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The REAL Mac Story Isn't a $500 Computer....


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Okay, iPod shuffle, headless Mac, etc. Very cool. But the real story here isn't the products, it's that Jobs has changed the company's direction and rolled with the times.

 

Thing is, despite the rep for innovation, what Apple does best is see a great idea that's not executed properly and do it right. For example, MusicMatch was turning into a big deal on the PC...Apple streamlined the concept and turned it into iTunes. Commodore produced cute little all-in-one toy computers...Apple produced a cute little powerful computer, the original Mac. The Rio was a fine little player, but lacked the brilliant industrial design that cemented the iPod as an icon. Apple was late to the game with CD burners, but made up for lost time by jumping on the DVD thing.

 

The $500 Mac is Apple looking at all these $500 PCs and saying, "Well, let's Macify it!" And they have. Will $500 spent on a PC get you a more powerful machine? Yes. But will it get you the Mac experience? No. And that's something people are willing to pay for.

 

Once Apple was the computer "for the rest of us." Then it became the computer equivalent of a BMW, niched out in pro areas like publishing, video, and music. Having consolidated those gains, Apple has now gone in the direction of a consumer electronics company: but with true cachet, incredible designs, and a rep that kills.

 

Kudos to Apple for looking for new worlds to conquer instead of fearing those new worlds. Kudos to Apple for being bold enough to mix it up with the big boys rather than holding on to their comfortable section of turf.

 

Now, before anyone starts bashing Microsoft...apples and oranges, if you'll pardon the expression. MS makes operating systems, Apple makes hardware/software systems. Big difference. When you run a Microsoft OS on a fast machine, it rips through work. Using both Mac and Windows side by side, I'll say it again: They've reached parity in terms of technical prowess. I'd even go so far as to say that Windows is, in some selected ways, more capable...just as the Mac OS is, in some selected ways, more user-friendly.

 

But computers aren't exclusively about getting jobs done efficiently. Apple understands this -- look at iLife. Mark my words, as of today Apple became a very different company.

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Beside which, they're going to make one hell of a potful of money off this box. And get tons of exposure on every geekspeak show of course, but also the home makeover shows. One of these in your living room becomes the entertainment center, replacing that big tangle of boxes and wires that were you music and DVD players.
Dasher - don't ask me about those other reindeer, all I can tell you is Comet's in the sink!
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But will it get you the Mac experience? No. And that's something people are willing to pay for.

provided you know what the mac experience is - I didn't until I was given an IMac for a certain job and I wasn't impressed. The majority of mac owners get their puter experience either at work because it's specialised (audio, video or graphics) or at school if mac have an input there.

 

All the internet cafes etc are PC and most businesses are PC.

 

The ipod broke away from that and offered something new in another area (mp3 players) but I was checking them out today and the shop people reckoned they were over priced and over hyped. Driving into Sydney airport the other day and it was wall to wall ipod billboards.

 

I think selling ipods is easier than changing a whole computer philosophy which this is attempting to do.

 

my 2 cents ;)

 

cheers

john

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John, I have to say , I disagree one nearly every single point you made, but I digress.

 

What Apple adds is refinement. I compare PC's and Apple hardware in terms of cars ( being a Detroit boy). PC's are Corvettes. Raw power, speed, bang for the buck. Most Apple hardware is very 'vibey', more Porsche. Does that mean the Porsche wins, Naw..It just means I want one of each:)

 

I am most curious about the upgrades to Garageband, because while functional, it is far from 'snappy'. I am very happy they added a tuner AND notation, assumign it does not dog the systems out. iWork is a strange beast to me. Spreadsheet? He-lllo???

 

All in all, looking at where Apple was 5 years ago, I am totally geeked about their re-re-birth.

 

Now, watch the flip up Nintendo gamecube LCD screen start popping up for the mini-iMac! Stacking trays for Logic nodes! Woohoo!

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Actually, I use both daily.

 

If the virtual mac thing sucks as bad as virtual PC does, I woudl not wish it upon anyone. :)

 

In general, an iMac is a bad example. The first ones were pretty doggy with OSX on them, but that is no excuse for Apple. I guess you just gotta have a reason or a chance to use one for awhile to see the subtle differences. i was pretty much an Amiga guy for years, then MAC, then PC when the Apple world was in pre-post-Jobs mode (early 90's). I think they have been making major, steady improvements since the first iMac's caught on. It's all good:)

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Originally posted by Anderton:

But will it get you the Mac experience?

You should copyright that!

 

"Get the Mac Experience... Meet the MAC MINI"

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Director de Ventas, América Latina y Caribe - PreSonus Audio Electronics

 

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Originally posted by The Soundsmith:

Beside which, they're going to make one hell of a potful of money off this box. And get tons of exposure on every geekspeak show of course, but also the home makeover shows. One of these in your living room becomes the entertainment center, replacing that big tangle of boxes and wires that were you music and DVD players.

There ya go.

 

Now if they put a TV-friendly GUI on it and a video out and they might really have something.

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<>

 

I'm not sure you quite "get" what the Mac experience is, because it's not really about technology; it's about "package" vs. "a la carte."

 

A Windows machine can do anything a Mac can do, and more. Gone are the days when you HAD to have a Mac to do video editing or music. About the only real holdout where Mac still has an advantage is book publishing, due to better color matching and such.

 

HOWEVER, you'll need to cobble all your apps together on Windows. Apple will take you from loading songs into your iPod, to fooling around with Garageband, to getting into a pro app like Logic, to buying songs seamlessly from iTunes, then let you boot up iMovie to make a quick video of your kid...meanwhile, Appleworks takes care of all your casual business needs.

 

Now suppose you have Windows and a Zen instead of an iPod. You'd use Creative's software to handle the Zen, and Sony's Studio program to do the "garageband" kinda thing. For your pro app, certainly Microsoft doesn't make anything suitable, so you'd likely jump over to Cakewalk, Steinberg, Magix, etc. Movie time? Then you'd probably want something from Ulead, Sony, Pinnacle, etc., as the Windows movie making software is pretty limited. And for Office work, of course, Microsoft Office.

 

What Apple offers is a PACKAGE, which is apparently what quite a few people want. Not enough to give Apple 50% market share, of course, but I know people who simply do not want to deal with an a la carte system, despite its potential for more power and customization.

 

It's not surprising to me that people who are very knowledgeable about computers tend to not see why there's the big fuss about Macs; they know how to get what they want with a Windows machine, and they pay less as well. But a lot of people aren't in that position.

 

And I'd add one more thing: Apple makes works of art. The iPod is stunning next to my klunky Zen, although I greatly prefer the Zen's ability to handle WMA files and the fact that it cost me half of a comparable iPod. The G5 is a gorgeous (and quiet) computer that I just love to look at. For those to whom aesthetics matters, that too is worth a bit of a surcharge.

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Originally posted by Anderton:

The $500 Mac

Well,it was more like $3,000 and I unfortunately took the bath(Mac Performa) because Apple lied about it's proccessor specs(no floating point capabilities whatsoever) and was sued in a class action suit,unforunately I wasn't part of it.The last proccessor upgrade on the G4's was bogus as well and was probably done to save the company(to buy time for the G5),but never again at my expense
Will $500 spent on a PC get you a more powerful machine?
Yes it will,and I'll get exactly what I pay for.
But will it get you the Mac experience?
Hopefully not,I'm still not a fan of Mac hardware or the OS style at all.
And that's something people are willing to pay for.
Some people,but not enough market share-wise.Without the I-Pod,I-Tunes breaking big right now,their only a little over 3-4% of the market in their computers.

Once Apple was the computer "for the rest of us." Then it became the computer equivalent of a BMW

BMW? Like Dell and other branded computers,they have to make a profit on internal parts which means they partake in the same practices.If you want the equivelant to a BMW computer-wise you have to select and build it yourself,otherwise your using a consumer level machine,maybe built a little better than the PC equivelant,but no where near a cutom built PC with quality parts/chipsets etc.,I know this rant sounds like the usual PC/Mac rant but when you've examined and used and built as many machines as Iv'e have it's hard not to know what's going on in reality.Will I ever buy a Mac again? After being taken for a ride myself(a long time ago),but whatching a good friend get beat on a supposedly new G4(more proccessor lies) I just can't bring myself to trust them anymore(can you blame me?).To be fair though,I don't trust any Computer builder period.The I-Tunes/I-Pod thing is another story entirely to me.
"A Robot Playing Trumpet Blows"
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Now, before anyone starts bashing Microsoft...apples and oranges, if you'll pardon the expression

 

Some would say "Apples and lemons". ;)

 

PS I'm a PC user, so no rants please. Both work and some like one over the other for a wide variety of reasons. Deal with it people. :) Let's not get into the Mac vs PC thing yet again...

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I'm not suggesting that Phil - I'm just saying that no matter what trick Mac tries to pull it won't move PC users to Mac just because of some new product they've just released.

 

Craig - construction and sturdiness doesn't really matter on a product that will be obselete within a year.

 

cheers

john

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Originally posted by John Sayers:

I'm not suggesting that Phil - I'm just saying that no matter what trick Mac tries to pull it won't move PC users to Mac just because of some new product they've just released.

 

Craig - construction and sturdiness doesn't really matter on a product that will be obselete within a year.

 

cheers

john

Not true John. You can chalk me up as a PC user thats gonna get on of them thar boxes.

 

NYC Drew

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Originally posted by Philip O'Keefe:

I'm a PC user, so no rants please. Both work and some like one over the other for a wide variety of reasons. Deal with it people. :) Let's not get into the Mac vs PC thing yet again...

Or at the very least, can we contain the Mac vs. PC debates to the PC vs. Mac threads?

 

As someone with an interest in both platforms, I'd like to simply read the Mac or PC news and reviews of the moment without the endless round and round...

 

What if every Yamaha thread were deluged by Korg naysayers or if every Sonar thread contained blasts from the Digital Performer contingency or if every Fender thread contained negative comments from Gibson users?

 

How about a little "live and let live" when it comes to computers? Please?

 

Thanks.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

My Blue Someday appears on Apple Music | Spotify | YouTube | Amazon

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Originally posted by John Sayers:

I'm not suggesting that Phil - I'm just saying that no matter what trick Mac tries to pull it won't move PC users to Mac just because of some new product they've just released.

 

Craig - construction and sturdiness doesn't really matter on a product that will be obselete within a year.

 

cheers

john

Wrong on both counts.

 

My Mac G4 is over 4 years old going on 5 and it is getting used just as much now as when it was new (granted, not so much in music, but moved to the office it's used for Microsoft Office, iTunes, Scheduling, etc). And because of its construction and sturdiness its gonna keep on ticking.

 

Several years ago a couple of friends (one's a ballet dancer, the other a technician working in the same theater) who were casual PC users surprised the heck out of me when they tolod me they were going to get the "new" iMac. It was new, cool...basically the design and the marketing got them to bite, and got them to get into the growing Internet experience. I don't see why it would be any different now. In fact, it would probably be easier with all of the people who bought the iPod and was impressed with its design and all. Of course they would look into something the company who made their favorite "walkman" is showcasing.

Raul
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Originally posted by Alndlnbot:

Originally posted by Anderton:

[qb]The $500 Mac

Well,it was more like $3,000 and I unfortunately took the bath(Mac Performa) because Apple lied about it's proccessor specs(no floating point capabilities whatsoever) and was sued in a class action suit...
Those were sucky Apple days. We're talking about the Steve Jobs-led Apple now. Not the same thing.

 

Will $500 spent on a PC get you a more powerful machine?
Yes it will,and I'll get exactly what I pay for.
[qb]But will it get you the Mac experience?
Hopefully not,I'm still not a fan of Mac hardware or the OS style at all. Again, it's not just the hardware and not just the OS.

 

And as for the whole "iTunes,iPod" thing, you can't separate that from what Apple is doing or has done. That's part of the experience. I plug my iPod, one cable,it automatically updates, as well as charges the unit, and while I work I can backup to it, using it as a hard disk. If I mess around in Garageband, I can export directly to iTunes, and of course the iPod, one command. I then play the music through the speakers wirelessly in the office in the other room connected to Airport Express. Simple.

Raul
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Craig, you forgot to include Airport in your "experience" description. I'd say that alone was the main reason my wife and her family converted to Mac from PC. With Airport it was so boneheadedly simple I networked my computers in no time, then my wife got into it with her powerbook, then the old G4 in the office.

 

And when the employees (all five of them) saw how simple it was, including adding another airport, with a printer hooked up to it as well as the speakers so everyone in the office can share, then after working with iPhoto, well...they now all have iBooks, and I didn't even waste my breath in giving them a for-Mac argument.

 

Then my sister-in-law saw this, who BTW uses her PC for one program only, The SIMS. So she bought an iMac, (with the SIMS for mac :D ) then bought Airport so her brother can also use it without fuss. She knows NOTHING about computers, yet she now happily surfs the Net in addition to playing the SIMS, as well as use an iPod (for a professional singer studying songs, pretty invaluable). But see, because it was all so simply yet elegantly presented, she wasn't afraid to dive in.

 

I'm a horrible debater, but I think people like John Sayers will never get it. It's a good thing the MacMini isn't targeted for people like him. But I wish that people would be a little more open-minded with the new Apple, only because they're really missing out on something really cool.

 

Oh, just to be clear, I use a dual G5, an iBook, Powerbook Titanium, a Shuttle P4 Windows XP (small and cool looking), and regular Athlon-PC desktop as well.

Raul
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Originally posted by NYC Drew:

... You can chalk me up as a PC user thats gonna get on of them thar boxes.

 

NYC Drew

Same here. Those little Macs make nice stepping stones. I already have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, external firewire HD, and external USB2 DvDRW. All I need is some extra memory, an audio interface, and maybe the Airport option. Then I can experiement with the OS, try out Garrage Band, and test some of my other music software on Mac. If things go well then I may step on up to a G5 some time in the future.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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All Apple needs to really worry about now is making sure these things WORK and WORK RIGHT right out of the box. Crystal clear instructions without being condescending.

 

I'm an Apple guy through and through, but when I opened my iMac box a few years ago (the "desklamp" type) and found that the setup instructions consisted of pictures with no wording at all, I thought "Come on guys, I know it's simple, but don't insult me here." :)

 

Make these things work.

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What would move me to a Mac is an integrated DVI or HDMI interface on a relatively inexpensive machine.

 

I got my wife an HDTV over the holidays. One would think that the bureoning HD environment would create a natural market for an inexpensive computer video interface that stays digital. If Apple put such an interface on an inexpensive Mac, they'd have an instant client base numbering hundreds of thousands.

Originally posted by theblue1:Now if they put a TV-friendly GUI on it and a video out and they might really have something.
Originally posted by John Sayers:

[QB]I'm not suggesting that Phil - I'm just saying that no matter what trick Mac tries to pull it won't move PC users to Mac just because of some new product they've just released.

cheers

john[/b]

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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I've been a PC user for years, though I've worked on the Apple platform (The non-Jobs years) and my next computer purchase will be a Mac.

 

I just want to see what the other side is like again these days, and I'm betting that I will end up switching completely after having a Mac for a while.

I really don't know what to put here.
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I'm in. Probably give it a couple months though. Make sure things run smooth. Plus, got my eye on Vegas 5 at the moment ;) .

 

I haven't done squat on a Mac since the Apple IIG. But I have been searching for a decent reason to pick up a new iMac. Now I don't really need a reason to jump in.

 

I'm going to go needlessly out on a limb and predict that this will earn Apple at least 20% market share within 18-24 months. And if they keep updating it as I'm sure they will, there's no reason why they won't again become the preeminent PC manufacturer. Imagine: mini G5s, mini media centers...

 

I know more than one G3 that's still getting serious work done.

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<>

 

And in a nutshell, that's why you need both platforms.

 

I think that for many people, their computer setup will end up being Mac for home, Windows for work, with a side of Mac in the workplace as well.

 

I for one could never give up Vegas, Sonar, Acid, Wavelab, Audition, etc. so there will always be a PC hanging around here...but I've always liked working with the Mac, and much more so since OS X.

 

Interestingly, my 9-year-old daughter has had access to both types of computers since she was a tot. She has a definite preference for Windows -- according to her, "It's easier to use." Then again, she's currently building a robot with the hopes she can teach it to clean up her room...

 

My wife is Mac all the way, although she knows how to use Windows. She is definitely into the whole Mac experience, from iPod to screenwriting programs. For her, the $500 Mac will be an absolute godsend so she can supplement her iBook with a decent desktop machine.

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I've used both for a long time (though I'm primarily a Mac person).

 

To me, these discussions have all the validity of "What's better, orange juice or milk?" They both seem like good beverages to me, and no one ever expected someone to drink one exclusively in lieu of the other.

 

And back to Craig's original point: I agree 100%. The Mac experience just became more accessible for more people, some of whom will find that they really enjoy it.

 

People enjoying things is cool. :thu:

 

- Jeff

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One thing that seems to get glossed over here is that you can fit this thing in a coat pocket. Now, size may not be important to some - but I have a 1-year old, and I have to build a special cabinet to keep him from messing with the PC. With a computer this size I could put it in a box.

 

Another use - students could carry them from the dorm to the classroom. This would, of course, require the schools to provide keyboards, mice, & monitors - but they do this already when they have school workstations. Rather than having to maintain those, and have students carry CDs/thumb drives/whatever you could set it up so that they simply carry the computer.

 

And yes, you can get Windows-compatible mini PCs at this price point as well, but they're using slower, low-powered processors - so they aren't going to 'wipe the floor' with anything unless they're mounted to a mop handle. :P

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Originally posted by Anderton:

Interestingly, my 9-year-old daughter has had access to both types of computers since she was a tot. She has a definite preference for Windows -- according to her, "It's easier to use." Then again, she's currently building a robot with the hopes she can teach it to clean up her room...

Sounds like a chip off the ol' Anderton block! :D

 

Now, as a very budget-constrained musician, I have been researching how to build a PC, and I've found a lot of good information on thesubject. I would still like to do that. Since it looks like the Linux sequencer MuSe will be a VST host soon, I have been looking in that direction too.

 

You can get a lot of bang for your buck that way, but my God, the learning curve! :eek: Makes me feel like I'll always be a noob. :(

 

Then along comes this little $500 box. From my perspective, with GarageBand included, it is:

 

1. A definite hardware upgrade from my P2 300mhz 64mb W98se computer (supposedly upgraded to 800 mhz, but the screen still says 300 when I boot it up).

 

2. An amp modeling/guitar effects box

 

3. An 8 track hard disk recorder

 

4. An interesting sequencer/sound module, even if it doesn't do hardware MIDI... (but I don't have any hardware synths now, so it looks like I'm being led in the direction of soft synths. Goodbye, Korg and Roland! :wave: )

 

5. A host for additional soft synths!

 

 

 

 

All I can say is, WOW!!! :)

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It looks to me like the comment that Macs have just kept getting better since the iPod is, with notable exceptions, true, and more power to Jobs and crew for bringing the platform back from the edge of the bottomless pit.

 

A strong, viable, progressive Apple is good for all us, even those who would never buy a Mac.

 

But I'm afraid, based on recent experiences, that you'll have to count me among those who are unimpressed with their own "Mac experience."

 

Since advising a client to buy an 18 month old Powerbook 12" for his wife (he's a Mac guy, his graphics guy is a Mac guy; I thought I was buying myself out of trouble), I've become his unofficial Mac (and WLAN) go-to guy, a role to which I keep telling him I'm not suited. (And situations are such that my work on the Mac is unpaid. I wouldn't take money for stumbling around in an OS I don't know, anyhow.)

 

The computer is a very cute little thing but it's no rocketship in terms of getting around its own GUI, loading prgs, etc. And for the money originally paid for it a year and a half ago (not much under 3 grand) I'm thinking it ought to be. And I was just over there last night because somehow the thing forgot its WLAN encryption password and its owner couldn't get it to accept it.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm by no means inclined to give MS a free ride on its many missteps and security lapses, but for me, Windows works better. (And I found that what I had, from the outside, imagined to be the Mac's superior and more logical system access is just as confusing and idiosyncratic for a casual user as Windows' own must be.)

 

I'm glad my Mac brothers have their beloved platform, and I'm glad it keeps getting better, but don't ask me to buy into the Mac mindset. It ain't gonna happen any time soon.

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Originally posted by polyt:

 

...I'm going to go needlessly out on a limb and predict that this will earn Apple at least 20% market share within 18-24 months. And if they keep updating it as I'm sure they will, there's no reason why they won't again become the preeminent PC manufacturer. Imagine: mini G5s, mini media centers...

 

I know more than one G3 that's still getting serious work done.

I think you'd be going out on a limb if you said they'd double their market share in two years to around 6%.

 

But -- even if the market was willing -- there'd be no way in hell they could ever supply the kind of demand that would have to be there to get that kind of peneteration.

 

And there's absolutely no reason to think that the market will respond as you think, the iPod's success withstanding. The decision path in buying an iPod is not nearly the same as that in buying a computer. An iPod can be a relatively casual decision. (And just ask the folks who bought iPods without realizing they were locking themselves into only one legit music source and only two of the many formats just how much thought they put into their purchase.)

 

The dynamics of computer platform choice are far more complex.

 

And there've been plenty of other low cost Macs in the past. People made similar (though not as extravagent) claims of dramatically expanded marketshare about the iMac and the eMac. And, its true that Mac marketshare has increased -- from the low 2's up to 2.7%. (Linux currently has a 3.1% marketshare!)

 

In fact, long time Mac-watcher John Dvorak wrote about this at the end of the year in his article:

Grim Macintosh Market Share Forebodes Crisis . He laments:

The company figures it has certain market niches locked down. This includes computer users in advertising agencies, news bureaus, and various professional organizations as well as creative artists and writers. I also count an odd, die-hard faction of true believers, but these people are inconsequential except in online forums, where they make a fuss whenever anyone discusses the Mac. They probably hurt the Mac community more than anyone by creating an unfair crackpot image that gets associated with the machine.

 

...Much of the problem arises from the psychology created by the overpriced iPod. And Mac users who buy the players contribute to the problem by encouraging the company to maintain its high-margin death march.

 

Apple, seeing it can still use strong marketing to sell highmargin, high-status items, will continue to think it can do so with the Macintosh. What goes on at Apple planning sessions when market-share issues come up? Some executives probably proclaim that three percent of this market is "huge!!" Others nod their heads in agreement. And indeed, three percent is huge. But at some point (which may have been reached already), declining market share creates a relative lack of interest, and eventually, discontinuance. The Amiga fell prey to this.

.

It will remain to be seen if Apple's bold move into low-margin markets will reverse Dvorak's dire predictions.

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