Macintosh Highlights From Around the Web (April-June 2004)

WWDC: See it now. You've probably already heard about the Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) preview, the new Cinema Displays and the rest of yesterday's announcements during the WWDC keynote by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. But in case you weren't there, now you can watch the address and see how it all unfolded, as Apple has posted a Quicktime Webcast of the event.

Just mousing around.... Tired of Apple's one-button mouse? Looking for a wireless version you can take with you on the road? While I don't usually get to spend much time with third-party hardware, I did pick up a BT-500 bluetooth mouse from Radtech a couple of months back. And I can tell you, it's great. It syncs up easily with any Mac with bluetooth, works like a charm (no cursor lag), is small enough to pop in my laptop bag for on-the-go travel, and it offers great battery life. Best of all, it's stylish, too.

So hot it's cool. The Boston Globe's Hiawatha Bray offers a look at the new Power Mac G5's lquid cooling system, and about how other chipmakers are facing similar heat issues in designing new computers. As he says in his story: "Apple geeks will get a headstart on liquid cooling when the G5 debuts next month, but the rest of us will probably catch up in the next year or two. After all, computer chips aren't getting any slower -- or cooler."

Upgrading made easy? Apple's latest Power Mac G5s come with new software designed to make the upgrade from an older computer to a new one--including the copying of various files, preferences, bookmarks and data--easier. A new Knowledge Center document explains how it works.

Apple touts security. Apparently concerned by recent criticism that it wasn't doing enough on the security front, Apple is now making its case very publicly, working to reassure Mac users that the Mac OS is safe. In an online interview with Wired.com, Ken Bereskin, director of Mac OS X product marketing, put it like this: "Certainly no single operating system can be completely secure from all threats, but most people we talk to, most of the security experts we work with closely, agree that because Mac OS X has a Unix BSD core, it lands up being more secure than other platforms, certainly more than Microsoft." Apple has released several security updates in the last few months, including at least one considered "critical."

But you knew this already, right? In case you missed it, PCWorld has issued its "Best of 2004" listings, and guess which operation system the magazine likes best : Mac OS 10.3. Here's what the PCWorld folks have to say: "Panther's sleek interface and reliable performance are impressive. Although we aren't suggesting that you ditch your hardware and buy a Mac, Apple deserves credit for raising the bar for OSs. And we hope Microsoft is paying attention as it works on the next Windows." Here's a link to the official blurb.

New G5s at last! In case you missed this, Apple this morning finally released updated Power Mac G5s, with the entire range of professional models going to dual processors. The top-end Power Mac now sports two 2.5 GHz chips, the mid-range now has two 2.0 GHz processors and the bottom end checks in with dual 1.8s. The dual 2.5 goes for $2,999, the mid-range Power Mac is $2,499 and the low-end model sells for $1,999. The dual 2.5 GHz version will be available next month; the others can be yours now. What remains to be seen: Whether Apple will get 3.0GHz G5s out by the end of summer, as CEO Steve Jobs promised last year.

Take your 802.11g network with you. Apple today unveiled something it's calling an Airport Express, "the world's first 802.11g mobile base station." In addition to allowing you to stream iTunes music through the air to your stereo, it apparently allows road warriors to pretty much take wireless networking anywhere there's an Internet connection and electricity. It ships in mid-July and is priced at $129 (with another $39 needed for the stereo connection kit).

10g support a good sign for Mac OS X server? The fact that Oracle Corp.'s 10g grid computing database platform now supports Mac OS X is seen as another small step for Apple's move into the enterprise world. Blane Warrene, writing for MacNewsWorld, offers a look at what the Oracle support means, and whether IBM's DB2 could follow.

There goes the neighborhood. Or so it seems, given the plethora of security holes, warnings and patches coming from Appleland these days. There's always been a debate about whether Mac OS X is any more secure than Windows, or has just been neglected by malware writers because of its small market share. The MacNightOwl offers a look at the issue in a column appropriately entitled: Mac OS X Security Leaks: The Loss of Innocence.

Apple in the enterprise--Why not? With a wealth of new hardware in the last year, including the Power Mac G5 and the Xserve, and with software that plays well with Windows, the question arises: Why doesn't Apple seem to do better grabbing enterprise users? Aaron Vegh, over at OSnews, has a thoughtful piece on what might be holding back IT folks from taking the Apple plunge. "...The answer is complicated, and has as much to do with inertia, ignorance and comfort level as it does with dollars and cents...." Read more about it here.

The Apple of investors' eyes? Yes, rumors of Apple's demise in the past have been greatly exaggerated, but it's still nice to see someone actually praising the company's current financial picture. Paul R. La Monica, writing for CNN/Money, takes a look at how Apple is doing and whether now would be a good time to actually buy Apple stock (rather than just the hardware). It's worth a look, whether you're investing or not.

A wealth of Web browers. Not only do we have Safari and Netscape and Mozilla and Firefox and iCab; Now Mac OS X users have updated versions of the Opera and OmniWeb browsers. Opera, a sleek and speedy litle browser, went to version 7.5 this week, and the Omnigroup released a new beta version of its OmniWeb browser. It may be beta, but it's beautiful. If you haven't had a chance to check them out, do so.

Need help on that iBook/Powerbook decision? With updated Apple laptops now getting into the hands of owners, that seemingly age-old question arises yet again: "Should I get a new iBook and save some bucks, or the Powerbook?" Apple last week sent us a top-end iBook G4 and the newest 12-inch Powerbook for comparison purposes. Check out our look at the two laptops -- and maybe get an answer as to which one you should buy.

Put a Tiger in your Mac At least, that's what you'll be doing if you opt to buy Apple's next update to its operating system. The company announced today that CEO Steve Jobs will preview the OS update, code-named Tiger, at this year's WWDC during a keynote address on June 28. No word yet on whether it'll be numbered Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5 or something else.

The making of the 'iPresident'? Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs is among those advising Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry on economic issues, according to this story from Bloomberg.com. Although a spokesman for Jobs had no immediate comment, a Kerry spokesman said the Massachusetts senator reached out to Jobs and billionaire investor Warren Buffett. How about this for a campaign slogan: "An iPod in every pot."

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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