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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mac owning the entire service line

I have wanted to write this for some time since I was forced to wait a stupid amount of time to get my mac book. Sometimes apple's time to market is awesome, St. Steve, announces a product, mac mini for example and people walk across the street and boom they've just bought one. Steve announced the Intel macs back in January; great everyone thought the imacs were out immediately; I can see why they did that since the people that are going to buy the imac aren't gonna be to bothered by the lack of pro apps at that point. How every the mac books started shipping in the states some two weeks ago, yet still took two weeks for them to get across the pond to the UK I don't know, my heart goes out to the like of The Tao of Mac dude who probably still can't get his hands on a mac book.

Apple for a long time have seen the usefulness of owning their own retail stores; 1) It gives them further control 2) Makes them more money 3) A property portfolio always looks good (OK I don't know if they own the land) In fact back in 2003 Fred Anderson said: "I'd much rather have money spent on RD that is going to enable us to come out with an even greater flow of innovative products and on our apple retail stores that enable us to get great control." Look at that about the retail stores.

Quite often with apple their actions can appear to have a historical basis when they've been shafted, the secrecy of their products whilst in itself an end, probably began because when they worked with others -read M$ - years ago when developing their OS, it got plagiarised, now I know all about the history and that apply got the idea from Parc in the first place yada yada yada; non the less Bill saw apple and he saw it was insanely great and thought... I could do with a piece of that.
Apple's treatment of it's employees, whilst receiving mixed reviews, again historically it's all drug smoking hippies, well their coders are... the retail store staff conditions have mixed reports... much like Veal Calves in transit.
Apple now refusal to consider licensing the operating system; previously they lost out, they ended up competing against themselves, this is one place that Microsoft got it right; they didn't care who ran their software as they made no money off hardware.
Given this learned historical context why isn't apple being learned regarding its own success. Many years ago their was a small technological company called Model Instrumentation Telemetry Systems, MITS developed what was to be the first home computer, and by that it was a box with some lights and switches and it computed. Thanks to some fantastic advertising on the front of a small publication "Popular Electronics"; demand exploded. Poor old Ed Roberts, CEO, and his chums couldn't keep up, people sent them lots and lots of money but Ed hadn't planned for the demand and got terribly behind. Now apple isn't a small company with $0.25m working out of a warehouse in New Mexico, they already own a butt load of logistical channels; they have advertising, they have enthusiastic sales people, why then must they insist on making customers wait and wait and wait.

When the mac book was launched everyone knew it'd be out in about a month; he said that, clearly because Intel and co. were planning to sprinkle a bit more magic optimisation dust and indeed they even bumped up all the machines to boot. However the US market was still seeing mac books shipping a clear two weeks before the UK. now whilst I don't believe this is truly acceptable in our post concord days you can still get a consignment of boxes from California / China to x, y and z places for a synchronised world launch, you can still maybe accept that the US gets fed first. What i don't get is why the stores, that Steve owns, runs, pays employees to man didn't get their demo models until last week ?

Until last November I didn't have an apple store across the street from me, I had to go to either Selfridges (ooo) or John Lewis (oo). If they were made to wait that is understandable; it really is, but not apple's own retail stores. What is really most annoying in all this that stupid damn stereo was sat booming on a table in store like 3 days later !

Given apples revelations that they're going to open more stores in the UK, shouldn't they be making sure their current stores have enough links to the supply chain already in place, rather than getting low end mac books, and not knowing when they'd get the better ones... then some arriving like two days later . OK I know this was a new product and some are blaming Intel, and that my store mostly has good stock, unless you want a black iPod the other week, or a new power supply some time before that...

An interesting comment is alleged recently to have come from the mouth of babes, well the Woz; I concede this comment is now in dispute but the Woz allegedly said apple should spin out the iPod bit of the business. Then one particular apple employee I spoke to in store recently was that their jobs would be a heck of a lot easier if the iPod was separate. Something about Intel being the spawn of Satan, I'm sure I've got that bit wrong.
Well I'm done, part history, part rant, part thought.

After my wait how is it going then ? Well given that the apple store rang me today to let me know they had the 2GHz models in is a bit annoying but I'm enjoying it. It's nice having the dual screens complementing each other at work. It still gets a bit confused about sleeping etc. The a battery isn't great. Problem could be I live on wireless and the web. Won't help but I do have the screen turned right down and it's still lovely. I've been on the machine since maybe 1800 and it's now two hours later and it reckons I've got 40 minutes left - two hours 40 mins isn't what I'd hoped for. I was hoping for maybe four, I'd heard tell of five from iBooks ?

I wanted to sing the praises of the migration assistant some more. OK so it only works with firewire target mode during setup, but that is patently because of the amount of data you might be asking it to move. I took my nice and shiny... did I mention the shiny ? 80 gig hard disk and after transfer i had a whopping 13 gig free ? What's that about well according to sizeIt, it's iTunes (11 gig; On my laptop I know, I like having my music with me, it helps keep me and the Maltese yokel stress free)

At work everyone right now has Ofsted Fever, I thought it'd be like boogie fever but it's not as much fun. Listen to the song "Hey Julie" by the Fountains of Wayne, you'll get my point.

I am getting better at avoiding the caps key when i mean the `a` key.
I like the fact that connectors are on both sides meaning you can usually reach some port from your accessory.
The recover time from sleep is awesome, truly awesome, yes it's storing the data in warm RAM and it uses some battery but when it gets to slow it shuts down, maybe instead it should put the image on disk rather than shutting down to nil.
I have been using Word today and I was slating it over speed, until I noticed this other Rosetta application in my activity monitor which is living in my dock recently, Pages '05 is Interpreted, this has annoyed me, if apple could write a universal OS 5 years ago, and port everything else to native through this time, why not old Pages ? Rosetta, while seamless, is memory hungry and with the lower end mac book having only 512 I can feel it. Pages is a big bugger and so is Word, so if you wanna use multiple non natives, consider the extra RAM. Thank God the RAM is user serviceable.

Some people have commented on a Word scrolling problem... still not noticed it. Other have whined about a speaker problem, now i thought I could hear this, but I figured it isn't speaker noise, it sounds like it's coming from the centre, it is processor dependant, I think I can hear it more when the machine is silent and you more the mouse. It's not crazy crazy annoying, but I always have some music on or podcasts anyway. I tried a VLC Intel version last night bless it, it managed a avi but not much else.

While I'm on universal binaries, I was considering the universal logo this AM in the shower, where I do my best thinking. It's Yin and Tang right, left and right, black and white, good and bad. What's the bad supposed to be, Intel ? Was Woz right ? Apple is the good great force bringing balance to the universe... am i over thinking this ?
Applications I've found Universal binaries for that I use;
Firefox (Deerpark)
Audio Hijack (Beta)
Applications I'm still forcing through rosetta (there are more but I haven't used them yet);
Office (Hurry up)
Pages '05 (apparently)
Dreamweaver (I might jump to eclipse soon or any decent editor that's universal, recommendations?)

I am starting to look at bags too. See; thoughts ?


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