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Mac OS X Services in Snow Leopard

Mac OS X Services let one application supply its powers to another; for example, a Grab service helps TextEdit paste a screenshot into a document. Most users either don't know that Services exist, because they're in an obscure hierarchical menu (ApplicationName > Services), or they mostly don't use them because there are so many of them.

Snow Leopard makes it easier for the uninitiated to utilize this feature; only services appropriate to the current context appear. And in addition to the hierarchical menu, services are discoverable as custom contextual menu items - Control-click in a TextEdit document to access the Grab service, for instance.

In addition, the revamped Keyboard preference pane lets you manage services for the first time ever. You can enable and disable them, and even change their keyboard shortcuts.

Submitted by
Doug McLean

 
 

Sayonara, SRP

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Technical Support Coordinator, BAKA Computers

Reviews are mixed so far on Apple's announcement last week that they're doing away with the "Suggested Retail Price" and will instead publish street prices "more in line with the market" in the future. The announcement accompanied Apple's introduction of rebadged and new computers (see TidBITS #195) and new printers.

According to Apple, this is a marketing move aimed at bringing Apple's published prices closer to typical selling prices. The company says other manufacturers' published prices have generally been closer to the final selling price, making other products' prices seem lower, by comparison, than Apple's Macintosh prices.

The change may make Macintosh computers seem more economical, but infuriates some dealers, whose margins have been shrinking anyway. The difference may also confuse users who have grown accustomed to asking for, and receiving, discounted prices for large purchases. Because the published prices have been reduced across the board without matching reductions in the dealers' acquisition costs, many dealers will be unable or unwilling to significantly discount hardware purchases.

Apple apologized to dealers a couple of years ago after a Macintosh advertisement quipped "But who pays retail price anymore?" in the small print. The effect may be the same this time, but no apology is likely.

Future months will tell whether or not Apple's strategy has the desired effect: increasing Macintosh sales by making Mac prices more visibly competitive. If so, dealers might stand to gain from the increased sales. If not, Apple might simply be shrinking the pieces of an already-small pie.

 

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