Macintosh Highlights From Around the Web

Looking for the latest in Mac news around the Web? Then from now on you'll want to check out our Mac Blogs, which have taken the place of this particular collection of Apple-related tidbits, news and insights. Best of all it's not just me ponticating. You can weigh in with your own comments.

Maybe we should call him Jonathan IveDesign How can I tell that Jonathan Ive indeed deserves the top design award from the Design and Art Direction (D&AD) group in the U.K.? Maybe it's the way people come over to my desk and ooooh and aaaah over the latest iMac G5 I'm reviewing. Or the way they did the same thing when I had a Mac mini. Or the look and feel of my own 20-inch Apple Cinema Display or my iPod mini. You get the picture.

In case you hadn't heard, Ive -- Apple's head of industrial design -- was given the group's President's Award last night in London. Apple itself also won three design awards for its line of Cinema Displays, its fourth generation iPod and the latest iteration of the iPod mini. According to this story in MacWorld UK, Apple CEO Steve Jobs climbed up on stage to congratulate Ive and praise his work.

Intel inside? I don't buy it. Doesn't this come up about once every year or so? Rumors begin to swirl that Apple is going to jump to Intel chips because it's fed cup/angry/annoyed at the slow pace of development by Motorola/IBM of the G4/G5/G-whatever processors it uses (see story). Experts weigh in saying the idea is intriguing, but it would mean porting Mac OS X (and all the apps that run on it) to a new architecture, so it'll never happen (see story). Mac fans gnash their teeth in horror, or chortle at the prospect of a whole new hardware world for Mac OS X. Well, here we are again.

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple and Intel are in talks. Experts weighed in, fans gnashed teeth and nothing changed. I suppose it's possible that as soon as I finish writing this post that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will surprise everyone with the New Power Mac Pentium Edition. But I doubt it.

Blow out four candles, then buy something. My, my four years goes by quickly. In case you don't have your iCal marked for today, this is the fourth anniversary of the opening of Apple's first retail store. Quick quiz: Which one came first? (Answer below.)

I have to credit ifoapplestore.com for the birthday reminder. In case you haven't seen the site, it's a compendium of information about all things retail when it comes to Apple's popular stores. Not only can you find out what stores are open, and where they are, you can also poke around for the unofficial word on what stores are coming. As for the quick quiz answer: The first Apple retail store opened at Tysons Corner, Va. at 10 a.m. on this day in 2001.

Well, that was fast. Apple today released the first update to its new Tiger operating system, which hit stores shelves just 17 days ago. More information about the update to Mac OS X 10.4 is available online. Mac OS X version 10.4.1 offers "many reliability and compatibility improvements," according to an Apple Knowledge Base document.

Dashboard dos and don'ts. If you've had a chance to try out the new Dashboard feature of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, then you're likely tempted to download and install some of the new ones that are popping up online. But before you do so, be sure to check out this story about possible security issues with Dashboard "Widgets." This is especially true if you use the default settings in the Safari Web browser to download files.

About that new top-end Power Mac G5.... In case you're wondering how much faster the latest, fastest Power Mac G5 is, barefeats.com has some answers. It turns out from the benchmark tests that the new dual 2.7GHz Power Mac G5 is marginally faster than the model it replaced.

Still running Panther? Get this security update. Lost amid all the hoopla about the release last week of Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" was the release this week of a security update for Mac OS X 10.3. The security update addresses a variety of issues in Mac OS X 10.3.9. For the full rundown of what's fixed, check this Apple document.

The new Power Mac G5 is a beast! I wandered by the local Apple Store yesterday (I knew I shouldn't have), and wandered out a short while later with one of the new top-end Power Mac G5s. Yeah, that one -- the one with two 2.7GHZ processors. (You didn't really expect me to snag a single 1.8 GHz model, did you?) It may not be the mythical 3.0 G5 Steve Jobs promised for last year, but it's darn close. Here's a tidbit: With my Raptor 10k-rpm drives installed in a striped RAID configuration, a quick run of Xbench yielded a zippy little score of 298.2. Color me pleased. Read the review.

Forget the new Power Macs.... What about new iBooks? That's what Charles W. Moore ponders over at PowerBookCentral.com. In his column about Apple's all-white, entry-level laptop, Moore notes that the iBook range is overdue for an update, and wonders whether widescreen models could be coming up later this year. He also points out that more than four years since its introduction, the iBook still looks fresh and current. Not that's good industrial design.

Apple cans 'iCon' publisher's books. If you're looking for the new bio of CEO Steve Jobs by tech publisher John Wiley & Sons, you need not check for it at the local Apple store. According to this story from Reuters, Apple has pulled a number of books published by Wiley because it's unhappy with a new biography of Jobs called iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business. Apple declined to comment, but the publisher called the move "an unfortunate decision."

Amazon's new dual 2.7 GHz Power Mac G5? Maybe they shouldn't have posted this particular model online, but Amazon.com is offering details about a Power Mac G5 that Apple doesn't sell -- at least not yet. While there have been any number of rumors about an imminent update to the desktop machines, this would seem to come as close as you can get to confirming their existence without an announcement from Apple. Wanna see for yourself? Check out this Amazon link while you can.The Mac Observer also has a shot of the page posted online in case Amazon wises up.

No wonder he liked it. In case you missed this, The Washington Post has a story about how the tech editor for NBC's Today show praised a variety of tech products -- and received money from some of the companies whose products he was evaluating. Among them: Apple, Sony and HP. Corey Greenberg said he had been "aboveboard with NBC" about the payments. NBC said it did not know about them.

If you updated to Mac OS X 10.3.9 last week, and are now having Safari issues..., you might want to check out this support page from Apple. Java-enabled Web sites and Safari don't seem to get along after the update. According to Apple: "After updating to Mac OS X 10.3.9, some systems may have issues with Java applications and Java-enabled websites when using Safari. Safari may unexpectedly quit, and standalone Java applications may unexpectedly quit or not launch. You can perform a simple test to verify whether your computer is experiencing this issue. If it is, you will need to reinstall one or two software updates to resolve the issue." The details are available on the support page.

Up is down? So Apple Computer reports a stellar quarter, with bigtime profits from a 588% increase in iPod sales, among other things, and what happens to the company's stock? It's off almost 10% in heavy trading the day after the earnings report comes out. Apple shares closed today at $37.26, down $3.78, or 9.21%, on volume of 97.8 million shares traded. In fact, according to MacDailyNews, in after-hours trading, the stock is off another 6 cents. Good thing they didn't report lower earnings or -- gasp! -- a loss (see story).

The First iPod? Well if there can be a First Family and a First dog, why not a First iPod for the President? That's right, President Bush has an iPod and uses it while exercising, according to this story in the New York Times. And just what kind of tunes does the President listen to? Country music from the likes of George Jones and Alan Jackson, songs by Van Morrison and John Fogarty, and an eclectic mix of music from his chief media strategist in the 2004 campaign.

Viruses, yes. Spyware, no. Just how safe is a Mac? That's the issue Digit magazine looks at in a lengthy piece on the Mac OS and security. "Most Mac users gaze on smugly as reports of each new Windows security crisis break," says Digit. "And they have good reason – research from Sophos PLC showed that 68 viruses have affected the Mac while 97,467 have affected Windows. Of those 68, most are a decade old or older and don't directly affect OS X." So are Macs really more secure than Windows PCs? Take a look and then decide.

Ten things Apple did wrong since Jobs' return. Okay, so maybe there are more than 10, but Chris Seibold over at AppleMatters has compiled a pretty compelling list of business boo-boos by Apple since Steve Jobs returned as CEO. Remember the Blue Dalmation iMac, for instance? Or all those iMacs with DVD drives that came out just as everyone seemed to be downloading music and burning their own CDs? It's worth the trip down memory lane, and a healthy reminder that even Apple makes mistakes.

Forget Mac OS X 10.4; What about 10.5? Tiger isn't even out yet, and folks are already talking about what should be in Mac OS X 10.5. Take a look, for instance, at Gene Steinberg's piece on the need for a new user interface. As he says: "I do not know how Apple tests its user interfaces now, but I would suggest that novices be brought in on a regular basis to see how they work their Macs, and where they encounter trouble. Here a combination of inspiration and lots of perspiration might mesh and deliver solid ideas on what has to change. There has to be a better way."

Firefox better than Safari. Or at least, Al Fasoldt at the Newhouse News Service thinks so. In a column in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Fasoldt calls Safari "superb," but goes on to say that he's made Firefox his default browser anyway. In particular, he likes Firefox's bookmark management and its ability to save Web pages. (For what it's worth, I have them both on my Macs, and tend to go back and forth about equally.)

Apple has released Security Update 2005-003 (Server) 1.1 In case you missed Apple's latest security update for Mac OS X Server, it's out and available for download. According to Apple, the update provides security enhancements in a number of areas, including: AFP Server, Bluetooth Setup Assistant, CoreFoundation, Cyrus IMAP, Cyrus SASL, folder permissions, Mailman, Safari, Samba and SquirrelMail.

If software update hasn't pinged you yet..., then you should run it and snag the latest security fix from Apple for Mac OS X 10.3. The update, 2005-003, was released yesterday and covers a variety of security issues, the AFP servers, folder permssions and Safari. The update for client hardware weighs in at 15MB; the update for servers runs to 32MB.

Apple acknowledges trackpad issues on the new Powerbooks, sort of. Various Mac-related Web sites and forums have been awash in complaints about sluggish trackpads on the latest generation of Powerbooks. Now Apple has posted a knowledge base document offering a fix of sorts. It suggests "resetting" the trackpad by covering it with the palm of your hand for several seconds. Having said that, I've used a new 17-inch model since late January with nary a trackpad problem; The same is true of the 15-inch model Apple sent earlier this week for review purposes.

Apple a 'bully' for going after fan sites? That's how Robert Thompson, a media and popular culture professor at Syracuse University, puts it in this story by the L.A.Times . The topic at hand, of course, is Apple's decision to file suit against Web sites accused of leaking insider info on unannounced products. Said Thompson: "You come off looking like a bully doing stuff like this. You come off looking like the evil emperor." You'll need to register to see the story on the Times site.

Got a Blackberry? Got a Mac? If you're looking to sync the two, you'll want to check out PocketMac for Blackberry. "PocketMac For BlackBerry is the first program to allow Mac users to sync their crucial data between their BlackBerry and Entourage, Address Book, iCal, Now Contact, Now Up-To-Date, and even Stickies," according to the company. The software goes for $29.95.

You bought a new mini; now what? So you finally capitulated to reality and decided a Mac is must. But after years in PC-land, what do you need to know now? Ars Technica has a great switcher guide for newbies that covers the basics. As Eric Bangeman and Kurt Hutchinson note in the piece: "This guide is not intended to ... answer every conceivable question Windows and Linux users will have about their new platform. What it does intend to do is give you the lowdown on some basic things: window management, accessing your Windows box from the Mac and application behavior."

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