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Miscellaneous Tidbits

Oct 27, 2002
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Cleveland, Ohio
Your Mac's Specs
MacBook Pro | LED Cinema Display | iPhone 4 | iPad 2
Source: ThinkSecret.com

Is IDG World Expo going to make an official announcement on its plans for New York City Expo next Monday or Tuesday? As soon as Apple signs on the dotted line, which can't wait much longer. Little more will be announced than what we reported on March 10 except for further details on conferences and the new, creative name they plan on calling the show.

If you're waiting for AppleWorks 7, look instead for iWorks, coming from Apple later this year. Sources said that iWorks will consist of a word processing application tentatively called "Document," Apple's Keynote presentation software, a spreadsheet application, and a database app. Unlike AppleWorks 6's integrated format, iWorks' apps will be separate programs but connected, much like Apple's iLife. Look for more details on iWorks from Think Secret in the near future.

Notice a large number of job openings for "Mac Specialists" in Apple's retail job database? Apple retail sources confirmed to Think Secret that Mac Specialists are simply the Apple store's "Sales Associates" of old, renamed. The change was made, at least partly, to address the problem of every customer feeling that their question was meant for a Mac Genius. "Believe me, our time gets wasted by a lot of these questions that the associates can answer," said one Mac Genius. "They renamed them 'Mac specialists' which is very, very true." This Mac Genius pointed out that most stores have a wide range of experience in their sales staff, and Apple didn't feel that the Associate title fairly played to their knowledge. "When a Mac Specialist can answer a question instead of having to drag me away from a repair that was due yesterday, it's a big bonus. Our floor staff is phenomenal!"

Recent weeks have brought unconfirmed rumors of new acquisitions by Apple. Like Prismo Graphics, Nothing Real, and Silicon Grail, these acquisitions are fairly small but they may have something to add to Apple's software line. One company rumored to have been acquired was AlphaMask Inc., a small developer of a portable 2D graphics library. Last month the company announced on its Web site that its "technology and intellectual property has been acquired by a third party for internal use." Analyzing cached versions of AlphaMask's old site, we found that the company's President/CEO and CTO were both former technology leads at Apple. Additionally, Apple was a major client of AlphaMask, making use of its technology for "digital video editing," according to the site. Emails to AlphaMask and CTO Oliver Steele were not returned, and numerous sources close to the company report Steele was being very quiet about a possible acquisition. However, SEC filings indicate that it was instead OpenWave Systems to acquire AlphaMask.

Another unconfirmed tidbit could have some truth to it, and concerns a company called Minnetonka Audio Software, which Apple is said to be considering acquiring for its DVD audio authoring solutions. If true, Apple would integrate Minnetonka's software into future versions of DVD Studio Pro. Contacted by Think Secret, John Calder, Minnetonka's director of marketing, said, "We have no comment at this time."

Just in how much financial trouble are the second and far-third most popular Mac magazines in the US? A lot, we're told. Insiders tell us subscriptions are off by 10 to 15 percent from a year ago, layoffs have been rampant and payroll has been hard to meet. Sadly, the efforts to entice new subscribers has been nothing short of begging. One magazine recently told addicted Mac readers through a mass e-mail that they "...have to stick together." In this economy, misery loves company.

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