The Son of the last of a long line of thinkers. (delascabezas) wrote,
The Son of the last of a long line of thinkers.


I have read a good deal of activity online concerning Apple's recent move to offer a dual boot option. It is the 30th anniversary of the company today. What I find most amusing is that many of the zealots bemoaning the integration of things are split down the middle. Half believe Jobs has finally lost it, the other half believe he has something up his sleeve, and that he will usher in a new era of Apple supremacy.

Most of these zealots are the same who love to trot out the 'Developers' speech, or Gates' quote about RAM. I think anyone who makes concrete statements about the future of technology is an idiot.

Here are some examples, via Wilson Ng' s article.

1) Jobs was not a believer originally of notebook computers. “(Smaller portables) are OK if you’re a reporter and trying to take notes on the run,” he told Playboy magazine in February 1985. “But for the average person, they’re really not that useful.”

Eighteen years later, he declared 2003 “the year of the notebook” for Apple. “Many users are going to wonder why they even need a desktop computer anymore,” he had said.

2) Introducing the flat-panel iMac at Macworld San Francisco in January 2002, Jobs tells the audience that “the new iMac ushers in the age of flat-screen computing for everyone. The CRT display is now officially dead.”

Four months after, Apple brings out the eMac, a 17-inch flat CRT powered by a G4 processor that’s pitched at the education market.

3) “Apple has decided to make Internet Explorer its default browser,” declared Jobs at Macworld Boston in 1997, cementing a stunning partnership with longtime nemesis Microsoft. “Internet Explorer is my browser of choice,” he had said.

In 2003, Apple introduces its own browser, Safari. Jobs said: “Safari’s highly tuned, rendering engine loads pages over three times faster than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for the Mac and runs JavaScript over twice as fast. Safari is the fastest browser on the Mac, and we predict that many will feel it is the best browser ever created.”

4) In 1998, he tells Fortune magazine: “I don’t really believe that televisions and computers are going to merge. I’ve spent enough time in entertainment to know that storytelling is linear. It’s not interactive. You go to your TV when you want to turn your brain off. You go to your computer when you want to turn your brain on. Those are not the same.”

The debut of the iMac G5 in October 2005 contradicted that statement. The built-in Front Row software allows users to play music, view photo slide shows and watch videos. “The new iMac G5 debuts our amazing Front Row media experience, and we think users are going to love it,” said Jobs.

5) Apple introduced the iPod photo in October 2004, disappointing pundits who believed the company would release a video-capable iPod. Jobs addressed their dashed hopes, stating emphatically that the iPod is the “wrong place” for video. “No one has any video content to put on them, and even if they did, the screens are much too small.”

In October 2005, Apple takes the wraps off the fifth-generation iPod, which features the ability to play video.

6) In November 2003, Jobs pronounces himself “very happy with the PowerPC.” “We have all the options in the world, but the PowerPC road map looks very strong so we don’t have any plans to switch processor families at this point,” he said then.

In June 2005, Jobs drops a bombshell: “Apple will deliver Intel-based Macs within a year.”

Ng pitches this as part of Job's visionary leadership. His ability to change horses midstream, and adapt himself and his company in directions which make a difference.

My problem with Apple remains the problem I have had with it for many years. NOT since the beginning of my relationship with computers (I was Apple trained back in the day), but more or less since Y2K. They don't add value to technology, they add image. While the effect of the ipod revolution on digital music market is hardly negligible, they created that platform using DRM, which I abhor on intellectual and moral levels. Jobs has maintained a cult of personality, and the market has kept with that cult. The upcoming italk, iphone, and iwhatever will move this cult forward, without really adding any innovation. They add overpriced services. They add contractual lock-ins and married software and hardware. They are the Mercedes Benz of technology - they couple very savvy design with exquisite marketing, and prices to match. Benz has definitely made some innovations over the years, but none that an be adapted or applied outside of their systems. I'll never own a Benz for the same reason I will never own a Mac. Give me something I can take apart, innovate with, add or subtract from at will, without hassle. That is the core of computers to me - customability, not perceived individuality though mass consumerism.

Think different indeed.

As I pointed out elsewhere, this move for the dual-boot support is based on fear. Fear that the reverse engineering tactics of many savvy programmers will take Apple's much lauded O/S out of their hands and put it in the hands of the consumer. Once that happens, you don't need to buy an overpriced machine to get the super-ergonomically designed leather interior. If you can run Jaguar on anything, why pay for an overpriced machine, other than because you like the way it looks? If you like the way it looks, and have the cash to burn, you'l keep going back. The fringe who has been paying for the hardware because it is the only way they could run the software will evaporate. Apple was nearly killed by clones once before. They are on the precipice of such a situation now. They need to keep their devout rooted in hardware and software solutions which keep them making money on a 2-3 year cycle. If they lose that nice, thy lose their slice of the pie.

That market that buys for aesthetics will be faced with a boatload of design imitations at half the price. Apple's vice grip on the luxury computer market has only really been challenged by Sony, and Sony has too many other pies in the oven to make a concerted effort to provide real competition, particularly against a zealot market. If Apple gives up its proprietary O/S, or if that O/S becomes divorced from their hardware, you may see Sony and others (like Dell) swoop in on that high end market like vultures at a charnel pit.

I hate Microsoft just as much if not more, for many of the same practices. Don't paint me as an 'A vs B' guy. I am a market vs. technology guy. The problem is, the consumer is dumb, and the tech innovators all belong to good marketing teams. There is too much money out there for the field to be different. Change the consumers, and you change the culture.

I doubt we'll see it before the whole thing comes crashing down, but a boy can dream, right?

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