The snapping turtle that spends the winter buried in the mud by the bocce field slowly made its way toward the river yesterday, drawing a crowd for the second year in a row. Joyce looked up the date and it was May 4th last year, too, when the turtle made the journey down to the Mad River. Spring must truly be here! Things are looking green and the poplar trees that are the last to lose their leaves in the fall are the first to have leaves in the spring.
It has been a bit stinky around here for the past few days as our neighbor spreads manure on the fields, but it is almost like spreading a green blanket as the pastures seem to perk right up with the nutrients from the manure. It’s Green Up Day in Vermont on Saturday and literally thousands of people will be combing the roadsides to pick up a winter’s accumulation of garbage. Several thousand garbage bags are collected each year on Green Up Day and with Vermont’s bottle deposit law and our ban on billboards, the roadsides look pretty good! Now, if they’ll just get the road sweepers out to brush off the sand on the curvy roads I might be able to open the throttle a bit on those twisties!
I have all the parts and pieces to put Hammerhead’s sidecar back together with the new Victory wheel on it. I painted all the parts last weekend and Mark Engelhardt is coming out for his May visit next week and we have a date on Thursday to reassemble the sidecar so Hammer can come to work on motorcycle days.
Remember back in the dark days when Michael Dell was asked what he would do with Apple? He responded, “What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.” Apple responded by saying they had Dell in their sights and coining such slogans as “Buy a Dell, go to hell.” A milestone was passed this week as the market value of Apple shot ahead of Dell’s as Apple stock increased in value based upon the renewal of iTunes contracts with the four major record labels that assure us 99cent/song downloads. Apple shot ahead of Dell back in January but this time it looks like its a done deal. As of last night, Apple’s market capitalization was $60.4 billion while Dell was sliding to $59 billion. Dude, the race is over.
Gene Munster is an often-quoted analyst from Piper Jaffray. He issued a research note to clients that addresses “22 unanswered questions surrounding the Apple story.” I’ve listened in on the analysts’ briefing and from time to time analysts call me or Hapy to discuss the Apple market. I can assure you that Gene doesn’t have any inside information, but I thought it would be fun to play prognosticator and give my answers to those same questions:
1) Will Apple offer a built-in FM tuner in the iPod? Gene says: No Don says: I doubt that Apple will integrate FM tuners into the iPod, so I have to agree with Gene on this one. We already have the Apple remote with radio that serves that need for those who want to make their iPod a very expensive transistor radio.
2) Why did we see a seasonal downtick in iPods in the March quarter for the first time in 3 years? Gene says: Because of lack of new product launches Don says: Gene, you ignorant… The phenomenal sales in the December quarter were only partially due to new products (i.e., nano and video iPods). It would have been very difficult to beat the holiday quarter for iPod sales even with new product announcements because the iPod was the “Cabbage Patch Doll” for the 2006 gift-buying season. Even given that the previous quarter had 14 weeks and the March quarter had 13 weeks, Apple’s iPod sales for the March quarter were 60% above the same period in 2005 and more than 8.5 million iPods were sold. I don’t call that a downtick!
3) How is Apple attacking the international iPod opportunity? Gene: Apple will go after the European market Don: I don’t have a clue – everyone wants iPods, even Brits.
4) How many iPods does each iPod owner have? Gene: Between 1 and 1.5 and 10% market penetration Don: Hmm. I have about 5.
5) Is Apple going to make an iPhone? Gene: Gives it a 75% chance but sees it as a combo iPod/cell phone. Don: I think Apple will do a phone but it will be a great cell phone and not necessarily a music device. If it has music capabilities they will be secondary to its communications functions. I give it a 40% for this year.
6) How can Apple keep the iPod competitive? Gene: Economies of scale and innovation Don: Innovation and economies of scale. The innovation portion cannot be overemphasized. Apple gets it and will continue to lead through strong R & D, award-winning product design, and ease of use. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to own about 80% of the market, either!
7) Why can’t Sony figure out the MP3 player market and compete with the iPod? Gene: Poor marketing. Don: Sony doesn’t get it and has lost its connection to the target market. Apple combines innovation with appealing marketing. Sony lost it with the Betamax. They are not innovating and leading the way Apple is.
8) Will the iPod shuffle stay in the lineup and when will it be updated? Gene: Apple will keep the shuffle (he didn’t talk about an update). Don: I think that if Apple retains the shuffle, it will be redesigned. I love the shuffle as a flash drive that also plays music, but the iPod nano is a much better buy for an iPod. I predict the shuffle will go away by this time next year.
9) Is iTunes headed for a tiered pricing model? Gene: No Don: No – Apple rules this market!
10) How many videos are sold on iTunes per week and are they more or less profitable than music? Gene: 1 million videos a week versus 21 million songs. Profitability is similar. Don: What he said.
11) Will we see full-length movies on iTunes anytime soon? Gene: Yes, but not a high priority for Apple. Depends upon updated iPod. Don: I believe Apple will be a player in movie downloads. I do not see a huge market for the lower-quality, iPod-compatible full-length movies, but Apple has the infrastructure in place to offer digital downloads of high-quality full-length movies.
12) Will Apple start selling advertising in the iTunes music store? Gene: Not likely. Don: Not a snowball’s chance.
13) Why will the release of the iBook not lead to another transition quarter? Gene: Apple will have inventory ready. Don: This is a transition year, but that said, the MacBook (not iBook!) will be ready to go the day that it is released and will be one of the hottest selling products from Apple ever.
14) What will Apple do with Mac pricing in the coming years? Gene: Apple will not compete on the basis of price alone. Don: Apple does not have to compete on the basis of price when their products are so superior! Prices will decline because computer prices do that, but we expect Apple to be competitively priced and continue to be the best value in the market.
15) Why is Boot Camp important? Gene: Boot Camp targets the potential Mac buyer who has one or two applications that have to be run in Windows. Don: Boot Camp will make Apple the ONLY computer that is capable of running either Mac OS or Windows. This will provide versatility to businesses and individuals that has not been seen before. Businesses will be able to standardize on one computer manufacturer and yet have the benefits of the security and power of Mac OS X and the use of Windows for those few applications that need it.
16) Will Apple license the Mac OS? Gene: No Don: When hell freezes.
17) What caused the weaker than expected Apple retail store performance in the March quarter? Gene: Intel transition and slow shipping of Mac Book Pro Don: The weaker performance was in comparison to the biggest quarter ever in the holiday season, when Apple stores were jammed and lines to the cashiers were extending out to the street as people lined up to buy iPods. Yes, it is partially the transition, but it is also a mark of the seasonal nature of retail.
18) What should we expect from Apple retail stores this year? Gene says: New stores and new Mac products will drive retail sales. Don says: Gene is right. With the flagship 24-hour store in New York and 30 to 40 new stores this year, Apple will be able to capitalize on the Intel transition as more models become available and increasing amounts of software are available as universal applications. If Apple continues to advertise for the Mac, you can bet that Apple retail will do very well.
19) Why are the Apple retail stores so unique? Gene says: Apple is focused on making customers for life rather than on the individual sale. Don says: Hey, that’s my idea! Seriously, though, it does not take rocket science to know that if you treat your customers like they are valuable you will be rewarded. But the Apple stores are more than that. They are a whole experience. The detail that has gone into the design, layout, and features of the Apple retail stores is much like the industrial design that goes into Apple’s products. It is a truly Apple experience to walk into an Apple Store. Ron Johnson and the Apple retail team have every right to be very proud. They set the bar for other Apple resellers!
20) What will Apple’s marketing look like over the next several quarters? Gene: Apple will move from an iPod-focused marketing campaign to a campaign that is more 50/50 between Mac and iPod. Don: I agree with Gene. It is REALLY good to see some Mac advertising!
21) What is Apple doing with its > $9/share in cash? Gene: Hang on to it, invest it, and use it for long-term NAND flash contract, new Cupertino campus, etc. Don: I again agree with Gene, however, I think that Apple will also continue to look at prudent acquisitions that will help to advance their brand. I predict at least one significant acquisition in the next 12 months.
22) What is the reasoning behind the new Apple Campus in Cupertino? Gene: Increased efficiency. Don: Dumb question. Apple has grown significantly and needs more room to put folks.
Aperture is Alive and Upgraded!
There were rumors that Apple had decided to abandon their new photo software, Aperture, just as they had released the universal version. Perhaps because somebody got the axe at Apple for poor work, these rumors had a life of their own. We have been assured from the highest levels at Apple that nothing could be further from the truth. Apple has more engineers than ever working on Aperture and just to show that they are not sitting on their hands, Apple released an update this week (version 1.1.1) which you can download automatically from Apple’s Software Update System Preference.
Aperture is designed for professional photographers who prefer to utilize a RAW-focused workflow. We have talked about the features of Aperture before and some of the professional photographers here in the valley who have adopted Aperture were quick to express their support as Apple both lowered the price and released the universal version of this powerful professional software. It is one of those pieces of software that can drive hardware sales and we like that here at Small Dog! A MacBook Pro and Aperture is a great combination for any pro or semi-pro photographer!
This week only we are offering a special value on Aperture to Kibbles & Bytes readers. If you buy Aperture at its regular price of $299, we are going to send you a copy of Rick Smolan’s America 24/7 photo book and a Small Dog coffee mug, too!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16650/mymac/
Choosing the Right Mac Ed @ smalldog.com
We often get calls from people who are looking to buy the “best” Macintosh computer. I’ve recently begun advising people not to think of the “best” computer, but rather the “right” computer – the right computer for their present and foreseeable needs.
Some people call up expecting to buy a Dual Quad G5 maxed out with 16 GB of RAM for surfing the web and checking email; others call up hoping to edit hours of high-definition video on a used G3 iBook. Those are extreme examples of people being confused about their own computing needs and the true capabilities of various Macintosh computers.
The introduction of Intel Macs while there are great deals on G5 and G4 computers further complicates the issue. We have excellent 17-inch 1.9 GHz G5 iMacs in stock for $995, which is $300 less than the Intel models. These look just like the Intel iMacs and have Front Row, the Apple remote, a built-in iSight camera, iLife 06, Appleworks, and much more.
Who would buy an Intel Mac or a G5 or G4 Mac?
People who buy the PowerPC G4 and G5 Macs:
+ Want to run OS 9 Classic + Want to save $200 to $300 or more + Don’t need the absolute fastest machine + Have software such as Adobe or Quark that can’t yet run at full speed on the Intel chips. + Have older versions of Logic, Final Cut Pro, etc. that won’t run on the Intel chip at all, and don’t want to upgrade to compatible versions + Do not like to be early adopters of brand-new technology
People who buy the Intel Macs:
+ Want to adopt the future of Mac technology ASAP + Want the speed boost of running software released in the Universal binary + Don’t mind the modest performance hit of running Photoshop and other non-native apps under Rosetta + Appreciate the fastest boot-up and application launches of any Mac, ever + Need to develop or test applications for the Intel Macs + Want to boot into Windows XP (only possible on Intel Macs)
At this point, any Mac made in the past three years is great for writing, listening to music, surfing the web, storing and editing photos, working with video, creating Office documents, and much more. Some people need to go beyond these everyday tasks and require the most powerful machines on the market. So, when you’re about to buy a new computer – ask not for the best computer, but for the right computer!
Macspotting By Holly Buttura (Holly @ smalldog.com)
As I watched my favorite television show last night (CSI: Vegas), I happened to notice that the laptop Catherine Willow had on her desk was a PowerBook. The neck of a vase was conveniently blocking most of the Apple logo. I don’t know about you, but as an Apple user I find myself keenly aware of Apple products in television shows. Have you noticed how many television programs show Macintosh computers? Macspotting is the practice of spotting Macs in the media. While my observation is simply in spotting the product, some online comments say that the “bad guys” use PCs and the “good guys” use a Mac. I’ll have to watch a little closer!
One thing I do notice occasionally is that the Apple logo is covered. What’s the deal with that? Is it really such a big deal to show the brand of computer? I mean, I rarely see PC laptops in the media with the post-it note on their logo, although I probably wouldn’t recognize a PC logo if I saw one, with the exception of Dell perhaps. Yet, it’s not uncommon to see a glowing white Apple from a PowerBook is covered over. While I’ve never seen this tactic, one website said some shows have a sort of grey pixelated patch where the Apple logo is (Six Feet Under and West Wing). What an expensive thing to do.
In the quest for ratings and trying to be hip, are television shows using the Mac to because they are good-looking computers and will easily fit into most decors? I haven’t watched Smallville for a while, but the room where the school’s newspaper was put together had several of the old five-flavored iMacs. It was a cool setup, especially in comparison to when I was in high school in the mid 80s where our computer lab just had a bunch of plain beige boxes! What about The Drew Carey Show? Mimi, Mr. Wick’s assistant, used to sport a colored iMac on her desk as well.
Here are a few mainstream shows that have or have shown Macs:
Extreme Makeover Home Edition Smallville 7th Heaven Sex in the City 24 Desperate Housewives Sopranos One Tree Hill Seinfeld Buffy the Vampire Slayer Spin City Good Eats Friends The Drew Carey Show Home Improvement
There are even websites and forums where people post the sightings!
In fact, there is even a book, The Cult of Mac, that has a chapter on it!
I wonder if there will come a time when the tides turn and Windows- spotting becomes the norm? Won’t that be funny!
Thanks for the kind wishes! Dawn @ smalldog.com
After Don included his note that I’ll be leaving Small Dog after ten years of service, I received so many fond and sincere wishes for success that I just had to say thank you! As I mentioned to some of you, especially the web sites that I started purchasing advertising from so many years ago, it’s like we grew up together. When I started, there wasn’t even a Google, let alone a book or resource that I could use to find out how to market an e-commerce business.
As I get closer to leaving, I’ll include my contact information so we can keep in touch!
Textpander: Awesome Shareware!
As I was teaching Ed some of the tasks for putting together the newsletter, I had him install one of my favorite pieces of software, Textpander. As I was showing him how it worked and how it saves me time, he said that I should write about it. I thought that I had done that, but when I went back through the archives I discovered that I only wrote about it in Tech Tails. So here’s my Textpander article:
Textpander’s awesome. Go download it.
OK, that’s not a very good article, but it is exactly how I feel. What Textpander does is allow you to create a short key sequence which triggers Textpander to place a text snippet. Here’s an example. The lines that divide the articles in Kibbles +—–…——-+? When I want to enter them, I type “+lo” or “+sh” and the line appears.
Any sentences or sections of text that repeat make for great snippets to set up. You can even include images such as your signature, which you could insert by typing something like mySig.
Things you can do with Textpander * Insert standard greetings, text fragments, and signatures – including formatted text and pictures * Insert the current date and time in any format you prefer * Use editor-independent code templates and have Textpander position the cursor just where it needs to be * Type special characters without having to launch any special characters palette * Have Textpander correct typos automatically * Import text snippets from other typing utilities
If you’ve forgotten the prompts, there’s a menu item that can be accessed for a quick reminder. In addition to the lines in the newsletter, here are some of my snippets:
“Please let me know if you have more questions!” for use in Mail “Are you there?” for use in iChat “Here are the specials for this week, valid through” “or while on hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing.” “Apple Certified Reconditioned” “To order:”
You’ll need Mac OS X 10.3 or better and it is Universal, so Intel Mac users will be happy. You can download Textpander, which is donationware, here:
As I said earlier, Textpander’s awesome. Go download it.
Boohbah Zone by Brighter Minds – $19.99 It’s Boohbah time! These adventures will get you up and moving while exploring our magical world! Includes the individual titles Boohbah Movin’ & Groovin’ and Boohbah Wiggle & Giggle. Welcome to the magical world of the Boohbahs! Humbah, Zumbah, Zing Zing Zingbah, Jumbah and Jingbah are five sparkling atoms of energy powered by the laughter of children!
Brighter Minds Diner Dash – $19.99 Diner Dash blends fast-paced action with business simulation. You will build your own restaurant empire through 50 challenging levels. Career and Endless Shift modes cover the nonstop coordination- building action. You will deal with five different types of customers and they have to be kept happy at all times. Failure to do so will result in poor business. Humorous animation, flashy effects and fun sounds highlight the gameplay.
Brighter Minds Land Before Time: Kindergarten – $9.99 There’s plenty to learn in the Land Before Time! Littlefoot and friends are busy making sure it’s fun too. Important learning experiences are built into entertaining and engaging activities with an emphasis on creativity and teamwork. Children work with their dino pals to construct stories, animated scenes, musical interludes and printable crafts. When they’re ready for “recess”, kids can share a virtual board game and some dino pinball fun too.
Brighter Minds Land Before Time: Prehistoric Adventures – $19.99 Join Littlefoot and his dino pals as they develop your child’s preschool and Kindergarten skills! Three CD-ROMs and two card games will increase matching skills, reinforce alphabet, shape and number recognition, and more! Important learning experiences are built into entertaining and engaging activities with an emphasis on creativity and teamwork. Children work with their dino pals to construct stories, animated scenes, musical interludes and printable crafts. This is a combination of both the Preschool and Kindergarten programs in one convenient package.
Caillou 4 Seasons of Fun by Brighter Minds – $19.99 Discover the wonders of each new season! It’s year-round fun for Caillou and his friends! Join Caillou as he explores what nature has to offer. From a winter wonderland to summertime fun, there are activities for each changing season. Discover letters, numbers, shapes, and more! Build a snowman in winter or help Caillou rake the colorful leaves of fall. Splash into summer or spring into playtime! Nature is amazing. What a joy!
Caillou Magic Playhouse by Brighter Minds – $9.99 Hunt for treasures and magical discoveries in Caillou’s playhouse! Join Caillou in a hunt for hidden treasures! There are new discoveries around every corner – letters, numbers, music and more. Find toys and animals hidden in clouds. Create stories and songs to sing out loud. Come on, Caillou, let’s go explore the Magic Playhouse.
Caillou Magical Adventures by Brighter Minds – $19.99 Includes the individual titles Caillou Magic Playhouse, Caillou Four Seasons of Fun and Caillou Party Fun & Games. Caillou is a wide-eyed four-year-old who learns about life – one adventure at a time! In this complete set, your child will join Caillou on 3 adventures full of learning and fun!
Caillou Ready for School by Brighter Minds – $19.99 Includes the individual titles Caillou Alphabet, Caillou Colors & Shapes, Caillou Counting, and Caillou Thinking Skills. Caillou helps young children to make sense of the world, and teaches them that learning and growing up are the greatest adventures of all! Having fun as they play, children can use this software to learn the most essential development skills in English, Spanish, or French.
To see all the games by Brighter Minds, click here:
Here are the specials for this week, valid through May 11th or while on-hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing.
Apple Certified Reconditioned iMac 17-inch G5/1.9GHz 512/160/ SuperDrive/AP/BT with 1GB Additional RAM and the book Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Killer Tips – $1119
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16651/mymac
Apple Certified Reconditioned PowerBook 17-inch G4/1.67GHz 512/100/ SuperDrive/AP/BT – $1819
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16652/mymac
Apple iPod 20gb with Color Display with Harman OnTime iPod Docking Sound Station/Alarm Clock – $349
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag50073/mymac
Kensington PilotBoard Wireless Keyboard and Mouse – $60
Canon Pixma iP6210D Color Photo Printer with MacAlly 4-port USB 2.0 and 2-port FireWire 400 Hub – $129*
*Save $30 on this price with a mail-in rebate!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16653/mymac
iPod mini 4gb Silver (2005) with AppleCare Protection for iPod – $199
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag50074/mymac
LaCie 250gb Extreme Triple Interface FireWire 800/400/USB – $189
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16654/mymac
I sent Rob Berkey and Ed Shepard to Chicago for the Apple Specialist Market Coop meeting and they have been sending me reports and iChats. They have met other Apple resellers and vendors and have come away fired up and raring to go. Mission accomplished. It’s time to get the rototiller out and get some more of the garden planted. The black flies and peepers are out, so it must be time!
Have a great weekend! Thanks for reading Kibbles & Bytes.
Your Kibbles & Bytes team,
Don, Dawn, Holly, and Ed