November 2011 Newsletter

November, 2011


It’s hard to believe Steve Jobs passed away earlier this month. He was only 56 years old, and even though his health problems were well known, I’d figured he’d be around for a long time yet.
I purchased Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, and am part way through it, but I feel like I don’t even need to read it, considering all the coverage the book is receiving in the press. I haven’t got there yet (I’m as far as NeXT), but it was well known that Steve got a form of pancreatic cancer that is generally considered to be eminently treatable. What has been revealed in the book is that Steve pursued alternative treatments for his cancer for 9 months before allowing "mainstream medicine" to do what they could – by that time, it was apparently too late.
Steve had certainly been looking unwell for quite a while – extremely thin, his voice gaining a rasp that just didn’t sound good – and when he left Apple as CEO and took the position as Chairman of the Board, I thought it was good, it’d let him conserve his strength and still be there to give some input.
Just a handful of days after Steve stepped down, Apple hosted an event to announce the iPhone 4S. The event was not well received by the press and industry analysts in general. Looking back, it’s clear now that all those from Apple who were part of it were aware of Steve’s condition; he died the next day. During the presentation, there was a chair with a black piece of fabric on it with the word "Reserved". This has never been addressed by anyone at Apple, but it’s widely believed that the reserved chair was a silent tribute to Steve and his inability to be there.
Steve will be missed.
So, Apple did release the iPhone 4S, and the tech world was very disappointed. It looks the same as the iPhone 4 (the volume buttons are slightly moved, and the gaps around the edge that define the antennae are slightly different, but the size/shape/thickness are the same), but sports the A5 processor that’s in the iPad 2, a new camera that has gotten great reviews, and iOS 5, along with Siri, Apple’s new personal digital assistant. Generally speaking, Siri has been widely praised.
Apple also released their fiscal 4th quarter results this month. As it happens, they beat their own guidance for Q4, but they only beat their guidance by a "little bit". Analysts have become so used to Apple beating their guidance by huge amounts that this was considered a disappointment and Apple’s stock dropped significantly. And the number of iPhones Apple sold was considered a huge disappointment as well; they sold 17.07 million of them, which was 21% more than the year ago quarter, and more than Apple had forecasted. All metrics of performance were up over last year except the sales of iPods, which peaked some time ago and have been on the decline for a while. Here’s the link to Apple’s press release for fiscal Q4 results:
Needless to say, Apple’s going strong. And as far as iPhones, the new iPhone 4S sold 4 million units on the first 3 days of availability; when the iPhone 4 came out, they sold 1.7 million of those in the first 3 days of availiability. Can you say "pent-up demand"? It’ll be fun to see what happens when Apple does release the iPhone 5.
Last month’s GMMUG meeting was a little strange, with the troubles I had getting my AppleTV hooked up & giving us sound and picture. I do look forward to see what Apple has in store for us in the future when it comes to the AppleTV, or even a TV of their own. It sounds great to think about a Siri-like interface to control the TV in your living room.. Probably still need the remote control for the DVD player, though.
Next Tuesday’s meeting will be Q&A; On the 21st, I’ll hook up my iPad 2 to the projector & give you an idea what it’s good for. Until Tuesday-