Mac News Review

Apple on Target to Be #1 PC Maker in 2012, 16- and 20-core Mac Pro Possible in 2012, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.11.29

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.

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News & Opinion

With iPad, Apple on Taget to Become #1 PC Vendor in 2012

PR: Market research firm Canalys has announced that it expects Apple to overtake HP to become the leading global PC vendor before the second half of 2012, noting that touchscreen pads (a.k.a. tablets), particularly the iPad, have radically changed the dynamics of the PC industry over the past year, having already propelled Apple into second place in the worldwide PC market in Q3 2011. Unlike competitors Gartner Inc. and IDC, Canalys includes touchscreen slates in overall PC sales tallies, and its analysts estimate that full-year 2011 global PC shipments will reach 415 million, up 15% year-on-year, thanks predominantly to increasing pad sales.

Total pad shipments are expected to reach 59 million units by the end of 2011, with Q4 volumes predicted to exceed 22 million. While the iPad will dominate in Q4, Amazon.com's recently announced Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's new Nook Tablet are also anticipated to impact the US market.

"Apple has seen its PC market share expand from 9% to 15% in just four quarters, though iPad shipments in its core market - the United States - are likely to come under pressure in Q4 due to the launch of the Fire and Nook at extremely competitive price points," says Canalys Analyst Tim Coulling. "HP and Apple will fight for top position in Q4, but Apple may have to wait for the release of iPad 3 before it passes HP."

Vendors overall though are struggling to compete profitably with Apple, as many toil to produce comparable devices at attractive prices. The release of Android 4.0 (ICS) should, however, bolster tier 1 PC manufacturers, as combining smart phone and pad operating systems will enable developers to adapt existing applications to run on pads. Conversely, the release's timing may harm vendors looking to capitalize on strong holiday season sales. Much of the IT channels stock now runs on older versions of Android 3.1, and many vendors are not forthcoming with upgrade timescales, which will deter informed consumers.

Notebook sales also helped fuel market growth in 2011, with total shipments anticipated to hit 211 million, a 10% year-on-year increase. Canalys expects PC Ultrabooks, bringing much needed innovation to the category, to drive notebook sales over the next five years. With their differentiated appearance, Ultrabooks should spur some consumers to upgrade their existing notebooks.

"For Ultrabooks to become widespread, prices have to drop considerably," says Canalys Research Analyst Michael Kauh. "The least expensive models are currently around $800, a real barrier to mass consumer uptake. As more vendors embrace the Ultrabook design, component costs should drop and mainstream consumer prices will be achieved."

On a regional level, Canalys forecasts North America PC shipments to reach 103 million for the whole of 2011, with 32 million units expected in Q4. Overall volumes in 2011 are anticipated to grow 18% year-on-year because of the ongoing popularity of pads. Excluding pads, the market is predicted to grow at less than 1% for the year. The United States' ongoing economic problems have resulted in to prices falling to their lowest levels since 2009.

Canalys anticipates the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Asia) PC market - excluding pads to contract in 2011 at an annual rate of 6%, although volumes will peak for the year at 30 million in Q4. Western Europe is largely responsible for the regional decline because of investor concerns over sovereign debt issues in the Euro Zone. As with the US market, ongoing economic issues will continue to have a negative impact on consumer confidence levels, affecting shipments in Q4 and beyond.

Canalys expects high growth in Latin America and Asia Pacific in Q4, with total volumes for 2011 predicted to reach 40 million and 153 million. Overall, the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries will account for 28% of worldwide PC shipments in 2011.

The Canalys PC market forecast for 2012 highlights challenging conditions during the first half of 2012, as flooding in Thailand continues to severely impact the global hard disk market. Thailand is responsible for around 40-45% of the worlds hard disk production, and the business disruption has already led to price rises. Hard drive shortages will further reduce inventories and shipments of desktops, netbooks and notebooks in the coming quarters. Canalys believes that side-effects will include a boost in solid-state drive (SSD) production and lower prices that will benefit pad and Ultrabook vendors.

16- or 20-Core Mac Pros Possible in 2012

Hardmac's Lionel says the Sandy Bridge E CPUs will officially have 6 cores and 15 MB of cache, but in fact they have 8 cores and 20 MB of cache on the die. Intel decided to deactivate 2 cores and 5 MB of cache that could be reactivated on a future generation Xeon. Of course to maintain the same power draw, the clock frequency will have to be lowered, but we could then have Mac Pro powered by two 8-cores CPUs and processing 32 threads.

In addition, Intel might release a CPU with 10 cores next year. Of course, only pro users would be interested in getting a Mac Pro with 20 cores and 40 threads! In addition, socket compatibility will make it possible to upgrade Sandy Bridge based hardware with Ivy Bridge CPUs, so it will be possible to significantly boost the lifetime of a Sandy Bridge Mac Pro.

Products & Services

Mac Kung Fu: Over 300 Tips, Tricks, Hints, and Hacks for OS X Lion

PR: Exploit secret settings and hidden apps, push built-in tools to the limit, radically personalize your Mac experience and tweak your system so it's just right for you. Every one of these 300 quick and easy tips, tricks, hints, and hacks in Mac Kung Fu (Pragmatic Bookshelf, $35) makes "it just works" even better. Become the ultimate Mac user, working faster, smarter, and simply have lots more fun with your Apple computer.

Mac Kung FuAfter you've uncovered the basics in Lion, Mac Kung Fu is your next step. You'll learn how to master everyday tools such as the Dock, Spotlight, Mission Control, Launchpad, and Dashboard. You'll discover other amazingly useful tools and built-in add-ons that you never knew existed. You'll customize the OS X interface, refine your workflow, learn valuable security tricks, work better with photos, movies and documents, and test your Mac hardware. Wow friends with your insanely great Mac knowledge.

Each tip in this unique book is deliberately short and readable, and you can dip in and out whenever you want. Most take less than a minute to complete, yet the results last for a lifetime of better computing.

Mac Kung Fu details things even Mac Geniuses don't know. And why should they? Many of the tips in this book exploit settings or experimental features never officially made public.

Available in epub, mobi, and PDF direct from the publisher and in paperback from fine bookstores worldwide.

Keir Thomas is a Linux Journal award-winning author who has been writing about Linux, operating systems and computer hardware for over a decade. Formerly a computer magazine journalist and editor, working on titles such as Linux User and Developer, Linux Magazine and PC Utilities, his other book titles include Beginning Ubuntu Linux, Third Edition, Beginning Fedora Linux, Ubuntu Kung Fu, and Beginning SUSE Linux, Second Edition. He works as a full-time author and lives on the side of a mountain in the United Kingdom. His hobbies include hiking, cycling, and vegetable gardening.

For more information about the book, including errata, discussions, full table of contents, excerpts from the book and more, see the catalog page for Mac Kung Fu.

Mac Kung Fu
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf
By Keir Thomas
Print ISBN: 9781934356821
Pages: 300
Print Price: $35
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938
1-707-827-7000

Software

$5 WinOnX Runs Windows Apps on Macs

PR: For many, WinOnX is the only easy-to-use alternative to pricey Windows licenses and virtualization programs. As the list of compatible Windows applications continues to expand, WinOnX becomes an increasingly attractive alternative for average Mac users.

WinOnX, a new utility that lets users run Microsoft Windows applications on Apple Macintosh computers, is available from developer NES Software. Priced at $4.99, WinOnX provides Mac users with affordable access to a wide variety of business, productivity and other applications written for PCs running the Microsoft Windows operating system.

WinOnX brings Windows applications to Mac users who might not attempt using them otherwise.

To run a Windows application using WinOnX for the first time:

  1. Download and install WinOnX on a Macintosh running Mac OS X 10.6 or later
  2. Locate the desired Windows application (on the Mac desktop or via the Finder)
  3. Double-click on the Windows application

Once WinOnX is installed, the developers claim that Mac users can run Windows applications with a simple double-click of an applications icon, for the price of a burger. By contrast, they note that alternative solutions require Mac users to buy and install a copy of Microsoft Windows, at a minimum, as well as virtualization software if they want to avoid the inconvenience of booting the Windows operating system to access Windows applications.

"Some applications just aren't available on the Mac, but some Mac users still want to, or have to, run them," says NES Software CEO Hisham El-Emam. "For many, WinOnX is the only easy-to-use alternative to pricey Windows licenses and virtualization programs. And as our list of compatible Windows applications continues to expand, WinOnX becomes an increasingly attractive alternative for the average Mac user."

So what is WinOnX? Technically speaking, WinOnX is a Windows emulator and compatibility layer based on the open source Wine project, managing the communications between Mac OS X and 16- and 32-bit Windows applications written for Windows 2.x and higher.

The software is intended to benefit Macintosh users in both personal and business settings who need occasional access to Windows applications. WinOnX may also be a viable option for enterprise-focused, vertical apps written for the Windows operating system.

NES Software tempers its WinOnX benefits with two advisories. First, Mac users are strongly encouraged to forgo WinOnX and use native, Mac OS X versions of applications whenever they are available. Second, Mac users who need guaranteed compatibility are encouraged to install the Windows operating system and run the Windows apps in their native environment.

However, prior to WinOnX, users paid a high price in time and money to run Windows applications on a Mac. At minimum, they had to buy and install a copy of the Windows operating system, easily spending $100 and one hour in the process. If users wanted the convenience of running Windows apps and Mac apps simultaneously, they had to purchase virtualization software as well. Advanced users can run Windows apps on a Mac via an open source emulator, but the complexity of those solutions deters the average user. WinOnX, on the other hand, brings Windows apps to the Mac masses for $4.99. With a high-speed Internet connection, WinOnX has an average download and install time of five minutes.

Key features of WinOnX include simplicity. It is claimed that a first-time WinOnX user can be up and running in five minutes from WinOnX download to Windows application launch. Once WinOnX is installed, users launch Windows apps as they would Macintosh apps, by double-clicking their associated icons. Because it runs on Mac OS X, WinOnX lets users run Windows apps and Mac apps simultaneously.

For technically-oriented users, the key feature of WinOnX may be Wine, the open source project that underlies WinOnX to provide core emulation and compatibility services. Wine is well-established and actively developed. Moreover, Wine boasts a long, reasonably accurate list of compatible Windows apps. Users can view this list at http://appdb.winehq.org to gauge how a given application will work with WinOnX. Applications not listed may also work with WinOnX while some listed apps such as full-screen apps are not yet supported.

WinOnX system requirements: Intel Mac running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or 10.7 Lion.

Priced at $4.99, WinOnX can be found in the Mac App Store.

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