Mac Information

Apple Macintosh, iPod, iPad and iPhone news and advice in Dublin, Ireland


The Christmas Gift 2012 Guide

christmas-giftLooking to buy an iPad mini as a gift? Want to buy a Mac in Ireland or the UK for Christmas? christmas-holly
We have put together our popular Christmas shopping guide again this year with our favourite Apple products, and we have recommended what we believe to be some of the best products and accessories...

Read our Christmas Guide…

What Will We See in 2013…?

As we are about to head into 2013, what are we likely to see from Apple next year. Here is our rundown of what could launched during 2013:


On thing for sure is that we will see a new Mac Pro. Apple were criticised in 2012 about the very minor speed bump to the existing line and the Mac Pro has been the least revised Mac model over the past few years. Tim Cook has said a new Mac pro is coming in 2013 and given the news that one Mac line all be produced in the US in 2013, it is likely that this will be the Mac Pro.

The iMac range has been revised before Christmas so don’t expect any changes until next summer or autumn. The new thin design and faster spec is going to be the model for the majority of 2012.
Moving to laptops, we are likely to see changes in 2013 and possibly in the MacBook Air, Apple’s biggest selling Mac line. There is a possibility that we will see retina displays in the top models, but we would bet that this will not extend to the entire line. The 11” MacBook Air is still Apple’s cheapest model and aimed at education and home users, so there is a need to keep the price down (close to €1000). The top of the range Air is likely to come with a retina display, where price is less sensitive. We also hope that storage prices drop and so the Air can offer more than the low 64 and 128GB space on the standard 11” models.

Now that the MacBook Pro is split into two lines, we may begin to see the older superdrive-models being phased out. In 2012 we saw the 17” MacBook Pro disappear and we are likely to see the retina-display models become the standard once the prices can drop down a few notches. We are not sure ALL superdrive models will vanish in 2013, but if Apple can sell the 15” retina display MacBook Pro for close to €2000, then it will be time to retire the old models. Right now there is approximately a 500 euro mark up on the retina display models over the standard editions- if Apple can close this gap it will unify the line, based on retina displays.

iPad 5, for sure. The question is whether this will arrive in spring or early summer as in 2010, 2011 and 2012, or will they now enter the pre-christmas cycle and update each autumn? Apple launched the iPad 4 in the autumn to take advantage of the Christmas quarter and to match the release of the iPad mini. All iPods are updated in the autumn, so does this now mean the iPad will match this schedule?

In terms of spec, the iPad and iPad mini will see small iterations. Faster chips, better camera, possibly more storage. It also seems likely that there will be a top model iPad mini with a retina display. But as with the MacBook Airs, we don’t expect to see retina displays across the line.

A new iPhone 5S (or 6?) is also a certainty. Question is, will Apple fundamentally change the design? The iPhone 5 is likely to be the top selling iPhone of all time. The next iPhone will arrive in the summer/autumn period and is most likely to be the same design as the 5, but with a speed bump and better camera.


This is the one segment of Apple products which is in decline, so we don’t expect to see huge developments here. But it is certain that there will be an autumn music event which will herald changes across the line. Will we see the end of the iPod classic in 2013?
Apple TV:

We still remain unconvinced by the idea of a full TV from Apple. We do think it likely that Apple TV will get apps and games, continuing the development of this device, enhancing what is probably the best value product given its 110 euro price..

Looking for an iPad mini for Christmas…?

Looking for an iPad mini in time for Christmas? It’s going to be tricky. Here is a quick run down of your options:
1/ call Apple or one of the main resellers in Ireland- Compu b or Mactivate:
Apple- 1800 92 38 98
Compu b- 1850 66 88 88
Mactivate- (01) 822 4488
Typetec- (01) 500 9000
Arnotts- (01) 805 0569

2/ Other sellers:
Don’t expect great service or knowledge, but here is a list of other Apple product sellers in Ireland. Most don’t answer calls though...
Currys/PC World (no phone number!)
Harvey Normans (no phone number)
HMV (no phone number)
Tesco (yes some stores carry Apple products- call 01-2152922)


Google vs Samsung- bring it on...

Please don’t tell me there isn’t someone at Google HQ thinking, “Samsung; they owe us everything!

Google developed a free operating system for smartphones (later for tablets) and Samsung are currently riding this wave, making billions off the back of their OS. Sure, Samsung make great hardware, but would they have sold as many phones with Windows as the operating system- of course not!
samsung-junk htc-junk
So this poses the question- not if but when the relationship turns sour, what will Google’s new terms be? Right now Samsung make the profit and Google provide the fuel. But what happens when Google comes to look for its cut and insists that it is time for a share in the rewards?

There are three possibilities for 2013-4:

Hypothesis 1: Google ask Samsung and all Android smartphones (plus tablets) for a license fee. Google decides that if one of the main selling points for a Samsung smartphone is their Android operating system, why shouldn’t they get their fair share? Why not charge Samsung 30 dollars per handset and turn Android into the world’s most profitable smartphone operating system? Sane for HTC and all other smartphone manufacturers. Now that Android is established in first or second place throughout the world, why shouldn’t Google now take its fair share of the margins in this market?

Hypothesis Two: Google develops its own handsets and overtakes Samsung, offering a direct rival to the iPhone, where Apple control handset and OS together. A true Google-Android phone could be optimised for speed and features, with Google preparing their handsets to match the latest release of their Android OS. Samsung becomes the also-rans, catching up with Google’s cutting edge handsets. Google have started down this route, but what happens if this becomes their main goal- to take on Samsung directly?

Hypothesis Three: Android is split into two versions, with the enhanced version being available on Google handsets. The second version, provided to third parties might lack certain features. An example of this was Google Maps on the iPhone, which lacked navigation. Instead Google kept these features for the Android version, thus leaving the iPhone Maps experience was lacking. So what if Google began to build in these new features to their Goole handsets, but delaying them in the Android versions distributed to Samsung and HTC?

Who knows what 2013 will bring, but with Samsung becoming the largest smartphone manufacturer off Google’s OS development, please don’t tell me someone at Google has not considered these options….

New iMacs go on Sale in Ireland and UK

Half of the redesigned iMac range went on sale today, just making Apple’s declared launch date of “November”. The two new 21.5” models cost €1399 and €1599, and can be customised with double RAM (€200 extra) or a change in processor (€200 extra).


The 27” models, which can be ordered, are due to begin to ship in December, which means there is a doubt as to whether they will ship in time for Christmas. This seems unlikely at this stage, but for us, they are still the best desktop Mac and would be worth the wait! The current wait time on the Apple Store is 3-4 weeks. They cost €1949 and €2129.

The new iMacs are far thinner than the previous generations and come with a brand new Fusion Drive that combines flash storage and the more traditional disk-based hard drive. This gives a combination of better speeds and big storage capacity.


This video from an Australian user shows the unboxing of the iMac and gives a quick example of its new shape and size:

To check out the new iMac range, visit the Apple Store for
Ireland or for the UK..

Black Friday Sale: Once a Year Chance for Apple Discounts

Every year Apple hold a post-Thanksgiving sale, called Black Friday. In years gone by this would only apply in the US, but recently they have extended the offers to all international online stores.

So watch out for tomorrow’s prices- they are the one chance in the year to receive discounted prices for new Apple equipment.

There is likely to be a few euro off Macs, iPads and iPods, ranging between 5-10%:


The prices will be revealed tomorrow morning and only apply for one day. So if you ware planning to buy an Apple product before Christmas, tomorrow would be the best day!.

OS X Tip: Editing and Updating Contacts

Many people who use Apple Mail on their Mac have never ventured into the Window menu and looked at the Previous Recipients list. Here is our guide to editing and updating your contacts for use in Mail, on your Mac, iPad and iPhone (over iCloud sync).

Adding contacts from Mail-

Contacts can be added in two ways in Mail:

Method 1: Inbox or Sent mailboxes:
1/ open the Inbox, select an email by single clicking to highlight it
2/ click on the “Add Sender” button to add this person’s name and email address to the Contacts application (on Mac, iPad, iPhone if using iCloud)
To add a contact from the Sent mailbox, hover over the person’s name and click on the white arrow at the end - then choose “Add to Contacts”

Method 2: Previous Recipients List:
1/ open the “Previous Recipients” list form the Window menu
2/ sort the list by selecting the first column- all names will be sorted by status (names with a card icon ARE saved, those without are NOT)
3/ go through the ones with no card icon on the left:

For those with no card- either:
- select them and delete them (if you don’t want this person to pop up when you address an email)
- select them and click on “Add to Contacts” button at the bottom of the window to add them to the Contacts application (on Mac, iPad, iPhone)

Adding contacts in the Finder-

If you have a folder of vCards in the Finder, you can drag and drop them into your list in the Contacts app:
1/ open the folder in the Finder and find your contact in the list
2/ drag and drop the vCard into the Contacts app window
3/ drop it on top of the location where you wish to store the contact

iOS Tips: Do Not Disturb

One of the features we like about the new iOS 6 is “Do Not Disturb”. This is one of those tiny changes that make such a difference.

Here is how to use it:
1/ open Settings on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad
2/ in the list of Settings you will see an on/off button for “Do Not Disturb”- when this is on you will receive no alerts for incoming call, calendar invites, emails etc. The only exception is the alarm- setting a wake-up call for the morning is not affected as this will override the “Do Not Disturb” setting.

The advantage of “Do Not Disturb” over using the mute switch on the side of your device is that with the mute switch on, the iPhone will still vibrate. Do Not Disturb will completely silence your device.

You can set your iOS device to go into “Do Not Disturb” mode at night, say form 11pm until 7am. To do this:
1/ in Settings, tap on Notification, then on Do Not Disturb
2/ here you can turn on a schedule, and then set the from/to times.


You can also allow calls form your Favourites to bypass the Do Not Disturb setting:


There is also a “repeat call” option, where a second call from the same person within 3 minutes will mean the phone will ring. These last two options are useful in case of emergencies.


Update on AppleCare warranty in Ireland

We reported a few years ago about AppleCare in Ireland and the level of coverage offered to customers. This issue came to the forefront again recently with the Seagate hard drive replacement program, which Apple announced for iMacs.
In the past Irish customers had two options:
1/ taking a Mac to an authorised Apple repair agent, where the repair would be completed under warranty
2/ Apple would send a courier to collect the Mac and the repair will be done off-site, and then returned by courier to the customer

However following our request to Apple this week, the policy has changed. At present the two options are as follows:
1/ the customer can still take the Mac to an Apple authorised agent for repair, such as Compu b or Mactivate
2/ you can request for an on-site assessment where the Mac may be examined at or collected from your home or place of business. Depending on the work required, the Mac is likely then to be taken away for repair and then returned to you afterwards

We would encourage all AppleCare holders to make sure that both of these options are offered to them if they call Apple support line: 1850946191. These options should also be available to all people involved in the Seagate hard drive replacement program, irrespective of their iMac’s warranty coverage.

Do let us know if you have any difficulties in receiving these two options when you call Apple.

Updated 7/11/12: correction of on-site service details

Apple launch iPad mini and iPad 4

Apple launched two new iPads today; the brand new iPad mini and a new iPad 4, which is the latest Retina Display iPad.


The new iPad mini has a diagonal screen size of 7.9 inches, and comes with an A5 processor. It is half the weight of the iPad and is 23% thinner. It comes in white or black, and has the same storage range as the larger iPad (16, 32, 64GB). Anyone looking to buy the version which has a SIM-card slot needs to pay special attention to the two variations, which will match different mobile phone carriers. iPad with Retina Display Model A1460 and iPad mini Model A1455 are designed to work with UK carriers (and presumably Irish ones too). Check out Apple’s information page for details.

On the iPad 4, the main difference to its predecessor is speed. It comes with a new A6X chip, but comes in the same storage sizes and with the Retina Display. We don’t see the iPad 4 as a vital upgrade for iPad 3 owners- it is just an improvement for the Christmas market. We also welcome Apple launching this in time for the Christmas buying season, rather than immediately after. It also seems to be that Apple needed to revise the iPad to take advantage of new LTE networks, such as the new EE network coming to the UK.

Both of these new iPad ranges come with the Lightening connector instead of the older dock connector.

On price, the new iPad mini starts at €339 or £269 and they begin taking orders on the 28th October, with the WiFi models arriving on Nov 2nd. Cellular models arrive a few weeks later. .

Apple launch new thin iMacs, new 13' MacBook Pro

Today Apple launched a new iMac design, with the thinest shape to date. The screens come with a new anti-glare coating, and Apple says the new iMac has 40% less volume than the previous model, and uses 50% less power.
All models come with an Intel i5 processor and a 1TB hard disk, and Apple offer a new Fusion Drive. This gives part Flash storage and part hard disk technology. The iMac stores frequently used applications and files on the faster Flash section and less frequently used material on the hard disk. This seems like an innovative approach to storage and, along with the new processors, will make a difference in speed to the iMac, as MacBook Air and MacBook Pro users will tell you.

Speaking of laptops, Apple also released the new 13” MacBook Pro with Retina Display, joining the 15” models launched during the summer. It is 0.75 inches thick and only 1.6kg in weight. Thunderbolt ports have replaced FireWire on both the MacBooks and the iMac, although you can buy a Thunderbolt adapter to connect FireWire 800 devices such as older backup drives.

The new MacBook Pro 13” can be customise with 256GB, 512GB, or 768GB of flash storage. However its main feature is the beautiful Retina Display, which is great for photo and video as you cannot see the pixels due to such high quality pixels and colour. These are the future for Apple laptops and the new 13” model means there is now a full range of Retina Display models. However they do come at a price, with the Retina Display models costing significantly more than the ordinary MacBook Pro range.

For full details from Apple, click here for the Ireland site and here for the UK site..

Mountain Lion Tips 4- iCloud Documents

mountain-lion 10.8
This guides shows how to use Apple’s iCloud storage:

Under Mountain Lion 10.8, you can choose to save your Pages, Keynote, Numbers or TextEdit files on your Mac (same as in the past) or in your iCloud account. Those files are then accessible across your devices. For example, saving a Pages document into iCloud means it is available inside Pages on your iPad, iPhone and Macs.

To turn this feature on:
1/ open System Preferences and open “iCloud”
2/ make sure that the Documents & data option is ticked:

To Save a File to iCloud:
- in Pages, choose a new document and after you enter some text, choose “Save” from the File menu. The default location when saving will now be on iCloud:

Opening an iCloud Document:
- open your Pages app on any device and you will see a new iCloud page, with all of your Pages files currently stored on iCloud.

Presswatch: Oh Irish Times…

the iPhone 5 is a failure at its heart. This is about pride, reputation and loyalty, not just money. The magic is over.
Rosa Chun, Irish Times, Friday 12th October.


Today’s opinion piece in the Irish Times seems to get away with a lot; a lot of mistakes in fact and a lot of wide of the mark opinion. We get the idea that opinion pieces tend to be less accurate than news reporting, but really Irish Times, how did you let this one slip through? And from someone who is a “professor of global leadership, reputation and responsibility [sic] at UCD Smurfit School of Business”?

The article begins by tipping its hat to the success of initial iPhone sales, at two million in the first 24 hours. This is disingenuous in itself, as Apple released a press statement nearly three weeks ago stating that it had sold 5 million iPhone 5 handsets in the first weekend, even higher than the figure given by Rosa Chun. But of course tis does not help the bias of her article….

Continue reading…

Mountain Lion Tips 3- VIPs

mountain-lion 10.8
This guides shows you how to use the new VIP feature in Mail under Mountain Lion:

The new version of Mail under Mountain Lion 10.8 has a new VIP feature, which helps to gain quick access to important emails from your favourite people, what Apple calls your “VIPs”.

1/ open a message from your first important person, could be your partner, your boss, or a colleague!

2/ move your pointer over the name of the person who sent the email, and look for the small star symbol which will appear to the left of the person’s name:

3/ click on the star symbol to add this person to your VIP list. Now on the left hand side of Mail, you will see a new VIP section:

4/ clicking on “VIPs” will show all emails from those VIPs (combined)
If you click on the small triangle to open the VIP mailbox, you will see a list of your VIPs underneath- clicking on one of the names will display just the emails from that person.

Broadband in Kilmacanogue- update

We have been reporting on the broadband situation in Kilmacanogue, Co. Wicklow for a few years now, with the long delays in upgrading the local exchange and providing decent internet speeds to users in the area. In the last month things seem to have improved. Our own business is now on 12-13mbps, which is about four times faster than the previous maximum.

Eircom say that switching customers over is happening on an on-going basis, and that many have already seen the improvements. We have spoken to many clients in the area and the views on this is a bit more mixed. Some have seen improvements, but others are still waiting for their turn.

If you do wish to enquire about your speed, you should start with your provider- eircom, Vodafone, etc. They should be able to find out from eircom network engineers what the situation is and when they expect to move you to the higher rates. Those people living a few kilometres away from the exchange may not see an improvement, but for those in the greater Kilmacanogue area, speeds should be increased already or soon. Keep the pressure on by calling your provider. If you are with a third party such as Vodafone, make sure they look into this in detail and provide you with an accurate assessment of what is happening. .

Mountain Lion Tips 2- Sharing

mountain-lion 10.8
This guides shows you how to use the new sharing button in Mountain Lion, which is a great way to integrate Twitter and Facebook into your daily use of OS X.

Mountain Lion has added a share button into applications such as Safari, Notes, iPhoto, and Preview.
For example in Safari, the share button gives options to post the web address to Facebook, into an email and to Twitter. The Twitter option also allows you to enter a tweet, with the web address attached. Here are the full options for the Safari share button:

iPhone 5 Launches in Ireland

The new iPhone arrives in Ireland today, although don’t expect to walk into a store to pick one up. Supply will be very limited for the first few weeks, so here is our advice on where to purchase:

1/ start with your carrier- talk to Vodafone, O2 or 3 or whichever provider you are with, and check to see if you are entitled to an upgrade. It will generally have to have been 18-24 months since your last new phone. For example, if you are only 6 months into your current contract, you are unlikely to receive a new phone at the fully subsidised price.

2/ think of other carriers- if you find that you are at the end of your current contract, consider moving. If you have a good signal in your area from most of the providers, shop around. New customers may get a good deal by switching to a new carrier.

3/ buy from Apple [click here for details]- well maybe not. Problem is that an unlocked and unsubsidised iPhone 5 will cost you far more than a phone subsidised as part of a contract. The cheapest iPhone 5 is €679 euro (16GB), rising to €789 (32GB) or €899 (64GB). These things are mini-computers, so expect to pay good money for them as stand-alone products.

Here are a few contact numbers to help you start your search:
Vodafone- 1907
O2- 1909
3- 1800 949 546
eMobile- 1800 283 091

You may also consider getting the iPhone 4S, especially if you are still using an older iPhone which is no longer supported with software updates. The 4S can run the new iOS 6 software and will now be reduced in price. We expect the carriers to offer some free iPhone 4S packages due to the iPhone 5 launch.


Mountain Lion Tips: 1- Dictation

mountain-lion 10.8
We will be running a series of Mountain Lion tips over the next few days, starting today with Dictation.

First it came to the iPhone and iPad, and now to your Mac; dictation is available in OS X Mountain Lion in almost any app. It is not enabled by default, so here is how to turn it on and use it:

1/ Open “Dictation and Speech” in System Preferences
2/ Dictation will be set to off- turn it on and choose your preferred language beneath. United Kingdom is the closest for Irish users.
3/ Quit System Preferences

Now to use the new dictation, simply press your “Fn” key on your keyboard twice, and speak after the beep. Then when you have finished speaking, press the Fn key once.

Dictation will then take a few seconds to translate your speech into text. This is done by sending the material to Apple’s servers over the internet and returning with its best interpretation. Words with a blue line underneath may be inaccurate- hold the ctrl-key on the keyboard and click once on a blue line, and you will see possible alternatives.

It is best to use dictation in short sections- don’t dictate your entire email or letter in one go! Try to use Dictation sentence by sentence and see how you get on. .

iPhone 5 arrives this week

The new iPhone 5 is to be launched this Friday in Ireland. Looking at the carriers’ websites you would wonder if it is launching at all! O2 do not have any mention of the new phone on their homepage. Vodafone and eMobile have a “coming soon” notice, but no details of pricing and availability.

“3” have the best information, with a page dedicated to the iPhone 5 and details of plans and phone costs:
They will sell the iPhone 5 on prepay for €659, whereas the bill-pay price plans have various costs, such as €40.66 per month and the iPhone for €319, or €60.99 per month and the phone for €269 (both prices based on 18 month contract).


As in the past, it looks likely that the iPhone 5 will cost between €200-300 euro on an 24 month contact, based on a €50-60 per month tariff. Apple’s website does not list prices yet, such as unlocked handsets, which are likely to be available from the Irish Apple Store:

The number of handsets available on Friday is likely to be small due to the worldwide demand. Apple are launching the iPhone 5 in 21 other counties on Friday, and so the chances of getting a phone on the day may be slim!.

Apple launch Mountain Lion 10.8

Today Apple launched the next version of their OS X operating system for the Mac, OS X Mountain Lion 10.8. The new version brings features back to the Mac from iOS devices, such as Game Centre, Notification Centre, AirPlay and Twitter/Facebook integration.

Mountain Lion includes over 200 new features such as:
- New Messages app you can send text, photos, videos, contacts, web links, and documents to anyone using another Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch - you can even start a conversation on one device and continue it on another
- Share button makes it easy to share files, web pages, photos, and videos, as well as tweet right from the app you are using.
- Reminders app you can create to-do lists and alerts that appear in the new Notification Center
- Notes app is now out on its own, and not integrated (hidden!) in Apple Mail
- Twitter integration means you can tweet right from your apps with the Tweet sheet.
- Game Center allows you to play against friends online using games purchased from the Mac App Store or iOS App Store
- AirPlay Mirroring shows your Mac screen on your HDTV with Apple TV
- Power Nap keeps your Mac up to date while it sleeps so it's instantly ready to go
- Gatekeeper makes it safer to download apps from the Internet by giving you control over which apps can be installed on your Mac
- New versions of Safari and Mail
Full details including a Mountain Lion introduction video is available on the Apple site here.

You can download and install OS X Mountain Lion for €15.99 / £13.99 from the Mac App Store:


iRobot- every house should have one

We have been having great fun with our new toy- the iRobot Roomba. It is an electronic vacuum cleaner (a “Hoover” for us old-timers). iRobot make a range of vacuum cleaning robots which are programmable and allow you to set this little device off during the day to do your work for you.

We picked up a second hand version on eBay, the iRobot Roomba 560, and find it to be a great member of the home. It sits connected to its docking station, until it heads off at a pre-programmed time each day around the house. Click here for a small video of the iRobot Roomba 560 in action:
The scheduler allows you to choose a time each day, and it will run for about one hour before it returns to its docking station and recharges itself. We have found it cleans well, dealing with dog hairs and general household dust. Once or twice it has got stuck behind a chair and needed rescuing, but you soon learn to make a few very minor adjustments to the layout of your furniture and the iRobot will work perfectly.

It needs to be cleaned after each use, but this takes about 30 seconds to remove the drawer, and empty into the bin. It works its way around a normal home quite easily, moving from room to room, along the edges and across the main part of the floor.

We would certainly recommend a model with the scheduling feature as it will then clean your home when you are out and return to its docking station to recharge. Not a necessity but we find it a great added gadget for home!.

Kilmacanogue broadband- the end in sight?

After nearly four years of broken promises, eircom appear to be about to enable full broadband on the Kilmacanogue exchange in Co. Wicklow. This has affected our business as we are located in the area, and we have been in touch with eircom on a regular basis to track progress.

Finally this week we have been told that the upgrade is complete, and the lines will begin to be cut over later this month. People living in the area should then notice an increase in speed, as the broadband signal will come directly from Kilmacanogue, and not be passed from Bray. In the past, the signal from the Bray exchange was too weak, meaning that the speeds received in Kilmacanogue were poor, mostly around the 1-2mbps mark.

The changeover should take affect for all users, whether with eircom or not. We have spoken to out provider, Vodafone, and they have confirmed their intention to begin to cut clients over to the new exchange this month.

This should come as a huge relief to businesses and customers in the area, who struggled with broadband services for long, and were unable to use services with high download or upload requirements.

iPad mini on the way?

John Gruber has the most logical reason I have seen to be persuaded that Apple will produce a smaller iPad- the resolution would be the same as the iPad and iPad 2, just squeezed into a smaller physical size. This makes sense, as the idea of asking developers to support another screen size sounds messy. .

New Airport Express- shelf buddy

We were a bit sceptical at first about the new Airport Express as its shape and size seems a bit, well, conventional! But from a practical point of view it does work, and possibly better than the old version. The old Express was useful as it was part of the plug, making it easy to hang from the socket. But this had problems, especially when you positioned it behind furniture as it pushed the unit out from the wall.

Pasted Graphic

We find that the shape of the new Express makes it easier to position on a shelf or under furniture, and so is less conspicuous. Sure, it has the extra ethernet port and the spec is better, but it is the new shape and size which may be of most use.

[link to Macworld review].

Apple results due on 24th July

Apple’s next results conference call is coming on the 24th July, when they release the Q3 figures. Expect big numbers. These won’t be as big as the first quarter, which included the busy Christmas buying season, but we still expect a good quarter, with the iPhone 4S selling well, the iPad 3 having a full quarter of sales, and the new Apple laptops out for a few weeks.

We can also expect news of Mountain Lion, which is due this month and may well be available for download around the time of the results announcement. It is possible that Apple will announce the date of release at the results call.

Our Gear- What Mac Information Use…

In case people are interested, here is the gear we have chosen to use in our office. We spend much of our time recommending hardware and software to clients, and so we thought you may be interested in our choices.


iMac 27”
This is two years old at this stage but is still our main Mac. We love the 27” screen and would never go back to the 21” version. We will probably upgrade at the next Apple iMac release.

MacBook Air 11”
We have just ordered a new customised 11” MacBook Air, with a 2.0Ghz i7 chip, 256GB drive and 8GB of RAM. It should be with us this week and we will report back on what we think of this new laptop.

MacBook Pro 15”
This has been our main portable for over 3 years now, and has served us well. However we have not used the DVD drive in a long time, and we find this model to be heavy, certainly compared to a MacBook Air. In recent months the MacBook Pro has become a bit sluggish, and so after the latest WWDC laptop models were released, we decide to make the switch.

Printers and Scanners
We have a HP 2605 laser printer which has worked flawlessly for the last 5 years. Overall, great value for printing letters and other documents. We also own a HP 1022, which was nobbled by HP after the release of Snow Leopard, and the drivers were not updated. A real shame as this was a great, cheaper black and white work-horse.
We rarely print photos of other graphics, so a photo printer is not a main requirement. However we do have an Epson SX515, which is a multifunctional printer and scanner. In the last 6 months we have only used it for scanning. The wireless scanning feature is very useful.

Other bits
Harman Kardon SoundSticks speakers for our iMac, Vodafone office landline broadband (we do not recommend any broadband provider as they are equally awful!), Time Capsule 2TB, lots of Airport Express units to cover the building, Apple TV 2, iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.


Here are the apps we currently use every day: Mail, Safari, iCal, Address Book, 1Password, Pages, iTunes, Rapidweaver, iPhoto, iChat, Twitter.
Here are other apps we like, but use occasionally: Acorn, FileMaker Pro, Dragon Dictate, Parallels, Bookpedia, iBook Author, GrandPerspective

After ten years in business, we feel we have good value for money from our equipment and although some items such as the printers need updating, the items have served us well and we have had very good service from all Macs over the years..

OS X Lion 10.7 Tips Guide

We have updated our OS X Lion Tips and Tricks guide - the new version is available here.


New laptops near from Apple

As we head towards the summer, it is likely that Apple will revamp its range of laptops, with new MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs. Although we never like to speculate on Apple’s next move, it does seem likely that the MacBook Air will be more influential on the new ranges than the MacBook Pros.


It is likely that Apple will look to the thin, optical drive-free laptops as the template for portable computing, The MacBook Pros have been great laptops, but as any owner will tell you, the Pros are heavy and bulky, whereas the Airs are a delight to carry around.

Our own experience has told us that we use the optical on our Office iMac rarely, and we almost never use the SuperDrive on our MacBook Pro. Also the speed bump offered by SSD drives is hard to ignore. The old style hard disks feel sluggish by comparison and so if the capacity gap can be narrowed, it looks likely that Apple will opt for SSD as standard.

Add to this the likelihood that Apple will use new Retina displays, matching moves on the iPhone and the iPad. This would make graphics and video gorgeous to view on these displays, and combined with new Intel chips, make them very compelling purchases for the rest of 2012.

Update: Broadband on Kilmacanogue Exchange

Afters years of delays, eircom have stated that the Kilmacanogue exchange in Co. Wicklow is finally being upgraded for broadband. In recent years customers in this area, including ourselves, had to rely on slow broadband connections from the Bray exchange. However work has now begun on the transition so that Kilmacanogue and its surrounding area should be provided with higher broadband speeds, once the lines in the area are connected to the newly upgraded exchange.
When we requested a statement form eircom, they said:
The first work is due to commence in April and the Bray/Kilmacanogue work is due to commence at that time. The provisional completion date is end of June 2012. As the work begins, a more firm timetable will emerge but hopefully this means there is some end in sight. We will not know what broadband speeds you will get until the line is moved, but hopefully the work will deliver an improved service, regardless of provider.

We will keep you up to date on any changes, but the most recent roadblock, which was a dispute with Comreg over how the transition should be organised, appears to be resolved, and work can now begin..

iPhone review from 2007

We thought you need a bit of humour, so here is the Sunday Business Post’s review of the iPhone from 2007, just as it was about to be launched in Europe. We particularly like the references to “inevitable” scratches to the glass, the view that the iPhone will be “largely ignored” and that apparently Nokia and Sony-Ericsson will wipe the iPhone when it comes to music! Enjoy!


Reality Bytes: iPhone’s chances are doubtful in Europe
Sunday, June 24, 2007 - By Adrian Weckler

Later this week, Apple will release the year’s most-hyped gadget, the iPhone.
It could prove reasonably popular in the US, a low-tech cellular backwater where people still pull aerials out of their ‘cellphones’ and have to pay to accept calls.
In more modern Europe, the iPhone will be largely ignored.
There are several reasons for this. First, texting on the iPhone will be very difficult; it has no buttons and will have a Qwerty keyboard touchscreen layout, so thumbs cannot be used.
Secondly, there’s the touchscreen format itself. Despite its announcement that this will be glass and not plastic, irritating smudges and scratches are inevitable.
Then there’s the iPhone’s technology - or lack of it. Incredibly, the gadget has been made as a low-tech slow-band GPRS unit.
So browsing the internet on it - which is what it is trumpeting as a key feature - will take ages. Activities such as watching YouTube will prove juddery and stopstart. Then there is its music facility.
From what we know, there is no possibility of downloading music on it.
Instead, it will need to be connected to a computer anytime one wants to get music on or off it.
This is miles behind current technology and will certainly not appeal to the likes of Vodafone, O2 or 3, for whom revenue from music downloads is becoming crucial to their business models.
Ironically, in Ireland this could leave the iPhone’s success in the hands of Meteor, the only non-3G network which doesn’t have a big business in downloading music.
But a €600 phone on Meteor? The network of cheap calls, free texts and pre-paid customers?
That is a strange proposition.
It seems likely that a core of Apple fans will rush to buy the iPhone when it launches in Europe, whenever that is .
But this is a small number of people. With a hatful of powerful new music phones due out later this year from Sony Ericsson and Nokia - which can download music from revenue-thirsty operators - the iPhone’s chances in Europe look very weak, to say the least.


What a Difference 5 Years Makes…

Amazing what five years does. In the first half of 2007 Apple did not sell a mobile phone. In 2012, they control 75% of the profits of the entire mobile phone industry, and 40% of all revenues. This is today’s chart from Business Insider:

5 years of the iPhone

This shows two things. Firstly how Apple have come to dominate the industry, and they do this selling one model of phone, in three flavours (iPhone 4S, 4 and 3GS). The majority of their units and revenue come from just one model of iPhone, the new iPhone 4S. Apple don’t produce a myriad of handsets and configurations, and this helps to sharpen their image in the market. Everyone knows about the iPhone and most people either have one or intend to get one.

Secondly, Apple’s profit level on these phones far exceeds any other manufacturer. Many Android phone makes would envy the margins that Apple hold, while they pump pout low-cost handsets with thin dividends. Apple makes less than 10% of the total handsets sold, and yet rake in 75% of all of the profits.

It is an amazing story and shows just how far Apple Inc. have moved in the first five years. They have a sharp position in a crowded market, but manage to make their iPhone business one of the most profitable in the tech sector..

Sony vs Apple

John Gruber, of Daring Fireball, has summed up all that is wrong in the technology industry, and just how right Apple have been in their positioning and timing.

When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, they knew this would hit sales of the iPod. In fact during the 2007 keynote, Jobs stated that the iPhone was three devices in one: an iPod, a phone and an internet device. Many CEOs would have worried about cannibalising their own products, but as Gruber points out, “Apple is skating to where the puck is heading; Sony is skating to where the puck is at the moment.”


Sony are looking to a drop in camera sales, probably directly dented by the great camera in the new iPhone 4S. How many iPhone users still buy a separate point and shoot camera, now that the 4S comes with an 8 megapixel camera? Sony still focusses on separate devices, instead of going where the market is aiming for. They are chasing the model of the past, and not moving to where people will be in five years time..

John Browett appointed Apple Senior VP of Retail

Apple have announced that it has appointed John Browett as its Senior Vice-President of Retail, replacing Ron Johnson. Johnson had held for post of over ten years, before stepping down and taking up a new role as CEO of JC Penney last November.

Browett was head of and his most recent post was as CEO of Dixons, the European electrical retailer. Indeed, Browett seems happy to step down as the head of Dixons to become a VP at Apple, and report to Tim Cook. Such is the size and status of Apple.


Here is hoping that Browett has the skills and has the feel for the Apple brand. Our instinct tells us to beware of any executive who has worked at Dixons, a company which also owns PC World. Our experience of PC World and their handling of Apple products is abysmal. Browett will have to move from a nuts and bolts tech retail store, with some of the poorest retail experiences for customers, through to one of the biggest brands and best customer experiences in retail..

Presswatch: Guardian's take on pay

The Guardian ran a story this week on pay compensation for Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. We would be the last people to endorse huge salaries, but the tone and accuracy of this article needs attention.

From the outset, Juliette Garside’s piece is incorrect:

Apple's late founder Steve Jobs created the world's most valuable company and was paid just $5 in the last years of his life – but his successor Tim Cook, unknown outside
Silicon Valley until his elevation to the top job last summer, has been awarded a $378m (£244m) pay jackpot.

A few problems here. Firstly, Steve Jobs did not work for $5. Jobs received a jet from Apple and generous stock options, which had mixed values. Some proved almost worthless due to a fall in the company’s stock value in the mid ‘00s and some made him a lot of money. As for the comment about Tim Cook being unknown outside Silicon Valley, this seems very simplistic. Cook was Apple CEO twice before August 2011, as he stood in for Jobs when he took sick leave. He was well know to any market watchers, and indeed it was Cooks’ reputation on Wall Street which is one of the reasons that Apple now has such a good financial reputation.


However the line that …”Cook's 2011 rewards, disclosed yesterday, put him in pole position to become the year's highest boardroom earner” is simply untrue. The conditions on the stock options, as stated later in the article, only come to fruition in 2016 and 2021. In fact Garside directly contract’s the earlier point, and states that the (UK) FTSE’s average salary for a CEO is now £5.1m sterling, substantially more that Cook’s USD$1m in 2011, even after you add on his bonuses of $0.9m.

The article seems to use Cook as an example, but misses the point. Cook’s stock options, substantial and huge as they are, do not kick in until 2016, when 50% are released, and 2021, when the final 50% are handed over. At that point, who knows what value they will have. Apple is now above Exxon Mobil as the most valuable company in the US, and it can be argued that this is an investment in Apple and Cook. If he stays with Apple, he will become extremely wealthy. If however he leaves, or he fails and the stock price falls, he may find that his options are worth far less than expected. This is what happened to Jobs in 2003 [see here].

Presumably the reason why this substantial stock option was handed to Cook was to tie him to Apple for years to come. This is a good move. We can all argue about the size of this award, but its true value will only be know in 2016 and 2021.

So for the record, for now Cooks compensation stands at under $2m for 2011, split between salary and bonuses..