Greetings all. I decided to take a go at revising the FAQ to get the basic information more up-to-date. Of course, any suggestions, critiques, or improvements are most welcome. It is my hope that anybody will feel free to update or improve this into a “v. 3.1” without half of a decade passing (perhaps after the iPhone release?).AAPL iFAQ v. 3.0, Updated 6/10/07(Version 2.0 Last Updated 02/05/02)What is Apple Inc.?Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL; http://www.apple.com/), renamed from Apple Computer Inc. on 01/09/07, is a leading designer and manufacturer of personal computers, servers, and consumer electronics.When was Apple founded and when did the first Apple Macintosh computer appear?Apple Computer was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in a garage in Silicon Valley. The Apple II, introduced in 1977, was the first personal computer in the modern sense of the term to become truly successful as a commercial product. Then, in 1984, Apple released the Apple Macintosh, the first personal computer to feature a GUI (Graphical User Interface), an event that changed the face of personal computing (to view the famous Super Bowl ad first announcing the Macintosh, see http://www.uriahcarpenter.info/1984.html).The interface of the Macintosh has evolved, while still remaining familiar and easy-to-use, even as the hardware has advanced to the point that it now encompasses five lines of powerful personal computers: the iMac (all-in-one consumer desktop), the Mac mini (small consumer desktop), the MacBook (consumer portable), the Mac Pro (professional desktop), and the MacBook (professional portable) as well as two server hardware products: Xserve and Xserve RAID. Each of these new product lines has enjoyed great critical acclaim and commercial success. In 2001, Apple introduced the iPod, a portable personal music player which is currently broken down into three different lines: iPod shuffle, iPod nano, and iPod. Apple began shipping Apple TV in March 2007. Apple TV wirelessly streams digital content from a home PC to a high-definition TV. In one of the most highly anticipated releases in years, Apple will begin selling iPhone in conjunction with AT&T on June 29, 2007. It will be initially available in 4 & 8 gigabyte configurations and is marketed as a combination of a wide-screen video iPod, a cellular phone, and a breakthrough internet communicator (including a full-featured web browser).I've heard a lot about Apple lately... Why is it in the news now so much?Since Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, Apple has re-emerged in a remarkable fashion as an innovative and influential force in the computer industry. (Jobs' return resulted from Apple's acquisition of NeXT Computer, which he also founded. In addition to his impact on Apple and NeXT, Jobs has also turned Pixar Animation Studios which he bought from Lucasfilm in 1986, into the world's premier digital animation studio, now part of Disney). Apple's products and marketing have undergone marked changes during this time, recapturing the imagination of consumers and the popular culture. Its innovations and designs are again setting the pace for the whole personal computer industry, without sacrificing the Mac's famous ease-of-use.If you're considering becoming an investor in Apple, your job is now to look at Apple as a company and as an investment.How is an Apple Macintosh different from a Windows PC?The Macintosh uses a proprietary operating system (OS X) that is different from the one most people are familiar with, Microsoft Windows. Now that the Mac runs on Intel chips, it is possible to also run the Windows operating system and programs on the same machine that runs Mac OS X. Prior to this switch, Macintosh computers ran on processors made by Motorola.Is the Mac a viable platform in the PC world?There was a time that Apple was very near total obscurity. The Windows OS was near ubiquitous (and remains nearly so to this day) and other, competing, operating systems were unable to maintain a user base large enough for most software developers to justify writing software for them.In 1997 Steve Jobs returned to the company he helped found and dramatically reversed Apple's slide into irrelevance. The original iMac, released in 1998, was a commercial hit and quickly entered into popular culture's consciousness. Other breakout products have fared well – notably Apple's iBook (now the MacBook line) and its widely acclaimed Titanium Power Book (now the MacBook Pro line). The newest flat panel iMac and Apple's iPod also continue to sell extremely well. Concurrent with Apple's success in selling hardware, many software vendors have jumped on board ensuring that the many popular Windows programs are also available on the Macintosh.It is true that the Macintosh occupies but a small portion of the vast PC market, but the Macintosh continues to win new users in the wider market, as well as in smaller, niche market that Apple excels in such as graphic arts, education, and digital video.What is Mac OSX?Apple's newest operating system, OS X (X being the Roman numeral for “ten”) is a radical change for the company. It combines the legendary easy-to-use Macintosh interface atop a Unix-based core (via the NeXT operating system). Unix operating systems are considered the most powerful, stable and versatile of any, and this is why most major mission-critical computers and server platforms in use today run some form of Unix. Mac OS X development is comprised of proprietary elements, many related to the Macintosh interface, and Darwin, an open-source Unix component. Mac OS X promises to finally realize one of the holy grails of computing: bringing Unix-like power and stability under the control of a very easy-to-use interface.What is QuickTime and why is it important?Apple QuickTime technology is a broad, multiplatform video and audio software set for live streaming, playback or interactive multimedia. QuickTime encompasses content authoring and delivery with both client and server components. QuickTime ties Apple's investment in Akamai Technologies to its ambitions in the area of expanding and improving content delivery. The QuickTime Player can playback video and audio content of most major formats on the Internet. QuickTime Virtual Reality allows for interactive visualization of 3-D images. QuickTime is also capable of high-quality live streaming video, which makes it an extremely promising technology as live television content moves onto the Internet. QuickTime is poised to play a major role in the coming convergence of Internet, television and broadcast technologies (we hope!).I've heard Mac users are zealots. Is this true?We prefer to think of ourselves as defenders of the one true faith.OK – enough propaganda. How does AAPL shape up as an investment?Like for most computer makers, 2001 was a nightmare. Apple lost money for the first time in several years. However, it's important to note that the majority of this loss occurred in the very first quarter, following the very disastrous launce of the Cube, a pretty looking Mac shaped like an, um, cube. The Cube was way overpriced and introduced at the beginning of a huge downturn in computer sales. Apple was forced to slash prices and discontinue the product, causing them to report an earnings loss in the first quarter of 2001. Every quarter since then, however, Apple has made money, a claim few computer makers can make.Some other relevant numbers, as of June 8, 2007:AAPL Price: $124.49Cash on Hand: $6.4 BillionMarket Cap: 107.68 BillionLong-term Debt: NoneEarnings (TTM): $3.16PE (TTM): 39.38Dividend: NoneWhether AAPL is a good investment going forward is dependant on how successful it is in continuing its recent growth. Some analysts believe that, even if the Macintosh platform continues to grow, it will not grow fast enough to offset the costs of Apple being an innovator. Others believe that Apple's innovations are precisely what will drive the company's future growth.The Fool discussion board is filled with discussions on these very topics.Financials from reports and SEC filings can be found at http://www.apple.com/investor/.Where can I find company, financial and investor information?A good place to start is on "Yahoo! Finance" (http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=aapl). Extensive information can be found on Apple's investor page: (http://www.apple.com/investor/).What exactly are Apple's major product categories?Apple sells software and hardware aimed both at consumers and professional markets. Some of the most important are:I. COMPUTERSA. "Consumer" Lines1. iMac (all-in-one desktop)2. Mac mini (small headless desktop)3. MacBook (portable)B. Professional Lines1. Mac Pro (desktop)2. MacBook Pro (portable)C. Servers1. Xserve (64-bit server)2. Xserve RAID (server data storage)II. CONSUMER ELECTRONICSA. iPod Line (digital music players)1. iPod shuffle (flash based screenless player)2. iPod nano (flash based player with color screen)3. iPod (hard-disk based music and video player)B. iPhone (cell phone, wide-screen iPod, and internet device)C. Apple TV (streams media from a computer to a TV)III. RELATED HARDWAREA. Apple DisplaysB. Wireless (AirPort; developed by Apple with Lucent wireless technology)C. Mighty Mouse (mouse available in both wired and wireless options, includes scroll ball and multiple “buttons”)D. Peripheral Connectivity/Miscellaneous1. Firewire (IEEE 1394; developed by Apple; also used by Sony under the name of "iLink DV" for high-speed digital video transfer from devices like camcorders to computers)2. USB (Universal Serial Bus; early adoption by Apple)3. Bluetooth (Wireless peripheral connectivity)4. The Superdrive : A CD/DVD RW drive that authors DVDs playable in most commercial DVD playersIV. SOFTWAREA. Mac OS XB. Mac OS X Server (server version of Mac OS X operating system)C. QuickTime (multimedia video and audio software)D. iTunes (consumer music software that connects to iTunes Store)E. iLife (consumer creativity suite)1. iPhoto (digital photo management)2. iWeb (website and blog creation/management)3. iMovie HD (consumer-level digital video editor)4. iDVD (DVD authoring)5. GarageBand (audio mixer and editor)F. iWork1. Keynote (slideshow presentation program, similar to Microsoft's PowerPoint)2. Pages (word processor)G. Final Cut Studio 2 (professional video editing)1. Final Cut Pro 6 (video mixer and editor)2. Motion 3 (3d graphic creator)3. Soundtrack Pro 2 (audio mixer and editor for use with videos)4. Color (color grading and finishing)5. Compressor 3 (compresses video into multiple formats)6. DVD Studio Pro (professional DVD authoring)H. Final Cut Express HD (“prosumer” level video editing software)I. Aperture (professional and “prosumer” photo editing software)J. Logic Pro (professional audio editing and music production software)K. Logic Express (intermediary level autio editing and music production software between consumer-level GarageBand and professional-level Logic Pro)L. Shake (digital composition software)M. WebObjects (application server and e-commerce software)N. AppleWorks (word processing, graphics and illustration, spreadsheet, charting/graphing, presentations and database)O. Filemaker, Inc. (database software; a subsidiary of Apple Computer; http://www.filemaker.com/)P. Miscellaneous Software Products: Including AppleScript, AppleShare IP, ClarisWorks for Kids, HyperCardV. SERVICESA. iTunes Store (sells music, TV shows, movies, and iPod games for download)B. .Mac (web applications including publishing, photocasting, online backup, e-mail, and multiple computer/device syncronization)C. Apple Developer Connection (http://www.apple.com/developer/)For more information on Apple products, see the Apple Web site's products page, where you'll find links to specific pages for each of these product categories. International Apple Web sites and Apple Stores can easily be found by going to http://www.apple.com/ and then using the scroll-down box at the bottom of the page to select the appropriate country.Where can Apple products be purchased?Apple computers and other products can be purchased at retailers as well as online through the Apple Store (store.apple.com) or vendors such as www.MacMall.com, www.MacWarehouse.com and www.smalldog.com. In 2001, Apple opened the first of its long awaited company owned stores. Located in upscale, high traffic shopping areas, the Apple stores promise to expand the Apple brand to a whole new market.Learn more about Apple's retail stores at http://www.apple.com/retail/.Where can I find additional information about Apple and its products?Of course, you can find a lot of information on Apple's Web site (www.apple.com). In addition, there are many Apple-related sites on the Web, including the following.Investment Sites:http://www.apple.com/investor/http://www.cboe.com/ (Chicago Board Options Exchange; Options Trading Information)http://finance.yahoo.com/http://quote.fool.com/summary.aspx?s=AAPLNews, Information and Advice Sites:http://www.maclife.com/http://www.macworld.com/http://www.macfixit.com/http://www.macintouch.com/http://www.macsoftware.apple.com/ (Catalog of16,000+ Products for the Macintosh)http://www.powerpage.org/http://www.versiontracker.com/Technology Sites:http://www.1394ta.com/http://www.apple.com/firewire/http://www.usb.org/http://www.apple.com/usb/Apple History Sites:http://www.apple-history.com/http://applemuseum.bott.org/http://www.pbs.org/nerds/part1.html ("The Triumph of the Nerds: The Transcripts" - A PBS documentary on the history of the personal computer by ex-Apple employee Robert Cringly.)Rumor and Entertainment Sites:http://www.macrumors.com/http://www.appleinsider.com/http://www.macosrumors.com/http://www.thinksecret.com/http://www.looprumors.com/http://www.tuaw.com/http://macdailynews.com/Thanks to all on the board, especially First2Fight for version 2.0 on which this FAQ was based.~TheXRayStyle
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