Apple’s Cash Reserves: $66 Billion Dollars

The WSJ has a story on Apple’s cash reserves, which are now nearly $66 billion dollars, and puts forth the question:

what are your ideas for what Apple should do with its cash?

Apple has stated publicly that it is hoarding it’s cash so that when the opportunity arises, it can afford to make a big purchase. There aren’t many companies Apple couldn’t buy right now with that cash pile, so let’s look at a few possibilities.


An Adobe purchase would be a coup for Apple. Many of Adobe’s products align with Apple’s priorities. Adobe has some very smart people working for them, but lately it seems these smart people have been out muscled by the suits. An Apple purchase and injection of Apple culture could do a lot to restore Adobe to it’s hey day of being a company that people actually champion, instead of actively lambast.


Steve Jobs sits on their board. They bought his other company, PIxar, a few years ago. They are a content juggernaut. They encompass ABC, ESPN, DisneyTV, and a couple of movie studios. They epitomize many of the same ideals that Apple does in customer experience. Could Apple be hoarding its money to purchase the house that Mickey built?

A Disney purchase would give Apple preferred access to a large amount of content from radio, TV, and movies. It would give Apple access to advertise in all 11 of Disney’s theme parks and in front of the 120 million people who visit them each year.

That said, Disney is an entertainment company, and Apple is a technology company. The last time an entertainment company (Time Warner) merged with a technology company (AOL), the results weren’t pretty.


Perenial 3rd place US cellphone carrier Sprint hasn’t been having that great of a time lately. Purchasing Spring would enable Apple to really own the whole cellphone widget in the US. Of course, it would also create problems with the other US carriers, so I doubt this would ever happen.


Purchasing Samsung would give Apple ownership of the company that produces many of it’s parts – LCDs, SSDs, CPUs and more. Samsung is also a competitor in the mobile phone market. So this acquisition would give Apple better access to it’s component supplier, and kill a competitor in the mobile space.


So this acquisition doesn’t net Apple much in the way of technology it can use. But it does vanquish a competitor in the desktop, mobile and online space. Plus, it gives Steve Jobs the ability to finally declare victory over his longtime rival. Of course, there’s no chance that Apple would buy Microsoft, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fantasize about what would happen if they did.

Apple is a big company, but many of it’s divisions are run like startups. I’m sure part of the hesitation in making a mammoth purchase is that it would fundamentally transform the way Apple would operate, and I’m betting Steve Jobs and the upper management team are reluctant to mess with their formula for success right now.

Category: News

My iPhone likes to party

So everyone is up in arms over the revelation that the iPhone (and 3G iPad) collects and stores information on every place it has been. More accurately, it stores information and location on every cellphone tower it has connected to. The longitude/latitude data that is being stored is obtained by cellphone triangulation, which iOS uses to determine location when no GPS hardware or signal are available.

The iPhone stores this information without your consent on both your iPhone and on your computer, if you are syncing your iOS 3G capable device to your computer and letting it create a backup of your devices data.

Pete Warden and Alasdaid Allan have crafted an app that scans this information, and places the coordinates on a map, along with a date scrubber to see where your device has been.

Looking over my data, it showed what I already knew – that apart from trips over the last year to Minnesota (business), Florida (family) and North Carolina, I lead a pretty boring life.

However, there is one anomaly that was odd.

I bought my iPhone 4 new last year on the day it launched, June 24th. However, the location data on my iPhone shows that it traveled down US95, right outside Las Vegas on June 23rd. I’m assuming this where the iPhone entered the country on it’s trip from China, and then was routed to a plane that took it to the Apple Store in Buford, GA.

iphone4 location1 My iPhone likes to party

The odd thing is the phone wasn’t activated until the next day. I had assumed that for the phone to log the location data, it needed an activated SIM card. Apparently, that isn’t the case.

So apparently your 3G iOS device will log it’s connection to each and every cell tower it connects with, even if it hasn’t been activated yet.

Either that, or my iPhone spent the night before it’s launch having a grand old time in sunny Las Vegas.

Category: Apple,iPhone


Seamless lets you transition from playing music on your Mac to playing music on your iPhone or iPod touch –– in a single tap.


Category: Indie Developer,Software

A Dozen Devices the iPhone is Killing

Spot on assessment from Ted Landau:

The very first slogan used to advertise the original iPod, back in 2001, was “1,000 songs in your pocket.” A coming slogan for the iPhone could well be “the only thing in your pocket.”

I’ve been thinking recently about all the stuff I used to carry around that the iPhone has made obsolete for me. Watch. GPS. iPod. Portable gaming device. Consumer grade digital camera. Phone. Put simply, the iPhone is the ultimate swiss army knife.

Category: iPhone,Link Roundup,Opinion

Panic’s iOS Terminal Client ‘Prompt’ debuts

Panic’s new terminal client, ‘Prompt‘ debuted this morning in the app store. The unversal iOS app supports autocomplete, key file support, multiple connections, bonjour discovery of servers, and customizable keys. As with anything Panic does, it’s a must have (and only $4.99).

Category: App Store,Software

Gus Mueller: How to become an independent programmer in just 1068 days.

Gus Mueller lays out his plan that he executed on for his quest to become an indie developer.

Lesson #7 – It’s not good enough to write and sell something that people want, it has to be got to be something they’ll spend money for as well.

I think this often gets overlooked by many developers. I’d sum this up by saying it’s not sufficient for your app to be good, your app needs to be indispensible if you want people to pay for it.

Category: Developers,Indie Developer

I’ll take that bet….

IDC claims that Windows Mobile will overtake iOS and become the #2 smartphone platform in 2015.

“By 2015, IDC expects Windows Phone to be number 2 operating system worldwide behind Android.”

Anything is possible, and of course, with IDC using the smartphone label, they discounting all the iPod Touches and iPads in the mobile space. But still, they have Windows Mobile taking a nearly 21% market share in 2015. Nokia won’t even have Windows Phones on the market until 2012. The first batches of Windows phones have been heavily discounted because they aren’t selling well, and Microsoft is desperate to get product out there, even at a loss. So things aren’t exactly looking rosy for the guys in Redmond at the moment.

Category: News

Macbook Air 11.6 Inch Review

Last year, I purchased an iPad and after about 2 months, ended up selling it. As much as I liked the iPad, I couldn’t find a place in my world for it. I have my iPhone for when I’m away from home. I have my Macbook Pro as my main workstation. When I am at home, the iPad was nice to have for surfing the web on the couch, or for reading my RSS feeds while I ate breakfast. But being a web developer, there was little I could use it for to get work done. The device is certainly capable of performing these tasks, but the software doesn’t exist yet to accomplish this. The software might never exist, as Apple is adamant about not allowing other language processing software (read: Ruby, PHP, Perl, etc) on the App Store. And if you aren’t on the App Store, you aren’t on the iPad.

macbook air 11 1 Macbook Air 11.6 Inch Review

Enter the Macbook Air.

The 11.6 inch Macbook Air satisifes many of the iPads portability features – small, lightweight. Of course, it’s a little heavier (2.3 lbs. vs. 1.3 for the iPad 2) and has about half the battery life. But it also is a fully capable development machine.

The 11.6 inch version of the Macbook Air features an 1366 x 768 display. This is a higher resolution display than the 13″ Macbook Pro. It is a very crisp display. However, due to it’s small size and high resolution, type is noticeably smaller on the Air than what you would normally be used to on a Macbook Pro or iMac. This is easily rectified in many apps like Safari by zooming in, or increasing the font size. Some apps don’t offer this feature, so it’s not a universal fix if you find the display difficult to read.

macbook air 11 2 Macbook Air 11.6 Inch Review


The keyboard is very close to full size. The top row function keys are slightly thinner than the normal Macbook Pro keyboard. The arrow keys are similarly thinner. Overall the keyboard has a good feel, and if you like the standard Macbook Pro keyboard, you will probably enjoy the Airs keyboard.


I opted for the 1.6ghz version of the Air. Of all the upgrade options, this was the choice I was most torn about. At $200 more than the 1.4ghz CPU, it’s not entirely clear to me whether I will see much benefit from the increased horsepower.


The amazing thing you first notice when using this computer is how fast it feels. Startup is in the 20 second range. Applications launch nearly instantaneously. Obviously, anything that taxes the CPU or GPU is going to run slower than what you are probably used to. The odd thing is, you don’t realize how important disk speed is to your computing experience until you use an SSD equipped computer. Unless you spend your day rendering video or running CPU intensive Photoshop filters, chances are the Macbook Air with it’s pokey CPU and it’s bare metal SSD will feel much faster than your current non SSD computer.


I can not find where Apple placed the speakers on this thing. I see no speaker grills, but it sounds like the audio is eminating from underneath the keyboard. Either way, audio is plenty loud, and sounds amazingly good for a computer this size with no speaker grills.


The 11.6 inch Air has a 1366×768 glossy display. It is very sharp. Obviously, packing this many pixels in to a display this size means that most objects are going to be smaller than what you would be used to if you have been using a 13 or 15 inch Macbook Pro. When I’m typing on the Air while sitting at a desk, the screen resolution is comfortable and easy to read. When I’m sitting back on the couch, and I have the Air on my lap with the screen a few inches further away, the resolution can feel a bit too tiny at times. This could be due to my horrible eyesight. Either way, it’s a easy fix. Either bring the screen closer, or zoom in the screen if using Safari.


Apple claims 5 hours of battery life in their web surfing tests. I have been able to get 5 hours in my testing, which involved just using Safari to load a web page every minute until the battery ran out. When it comes to battery life, the Air isn’t going to best the iPad. But for a machine that is nearly as light, and infinitely more capable than the iPad, battery life is very good. In normal usage of performing work – which involves having Coda, Safari, Terminal, MAMP and Firefox open – I get just about 4 hours at about 50 percent screen brightness.

Wrap Up

The 11.6 inch Macbook Air is an amazing machine. It’s small. It’s fast. It’s light. It’s infinitely capable for many tasks including word processing, programming, web surfing & email, and lighter games. About the only people I would not recommend the Air too are those that work with 3D graphics, video, or Photoshop as their main tasks. In those cases, the power versus portability trade off probably isn’t as easy to digest. But if mobility is your primary concern, the 11.6 inch Air is the most mobile Mac ever made.

Buy the Macbook Air – 1.4ghz, 64GB SSD, 2GB RAM from

Category: Hardware,Reviews

Want an iPad 2? Try Radio Shack.

If you’ve been scouring your city looking for an iPad 2, salvation may have just come from the most unlikely of sources. Radio Shack has confirmed that about 500 of their stores (although they won’t confirm which ones) are set to get stock of the iPad 2 tomorrow.

If the Shack is in your neighborhood, and you’ve been trying to land an iPad, this might be your best opportunity.

Category: iPad

Intel releases next gen SSDs

Intel has released their next generation SSDs, the 320 series. Available in capacities from 40GB to 600GB, these new SSDs are actually less expensive than their predecessors. Starting at $89 for the 40GB, these drives top out at $1069 for the 600GB, which amazingly enough, is quite the bargain in today’s SSD market.

Category: Hardware,SSD

About the author

A user of Macs since they had silly names like Performa and Centris, Theodore Lee is a techie who prides himself on his vast knowledge of all things Apple. OS X Factor was started in 2001 (originally as macosxcentric), and continues to churn out tips, tutorials, reviews and commentary on the tech sector.