Snow Leopard

One million Lions. Fake Apple Stores. That Hulu deal.

July 22, 2011: 10:57 AM ET

And other stories we missed while we were busy chasing down Apple analysts

It was an unusually busy week for Apple (AAPL), which released two new computers and a major overhaul of its flagship operating system the day after it reported earning that have more than doubled in a year. We covered the earnings and the subsequent pop in the stock price. Here are some of the stories we missed:

A pride of Lions. Apple announced Thursday that more than 1 million copies of OS X Lion were purchased and downloaded the day of its release. By comparison, the company sold two million copies of Snow Leopard in a weekend of sales two years ago. "Lion is off to a great start, user reviews and industry reaction have been fantastic," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing and a master of the anodyne quote. "Lion is a huge step forward, it's not only packed with innovative features but it's incredibly easy for users to update their Macs to the best OS we've ever made."

Photo: A BirdAbroad

Fake Apple Stores. The press loved the story of the retail outlets in southwestern China that passed themselves off as official Apple Stores, down to the style (if not the spelling) of the signage, perhaps because it played into the country's reputation for shameless disregard of western intellectual property rights. There was some question about whether the staff knew the stores were fake. The products, however, were real, as were the prices.

Will Apple buy Hulu? That's the rumor, based on a Bloomberg report that the company "is considering making a bid." Apple TV could certainly use the content that Hulu's owners -- Disney (DIS), News Corp. (NWS) and Comcast's (CMCSA) NBC -- is reportedly offering on an exclusive 2-year basis. And it can certainly afford the $2 billion price that's being bandied about. But All Things D's Peter Kafka tells us Friday not to hold our breath. Hulu's free, ad-supported business model, he points out, is pretty alien to Steve Jobs' way of doing things. Kafka runs down the list of possible buyers, from Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG) to Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), and suggests that Yahoo (YHOO) might be the best fit.

Grand Central redux. Rumors that Apple was going to build the world's largest Apple Store in New York City's Grand Central Terminal were shot down pretty quickly when it was determined that there wasn't room in the landmark building for a store that big. But New York Times reported this week Apple did submit a bid -- in "linen-lined boxes" -- for a more modest expanse of retail space on the balcony overlooking the station's main hall. According to the Times, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is likely to approve the request, perhaps as early as next week.

Daring Fireball, with feedback. John Gruber, the dean of Apple bloggers, has long been dismissive of reader feedback. From the day it launched in August 2002, his Daring Fireball website did not allowed for unsolicited comments -- until this week. We tried to ask Gruber why, after nearly nine years, he changed his mind, but he was still sleeping. [UPDATE: Yikes! I should have waited until John woke up. The comment stream is a Safari plug-in, not a Gruber-authorized feature. I installed it so long ago that I had forgotten, and was fooled when I switched this week from Firefox to Lion-ready Safari.]

Siracusa's book-length review. John Siracusa, a long-time Ars Technica contributor whose reviews of Apple's operating systems are legendary -- and lengthy -- outdid himself this time. His 27,000 word opus, which appeared the day Lion came out, is now available on Amazon as a Kindle e-book. A sample:

"Let's put aside the pessimistic prognostication for now and consider Lion as a product, not a portent. Apple pegs Lion at 250+ new features, which doesn't quite match the 300 touted for Leopard, but I guess it all depends on what you consider a "feature" (and what that "+" is supposed to mean). Still, this is the most significant release of Mac OS X in many years—perhaps the most significant release ever. Though the number of new APIs introduced in Lion may fall short of the landmark Tiger and Leopard releases, the most important changes in Lion are radical accelerations of past trends. Apple appears tired of dragging people kicking and screaming into the future; with Lion, it has simply decided to leave without us."

You can get the text for free here, but $4.99 isn't much to ask for the definitive review, and John could use the money. Click here to purchase.

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