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Bill Bennett

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Tag: Apple

Apple returned from near obscurity to dominate consumer electronics after reinventing the smartphone. The iPod MP3 player was an important step on the way to the iPhone. Follow-up acts don’t come much better than the iPad, which changed the face of personal computing although the Mac and the MacBook ranges are still important.

Time we had a New Zealand Apple store

IDC Research reports Apple overtook Acer and Dell in a single quarter to become the second best-selling PC brand in Australian and New Zealand. Hewlett-Packard remains top.

Jumping a single place would have been an achievement, climbing two spots is outstanding.

Apple’s rise comes at a time the overall PC market is weak. Ironically, the main reason PC sales are soft because devices like Apple’s iPad and iPhone are eating into their sales.

IDC says one reason for Apple’s success is its retail store expansion. This is interesting because we don’t have a single Apple store in New Zealand while Australia has 13.

I understand there was, or may still be, a gentleman’s agreement between Renaissance, the erstwhile exclusive New Zealand Apple distributor and Apple saying the company will not open an own-brand store here until some future date.

That day can’t come too soon. I know of friends who fly to Sydney expressly to visit an Apple store. I see this as a measure of the unsatisfactory New Zealand Apple retail experience.

There have been Apple products in my house since a few weeks after the first 128K Macintosh went on sale. We bought two Apple products this year, two last year and have plans to buy at least two more next year.

Apple makes outstanding equipment. Now I’m ready for some outstanding retail customer service. Let’s hope we get a store soon.

The Mac still isn’t a typewriter

For most of the 1980s and 1990s an Apple Macintosh was my home computer. I chose a Mac mainly because of its elegance and its ability to produce beautiful print documents. At the time Windows and IBM PC computers were still in the dark ages.

Early Macs had another advantage. They came with solid keyboards able to take a pounding.

I certainly gave mine a pounding. Like most journalists in those days I learnt touch-typing on manual typewriters – hammering out words on slips of paper.

But the Mac obeys a different rules to a typewriter.

I needed a guidebook to get the most from my new tool and found Robin Williams’ excellent The Mac is not a Typewriter (ISBN: 0938151312).

The explained how to use the computer to make great-looking documents. Some tips, like not typing two spaces after a sentence, were obvious. Others were less so.

Dated

The book has dated. Parts of its content are no longer important. And some of its lessons are now second-nature to experienced computer typists. But you’ll still get value from reading the book – if you can find a copy – because while we may not print as many documents as we did in the 1990s, we still create documents. And making them look good can be as important.

For example, there’s a section explaining why, most of the time, you shouldn’t use justified text. It is harder to read and large blocks of white space – known in the business as rivers – appear. They are ugly and distracting, yet you see them everywhere in PDFs and on websites.

The book predates the iPad. While Apple’s tablet is not a typewriter in the same way a Mac is not a typewriter, it is possible to get more of the old school typewriter feel on an iPad. Perhaps there is a book in that.

Barnes and Noble claims Nook ebook success

Barnes and Noble says internal sales data shows the Nook e-reader is a hit. The company says the device is now its fastest selling item. Not bad considering the Nook doesn’t officially go on sale until November 30.

While the Nook, like Amazon’s Kindle, pushes e-book technology further into the mainstream, neither is yet the killer product able to do for books what Apple’s iPod did for music. Mind you, Apple has a tablet waiting in the wings which could be the breakthrough reader.

For my money, e-book readers still need to be kinder on the eyes. All the technology is now in place except good, readable, high-resolution screens that don’t tire the eyes. Early adopters won’t care about this, but most book lovers won’t switch to digital until the experience is as good as reading old-fashioned ink squirted on mashed-up trees.