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back to article Sons of Macintosh - shaking the Apple family tree

When the original Apple Macintosh debuted in 1984, it carried a $2,495 price tag - roughly $5,250 in 2008 money. Ever since, the debate has raged over whether Macs are more expensive, feature-by-feature and capability-by-capability, than their PC brethren. And what a meaningless debate it is. Here at The Reg, we subscribe to …

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XHD3000? Apples and Oranges

It may be a lot cheaper than the 30" cinema display, but it also uses a much cheaper TN panel rather than the far superior IPS panel used in the Apple Display.

TN panels are pretty much useless for pro users who need accurate colour matching because the colour varies depending on the angle you are looking at the screen at.

El Reg Reporter: C- (could try harder)

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Jobs Halo

Err.. that's not right!

"Also, you're forced to choose between corporate or personal contacts and calendars - the two can't coexist on the same iPhone."

My work exchange contacts and calendar work perfectly well with my .mac/mobileme contacts and calendar... you can choose to see them on their own or combined ..

Halo Steve because he is the true Messiah! :p

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B?

iPhone and iPod Touch given a 'B'??

Some crazy crazy scoring going on in this article.

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Stop

@Err.. that's not right!

As MobileMe is an additional subscription (and thus not actually part of the product itself) it's only fair to ignore it in a review of the iPhone. Admittedly, a brief mention that it could be achieved through an additional subscription might have been nice, but it doesn't change the fact that on its own, out of the box (as all reviews should be done) the iPhone does not have the capability to store both.

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Your Title Here

A well-written series of articles, but could somebody explain what

"On the gridiron, that'd be Oklahoma Panhandle State versus the Crimson Tide."

means please?

Ta!

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Suf

I like this guy.....

Welcome to The Register Rik. You write an interesting article, with a few discrepncies but at least it's interesting. Keep 'em coming!

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iPhone errata

Generally good article... but...

I think Safari is an Apple supplied app and that has a landscape keyboard, although all it really does is remind you that contrary to expectations, the portrait mode works better.

Cut & Paste notes into email? no need sir, click the icon that looks like an envelope. Safari to email? click the + icon then 'mail link to this page'. Or sir could also send any image by clickholding on it, saving it, then mailing it from iphoto, or sir could even zoom in on the bit of the [s]porn[/s] page sir desires, crack off a screen shot and email that.

Where I've missed copypasta is when some fool has mailed me a phone number split into chunks, or some text I want to google, very irritating when it happens but admittably somewhat infrequent.

Voice dialing? meh, there's a free app for that if you want to sound like a trekker, more importantly though you forgot to mention what the iPhone is missing in spades; turn by bloody turn directions? wtf is going on with that?

Lastly you probably should have mentioned it's also a Video iPod, has a kick ass web client, and that it's given a complacent mobile industry a kick up the arse of Bishop Brennan proportions.

Also my wife hates it's tiny silicon guts, ergo it must be good.

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Heart

Ignore mobileme? R U Kidn?

It seems a bit silly overlooking mobileme and iDisk.

All that integration ...

So assessing each product as a standalone does not cater for the ease of use between different products. For me that is the catch that makes Apple suite.

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Happy

So, the fanboys are out at the moment...

I'll come back tomorrow when Webster and his pals have had their go. The truth, as always, will be somewhere inbetween. Apple stuff - well, not for me.

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@XHD3000? Apples and Oranges

It's an S-PVA panel in the Gateway, not a TN and it measures up pretty much on par with the S-IPS in the Apple 30" (which I'm using as I write this). The Dell 30" uses the same S-IPS as the Apple and is also A$1000 cheaper and all the other brands include an HDMI in which is extremely handy on a monitor this large.

And I really like my Mac Pro (8 core 3.0GHz 9gig of RAM, though only one bought from Apple) at work and my Macbook Pro (15.4 last with the matt screen) but I feel no need to claim Steve as my personal saviour. In my long experience with them there are plenty of times when Macs just don't work...

And I'd be happier if the machines had a name plate reading Amiga

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Firewire

Would people stop going on about _the inevitable demise of firewire_. The new Macbook doesn't include it because Steve wants to sell you a Macbook Pro, silly. It won't be going anywhere anytime soon due to its higher sustained data rate for external hard drives and camcorders - USB is a waste of time. What's the bet that even when USB 3 comes out its sustained data rate is arse?

Whilst we're on the topic of ports, when will mac laptops get either an expansion card slot or an eSATA port? I'd love it if my mac laptop had eSata on it as I have a need for the data speed but don't want to get a mortgage for a Mac Pro etc. I think all laptops (price bracket dependent i.e. not laptots) should have eSATA to enable the data flow without the need to have a battery draining 7200RPM internal.

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Jobs Horns

MacPro

I would buy a MacPro 8-core top-of-the-line model in a heart-beat ... if I could plug my own graphics cards into it, even better plug two or three GPU into it.

It's a shame that Apple doesn't support gamers, otherwise myself and at good few of my friends would all own MacPros. Their loss.

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Jobs Horns

Fecking iPhone...

I have just been summoned by my boss to explain to him why his mobile bill has gone up nearly 1000% (that's not a typo) since he got his iPhone.

I walked into his office- There he is sat at his desk with a perfectly fine PC and large LCD display connected via a nice fast DSL connection to the internet...

...and he's watching fecking YouTube videos on his fecking iPhone.

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Jobs Horns

iBling for iDiots

@jubtastic1

At the price you pay for the brick sized phone you should not need free apps to make the iPhone work like other phones have been for years. The "locking in" makes it a real crap phone and you can't even change the battery without paying for it to be done officially.

Style over functionality, and not that stylish.

@ Anonymous Coward

"bit silly overlooking mobileme" - is it working this week!!!??? The way things are going I will never have to pay another subscription.

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A very quiet Webster and his pals..............

Maybe they're in the O2 shop getting themselves a jPhone....

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Anonymous Coward

As someone else said:

What does "On the gridiron, that'd be Oklahoma Panhandle State versus the Crimson Tide." mean, please? Particularly, "gridiron", "Oklahoma Panhandle State" and "Crimson Tide". Wikipedia, Google and my dictionary have been no help, so far.

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@ Robin

<quote>

A well-written series of articles, but could somebody explain what

"On the gridiron, that'd be Oklahoma Panhandle State versus the Crimson Tide."

means please?

</quote>

Second sports metaphor. Imagine Manchester United playing a bunch of 5 years a game of cricket.... (Crimson Tide is a BIG american football team at U Alabama. Don't know of a "Panhandle State...)

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Jobs Horns

You don't get what you pay for

"You get what you pay for?" So 4x1gb of 800MHz DDR2 fully buffered ECC memory instead of 2x1gb costs £320. Let's see what sort of 2gb memory I can get for £320? Well Overclockers has NOTHING on sale that's 2gb and costs £320. The closest would be Corsair 2GB DDR3 Dominator 1800C7DF Twin3X (2x1GB) (TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF) but with Apple you get what you pay for!

How about the additional hard drive? Apple will charge you for a 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s £270. This is £115 more than the most expensive 1TB drive with that specification I can find but you get what you pay for!

I could go on through their entire spec with this ill informed article claiming you get what you pay for when if you buy the exact same components in an Apple yourself and build it it costs less than half what Apple charge. That's a fact. Stop the fawning commentary that suggests Apple are in any way like Aston Martin. Those cars have bodies which are individually panel beaten, they even have plaques in them saying who made them.

Apple simply use standard components you can buy anywhere and are put together in mass production facilities. The mark up is for the name, the brand, and the case (which is a rip off compared to everything else too).

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USA-centric

Please could The Register editors remind US contributors that the readership consists not just of Americans? I have no idea what "On the gridiron, that'd be Oklahoma Panhandle State versus the Crimson Tide" means, though I think gridiron is either for cooking or American Football and I know that Oklahoma is a state. Then there is something about Palin buttons? I know who Palin is, but the rest? If the contributor wrote in French, you would translate it. Perhaps that is coming for American.

Actually, a complaint about Apple: it is even more US-centric than Microsoft (viz. the hard-wired "US-English" terms in preferences or the default Safari URLs and Front Row film trailer sources in European-sold machines, or even the foolish addition of "United States of America" to my non-american address in Itunes registration.

Should be grateful I suppose: not many years until they move to South American/Mexican Spanish by default as the linguistic ratio changes in USA:

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Keyboards

I'm sat here using an Apple keyboard (and Microsoft Mouse) on a Dell desktop, which must put me in a very small subset of people who think the new Apple keyboards are fantastic - who needs clacky full-travel keyboards, other than people who can't get used to the fact a computer is not a typewriter?

(Caveat - I effectively learnt to type on a Sinclair Spectrum, so perhaps the fact my initial typing experience was on a flat keyboard makes them feel more natural to me).

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Tim

Translated into (English) English

GridIron = Wembley

Oklahoma Panhandle State = Hartlepool United

Crimson Tide = Brazil

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A Gridiron is definitely something to do with American football...

... I can't be any more help than that, sorry! I guess it's dogwhistle writing to excite whatever miniscule percentage of people here are Americans?

Re: the articles, they're very balanced and therefore very good. El Reg's usual Apple-user baiting is exceedingly tedious.

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I enjoyed this

and would like to see similar report cards for Microsoft and Google purlease. Any chance?

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What a load

While the other cell phone manufacturers were simply repackaging the same tired old electronics year after year, Apple invested some money and came up with one of the best inventions of the 21st Century. I use every feature of my iPhone - web, email, sms and keep the iPod section pretty busy during the day. I would be lost without it.

I own a Mac Mini. It's the perfect computer. I can use the keyboard and monitor of my choice, it's really cheap, and when it needs service I can tuck it under my arm and bring it to the local Apple store. Mac Mini's have been spotted in industrial applications as well, replacing PLC's.

You don't know what you are talking about. You're a snob.

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IT Angle

What the bejaysis?

"On the gridiron, that'd be Oklahoma Panhandle State versus the Crimson Tide."

Pardon? Is this some sort of colonial sporting metaphor?

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Translation:

"What does "On the gridiron, that'd be Oklahoma Panhandle State versus the Crimson Tide." mean, please?"

"In a game of Girl Rugby, that'd be a Fourth Division team versus a Premier League team (named after a euphemism for menstruation)."

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Mighty Mouse

Call me weird (go on, you want to really...), but I actually like the Mighty Mouse, having bought a Bluetooth one as an add-on for my MacBook. I find ordinary wheel mice annoyingly restrictive after getting used to omnidirectional scrolling. Though I agree the side buttons could be better. And you can configure the buttons using the normal preferences pane: I'm having problems figuring out what the article author isn't able to configure it to do. Tapdance?

And seconded, whoever commented about the synergy between products. Having started with an iPod and since got a MacBook (black), Time Capsule and iPhone it's been wonderfully simple using the whole lot together. Time Capsule in particular was remarkably easy to integrate into my existing wireless network, and once it was set up Time Machine just does its thing in the background without a hitch.

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Anonymous Coward

@Stoo

Well I own a Mac Pro and have put a 4870x2 in it, along with the old ATi card that came with the computer. Of course, OS X doesn't work with the card, but it does work for gaming in Windows.

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Jobs Horns

'B' is too generous for the iphone 3G

Of all the flaws with the iPhone 3G, the crippled bluetooth functionality has to be the biggest.

I can't believe it won't act as a gateway to the internet because the Bluetooth DUN profile is missing! My macbook air will happily pair with other mobile phones so someone at Apple knows this is industry standard functionality.

It also prevents Sat Nav devices from getting traffic updates. When I raised this with Apple support, they suggested using the iphone's built in sat nav but went quiet when I pointed out the illegality of using a phone while driving and the impracticallity of doing so on a motorbike.

Apple are going to have to try harder if they want me to be a fanboi...

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Jobs Halo

@ Mick F

"Style over functionality, and not that stylish."

IN YOUR OPINION!!! Christ, if i have to explain subjective opinions toward design once more... I guess that you are in engineering (if you are a designer, then you are clearly in a very small minority) of some sort, so as a designer (architectural and product) I'd like to ask WHAT QUALIFIES YOU TO MAKE THAT STATEMENT!? Consumer opinion? Well the way the thing has been selling tells me that consumer opinion says you are wrong! Manufacturing/Pro opinion? Been largely positive - to the extent that all and sundry have been copying the design AND functionality. As for the argument that "my mates think it's rubbish..." Grow up, this ain't the school playground! Oh, a brick it ain't, check out the N95 and Google Phone, both weigh a comparitive tonne!

As for the price - We've all been spoiled by subsidised phone in the UK - people elswhere (i.e. USA, Europe and Asia) pay for their phones, it's the norm. It will be the norm in the UK too soon.

Functionality. GET OVER MMS. ITS SO 2002!!! EMAIL NUMB NUTS!!! Who actually uses voice dialing all the time? REPS!!! Aall mobile operateor "lock you in", fact is is easier to unlock an iPhone - but hey, that doesn't sit well with your argument.

I'm not saying its perfect - Jobs and Co. should open up app development. The camera could be better. Cut and Paste, can't say I miss it.

""bit silly overlooking mobileme" - is it working this week!!!??? The way things are going I will never have to pay another subscription."

Been working better than GMail...

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Anonymous Coward

Good Article , a couple of things .

Good article but a couple of things :

"Apple sold 60 per cent more laptops than desktops (2008 figures aren't yet available). "

This is true for pcs as well, its a change that has happened in the last few years, most retailers are now selling more laptops than desktops generally, so that has probably had an effect on apple as well

"The one without a display is cheaper than dirt."

By this i assume you mean the ipod shuffle, I am from the UK so i can safely say its not really that cheap, as although the exchange rate isn't 1:1 (yet) apples pricing is close to it (even when the exchange rate was closer to (2:1). So in the UK at least i couldn't consider it cheap.

You mentioned the apple software at the end, it should be pointed out that apple have started sneaking software onto machines, itunes for example now installs the mobile me control panel, even if you click on no when it pops up when you first install iTunes, it then tries to update each time the software update is run, plus safari reticking itself each time.

I like apple software in general (other than iTunes, that bloated thing installing multiple services that do nothing useful except open a couple more security holes) but there behaviour is becomeing more MS like, MS got slapped down for it so apple have to be careful if they carry on down the current road because soon the world will realise that MS isn't the only company that can be anti competative

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Dead Vulture

No-one cheered?

"no one cheered when he announced its un-LISA-like "mainstream price point."

Yes they did - he was just in the middle of a sentence when he said it. If you so helpfully provide a link to the source material, make sure you're not twisting it to suit your own ends or you'll get caught out!

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Anonymous Coward

@ Red Bren: Bluetooth

"I can't believe it won't act as a gateway to the internet because the Bluetooth DUN profile is missing!"

Well that's presumably simply because the network operators wouldn't give it an included unlimited data tariff if it did.

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Education & Review

I read all of the article. I'm not much wiser about Apple.

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Alert

Tides

It may surprise British readers to learn that college football in America is just as - if not more - popular than the professional kind. The Crimson Tide is the nickname of the University of Alabama team, a longtime South Eastern Conference powerhouse - their uniform color is a deep burgundy. For many years they were coached by fedora-wearing Paul "Bear" Bryant, possibly the most legendary college football coach ever.

AFAIK they have never played Oklahoma Panhandle State, which competes in the lower NCAA Division II.

"Gridiron" is another name for the field upon which American football teams play.

Looking forward to more from Rik!

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Dead Vulture

Jebus! Enough already!

"The Jesus Phone is not, as claimed by so many, the savior of all mankind."

So many? Name one.

And can we stop with this "Jesus Phone" crap - it wasn't even amusing to begin with and by now it's utterly weak.

PS: +1 to those who have complained that the article is too US-centric. The Reg is a British site, and long may it remain so. That doesn't mean Septics and others can't write for it, it just means they need to learn how to speak the lingo before they get a paying gig.

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re: 'B' is too generous for the iphone 3G f

Not defending the iPhone here but:

"It also prevents Sat Nav devices from getting traffic updates. When I raised this with Apple support, they suggested using the iphone's built in sat nav but went quiet when I pointed out the illegality of using a phone while driving and the impracticallity of doing so on a motorbike."

You'll find that the interpretation of 'using a phone' means having it stuck to your ear. The simple expedient of using a hands-free set is legal, as is mounting it on your dashboard using any kind of freely available mounting device. The person on the other end of the phone was probably being extraordinarily polite.

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Jobs Halo

Good, but US-centric

Are the HD shows and the like even available in the UK?

I suspect the poor new kid needs a decent year of hackery in the UK before he starts using the proper pub-based metaphors. Let's hope he doesn't go all Cade Metz on us if he doesn't get invited to a product launch ...

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Err... UK

Can we have a UK report pleased, i tried Google Translate and it struggled....

Some oddities, i personally love the Mac Keyboard, the keys are wonderful to type on - well ahead of anything else on the market... and the Mighty Mouse is absolutely fantastic - i have large hands and long fingers and the shape of it is far more comfortable for me to hold than any other mouse i've found, the wheel/ball does seem to suffer from some reliability issues mind, but the latest ones seem better (white side buttons not grey)

And some very dubious scores at times....

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Jobs Horns

@Simon Banyard

"Been working better than GMail..." - but Gmail is free and Mobileme is crap, when it is working. If it is so bloody good why do they keep extending everyone's subscription and apologizing?

I didn't see a mention of MMS, just your over-bloated imagination.

No voice bluetooth, no forwarding texts, rubbish camera, no video, tinny iPod sound, unable to change your battery - It is a crap phone mate and you spent so much to get it. I can see why you are pissed. Shame.

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@Simon Greenwood & AC

Simon, the person on the other end of the phone was indeed polite and sympathetic but ultimately unable to offer a solution to the problem of using an iphone as a satnav on a motorbike :-)

AC, since when did offering an unlimited tariff stop a provider from pulling the plug if you use too much?

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Tom
Flame

That's right!

Lets have an unbiased report on Apple by a former editor of macaddict...

Tosh, i give you a F..... for FAIL

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Gates Halo

B too generous for an iPhone...

...unless you're grading on a curve.

Now, I like my iPhone, don't get me wrong. In fact, I like it more than any other phone I've ever owned. owever, on the whole, I'd rate it a B- to a C+, and rate almost every other phone I've ever used (including my late but not much lamented Razr) somewhere between a D- and an F----.

It's a testament not to SteveJobs but rather to the sorry state of the consumer cell phone industry that Stevie can say "Hey, everyone, I'm going to make a cell phone with a user interface that doesn't quite totally suck!" and the entire world swoons. The iPhone looks so good not because it's a great phone, but because all the other phones out there are so truly Godawful that our expectations are pretty low.

Halo Steve because "I'm going to make a cell phone with a user interface that doesn't quite totally suck!" is, sadly, an improvement over the status quo.

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Anonymous Coward

Nehalem Mac Pros (and iMacs, if we must)

it's a bit silly pining for MOAR POWR from the Mac Pro, then opining that maybe Grand Central will UNLEASH TEH FUCKEN POWR when it's patently obvious that the next Mac Pro revision will a) be Xeon-class Nehalem processor-based and b) kick the living shit out of its predecessors even before Grand Central gets a chance to stick its nose into the works. These two releases go hand in hand. That the iMac looks likely to go quad-core desktop Nehalem as well is merely icing on the caek. Erm, cake. These boxen are not far away: can you say Macworld? Further ahead: unless Adobe drop the ball incredibly, Mac CS5's power will be maximum.

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Disappointed in El Reg for ignoring the dark side of Apple

In all 3 articles on the Apple report card, there has not been one mention of ethics, and ignored legal problems. I refer to the iPod that revived the company. Nobody argues this, and the graphs in article #2 support it. Apple is making its comeback not because Apple computer users are buying up other consumer electronics, but because purchasers of Apple's consumer electronics are deciding to be Apple-only folks and buying the computers to stay in line. This is most definitely a result of good marketing, anybody who is aware of this agrees.

What disappoints me about El Reg's report card thus far is the failure to even mention Apple's skirting (disregard) for the law. They applied for a patent on the iPod's interface in 2000. This patent application was rejected because it was ALREADY OWNED by Creativ. Apple ignored this and released their product anyways. The result has been Apple's revival as a company, and it can tied wholly to the iPod and good marketing (the "buying into a club" approach). I am disappointed that El Reg has thus far ignored this, and probably will continue to.

It also speaks to the state of the patent system here in the US, and how it is not built to handle the tech explosion of the past 15-20 years. It is an eerily similar situation to Charles Goodyear and his rubber patent that was blatantly ignored and the orders of courts were blatantly ignored. Difference is, Goodyear is still a leader, whereas Creativ is just about dead. What should have been is very similar to Kodak, releasing a Polaroid like camera in the mid-late 80s and being ordered to desist, except that Kodak obeyed the court order and is still viable today for anyone who still uses film.

Apple has ignored everything, with the mindset that they will pay up later (which they did) to Creativ. It has worked very well for them, and the fact that nobody seems to care about it further damages the patent system in that companies know that they can safely ignore them and pay a relatively small fine 4 years down the road.

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Apple Keyboard

It's weird to read such bad comments about the Apple aluminum kayboards. Being a translator, I need the best I can get, and at the moment, that means Apple. The full-sized Apple Aluminum Keyboard is THE keyboard for typing as fast and as quiet as possible. I've tried many models, and only the high-end products from Logitech and Cherry come close.

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@Nehalem Mac Pros (and iMacs, if we must) AKA "TEH FUCKEN CRAZY AC"

Errr - RTFA!!!

What does it matter if they just stick Nehalem chips in the machine???? If the sodding machine can't use multiple cores effectively you'll have exactly the same problem as with the current crop of Core 2 chips. Grand Central optimizes the processing load across multiple cores so not only will it be useful when balancing across two (in Core 2 Duo) but across four, eight, sixteen or whatever you want in the future...

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Paris Hilton

No love for the Mighty Mouse?

When I first started using the Mighty Mouse, I, like the author, thought that the scroll wheel was unbelievably small, and unreliable to boot. What I eventually cottoned on to was that it worked a bit differently to scroll-wheeled mice I'd used in the past - you don't wiggle your finger just on the scroll wheel to scroll, you drag your finger across the top surface of the mouse where the wheel is. It comes off as a bit Zen when trying to explain it, but there you go.

Once I started using it that way, it was actually bloody good.

Wouldn't give it top marks - it's annoying in that you can't lift the mouse off the surface and hold a button down at the same time - but it's worth more than a D.

Paris because get stuffed I want to.

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Anonymous Coward

What about other software?!?!?

You completely missed out Apple's highest revenue earner in software for the past 15 years or so: FileMaker. There are many businesses (I'm one) who use FileMaker software for just about everything. And now, I have little Bento for home too.

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Sons of Macintosh

Rik,

I've been reading your work since MacUser days. As a general thing, I agree with your observations a majority of the time. This time, however, it looks like you have an odd standard against which you've rated all things Apple. Your take on the iPhone was particularly harsh.

I agree the iPhone is not perfect. Nothing ever is. It is, however, the best phone there is for the demographic it is aimed at. Non-geeks.

There are lots of people out there who have never typed a line of code, not even so much as the command (*70, ) to turn off call waiting in the dialup number. Those folks only know what they're getting, not what they're missing; when we (old geeks) explain what they're missing they just look at us hoping for an English translation.

There are more of them than there are of us. The day of the geek as the dominant force in digital electronics is over. Nobody buys magazines anymore with a Basic Program for a spinning, multicolor beachball in the back.

The iPhone – measured against the standard of "reality," meaning, "the marketplace," – really is the Alpha and Zulu of smartphones. You can measure it by the following metrics:

Name a device against which every smartphone is measured. (hint: it isn't Centro or Pearl).

Find articles for Storm Killer, N95 Killer, Android Killer. There might be a few. Now look up "iPhone Killer." No contest.

Peace,

Rip.

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