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#618: Apple Quarterly Results, eWaste Success, Mac Treat, Make PC More Like Mac

 
     
 

Dear Friends,

It was snowing at my house this morning but Saturday’s forecast calls for temperatures in the 80’s! Ah, Spring. The fields are beginning to be bright green and I can see the buds on the Apple tree that is right outside my window here at the office. Grace managed to get the peas planted and the garden is looking good. We will be planting some new strawberry plants this year. After 3-4 years the strawberries start getting smaller and smaller and it is time to refresh our plants. I put the summer tires back on my car and cleaned mud off of everything this weekend.

Apple announced their financial results on Wednesday and stealing a line from NPR Marketplace – we’ll do the numbers – below but there was one statement from Tim Cook that is worth commenting upon –

“Cycles come and cycles go. What we’re about is making the best computers in the world, not the most. We want to make products we’re proud of.”

This was in response to a question about netbooks and market share and overall pricing structure. It is one of the major reasons I am so proud to be an Apple reseller. Apple is not about cutting corners, making cheaper products but is all about making better products. This commitment to quality and innovation coupled with a supply train process that is as efficient as any makes Apple perhaps the most able to withstand this economic downturn.

 
     
  MAC TREAT #82: Remove Custom Dictionary Entries  
   
 

If you use OS X’s built-in spellchecker, chances are that you’ve added custom words to your dictionary. For example, here at Small Dog, we frequently write “Smalldog.com”. By default, OS X’s spellchecker doesn’t recognize that word because it’s not in its dictionary. To save a couple of seconds a day, I’ve added it to my Mac’s spellcheck dictionary.

You can easily add custom words to your Mac’s dictionary by invoking the spellchecker, highlighting the word it doesn’t recognize, then clicking the “Learn” button. Invoke your Mac’s spellchecker in most apps by holding down the Command-Shift-; keys, or else by navigating to Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Check Document Now.

Their have been times when I’ve accidently added words to my dictionary. This has included misspellings. Fortunatly, it’s easy (though not obvious) to remove these misspellings from your Mac’s custom dictionary.

My recommended method for editing your Mac’s custom dictionary is to download the free Dictionary Cleaner application. This adds a small preference pane to your System Preferences panel, where you can easily view and remove the custom words you’ve added to the dictionary. You can download this app by clicking here.

You can also navigate to the Library folder in your User account on your Mac, where you’ll find a folder called “Spelling.” If you open this file with a basic text editing program, all you’ll see is a big cluster of words. These are the words you’ve added to your library. Before deleting any of these words, it’s better to use a program such as Text Wrangler (free, click here to get it) that allows you to see invisible characters. Now the words you’ve added are separated by red ¿ symbols. You can easily delete these. However, I still recommend Dictionary Cleaner

 
     
  eWaste Recycling Event Success!  
   
 

It’s official: our 3rd Annual eWaste Recycling Event was a success! With about 150 tons collected from 1,700 cars by about 100 volunteers in roughly 4 hours, it was an epic day.

Thanks to our partners this year—we couldn’t have done it without them:
Ben & Jerry’s, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, SymQuest Technology, WeRecycle!, Belkin, Chittenden Bank, Chroma Technology, Seventh Generation, Sugarbush Resort, Waitsfield & Champlain Valley Telecom, DriveSavers, Ingram Micro with Canon, HP, FileMaker, LaCie and Kingston, Deerfield Designs, CSWD, Bisbee’s Hardware, Hall Communications and Kingsbury Construction.

Ed took some amazing footage of the event as well, so be sure to check out his videos below, as well as our photos from the event.

Thanks again to all who participated! You did a great thing!

For more information about the event, visit our website. All of the material is processed in the US and recycled responsibly by WeRecycle!

 
     
  Apple Beats the Living Daylights Out of the Street (Again)  
   
 

I ran out of verbs to describe this unprecedented run of extraordinary quarterly results for Apple, so I used the Thesaurus widget and have a few more for the next couple of quarters. On Tuesday, the analysts were predicting under $8 billion in sales and profits in the neighborhood of $1.09 a share. The actual results were $8.16 billion in sales and a remarkable $1.33 per share in profit which translates to $1.21 billion of profit for the three month period of Jan – Mar. This almost magical American business success story continues with Apple posting the best non-holiday quarter in terms of revenue and earnings in the company history in the middle of the most severe economic downturn in decades!

The news is even better if you consider that iPhone (and AppleTV) sales are not even booked in their entirety at the time of sale but rather the sales income is spread over 24 months. If you include those sales in this quarter the news is even better. Using this non-GAAP accounting, Apple posted sales of $9.06 billion and profit of $1.66 billion. Anyway you slice it, this is phenomenal performance for Apple.

Here’s more details from the quarterly report and the conference call with analysts:

Macs Apple sold 2.22 million Macs in the three months! That is made up of 818,000 desktops and 1.4 million MacBooks and MacBook Pro.

The rest of the industry saw a 7% decline in unit sales, although that is a bit misleading because the cheap netbooks are included in this number – the actual number of personal computers decline is likely to be much higher if you remove the netbooks that can hardly be called a personal computer. Apple saw a 3% decline. If you look at the sell-through numbers, however, Apple Mac sales were flat. Consider that a success in this economy!

iPods Apple sold an astounding 11.013 million iPods in this quarter that accounted for $1.67 billion in revenue. While a huge number, this is down significantly (over 50%) from the holiday quarter, however, compared to 2nd quarter of 2008 unit sales are up and revenue is down only 8%.

Apple reported that their market share of the MP3 market is steady at 70%. They also reported that sales of the iPod Touch are off the charts and called it a runaway hit. This is driven by the app store which is rapidly reaching its 1 billionth download.

iPhones I’d like to say “who cares” since Apple maintains their silly policy of not allowing their independent Apple Specialists to sell the iPhone (but allowing Walmart and Best Buy! !#@$%) but the iPhone is a very large and growing sector of Apple’s business and frankly, I love my iPhone!

Apple sold 3.8 million iPhones in the quarter resulting in $1.52 billion in revenue. This is up 22% in revenue and up 123 percent in units and 302 percent in revenue year over year. Understandably, it was down 12 percent in units from the holiday quarter.

Apple hopes to break into the China market this year and remains committed to AT&T and the GSM network.

The two biggest questions were understandably not answered directly in the call. With regard to Steve’s return to the helm at Apple, Peter Oppenheimer simply said “We look forward to Steve Jobs returning at the end of June”. While Steve’s officially on medical leave, my guess is that he is not far from the action at Apple.

The other question was all about netbooks which is the latest buzz. These internet devices are all the rage right now because of the cheap price point. Apple pointed out that’s not all that is cheap – Tim Cook said:

“When I’m looking at what’s sold in the Netbook market, I see cramped keyboards, junky hardware, very small screen, bad software. Not a consumer experience that we would put the Mac brand on.”

He went on to say that if a customer is looking for a small portable device that does browsing and email, we have it- it is called the iPhone or the iPod Touch. Being careful to neither announce unannounced products nor to close any doors, Tim said that if Apple finds a way to deliver an truly innovative product that really makes a contribution, that they would do that.

The Apple story continues and it is a story of innovation combined with careful expert business and supply chain management to build strength that is the envy of many and leaders to all including companies outside of the computer industry. Our hats are off and paws up in appreciation to the Apple management team for a job well done! Keep it up! And by the way, let us sell the iPhone, okay?

 
     
  Top 5 Tricks to Make Your PC More Like Your Mac  
   
 

Last week, I wrote about how to make your Mac more like a PC. Now, here’s a Top 5 for the other side: those who want to make their PC more like a Mac! Whether you’re someone who wants the look and feel of a Mac because you’re used to one at home and your evil bosses make you work on a PC at the office (kidding) or simply because it’s fun to mix it up a bit, the following tips should help:

1) Get Firefox (or Safari): Seriously, ditch Internet Explorer if you haven’t already! Both Safari and Firefox are much faster, cleaner, secure browsers for the web. In addition, Safari has the same features you love on the Mac side, and Firefox offers a seemingly infinite number of extensions to customize it (including numerous Safari/OS X skins). It’s a no-brainer!

2) Use Thunderbird: Similarly, using Thunderbird will mimic your Mac experience. There are skins (themes) for it as well that emulate the look of Apple Mail—nice and clean. (We’ll be writing about our favorite Firefox/Thunderbird extentions in a future Kibbles.) Don’t worry about ditching Outlook; Thunderbird can handle all of the same types of email accounts (POP, IMAP, etc.) that it can, so you won’t miss a thing. (Just be sure to have someone guide you through the process if you’re unsure of some of your email settings.)

3) Fix that UI: Face it, the user interface of a Mac looks good. If you’re still using Windows XP, it’s especially apparent that it doesn’t look as great. Try StarDock’s WindowBlinds, a utility designed to make XP or Vista look amazingly Mac-like. It’s a non-permanent option that’s safe for work computers (as long as you have access) because it just gives your PC the smooth, aqua ‘skin’ of OS X.

4) Create PDFs: Miss how easy it is to make a PDF in OS X? Grab PDFCreator. Create a PDF from anything you’d be printing instead—no rebooting necessary!

5) Get Command back: Use SharpKeys! This tool allows you to switch your Alt and Ctrl keys, emulating the Command key on an Apple keyboard.

Have some tips of your own? Let us know. Next week, I’ll feature some feedback from both of these articles!

Image credit: Instructables.com

 
     
  FEATURED SPECIAL | 04/24/09 - 05/01/09  
   
 

Mother’s Day is coming up on May 10. We’ve created a page with some of our most popular Mother’s day gifts in one place. You can see this by clicking here: Smalldog.com/mothersday

Items listed on that page have been popular on past Mother’s Days, with one new addition: the Flip digital camcorders.

Flip camcorders are fun and incredibly easy to use. Each model has 2GB of built-in storage, which holds 60 minutes of video. They are imminently pocketable (about the size of an iPod classic). They are plug-and-play with modern Macs and PCs. You can use their built-in software to edit videos, or use iMovie 08 or iMovie 09.

Flip cameras start at $129.99. The high-definition recording MinoHD actually captures true HD footage. We have specials on most Flip models. We expect them to be one of the hottest gifts this spring and summer. We can recommend them because we use and enjoy them.

Click here to see all Flip camcorders by clicking here.

 
     
  SPECIALS | 04/24/09 - 05/01/09  
   
   
   MacBook 2.0GHz 2GB RAM, 120GB HD, SD, White, Free Black / Pink Reversible Sleeve, Free Shipping!
999.99
View  
   Save $40! iPod/iPhone Essentials 4-Pack: Speakers + Charger, CAR Tune FM Transmitter, iPod Mic
79.99
View  
   Flip Mino Digital Camcorder (white w/ pink stripe), FREE Neoprene Soft Pouch (silver/white)!
129.99
View  
   MacBook Air 1.86GHz 2GB RAM, 128GB SSD, w/ Snow Leopard DVD, Apple USB SuperDrive, AppleCare
2,019.99
View  
   Save $50! Voltaic Systems Solar Backpack, Charges iPods and Cell Phones, Earth Day Special!
179.99
View  
   Apple Mac Box Set (iWork '09, iLife '09, Mac OS X Leopard) - save $15, Free Shipping!
154.99
View  
   Save 30%! Skullcandy Skullcrusher Stereo Headphones - Black Pinstripe
49.99
View  
 

Our little motorcycle club is going to take advantage of the unusually warm temperature on Saturday to make our annual lunch run. We will ride east over the White Mountains until we find some lobsters for lunch. Hey, it’s a good excuse for a spring ride!

Thank you for reading this issue of Kibbles & Bytes!

Your Kibbles & Bytes Team,
Don, Kali & Ed