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With an estimated share of over 17% of the laptop market, number one ranking as the most recognizable brand (Interbrand 2013) and rapidly gaining market share in its desktops and internet appliances, Apple has now reached a critical mass in both personal and corporate usage.  In addition to superlative design, more and better software is available for the Mac, making it  desirable to even more users.  Keep your eye on this page for news and information which may be useful to Mac devotees:

There can be no doubt that Apple computers and other products have engendered an unusually devoted customer base.  Whether this is the result of its unique aesthetic design, distinctive advertising campaigns, the legendary Steve Jobs or a philosophy of simplicity, or all of these factors, Apple enjoys a particularly special relationship with consumers.

No reason to re-invent the wheel:  An excellent history of Apple from its creation back in 1976 as a computer company through its present status as a $24 billion consumer electronics conglomerate is available from Wikipedia at this LINK.  See also the Apple definition in this glossary.

Not answered, but of possible interest, is the derivation of the Apple and Macintosh names.  One of the most reasonable explanations: As a youth, Steve Jobs had worked during the summer at an apple farm, and also admired the Beatles' record label, Apple, for its simplicity and scale.  He also believed apples to be the most perfect fruit. In fact, a self-admitted “fruitopian,” it is said that he once ate only apples for an entire week, so the company name really shouldn’t be a surprise.  He and Steve Wozniak were trying to figure out a name for their new company, and they decided that if they couldn't think of one by the end of the day that was better than Apple, they would choose Apple. They couldn't think of anything better, so on April 1, 1976, Apple Computer, Inc. was born. (Credit to Glen Sanford, Apple-History.com)  And where did the name Macintosh come from? In 1984, Apple employee Jeff Raskin named the computer for his favorite apple, and the name stuck.  (Credit to Phil Russell, Origin of Macintosh).  The bite taken out of the apple in the logo was to represent either (1) a bite from the tree of knowledge by Adam (of Adam and Eve fame), according to the designers who created the logo; a play on the “byte” being the foundation of computer data, (2) the apple falling on Isaac Newton’s head, giving him the idea about gravity (and Apple the name for the Newton PDA) (3) simply a design element to prevent the Apple from looking like a cherry tomato, or (4) a tribute to Alan Turing, an English mathematician influential in the development of computer science, with the bite mark a reference to his method of suicide (he bit into an apple laced with cyanide). I think the first is possible (especially in view of the slogan for the original Apple “Byte into an Apple, see below), but the second is more likely, especially in view of the original Apple logo (shown below).  The third is most unlikely, just too macabre.  (See “The Little Kingdom: The Private Story of Apple Computer” by Michael Morris)

The Apple logo has undergone several incarnations.  The original Apple logo (far left, below) showed Isaac Newton under an apple tree (making theory no. 2, above, most likely, as well as one of the original (1970s) Apple slogans “Byte into an Apple”).  Starting in 1976, the rainbow “bitten” logo was used until 1998, when the monochrome bitten logo was substituted and has been used since, except for a brief period (1998 - 2010) when the black bitten logo was used. The rainbow bitten logo was selected by Steve Jobs because he felt that the color humanized the company, showed that the monitor could show images in color, and the bite distinguished it from a mere fruit.  The move to the monochromatic theme in 1998 resulted from Apple’s desire to sync the logo on all of its products as well as to print the colored logo on various metal and plastic products (although the monochrome bitten apple appeared in Aqua between 2001 and 2003, and has also been used in a “glass” theme since 2003).

Apple historical logos

Detail on the original “Newton” logo enlarged (see the apple over Newton’s head?):

 large apple logo edited1

More trivia: 

 - - Mr. Macintosh did, indeed, exist (just like Microsoft Bob).  Of course, both are no more. He appeared in the early Macs with the 64K ROMS, at various times. He was hidden in an “easter egg” inside the early machines’ ROM in a special low memory location called the “MrMacHook routine address”.  A cartoon with icons randomly appeared with him in them, drawn by the French artist Folon. As opposed to Bob, Mr. M pops up every once in a while then winks at you and disappears so fast that you’re not even sure you saw him, according to his developer Andy Hertzfeld (1982).

 - - Steve Jobs’ study of calligraphy has been said to inspire many of Apple’s distinctive fonts.

 - - All omac os x logof the early OS X (pronounced “Oh-ess-ten”) releases, which are essentially Unix-based graphic interface operating systems, have been named after cats: Hera (1.0); 10.0 (Cheetah); 10.1 (“Puma”); 10.2 (“Jaguar”); 10.3 (“Panther”); 10.4 (“Tiger”); 10.5 (“Leopard”); 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”); 10.7 (“Lion”); 10.8 (“Mountain Lion”); 10.9 (“Mavericks”); 10.10 (“Yosemite”); 10.11 (“El Capitan”); 10.12 (“Sierra”).  Remaining names trademarked by Apple:  Lynx, Cougar, Main Coon, Kitties.  Why?  No particular reason, says Apple.  They had to name them something and the first few cats went over well with the public, so they continued. Starting in June, 2013, however, releases were named with California landmarks, starting with Mavericks.  MacOS is a new name, starting with 10.12 Sierra in 2016, intended to be more in line with Apple’s other operating systems, which include iOS (for iPhones and iPads), WatchOS (for Apple Watches) and TVOS (for
Apple TV).

People sometimes ask:  Why is the Apple logo on its laptops upside down to the user, but right side up to those looking at the open back?  It wasn’t originally, but now it is.  Originally, according to Joe Moreno, a senior web app engineer at Apple, Steve Jobs had it facing the user when the top was closed because he valued the best user experience.  Later, he reversed that decision so that onlookers would see it right side up. His thinking:  Opening a laptop from the wrong end is a self-correcting problem for only a few seconds, but viewing an upside down logo is a problem that lasts indefinitely. Especially in those product placements in movies.

ABOUT MAC VIRUSES:  For many years, the Apple website contained the quote “A Mac isn’t susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers.”  In mid-2012, this language disappeared from the site, shortly after 600,000 Macs were infected in a record malware outbreak. Click here for an Apple Malware chronology.  See the links below for the infections that have occurred and software available to protect Mac users...

Even more important - The Mac kernel is a derivitive of Unix, which is the predominant operating system used on servers for processing financial and credit transactions, so (unlike Windows) it is more susceptible to intrusions by hackers such as those major hacks described on the Security page of this site. 


More Trivia: 

Why does Apple always use 09:41 AM as a standard time on all their product introductions and advertisements? According to Apple’s Scott Forstall, they did it because all of their keynotes started at 9AM, and the big announcement was scheduled to be 40 minutes in. Presentations being what they are, they added a minute or two. The goal was to have the time on the screen as close as possible to the actual time when it was shown.  This has now become tradition.

Co-founder Ronald Wayne, who sold back his shares for $800 would have shares worth $35 billion today if he had held on to them.  See Apple definition for why he did this.

Some Apple warranties have been voided for smoking, if it’s been so severe that it damages the device.  It’s under the “other external causes” clause of the warranty.

Carl Sagan (unsuccessfully) sued Apple in 1994 because his name was the code name for the Power MacIntosh and he didn’t like that it appeared to carry his endorsement.  So the Apple team changed the code hame to “BHA” which most say was short for “Butt-Head Astronomer”.

 12/1/16: Beware the iPhone iCloud calendar scams.  You’ll notice suspicious push notifications on your calendar such as invites for deals and sales from users with obviously unreal names like “nftbz”.  This is because your iCloud calendar app is set up to automatically notify you of calendar invites and, unfortunately, spammers have figured this out.  Nothing you can do about this except be vigilant for the time being.

 9/13/16: Mac OS X Sierra is released:  Siri is slightly better (as it’s always a work in progress), iCloud has more sharing between all of your Apple computers and devices, messages have more text and emoji upgrades (including invisible ink), videos can be watched with picture-in-picture, you can unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch, The Universal Clipborad will let a Mac and iPhone share a clipboard, Apple Pay has been enhanced, and more.

 Apple has filed for a patent to turn a secure smart phone into a walkie-talkie, useful for users to find friends nearby or talk to each other from opposite sides of a crowd without the necessity of connecting to a telephone network.  It’ll probably happen, as it does with most of Apple’s patents (like, for example, the Apple Watch).

 Believe it or not, your iPhone will crash if you set your date to January 1, 1970.  This is the earliest possible date you can set it to; if you scroll back your calendar it will stop at this date.  This is because Unix time began at midnight GMT on January 1, 1970, so many electronic devices, including the iPhone, default to this Unix time for their clocks.  It may appear that the phone works immediately after resettin to this date, however when it is powered off and on again, a blank Apple logo locks the phone for all eternity. I’m sure Apple will fix this, now that they know.

Mac vs. PCWe’re all familiar with the Mac vs. PC ads on TV, featuring John Hodgman and Justin Long.  That Mac guy sure is full of himself.  So, it seems, are many who use Apple computers.  A survey by Internet ad outfit Mindset Media of 7,500 computer users showed that Mac-heads are generally more self-assured and less modest than PC-heads, reports the January 28 ‘09 Advertising Age.  They’re also more apt to be creative, perfectionist, and liberal in social mores and politics.  A Hunch 2011 survey found Mac users to be younger, more liberal, more fashion conscious and more likely to live in cities than PCs.  They found that while PC users' tastes trend towards casual clothes, tunafish sandwiches, white wine, Hollywood movies, USA Today and Pepsi, the Mac users generally prefer designer or vintage duds, hummus, red wine, indie films, The New York Times and (we're not making this up) San Pellegrino Limonata.

 10/17/13:  Apple OS X Yosemite has a few interesting quirks that you may notice, but they can be fixed: Translucency looks cool to some, bothers others.  To shut it off, open System Prefeences, the Display, then check Reduce Transparency.  The iTunes Sidebar isn’t enabled by default.  You can’t get the old version back, but if you click on Playlists in the center of the navbar, it will get back some of the content.  Safari doesn’t show the entire web page address any more.  To get the full address, while in Safari, go to Preferences, then Advanced and, at the top of the pane, in the Smart Search Field section, check Show Full Webite Address.   Finally, the new Spotlight allows search not only on the computer, but also across the web [And it shares your search terms with Apple and Bing as well].  You don’t have to keep this expanded search capability, however.  Go to System Preferences, then Spotlight, and uncheck various categories in the Search Results Tab.  It’s been reported also that Yosemite has disrupted Wi-Fi networks; if you have these problems, check with Apple support.

 10/17/13:  Yosemite OS X features:  The Bluetooth Handoff feature notifies you when you are in range of another device so you can hand off activities from one to the other.  iCloud now shows document visible in the Finder and also in Open and Save dialogs to all apps (not just Mac apps).  The Dashboard with its Widgets has been redesigned, you can press F12 to display them over the current Desktop screen.  Markup lets you mark up an image in an e-mail or TextEdit document and the like, keeping the changes on a copy.  Apple now makes it easier to choose another default browser than Sarafi if you want to.  And Spotlight now sports web search and an improved results window. 

 Click HERE for a definition about Apple’s UDID and how to find it on your device.

 Click HERE for common OS X keyboard shortcuts...

 Click HERE for an excellent graphic link showing all of the Macintosh products; HERE for a timeline of Apple products in general (including such things as the failed Lisa and the Newton), and HERE for a timeline of the Apple II family of products.  Wikipedia did a great job here.

iPad

As the iPad becomes more popular, it is also becoming by necessity more compatible with Windows computers.  Here are some helpful suggestions for uses and apps:

- The iPad just plain doesn’t do MS Office.  Don’t even bother trying it, it’ll just destroy the formatting for Excel, Word and Powerpoint documents.  You can try Apple’s iWork app ($9.99) instead.  BUT, if you have to be able to view and edit MS Office documents, the most popular app purchased this past year was Quickoffice, a productivity tool specifically created for viewing and editing MS Office documents like Word, Excel & Powerpoint (it was originally created for smart phones).  It also ties in to cloud based storage like Dropbox or Box,net and social networks such as Facebook.

- Lots of people ask aout the best way to print from their iPad.  My favorite right now is Print ‘n Share from EuroSmartz ($8.99).

- Transferring files is also not all that easy.  You can e-mail them, if you have that function on your iPad, or try DropBox or one of the cloud services.

- You can use the iPad for PowerPoint presentations, instead of delivering a slideshow with a laptop and a mouse.  Slideshow Remote ($4.99) is awesome.

- PDF files, use Goodreader ($4.99), you mark up and sync PDF and TXT files with remote servers, including Dropbox (above).

- TeamViewer let’s you run your PC remotely from your iPad, bridging the gap between the two platforms.

- A business class tablet app, used primarily by pharmaceutical firms, called iRep from Veeva Systems, is an excellent example of time saving iPad apps for sales representatives.

- Similarly, an app named Roambi from MeLLmo, makes it easier for businesspeople to analyze data by converting spreadsheets into colorful 3D charts.  Also, StockTouch, from Visible Market for analyzing financial markets ($4.99)

 

Utilities:  Here are some additional software utilities to fix various system problems or add new features to your Mac:

Sophos - Free Anti-Virus for Mac download (Click HERE).

Path Finder (www.cocoatech.com; $40) - An addition to the Finder, adding such features as tabs, stacks, bookmarks and panes.

Network Location (www.networklocationapp.com; $29) - If you travel, this program saves you time by automatically changing your settings at each saved location.

Disk Warrior (www.alsoft.com: $100) - If you need to repair a drive disk that has missing files or will no longer mount, as well as rebuilding your directory, this is the program for you.

Cocktail (www.maintain.se/cocktail/index.php; $15) - An excellent general cleanup utility which also unlocks some of the hidden Mac features.

SuperDuper (www.shirt-pocket.com; $28) - A disk cloning utility which backs up your entire drive onto another fully bootable drive.

Webmailer (www.belkadan.com/webmailer; free) - If you’re having trouble stopping your Mac from launching Apple Mail every time you click on another e-mail application try this program which lets you set any e-mail program as your default.

File Juicer (www.echoone.com; $18) - This program will extract images, sounds, video clips and the lik from any file type.

BusySync (www.busymac.com; $25) and BusyCal (www.busymac.com; $40) both provide you with customizable calendar synching options as opposed to MobilMe, which always synchronizes all of your calendars.  If, on the other hand, you want to easily sync your iCal calendar and address book to Outlook on a PC, get MobileMe (www.apple.com; $99/year).

Video Monkey (www.videomonkey.org; free) - A useful program to convert video files into many different formats, including those for the iPhone and iPod.

Missing Sync for Blackberry (www.markspace.com; $40) - You can sync your Mac to a Blackberry, don’t have to get an iPhone.

Pixelmator (www.pixelmator.com; free download $59 purchase) is an excellent alternative to Photoshop (upwards of $600) for editing images and it’s easier to use because of its head-up layering display as opposed to Photoshop’s paned layout.

 

MacFixItThis website (which may require subscriptions for some parts) is an excellent site which reports problems with MACs and their fixes, and is kept quite up to date.

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