MacNN and Tekserve Close, EveryMac and Mactracker Carry On
Apple celebrated its 40th anniversary in April 2016, and the Mac has been changing the world for 32 years. Our 26 years of continuous Internet publication means that we’ve been online longer than any other Mac periodical, but it’s not surprising that other Apple-related organizations have shown similar longevity.
It is thus with mixed emotion that we report two closings and two notable anniversaries. Sadly, the Mac news site MacNN, founded in 1995, has announced that it will no longer be publishing regularly, and the venerable New York City Apple reseller Tekserve will be closing its doors for retail sales and service. On the upside, particularly for those trying to establish the technical particulars of some older Mac model, the Apple spec site EveryMac.com celebrated its 20th anniversary on 2 July 2016 and the spec app Mactracker marked its 15th anniversary back on 14 May 2016.
On 20 June 2016, MacNN announced that it would be ceasing regular publication. Editor Charles Martin gave no specific details in his article about the closure, saying:
It’s kind of amazing we made it this far — only TidBITS and Macworld are older and still around — but we’ve been told we’re packing it in. We’ve joked before that Apple becoming a huge mainstream company is the worst thing that ever happened to us, but it’s true: there’s less need for an Apple-specific news site when news about Apple is plastered everywhere, on every site, all the time. This is not the sole reason why we’re having to give up our comfy home (and just after repainting it, too!), but it’s part of the reality we’ve been working in.
We appreciate the nod, and I remember MacNN as being a notable player in the Apple news world particularly back around 2000, when Adobe sued MacNN for publishing details about the upcoming versions of Photoshop 6.0 and ImageReady 3.0 (see “MacNN Sued by Adobe, News at 11,” 12 June 2000). That was also around the time that Apple brought lawsuits against 25 anonymous defendants for posting trade secrets on the Internet (see “Apple Gets Serious About Plugging Leaks,” 7 August 2000). We wish the staff of MacNN the best.
Even sadder in some ways is the closing of Apple reseller Tekserve’s retail store on 15 August 2016. The company had been a stalwart of the Apple world in New York City, operating out of spaces on 23rd Street in Manhattan since 1987. It became such a fixture of the New York landscape that even the Carrie Bradshaw character in the “Sex and the City” TV show took her laptop there (“When was the last time you backed up?”).
Unlike MacNN, which was presumably struggling against the near-infinite competition for online attention and a market that no longer favors advertising-supported publications, Tekserve’s competitive problems were more physical. Apple has six stores in Manhattan alone, one not far from Tekserve. Plus, there’s a Best Buy nearby and all the usual online options. With rising rents, Tekserve’s retail operation simply didn’t make business sense anymore. At least Tekserve isn’t going away entirely; the company will continue to provide corporate sales and professional services.
Although it’s clear that Apple’s rising tide does not float all boats, other sites and apps continue apace. EveryMac.com, a Web site devoted to documenting detailed specs about Apple products, has been around for 20 years now, an impressive feat on the part of founder Brock Kyle. EveryMac.com provides details on all Macs from the vintage 68000 and PowerPC lines to the latest Intel models, and it covers all of Apple’s mobile devices, too. It’s a treasure trove of information, featuring the original prices of Macs around the world, specs on the largely forgotten Mac clones, and Q&As for many Mac models that go beyond mere specs. The site is still evolving too — last month, EveryMac.com
launched a new version of its Ultimate Mac Lookup feature that adds thousands of identifier specific tips and details.
Finally, though it’s the baby of this roundup, I also wanted to acknowledge the efforts of Ian Page, whose donation-ware Mactracker application has been a must-have for over 15 years now. First developed in 2001 for both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, Mactracker has evolved over time, adding an iOS version in 2009. Its internal database has grown too, from information on 243 models in version 1.0 to detailed specs on over 700 models today.
Mactracker and EveryMac.com are a boon to support techs, journalists, and anyone who needs to unearth specific characteristics of older Mac or other Apple hardware. Thanks to Brock Kyle and Ian Page for keeping them going all these years!
Thanks for reminding me. I owe a donation for MacTracker. The last time I donated was in 2005. Oops! Which is to say it has been my go-to app for Mac tech specs for over a decade.
As for independent Mac businesses and websites going under, the dieback has been going on for years. It's a wonder Tekserve lasted this long. Most other independent resellers are long gone.
Worst case, CNet subsumed two of the best web sites, MacFixIt and Version Tracker. Others have been degraded by runaway commercialization, including Macworld.com and MacUpdate. Somehow TidBITS has managed to resist the mortal tide, neither dying, being taken over by an Internet robber baron nor going full commercial. I'm glad to donate to maintain the site and to avoid advertising—and to be permitted to make longwinded comments. ;-)
There are still quite a few independent Apple resellers out there, but largely in areas where the markets aren't big enough for Apple to open a store. A lot of them also supplement their retail operations as Tekserve did, with corporate sales and professional services.
Surely, Ric's MacInTouch (1985) gets some kudos ?
For longevity, certainly! Though I haven't heard anything about specific anniversaries.