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Applesauce: All Thing Apple

April 14, 2012

Michael Harper for Redorbit.com

Are Macs finally capable of catching computer viruses? Are wireless carriers falling out of love with the iPhone? Is a French designer helping to bring the Apple TV to our living rooms? Read this week´s Applesauce for all the details!

Peace of Mind

There´s long been a bit of a myth surrounding Macs and their ability to contract viruses such as trojans and malware. The truth is, all computers can catch viruses, and connecting them to the internet in any way dramatically increases these risks.

Their security settings may be more robust and sophisticated, but the reason most Macs have remained largely untouched by those who practice electronic evil was their small piece of the market. PCs are everywhere, and therefore, it is easier to spread these viruses amongst them.

It could also be said that Mac users tend to have more of an emotional attachment to their computers and therefore, are more likely to be aware of what sites they are visiting and what files they are downloading.

In the past 2 or 3 years, several potential threats to the Mac have received some press, replete with headlines ranging from the prediction of Macs´ doom and demise to bitter sentiments of vindication. When news of a large botnet infecting 600,000 Macs globally broke last week, the same headlines saw the light of day once more. This story had an interesting twist, though, noting that more than 200 infected Macs were found within Apple´s own headquarters.

If Macs aren´t safe in their own birthplace, tucked away in the clean lines and aluminum and glass cradles of Ive Studios, then where?

After a week of typical Apple silence, they finally acknowledged the Flashback malware trojan and released not only a software patch to fix the problem, but a piece of software to rid any infected Mac of the virus. Taking it one step further, they announced they would go straight to the source, seeking out the source of the Flashback malware with intent to choke it out at the source. It´s so nice to see Poppa Apple take care of us.

More Than A Feeling

Last week analyst Brian White predicted shares of APPL could skyrocket to $1,001, an estimation that garnered much attention. He must have been flattered.

So as we all got fired up to watch Apple´s shares blast off straight to the moon, another analyst stepped in to make sure we didn´t blow our tops prematurely.

Our hats off to Walter Piecyk, as he changed his recommendation on APPL from “buy” to “Neutral” and moved his 12-month price target all the way down to $600. (At the time of this writing, shares of APPL are trading at $610.02.)

So why will APPL begin this slow, slow bleed of value? Piecyk claims wireless carriers such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon are getting tired of paying subsidies for the popular device once referred to as the “Jesus Phone.”

Piecyk said these carriers initially loved the idea of subsidies, betting on the customers to consume large amounts of data, thereby allowing the carriers to charge more money on the customer´s monthly bills. But the carriers have had enough! Consumers continue to ask for unlimited plans and cheaper data plans. Pity the carriers, really. They´re damned if they do and damned if they don´t.

Take T-Mobile, for instance. When the iPhone 4S released last fall, Big Pink released a press release asking us not to forget them because they don´t carry the iPhone. In the release, T-Mobile quipped, “T-Mobile thinks the iPhone is a good device and we´ve expressed our interest to Apple to offer it to our customers. Ultimately, it is Apple´s decision.” They´re actually sounding better, considering a previous statement wherein they blamed poor sales on their lack o´ iPhone.

Then there´s Sprint, who paid Steve Jobs and Apple upfront for a whopping 30.5 million iPhones just to have the privilege of carrying the magic device. I suppose T-Mobile and Sprint simply aren´t shouldering enough of the weight if AT&T and Verizon are struggling to keep iPhone customers happy as Piecyk is suggesting.

Oh, and that Apple TV that has the world pulling their hair out in anticipation? Not so much, says Mr. P. So while one analyst bumps up the price to a gimmicky $1,001 and another shifts his enthusiastic “YES!” to an apathetic “meh,” the question still stands: How high will the price of APPL go?

Smokin´

Perhaps Mr. Piecyk has forgotten about the iPad? There was still more news this week about the new tablet device and its complete dominance of the market. Research firm Gartner predicted Apple would sell an estimated 73 million tablets from a worldwide total of 118 million this year alone. Research Vice President at Gartner Carolina Milanesi said what we were all thinking: No one has yet to compete with the iPad. “Despite PC vendors and phone manufacturers wanting a piece of the pie and launching themselves into the media tablet market, so far, we have seen very limited success outside of Apple with its iPad.”

Please, go on“¦

“As vendors struggled to compete on price and differentiate enough on either the hardware or ecosystem, inventories were built and only 60 million units actually reached the hands of consumers across the world. The situation has not improved in early 2012, when the arrival of the new iPad has reset the benchmark for the product to beat.” Garner is predicting Apple´s tight grip on the market to be loosened by 2016, however. According to their predictions, there will be some 369 total tablet units, with Apple taking only 46% of those sales, while Android will have grown to 37%. As for Microsoft, Milanesi says the Redmond company will remain number 3, taking only 4% of the tablet market share.

Foreplay / Long Time

Now I´d like to introduce you to what I expect will soon become a weekly segment at Applesauce: The Apple TV (Or iTV, depending on which way you lean) rumor column! Our finest and most promising copy boy has just rushed this into the offices, the heat of the presses still radiating from the paper.

Exciting, no?

Speaking in a radio interview with France Info, famous French designer and friend of Steve Jobs Philippe Starck revealed he has been working hand in hand with Apple on a “Revolutionary” new product that will be released just in time for the holidays.

Philippe, how coy!

The interview, discovered by HardMac, aired Friday morning. Close followers of Apple and readers of Issacson´s biography will recall Starck as a close friend of Jobs, visiting him once a month in his Palo Alto home. According to a translation, Starck said, “Indeed, there is a big project together which will be out in eight months.” He then when on to cite Apple´s “religious cult of secrecy” before refusing to go any further.

AppleInsider points out that Starck has yet to work with Apple in any capacity, other than designing speakers for their iPods and iPhones as a third-party option. What could this “quite revolutionary” product be?

While there will be those who will no doubt view this as a nod towards a new Apple TV, it could also be likely Starck is talking about a new iPhone design, which is also expected to be released later this year.

Steve Jobs did, however, infamously refer to a new television in the Isaacson book, saying, “I finally cracked it“¦” Perhaps this new television will be just like the one Sir Jony Ive currently has in his secure design stu“¦. What´s that? My apologies“¦our daring young copy boy has returned, gasping for breath, crumpled sheets in hand. I see. As it turns out, Apple has just told All Things D the company is not, in fact working on anything with Starck.

While Apple declined to speculate as to what Starck was talking about, the company spokeswoman did mention that Starck had been working with Jobs in designing his fabled yacht. Though, if there were a “culte du secret religieux,” isn´t this exactly what they would want us to believe?

Who´s to say what will happen next week in the World of Apple? Will eager case manufacturers reveal they had the design for iPhone 5 right all along, shipping their neon jelly cases to unsuspecting retailers the world over? Will riots break out at Foxconn as workers demand their extreme overtime hours be replaced? Will Apple, after seeing North Korea´s failed rocket launch, decide to scrap their plans of an underground missile silo underneath their new Flying Saucer Headquarters?

If any of these things take place, you can be sure to read about them here, on redOrbit.com!


Source: Michael Harper for Redorbit.com



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