You'll get your Mac news here from now on...

Help TMO Grow

Advertising Info

The Mac Observer Express Daily Newsletter

More Info

Site Navigation

Columns & Editorials

Today's News On One Page

September 27th, 1999

[4:30 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Apple Falls Again On Negative Article From Barron's

With contrary commentary hitting Apple today, the stock fell again. Despite receiving a "buy" rating from Banc of America Sec, an increase from "Market Perform," a largely negative report from Barron's helped send Apple into negative territory while most of Apple's competition was involved in a rally. The Barron's article focused on Apple's long-term viability. Internet access, competition from cheap PCs, the lack of a strong presence in business, and many other factors are cited. According to Barron's: [Editor's Note: Barron's requires a subscription, but this story makes for good reading.]

By more or less abandoning the business market (except for high-end machines for corporate graphics pros), Jobs has caused many veteran technology stock pickers to steer clear of Apple's torrid shares.

Instead, playing the hand he was dealt in his first try as a turnaround specialist, Jobs has cleverly leveraged some of Apple's core assets -- including its fanatically loyal customers and superior operating system -- to right the ship. Specifically, he has concentrated on its strongest constituencies, schools and first-time users. But some tech-portfolio specialists wonder what Jobs will do for an encore to continue the current surge without going for a slice of the broader market -- namely, business customers.

"They do awfully well for a company with relatively small market share," says Walter Price Jr., a managing director of Dresdner RCM Global Investors in San Francisco.

"I think Steve gets it, but it will be interesting to see what his next trick will be. Turnarounds are hard," Price says.

"A neat trick would be for him to get out of the desktop and portable computer business altogether," retorts Landis.

That's not as ridiculous as it may seem, given that many people believe the PC business is hitting a major plateau. But it does run counter to what has been fueling Apple's renaissance. The popular introduction of Lifesaver-tinted iMac desktop computers and the promise of its clamshell-shaped iBook portable machines, which began shipping this month, certainly are what has been driving the comeback.

Still, in the long run -- say, a year or two from now -- it seems highly unlikely that Apple can continue to grow and flourish by catering mainly to the consumer market, contends Michael Murphy, publisher of the California Technology Stock Letter.

"Apple has become the worldwide leader in selling plastic," says Murphy, cynically referring to Apple's emphasis on design over function with its trendy iMacs and iBooks, which sell for about $1,199 and $1,599 respectively.

Apple closed at 61 5/16, a loss of 3 5/8 or 5.58%. Volume was again heavy with 8,465,900 shares trading hands. Though a slight decrease from the 10 million or shares that have traded for the last 3 trading sessions, it still represents a significantly larger volume than the 3-4 million that Apple normally sees traded.

Mac related companies fared well in a counter-note to Apple's as Symantec, Motorola, and Adobe all closed higher. PC companies also enjoyed a winning day with Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Gateway 2000, , and Compaq all closing higher. Hewlett-Packard and IBM both closed down.

The Dow and the Nasdaq both closed higher. The Dow closed at 10303.39, a rise of 24.06, while the Nasdaq closed at 2761.75, a gain of 21.34. Both indexes started off much higher, but saw their gains eroded as the day wore on.

For full quotes for all the companies mentioned in this article, we have assembled this set of quotes at Yahoo! for your reference. We also have these same quotes reported live (20 minute delay) on our home page. For other stories regarding Apple's stock activity, visit our Apple Stock Watch Special Report.

The Mac Observer Spin: The Barron's article did cast many of Apple's strengths in a positive light, but the conclusions tended to all be negative. It is our opinion that many of those conclusions rested on lingering misconceptions about the computer industry in general and Apple in particular. For instance, one person quoted in the article is Michael Murphy, publisher of the California Technology Stock Letter.

"Apple has become the worldwide leader in selling plastic," says Murphy, cynically referring to Apple's emphasis on design over function with its trendy iMacs and iBooks, which sell for about $1,199 and $1,599 respectively.

Murphy, who has been an Apple loyalist for more than a decade, says choices made by his small publishing and investment firm provide anecdotal evidence of how Apple is losing ground with sophisticated users.

"We've been an all-Mac shop for years, but we just bought new Dells. We threw in the towel," Murphy concedes. "At the high end, aside from graphics professionals, Apple is done."

The reality is that many former Mac shops who had switched to Wintel have since switched back as they found their experiences on Windows so appalling. We believe that Mr. Murphy's business is not the norm in this case. That said, it is certainly fair to say that Apple still has very little presence in the corporate world. Other aspects of the article do make good points, but we see Apple continuing its turnaround and solving the reamining problems that exist. Go read the article if you can as it is very well written.

[Editor's Note: Thanks to Steven Jay Weintraub for his invaluable help with this article.]


[2:30 PM] FileMaker Pro 5 Comes Out Swinging For The Web

FileMaker, Inc. has released the anticipated update to its namesake product FileMaker Pro. The new version, 5.0, has been retooled as a web database platform and comes with an impressive list of new features. According to FileMaker, Inc.:

FileMaker, Inc. today released the new FileMaker Pro 5, with major new features for sharing databases over the intranet and integrating with desktop and enterprise standards.

The company strengthened its line of workgroup database solutions announcing new versions of its developer and server applications and introduced FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited, designed for publishing databases over the web.

To strengthen its lead in database web publishing, the company announced that it plans to work with Adobe Systems, Allaire Corporation, Macromedia and other partners to make the creation of custom web sites powered by FileMaker databases painless and professional.

FileMaker Pro 5 adds to the Instant Web Publishing features that have made FileMaker a leading choice for publishing and sharing database information via the Web. With support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), browser users may now view or edit databases with almost exactly the same design elements in the original layouts. Users, with just one mouse click, can share databases for tracking assets, projects, people or processes.

To fit with corporate desktop standards, FileMaker Pro 5, now Microsoft Windows 2000 ready, features a completely new, yet familiar interface that compliments the look and feel of Microsoft Office. Its menu structure and organization now follow the Microsoft Office standard, enabling Office users to be instantly comfortable with the FileMaker Pro interface.

The four new FileMaker products answer the needs of individuals and teams, ranging from entire small businesses to enterprise workgroups. The new product line announced today consists of:

  • FileMaker Pro 5 is designed to be the ideal database for every desktop. This all-in-one application allows users to easily share FileMaker Pro databases with up to 10 users in a workgroup or via the intranet with just one click of a mouse.
  • For more robust intranet/Internet environments, FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited, offers the same capabilities and features of FileMaker Pro 5, but lets users share databases with an unlimited number of web browsers. Also included is a powerful Web Server Connector, which will support leading Web servers by using Java servlet technology allowing for increased scalability, security, and support for SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Web Server Connector also allows remote database administration and management via the Internet. Additional copies of FileMaker Pro Unlimited can be added to RAIC (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Computers) server settings for achieving load balancing and fault tolerance.

The FileMaker Pro 5 Web Server Connector will run on the most popular web servers on the market today. In addition, FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited will work with numerous CGIs, middleware and application servers for large-scale customized web requirements.

The new FileMaker Server 5 is the best way to host FileMaker Pro 5 workgroup solutions, offering increased network performance, cross platform deployment in an easy to use, scalable, relational database server. FileMaker Server 5 supports up to 250 concurrent guests together with remote administration capabilities and automated backups for up to 125 hosted files. For Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 sites, Microsoft Management Console (MMC) will be incorporated to provide easy administration via an easy-to-use graphic-user-interface (GUI) of FileMaker Server 5. The new version of FileMaker Server 5 offers automatic database file backup scheduling. For sites using Mac OS 8.6 and later, FileMaker Pro Server 5 provides a greatly enhanced user interface and better optimization of Open Transport networking.

FileMaker Developer 5 is the essential tool for any developer creating custom FileMaker Pro solutions across workgroup, over the Web, or as a standalone royalty-free runtime application. It includes FileMaker Pro 5, plus design tools, examples and documentation for developing powerful, professional solutions utilizing XML, JDBC, and other APIs.

FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited (estimated retail price of $999 US) and FileMaker Server 5 (estimated retail price of $999 US) are expected to ship later this year. FileMaker Developer 5 (estimated retail price of $499) is planned for shipment early next year.

Macromedia has announced that they plan to collaborate with FileMaker to integrate Dreamweaver software to allow Web authors to create custom Web interfaces to FileMaker Pro databases based on XML technology. Further support for web designers who want to publish FileMaker Pro 5 data on the Web comes from Adobe Systems, developer of GoLive.

Further support of the FileMaker Pro ODBC Driver has been announced by Allaire Corporation, maker of ColdFusion, the leading web application server.

FileMaker Pro 5 has been priced at US$249. Upgrade pricing is set at US$149, and the company says the product is available immediately. You can find more information on FileMaker Pro 5 at the company's web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: FileMaker was late in delivering version 5 by many months, but that said, they have come out swinging with the shipping version. The heavy emphasis on the web should help propel FileMaker Pro forward.

FileMaker, Inc.

[10:30 AM] Wall Street Analyst Raises Apple To "Buy"

Banc of America Sec has raised their rating on Apple today to a Buy from Market Perform. This is the first ratings upgrade for Apple since July 26th when Soundview initiated coverage of Apple at a Buy. According to a Reuters report:

Banc of America analyst Kurt Kind said he raised his rating for Apple Computer Inc. Monday to buy from market perform.

"We still need convincing on the longer-term growth story, but believe the news in the near term is likely to be positive and that restored investor enthusiasm could lift the stock toward our $80 target price fairly quickly," King wrote in a report.

"The near-term outlook includes the launch of a new iMac, the possible unveiling of Apple's Internet strategy and projected FY 1Q revenue growth -- helped by shortage-induced backlogs for recently introduced products -- that would be Apple's highest in almost five years."

He added, "We're slightly reducing our 4Q (September) estimate due to notebook delays out of Taiwan but maintaining our estimates otherwise. Our 1Q (December) estimate of $0.93 is $0.04 above Street consensus."

This move comes as Apple's stock fell by nearly 20% during last week's trading. Despite today's rating from Banc of America Sec, Apple is selling lower during morning trading. As of this writing, Apple was trading at 63 1/4, a loss od 1 11/16. Much of the rest of the market is trading higher, including IBM, Motorola, Microsoft, and Intel. [Editor's Note: In fact, if you check Apple Stock Watch Stock Quotes included on our home page, the only stock in the red as of this writing is Apple's.]

For other stories regarding Apple's stock activity, visit our Apple Stock Watch Special Report.

The Mac Observer Spin: This comes at a good time for Apple, though the market has not paid much attention to the news. Combined with the impending release of the new iMac that we reported last week, Apple could possibly be looking at regaining some of the losses recently incurred.


[Column] Monday's Mac Gadget - A Knife You're Allowed to Play With

[Column] The Apple Trader - AAPL: The Drama Continues

[7:30 AM] New Title From Stephen King Coming To The Mac

Blue Byte Software has announced horror author Steven King's first endeavor in the computer entertainment world, F13. F13 is an "Interactive Timekiller", a unique piece of software emerging the user into Steven King's fascinating world. According to Blue Byte Software:

At the very top of your seemingly benign keyboard is a row of function keys. On a standard PC, they number F1 to F12. Key F13 doesn't exist. Even on a MAC, the F13 is an unassuming little key that simply captures a displayed screen. What if an F13 with some real potency appeared? Something menacing, a merger of technology and terror brought straight to your desktop. Would you dare strike such a key? A provocative yet unanswered question for horror fans and computer users. Unanswered until now...

Stephen King's F13 is an "Interactive Timekiller'" with a difference and spine-chilling realism will play a large part in the graphics without containing gore. (A prerequisite for all Blue Byte titles). They will visually enhance the desktop environment in a very 'Stephen King' like way.

F13 is expected to be released sometime in December and will be released as a Mac/PC Hybrid. Pricing was not made available to The Mac Observer. You can find more information at a special web site set up for the game.

Blue Byte Software - Frightware

[7:30 AM] ADB To USB Converter Updated With Support For Many New Dongles

Griffin Technology Inc., has released version 1.6 of their iMate driver for the iMate USB to ADB device. The iMate allows legacy Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) devices to be used on USB equipped Macs and the new version brings support for several additional ADB products. According to Griffin Technology:

The iMate universal USB to ADB adapter allows hundreds of existing ADB devices to be used with iMacs, Lombard PowerBooks G3s, G4s, and iBooks. It supports a wide range of devices including, mice, keyboards, trackballs, trackpads, joysticks, hardware protection dongles, keyboards, bar code readers, drawing tablets, AppleVision/ColorSync/Studio Display monitors, special education and handicap devices, and many other specialized devices.

The new version provides additional or improved support for a number of popular ADB devices. It provides additional support for a number of hardware protection ADB dongles including PCC ArtWork Systems' Step It, Insight, PIE, Strip It, Calibrator, Trap Edit, and Proof It. It also now provides support for a number of display calibrators including the NEC ColorProof System and the SuperMatch Display Calibrator. It also provides significantly improved performance with the Edmark TouchWindow touchscreen.

Version 1.6 of the iMate driver can be found at the Griffin Technology web site, and is free for users of the iMate USB to ADB adapter. For more information on the iMate and the iMate driver software, please visit the Griffin Technology web site.

Griffin Technology

[7:30 AM] MONICA Updated With Major New Features

Peter Job has released version 2.1 of his file download manager software, MONICA. MONICA is a queue based file download manager for downloading files from the Internet using FTP, HTTP, and Hotline protocols. According to Mr. Job:

MONICA achieves exceptional download throughput by utilizing queue technology, optimized processing of Internet protocols, and by extensive use of transfer resumption techniques.

MONICA allows you to easily set up a download queue by "dragging and dropping" or "cutting and pasting" file URLs. Once you have placed some files in the queue you may manually start each download at a time convenient to you, or allow MONICA to start downloading automatically. In automatic mode, once a file is received MONICA will start the next one, allowing up to four simultaneous downloads. If the server times you out or if the download is incomplete then MONICA will restart the download and do her best to resume from where the download left off.

Based on users suggestions, the freeware version of MONICA has undergone substantial additional development work resulting in many new features being incorporated in the latest version (MONICA Version 2.1). MONICA Version 2.1 has just been released as Shareware and includes 2 Helper Applications, namely; the HTTP Loader and the Hotline Loader. The new features of MONICA Version 2.1 include

  • HTTP authorization support.
  • Applescript support.
  • Support for Hotline downloads, including support for Hotline 1.5 servers.
  • PPP control.
  • New small "Drop Here" window that can be positioned conveniently on your desktop.
  • Preliminary HTTP chunked mode support.
  • Facility to Export the queue.
  • HTTP and Hotline Helper applications (under development) to make queue loading easier.
  • Improved HTTP and FTP robustness.
  • Bigger buttons.
  • Numerous other improvements in look and technology.

MONICA is available as shareware for US$20. A demonstration version is available allowing up to 50 downloads before it expires. You can find more information at Mr. Job's web site.


[7:30 AM] Audio Recording Software Updated With Stereo Capabilities

Black Cat Systems has released version 1.3.0 of Audiocorder. Audiocorder is a VOX program which allows your Mac to act as an audio recorder, and version 1.3.0 adds the ability to record in stereo as well as mono. According to Black Cat Systems:

Audiocorder allows you to set the volume that the sound must reach to begin recording, and the volume at which it should end recording. It also allows you to set the trigger length for the start and stop values, which helps you to eliminate recording short bursts of sound or ending the recording process during a short pause (such as in normal speech).

Each sound file is stored in AIFF format, a Macintosh standard sound format. The audio is sampled at 11, 22 or 44 kHz, with a sample size of 8 or 16 bits, either monophonic or stereo. The name of each file contains the date and time (down to seconds) the recording began.

Audiocorder is available as shareware for US$20. You can find more information at the company's web site.

Black Cat Systems

Today's Mac Headlines

[Podcast]Podcast - Apple Weekly Report #135: Apple Lawsuits, Banned iPhone Ad, Green MacBook Ad

We also offer Today's News On One Page!

Yesterday's News


[Podcast]Podcast - Mac Geek Gab #178: Batch Permission Changes, Encrypting Follow-up, Re-Enabling AirPort, and GigE speeds

We also offer Yesterday's News On One Page!

Mac Products Guide
New Arrivals
New and updated products added to the Guide.

Hot Deals
Great prices on hot selling Mac products from your favorite Macintosh resellers.

Special Offers
Promotions and offers direct from Macintosh developers and magazines.

Browse the software section for over 17,000 Macintosh applications and software titles.

Over 4,000 peripherals and accessories such as cameras, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice and more.

© All information presented on this site is copyrighted by The Mac Observer except where otherwise noted. No portion of this site may be copied without express written consent. Other sites are invited to link to any aspect of this site provided that all content is presented in its original form and is not placed within another .