Apple against the world

Apple’s iPhone OS unveiling on Thursday was not the kind of Apple Event where the company shows off a brand-new product, exclaims how it’s the best product the company has ever made, and waits for the oohs and ahs of the invited guests.

Yes, iPhone OS 4.0 was the reason Apple invited the crowd to the company’s Cupertino campus, and that new version of the operating system that runs the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad has some promising new features. But Thursday’s event was a bit less about shiny-product Apple and a bit more about strategic technology company Apple.

Combating Android

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Introducing the Mac Basics Superguide, Snow Leopard Edition

Available now as a PDF, on CD-ROM, or in glorious paper.
The readers of Macworld are amazingly diverse. Among our audience are some incredibly tech-savvy folks, and we're glad to have them. There are also some people among us who are relatively novice Mac users, who avidly read what we write in order to flex and improve their Mac skills.

For the past few years we've offered a book, the Mac Basics Superguide, that's been a hit with both audiences. And I'm happy to announce that we've just updated that book for Snow Leopard. If you’re someone who’s struggling with the basics of operating a Mac, or someone who’s a new user of Mac OS X (perhaps you’ve made the switch from Windows to Mac) this new 126-page guide will get you up to speed.

Written in an easy-to-follow style, the Mac Basics Superguide, Snow Leopard Edition will give you detailed tips and information about using the Finder and the Dock, switching between programs, using Apple’s Spotlight search tool, opening and saving your files, and setting up system preferences and user accounts. We’ve tossed in some basic security and troubleshooting advice to keep your Mac up and running smoothly. And our own Dan Frakes, who pens our Mac Gems blog and magazine column, has assembled a list of 20 great low-cost programs that will enhance your Mac experience.

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Does Apple really want to sell magazines?

In all the speculation that abounds on the Web about the possibilities of an Apple-designed tablet device that would compete with e-readers from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the like, I haven’t seen a whole lot of discussion about one of the great mysteries of the idea: who would sell the content for such a device?

There are two likely answers to that question. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take them in turn.

Apple sells content

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iPhone Superguide comes to the App Store... eventually

I’m happy to announce that we’ve released a new version of our iPhone & iPod touch Superguide, which compiles all our best information about the iPhone and iPod touch in one handy guide. Already available as an excellent e-book in PDF format for $13, the book is now also available (appropriately enough) as an iPhone app for $5.

Two pages from the iPhone and iPod touch Superguide app.
We’ve never published a book specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch before, but we figured it might be useful for iPhone users to have our book with them as they’re out and about with their handheld device. It’s a bit of an experiment to see if people really want to consume this sort of reference material in this fashion. We’re using the same technology behind Lexcycle’s excellent Stanza e-book reader to present the content of our book. As a result, you get some of the great Stanza features, including the ability to set typefaces and font sizes, and even quickly toggle between day mode (black on white) and night mode (white on black).

Story behind the story

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Introducing Macworld's Total Snow Leopard Superguide

Every time Apple releases a new operating system, we pull together the most essential, in-depth, and up-to-date information about the Mac OS and create a new book that gives our readers access to it all in one place. With Snow Leopard now out and rapidly gaining acceptance, it's time for us to release Total Snow Leopard .

Following in the footsteps of our popular, everything-in-one-place guides to Mac OS X (Total OS X, Total Panther, Total Tiger, and Total Leopard), Total Snow Leopard is an information-packed 102-page book featuring just about everything you’ll need to know about Snow Leopard—all features, great and small.

We’ve taken the best of Macworld’s coverage of Mac OS X and distilled it into this book, including contributions from such luminaries as Christopher Breen, Glenn Fleishman, Dan Frakes, Rob Griffiths, Joe Kissell, Ted Landau, Kirk McElhearn, Rich Mogull, Dan Moren, Jonathan Seff, Michael Scalisi, Derrick Story, Ben Waldie, and Sharon Zardetto. The book includes information to help you set up Snow Leopard smoothly and take advantage of its most important features. It’ll also help you master the Web with Safari 4, get e-mail with Exchange, keep your Snow Leopard Mac secure, and increase productivity with text substitutions and the Services menu.

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C4 notes: Pizza and pie shakes

The C4 indie Mac developer conference in Chicago is decidedly different. Different in that it’s the brainchild not of some conference and expo company, but of one guy — developer Jonathan “Wolf” Rentzsch. Different in that it’s in Chicago. Different in that it’s steadfastly a small event, happening over a weekend and with a relatively small capacity that makes it awfully hard to get into.

For those of us who are usually running ragged during major tech events in order to cover breaking news, it’s delightfully different in that there’s no news going on here. (Well, unless you count the attempts to declare AppleScript dead.) Instead, the few brave media folks who dared to join the developers at C4 get to take the time to talk to them, break bread (okay, deep-dish pizza) with them, drink beer with them. It’s a great respite after the madness of Macworld Expo and Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference.

Among the highlights at this year’s conference, which wrapped up Sunday, were:

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C4 notes: Is AppleScript dead?

Developer Jonathan “Wolf” Rentzsch kicked off his annual C4 indie Mac developer conference in Chicago on Friday night with a provocative claim cribbed from Steve Jobs: He showed a slide of the AppleScript logo in a coffin and declared it dead.

As with Jobs when he declared Mac OS 9 dead back in 2002, Rentzsch was making a point to a group of developers. In this case, Rentzsch was using JSTalk, a JavaScript-based method of scripting applications implemented by Flying Meat Software’s Gus Mueller in his image-editing app Acorn, as a call to arms for developers to embrace a new system for scripting applications and to stop focusing on AppleScript.

It’s an interesting point of view, and one that was tailored to Rentzsch’s audience, since adding AppleScript support to apps is hard and professional computer programmers are comfortable with more formal languages like, say, JavaScript.

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