I don't think I'd last two weeks at Apple. Large corporations and I don't get along well.
(For the record, I work for the State Health Registry of Iowa, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa. I neither have nor have had any affiliation, formal or informal, with Apple, nor do I even know any current or former Apple employees.) I do love the ironic logic that someone within the company couldn't summon a real argument about the company's reasons for doing something, though.
A few points here and there:
1) As far as can be discerned, the G4 is not a low cost processor. It should be
, but the low yields result in scarcity, and scarcity increases cost. I do not find it at all hard to imagine that Apple could implement a 970fx-based board for less than the cost of a G4-based board, simply because the 970fx is tiny and enjoys high yields. The need for the fast, high-tech companion chip can be obviated by moving the memory controller onto the CPU - a relatively simple modification. Then they can design a northbridge chip that's freed from the need to keep up with the absurdly fast Elastic Bus and connect it with HyperTransport (which is, by design, inexpensive to implement). Use a single channel 333MHz DDR RAM, which is cheap and plentiful, and a notebook GPU, and you have yourself an inexpensive board. If IBM can manage to build a true SoC (excluding the GPU and RAM) then Apple can make a really inexpensive board.
It's clear, though, that they now enjoy a level of design flexibility and cost efficiency that they simply didn't have with Motorola.I think we'll be surprised by what comes out of Cupertino in the coming months.
2) Where Windows is adopted in schools there might be a fig leaf of a rationale (there's always something), but if you dig deeper the decision was almost always made behind closed doors and leaving certain crucial people (teachers and the Apple rep) out of the loop. The resulting Windows machines are two-piece by default - nobody at Dell has given a moment's thought to the suitability of the design for a school setting, and the people engineering the move to Windows are satisfied that it's cheaper because the retail price for the desktop itself is lower, and (more) satisfied that their little fiefdom is that much more like the business world now. Complete with a suddenly large and important IT department, oddly enough...
3) I've seen the argument crop up that advocating the simplicity of an AIO is tantamount to calling consumers stupid. I'm always surprised to see this argument on a Mac forum, because it's one of the oldest and most elitist arguments against the Mac generally, and its logic is hilariously skewed. Do people actually consider themselves intelligent for picking needlessly overcomplicated solutions? I tend to think the other way: Consumers consider simplicity a feature
, and they are smart to the extent that they prefer to apply their intelligence toward using
a computer rather than merely getting it to work - after all, we buy computers to use them. There are people out there who need everything to be an obvious test of their intelligence and competence because they have some chronic existential need to prove to everyone (and to themselves) that they're intelligent and competent), but I don't think this is a common affliction. I consider myself not unintelligent, and I prefer simplicity myself. If I didn't, I'd have a Windows box.
Elegance does not stop at the operating system level, and design does not mean making things pretty. The whole line about how Apple makes the "whole widget" is meaningless unless it means that the same philosophy that Apple applies to its software applies also to its hardware, so that the entire experience is as simple and painless as possible.