Mac News Review

Best Mac Quarter Ever, Hate Mongers Picket Jobs Memorial, Tex-Edit Plus Lion Support, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.10.21

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

Apple Updates

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Apple's Quarterly Results: All-Time Record Mac and iPad Sales

PR: Apple on Tuesday announced financial results for its fiscal 2011 fourth quarter ended September 24, 2011. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $28.27 billion and quarterly net profit of $6.62 billion, or $7.05 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $20.34 billion and net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion, or $4.64 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.3% compared to 36.9% in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 63% of the quarter's revenue.

The Company sold 17.07 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 21% unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 11.12 million iPads during the quarter, a 166% unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.89 million Macs during the quarter, a 26% unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 6.62 million iPods, a 27% unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

"We are thrilled with the very strong finish of an outstanding fiscal 2011, growing annual revenue to $108 billion and growing earnings to $26 billion," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "Customer response to iPhone 4S has been fantastic, we have strong momentum going into the holiday season, and we remain really enthusiastic about our product pipeline."

"We are extremely pleased with our record September quarter revenue and earnings and with cash generation of $5.4 billion during the quarter," said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's CFO. "Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2012, which will span 14 weeks rather than 13, we expect revenue of about $37 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $9.30."

Apple has posted live streaming of its Q4 2011 financial results conference call at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/earningsq411.

This webcast will also be available for replay for approximately two weeks thereafter.

Best Ever Mac and iPad Sales Help Apple Turn in Record Quarter

Macworld's Philip Michaels reports:

"Record sales of both Macs and iPads helped Apple set new marks for quarterly revenue and earnings for its fiscal fourth-quarter.

"The company announced Tuesday that it logged $28.27 billion in revenue and $6.62 billion in net profit for the three-month period ended on September 24. That's an increase of 38 percent in revenue and 54 percent in profit from the year-ago numbers."

"Wall Street may be less thrilled: analysts were looking for the company to post earnings of $7.39 a share and revenue of $29.69 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. Still, Apple's results came in ahead of the forecast chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer offered in July, when he told analysts to expect earnings of $5.50 per share and revenues of $25 billion during the fourth quarter.

"However, Apple seems to have high expectations for the coming holiday season. Oppenheimer told analyst to expect December quarter revenues of $37 billion - that's a 38 percent jump from the $26.74 billion Apple recorded last year."

Are Macintosh Computers in Decline?

The Business, Marketing, and Solutions blog suggests that based on current sales figures, a continuing trend for Apple to become more a mobile company and less a computer company is discernible. The article notes that 68% of Apple's revenues now derive from sales of iPads and iPhones, which is going to make it very hard for cheap Windows 7 products to compete.

Meanwhile, Q3 2011 metrics show that only 17.9% of Apple's revenues came from traditional Mac desktops and laptops, while the bulk of the company's sales came from iPhone with 46.6% of revenue and iPad at 21.2%, with a combined revenue of 67.8%, up from 48% for the same period last year - a whopping 19.8% increase, and indicating a growth rate of 142% and 183% for iPad and iPhone, respectively.

So will the time come when Apple decides that traditional computers are unnecessary? The blogger thinks probably not, noting that Apple has been putting more iOS-like features into OS X but thinks it unlikely that iOS will replace OS X entirely. However, OS X may soon become just an afterthought to the iOS.

Reasonable deductions, alas, although that path will be resisted by those of us who care about productive efficiency, require multitasking, and remain unconvinced that touchscreen-oriented computing represents an advance.

Publisher's note: Despite the declining percentage of Apple income attributed to Macs, two facts stand out: Macs are selling at their highest rate ever, and Mac sales are very profitable. The fact that iPhone and iPad growth outstrips Mac growth only means that even more people are being exposed to Apple quality and their user experience, making them even more likely to go Mac next time they replace their old Windows PC. dk

Hate Mongers Picket Steve Jobs Memorial

Cupertino Patch's Anne Ernst and Pam Marino report:

"Purple, posters, protesters and messages of love and acceptance were the counter theme when a hate speech group rolled into town Wednesday morning.

"Cupertino High School counter protesters and their supporters rolled up their sleeves, zipped their lips and silently spread the message that 'love is the answer,' when a handful of protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) showed up at the school with their hands full of hate signs.

"WBC, an extremist group from Topeka, Kansas that claims God 'hates' many things and is known to protest at military funerals, came to Cupertino to protest outside Apple headquarters during the employees' memorial service honoring Steve Jobs. The hate speech group decided that while they were in town they'd tack on a visit to a local high school, too, a picketer with WBC told Patch.

"But the tiny hate speech group was far outnumbered at both 'Tino High where about 100 counter protesters gathered, and at Apple where about 50 counter protesters demonstrated."

"In a way she was glad the WBC people showed up, [Cupertino High School Principal Kami] Tomberlain said, not because they chose 'Tino, but because it gave the students a chance to "counter the message with love. I'm glad they had the opportunity.'

"The scene in the quad where the students gathered was composed; students wore the symbolic anti-bullying color of purple, then sang and danced in a party-like atmosphere. Outside the school, and later at Apple, the scene was more raucous; adult counter protesters and WBC members shouted at one another, each group singing songs with their own messages."

Religion Alert

Publisher's personal note: It was nice to see that this has not been widely reported - I had to search to find this one. Westboro Baptist Church is an embarrassment to the Christian faith. Sadly, Westboro's threat to picket received a lot of coverage, which gives the tiny church - composed primarily of members of Pastor Fred Phelps' extended family - undue influence. The Westboro Baptist Church is an independent congregation not affiliated with any Baptist convention or association, and it's disgraceful unchristian hate-mongering it at complete odds with the message of Jesus Christ, who hung out with tax collectors, prostitutes, and professional fishermen - and was critical of those who used religion to condemn others. God loves the world (see John 3:16), including hate mongers who claim to have the truth but are an embarrassment to Him. I hope that Christians everywhere will pray that God opens the eyes of their hearts (see Eph. 1:18) to the better way (see 1 Cor. 12:31-13:13) and the Spirit exchanges their too-small Grinch hearts with ones full of God's love for His broken world. dk

RescueCom Q2 2011 Computer Reliability Report

PR: The results for RescueCom's Computer Reliability Report for the second quarter of 2011 again place Lenovo in the top spot, now two quarters in a row.

"During these economically stressed times, when 90% of people believe we are in a bad economy, it's even more important to know what products will save you money down the road. Reliability is one of the best indicators of how much your technology will cost you over the long haul," says RescueCom CEO David Milman.

The Computer Reliability Report gives an unbiased summary of the most reliable personal computer manufacturers. The top five brands with the best overall reliability in Q2 2011 are:

  1. IBM/Lenovo (234)
  2. Toshiba (202)
  3. Apple (124)
  4. HP/Compaq (120)
  5. Asus/Sony tie (73)

Several significant changes occurred during quarter 2. Asus took a nosedive in the second quarter, going from second position to fifth in reliability. Asus experienced skyrocketing percentages of market share throughout 2009, and maintained excellent customer support during that time. It seems they are not able to maintain that level of support with all the new customers, however, and are barely holding on to a position in the top five for this quarter.

Computer Reliability ScoreHP/Compaq, still the clear-cut leader in market share, essentially maintained its same level of reliability from the first quarter to the second. HP's move from the fifth spot to the fourth place is due to the significant drop in the reliability rating of Asus.

Toshiba, on the other hand, is the only manufacturer that increased in its reliability score over the first quarter.

RescueCom's first quarter report called attention to Samsung as a brand to watch. Even though its market share does not place this manufacturer in the lineup of top manufacturers, Samsung continues to rank high in reliability.

Dell, on the other hand, maintains second place in market share of computers sold, yet lags far behind others in computer reliability.

Publisher's note: I hate poorly generated statistics almost as much as meaningless ones. For instance, Mac users are far more likely to call Apple and Dell users Dell when they have problems. In fact, I can't think of a good reason to call RescueCom instead of Apple or a local Apple Dealer. This is reflected in the fact that only 1.3% of RescueCom's business comes from Mac users. Additionally, the market share percentage only reflects current sales numbers, not the size of the installed base. And finally, the age of the hardware isn't factored in at all. I imagine there are a lot more old Macs and Dells, while Asus and Samsung machines would be much more current. All of this combines to make these precise statistics look a lot less meaningful. Not only that, but the rankings in the article and in the table are at odds with each other - one putting Apple in third place, the other at two, while Asus is either tops in reliability or in fifth place. I hope they fix computers better than they do statistics! dk

Apple Updates

Security Update 2011-006 for Snow Leopard

Security Update 2011-006 (Snow Leopard) is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X.

For information on the security content of this update, visit https://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

File Size: 136.28 MB

System Requirements: Mac OS X v10.6.8

'Lion Recovery Update Can't Be Installed on This Disk'

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says that attempting to install the Lion Recovery Update via Software Update may result in this alert message, and the installation will stop:

"Lion Recovery Update can't be installed on this disk. An error occurred while evaluating JavaScript for the package."

Products Affected: OS X Lion

Resolution: This can happen if your Mac does not have Lion Recovery installed. To learn more about why Lion Recovery was not installed, please see this article.

Software

Tex-Edit Plus X 4.9.9 Includes Support for PowerPC and Intel Macs, Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.7

PR: Tex-Edit Plus (TE+), my way out-front favorite text crunching tool and lightweight word processor, is a scriptable, styled text editor that fills the gap nicely between pure text/no formatting text editors and full-featured word processors. It's fast, efficient, has a clean, uncluttered interface, and is great for cleaning up text transmitted over the Internet. It also has the best implementation of AppleScript of any application your editor has used.

Tex-Edit Plus can read, convert, and save files in various international formats, including Unicode, ASCII, and RTF. It can also open the "raw" text of MS Word and other formatted word processor documents.

TE+ developer Tom Bender has released a new OS X 10.7 Lion compatible TE+ that runs fine on both PowerPC and Intel Macs, supporting Mac OS versions 10.4 through 10.7+. Bender says he's tried to minimize the formatting loss when moving between PPC and Intel documents (although more complex docs can be ported using RTF, if needed) and also notes that the speedup when upgrading from Rosetta-dependent to Intel-native TE+ is surprisingly dramatic for some operations.

New in version Tex-Edit Plus 4.9.9:

  • Universal binary runs at native speeds on both Intel and PowerPC Macs.
  • Requires Mac OS 10.4 or newer. (Lion compatible.)
  • Added a (scriptable) prefs switch to allow use of RTF as the default document format. (Note that RTF does not support all document data supported by the Normal document format, e.g. sounds, movies, window sizing, etc.)
  • Improved memory handling when saving documents that contain large numbers of uncompressed pictures.
  • Fixed picture handling bug noted when dragging in JPEG/TIFF/GIF files.
  • Removed the error dialog that appeared the first time Show Fonts was selected.
  • New Normal document format for Intel. (Normal documents created on PPC and Intel systems are not 100% cross-compatible. Use RTF format if you need to transfer complex docs between PPC and Intel systems.)
  • Cosmetic adjustments to accommodate Lion metrics.
  • Improved recordability to work correctly under Lion.
  • Inserted pauses in the AppleScript Demo app so that it wont run too fast on Lion. (!)
  • Updated Page Setup dialog extension.
  • Updated some localizations, particularly Italian.

System requirements:

  • PPC/Intel
  • Mac OS X 10.4 or later

Tex-Edit Plus is $15 shareware

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