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Opinion

These days news articles about Apple are anything but scarce. Every day there is a fresh new crop of speculation, rumors and discussion regarding the future Apple’s product line and how it will continue to shape the way that we interact with technology.

However, the media hype is largely centered on the exciting and revolutionary products: iOS and its supporting devices. Google “iPad 3″ or “iPhone 5″ and you’ll find no shortage of juicy gossip. If the media gives attention to any Mac, it’s likely going to be the MacBook Air. But what about our favorite desktop machine? Where will the iMac go in 2012?

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When you purchased your Mac, you probably wanted the best web browser offered, whether it be Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, or some other worthy candidate. After all, quality hardware should also contain quality software. There has been much controversy on what truly is the best browser available for a Mac. Some say that Chrome is, and always will be, the best ever.

Others believe that it’s easier to stay with the default browser because it offers more functionality to the OS. While this is true and I’m not going to attempt to change those believers’ opinions, there is more to the situation than just that. For instance, Chrome does offer more than plugins than Safari does extensions, but this doesn’t necessarily make the latter a weak and functionless application, it just makes it a bit less desirable.

If you’re interested in finding out what browser truly holds the best functionality, speed and other elements then please join in after the break for some information that should fulfill your desires.

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Quicksilver. For seasoned Mac users that word instantly draws up fond memories of an app that was once at the top of every list of must have utilities. The beloved launcher has been out of the game for years though, an unceremoniously abandoned project that went before its time.

It seems though that the story doesn’t end there. The open source Quicksilver project, housed at QSApp.com, is alive and kicking and recently released a major update for Lion users. Intrigued? Read on!

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Gaming on the Mac has always been a sore topic for most gamer and users of the platform, as there hasn’t always been support from game studios and developers, and the topic of gaming on the Mac has always been taken as sort of a joke by most serious gamers.

However, lately a few things have changed with the Mac, like the launch of Steam for Mac and the Mac App Store, which have made things a bit different. Has it changed things much or is Mac gaming still stuck in the past? Let’s take a look.

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Apple released their large overhaul to their Mac operating system with Mac OS X Snow Leopard in June of 2009. This update seemed fairly basic to the naked eye as there weren’t many end-user feature updates, but under the hood the OS took strides in performance, efficiency and memory consumption. It was essentially laying the groundwork for the future. While I think Mac OS X users were happy with this update, I can say from personal experience that there was certainly some anticipation for what was next.

Mac OS X Lion launched barely two months ago and I was quick to give this new operating system a try. Developers had been working with versions of the operating system for some time prior and were talking about some of the features that were being played with by the Apple team. It appeared that this would be that major update that we’d been waiting for, bringing along with it many new end-user features.

I’m the type of person that is always looking for ways to be more efficient with my work. This is essentially a never ending journey, but the quest always continues on nonetheless. I grabbed a copy of Lion soon after it was released, anxious to see how the new features I had read about could possibly improve my productivity and efficiency.

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Several months ago, I wrote this piece regarding the then-current state of syncing among Mac apps and their mobile counterparts. What I didn’t know at the time was that Apple was toiling away in the forges of 1 Infinite Loop on what we now eagerly look forward to as iCloud. In case you’ve been living under a rock, iCloud is Apple’s latest attempt at a cloud-based sync service. Though we all saw the tragic end to .Mac and MobileMe, iCloud shows quite a bit more promise.

Today, I’d like to explore what iCloud means for third party developers. Specifically, I want to outline the potential I see in iCloud, and where I would like to see it go with regard to third party software.

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Yesterday. A Wednesday night. I was home, watching TV. I had some friends over. One of them was using my iPad to read the latest DC comics. He’d been reading them for most of the night. All of a sudden, he looks up at me, shock written across his face. I’d assumed he had reached a cliffhanger ending. I chuckled, and asked him which comic he’d finished reading.

No. The tone of his voice was serious. He walked across the room, iPad in hand, and held it up to me. In the center of the screen was a notification from the CNN app. It’s surreal message: “Steve Jobs, aged 56, has died.”

I never met Steve Jobs. Neither had my friend. But judging by the look of shock on his face, you’d be forgiven of thinking Steve was probably a relative, or at least a close, personal friend. Across the Internet, across the world, there’s an outpouring of grief at this loss. This is a loss for mankind as a whole. This is the disappearance of a historical figure, a living legend. A man famous for his talents and abilities. A man we all thought we knew because we used the products of his mind each and every day.

We’ll all miss you Mr. Jobs. We already do.

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That’s a pretty bold title, isn’t it? I didn’t really mean for it to be. I’m not a fan of shameless link bait. And it’s not my intention to be hyperbolic. I chose that question as the title because it’s the reason I’m writing this right now. That question has been rattling around in the back of my mind. And instead of continuing to ignore it, I thought I’d try and solidify my thoughts into a cohesive essay.

I’m not making any claims to brilliance here. I don’t think I’ve stumbled upon any insightful or revolutionary ideas here. I’m not even really trying to prove a point. I’m just trying to give a voice to this ever present feeling of dread that’s crept into my thoughts when they drift to the future of Apple. And I’m sharing these thoughts with a community of people who will hopefully understand where I’m coming from, and what I’m trying to say.

Steve Jobs has left the helm of Apple. And while he’s still at the company in what amounts to an advisory role, everyone knows that the Jobs’ era at Apple has ended. Sure the ripples of his presence there won’t subside immediately. David Pogue thinks we’ll need to really start worrying in about two years. But we’re all wondering what this will mean — Apple without Steve. None of us knows for certain. The only way we’ll know is to wait, and watch, as time goes by. The question isn’t so much, will Apple change? It’s, how will Apple change?

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There’s a lot to like about both of Apple’s most recent operating systems: Snow Leopard is stable, fast and mature enough to ensure that any significant bugs are probably fixed by now, while Lion brings new trackpad gestures, additional eye candy, new ways of managing and launching apps, along with a slick iOS-influenced user interface.

If you have a recent model Mac and don’t rely on Snow Leopard’s Rosetta support, it’s probably going to be relatively easy to make up your mind to upgrade or not. However, if your Mac is older, this is a more complex question. Let’s explore it further…

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Since the dawn of home computing, those in the know have measured a machine’s worth with a look at the system’s specifications: A Sinclair Spectrum ZX which sported 128K of RAM was better than the 48K version and, likewise, a 500MHz iBook G3 was naturally superior to its clamshell ancestor, which housed a 300MHz processor. Once you understand the terms and the math, it’s simple. Or it was, anyway.

In more recent years, the picture has become a little muddled – is a 2.2GHz AMD CPU superior to its Intel rival? Throw in multiple cores and a choice of video card and a confused mess becomes positively Byzantine. Then there’s Apple, who as usual do things their own way.

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