Friday, July 15, 2005

Apple Spin Machine Melts Down

PBS | I, Cringely . July 14, 2005 - More Shoes

It's funny to watch Apple fans, and just plain old Apple watchers try to spin the latest Apple "switch" as some brilliant strategy.

It's not as though Apple has always got it right. They have made their share of mistakes with or without Steve Jobs at the helm.

Oh, and while we are at it, why do they keep bringing up Job's stay at Next? Oh, Steve went off and did more brilliant things while Apple foundered on its own. I've never laid eyes on a Next computer or talked to anyone who ran the OS. It's a minor footnote in computing history. A trivia question.

So, what's all this shoe fetishism from Cringely?:

"IBM's G5 dual cores look easily comparable to Intel's Pentium Ds, both in terms of computing power and electrical power consumption. So what's really up?"

Job's goofed, bigtime. That's what's up. "i" goes on to say that well Apple will get a chance to use these processors anyway. But who will want to buy one from Apple? Benchmarks show that it is the ham-handed Apple version of Unix that slows down their systems the most, not the hardware. Which is why people were buying Apple servers and running Linux on it to get the best performance: (Link) but now I question whether anyone would even bother with high end Apple hardware at a point where future support is in doubt. Especially when there are alternatives (Link, Link)

"This third shoe is Apple's closeout sale on the iPod Photo, which is suddenly and inexplicably $150-off all over town. Get ready for the Video iPod, which will presumably be available from more than just Apple. HP is already on board and these clues suggest Intel is likely there, too."

How about as an alternate explanation the fact that nobody wants to pay a lot of money to view video on something that needs to include a magnifying glass? Will Apple have a monopoly on Intel hardware used for digital media? Only if you get your news from Bizarro Superman comics. Apple did well with iTunes. But my Windows friends who tried them were not all that impressed. We all postulated that people would switch from PCs to Apple computers when they got an iPod, but I haven't seen all that many examples of that actually happening. Anybody who can put up with Windows will also put up with a less stylish media player that works with Windows (and is cheaper).

And then the "i-ster" wanders off into retinal scan video displays for $4000. OK well, Apple can sow that market up and still go out of business. Hey *I* was an iTunes user too. I have one of the low end iPods (around here somewhere) and have downloaded maybe $100 of music. But I don't trust Apple (even less now) and have converted all of those tunes to MP3. In every case I wish I had taken the time (and saved the money) and just got the CD. I think others will come to that conclusion too after the fad is over. If I am going to PAY for downloading digital content then I want it unencumbered. When I run my "Software Update" on my Apple computer the thing that gets updated the most often are the media programs (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie) and the only one of these I use is iTunes. What are the updates, bug fixes, or more restrictive use allowances? You guess. (hint: Bug fixes don't require to accept the usage agreement again). But I'd switch to a native XMMS in a minute, or when I switch back to Linux I'll be using that anyway.

The party is over for Apple. They made a few lucky moves that worked out for them and they had a fairly reliable ally in IBM. Now they are in shark territory with Intel, Dell, Microsoft and others willing to sacrifice good technology for bigger sales figures. Apple hasn't dominated in this arena and isn't likely to start now.

You should have stayed pure Apple, now you have sullied your reputation. Or should I have said Sculleyed? I wonder what he is up to (Link)? Maybe they should bring him back to "save Apple" again. It seems to need saving on a regular basis.

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