Future Tense: Apple Sauce

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pmj7

Apple has also done something else to slow down the competition—something smart from a business perspective, but also ugly.  They have signed exclusivity deals with their suppliers so that the high-end technology that goes into an iPad cannot be sold to Apple’s competitors.  (Those of you who used to complain that Microsoft was a big bully…how do you feel about this?) 

Apple pays a supplier billions upfront so that they can build plants and asks for all of their capacity for the next year or so.  Really?  Asking for product they pre-paid for?  How dare they!  Let's sue them!

Those who complain that Microsoft is a big bully just don't get it.  I mean come on.  Just because they ask companies like Dell to pay them a licensing fee for Windows on machines that they sell with just Linux installed doesn't make them a big bully.

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Veneficuz

As an avid "windows fanboy", if thats a term, I almost agree with this article except you left on one key apple product out, which in my opinion, trumped the windows market big time, The Macbook Air.

It just can't be beat, and the ultrabook competitors are "Just" coming out now, and the macbook air still seems best.

You have to honestly say, they have a pretty big chunk of the ultrabook market, and even the mainstream laptop market they are doing well. 

The engineering seems superior on the macbook, as the OS is custom built to make best use of the parts in it, you can use 2gb of ram and its smooth sailing, boot time is low. Then Boot up windows 7, the better O/S, and its just not as good.

I'm sorry but The Iphone 4s is a pretty darn good phone, and even the best phones arent much better if any. I never thought I'd see the day when Apple would catch up to Microsoft Profit and Revenue wise, but it looks like its coming, call it whatever you want, cults, fan boys, maclusers, Apples no joke anymore, and the cultish minority just took the majority in a few key markets.

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dandoz

I bought both the new Air and 4S, both the first Apple products I've purchased in a long time. 

I really think it's silly to see the entire picture of Apple through a Microsoft Lens.  Apple has carved itself a distinctive niche at the cost of selling a higher volume of computers.  They've kept at their niche by remaining profitable, even if a minority in the desktop/portable world.   I like the seamlessness where the phone/iPod sync with the OS.  I don't think that's cultish, I think it represents particular services.  I don't think this is cultish.  I tried everything on the PC side and found nothing that worked as well for free as the iTunes/iPod sync.

I'm not a PC fanboy, although I am a Win7 fan.  I read MaxPC because I'm a hardware geek, even if much of what I do and rely on involves mostly Linux and other *nix soft noodling.  Macs fit nicely into that world, for what it's worth.

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williamkeller1

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Castun

I don't think Apple is all that innovative, really.  Almost all of their success with hardware comes from improving upon already tried and true (or not so true) electronics, such as iPod & iPad predecessors.  The iPhone is probably the only thing that could really be considered innovative IMHO, but even that could be argued, especially since they like to steal ideas from the Jailbreak community as well as Android devices, and then tout them as 'new.'  They just have a tendency to take something that's already existed and tell their fanbase they have created something revolutionary.

The thing I've noticed though, is that I don't hate Apple or their products, so much as I tend to hate their fanbase.  All too often they come across as 'holier than thou' and more enlightened than the rest of us.  That Steve Jobs could never do no wrong, all the while parroting Apple's selling points and just coming across as generally uninformed.

And for the record, I have an iPhone 4.  Upgraded from a 3G that was almost 3 years old, and the main reason I decided to stay with the iPhone this time was for the simple fact that I was able to jailbreak it and do whatever I wish.  I have friends with Android devices, most of which have rooted their phone, but there are still a lot of quirky little bugs here and there it seems.

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Rogue74

Zen? How about going back to the Creative Nomad Jukebox. It was far superior to the iPod. Of course now Creative charges you $9.99 for the ability to rip MP3s in Mediasource (which used to freely have that capability) so maybe that has something to do with it.

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Sethb0037

Apple doesn't really offer a real value for their users.  It's like they constantly cause a one up situation between their users and people seem to fall for the "Keeping up with the Jones" System.

Now it's reverting to dirty tactics to keep it's market share but soon enough the bottom will fall out.  I personally would like to see how many 99% assholes hanging out in wallstreet are using their iphone 4s to let everyone know they are poor broke and have no service to offer the world.  

Look... apple does what it does really well, but I can say when Microsoft released the source code for the kinect and didn't sue the guy that hacked it, they offically took the right step and thats why all you apple packers will be left out in the cold.

 

 

 

Churches did it with the commandments, Apple does it with i-tunes.

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ReySys

Grat Article!

Nobody is going to be the only winner. For the simple reason that people don´t think equally, maybe the clones. Nobody has the same budget! Nobody likes the same car! And we live in a world of more choices.

As consumers choice to influence more enterprises. I see companies with Apple only, or Windows only but today is a mix. Is sad to see a blind confidence in Apple is wrong the products a marketing beauties but reality is more big. Can be in any of the world a disaster or a beauty.

The server side is for Windows or Linux, Mac definitely is erased from this side of the equation. His servers are a rarity in Mexico. The cloud technologies are great but the broadband is a key element. Many companies outside of USA you moust pay almos t $1000 dollar for 4Mbits of internet.

Yes, Microsoft needs refreshing, change needs time for people. Windows Phone for example is a beauty but we have in Mexcio 1 model since 15 months ago with 1 carrier. Apple has iPhone 4S a almost a month ago and we are going to have it next month. See the diference? Every market at the same time, with many carriers even are unlocked ones. Windows phone you need to learn something? YES!!!

So my recommendation for Microsoft in Windows 8 give us alternatives but don´t erase everything. Windows world is a one of choices. But the marketing guy is absent here.

Mac change little and his product dont last to many years iPod sales are declining his sales year after years. mac desktops too. Laptops are steady. Ipad is on fire! But I compare always with the total population of the world every sales numbers! So is important but is not a reality reachable for everybody. For the reasons of the beginning of this comment.

Yes, mobilty is the tendency but the prices are insane. I can buy 3 netbooks, 1 laptop, with a little more a workstation with Apple prices. Or as I like to build my own rig.

Yes, I´m going to buy a Ipad but in the third or 4 th generation. Android is important, because has similar marketing to Apple. And it sale sin many flavors, many vendors in 1 word choices are plenty. Yes lack of many features and needs time to mature.

Yes, they are going to pay Microsoft money for use of his technology but Microsft donpt want to kill the platform.

I remember Windows in 10 or 15 years ago so leave Android to mature. I began in MS-DOS.

Yes, my wife & kids have Ipods but windows Laptops too... I use blackberry too. I´m waiting for a windows phone. I learn to type in many keyboard layouts. I learn adaptation. I consider them as languajes nobody earn good money with only one.

I finish saying this: I love Linux & Apple & Android because teach Microsoft to be humble! Choice your flavor and get fun! Don´t be a fanatic!

 

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dandoz

Um, nothing original about deriding Apple as a "cult."  It was more apt perhaps in the late 90s when Apple hardware was generally both dreadful and expensive.

 

Apple's most brilliant move was making iTunes and giving it away for free.   Being able to buy an iPod and sync it with iTunes is the gateway for exactly what has made them a viable tech company that has innovated how users interact with their devices.

I've used every single media player out there: WMP, Winamp, Music Match (ugh), Real, as well Music Monkey, and Songbird.  They all had their nice sides, but nothing completed the picture the way iTunes did.  (Never touched the proprietary Sony stuff.)

I'm sure the Nomad Zen was brilliant in its day, and I deeply resent the "wall" of Apple preventing me from hearing FM radio on my Ios devices for so long.  But it has to be said, if you think the reason iTunes and iPods propelled Apple ahead of Real Player and Nomad Zen were merely marketing and not performance and real-world usability, I have to think you're looking out from a walled garden of your own.

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haboh

What exactly is it iTunes does so well? It scans the files into the library (but does not monitor folders? wtf!) and I drag files to my iPod. I can do the same in MediaMonkey, but better. And it does not take 9 min to start up either.. MM also has tons of other features iTunes does not. I think podcasts may be a bit better in iTunes?

I'd really like to know. I deleted iTunes and don't miss it. If you could convince me to use it again I'd be impressed..

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Sethb0037

Apple didn't create Itunes, it was SoundJam, and the ipod was created by a british guy who couldn't afford to renew his patent on the IXI (or somthing like that) and when he lost patent apple decided to take the idea.  But hey, churches controlled masses with commandments, apple does it with i-tunes

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jgrimoldy

WOW, David.  That's an Economist or New Yorker calibur article.  Thank you for a great read.

I think Apple is going to find it tough-going in the market of the future.  Information is the future, and Facebook (which I detest) and Google are much better positioned to ride this wave.  Apple will need to spent A LOT of money to stay relevant in the next 10 years and their "walled garden" meme will need to change.  Hardware and OS will become increasingly less important.

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alex_dh9

I agree with it all. Apple is a marketing genius , that is all.

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Brad Chacos

One of the best, most well thought articles I've read on MaximumPC.com in a long time. And heck, I write here! There is literally nothing I could add or argue with. Even the title is awesome.

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aarcane

Nothing apple has recently achieved acclaim for is unique or original.  there were portable MP3 players before the iPod, but apple managed to have the superior product.

Similar with Smart Phones.  They just mixed the "phone as a modem" and the "PDA" together to make a smart phone, put their OS on it and called it a revolution.

Archos has been making internet tablets for a lot longer than the iPad has been around, and there have been other "tablet" devices for quite as long, as you pointed out in a recent timeline article.  All apple did is port their "Mobile" OS to a larger device and throw out the phone, or if you prefer, take the existing platform, and throw in a portable oriented OS instead.  The problem with tablets that came before was that the OS wasn't designed for mobile.  Again, they call it a revolution.

Also, apparently, apple managed to patent the idea of rounded corners and asthetically positioned buttons.  I can't think of any devices (Almost all cell phones, PSP, Gameboy, GBC, GBA, Palm Pilots, Most semi-modern monitors, etc..) that had rounded corners or asthetically positioned buttons prior to apple coming up with the idea.  can you?

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tedpc01

They were called (Windows) tablet computers and they were big in the service and construction fields around 2001. Now Android is in the lead with better, faster and cheaper. Windows 8 will strengthen that field.

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linesma

Excellent article, no preface needed.  It hit several points that I have expressed to my co-workers several times.  Since they are members of the "Cult," they dismiss my arguments as being nothing more than jealousy.  Got to give Apple credit, and I do it grudgingly. They do know how to market.  All you have to do is look at the headlines of any site devoted to their products and count the number of times "awesome", "glorious", and other bombastic adjectives are used.  Their products do have a place, but for me, paying twice as much for last year's mid-range hardware, no thank you!

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warptek2010

Apple's marketing strengths is nothing new, granted but the more interesting question is WHO does that marketing speak to? I have a suspicion that PC centric people are the type that cannot, will not be swayed by any marketing come-on unless they happen to be in the market for such a product. When I shop for say a... GPS unit, I don't let clever gimmicky advertising sell me I hit the review sites. I want to know what are other people saying about a product or service before plunking down my hard earned bread. WE comparison shop. I could not give a shit less about "some concept art" bullshit invented by an advertising company. I say the 'cult' label sticks. 

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Gezzer

Well a nice gesture I don't think the preface was needed.

The article is well thought out and dosen't attack in any sense. It simply states the truth. Apple is the iCult. Apple's biggest strength is not hardware inovation, but marketing. When you consider that Steve Job's job (ain't that a mouthfull?) was mostly marketing in the original company is it any surprise that Apple was able to become what it currently is under his leadership?

One of the reasons Apple does so well is that for the most part true tech companies, with the exception of cell phone companies, have this "if we build it they will come" concept that seldom works. Where as Apple's marketing is a rollercoaster multi-media ride with the massive "and just one more thing" delight that brings customers in droves most other ccompanies seem to rely on adverts in trade/enthusiast publications and rarely use mass marketing methods. For example ask someone what an iPad can do and you will get a bullet point list from virtually anyone. Ask about the Asus Transformer and I'd say at least half the people will give you a blank stare and maybe ask "Who's Asus?"

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Engelsstaub

Great article, Mr. Gerrold. I always enjoy reading your stuff regardless of the subject matter.

Cheers.

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biggiebob12345

Good article.  But what Apple doesn't realize is that their cult status isn't doing them any favors.  Sure you have good product loyalty and repeat business. But the key to developing a truly successful brand is to keep pushing your products into new market segments.  The Apple Cult and the constant patent trolling just alienates potential new customers.

 

Google succeeded, Microsoft succeeded.  Apple has basically been making the exact same things for the past 7 years give or take cell service and bigger/smaller screens.

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Slurpy

Yeah, Apple didn't innovate with the iPod, iPhone, or iPad, they just took others' designs and improved (or at least tinkered).  The first Creative player, the Nomad, came out in June 1999, two and a half years before the iPod in November 2001.  Palm and Symbian both did smartphones before the iPod was even created, and netbooks as well as other tablets beat the iPad to the "purse PC" punch.

 

Whenever Apple actually does try to innovate, like with the Newton, their products almost always fail - it's only when they take something that's already an established "fringe" product, shrink it and shove it into a white case that they succeed.

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Drew7

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't BlackBerry on the market with smartphones/PDAs WAAAAAAYYYYYY before Apple? Sure, they weren't "hip", "stylish" trendsetters that went mainstream. BUT~ I believe the real "Smartphone Crown" goes to R.I.M. :)

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b_c_pc

Actually, I think Nokia came out with their first smartphone even earlier than RIM/Palm (Nokia 9000 running GEOS from Geoworks).  I think that was back around 1995-1996.

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AntonioGarrison

I do believe you are correct.  R.I.M actually set a standard for a few quick with it's BlackBerry Lineup. 
The interface was simple and understandable, easy to use. 

The whole Apple Fest that has gone on since the first release of the Iphone will die soon enough.  People are already unhappy.  People were looking forward to an Iphone 5, an upgraded Iphone 4 came.  There was no need for that, the phone already had great performance and nobody was really complaining about it.  The Mp3 player is going the way of the dodo, who needs an Ipod when you're phone does everything already?  People who bought the IPad who've owned it for more than a month use it pretty much as an MP3 player and web browser. 

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big_montana

Sorry, but Palm beat RIM to market with the smartphone, and had a 67% market share at one time before shooting themselves in the foot by deciding to split into two companies, hardware and software. That turned out real good now didn't it? Palm just became another footnote in technology annals.

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Archangel1976

I think an excellent article.

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