The birth of iTunes, Apple’s killer app

Apple iTunes, version 1. Image credit: Apple

Talk about a killer app! Apple’s iTunes and the incredibly successful iTunes Music Store have formed the basis for a huge wave of iPod sales. The program literally helped transform Apple from a maker of computers and software into a household name in the consumer electronics market. So how did it all start?

The first version of iTunes was released by Apple in January 2001 but the underpinnings of the program were first created by someone else.

Which application was bought by Apple and formed the basis for iTunes?

Think you know the answer? Post a response in the comments — we’ll post the answer tomorrow.

Layers in Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop over the years

Originally written on a Macintosh Plus by a doctoral candidate named Thomas Knoll, the computer program that came to be known as Adobe Photoshop officially celebrates its 20th birthday this month. And what a 20 years its been!

The first versions of Photoshop were only available on the Macintosh. This was one of the things that cemented Apple’s reputation as the leader in the field of desktop publishing.

Often hailed as the single most important aspect of the program’s development, which version of Photoshop was the first to include support for layers?

Think you know the answer? Post a response in the comments — we’ll post the answer tomorrow.

That’s alotta spam!

Spam blocker.

Ahhh, spam (aka “the abuse of electronic messaging systems” according to Wikipedia). What would your e-mail inbox look like without all of the customary plugs for great deals on Viagra? We’ll probably never know.

Fortunately, if you are using a modern e-mail client such as Apple’s Mail application, most spam whisked away to a separate folder by using an intelligent filter, thereby freeing up your inbox. Since we’re talking about spam and we just entered the year 2010, it seems only fitting to look back 2009 to see just how many junk messages we received in 2009.

In 2009, what percentage of all e-mail sent across the internet was spam?

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The first of the iApps

Apple’s iLife applications. Image credit: Apple

Apple’s iLife suite is a set of applications that is bundled for free with every new Mac. GarageBand, iPhoto, iMovie, iWeb and iDVD are all currently included in iLife.

Fully featured, easy-to-use, sophisticated pieces of software, these applications have helped attract new customers to the Mac platform. This contrasts with the crippled “trial” versions of software that often come pre-installed on Windows PCs. (Who really wants pre-installed software that requires you spend extra cash to access all of its features?)

Out of all the iApps now included with iLife, which was the FIRST to be released by Apple?

Funny math in Snow Leopard

Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Image credit: Apple

As with each new release of Mac OS X, Apple made incremental improvements to Snow Leopard. Some of the new features in Snow Leopard include support for Microsoft Exchange (without having to use Entourage), complete 64-bit computing and an accross-the board speed bump.

Which of the following changes having to do with “funny math” is actually a new feature in Snow Leopard?

The spiritual predecessor to Apple’s Safari web browser

Apple Safari. Image credit: Apple

Since the launch of Safari in 2003, Mac users haven’t had to settle for a slow web browsing experience. Then Firefox joined the party in 2004, and most recently, a beta version of Google’s Chrome web browser was released for Mac OS X.

Safari has been very successful for Apple. But back in 1996, Apple developed a piece of software that combined a number of Internet tools into one “Internet suite” application that didn’t last very long. This software included a web browser, e-mail client and newsreader, among other things.

What was the name of this short-lived suite of Internet applications developed by Apple?

One missing Mac OS X app

Mac OS X v10.0 “Cheetah” – the first of the big cats

Even amidst the recent talk of Apple rejecting apps, there’s no doubt that the sheer variety and scale of applications available in the iTunes App Store has fueled the sales of the iPhone and iPod touch. The iPhone is great. The applications make it even better.

On a related note, when the first version of the Mac OS X (“Cheetah”) was released in 2001, Apple made a big deal about the fact that most major applications from OS 9 had been ported to the new operating system. Unfortunately for Apple there was one core group of users — a group of users quite loyal to the Mac platform — that was reluctant to upgrade because one core application hadn’t been ported to OS X.

Which application arrived really late to Mac OS X, causing many of those working in the design and publishing professions to postpone upgrading to “Cheetah”?

Apple’s online service

The main interface for Apple’s online service

Long before Mac and iPhone users could sync their devices using MobileMe, Apple offered a different kind of online service to its customers. (And no, we’re not talking about iTools or .mac.) This was an online community similar to AOL, but it catered specifically to Mac users.

Apple’s online service used a unique metaphor in the design of its user interface. After connecting to the service, users were presented with a graphic depicting a town square. Each of the buildings in the town square represented links to different areas such as forums, chat rooms and e-mail. A basic web browser web was added in a later version of the software.

What was the name of the online service Apple created?