Friday, April 29, 2005
A lot of noise has been made this week that: - Apple Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" is unleashed today at 6 PM - Longhorn feature set looks a lot like Tiger - Longhorn won't be released until holiday 2006 MS is making noise that once Longhorn is released, they will have features that Tiger doesn't have. I haven't seen my point mentioned anywhere, but look at this release schedule for the history of Mac OS X in the Ars Technica exhaustive review. I have reproduced it for easy reading: * Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger 4/29/2005 * Mac OS X 10.3 Panther 11/09/2003 * Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar 09/05/2002 * Mac OS X 10.1 10/15/2001 * Mac OS X 10.0 4/02/2001 The time between Panther and Tiger is almost exactly 18-months. Longhorn is currently scheduled for delivery in the next 18 months. There is no indication that Apple is going to slow down to a 2-year OS dev cycle at this point, so it is entirely conceivable, and in fact highly possible, that Apple delivers Mac OS X 10.5 (projected to be code-named "Lion") before Longhorn ships!!! With Tiger already well out ahead of Windows XP and Longhorn playing catch-up to Tiger in terms of Security, Compositing Engine, Integrated Desktop Search, and more, I think it's a perfectly logic conclusion that Apple will maintain their OS edge with Tiger, and certainly Lion. At this point, even the Windows faithful are starting to voice votes of "no confidence" (See Paul Thurott's WinInfo on Why Longhorn is a trainwreck) in Microsoft's ability to land a successful Longhorn project. For everyone on the fence about the Mac, putting your faith, and that's all it is, in Microsoft to improve your computing experience, its ok, let it go. Apple has delivered and keeps on delivering. They have repeatedbly demonstrated in the last 4 years that they have a vision and understanding from what people want in a digital lifestyle. Go to your Apple Store todayand pick up any Mac with Tiger to start liking your computer again.
MacDailyNews (MDN) has linked to this Paul Thurrott post. Paul mentions again, like he did earlier in the week about the rumor that Apple Mac OS X is running in Intel's labs right now on x86 (probably also on x64, big chunk of Tiger is 64-bit). MDN suggest the conspiracy that this might be part of a Wintel FUD campaign to keep its sheep on the platform, because if they had wandering eyes for Mac OS X, don't worry, it might just come out for your current hardware. MDN says just get a Mac, and I agree, stop waiting for your computing life to improve through vague MS promises and even shadier rumors. Seize control of the digital lifesytle by getting a Mac today with OS X 10.4 Tiger. If Apple eventually does move ahead with x64 (clearly the future, if they are going to the Intel/AMD camp, its not for 32-bit CPUs), it won't be the DIY junkyard that Wintel is now. Apple will still tightly control the supply chain and which parts you could put in your x64 based box. They might even OEM with some companies, HP and Sony come to mind, but its not like a Wal-mart brand PC running OS X is going to happen. If Apple does eventually go x64, it will be real interesting to see if Windows apps just run on Mac OS X. If I were Apple, and I was seriously contemplating using an x64 based system, I would make it my mission to have Windows apps just run. If Apple changes the rules on MS at perhaps their weakest moment in years, now that would be "just fun" to watch!
Thursday, April 21, 2005
This post on the BBC website trots out the old non-Mac users safety net that Mac users are a cult. I am a 2 year Mac user, but I am real tired of hearing this one. If you look at a product, cars, computers, whatever, and on the issues you care about one product is clearly better, what is the problem? The clear answers are that people don't like having their choices challenged by outsiders once they have been made and they don't want to spend time to figure out if some products might be better for them or not. This is why price is the key decision in most product purchases, it is just too much work to figure out the differences between products for most people. And if pricing is making up 90% of a decision, people usually go for the low price. Microsoft has long understood this. They have always had low or similar pricing compared to competitors. They have always released products that, just look at their marketshare, have been good enough to hold people from considering if something might be better enough to evaluate. And the linchpin in this scheme has always been the promise that with the next version, no matter what product, things will be even better. And people have held out hope that maybe, just maybe, the next version will be good enough that the gnawing feeling I have in the back of my mind about Windows or, usually more generally, my computer will go away. Apple is just starting to accept price as the key decision making variable as the key to greater sales. Apple has realized that if the price is too high, it doesn't matter if all the other variables are in their column, the masses can't get past the first mental hurdle. Apple has seen an uptick in sales because some people have reached the point where they are done dealing with the Microsoft sales cycle above, and of course, experience with an iPod demonstrates how good Apple is on all the intagibles. The Mac community has to realize that the reasons that lead them to buy a Mac may not hold for everyone. Mac users love trying to appeal, just like Apple has historically, to people's feelings when trying to sell them on a purchase. Microsoft has long appealled to reason (hey we are nearly as good and cheaper!), and we see how has been the winner in that battle. Brand value is all about getting users to emotionally associate with your product, company, an identity. But people detect this, and not being comfortable with emotion, default back to the rational, the price. If you want to convince people to get Macs, use reason and not passion, and maybe then this cult of Mac nonsense will stop.
Monday, April 18, 2005
I too thought at first the news of Adobe and Macromedia merging was a late April's Fools Joke, it just doesn't seem possible, but alas it is. This is trouble for Quark and Apple, as this post on eWeek says. The solution to this for Quark is not for Adobe to eventually buy them, but for Apple to. Adobe has been a long time Mac supporter, Macromedia was also very strong, but Adobe in recent years has started to pull back a bit as Apple has started competing with them. If I were Apple, I look at Adobe's strong move here and have to conclude they are re-energized. The top "creative" brands in my view are: Apple, Adobe, Macromedia, Quark. With Adobe gobbling up number 3, Quark looks very vulnerable, maybe it's time for Apple to spend some of that cash horde...
If you are at the commentary/surface level or a story, you are a blogger. If you try to understand all the angles to a story, report the all the facts, not just the ones you like, and then draw reasonable conclusions based on all the facts (your readers have to agree you have done this), then you are a journalist. The rush to deliver a story, and that's what a lot of so called news has become, just stories, has devalued the meaning of journalism. Bloggers want to be considered journalist, and I have to agree that a lot of them, not my blog by any stretch, but a lot, are close to today's journalist because traditional news has sunk closer to blogging to match the immediacy of Internet publishing. Traditional media outlets are also more and more willing to play staight to the emotions of their target audience, something bloggers and internet sites have been doing for a long time, because that endears the audience to the author, not journalistic reason. This is exactly what Fox News has been doing, and it works exceptionally well, but I wouldn't call it journalism, no matter how much money or how litle money you have behind it. With that in mind, I don't consider the widely read Paul Thurrott a journalist on most of his internet properties, like Internet Nexus and WinSuperSite, because he is only "reporting" at the surface level, like this post. He does make a living off writing stories he gets paid for, plus the books, so he is a journalist on some of the stuff he publishes, but not all of it. I think some people don't make that distinction. I am just using Paul as an example, I enjoy reading his opinion sites/blogs, even if I shake my head sometimes as to how he writes some of the stuff he posts. An analogy would be people all over country going to Home Depot and then doing weekend work on their house doesn't make them a professional carpenter or eletrician. You may aspire to make your work, whether it's posting on the Internet or working on your house, professional grade, but that doesn't make you a pro.
Paul Thurrott has posted on www.Internet-Nexus.com a short breakdown of Apple's marketshare for Q105, putting it between 2.1 and 2.3 of all PCs sold depending on if you believe Gartner or IDC. I still read Paul's various properties, but even if he is a life long Mac fan as he says in his "review" or Tiger, the best I can say about his recent work is that he doesn't try very hard to think positive about Apple, but he easily does so with Microsoft. It seems that this trend has become worse as Apple has increased their success in 2004 and into 2005. I think it's incredibly lazy to just divide Apple's PC sales by total PC sales and say Apple's marketshare sucks. What matters much more is the trend in the markets Apple actively competes in, like the Consumer, Education, and Creative markets. What's Apple's share there? Is it going up or down? I don't think it matters how many laptops and desktops get sold into medium to large business IF Apple can convince people that they a) the Mac is compatibile with everything on the Internet and b) is compatible with enough of their work stuff they could use it in a pinch. It's still the age old compatbility issue. Unless Apple aggresively targets this, and not passively through iTunes and iPod on Windows, I think it will be hard to completely crack the 5% glass ceiling again.
Trent Reznor releases the first song, The Hand That Feeds, off of the new album, With Teeth, in Apple's GarageBand 2.0 format!!!! What a great an unexpected birthday present for me! I am a long time Nine Inch Nails fan. I went to see them in the Meadowlands at the Continental Airlines Arena back when I was in college, it was great. You can grab it here NIN.com Current on the 4/15 entry. This is truly amazing, a major artist releases a brand new song in a format that allows anyone to customize in any way they see fit. Granted this is limited to Mac users, and ones on iLife '05, but you woulnd't have seen this even 2 years ago. There just wasn't any software like GarageBand installed to even a reasonable amount of people to make it a worthwhile experiment. For someone that has played around with GarageBand, even bought a keyboard to use with it, and wondered what a real song would look like, this is fantastic. It's like getting the source code. If you are not a Mac user but you are a NIN fan, among the many reasons to get a Mac, this might be one of the best. You can grab a Mac mini for about $499 (get the RAM upgrade to 512 MB, you definitely need it for this song, brings the price up to $574) if you just want to get started. If you have the cash and this tips the scales for you getting a Mac, get something with more processor than the Mac mini, like an iMac 1.8 Ghz w/ 512 MB ($1574). GarageBand is one of the more intense consumer apps you will ever use. And wait until 4/26 so you get Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) pre-loaded on any Mac you buy. You can research and price everything at Apple Store Online.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
For the first time, Google has failed me. I am trying to outfit a room in my house with home theater seating, and my wife had seen La-Z-Boy has that seating. Since I didn't wan't to go through a hundred permutations of trying to hit upon the La-Z-Boy domain name, I did a quick Google search. Click this to see my query. You see, I thought La-Z-Boy was actually Lay-Z-Boy so Google didn't find their homepage. This seemed odd, so I decided to try MSN Search to see if it had this figured out. Click this to see the MSN query I ran. The La-Z-boy site is result 2. I clicked on the link and realized I had misspelled the La-Z-Boy name. I find this extrememly interesting because up until today Google search results I have found forgiving on mispelling and intuitive, but clearly MSN Search came out ahead here. I wonder what else MSN Search has that Google doesn't... La-Z-Boy
Friday, April 01, 2005
Apple Insider:[Via Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus] It doesn't bother anyone because all software ships with known issues, it just depends on the issue severity. Apple releases timely updates (2-3 month cycles) to fix outstanding issues, how is that bad? I guess the new MS model where they don't release service packs for years after a gold master of their operating systems, like Win2K3 SP1 (only 2 years since gold RTM), is a better model.According to sources, Apple earlier today declared build 8A428 of Tiger 'gold master,' the final development stage. Companies typically release the 'GM' candidate to manfuacturing for duplication and packaging.Heh. Yeah, why would a few outstanding issues ever delay an Apple software release? They'll just continually patch Tiger for the next 18 months anyway. Does this bother anyone else? Nah.
Earlier this week, Apple release a "FC" (final candidate) build to developers and other partners to test the operating system for any last minute "showstoppers." The build reportedly still had a few outstanding issues, but those were not expected to delay Tiger's release.