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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

 

 

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Apple Reports Strong Q2 2007 Financials

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Thanks to the holiday sales that boost Q1 profits, there's no way Apple's second quarter results could have competed with Q1 2007's record-setting numbers (see "Apple Posts $1 Billion Profit for Q1 2007," 2007-01-22), but they're still awfully strong. For the fiscal quarter ending 31-Mar-07, Apple posted revenue of $5.26 billion (up from $4.36 billion in the year-ago quarter) and a net profit of $770 million (up from $410 million). Gross margin also increased significantly, at 35.1 percent, up from 29.8 percent, showing that Apple is making more from each sale.

The strong numbers resulted somewhat more from 1,517,000 Macs sold, up 36 percent over the year-ago quarter, than from the 10,549,000 iPods sold, a 24-percent increase. Macintosh sales accounted for $2.27 billion in revenues (up 44 percent from the year-ago quarter), whereas iPods contributed $1.69 billion (down 1 percent). The iTunes Store, iPod services, and Apple's sales of Apple and third-party iPod accessories accounted for $653 million in revenues, outstripping the $309 million Apple brought in from sales of peripherals and the $345 million from software.

It's interesting that Apple's unit sales of iPods grew by 24 percent over last year's second quarter, but revenues dropped by 1 percent. That would seem to imply that Apple is selling more of the cheaper iPods. Also worthy of note is that the shift in popularity from desktops to portables has continued. A year ago, the ratio of desktop units sold to portables was 55 to 45 percent, where it had been for at least a few quarters. But in Q3 2006, the ratio switched to 40 percent for desktops and 60 percent for portables, and that ratio has held steady ever since.

The share of Apple's sales that came from international markets remained flat from Q2 2006, at 43 percent, mostly thanks to a strong showing in Europe that outweighed a drop in Japan. The international sales percentage dropped precipitously after Q2 2006 and has been rising ever since.

 

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