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After you've got your G5, what then?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
This article speculates about a topic that I'm sure has crossed many of our minds. Will there be a demand vacuum for desktop Macs once most Mac users get a G5? F'rinstance, I'm perfectly happy with my PB800: it should last me several years if I treat it well. And that should go double for a desktop G5.

The author of the linked article suggests that digital hubbery will help Apple to shore up its revenue stream. This is surely one possibility, but only one. What other possibilities are there? Off the top of my head:

--Dead sexy must-have features of future G5 replacements. But what would they be?

-- Mainstream software applications that can really use all the power you throw at them. Games are the most obvious possibility here, but this kind of frivolity is hard to sustain through difficult economic times. Emulation environments thus might provide a compelling reason for future upgrades.

-- And despite my happiness with my PB, it's clear that we're nowhere near portable computing nirvana. But I would think that a PB with something like the performance of a 1.8GHz G5 and 5 hours useful battery time would be pretty close to nirvana. I'd imagine that we're at least two generations away from this.

-- G5 performance in cute little iMac/Cube etc. style enclosures.

Any other suggestions? And how feasible are these ones?
post #2 of 21
That's just it.

Consumers are taught to "blow their wad" on one big fast expensive computer. So when some people upgrade they then "hibernate" until they need another computer.

What I think the industry needs to start doing is finding new areas place computers. Apple had a popular computer in the Cube but they priced it too high. However something scaled back and cubelike would be nice. Sometimes you need fast powerful and you get big and loud. Sometimes you need decent speed and small size. The iMac fits the bill in some areas but not so much in others.

Consumers are still waiting for computers to take over more of the drudgery of life. However ..right now computer maintenence adds to that drudgery.

We've heard about new form factors but enough talk. Let's see some new paradigms of computing that people can wrap their heads around and understand.
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post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by boy_analog
Will there be a demand vacuum for desktop Macs once most Mac users get a G5?

What about the other 95%? Maybe they will be wanting a G5 as well. No? Isn't that the idea?
post #4 of 21
If I got a G5, I'd be broke.

What then? I'd die homeless and starving, but in sheer G5full bliss.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by dfryer
If I got a G5, I'd be broke.

What then? I'd die homeless and starving, but in sheer G5full bliss.

You could always rent out its processing power.
post #6 of 21
I'll tell you, a man could use poisoned to download all the girls gone wild pretty quickly with a G5 and BROADband!
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post #7 of 21
I really want a G5 Cube. That would be a great way to celebrate Mac's 20th birthday.

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post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by iPeon
What about the other 95%? Maybe they will be wanting a G5 as well. No? Isn't that the idea?

Ah yes, I forgot to mention the Switch campaign. Which apparently hasn't done too well. In my own experience, the x86 users who are savvy/tasteful enough to want a Mac are already using Linux, with occasional use of Windoze to play games or whatever. For these people, it's pretty hard to make a compelling case for switching.

That's not to say that a Mac wouldn't be much, much, much better than their current set-up, but the costs and hassles are not to be sneezed at. Inertia is a powerful thing, alas.

The more I think about it, it becomes clearer that M$'s Connectix takeover was a stroke of genius. It would be so much easier for Apple to encourage people to switch if Virtual PC was bundled with your new Switcharooni Special .... It's hard to see any aggressive moves from Apple on this front for a while.
post #9 of 21
Wish that I had the money for the G6 that came out 6 months prior to my G5 purchase, cuz that's when I'll be able to afford one.
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"Beware the Jabberwock , my son! The jaws that bite, the claw that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the the frumious Bandersnatch!"

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post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
...Consumers are taught to "blow their wad" on one big fast expensive computer. So when some people upgrade they then "hibernate" until they need another computer...

The only way to change this habbit is to offer a computer that changes the marketing strategy. As I see it the only two ways to do this are:
  • Make computers so inexpensive that they can be replaced every year...bad idea for landfills!
  • Make computers that are designed with a longer lifespan in mind from the start.

For "B" to work the mother board needs:[list=1][*]designed with enough bandwidth to cover, say 4 years of processor development. In the 970's case, the mother baord would have to support a 2-3 Ghz bandwidth to cover processors that are approaching 6 Ghz.[*]multiple daughter card slots (say 2, with 2 zif type sockets for each processor, max of 4 processors), so that consumers can add new processors and or replace older, slower processors throughout the lifespan of the computer.[*]Move away from the built ins on the motherboard, and back to PCI type expansion so that consumers can upgrade to new technology like USB 2, and FW800 without replacing the entire system.[/list=1]

This wont happen becouse Apple cant ensure that they could beat the upgrade manufacturers offerings in price/feature/performance. This would most likely make the years inbetween upgrade cycles even leaner for Apple. I dont think it will be a problem in the long run, programers will find some way to use up all that added speed, and before you know it we will be annoyed at waiting 6 seconds to apply that PhotoShop filter that used to take 30 seconds to run on your old G4...
post #11 of 21
I am one to believe that computers are never fast enough. For instance, my first Mac was a 25MHz IIci. It was the "best" version and I think cost around $3000. Most of my friends thought I was nuts to buy such a high end machine. Well, it lasted me a long-time (I would have upgraded sooner if I had the money). Now the arguement against such a "powerful" CPU was what would you use it for? Today its easy to see how underpowered it is. My point is that software and new applications come when the power is there. At the time of my IIci people were using macs for simple music recording. Limits in hard disk space and processing power were very obvious. iMovie couldn't even been imagined.

With the G5 spreading I'm sure all Apple has to do is migrate, piece by piece, small parts of shake etc to iMovie. Suddenly, your G4 doesn't cut it. Just an example, but I think it shows that its not too hard to come up with ways of using CPU power.

Other possibilities: Voice recognition and better dictation software. Can you imagine if you no longer need to train ViaVoice? Anybody just sits down and talks and the computer writes. Smarter software needs better chips.

Anybody else have ideas on tomorrow's killer apps that will make you scream for your G6?
post #12 of 21
I'd be starting a long as* thread
that tommorow is when they
release the G6.
post #13 of 21
Shoring up revenue streams:

1. Better corporate penetration. Nationwide tours where you invite and demonstrate the benefit of Mac OS X client and server versions. Compare licensing costs vs the competition. You have to go to them - corporations are going into Apple Brick-n-mortar stores, now are they?

2. Many many new digital video products are to come down the pipeline in the next few years.

3. Keep on with iTunes Music Store.

4. Be ready to roll into corporations when the "killer" virus strikes all Winblows systems and actually does file system damage. Just imagine if any one of the countless highly infectious virii that have played havok on Microsoft would have done actual damage. Like lost databases, or payroll systems....any of these viruses/worms could have done it but didn't. I think the time where corporate IT directors and company administration feels the pressure to either pony up God-knows how many more millions each year on top of the millions they are already spending licensing such a crap line of products will come when the virus actually does damage. Consuming bandwidth and clogging email systems will only annoy you but threaten a companies data, ooooh that's a definate wake up call.

5. Keep attracting more developers to the platform.

There really isn't much more to do. Apple will always innovate - they are one of the few computer companies who actually do this, not just claim it. So from that standpoint, they will be fine. I think a corporate push is coming in the next 12-24 months, (edit) maybe sooner (like 60 days?).
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post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Carson O'Genic
Anybody else have ideas on tomorrow's killer apps that will make you scream for your G6?

Trying to edit video from this digital camera will do it.

http://www.dalsa.com/dc/dc.asp

For those too lazy to follow the link, the camera captures up to 36 frames per second at 4000 x 2000 pixel resolution. It generates more than 1 terabyte of data in one hour of shooting.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Tidris
Trying to edit video from this digital camera will do it.

http://www.dalsa.com/dc/dc.asp

For those too lazy to follow the link, the camera captures up to 36 frames per second at 4000 x 2000 pixel resolution. It generates more than 1 terabyte of data in one hour of shooting.

Quote:
While not all can process Origin's output in real time, our lossless compression algorithms allow a 2k "proxy" to be edited, with the final edit list applied off-line to the 4k master. Our 4k format not only works for today, it represents an ideal archival-quality master that allows your original vision to move easily to whatever new postproduction or display standards emerge in the years to come.

Actually it is a terabyte every 15 minutes. Which is 1.2 GB a sec. But since no RAID drive can keep up with the camera it is compressed down to 400 mb a second.

Quote:
this RAID must be large as well as fast.

Dalsa really likes understatement .
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post #16 of 21
Something I never understood: Why is there frame loss if the drive/comp is too slow when extracting video from a camera? It's DIGITAL. Shouldn't it just extract it slow and steady until done?
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post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Tidris
Trying to edit video from this digital camera will do it.

Yup, that will make a G5 feel like a G3.

Studio Artist is my current favorite app and I can't wait to see the speed improvment in video rotoscoping with a G5. Another example of things can never be too fast.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Aquatic
Something I never understood: Why is there frame loss if the drive/comp is too slow when extracting video from a camera? It's DIGITAL. Shouldn't it just extract it slow and steady until done?

Capturing video is a real-time operation, and it's not like transferring a file. The device won't slow down if the computer is having trouble keeping up; it doesn't know or care about that. The camera's obligation is to play the video at the quality dictated by its configuration, and the computer has to keep up. Now, on the other hand, if we're talking about a device that stores its data in file format fashion (as some DV drives do), when it comes time to edit, the data will be in the form of a file and not a DV stream. Then the computer can treat it as it does any other file.

I like the subject of this thread, because I too have wondered about this issue. There is a great deal of pent up demand for the G5, much of it do to the fact that the G4 didn't have any legs and its anemic performance caused many (including me) to delay upgrading. But what will drive the upgrade cycle after we're all in G5 land? It's an interesting question because the fact is, for many the G5 will be quite enough for some time to come. My 8600 is an ancient machine now, but even though it doesn't run OS X, its still my primary workhorse. It meets my essential needs despite the fact it will turn six years-old in November. In contrast, my first two Macs simply wouldn't cut it after four years -- I simply had to upgrade out of necessity.

So I agree with boy_analog's comment, "I'm perfectly happy with my PB800: it should last me several years if I treat it well. And that should go double for a desktop G5." We won't be needing to upgrade from our G5s for quite a long while, hopefully. And that's good for the consumer but bad for Apple.

What could drive demand for the next generation? Here are some ideas:

* Digital Hub of Tomorrow: Apple has a lot invested in the digital hub concept, and that strategy will continue be utilized and extended in the future. (Unfortunately, since SJ hates plain old TV, PCs beat us easily in the area of enhanced TV connectivity. I really wish Jobs would rethink his position on that issue.) We can think about the future of home automation. Or the fact the Mac will be expected to handle all kinds of diverse data with aplomb. We all know HDTV is almost ready for the masses, and it would be a good thing for Apple to embrace it. Professionals will be using it; consumers will want to partake, and any way you slice it HDTV is resource intense. But that's just the beginning of where the digital hub will be in the future.

I believe that the digital hub implementation will become far more comprehensive in the coming years. As the computer continues to supplant the TV and bandwidth improves, the line between TV and the Internet will blur . I envision the day when channel surfing and web surfing merge and become nearly indistinguishable. There will be a tremendous amount of market potential for a company that can provide the toolset needed to take advantage of such a convergence. Apple should be that company. We know that if Apple wanted to, it could create a DreamWeaver killer -- an Internet content creation suite that would be intuitive and powerful. Create A/V-web productions with the beefy content creation/server suite from Apple. Serve up your high bandwidth site with the touch of button, and your G6 will be powerful enough to still let you log into another account and frag some people in your FPS of choice. The implications of such a content distribution system are immense. The web has allowed single-person operations to gain significant notoriety, but the web isnt yet as strong a medium as TV. But when the two converge, quality work of the little guy will compete with the content of the media giants. And isnt empowering the individual Apples overriding mission?

*Software paradigms of tomorrow: Ten years ago the WWW wasnt on the radar screen (MS was busy developing multimedia CDs instead), but now it dominates a large part of computing. What type of computing technology could be huge ten years from now? We probably believe nothing as significant as the web could come in the next few decades, but thats not necessarily true. The next big thing probably isnt on the radar yet, either. And you can be sure the next big thing in computing is going to require some computing muscle.

*Technical applications/Significant multitasking demands: Technical tasks will continue to demand as much computing power as possible. And as I alluded to in my previous point, not only will we wish to perform many demanding tasks on our machines, were going to perform many concurrently. Were going to want to serve that high resolution video and resize a window at the same time without it slowing it a crawl! (Ha ha, Im joking, and yet Im really not...) As our computers become faster, were going to continue demanding of them things that will still tax their resources. Someone on AI once said something like, only when he could run every resource intense task on in his system concurrently, without seeing his computer slow down, only then would he stop looking for more speed. Thats an exaggerated claim, of course, but the point is fast still wont be fast enough for some pros.

*Future of the OS: This is one of the ways Apples going to convince many to finally put their G5s away six or seven years from now. The OS and its software will march on, and eventually the G5 wont be able to cut it. (This goes hand-in-hand with my next comment on bloatware.) At some point it will be time to upgrade yet again, to the G7.

Hardware Competition: This isnt demand side stimulus (as the other factors listed are); this affects the supply side. In order to stay in business, Apple needs to be competitive. In spite of our hopes to the contrary, AMD and Intel wont throw in the towel and switch to the IBM PPC. Theyre going to continue pushing the performance envelope. If the PPC alliance begins to believe it no longer needs to do any serious R&D for the next generation, the results wont be pretty: Wintel will speed past us again. Someone will always ask why its important to have at least performance parity with the other platform. Theyll ask, who needs all that speed? The simple fact is, if your competitions low end is faster and cheaper than your high-end, even your most passionate platform partisans will start to lose faith. The competitive market moves on no matter what, and those who dont like it wont stay in business.

*Cutting edge gaming: enough said

*Bloatware/emulation: We shouldnt underestimate the ability of MS to bloat our G5s into obsolescence. They know how to make a several hundred meg word processor with features you dont need and cant get rid of (yet people still use Word, but I digress). And I dont know what MS has planned for VPC -- maybe they really wish to improve it. It would help them sell more copies of Windows, which they want to do. The tech geniuses here say it is possible to provide graphics acceleration to VPC. Maybe by the time the G6 comes out, MS VPC will give us emulation speeds approaching that of a 2GHz PC.

And those are a number of solid reasons for future upgrade cycles. Comments/questions?
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post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Big Mac
* Digital Hub of Tomorrow: Apple has a lot invested in the digital hub concept, and that strategy will continue be utilized and extended in the future. (Unfortunately, since SJ hates plain old TV, PCs beat us easily in the area of enhanced TV connectivity. I really wish Jobs would rethink his position on that issue.)

Steve might also be waiting for the old, coarse analog TV to die - Apple is building a digital hub, after all. HDTV looks to standardize formats across continents in a way that analog TV never did, which is another advantage.

The disadvantage, of course, will be all the "content protection" added to the digital signals, so that you can't do anything worthwhile with them. I hope Apple's busily lobbying against that trend, at least to reduce it to something only mildly obnoxious like FairPlay.

Quote:
I believe that the digital hub implementation will become far more comprehensive in the coming years. As the computer continues to supplant the TV and bandwidth improves, the line between TV and the Internet will blur . I envision the day when channel surfing and web surfing merge and become nearly indistinguishable.

I believe that marketers, and no-one else, is keen on this convergence. I can see broadcasting over the Web when Internet 2 goes public, but that's about it. And I doubt it'll replace the good old television.

Quote:
Serve up your high bandwidth site with the touch of button, and your G6 will be powerful enough to still let you log into another account and frag some people in your FPS of choice. The implications of such a content distribution system are immense. The web has allowed single-person operations to gain significant notoriety, but the web isnt yet as strong a medium as TV. But when the two converge, quality work of the little guy will compete with the content of the media giants. And isnt empowering the individual Apples overriding mission?

This depends on the good will of the media giants, which is debatable.

Quote:
The next big thing probably isnt on the radar yet, either. And you can be sure the next big thing in computing is going to require some computing muscle.

Undoubtedly; but one of the things that's already starting to happen is that the pipes to remote storage and service are almost as wide as those to local storage and services. This has major implications for application design and deployment, and the seeds are already sewn in XML and in Java Beans and the like (Objective-C and Cocoa are also well-positioned here). Once this bandwidth expands from LANs to WANs, and/or goes wireless, look out.

On the "computing muscle" side, lots and lots can be done. Systems that are currently rigid and hard-coded can become dynamic and adaptive (filesystems? speech? new user interface paradigms?). This will go a bit slowly simply because the standard platform is rapidly becoming a portable, but that has all kinds of implications as well (especially, again, given high-bandwidth connections to remote servers, much faster wireless, and distributed applications!). But a lot of it, I think, will be the same sort of improvement as the system-wide ColorSync in Panther: The sort of under-the-hood enhancement to the computer's intuitiveness that used to be computationally prohibitive.

Quote:
As our computers become faster, were going to continue demanding of them things that will still tax their resources. Someone on AI once said something like, only when he could run every resource intense task on in his system concurrently, without seeing his computer slow down, only then would he stop looking for more speed. Thats an exaggerated claim, of course, but the point is fast still wont be fast enough for some pros.

Yes, which is why limiting the discussion to the brute speed of a single machine is insufficient. With a roomful of fast machines, Rendezvous, and a fat pipe, you have scads of computing power.

Quote:
*Future of the OS: This is one of the ways Apples going to convince many to finally put their G5s away six or seven years from now. The OS and its software will march on, and eventually the G5 wont be able to cut it. (This goes hand-in-hand with my next comment on bloatware.) At some point it will be time to upgrade yet again, to the G7.

Actually, I don't think this will happen for a long time. OS X did set a minimum hardware requirement, but it's been getting faster rather than slower. The simple fact is that using the OS to drive hardware sales doesn't help the platform, because it means that your customers are trading up just to run as well as they did before, and customers resent that treadmill. MS only gets away with it because most people don't feel they have a choice.

Obviously, there will eventually become a time when a G5 just doesn't cut it. But it won't be for years yet, and it might not even be for want of horsepower: Beige G3s were cut out for lacking onboard USB!

Also, a lean OS gives Apple a competitive advantage in that less hardware is required for better performance. So if their hardware partners keep perceived parity, Apple machines will be faster.

Quote:
*Cutting edge gaming: enough said

Well, we need the games first.
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post #20 of 21
Amorph: "With a roomful of fast machines, Rendezvous, and a fat pipe, you have scads of computing power."

What about a *planetfull* of fast machines, Rendezvous, and fat pipes?

Planetwide clustering. That is the next big thing.

Seti@Home proved it can be done.
post #21 of 21
After I get my G5, I'll get a job at Apple trolling PC boards.

Or I'll follow ast3r3x, and make never-ending video files for my G5 to render.
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