Apple and other companies. Most expect you to return that stuff within a specified period of time. Apple, for example, has a loan program for reviewers. You — or the publication you work for — has to sign an agreement, and the gear must be returned on time. While extensions are sometimes granted, if you don’t return the items, you won’t be able to borrow any more. Despite having more money than many countries, Apple watches every dollar, and that certainly makes sense.

    Some companies let you hold onto the gear on an extended basis, meaning you probably don’t have to bother to return it. After all, it’s not as if the company will recondition and send the item to another reviewer, although some do that. So despite what some people think, I am not awash in tech gear. I have to actually pay for this stuff I own, so I have one iPhone, my wife has one iPhone and one dying iPad. My desktop gear consists of a 2010 MacBook Pro (regarded by Apple as “vintage” for several years), and a Late 2014 iMac (which has just been declared “vintage”).

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    Newsletter Issue #1010: Some Random Thoughts About Apple Silicon

    November 11th, 2020

    Branding is obviously quite important to Apple, and that branding needs to be simple, except when it’s not. So quite often one word will do, perhaps with a modifier to reflect the model number, but Apple can also add unneeded complexities. So I have an aging iMac; the full model designation is listed as “iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014),” and that’s about as awkward as you can get.

    Now the same naming scheme applies to all Macs. If Apple followed the auto industry, I’d have a 2014 27-inch Apple iMac, and maybe that’s not so much better. The iPhone, at the very least, can be more simply described, such as my wife’s iPhone 6s, but when it comes to the latest and greatest variation of a theme, it’s the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Sigh.

    So when the first batch of Macs with Apple Silicon debuted during Apple’s media presentation on Tuesday, November 10, I wondered just how the chips would be branded. The scuttlebutt had it that they were derived from the A14, and thus might be labeled A14X, using the same design scheme as the iPad, which often gets an enhanced version of an iPhone CPU.

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