Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Apple's change of name

So, Apple has dropped the word 'computer' from its name. What does this mean for the future of the Mac? Personally, I think it doesn't add anything new to the pot, in the sense that Apple has long been more than just a computer company. After all, the iPod isn't exactly a computer and we've had it around for what seems decades now, its presence is so pervasive in our lives.

One could also argue that from the very start Apple has been as much about the software as the hardware.. remember Claris and remember too that Bill Gates was turned down by Steve Jobs when he asked to license the Mac OS. In many ways, the non-computer side of Apple has been what's kept the computer [hardware] side alive all these years. Certainly, for myself, the OS has been more of an attraction than the hardware over the years, though I do love the design and reliability of the hardware too.

So, as for the future of the Mac, what does all this mean? Well, as I see it this name dropping thing is simply an acknowledgement of the reality that Apple is more than the Mac. It is indeed more than the sum of the parts, so to speak. I believe that the iPod and now the iPhone are examples of Apple re-inventing the wheel. They didn't invent the MP3 player (in fact they bought in the iPod, rather than develop it from scratch in-house). They just re-invented it in a way that made the whole thing attractive to so many of us that we just had to have one. Even now, 98% of the MP3 players on the market are plain rubbish. They look pretty naff too. So too with the iPhone. Already it is forcing a re-think on the part of manufacturer's and though many will still bring out naff phones for years to come, the top models will be trying to steal the iPhone's thunder. Certainly, I forsee there will be more touchscreen phones in the future, though how they will compete with Apple's GUI is a problem for them. That's why I believe that in five years or less, Apple will have captured over 50% of the market for mobile phones in the so-called 'smartphone' sector.

As for the Mac, well I am not afraid that it will shrivel up and die any time soon. What with Quad-core chips already leaving the Intel factories I expect an 8-core Mac Pro anytime soon. In fact, I reckon that it won't be long before all Macs are at least Quad-core, including laptops (especially laptops). In fact, I am dreaming of owning such a laptop within the next 18 months. If Apple is interested, here is my spec:

1. Quad Core CPU
2. Improved Graphics Card/CPU [capabale of running DirectX 10 under 'Boot Camp' [or whatever Apple call it by then]
3. High quality screens with improved brightness, contrast and better energy efficiency [OLEDS?)
4. Flash memory drive alongside a SATA drive, for faster booting and as faster virtual memory
5. Longer battery life [minimum 6 hours at peak use of cpu, drive etc]
6. Touch-screen model, perhaps using some of the iPhone GUI tricks.

So, here's keeping my fingers crossed for summer 2008!

As for the rest of the range,if Apple could bring out a Quad-Core Mac Mini for under £500 inc 17" TFT, keyboard and mouse, they would have a sure-fire winner as more folk would switch. I know that I could have sold truckloads of such a computer but instead see friends and family opting for a Windoze pc instead simply on price. They know that Windows is a dog, they know they're going end up paying me to sort out the inevitable crashes, virus and spyware infections and that they look at my MacBook Pro with envy.

A laptop that cost under £600 that was suitable for the kids, and for the average business user would sell like hot cakes too. So, how about it Apple?

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