One human year, but how many Apple years?

David Braue
1 September, 2009
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If seven dog years are equal to each human year, how many Apple years is a human year worth?

I got to considering this question after realising that today marks the one-year anniversary of my time with Australian Macworld.

Yes, it was a full year ago that I posted my first piece for the site – a missive about Apple’s continued lack of focused enterprise strategy.

Since then, we’ve published about a dozen issues of Australian Macworld; changed editors – twice; gotten up early to cover five different Apple events; run over 2800 stories on the Web site; joined the Twittersphere to complement our RSS and regular email distributions; and begun a new-format podcast that, once it was relieved of my musical news experimentations, has become a welcome fixture for many online readers.

And Apple? In the year since I joined, Apple hasn’t exactly taken the enterprise by storm, but it has made great strides in many other directions. We’ve had steadily increasing MacBook market share, the release of the business-friendly iPhone 3.0 software, reports of large-volume iPhone purchases by businesses, and most recently the release of the Exchange-friendly Snow Leopard operating system.

Other things have certainly changed at Apple. There was the opening of four additional Apple Stores; the refresh of Apple’s entire hardware line, including the long-awaited boost that breathed new life into the crowd-favourite Mac mini; and the release of the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3.0 software that turned the world’s favourite smartphone into a pinnacle of software engineering — and the envy of the smartphone world.

Then there were the major changes in Apple as a company: Steve Jobs’ medical leave of absence forced the company to bolster the credentials of its executive lineup; Apple’s continued growth has raised its profile with investors and the market in general; its environmental credentials have become a priority after some harsh words from environmental monitors.

Don’t forget about the dismissal of Eric Schmidt as Google ramps up competition with Apple on the operating system and mobile fronts; upgrades to most of Apple’s key consumer and professional-grade software packages; lawsuits galore, on everything from patent infringement to exploding iPhones; investigations by the US government; and an uncanny ability to maintain dizzying financial growth that has belied the world slowdown that had begun around the same time I did (it’s just a coincidence, I swear).

Some things haven’t changed. Apple and Psystar are still waging their legal battles. The Beatles are still not on the iTunes Store. iPod touches still don’t have cameras. Microsoft Entourage still doesn’t understand 24-hour time. There’s still no tablet. The recording-crippled Apple TV is still struggling for meaning in an ever more-crowded market in which even TVs have built-in PVRs. The guidelines ruling Apple’s App Store approval process is no clearer than it was a year ago. Apple is still balking at the $30 extra cost to incorporate Blu-ray capabilities into its computers but was happy to stop including the Apple Remote with every computer and charge us $30 if we want one.

Whew! Apart from proving that Apple’s lawyers and product designers have serious job security, the past year has seen Apple prove to the world that it remains a force to be reckoned with. It is bigger, better, richer, and in many ways exactly the same.

And through it all, we’ve met here to discuss, encourage, berate, and hypothesise about its activities and its long-term direction. There have been over 3200 new Forum topics and tens of thousands of posts since I started, on all manner of topics, reinforcing the importance of the AMW online presence as a community of Mac lovers. Thank you for your continued engagement and support of this site and of each other; it is because of you all that AMW continues to be Australia’s leading multi-modal destination for lovers of all things Mac and iPhone.

With all this in mind, where do we go from here? Next week, Apple will most likely resolve a few outstanding issues, with the launch of Beatles music through the iTunes Store, new iPod touches with cameras and GPS built in alongside 64GB of storage, the discontinuation of the iPod classic (although some say it will dodge the bullet again), new iTunes software supporting cover art and, I have gone so far as to suggest, e-books that may or may not be made available on a mind-blowing new touch-screen tablet netbook-that’s-not-a-netbook.

It’s business as usual, in other words. And it is business as usual at Niche. We continue to have big plans and a grand vision for both the print magazine and online properties. As we move into September and start Apple’s product launch cycle all over again, things are sure to be even more interesting in the year to come. Throughout it all, please drop me a line or offer your feedback through the AMW Forums if there’s something else you’d like to see us doing, or something we shouldn’t change because you like it the way it is.

Oh – and tell your friends about us. As always, the more the merrier.

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