Mac News Review

Apple #3 in US PC Market, Run Snow Leopard Virtualized with Lion, Quicken Alternatives, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.07.15

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in iOS News Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Troubleshooting

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Apple #3 in US Market

Top 5 PC Vendors in US, Second Quarter 2011 PR: Worldwide PC shipments increased 2.6% in the second quarter of 2011 (2Q11), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The results are just short of IDC's May projections for 2.9% growth and represent a combination of a hangover from the more than 20% growth in the first half of 2010 as well as competition from smartphones, other consumer products, and pressure from lackluster economic conditions. As in 1Q11, the United States and Western Europe were among the weaker regions, reflecting constrained demand in more mature markets, while emerging regions - particularly Latin America and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) - fared better.

"These preliminary results continue to reflect pressure from competing consumer and business products as well as cautious spending," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "Nevertheless, product refreshes and promotions in the second half of the year as well as easier year-ago data should boost growth in the second half of the year."

Top 5 PC Vendors Worldwide, Second Quarter 2011 "The US PC market continued to contract in 2Q11, largely as a result of three factors. The first is an ongoing contraction in the mini notebook (netbook) market and related inventories. The second is the impact of 2Q10's difficult-to-sustain 12% growth. And third, demand has softened as corporate buyers continue to focus on increasing share of their IT budget in new IT solutions such as cloud and virtualization, and consumer interest shifts to media tablets," says Rajani Singh, research analyst, United States Quarterly PC Tracker. "Given the weakness of 2H10, we expect a better market environment in 2H11 with mid-single digit growth rates in the third quarter's back to school and fourth quarter's holiday season."

Regional Outlook

  • United States - With a decline of 4.2% year over year, the market was still downcast from a combination of exuberant consumption a year ago and a tenuous economic recovery, but the quarter also marked substantial growth from 1Q11, and total shipments topped over 17.8 million.
  • Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) - The EMEA PC market continued to contract in 2Q11, in line with IDC's forecast, as sustained high levels of inventory prevented stronger sell-in, particularly in Western Europe, where budget cannibalization from media tablets and smartphones continued to contribute to weak consumer demand and slow stock depletion. However, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Middle East and Africa (MEA) continued to expand and enjoyed positive growth overall.
  • Japan - The impact of the earthquake on PC buying proved to be limited, thus the market produced stronger results than expected, with 3% growth. Many commercial projects commenced as earlier fears of inventory shortage did not materialize. Coupled with continued average selling price (ASP) declines since the beginning of 2011, consumer shipments also fared better than expected.
  • Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) - returned to double-digit growth of just over 12% as the market came in slightly above forecasts. A weak consumer market weighed down India, but other key markets like China continued their momentum to help offset this, despite the ongoing inflation challenges there.

Vendor Outlook

  • HP grew 3% compared to the second quarter of 2010. The vendor saw good growth in key emerging markets and also EMEA, but also had a slight drop in volume compared to the previous quarter.
  • Dell saw growth of 2.8% worldwide. It managed to slow the pace of declines in key markets compared to the first quarter, with good gains in key emerging markets.
  • Lenovo outpaced Acer Group to become the number 3 vendor worldwide. It continued to reap the results of its channel expansion in markets outside of Asia/Pacific, garnering notable gains in the US and Japan. All regions saw positive growth and total volume increased by nearly 23% on the year.
  • Acer shipments continued to decline from a year ago, but at a slower pace than in the first quarter as the company was affected by a review of inventory handling, as well uncertainties from its recent management shake-up.
  • ASUS grew 6% to overtake Toshiba for the number 5 spot. While the vendor has had some difficulties adjusting for the decline in Mini Notebook PCs, it mainstream notebooks did well, especially in emerging markets.

Table Notes:

  • Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports.
  • Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold.
  • PCs include desktops, portables, and mini notebooks, and do not include handhelds, x86 servers, and media tablets (i.e. iPad and Android-based Tablets). Data for all vendors are reported for calendar periods.

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker gathers PC market data in over 80 countries by vendor, form factor, brand, processor brand and speed, sales channel, and user segment. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis as well as price band and installed base data.

Apple Accounts for 20% of US Retail Sales Growth

USA Today's Scott Patterson says that new research shows Apple taking a massive bite out of retail sales in the US, with booming demand for the company's iPhone, iPad, and Macintosh personal computers making Apple the fastest-growing major retailer in terms of sales growth in the US, and noting that in the first three months of 2011, Apple's US sales rose by $4.6 billion, an 80% increase from a year ago, accounting for a whopping one-fifth of all sales growth by publicly traded retailers in the US, according to a recent analysis of sales trends by retail sales expert David Berman.

Create a Bootable OS X 10.7 Lion DVD or Flash Drive

SubRosaSoft.com Inc. notes that Apple has announced that with the release of OS X 10.7 Lion, due this month, the operating system will be available only via download from the Mac App Store. Past versions of Mac OS X have always been available for purchase on a bootable DVD, and with some systems like the MacBook Air, they've been included on a bootable USB drive.

SubRosaSoft has helpfully posted an illustrated tutorial on how to create your own bootable USB device using your own flash drive (note that the device must be 4 GB or larger) or DVD.

Install OS X Lion Using Target Disk Mode

OS X Daily says another method to install OS X Lion on other personal machines is by using Target Disk Mode, which allows you to use one Mac as the installation drive to install OS X 10.7 directly to another Mac via FireWire or Thunderbolt. It's fast, and it eliminates the need for redownloading the upgrade for each machine, saving bandwidth, and it works flawlessly, although an alternate method some consider even easier and slicker is to create and use a Lion install USB drive or even a homemade Lion installation DVD.

This tutorial shows you how to install OS X Lion on another Mac using Target Disk Mode only.

Run Snow Leopard as a Virtual Machine on a Lion Mac

Hardmac's Lionel says:

"The disappearance of Rosetta was for us one of the biggest flaws of Mac OS Lion. We had said previously that we would look into the possible virtualization of Snow Leopard on Lion, and we have now done so.

Snow Leopard can run virtualized on a Mac running Lion
Snow Leopard can run virtualized on a Mac running Lion.

"We decided to go with the most simple solution, by using VirtualBox 4.0 (more below), which has several advantages, the first one being that it is free, and it supports OS X (theoretically OS X Server as well), but . . . despite [a] few limitations, it is possible to have a virtual Snow Leopard computer on a Lion computer."

Publisher's note: This could solve the problems caused by the lack of Rosetta in OS X 10.7 Lion, but you'll want a Mac with lots of system memory to make this work efficiently, probably 4 GB or more. dk

Quicken Won't Run on Lion, but 10 Other Finance Apps Will

TUAW's Steven Sande notes that OS X Lion could be hitting the Mac App Store this week, and for many Mac users, the decision on whether or not to upgrade to Lion is boiling down to one incompatible app - Quicken for Mac, which will not run under OS X 10.7 Lion.

Sande discusses what your options are to control your personal finances with a Lion-compatible Mac app and suggests that you'll be glad to know Intuit's flagship app isn't the only game in town.

Options he examines include:

  • Quicken Essentials for Mac
  • Mint.com
  • Quicken Deluxe on Windows
  • iBank 4
  • Money 4
  • iFinance for Mac
  • MoneyWell
  • Koku
  • PocketMoney
  • Budget
  • iCompta
  • Squirrel
  • iCash SE

Publisher's note: Our own Alan Zisman posted a tutorial today detailing the steps necessary to migrate from Quicken 2005 or 2007 on the Mac to either Quicken Essential for Mac or Quicken Deluxe on Windows. The most important thing is that all of this must be done before Lion is installed, as it depends on PowerPC software. dk

Lion Fatally Mauls Quicken for Mac: 9 Alternatives

ZDNet's Jason D. O'Grady notes that Apple has killed Rosetta in Lion, and aftershocks are starting to ripple through the Mac community as the imminent release of Apple's next-generation operating system bears down.

Rosetta was built to run PowerPC code on Intel Macs as a way to bridge a gap until software developers could make their code Intel-native. O'Grady notes that while most Mac developers, at least ones interested in carrying on with Mac support, have long-since ported their applications to Intel, some huge software monoliths - Quicken's developer Intuit being an example - chose to bank extra profits instead of investing in their updated code.

Consequently, Quicken 2005, 2006, and 2007 for Mac will not work with Lion when it ships, and Intuit is suggesting a switch to bare-bones Quicken Essentials, a subset of the full Quicken program, as a workaround, but it's likely that won't appeal for serious Quicken users.

Others have suggested that it may be time to switch to a different personal finance application for the Mac from developers with a serious commitment to the platform, with potential candidates being:

  • Mint.com, Web-only)
  • Moneydance
  • Checkbook or Checkbook Pro
  • iBank
  • iCash
  • SEE Finance
  • YNAB (You Need A Budget)
  • Liquid Ledger
  • Fortora Fresh Finance

However, O'Grady reports that these may not be completely satisfactory solutions either.

10 Years of Mac OS X: Paul Thurrott Takes a Look Back

WinSuperSite's Paul Thurrott says:

"Readers have long misunderstood my relationship with Apple and its fans, but one thing is clear: From the moment I began covering Apple from a news perspective in the mid-1990s, I started getting complaints from the Windows user base about a topic they felt - as now - was perhaps a bit too far outside the acceptable. I disagreed then, as I do now. Apple is, and has always been, important, both to the PC industry at large and, in a less direct manner, to Windows users. And that's because Apple's influence can be seen everywhere, and because Apple's operating systems compete directly with Microsoft's, causing a situation in which both firms copy each other and accuse the other of the same.

"What's changed over the years, of course, is that Apple has only grown in prominence, influence, and market power. And while the vast majority of that change has come from devices like the iPod, iPhone, and now iPad, Apple's mainstream computer OS, Mac OS X, has always represented a viable alternative to Windows. And as this system has evolved and matured over the past decade, it's gotten better and better."

Leading up to his full review of Mac OS X Lion coming this week, Thurrott takes a look back at his Mac OS X reviews and related articles, dating from the original Mac OS X release in 2001.

Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Cables Face Recall

AppleInsider's Blake Steven reports:

"HDMI Org, the group that oversees HDMI specifications, has deemed Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cables outside of its standard and will not allow them to be sold."

Publisher's note: We first covered this in last week's 'Book Review. dk

Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting RAM in OS X

MacFixIt's Topher Kessler observes that tackling RAM problems in computers is not the easiest of tasks and identifying problems with it can sometimes be daunting, noting that if part of a RAM chip is bad, it may still work fine until a specific application runs into the bad areas, and then that process will not be able to store items properly and will either hang or crash, but it's not easy to distinguish a RAM problem from other potential sources for a crash.

Link: Troubleshooting RAM in OS X

Software

VirtualBox 4.0.10 X86 Virtualizer Released, Ready for Lion

PR: VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, with an open architecture using extension packs and the base package is under GPLv2.

VirtualBoxOracle has released VirtualBox 4.0.10, a maintenance release of VirtualBox 4.0. It improves stability and fixes regressions.

VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2.

Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and Solaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including, but not limited to, Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), Solaris and OpenSolaris, OS/2, and OpenBSD.

VirtualBox is being actively developed with frequent releases and has an ever growing list of features, supported guest operating systems, and platforms it runs on. VirtualBox is a community effort backed by a dedicated company: Everyone is encouraged to contribute while Oracle ensures the product always meets professional quality criteria.

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