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Online shopping continues to increase



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There’s serious talk of an iPod cell phone down the road, as well as the possibility of a new OS X operating system that will work on PCs. One hack called OSx86 already accomplishes this and has been extremely popular, while computer maker Dell has openly expressed an interest in selling computers preloaded with OS X. With Apple getting its processors made by Intel in the future, a PC version of OS X that challenges Microsoft’s dominance in the market may be closer than we think, whatever Apple might say.

What does it all mean? Is Apple really pushing to become mainstream in both the software and hardware markets after decades on the fringe?

One of the only reasons Apple has survived is the fact that they’ve always had a loyal following. They’ve always been content with five per cent or less of the personal computer market, and have never been considered a serious competitor by any of the big names in the business. IBM even manufactures Apple’s G-Series processors, and will until Intel takes over.

Now that Apple’s following is growing through gadgets like the iPod and the Mac Mini, through better value and bundling, through the system’s reputation for security, and through the growth of other gadgets like digital cameras and digital video cameras (Apple has always been the system of choice for graphics people) one has to wonder if the company is gearing up to tangle with the big boys.

And the winner is – Blu-ray?

Sony’s Blu-Ray high capacity DVDs may have won the battle for next generation supremacy over Toshibal’s HD-DVD without selling a single disk or player in North America or Europe (although the players are already available in Japan).

Last week Forrester Research Group predicted that Blu-ray will win the battle due to growing support from the entertainment industry. Supporters now include Warner Bros., Paramount Home Entertainment, Disney, Lions Gate Home Entertainment, (Sony-owned) Universal Music Group, Twentieth Century Fox, Apple, Electronic Arts and Vivendi Universal Games. It will also be available in the Sony Playstation 3, which will be released in early 2006.

Manufacturers lined up to make and sell Blu-ray recorders, players and PC drives include Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Hitachi, JVC, LG, Sharp, Yamaha, Zenith, BenQ, Dell and Hewlett-Packard (as long as Blu-ray allows users to download contents of Blu-ray disks onto hard drives for home media centre compatibility).