Today's News On One Page

September 21st, 1999

[Updated 5:15 PM] Analysts Flock To Confirm Apple As A "Buy," Apple Featured In CNBC's "The Edge"

In a somewhat surprising move, Apple analysts flocked to reassert their confidence in the company. Analysts from Warburg Dillon Read, BancBoston Robertson Stephens, and Advest Inc. all referred today's fall in Apple's stock as buying opportunities. According to CBS Marketwatch:

BB Robertson Stephens estimates 15% morning sell-off, could create buying opportunity; reiterates buy

Warburg Dillon Read keeps buy, $90 target; says any pullback a buying opportunity, sees plenty of demand for Mac

And according to a report from Reuters:

"We would see a pullback in Apple's share price as a buying opportunity," said Charlie Wolf, an analyst with Warburg Dillon Read.

"Today's a buying opportunity, especially for Apple," said Jack Shaughnessy, chief investment strategist at Advest Inc. "They're just paying the price because their supplier couldn't meet their need."

Analysts and reporters on CNBC also repeatedly reported and commented on Apple as a strong company and the stock as a buy.

Also, CNBC's The Edge will be featuring a report on Apple. The teasers have asked whether consumer loyalty will offset the bite that Wall Street took out of Apple today. The Edge is a financial show that will be aired at 5:00 PM CDT, on CNBC.

[Update 5:15 PM]

The report on Apple has aired since we first posted this article. The Edge interviewed several analysts who once again reiterated the fact that Apple is still in great shape while touching on the issues surrounding the G4 shortage. They also reiterated that there have been no downgrades on Apple's stock, though BancBoston Robertson Stephens and Warburg Dillon Read both lowered their earnings estimates on Apple to fall in line with the earnings warning from Apple.

One interesting note is that the reporter interviewed one analyst who suggested that this incident would likely put pressure on Apple to secure a second source for their PowerPC needs, which means IBM. IBM is not currently making a G4 with AltiVec (or The Velocity Engine as Apple has renamed it) though they have stated they may reconsider this decision. Another analyst was somewhat negative on this citing Apple's low worldwide market share of only 4.5% as a disincentive for IBM to want to get into the game. Specifically: "There just isn't enough for them to care about." This is probably true, though there are many other contributing factors that could entice IBM to be interested in producing a G4.

The report closed by saying the effect on Apple's stock may be temporary, so long as Apple can continue to provide products that Mac users and new users are attracted to.

The Mac Observer Spin: Once again a very favorable report on Apple from the financial community has aired in the midst of a 12% decline in Apple's stock price. These times, they are a changin'.

The Mac Observer Spin: The real story here is how Apple was referred to as "sector leader," an "industry leader," and other generally positive terms. The overall mood throughout the day and throughout the financial industry was utterly different than what we were finding even 2 or 3 months ago. In today's reporting, Apple was a strong company and a leader who had faced a momentary stumbling block that really wasn't their fault anyway. The blame was largely placed at the feet of Motorola and the normal problems associated with any new product ramp-up. This is symptomatic of a fundamental shift in the way that at least the financial professionals think about Apple. At times, it even seemed as if some of the reports were defending Apple, an unbelievable turn of events that is remarkably gratifying to witness.

In the meanwhile, Apple will still turn a profit for the 4th quarter and likely faces a stellar 1st quarter as pent up demand begins to be filled. Don't forget about the new iMac too. Financial results for the next quarter should be positive indeed.


[4:00 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Apple Tanks To Become An Even Better Buy

Apple's stock dropped like a hot Apple III with loose components today in a harsh trading session. The market was reacting to an earnings warning issued yesterday that warned G4 shortages would hurt Apple's 4th quarter results. Since that time, news from the financial networks has practically revolved around Apple. The surprising conclusion being that Apple is still a great buy.

Apple closed at 69 1/4, a heavy loss of 9 13/16 or a whopping 12.41%. Volume was out of this world with 29,972,900 shares trading hands, more than 7 times the normal volume. Yesterday, Apple's price fell a like amount in after hour trading, so today's trading merely confirmed those losses. Before the warning was issued, Apple had closed at an all time high.

The rest of the market also took a major hit today with the Dow and the Nasdaq posting heavy losses. The Dow closed at 10598.47, a loss of 225.43, while the Nasdaq closed at 2821.10, a loss of 65.05. The Dow recovered somewhat in last minute trading and had been as much as 279 points lower. Analysts are calling today's sell-off one of the biggest ever in terms of point value (though nowhere near in terms of percentages).

Motorola, Macromedia, Adobe, and Symantec all traded lower. PC related companies also tanked with IBM, Dell, Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, and Gateway 2000 all ended the day in negative territory.

The Mac Observer Spin: None of today's losses for Apple have anything to do with their fundamental business. The general consensus is that Apple is still a great buy, and in fact, is an even better buy now that they are almost 10 bucks cheaper. We think that Apple will resume its upward trek within the next few days.


[2:45 PM] Palm Document/Spreadsheet Converter Updated With New Features
by Kyle D'Addario

Semicolon Software has released HanDBase Desktop 2.0. HanDBase Desktop allows users to transfer database, spreadsheet, or word processing documents to their Palm Pilot organizer for easy, portable access. Version 2.0 is a major upgrade, with many new features. According to Semicolon Software:

Version 2.0 offers compatibility with HanDBase 2.0, AppleScript automation, a CSV file viewer, and optional ISO Latin character conversion.

With HanDBase Desktop for Macintosh, users can transfer information from Mac databases, spreadsheets, and word processors onto their Palm organizers, and carry it with them for easy, anywhere-anytime access. New or modified data from the Palm can be transferred back to the Macintosh and reimported into Mac applications for printing, collating, distribution, report generation, and archiving.

HanDBase, a separate product, is a database application for the Palm handheld organizer. HanDBase is produced by DDH Software.

What's New in Version 2.0

  • Compatible with HanDBase 2.0 for the Palm
  • Scriptable - automate your conversions with simple AppleScripts
  • CSV file viewer allows convenient review of input and output text files
  • Optional ISO Latin character conversion allows correct conversion of both European and Asian language databases.

HanDBase Desktop 2.0 is available as shareware for US$10 for a single user licensee. You can find more information on HanDBase Desktop and HanDBase at the companies' web sites.

Semicolon Software

[2:30 PM] Online Music/Animation Mixer For MP3 and MIDI Released
by Kyle D'Addario

SSEYO Ltd. has introduced an online music mixing/creation program entitled FreeMixer. FreeMixer allows users to create online music and animation from small components or chunks. Currently, there are three versions of FreeMixer; one that makes MP3s, a general MIDI mixer, and an XG MIDI mixer. According to SSEYO:

FreeMixers, which are energized by the Koan Internet Audio engine, are free, fast, fun online applications with real power. They allow original pieces of music to be constructed from tiny online generative components, which are typically around 2k to 20k in size. Each audio component has a stunning accompanying animation, meaning users can create fascinating continuous audio-visual works.

FreeMixers can be used free on the SSEYO website, or users can put them on their own websites, again for free. Users simply need to register with the relevant online SSEYO mailing list. The FreeMixers themselves are typically around 100Kb, and require a SSEYO Koan Plugin and Macromedia Flash Plugin.

SSEYO Koan is the market leading generative music system for both Internet and standalone use. It allows creation and delivery of ultra-compact, and therefore fast, pieces of music that can utilise MP3 samples. The music in these pieces can be fully sequenced or composed "on the fly", as required. Tiny MP3 samples can be looked upon as musical building blocks. They can even be used instead of standard "onboard" MIDI sounds, allowing completely custom sounding music and audio.

The Koan plugin is Microsoft Windows 95/98 and Apple OS7+ systems compatible, and operates both under Netscape Navigator /Communicator and Internet Explorer. It is highly programmable, with around 200 parameters and 100 functions, and can drive web animations (e.g. Flash/DHTML) through webpage JavaScript.

The browser plugin is free, and Koan authors can create their own Koan audio with the $200 SSEYO Koan Pro authoring system. For more information, please visit the SSEYO website.


[2:00 PM] Mac IRC CLient Gets A MAintenance Release

Kent Sorensen has released an update to Snak. Snak 3.0.2 is an IRC client allowing users to participate in Internet Relay Chat. IRC is a service that allows users from all over the world connect and interact (chat) about a wide variety of topics. Unlike Usenet newsgroups, IRC is real-time. In other words, it is more "discussion" like and less "e-mail" like. The new version is a maintenance release, and includes a number of bug fixes and performance enhancements. According to M. Sorensen:

Snak is a full featured IRC client with some unique and very useful features. It's fast, efficient and easy to use, and it is being updated and enhanced regularly.

New in version 3.02:

  • Input fields follow interface font and size.
  • Support for TalkCity overflow channels.
  • Better messages when text can't be sent to a channel.
  • Add server to channel lists selects and shows.
  • Support color in channel lists.
  • Faster quit and window closing.
  • Optional loud private message sound.
  • Window locations are remembered while the program is running, not just when it quits.
  • Fixed problem switching to next server in connection record when the first one timed out.
  • Fixed lock up when using the online help on pre 8.5 machines.
  • Fixed name sorting.
  • Fixed DCC progress time estimate for DCC resume.
  • Fixed describe.
  • Fixed problem that could leave channels "half open" if the connection to the server failed.
  • Fixed problem with wrong default font selected in channel preferences.

Snak is available as shareware for a 30 day trial period, after which a $20 registration fee is required. For more information, visit the Snak web site.


[Column] Wasting Time With The Idiots - Let's All Go to the Web, and Catch Ourselves a Flick

[Column] On The Flip Side--The Ultimate Solution To Get Rid Of Windows

[11:15 AM] The Apple Trader says buy!!!
by Wes George

As Joe Kernan on CNBC said this morning about the lack of Motorola G4 chips, "The cup is half full or half empty depending on the way you look at it." It's a tribute to the incredible demand for the highend G4 that so many have been ordered, 150,000, in so few weeks. Jobs has noted that if this demand situation had come about only a few weeks later Apple would have made the earnings estimates. The huge demand for the G4 has taken everyone by surprise and this is a good thing. It should be noted that iBooks and iMacs are in no way effected by the G4 shortage.

It's not out of character for Motorola, famous throughout it's history for missing deadlines and demand levels, to be a bit behind the curve here. Investors hate surprises and Apple was ripe for a weeding out of the speculators who fearfully and greedily took their profits and ran last night. This is the pull back those of us left behind have been waiting for. Nothing has fundamentally changed at Apple Computer Co. The price advance will continue.

The Mac Observer Spin: Expect Apple to exercise its stock buy back plan over the next few days to give support to AAPL at the $72 level. If the market cooperates, AAPL should be back pushing new highs with in a few weeks.


[9:45 AM] Universal USB Controller Receives Feature Packed Update
by Kyle D'Addario

USB Overdrive 1.2 is now available. USB Overdrive is a USB driver that handles all mice, trackballs, gamepads, and other input devices. USB Overdrive allows for universal configuration of all USB input devices, or for custom configuration for each specific device. USB Overdrive is also capable of handling multiple devices simultaneously. The new version includes several bug fixes and other enhancements. According to program author Alessandro Levi Montalcini:

The USB Overdrive is a universal USB driver that handles all USBmice, trackballs, joysticks and gamepads from any manufacturer and lets you configure them either globally or on an application-specific basis. It reads all kinds of wheels, buttons, switches and controls and supports scrolling, keyboard emulation, launching and complex macros as well as all the usual stuff like clicking, control-clicking and so forth. The USB Overdrive can easily handle several USB devices at once.

Because each control in each device can be fully configured, the USB Overdrive lets you use any joystick or gamepad with any game, including the ones that don't support Apple's InputSprockets. You can map your joystick movements and buttons to the keyboard and mouse to make the game believe you're playing on the keyboard, and you can do this mapping separately for each game so that it's immediately available as soon as the game is launched.

For games that already use InputSprockets, the USB Overdrive provides all the needed hooks to support the device-specific configuration panels provided by the manufacturer.

The mouse settings allow you to speed up your daily tasks by assigning useful actions to all the extra buttons and wheels in your USB mouse. You'll typically want to assign a control-click to the right button for easy contextual menu access, and enable document scrolling if your mouse has a scrolling wheel.

Although the interface hasn't changed much, this release contains a lot of improvements and fixes. Here's a summary of the most important ones:

  • Replaced all the old 68K code with faster native PowerPC code for maximum performance.
  • Added mouse cursor movement for joysticks and gamepads. You can now control your computer without a mouse, and use a joystick or gamepad to play most flight simulators.
  • Improved document scrolling in all applications. Among other things, the scrollbar closest to the mouse cursor is now chosen and palette support has been added.
  • Added an option to set the number of lines to scroll.
  • Added support for a new Launch URL action.
  • Fixed double click so that it can now be used to collapse windows.
  • Auto Scroll no longer requires a button to be held down, you can now click it to enable Auto Scroll and click again later to disable it.
  • Added a new Auto Move option that automatically moves the mouse cursor to the default button in dialogs and alert boxes (note: this feature does not work in Office 98 applications).
  • One-button mice such as the Apple mouse now always map their only button to the standard click. This is useful if you want to swap the left and right button on a two or three buttons mouse without losing the default behavior of the Apple mouse.
  • Added workarounds for some USB devices that don't properly implement the USB HID standard.
  • Mac OS 8.5 or later is now required to run the USB Overdrive, and Mac OS 8.6 or later is recommended. Mac OS 9 is fully supported.

USB Overdrive 1.2 is available immediately as shareware for $20. For more information on USB Overdrive, please visit the USB Overdrive web site. M. Montalcini also told us that version 1.2 should be available from Contour Design for owners of the UniMouse.

USB Overdrive

[8:45 AM] FontAgent Receives Maintenance Update

Insider Software's FontAgent has been bumped to version 8.0.1. FontAgent allows Observers to easily manage font libraries reducing the strain on system resources. Version 8.0.1 address the registration process with previous versions of FontAgent. According to Insider Software:

A registered copy now remains unlocked if the Extensions are disabled or a new System folder is installed. All users of FontAgent 8.0 are urged to install the new version and unlock it with their Access Code. "Once FontAgent 8.0.1 is properly unlocked", said Rio Sabadicci, President and CEO, "it will remain registered even if a new System folder or a Demo of a newer FontAgent 8 is installed. This is the closest we've seen to 'unlock it and throw away the key'".

FontAgent 8.0 is available for US$79, which will manage all fonts on all drives of any single Macintosh. A US$29 Limited Edition version is available which will allow users to analyze 250 fonts. You can find more information on FontAgent at the company's web site.

Insider Software