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Apple in Ten Years


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View Poll Results: Where Will Apple Be in 10 Years?
Apple Will Maintain its Current Position: An Innovator with a Niche Position in the Computer Industry 57 38.78%
Apple Will Be Much Bigger: Regaining Position in Computer Hardware and Being Dominant in Other Digital Lifestyle Areas 67 45.58%
Apple Will Be a Substantially Different Company: It Will Not Produce Computer Hardware, but Will Sell Other Digital Lifestyle Products 13 8.84%
Apple Will Have Been Bought by Another Big Technology Company: Apple Technology Will Merge With Their Technology 2 1.36%
Apple Will Have Entirely Ceased to Exist 8 5.44%
Voters: 147. You may not vote on this poll

Apple in Ten Years
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Chinney
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ottawa, ON
 
2004-06-22, 09:02

What is the long-term future of Apple Computer? I know a lot of people here are Apple fans as I am but I ask you nevertheless to make a clear-minded prediction, keeping in mind the challenges and opportunities within the industry and Apples current position. I am setting out a few possibilities in a poll format. I know that there are more possibilities, and unstated potential nuances and sub-options within the possibilities that I have provided, but pick the option that seems closest. Or dont pick an option and just explain what your own prediction would be. Or do both.

1. Apple Will Maintain its Current Position: An Innovator with a Niche Position in the Computer Industry

2. Apple Will Be Much Bigger: Regaining Position in Computer Hardware and Being Dominant in Other Digital Lifestyle Areas

3. Apple Will Be a Substantially Different Company: It Will Not Produce Computer Hardware, but Will Sell Other Digital Lifestyle Products

4. Apple Will Have Been Bought by Another Big Technology Company: Apple Technology Will Merge With Their Technology

5. Apple Will Have Entirely Ceased to Exist

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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oldmacfan
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Mile 1
 
2004-06-22, 10:44

#2 is my guess, I think we are seeing this happen now.
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Barto
Student extraordinaire
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Canberra, Australia
 
2004-06-22, 10:44

There needs to be either more moderate options, like moderately larger and moderately smaller, or "none of the above." Until then, I'm not voting.
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Chinney
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ottawa, ON
 
2004-06-22, 10:55

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barto
There needs to be either more moderate options, like moderately larger and moderately smaller, or "none of the above." Until then, I'm not voting.
As suggested in my first post, there are so many nuances and sub-possibilities, that the poll would have been unwieldy. In any case, the poll itself is just a general guide if youve got a viewpoint or prediction outside the possibilities mentioned in the poll, just write it out. Id love to hear it. I am interested in knowing where the Apple community think that the company is headed, long-term.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.

Last edited by Chinney : 2004-06-22 at 14:59.
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Paul
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: New York City
 
2004-06-22, 20:42

wow, dead heat!
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DMBand0026
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Chicago
 
2004-06-22, 20:57

I think we're already seeing a move in the direction of #2. They are getting bigger, market share will grow soon enough. I don't see Apple going anywhere but up right now. They've made their share of mistakes in past years, and I know they learned from them.

Come waste your time with me
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Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-22, 21:37

Apple is growing in the hardware. They also continue to grow in the digital indrustery. Apple may change its name which I really do doubt. But, they will not cease to exist. Microsoft will be the one to cease to exist first. Normally companies don't stay the same. They have to change in some sort of way.

This opinion is approved by Undertaker/quagmire

giggity
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HOM
The Elder™
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: The Rostra
 
2004-06-22, 21:57

Although the Mac division still brings in the majority of revenue the iPod division brings in almost all of the profits. Besides that, the Mac division is selling half as many computers now as they did in 2000.

Does that mean that Apple will be dead in a few years? Not at all, but I absolutely think we are seeing the Last Great Apple Migration. The first was from the Apple ][ to the Mac. Then 68k to PPC. Lastly Mac OS 9 to OSX. I would be surprised if Apple is still selling computers in 5 years. It's going to be all about the music. iPods, iTunes, and perhaps their Pro apps on the Windows alternative will be their sources of revenue and we'll think about our Macs like I think about a BeBox.

I would not be shocked at all if 5 years from now, people talk about iTunes as they do about MTV now.


CARTHAGO DELENDA EST

¡Viva La Revolucion!
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sCreeD
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Join Date: May 2004
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2004-06-22, 21:58

"Much Bigger?" Such optimism in the PC industry is lethal. The personal computer's successes could the be the industry's undoing. Specifically, look at the the HTPC trend and the next-generation of "game consoles."
Also look at the price of PCs for their speed/power. At my place of work, we're purchasing 2.8Ghz P4s with 256MB RAM & 40GB HDDs for people who do Word, IE and a wee bit of Access (which is being converted to Web apps). We're having a hard time keeping the price of these Dells above the $1000 USD mark in order for them to be decaled for inventory. (Which is the ridiculous mandate of our Business Office). I'm personally seeing the need for an upgrade cycle grind to a halt. So for both consumer and business end users, there are ultra-cheap, razor-thin profit alternatives in the future.
Steve is gambling that Apple can escape that future by turning a small subset of those end users of content into... yep, prosumers. It's really a neat trick. Steve has always wanted the computer to be a creative tool and it justifies higher cost products to allow customers to create personal content.
This, I believe, is why Apple seems so disinterested in the lowest end of the market. A $400 Mac might increase market share but it couldn't be capable (dare I say "worthy") of allow us to create content.

Screed
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Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-22, 22:21

Quote:
Originally Posted by HOM
Although the Mac division still brings in the majority of revenue the iPod division brings in almost all of the profits. Besides that, the Mac division is selling half as many computers now as they did in 2000.

Does that mean that Apple will be dead in a few years? Not at all, but I absolutely think we are seeing the Last Great Apple Migration. The first was from the Apple ][ to the Mac. Then 68k to PPC. Lastly Mac OS 9 to OSX. I would be surprised if Apple is still selling computers in 5 years. It's going to be all about the music. iPods, iTunes, and perhaps their Pro apps on the Windows alternative will be their sources of revenue and we'll think about our Macs like I think about a BeBox.

I would not be shocked at all if 5 years from now, people talk about iTunes as they do about MTV now.

Could I see the proof of half as many computers as back in 2000? I would think the Mac is growing. Apple is recoverying from its mistakes in the past with the Mac. People will realise that Macs are stable.

giggity
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HOM
The Elder™
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: The Rostra
 
2004-06-22, 22:57

According to Gartner Apple shipped 3,821,000 Mac in 1999. According to MacNN, quoting IDC, Apple shipped 1,675,000 in 2003 and 1,679,000 in 2002. Now I'm sure there are some slight reporting differences between Gartner and IDC, but I consider them insignificant with regards to the larger issue.

I'm still trying to track down numbers from 2000 because I think Apple crossed the 4 million unit mark. Apple is selling half as many Macs now as they did 5 years ago. They were once a $10 billion dollar company and now they're hovering around $7 billion.

That being said, my larger point, although it may have been muddled, is that Apple is focusing almost entirely on their music initiatives. I don't begrudge them for that. I would do the same if I was presented with a shrinking user base, but an almost unstoppable profit machine like the iPod. Steve once said before he came back to Apple, way way way before your time Quagmire, that he had one more platform in him. It's the iPod.

Deep down in our hearts we all want Apple to dominate the market. They are, but it's not the Mac. Like I said, I would be doing the same thing. The Mac may drive revenue now, but it won't in the future and there will come a point when the Mac is holding Apple and the iPod back. At that point Apple will have to do what a lot of us thought was a good idea back in 1994, you were four years old then Quagmire, ditch the hardware division and focus on software and peripherals. I'm not necessarily talking about OSX either. There is a gigantic market for consumer level software like iLife and Pro software like the Apple Pro Suit. Apple could dominate non-productivity software in the future and own the digital music market.

That's Apple's future as much as I wish it weren't true.


CARTHAGO DELENDA EST

¡Viva La Revolucion!
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Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-22, 23:03

Quote:
Originally Posted by HOM
According to Gartner Apple shipped 3,821,000 Mac in 1999. According to MacNN, quoting IDC, Apple shipped 1,675,000 in 2003 and 1,679,000 in 2002. Now I'm sure there are some slight reporting differences between Gartner and IDC, but I consider them insignificant with regards to the larger issue.

I'm still trying to track down numbers from 2000 because I think Apple crossed the 4 million unit mark. Apple is selling half as many Macs now as they did 5 years ago. They were once a $10 billion dollar company and now they're hovering around $7 billion.

That being said, my larger point, although it may have been muddled, is that Apple is focusing almost entirely on their music initiatives. I don't begrudge them for that. I would do the same if I was presented with a shrinking user base, but an almost unstoppable profit machine like the iPod. Steve once said before he came back to Apple, way way way before your time Quagmire, that he had one more platform in him. It's the iPod.

Deep down in our hearts we all want Apple to dominate the market. They are, but it's not the Mac. Like I said, I would be doing the same thing. The Mac may drive revenue now, but it won't in the future and there will come a point when the Mac is holding Apple and the iPod back. At that point Apple will have to do what a lot of us thought was a good idea back in 1994, you were four years old then Quagmire, ditch the hardware division and focus on software and peripherals. I'm not necessarily talking about OSX either. There is a gigantic market for consumer level software like iLife and Pro software like the Apple Pro Suit. Apple could dominate non-productivity software in the future and own the digital music market.

That's Apple's future as much as I wish it weren't true.

Good point HOM. But, people may not be buying macs because they do not go out and buy every single new computer. My Powermac 6100 lasted 6 years intill it got struck by lighting. Then I had to get a new computer. I think in 2-4 years we could see that number rise again because people would be buying new macs. I think mac buying is in a cycle. Sales are really high for 2 years and drops because no one else is buying computers.

giggity
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Paul
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: New York City
 
2004-06-22, 23:52

the annual reports have unit sales per year
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DMBand0026
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Chicago
 
2004-06-23, 01:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertaker
Good point HOM. But, people may not be buying macs because they do not go out and buy every single new computer. My Powermac 6100 lasted 6 years intill it got struck by lighting. Then I had to get a new computer. I think in 2-4 years we could see that number rise again because people would be buying new macs. I think mac buying is in a cycle. Sales are really high for 2 years and drops because no one else is buying computers.
You make it sound like there are only 20 people that own macs...this cycle you speak of doesn't exist. Apple is getting a steady stream of new customers, and the old ones are always buying. Just because your computer lasted 6 years doesn't mean that no one else is buying during that time. So I don't think your theory is correct.

Come waste your time with me
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Chinney
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ottawa, ON
 
2004-06-23, 08:53

Actually, I am surprised more people dont share HOMs prediction for Apples future. It is not the one that I voted for I picked the status quo prediction but HOMs pick is the one that I fear. It is the one most consistent with Apples recent direction. I must say also that it is the one that would cause me a good deal of grief: as much as I admire what Apple has done with the IPod, iTMS, and iLife, I really dont have a lot of personal interest in these products. I bought an Apple because I like a good-quality, easy-to-use, low maintenance, well-designed computer and I just like the way Apple computers look and feel. If they stopped making them.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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Messiahtosh
Apple Historian
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-23, 09:41

#2 all the way.
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dviant
Lord of the Spoiler
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Lost
 
2004-06-23, 16:33

Probably a combination of #1 and #2. I don't see them dropping out of personal computers but I also don't seem them surpassing the PC world in marketshare. Its far too entrenched. Can't see Apple becoming another Sony either, but I do think they will be coming out with more and more focus on digital lifestyle products.

Shhhh, I can't see!
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DMBand0026
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Chicago
 
2004-06-23, 17:12

I'm gonna have to agree with you. Apple won't be Sony Jr. but as their reach into the tech market grows with new products their CPU sales will as well. We'll probably never get above 10% CPU marketshare again, but I know it'll move above 2%.

Come waste your time with me
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HOM
The Elder™
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: The Rostra
 
2004-06-23, 20:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertaker
Good point HOM. But, people may not be buying macs because they do not go out and buy every single new computer. My Powermac 6100 lasted 6 years intill it got struck by lighting. Then I had to get a new computer. I think in 2-4 years we could see that number rise again because people would be buying new macs. I think mac buying is in a cycle. Sales are really high for 2 years and drops because no one else is buying computers.
I don't believe that Apple's cycles are that long and if you have any info on it I would like to see it. I do believe that Apple is too 'home run' based right now. Once a product is released Mac users rejoice and buy it in large numbers. However, the novelty quickly dies and unit shipments dry up rather quickly. Unfortunately, it's not an issue than can be quickly overcome.

When new Macs are introduced, they are sold at very little profit to keep prices within line. The margins and profits come later in the product's life, but for Apple to keep up with the Jones' they need to continually upgrade the system specs. I'm not talking about jumping 500 MHz every month, but keeping HDD, RAM, and GPU specs up to snuff. However, adding newer components drive down margins and make it even harder for Apple to make a profit on the Mac. Without Apple's ~25% margins there would be no OSX and no iLife. So if Apple does not make up the money by keeping specs the same over the course of a product's lifespan, they would need to sell considerably more Macs to make up for it and I doubt that it's the specs that are really keeping Apple back. I'm firmly in the "It's the network effect, stupid!" camp.

It just doesn't matter how much better Macs are they are not going to make that breakthrough that we all want.

Now, Apple could do very well by getting out of the Mac business. If Apple has kept Yellow Box for Windows up to date, as I hope they have, it would provide them and a considerable amount of third party companies a reasonable transition framework. Some applications can be ported over with a recompile while others are going to need some significant reworking. As I mentioned previously in this thread, does anyone doubt that iLife would completely dominate the consumer market on Windows? Or that Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro would be far and away the industry leaders? I understand Steve's predilection to creating the whole widget, but he's also become a serious realist since beginning his second stint at Apple. The Old Steve would never have opened the iPod up to Windows, but the New Steve realizes that the there is more money to be made selling quality products into the Windows market than there is selling amazing products into a shrinking market.

Oh, there is one more thing...



Has anyone else noticed the way Steve talks about the music industry? For instance in this Rolling Stone interview Steve says the following:
Quote:
When is Apple going to start signing musicians - in effect, become a record label?


Well, it would be very easy for us to sign up a musician. It would be very hard for us to sign up a young musician that was successful. Because that's what the record companies do. Their value is in picking that 1 out of 5,000. We don't do that.


We think there's a lot of structural changes that are probably gonna happen in the record industry, though. We've talked to a large number of artists that really don't like their record company, and I was curious about that. And the general reason they don't like the record company is because they think they've been really successful, but they've only earned a little bit of money.

*SNIP*

The winners pay. The winners are paying for the losers, and the winners are not seeing rewards commensurate with their success. And so they get upset. So what's the remedy? The remedy is to stop paying advances. The remedy is to go to a gross-revenues deal and to tell an artist: We'll give you 20 cents on every dollar we get ... but we're not gonna give you an advance.


The accounting will be simple: We're gonna pay you not on profits -- we're gonna pay you off revenues. It's very simple: The more successful you are, the more you'll earn. But if you're not successful, you will not earn a dime. We'll go ahead and risk some marketing money on you, and we'll be out. But if you're not successful, you'll make no money -- but if you are, you'll make a lot more. That's the way out. That's the way the rest of the world works.
It seems that Steve has spent a great deal of time looking into the structural problems within the music industry as a whole. Steve has conquered the computer industry, insofar as the Mac GUI and way of doing things is dominant. He has conquered the movie industry proving that traditional animation is obsolete and reenforcing that story and characters count. It seems to me that he is gearing up to conquer the music industry.

The Apple of 5 years from now would look a little like this:

Apple Music:
  • iPod & iTunes
  • Apple Records (Bought from the Beatles as part of their settlement)
Apple Software & Services
  • iLife
  • Pro Software
  • Dot Mac
  • OSX?

The only way I really see this not happening, is if the iPod continues to be such a run away success. If the iPod can bring in ~$2 billion in revenue and over $500 million in profits, Apple can start easing the margins on Macs and can cash in some of the good karma they have received from the iPod. However, even if the iPod reaches these numbers, I doubt that Apple would lower Mac margins. They are addicted to the Mac like a Tyrone Bigguns is to crack.

God damn .org needs to a front page. I'm making way too many long winded posts. Put this on MacSurfer's and watch the users flock.

CARTHAGO DELENDA EST

¡Viva La Revolucion!

Last edited by HOM : 2004-06-23 at 21:03.
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2004-06-24, 00:32

Macs are not and will never be a significantly large portion of total PC sales unless Apple completely overhauls them. And that means more than just making them a little cheaper and incrementally faster. I'm talking totally getting into gear and radically changing what we know about the Mac. Even then, there's little chance of the Mac being really successful. So they should just keep things as they are. Think about it - the biggest PC companies are failing to turn a profit, even though they use all the same strategies that people say Apple should use to become more successful. You can cry for a cheap loss-leader computer all the way, but it won't do crap because you know that all the other companies are doing the same thing, and it's not doing crap for them either. Combine that with the huge amount of skepticism (or total lack of awareness) towards Macs among the general public, and it really kills any possibility of having any success no matter what Apple does.

I doubt Macs will change much in the next ten years. They'll continue to be overpriced and underspecced relative to PCs, even if the processors Apple uses achieve performance parity with PC companies. We already see it today - take the video cards offered in current Macs. Although the Radeon 9800XT for the high end G5 is a nice option, the rest is pretty pathetic. I took a look at HP's website, and there is a $650 desktop that has a 256 MB video card as standard equipment! While it's true that every Mac ships with a real video card instead of integrated/shared graphics, many of HP's low-end PCs can be equipped with 128 MB graphics cards for something like $80 extra. Meanwhile, the $3000 PowerMac is the ONLY Mac that ships with even 128 MB of VRAM, and that much is only available on expensive PowerMacs and PowerBooks costing $2000 and up. That is only an example of Apple's stubbornness in the face of rapidly increasing technology.

My point is that if Apple continues as they are going, their marketshare will only continue to decrease. I don't know if they are unaware of how poorly their machines compare to the rest of the industry (unlikely) or if they just don't care. I think it's the latter - they've pretty much accepted that no matter what they do, Macs will never be popular enough, and the people who would normally buy Macs will get them whether they offer price/performance parity with PCs or not. So they focus entirely on digital music, one area where they are kicking ass and taking names. I can't blame them.

By the way, I think Apple's ideas of what "low end," "middle of the road," and "high end" mean are very skewed. To Apple, "low end" pricing means $800-$1200, middle of the road is $1200 to $2000, and high end pricing is above $2000. To the rest of the world, those numbers are approximately cut in half (with the exception of some configurations of G5, which are about equal in price to comparable PCs). Meanwhile, they think that 32 MB of VRAM is low end, with 64 MB being middle of the road and 128 MB meaning top of the line. You can double those numbers to see what the rest of the world thinks. But again, they're saving money and holding their profit margins strong because, like I said, Mac-loyal people will buy Macs regardless of their specs, and non Mac-loyal people won't buy Macs anyway.

EDIT: Interesting thing I found out recently. Apparently you can now buy a Pentium M for desktops. This is important because the Pentium M runs at a maximum of 2 GHz, and that's the brand newest variant with 2 MB of L2 cache that isn't shipping in any laptops yet. This is a sign of Intel waking up and starting to produce processors that can be fast and efficient even at a low clock speed. I've heard the 1.7 GHz Pentium M can match a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4, so I wouldn't be surprised if the new 2 GHz Pentium M can keep up with the fastest 3.4 GHz Pentium 4.

If Intel really does move away from the Pentium 4 and primarily develops the Pentium M even for desktops, this means more competition for the G4 (which is now another low clock speed, low heat, high efficiency processor). I doubt it'll happen, but Apple COULD move their computers to using a special variant of x86 that makes use of the new, highly efficient chips coming out for x86. Until now, x86 meant hot and power-hungry, while PPC meant cool and efficient, but now that that's changing, I don't see why Macs couldn't run on x86. They could keep the beautiful industrial design and high quality components, but run on different hardware.

EDIT 2: Apple no longer cares about the education market either, apparently. I just learned from ArsTechnica that they dropped to 14% marketshare in education, down from 30% last year. Meanwhile, Dell is at 44%.
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Chinney
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ottawa, ON
 
2004-06-25, 08:16

That's a pretty harsh assessment Luca. I won't dispute the specs with you, but I doubt that they tell the full story. The way the compenents work together with the OS also is important. Certainly the benchmarks that Apple published with its latest G5 release were impressive (although I guess that they are inherently biased). Actually, I'd like to see benchmarks not just at the high end, but comparative benchmarks for mid-grade computers PC vs. Apple. That would mean more to me than the specs.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2004-06-26, 15:33

Well, basically what I'm saying is that the specs don't matter, the ease of use doesn't matter, and the efficiency of your workflow doesn't matter. The vast majority of people are locked into a particular method of doing things, and that includes computer purchases. What do they see? Confusing system specifications and idiot salespeople who never even mention Apple, and if asked any questions about Macs, will immediately shoot them down as "only for designers" or "too expensive" or something.

I'm not saying Apple will stop making computers. Far from it. In fact, I doubt their overall strategy towards making and selling computers will change much. It's their revenue base, and it's something they can't really change. So they'll keep their computer business going as long as it brings in money, and they'll use the money to branch out into other areas, where they CAN make a difference and actually become a major player.
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Messiahtosh
Apple Historian
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-26, 19:39

Luca, very insightful and well thought out. I agree with all of what you just said.
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Chinney
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ottawa, ON
 
2004-06-28, 08:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luca
Well, basically what I'm saying is that the specs don't matter, the ease of use doesn't matter, and the efficiency of your workflow doesn't matter. The vast majority of people are locked into a particular method of doing things, and that includes computer purchases. What do they see? Confusing system specifications and idiot salespeople who never even mention Apple, and if asked any questions about Macs, will immediately shoot them down as "only for designers" or "too expensive" or something.

I'm not saying Apple will stop making computers. Far from it. In fact, I doubt their overall strategy towards making and selling computers will change much. It's their revenue base, and it's something they can't really change. So they'll keep their computer business going as long as it brings in money, and they'll use the money to branch out into other areas, where they CAN make a difference and actually become a major player.
In these last comments, I think that you are probably right. Actually, it is consistent with my status quo pick (the first choice in the poll). I do remain somewhat hopeful that Apple will get a positive spin out of some of its new non-computer technologies - and perhaps also if the G5 can make some quick advances that really allows it to pull ahead that would cause a large number of people to look at its computers. Such a spin could build on itself: nothing is as popular as new popularity and Apple really does have something it can show people if they look. I am not saying that this is the most likely result, but it is not out of the realm of reasonable possibility.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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Costique
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Moscow
 
2004-07-02, 08:44

<In 10 years from now/>
A: "Is that the Apple? I heard they used to make computers."
B: "Wha-a? You're a dumb ass. Apple makes the largest monitors and heaviest portable music players."
A: "Yeah, I heard they still use hard drives."
B: "Sure they do. 0.3" drives in RAID. 32 TB of music. I have to keep 3 of them to store what I download off the BitTorrent."
A: "Cool."
B: "Yeah, except the battery lasts for 10 minutes. If only it had FM radio..."
A: "Yeah, that sucks, man... So you never heard of Macs?"
B: "Err, Mad Max or MacDonald?"
A: "I know MacDonald. That's not it. Mad? Dunno, they could be mad, I think. I think someone told me they developed a secret weapon of mass destruction. Some field, you know."
B: "Corn field? Yer crazy, man."
A: "No, they say it distorted something, like you look at one thing and see another."
B: "Yer on crack or what?"
A: "They also say there was a sect of followers or victims. I'm not sure."
B: "Medical experiments? Brain surgery? Yeah, I heard."
A: "Aha, patients they were! Yeah, and they were fucked up like there's no tomorrow. All they could do is talk. But, hey, they could talk only about that mad scientist and the sect."
B: "Gawd, poor kids!"
A: "Yeah, and they gave all their money for another dose of that radiation."
B: "And they still do stuff?"
A: "Yeah, those 120-inch monitors are friggin' cool, they say. Cost like an aircraft carrier."
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2004-07-02, 10:11

I think anyone that seriously wants to consider Apple's future should look at Apple's past. 10 years ago to today? Shrinking market share, lots of hype, zealous users, and dreams of one day growing to be a larger force in the market. It's all the same story. Sure, the iPod and iTunes put a twist on it today, but how does that affect CPU sales? Jobs has said it doesn't any longer.

Unless Apple can make a complete 180 turn around, the current trends will just continue onward. People said Mac OS X would be the magic fix. It wasn't. People said the G5 would be. It wasn't. What's next?

Option one: niche market that continues to try to innovate. Ever-shrinking, tapering off to insignificance eventually. It's the only realistic option no matter how much we wish it different.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Anderson
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2004-07-02, 10:29

Thank you. As cool as OS X and the G5 are, I knew - on their own, unassisted, it wouldn't change much.

I hate to beat a dead horse (so I won't), but, to me, the one thing Apple doesn't do (toot their own horn to the masses) seems to factor in somehow.

You guys can argue with me and pooh-pooh my thinking on this all day long (won't change my mind, but knock yourselves out), but I can't help but think that there is a direct, tangible connection between Apple's "niche-y" status and the fact that they simply do not/will not market themselves, their OS and their products more aggressively. They don't combat the myths, they don't create a presence in anyone's mind, etc.

I realize that, to some of you, the lack of a "headless solution" and lack of Snappiness means everything (I don't necessary think so), but I can't help but imagine all the people out there - struggling with Windows, digital cameras and camcorders and things that that - who would LOVE the stability of OS X, the ease-of-use of the iLife apps and the sheer TRUE "plug it in and it works" nature of the hardware.

Apple doesn't - and hasn't - reached out to those people. At all, in any sort of meaningful, focused way.

People at .com or other places tell me "pscates, you don't understand...the pieces have to be in place first". Well hell's bells, people...how long are we expected to wait that out? Seems like there's been a 5-year-period of "waiting for the pieces to align", meanwhile nothing is changing. We sit and wait TOO much longer, and we'll probably hit that magical 1%. What are you going to tell me then? "Well, Paul...we need to wait until the eMac gets dual G5s...".



Hush already with your "we gotta wait" stuff. We wait all the time, and for years now.

Here's the deal, like it or not: they could release, tomorrow, dual G6 iBooks and iMacs for $899...but if no one outside the already-faithful knows - or cares - about it, then honestly...what's the point? Think there would be this huge change? I don't. Not if they just put it on their website and ran a full-page ad in Macworld and that was it.

They never talked up OS X to anyone but us. Same with iLife 04. They made one quite lame effort with that Switch stuff. It tanked. They so much as copped to that.

Since then, they've let the iPod and iTMS carry their water. And it hasn't changed a thing, really. Doesn't seem so. Sold some iPods, and that's great. But any significant number of Mac users and switchers, hooked on OS X and flooding our way? Because, in the end, that's more what it's about, right? Unless Apple just intends on becoming a digital music company, and dropping the other things they do.

It's squarely on them, and their fault. Jobs could sell a plate of shit to a gourmet restaurant, but they don't seem to want to go down any road that means they might have to get aggressive and confident with their marketing.

If I don't know anything about a company or their products, it's kinda up to that company to address that, if they want my attention or business, right? Does Apple think people are just going to wake up one day and, through osmosis or telepathy, get the urge to buy a Mac, out of the blue?

Seems so. You just have to lead people sometimes, especially if you're not in their direct line of sight or already placed in their mind. Apple simply doesn't do that, and no amount of dancing silhouettes is going to alter the current situation. Sorry, but that's just true.

Name me one commercial or campaign, since Jobs' return, that has actually resulted in anything big and different. You can't. They're cute. They make us smile and coo. We talk about them and spoof them and pick them apart. I don't think one of them has made a frustrated PC user pick up the phone or go to their nearest Apple retailer to investigate the situation further. But they all, ultimately, do nothing. And on a couple of occasions, months after the fact, we'll get the pleasure of hearing Apple itself saying "well, they didn't quite do as well as we'd hoped...".

Well, no shit Fred. It's called "preaching to the choir" (which they obviously excel at). It's not called "going after that other 95% like you mean it". HUGE difference, one that seems lost on them.

So much for "not beating a dead horse". Jeez...


Last edited by psmith2.0 : 2004-07-02 at 11:00.
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2004-07-02, 11:05

I agree with you wholeheartedly pscates, and I think I'm beginning to understand why you're so dead set against people who constantly rag on Apple for their specs. A point I made earlier was that it doesn't matter how bad or good Apple's products are, nothing will change anyway. And that's pretty much true... unless they do a total upheaval of their entire marketing strategy. Better ads (they are getting better, at least compared to Switch), but more importantly, a better overall strategy. It's just stupid to come up with a few ads, air them a bit, run off and make some announcements to the Mac community, think of some more ads and run them a bit... you know what it's like when you're playing someone in any strategy game where they really suck and you know what's going on? It's like that. Apple's marketing strategy is a lot like watching a first-timer try to play Risk, Chess, Starcraft, whatever...

What's funny is that improving their marketing will force them to improve their specifications, so once people DO get interested in Macs, they aren't turned off by seeing "1 GHz" in a world of 2's and 3's. So in a roundabout way, you, pscates, are pining for better and more powerful hardware .
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psmith2.0
Mr. Anderson
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2004-07-02, 11:17

Just pining for a strong, relevant and respected Apple...take that in whatever way you want. It all kinda meshes together anyway.

But I wholeheartedly stand by my "it's the marketing, stupid" stance.

If people simply don't know what you're up to and what you have to offer (and are basing their perception of you on decade-old myths and lies), how do you expect them to care. Or, more important, buy?






Exactly.

Ain't rocket science, and I think I'm being proven right with each passing year.


Last edited by psmith2.0 : 2004-07-02 at 11:26.
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hmurchison
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LV 426
Send a message via ICQ to hmurchison  
2004-07-02, 11:45

Hardware...blah blah blah blah. It's never been about hardware. Sure PCs are cheap and abundant but that's not the motivation for people buying computers. If it was then we'd all be running Walmart Linux based computers.

It is about software. It is about the software. It is about the software. Hey? Did I mention it's about the software? Microsoft has maintained dominance based on two products. Windows and their Office Suite. They've parlayed both into an Iron Curtain and from their high perch have defended the walls of Troy...er Redmond.

There is but 1 way for Apple to survive and that is to face and defeat Goliath. Apple cannot hope to survive and flourish at the same time by picking fun at Microsoft one moment yet gush about how great the MacbU is and how great Office 2004 is when everyone knows it's still a second rate Exchange citizen.

Apple needs to start a grass roots campaign. Stop kissing Adobe and Macromedias ass and start hyping your Mac only developers who will actually use your tools. Core Image and Video are a step in the right direction but none of the Majors are going to support it like it should be supported. Apples hope lies with finding the "next" Adobe or Macromedia and riding that company as long as they can.

In the meantime Apple needs to utilize the vast PC market for products that they can make a little money on. Apple's goal in 5 years should be 15 Billion in revenues and taking back Education. Give the hardware away and license Powerschool like there is no tomorrow.

Apple needs their own suite. They've let Appleworks die on the vine. Their foray in the Enterprise consists of a smattering of high profile companies but they have no middleware support.

It's time to create and market business Macs that are functional and don't have uncessesary features like alu cases and high profile design. Sell'em in packs of 5x computers or more with favorable license terms for software.

Apple cross platform apps will not increase your market! You must give people a reason to pass up that lower cost PC and purchase a Mac.
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