Saturday, January 29, 2005

My, How Far Apple Has Come

/. linked to a really provoking article at I, Cringley about what Apple may be able to do. iFlix sounds like the coolest thing ever (not that they have gone and done it yet) and it is amazing to realize the potential of Mr. Jobs.

During the 90's (when Apple was Jobless, as it were) Mac was doomed. Microsoft needed to step in to keep Apple afloat to avoid its own anti-trust woes (even now Microsoft developers work closely with Apple to ensure that Office if fully compatible with Windows [An Office-less Apple would be a rotten one for sure]). I condemned Apple's practice of controlling the source of production for all its hardware, even as the Clones were killing the Apple franchise. At the dawn of 2005 Jobs looks not only like a Messiah (which he was in '99 (?) when he returned to Apple) but also a marketing genius. By creating kick-ars software, that leads the industry in what it does and ease of use, Jobs has finally been able to do what has never been attempted since 1984, give the PC a run for it. Just as no one could see back in 1980, when Macintosh first appeared, that the personal computer would be ubiquitous to the world of 2000, no one could imagine how Apple's model of making the computer the center of the digital home could transform computers. By lowered prices (finally!) and dropping the strickly high-end market business model, Apple is taking a huge leap, attempting to create the iPod style iBox for the prosumer.

The iPod is amazing in its own right. Who could have guessed that people would be willing to shell out $300 for a thing to listen to music? A really nice diskman was $200 and no one had those, they were for rich middle-age people. But iPod created a demand for something people didn't know they couldn't live without. I am considering buying an iPod and even though there are cheaper alternatives merely because the iTunes is that good. The razor is so good, I can't justify buying any other blade. Now with the Mac Mini they are trying phase II, and over-priced home entertainment system. Can the market support it? Someone must think so.

The difference is that iTunes preceded the iPod (from what I remember). Here there is no software that the Mac Mini will immediately latch on to. In all fairness the Mac Mini is not being billed as a home entertainment anything, but just a cheap option to Switch. It does set itself up well though. Creating the demand is the key. Apple must convince all of us young rich people that we want an expensive home theater that can stream HDTV, radio and movies and that we have the funds to afford it.

It is just amazing for the moment to reflect that a company which has failed for so long with its business model, which combined the software and hardware development, is now on the verge of being so successful with both. Who knew. (A. My Dad)

1 comment:

Sesquis said...

Well...I'd disagree that the Mac Mini would be really billed as a home entertainment system. Consider that most real PC-driven home entertainment boxes are driven by either a very bare and well-patched XP or linux, with massive hard disks for recorded content and a fairly powerful video card for HDTV use. The Mac Mini has none of these. It is, really, cheap hardware to get people to try out OS X for what it does damn well: surfing the net and doing light work. That's why it doesn't come with anything else. If you've already got a PC, you'll be plugging those peripherals in. I really don't forsee someone using the Mac Mini for a home entertainment server until the specs are bumped up quite a bit, which would bring the price point up several notches and largely defeat the purpose of offering a "cheap Mac".