Just some thoughts on Apple's Hardware/Software Release strategy...

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Since MWSF, it has been fairly obvious that many contributors to these forums are disappointed that their aspirations for new PM and PB hardware were not met during the Stevenote at MWSF.

However, there are several issues which deserve some balance, before we all conclude that our lives would be more productive by replacing our "crappy" (sic) Macintosh hardware with leading-edge (?) Wintel/WinAMD hardware.

1. Some contributors to the forums have expressed an opinion that an application such as iPhoto (and all the other i apps) indicates that Apple (for which read, Steve Jobs) is completely obsessed with the consumer market and that that the professional market has lost its' rightful mindshare within Apple's product development group.

This opinion, whilst potentially valid at a superficial level, ignores several cogent points:

a) The consumer needs to be inspired and motivated to make an informed choice.

b) Between iTools, iPhoto, iDVD and iMovie, I would argue that Apple is providing approx US$500 dollars worth of intuitive, powerful and well engineered software for free: nothing, nada, niente, zip.

c) I may be a cynic, but I suspect that history proves to us that a significant element of the educated population find nothing more inspiring and motivating than getting something for nothing. My empirical evidence for this viewpoint is the Internet Goldrush of 1998/99.

2. Some of the same contributors have expressed varying levels of dismay/disgust (delete as per your emotional state) that Apple have placed the needs of the consumer market ahead of the professional market.

a) Unless you are a mega-corporation (e.g. IBM, GE, MSFT, Sony), you cannot develop and reliably deliver more than one or two completely new product lines simulataneously. How many people out there can remember all of Apple's world-famous product shortages throughout the late-80's/mid-90's? Surely, it is far better to dedicate the finite resources of a "boutique" company like Apple to totally deliver one product family in a professional manner (i.e. properly marketed, quality assured and stocked in the channel) rather than over-promise/under-deliver on several fronts at once.

By the way, please don't flame me for stating that Apple is not a mega-corp. Neither is BMW or Bang & Oulfsen. Be proud of the individuality.

b) Apple has allegedly predicted a requirement for 100,000 flat-panels/month from its' suppliers: Assume that 10% of these are destined for the standard Studio Displays, that implies shipment of 90,000 iMacs. Does Apple sell 90,000 "professional" systems a month? It would be nice to say Yes, but I suspect we know the real answer.

c) Marketing programmes cost money. This is true everywhere, and even more true in the USA than anywhere else. if you are going to launch a product immediately before one of the major consumer advertising opportunities in the world (Superbowl), do you announce and advertise product that has a mainstream market and appeal or do you announce and market product that is going to struggle to find purchasers in a commercially tough SME/corporate economic climate.

3. There are several product release opportunties for Apple every year: MWSF, MWTK, NAB, MWNY, MW Paris, Seybold even without resorting to Comdex or Apple Events.

I had a think about this as a potential intinerary for the next couple of years, with the Best as the likely route with Worst being the route if the economy doesn't pick up.


Worst: No new products - big play on new iBook.

Best: 1Ghz Apollo in TiBook


Worst: 1Ghz Apollo in TiBook

Best: PMs revised to 1.4 GHz x 2/1.4 GHz/1.2GHz/1.0GHz

MW Paris 02

Worst: Nothing

Best: 500Mhz G4 in iBook


Worst: Another iMac presentation (speed-bump to 1.0GHz and 1.2Ghz)

Best: PMs @ 1.7GHz G5, 2.0GHz G5, 2.4Ghz G5: also 2.0Ghz x 2


Worst: Multi-coloured iBooks

Best: 1.2GHz and 1.4GHz Apollo in TiBook, iBooks go to 600MHz G4

NAB 03:

Worst: FCP4/DVDStudio3 optimised for G5 + QT6

Best: All of the above + 2.4GHz Quad-Processor


Worst: G5 finally + OS X.4

Best: PM Speed bump (2.0GHz, 2.4GHz, 2.8GHz + 2.8GHz Dual-Pro) + OS X.4

MW Paris 03

Who Cares??


TiBook G5 debuts @ 1.7GHz and 2.0 GHz with internal Superdrive

PM Speed Bump - 2.8GHz, 3.0GHz + 3.0GHz x 2, 3.2GHz + 3.2GHz x 4


iBook goes Apollo

NAB 04

OS XI previewed: 64-bit pure on G5, FCP5 and DVD Studio Pro both 64-bit native on G5/OS XI is present.


OS XI in beta: Declaration that whole line is now either G5 or Apollo based.


iMac goes G5

This may not be as exciting as some predictions, but real-life rarely lives up to the adverts.

Anybody want to comment?


  • Reply 1 of 1
    [quote] Some contributors to the forums have expressed an opinion that an application such as iPhoto (and all the other i apps) indicates that Apple (for which read, Steve Jobs) is completely obsessed with the consumer market and that that the professional market has lost its' rightful mindshare within Apple's product development group.


    I don't think Apple is neglecting the professional market at all. Apparently the basis of this accusation originates from the sorry state of the current Powermacs, but towards the end of any of Apple's products lifespan, the specs begin to drag. I think the current powermacs are a good argument for G5 powermacs being on their way. Apple is neglecting the current powermacs because they are focusing all their Powermac R&D budget on the G5.

    And what about FCP 3, iDVD pro, the superdrive, and the mondo software bundle with new Powermacs? What about the GeForce 4? Apple is doing great things with the pro line, and I think by the end of this year it's going to be even better, in fact I predict that it will be as ground breaking as the Mac II line was in its heyday. For real.

    While the pro line represents Apple's core markets, the professionals in graphics, audio, and now DV who are loyal to the Mac platform, the real increases in Market share are likely to come from iMac and iBook sales. Thus it is reassuring to see the awesome new imac, and the bitchin' iBook line, with two different display sizes and enough drive configurations to make everyone from granny to the audio CD pirates happy. And for the first time in years, the consumer lines at Apple have VALUE! The new iMac is cheaper than comparable Dell products, and the iBook is also a steal for it's feature set. Apple is no longer guilty of ripping off their customers when it comes to the consumer lineup.

    I think we may soon see the pro lines going down in price as well. Already, the Powermacs have dropped a bit in price...if this is permanent, then with the next revision value will get a boost. The Titaniums aren't a bad value for their features, but they could have a bit more value-=-expect to see this happen with their next revision, when they get a higher resolution display, a new GPU with mroe vRAM, and maybe some other cool features.

    Once the G5 Powermacs are out, and the Titanium gets a speedy Apollo G4 at around 1 GHz, Apple will once again have high end computers with dominance that is unquestionable, with the sort of performance that even Windows drones will drool over, even hard-core gamers will bow to the Quake benchmarks achieved on a Powermac G5 w/ Nvidia GeForce 4 Titanium. The Titanium powerbook will be the hippest, coolest, most powerful laptop available with a GHz Apollo.

    And to compliment the high end, high priced pro line, Apple will have an affordable consumer lineup that offers great value to everyday customers.

    Sorry to ramble, but I'm very optimistic about Apple's future lately. I think that within a year, Apple will have a product line that is the envy of the entire computer industry. Apple's products will harken back to the days when Macs cost a premium (like $10,000!), but for that premium you got a computer with such incredible performance that it could do things no other PC could do. The G5 Powermacs will be much the same, allowing real time audio and video editing/effects that blow people away, with high end 3d modeling/rendering capability in dual G5s that no Wintel can match, providing an OS experience that is unparalled....basically Apple is on the brink of something HUGE, and I think the next MW will be hyped by Apple as much as the last!

Sign In or Register to comment.