Originally posted by Matsu
Apple has to be in the ballpark, they don't have to be cheaper, intangibles can count, but they can't justify enormous price increases.
I think Uncle Steve is very good at telling people what they want to hear - or at least putting as positive a spin on Apple's weaknesses as possible.
I don't really think he likes the idea of "Boutique Computing", but for the last little while, there was no way Apple could stay alive if they didn't put a value premium on their OS and design - and to protect that value premium, market the intangible AS-IF it really was far-far more valuable than a faster yet comparably priced windows machine.
I'm sure all those at Apple know this isn't quite the case - no doubt it has value, but that much value? - but what else are they gonna say? Also, for some people, those who are actually quite frightened of computers yet want to do some incredible things, like edit video for home use, the Apple solution - despite the fact it may not be as fast - is certainly much easier, and from an over-all work flow and what-you-can-do situation, actually is faster than dealing with XP.
The truth however is, playing to this crowd forever with slower machines, is like playing not to loose rather than to win ... and the bigger problem is, while the competition might not be able to choke you out now, it's only a matter of time ... fortunately, I also think Apple knows this too.
I think, that once we have the 970, Apple will probably charge a premium for it, but by then, Apple will be able to have comparable speed to the Wintel world, but far superior software ... In which case, the value proposition for the whole Apple platform, especially in certain key markets, begins to far exceed merely a "playing not to loose position" ...
And what's especially exciting here is, for the office environment, who really cares how fast you can run MS Word? Yet for the creative environment, the very beachhead which Apple depends on, how fast you can run iMovie, FCP - and how well the software integrates, which will also be a major selling point in the future thanks to things like CORE Audio - makes a huge difference.
I also think, with the 970, Apple is going to remind the world that,yes, they very much are a Unix platform - at which point the scientific community is about to become the next niche enraptured by Apple's curves. This is also a community where the the ability to run MS word is nice, but what really matters is BLAST , imaging or folding speed ... not exactly premium Windows real-estate.
What's especially interesting is that, the next wave of computing seems to be moving into 3D media, audio and video content creation, a space that Apple is uniquely qualified by software to dominate - but up till the 970, just didn't have the necessary umph under the hood to really make a difference. Microsoft will try to compete as best they can in this space, but likely will never be able to keep up with Apple, instead, they'll focus on keeping the business community in their grip with .net
We've never really been in this situation before, but of the two, I think Microsoft's trying to grab the corporate world with .net is a bigger gamble than Apple trying to grab the creative/scientific world with 970's, Unix and great software.
"Hey, I've already got Word, why do I need this .net stuff?"