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September 10th, 2009

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When it comes to computers and personal electronics, Apple is the company that the pundits (and Wall Street) keep an eye on. Yesterday, the firm was in the headlines again with a range of announcements concerning its iconic iPod line, but there was just as much interest in what wasn’t said, such as the all-but-confirmed rumor of a Macintosh tablet computer. Steve Jobs may have looked a bit frail after his liver transplant, but the company itself is as robust as ever, perhaps more so.

Last week, Apple shipped the latest version (10.6) of its operating system, dubbed Snow Leopard, which powers its line of computers. Upgrades have slowed a bit on their iMac models, which CRE proudly provides to many  firms, as sales tumbled some 25% over last year, as well as on the potent Mac Pro towers, which CRE’s customers rely on daily. The overall PC market dipped some six percent between 2007 and 2008, making production plans for 2009 a bit dicey. However, Apple’s laptop sales (MacBook and MacBook Pro) skyrocketed, growing some 70 percent in the first quarter of this year as compared to 2008.

CRE customers are well aware of the power and utility of the Mac line, which has been the computer of choice (with the OS of choice) for creatives since its debut over 25 years ago. The venerable, still-muscular PowerMacintosh G5, which CRE outfits with the Kona card, is a mainstay of the animation and video/film production sector. For the powerful AJA Io HD system, the Mac is an elegant, stable and efficient front end, bringing incredible power and precision to post-production in tandem with Apple’s own Final Cut Studio 2 software.

Video, in fact, made the news in Apple’s Wednesday extravaganza, as the capability to record in the state-of-the-art h.264 format was added to Apple’s iPod Nano model, along with FM radio (with a Live Pause function). Along with incredible price reductions and flash memory upgrades to the entire iPod line, this capability can do nothing but further establish the iPod as the personal music and video appliance king. The line as a whole has an incredible 70% market share.

What was left unsaid was the future of the Mac tablet, rumors about which Apple is no longer deploying its famed (and feared) legal department to combat. Analysts now think that a touchscreen unit resembling a larger iPod touch (oddly, Apple doesn’t capitalize the name of this capital-earning model) will be a “connected device” offering movies, music, games, Web browsing and microcomputer capabilities at a sub-$1000 price point. Many industry observers expect it to be Apple’s next “growth catalyst.”

Finally, the iPhone, now available starting at just $99, was given short shrift at the Apple event, since the big announcements about it came from AT&T and Verizon. Both companies are promising “warp speed” for the iPhone with their revamped 3G networks. Apple’s App Store is doing a incredible volume of business, as is iTunes, which was just upgraded to version 9, on the music side. Apple is healthier than ever, its stock having doubled in the last year, and the only reason the price took a slight dive late yesterday was because the profit-takers cashed in on the company’s 2008-2009 growth and its sterling prospects for the future.

CRE customers know that they can expect all the best in Apple and other technology products, from WiFi tablets to office equipment, when they need to get that big job out the door or ramp up for a new project. As Apple pushes into the future (with a recovering Steve Jobs, one hopes), CRE is right there with them. Wherever Apple goes, it’s bound to be a happy journey for the millions of Mac, iPhone and iPod users, a large and talented contingent of folks that CRE proudly serves. Fill out an online quote request form, give us a call or e-mail our Account Executives today for all your technology needs, from Apple and other first-rank tech companies.

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