2010 has been a very exciting year for Apple and MacOutfitters! Our goal with Trails is to take you someplace new, spark your interest, or just keep you in touch with Apple news, our business and our communities. We are proud and excited to be communicating with you in this new way and we hope you'll find Trails to be a source of new ideas.
Early 2010Apple announced iPad on January 27. Despite some initial criticism of the name (or maybe in spite of) it quickly became apparent that iPad would be a game-changer. The industry, and indeed, our staff, talked of little else leading up to the actual iPad launch on April 3. A big part of this announcement was that iPhone apps would work on the new device. This created an instant stockpile of apps for iPad, although most were quickly redesigned to take advantage of the iPad's larger screen and new features. There were also many iPad-specific apps made available on Launch Day. From our perspective, the fact that Apple designed and built their own chip, the Apple A4, for the iPad was just huge. It was a reflection of what makes Apple so great; If they can't find the component they want, they build their own!
In March, we attended Xsilva LightSpeed Certification Camp in Chicago. LightSpeed is an application to run a retail business on the Mac platform. We use it at MacOutfitters to run our three stores and we are a Certified Reseller, too. We learned to install, set up and support the upcoming LightSpeed 3.0, the next generation of this powerful application. We have been using LightSpeed at MacOutfitters since August 2007 and are pleased to offer it to our clients as well.
Also, at the end of March, we relocated our Cranberry Township, PA store to our present location at 20395 Route 19. This newly renovated store is larger, has much better visibility, more parking, a larger service department, and is closer to the Cranberry main shopping district. It is only a mile from our old store, where we opened in December of 1999. We are proud to continue to serve the Cranberry area with this improved store!
On April 3 the iPad arrived! We were thrilled to be among the select group of Apple Specialist dealers that were chosen to help Apple to launch iPad, along with the Apple Store, of course. We had people waiting outside our stores that morning, and unsurprisingly sold our entire allotment before the end of the day. The level of excitement that was felt among our staff and our clients was exhilarating! That Saturday was one of the most fun days we had in all year. The iPad has, since that day, been our best selling product to all types of clients, including many who never owned (or wanted) an Apple product before!
April continued as the month for great new products. On April 13, Apple updated the MacBook Pro line. There were many improvements to the perennial best-sellers, but the most notable changes were the move from the Intel Core 2 Duo chip to the Core i5 and i7, and the enhanced "no button" trackpad. We were also pleased about the return of the option for an Anti-Glare screen on the 15" model, something which many of our pro users had been quite vocal about.
From May 3-7, we attended the Apple Specialist Conference in the Washington DC area. The conference brought together independent business owners and staff from all over the US and Canada for a 5 day event. It featured Apple and other vendors, sales and marketing professionals, workshops, keynotes and lots of good, old-fashioned networking. We are proud to have been members of the Apple Specialist Marketing Corp. since it's inception in 2003. This was the 7th annual conference and it just keeps getting better and better each year!
June 7 was the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Over 5,200 attendees from 57 countries attended, and the event sold out in just 8 days! Steve Jobs gave the keynote address, and announced iPhone 4 and iOS 4. New features included FaceTime, GPS, front and rear facing cameras, and the Retina display, all of which ensured that this would be another huge seller for Apple. Also, iPhone 4 was equipped with the Apple A4 chip that was introduced in the iPad earlier in the year. There were also new features added to the Safari 5 browser, including the new Safari reader, a 30% performance increase and support for Bing.
On June 15 Apple unveiled the all new Mac mini. This little powerhouse was completely redesigned with a slew of improvements. The mini now comes with a shorter, wider, easy to upgrade aluminum Unibody case, HDMI and other connectivity, and an SD card slot. We were most excited by the integrated power supply; bye-bye big clunky power brick!
On July 27 Apple updated the iMac line. The iMac has come a long way since it was launched in 1998, and it keeps getting better! At first glance not much has changed, but this update provided for Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processors across the entire iMac family, with 21.5" or 27" display options. Round that out with faster memory and graphic cards and you have a nice, solid update.
Also on this date, Apple unveiled the updated Mac Pro. For hard-core pro users this is truly a tower of awesome power. It is the fastest Mac ever, with up to 12 processing cores! In addition, the capacity for up to 5x standard graphics and new solid-state drive options make this Mac a real workhorse of a workstation. This date also saw the announcement of a new 27-inch LED Cinema Display‚ and the quiet discontinuation of the 24- inch Apple Cinema Display.
At MacOutfitters, we had a very busy back-to-school sales season. Every year, the Mac is becoming more and more popular on campus, as well as with families that have made the switch in the past and have younger kids still at home.
On September 1 Apple had its annual music event, as we have come to expect in the Fall, where all new iPods were unveiled. The new iPod shuffle, iPod touch, and iPod nano all saw major changes. The shuffle returned to its previous format, as the "no wheel" talking shuffle was not popular (which we can attest to.) The new nano traded in its click wheel for a touch screen, and also saw a significant decrease in size. While the new design is great the trade off was in the removal of the video camera. The refreshed iPod touch looks similar to its predecessor, however it was thinned out and given a number of new features including front and rear facing cameras . The iPod classic remains unchanged, which is understandable, after all it’s a classic! Apple also introduced iTunes 10 with Ping, a social networking community designed around music. iTunes 10 does require an operating system of Leopard or newer. This announcement served to further phase out Tiger and the non-Intel Mac. Last, Apple unveiled the new, 80% smaller Apple TV with breakthrough pricing of $99. Some folks were unhappy that the new Apple TV has no internal hard drive. However, the new features including built-in HDMI support and the ability to stream content from your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with AirPlay have made Apple TV a favorite gift item this year.
October 18-22 marked the 3rd annual Apple Specialist Owner's Retreat, in Austin TX. This more relaxed and intimate event provided the opportunity for us to brainstorm at a high level with owners of businesses that are like ours in many ways. From the largest city to the smallest town, there are locally owned businesses like ours selling and servicing Apple products, most for more than a decade and some since as far back as the 1980s! The combined wisdom of this group of business people is truly awe inspiring and we always come away with many great ideas, as well as a huge to-do list!
On October 20 Apple continued a very busy season and reinvented the Macbook Air. This is the coolest computer we have seen in a long time, and you can get one starting at only $999! Sleek, tiny and fast, with all-flash storage, a multi-touch trackpad, long lasting battery, and a high-resolution display, the new Air puts netbooks to shame. Now in 11" and 13" sizes, we have sold more MacBook Air computers since the introduction of this new lineup than in the entire lifespan of the previous models! Apple also introduced iLife '11 with major upgrades to iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand. All Macs now come with iLife '11 preinstalled, while owners of previous iLife versions can purchase the software from our store. However, in order to use the new iLife '11 a computer needs to be running Snow Leopard. At this same event, Apple gave a sneak peak of Mac OS X Lion, which is due out in July 2011. We are all interested to see how this new big cat shapes up, but we can be sure it will be the King of the Jungle!
On November 5 Apple announced that XServe would be discontinued in January 2011. Apple also announced Mac Pro tower-based servers, but the general feeling around MacOutfitters and the Apple Specialist community is that this is a real loss to the Mac platform. However, we believe that Snow Leopard Server and Mac OS X server will continue to be a strong and viable alternative to the other server software options on the market.
November 16 marked the day that the Beatles came to iTunes! The entire Beatles catalog was made available exclusively on iTunes, at least initially.
On November 19 & 20 MacOutfitters Pre-Holiday event kicked off the busiest Holiday season in MacOutffitters history! With all these great products available how could it have been otherwise?
On November 22 Apple’s iOS 4.2 was made available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. This update brought over 100 new features to Apple’s mobile devices, including the much anticipated AirPrint and AirPlay.
On December 16 Apple announced that their new Mac App Store will be opened January 6, 2011. The App Store will be available for all users with Snow Leopard, and will also be integrated into the forthcoming Lion operating system due out this summer.
And finally, on December 31 MacOutfitters' first ever blog post was created! Yes, it's long, but it was a very busy year and we didn't want to leave anything out! We hope you will enjoy our new blog Trails. We look forward to 2011 and another fantastic year selling the best products on the planet, and serving the most awesome customers in the state of Pennsylvania! Thank you for helping us to make 2010 a successful year for our company and we look forward to serving you in 2011.
Happy New Year!