Looking through some of the past reader comments, we're well aware that many of you would rather stick bamboo under your fingernails than read about anything related to Apple, but before you put yourself through all that, give this one a chance. You know those 'Get a Mac' commercials that get your blood boiling? Well, you'll never have to watch a new one again.
As Justin Long said was going to happen, Apple has officially canned the long-running ads featuring him and John Hodgman (as the PC guy) squaring off against one another in what seemed like a new skit every week at one point. Not only that, but it appears Apple even pulled the gallery of QuickTime ads from its website.
In its place (and here's where you'll want to stop reading) is a page explaining "Why You'll Love a Mac." If you're curious but just can't get yourself to click the link, Apple's reasons include "Better Hardware," "Better Software," "Better OS," "Better Support," and "It's Compatible."
As smartphones continue to become more powerful and handheld tablet computing gains steam, some say the demise of the dedicated PC is imminent, but don't count Dell among those who would ring the death knell.
"What's converging is the data, not the device," Dell CEO Michael Dell told attendees of the Citrix Synergy user conference in San Francisco during a keynote speech. "It's not clear that one device replaces another."
According to Dell, users are more likely to carry several devices with each one focused on a specific task rather than an all-encompassing gadget.
"Some are better for carrying with you. Others for consuming content, others are better for creating content," Dell added.
In other words, Dell is saying don't expect a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device to eventually become the multi-function computer users gravitate towards for work, communication, social networking, and entertainment all in one.
"In 2010, for the first time, PCs cross a million a day. A million PCs a day -- built, shipped, and sold in the industry," Otellini said. "By 2014, that number basically doubles, it approaches 700 million units (annually) as the near-addressable market for our company."
Five years from now, Otellni said he expects Intel to be shipping about a billion processors per year in all device markets, including desktops, notebooks, tablets, handhelds, and everywhere else. In particular, Intel is confident that its Atom processor -- and netbooks in general -- will remain relevant for a long time to come, even as tablets become more popular.
"This market (Netbooks) that we created will grow north of 20 percent year-on-year this year," Otellini said. "It's got a 15 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate). Still no sign of material cannibalization of the notebook market by Netbooks. (Netbooks are) in the range of 40 million units (annual) and nicely growing."
Don't take that to mean Intel doesn't recognize the potential market for tablets. Otellini went on to acknowledge that the "tablet estimates are big numbers, 73 to 88 percent CAGR."
Digital Storm on Monday announced a new gaming PC, the Black OPS Assassin. So what separates this one from all the rest? According to Digital Storm, the Black OPS Assassin is the "industry's most vastly superior vertically cooled" rig around.
"Assassin is the system that performance enthusiasts have been waiting for. The pairing of exceptional components, patented processes and bleeding-edge design enables components to be pushed far beyond what any other gaming PC on the market today can promise," remarked Rajeev Kuruppu, Digital Storm’s Director of Product Development. "The ability to effectively remove component damaging and performance inhibiting heat is phenomenal, but I’m astonished by how quietly we were able to accomplish this. The phrase whisper quiet is an understatement."
Cooling duties are handled by three 180mm fans at the bottom of the chassis to push cold air vertically through the system before exhausting hot air from the top, whereas most traditional setups push air from the front to the back (horizontally). Combined with liquid cooling, Digital Storm claims the Assassin opens the door to "outrageous overclocking potential."
Pricing starts at about $2,400 and includes an Intel Core i7 930 processor, 6GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, EVGA X58 motherboard, GeForce GTX 470 videocard, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
PCs are starting to sell in a big way again, according to the latest data released by market research firm IDC. The worldwide PC market grew by 24.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010, representing a dramatic turnaround from one year ago when the market declined by 7 percent.
"The strong first quarter builds on the fourth quarter rebound and shows rising confidence in the PC supply chain and commercial client base along with persistent demand from consumers," said Loren Loverde, vice president, IDC Worldwide Trackers. "The commercial gains are a cornerstone of market rebound that we have been expecting and are now seeing in the data."
For the most part, the PC market has suffered through a series of quarterly declines dating back to the third quarter of 2008. IDC attributed the recent upswing to the continued recovery in emerging markets, improved business segments, and the growth of specialized products such as all-in-one PCs.
All the major PC vendors benefited from the growth, but none more than Lenovo, which saw a 58.3 percent year-over-year increase in sales. Not surprising, Acer wasn't far behind with a 42.5 percent increase.
In what research firm Gartner is calling a "robust recovery" in certain parts of the world, PC shipments around the globe ballooned to 84.3 million units in the first quarter of 2010. That's a 27.4 percent increase from the same quarter in 2009, and higher than the 22 percent growth Gartner had predicted.
"The stronger-than-expected growth was led by a robust recovery in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) PC market, which grew 24.8% in the first quarter of 2010," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "All other regions recorded double-digit growth rates, although the US and Latin America were slightly lower than what we had expected.
"These first-quarter results indicate that the professional PC market is gradually picking up, driven by PC replacements in mature markets," Kitagawa said. "With a relatively positive macroeconomic outlook, business demand was more forthcoming. Major PC replacement demand driven by Windows 7 will become more apparent in the second half of 2010 and the beginning of 2011."
PC shipments in the US totaled 17.4 million units in the first quarter, representing a 20.2 percent growth rate from one year ago. That's the second consecutive quarter of double-digit shipment growth. Toshiba was a big benefactor in all this, which saw shipments jump by 50 percent as the result of competitive pricing and promotions.
Memory makers just can't seem to a get a grip on supply and production and have now put themselves in a position where there's less than one month's worth of DRAM inventory left, says Pei-Lin Pai, a spokesperson for Nanya Technology. As a result of the chip shortage, first-tier PC makers are having a tough time getting the memory parts they need to fulfill orders.
This tighter supply has driven prices up in recent months, but even so, Pai says the majority of its PC clients haven't dropped any orders. Nanya has already raised prices for April by 10 percent, a good tick above the industry's average of 4-6 percent growth. DRAM pricing isn't likely to change much more, Pai says, and already customers have begun placing orders for the third quarter.
In the grand scheme of things, this tight supply isn't likely to have a huge impact on PC shipments, says Joanne Chien, senior analyst at DigiTimes Research. At the same time, high and rising prices could present an issue, as PC makers will have to decide how much of that cost to pass on to consumers and how much they can afford to swallow in lost profits.
When Asus first showed off the Eee Keyboard , no one actually expected it to ship. It was more an exercise in engineering than a product people would buy. But after a number of delays, the Eee Keybaord is on its way to shipping later this month. Asus really promises to ship it this time, and we're willing to believe them for now.
The Eee Keybard is basically a netbook's chipset in a keyboard form factor. There is an integrated 5-inch 480x800 resolution capacitive touchscreen display in place of the number pad. It has an Atom N270 and runs Windows XP. Though, Asus has added a skin to XP making it more finger-friendly. Users will also find 1GB of RAM and the option for either 16 or 32GB SSDs. The real star here is the addition of Ultra-Wideband (UWB) for wireless audio and video. The Eee Keyboard will come with a small receiver to plug into a TV or monitor allowing the signal to be streamed from the safety of the couch.
In its original form, the Eee Keyboard didn't make much sense for anything. With the UWB technology, it has at least a shot at being a passable media center PC. The price is expected to be between $400 and $600. Anyone going to take one of these for a spin?
The war between Macs and PCs (as in, Windows-based) is far from over, but the battle tactics might be shifting, at least on Apple's end. According to an interview with Justin Long, the actor who portrays a Mac in the "Get a Mac" ads, Apple might be ending the famed advertising campaign.
"You know, I think they might be done," Long told the Onion's A.V. Club. "In fact, I heard from John [Hodgman], I think they're going to move on -- I can't say definitively -- which is sad, because not only am I going to miss doing them, but also working with John. I've become very close with him, and he's one of my dearest, greatest friends. It was so much fun to go do that job, because there's not a lot to it for me. A lot of it is just keeping myself entertained between takes, and there's no one I'd rather do it with than John."
It should be noted that Apple hasn't made any official statement regarding an ad campaign that first started back in 2006, so it's entirely possible that more "Get a Mac" ads are in the pipeline. But if they are finished, the question is, will they be missed?
Will Google's departure from China prove to be a harbinger of things to follow? Going by a report in a leading Indian newspaper, the answer is quite likely to be found in the vicinity of a “yes.” A report on Google's exit from China in the Hindustan Times carries a quote from the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the prospect of another American tech giant shutting shop in China. The Indian premier is reported to have told the country's Planning Commission that Dell is about to shutter its China operations.
The Indian head of government is quoted as having told the Planning Commission,“This morning I met the chairman of Dell Corporation. He informed me that they are buying equipment and parts worth $25 billion from China. They would like to shift to safer environment with climate conducive to enterprise with security of legal system." Although it is difficult to discount anything that quotes a country's leader as its source, it is still wise to wait for a clearer picture to emerge.
But there is no denying the fact that the Chinese government has plenty to ponder in the aftermath of Google's exit. The Chinese economy may not be under any real threat of a collapse, for the dragon can only founder in the face of an exodus of foreign companies, but it will surely have its hand forced if a few more foreign businesses grow a conscience or leave in search of a more stable environment. It now knows that businesses are not entirely shy of moving out in search of “safer” alternatives, where they are immune from the whims of a government adamant on making everyone fall in line.