Mac News Review

Macs Taking a Bigger Slice of PC Market, iMac Screen Spots Investigated, Scroll Reverser, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.04.08

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

News & Opinion

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Macs Taking a Bigger Slice of the PC Market

The Globe and Mail's Grant Buckler observes that after years as a bit player in the business computer market, Apple's success with consumer products - especially its iPhone and iPad products - is helping push more Macintosh computers into enterprise workplaces.

Buckler cites research firm International Data Corp. (Canada) Ltd. data revealing that Apple climbed from a 4.2% of overall Canadian PC sales and 5% of commercial PC sales in 2005 to 9.7% of overall Canadian PC sales and 8.2% of commercial sales in 2010.

WiFi 30% Slower Than Wired Connection

MacNews' Dennis Sellers riffs on a Reuters report revealing that if you want the fastest possible home network, you'll want to go wired, not wireless, noting that download speeds for consumers using WiFi connections are on average 30% slower than they are for users of fixed connections.

Spots on iMac Screens Investigated

Hardmac's Lionel says that for some time, and lately more and more often, he's been hearing reports of spots appearing on iMac screens, initially affecting the iMac Aluminum 20" and 24", and but recently having propagate" to the iMac 21.5" and even the 27", noting that they typically begin to appear visually after approximately 12 to 18 months of use.

You can view the illustrated results of Hardmac's investigation of this issue and the discovery that these spots are made up of a kind of very fine dust that manages to settle between the various layers of the iMac display. Lionel encourages users affected by this problem to speak out in hope that Apple offers an extended guarantee.

Hard Drive Prices to Increase

DigiTimes' Erica Yen and Steve Shen report that due to a shortage of controller chips for motors used in hard drives, due to the manifold disasters in Japan - specifically damage to the three Texas Instruments wafer plants - prices of hard drives in the OEM market are likely to increase by 5-10% in the second quarter. Prices in the channel rose 10-15% recently.

The authors note that TI will not be able to resume shipments from Japan until September, according to industry sources.

DDR4 Starts Showing Up

Hardmac's Lionel notes that while currently, most new computers come with 1067, 1333, or even 1600 MHz DDR3 memory, the transition to DDR4 should begin in 2012 and is expected to really hit its market stride by 2015. DDR4 will offer the advantages of lower power consumption, thanks to a maximum voltage of 1.2 V compared with 1.5 V for DDR3, and a data transfer rate clocked at 2400 MHz - 80% higher than DDR 1333.

Limited Edition Icon Prints by Original Mac OS Iconographer Susan Kare

Happy Mac icon designed by Susan KarePR: Susan Kare, the noted interface designer who drew the icons used in the original Mac OS GUI and was once referred to by The New York Times as "the Betsy Ross of the personal computer," is now offering prints of some of her most engaging icons at Kare Prints. Some of the prints offered feature her original Macintosh icons. The limited editions come in a range of colors and sizes and are numbered and signed.

icon designs by Susan KareSan Francisco based Kare has designed thousands of icons for the world's leading companies that have become familiar to anyone who uses a computer. Her icons are more like road signs than illustrations - clear, concise, and instantly recognizable - where the meaning is unambiguous.

queen of hearts from SolitaireNew York's Museum of Modern Art describes her work: "Constructed with mosaic-like precision, her icons communicate their function immediately and memorably, and with style."

All of the giclee prints (fine art prints created on an inkjet printer) are made using archival pigment inks and 100% cotton rag paper. The prints range in size from 8.5" x 11" to 30" x 40", and custom sizes (and custom editions) are available upon request. There is a limited run of each print size, and each is inspected, signed, and numbered personally by Susan Kare. Icons offered cover a wide range of her work from the classic computer user interface elements and familiar digital Solitaire cards to a variety of iconic images such as a love letter, disco ball, and a coffee cup titled "Caffeine."

Acer Wants to Emulate Apple's High-Value Market Focus

Hardmac's Lionel reports that Acer fired its CEO last week after the company posting a loss for the second quarter in a row and announced its intent to be "more like Apple" - focusing on quality products with a higher value, rather than continuing in a race to the bottom with mass production of lower-priced, lower-quality products.

Acer's transition to its new business plan will require massive R&D investments and an intensified focus on nabbing a fair share of the tablet market.

Lionel observes that Apple's successful approach stems partly from its giving its design teams the same power as engineers, and sometimes more, in new product development of new products.

Publisher's note: Acer has been around as long as Apple - since 1976 - and produced unauthorized Apple II clones before jumping on the PC bandwagon in the 1983. In addition to its own brand, Acer has acquired and continues to sell computers under the eMachines, Gateway, and Packard Bell brands.

Software

Free Scroll Reverser Lets You Practice for Lion's UI

PR: Pilotmoon Software's Nicholas Moore says:

Scroll Reverser"You might have learned that a certain upcoming version of Mac OS X may have scrolling that is 'bass-ackwards'.

"That is, when you push up on your trackpad or mouse scroller, the page content moves up too, just like on iOS devices.

"I made a very minimal little app that lets you reverse your scrolling on 10.5 and above too. It's a pure usermode app, no drivers or kexts to install.

"Once downloaded, it'll sit in the menubar waiting for you to choose whether you want reversed scrolling or the normal one. A click on the dropdown menu allows you to make the change in seconds, and revert back again. The app can start at login, and has no additional preferences.

"Uninstallation is a simple drag-to-trash."

Scroll Reverser is Intel only.

Compositions 1.010 Dropbox-Enabled Text App for iOS and Mac

Compositions on iPhoneCompositions on iPad PR: Compositions is a multiplatform Dropbox enabled writer's app designed for Mac OS and iOS, with a focus on content creation. A minimalist text editor which allows you to focus on the content, it features a clean white background, and a full screen mode that gets rid of almost all of the interface chrome, leaving just the text on the screen.

The Mac OS version is designed to be used with the iOS version, and offered for free so that you can easily view, edit, and save changes to your Compositions documents. The two distinct apps work in concert with one another, so that you can stay mobile with all your docs. The iOS Version sells for $0.99, and lets you edit your documents on the go from your iPad or iPhone.

Compositions on iPhoneFeatures:

  • Snapshots: Version your document with ease. You can use the snapshot feature to freeze versions of your document, so that you can easily revert to them if you ever have the need. Snapshots are saved along with the file, and carried from device to device. This lets you work with several drafts all in a single file, without having to constantly "save as", etc.
  • Syncing: To keep files in sync from your Mac to your iOS device, make sure to save your files in the folder your app uses. By default this is in your root Dropbox folder, named /CompositionsApp
  •  Minimal design: Focus just on your content
  • Use Dropbox in combination with the iOS app to keep your files in sync across all your devices
  • Export to text (.txt) at any time
  • iOS Inspired Shortcuts: Double tap space bar to enter a period. Use autocorrect to fix common misspellings.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later

Free Evernote Cloud-based Notetaking App

PR: Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your notable life using your computer, phone, and the web.

Chances are, if you can see it or think of it, Evernote can help you remember it. Type a text note. Clip a web page. Snap a photo. Grab a screenshot. Evernote will keep it all safe.

Organize it. (Or let Evernote do it.)

Everything you capture is automatically processed, indexed, and made searchable. If you like, you can add tags or organize notes into different notebooks.

Find anything fast.

Search for notes by keywords, titles, and tags. Evernote magically makes printed and handwritten text inside your images searchable, too.

Infinitely useful.

Put your thoughts, ideas, inspiration, and things to remember all in one place. Use Evernote for work, for play, and for everything that's noteworthy. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Snap a photo of a business card with your phone, and have an easy way to store and access contacts.
  • Capture plane tickets and confirmation numbers, hotel invoices, and receipts for your expense reports.
  • Get inspired. Keep a file of anything cool you want to buy for yourself or as a gift, whether it's online or out in the real world.
  • Keep notes from your meetings all in one place. Take a picture of a whiteboard and you'll be able to find it later.
  • Plan your next trip. Clip web pages, maps, and itineraries. Capture sights, sounds, tastes, and anything else.
  • Research web sites and clip pages directly from your browser.
  • Keep a record of your favorite wines by snapping a photo of the label when you find one you like.
  • Remember the things you were supposed to remember. Create to-do lists, jot down random thoughts, leave a voice memo, and more.
  • Create notes right from Twitter and save tweets that you like by following @myEN on Twitter.

Freeware

Evernote is available for the following platforms: Mac OS X, Windows, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, webOS, and as a "web clipper" for many browsers. The Mac version requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or newer.

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