Admittedly Outrageous Prediction

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
OK, I'm going to say something crazy here... Apple may be preparing an exit or at the very least departure of focus from the Mac Hardware business???.



Not to read too much into small details, but Steve said some interesting things in a recent interview after the launch of iTunes MS in Europe.



First, he commented on how software was the portion of the digital age that Apple's competitors hadn't understood yet. He made it clear that he saw software as a more important item than hardware in driving a consumers experience.



Second, he said "the Mac did that", past tense referring to how the Mac made complex digital tasks easy and fun for the user. Maybe a slip of the tongue or just a poor choice of words, but maybe evidence that the focus is iPod and the digital entertainment opportunity.



Consider the iPod's success. Consider the fact that it did not achieve that success until the launch of iTunes on Windows. Consider the inability to hit proposed 3Ghz mark in time. Consider the explosive growth Apple could achieve by becoming a Digital Lifestyle Hardware/Software company.



Is it possible that Apple will remain a hardware player, but begin releasing the iLife apps into the Windows world? Or maybe a strategy to allow OSX on Intel systems while remaining a hardware player through better design?



I'm not saying Tiger will be that step, but perhaps by next year??? Apple has to make some tough choices but stands firmly on the cusp of an opportunity to become THE dominant force in digital entertainment software/devices.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    paulpaul Posts: 5,278member
    No



    Apple makes money on computers... it is supplemented by iPods...
  • Reply 2 of 33
    aaronsaarons Posts: 31member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Paul

    No



    Apple makes money on computers... it is supplemented by iPods...




    My understanding was that margins were MUCH higher for software...



    as
  • Reply 3 of 33
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,129member
    Quote:

    First, he commented on how software was the portion of the digital age that Apple's competitors hadn't understood yet. He made it clear that he saw software as a more important item than hardware in driving a consumers experience.



    Pure SJ RDF. Anyone who's used computers in the last decade has always known it's about the software. Microsoft did kick Apple's g.maximmus because of software. No big revelation here. Hardware lockin is much harder than software IMO.



    Quote:

    Consider the iPod's success. Consider the fact that it did not achieve that success until the launch of iTunes on Windows. Consider the inability to hit proposed 3Ghz mark in time. Consider the explosive growth Apple could achieve by becoming a Digital Lifestyle Hardware/Software company.



    I have considered it and it does not compute. The iPod has added about a billion dollars to Apple's coffers. That's nice but now go look at how much the Powermac has added and ask yourself "would I give this number up?". Too many writers have pontificated on this with banal reasoning. They make it sound like the Powermac and iPod cannot co-exist when in fact the Powermac is ehanced and made more important by the presence of the iPod.





    Quote:

    Is it possible that Apple will remain a hardware player, but begin releasing the iLife apps into the Windows world? Or maybe a strategy to allow OSX on Intel systems while remaining a hardware player through better design?



    No that's an impossibility. Jobs has stated on the record that he considered moving Mac OS to Intel based machines. If he didn't do it then it's probably not going to happen. Moving apps to windows makes no sense. Your tech support costs skyrocket. Apple has to pay licenses for technology in the some apps like iDVD hence the requirement for a Superdrive to run. Moving iLife to windows is logistically difficult with small chance for a payoff.



    OS2 and BeOS tried to compete on X86 and died. Why people want Apple to is beyond me. Do you really want to lose MS support? Do think they would let Apple just waltz into their backyard and setup shop? Nay, Apple won't even develop competing apps that go up against MS. Where's Keynote 2? Where's the rest of the Apple Office Suite? It doesn't exist. Apple knows they aren't anywhere near large enough to try an assualt on MS territory. That 4-5 billion in the bank is chump change compared to MS financial resources.



    Writers are making a mountain out of a mole hill here. Watching this madness has been comical. How many different ways can you conjecture about the iPod before it sinks in. "It's just a music player!". It does not generate money for the end user therefore it is not sustainable as a platform without constant maintainance from Apple. Apple will have to push it every step of the way. That's why it seems like Apple has forgotten the Powermacs. Apple doesn't have to "push" the Powermacs and keep them in the limelight. People purchase a Powermac and run the apps they want. Nice and low maintenance.



    Not only will Apple not exit nor diminish their focus on hardware but I think you will see much more Apple hardware in the next two years. From a marketing standpoint the current Powermacs don't have enough new technology to hype. That's fair but you better believe their next revision will be talked about.



    The iPod is going to have to stratify a bit. Apple's doing good things by moving to incorporate it into cars(Alpine,BMW) and hopefully the home soon. They need to attack from every front they can.



    Consumers don't need to focus on Powermacs. The Pros know what they need. Consumers need constant adverstising for products and that's what Apple gives them with the iPod. Hopefully the next iMac is worthy of the same marketing focus.
  • Reply 4 of 33
    dhagan4755dhagan4755 Posts: 2,147member
    Maybe it's time to dig out that Temporary Insanity forum from mothballs.
  • Reply 5 of 33
    quagmirequagmire Posts: 558member
    Sport73 is right. The Mac is going to die. To this old article in 2002 Macs are dead in 2006.



    http://www.flamingmailbox.com/maccom...30lastmac.html



  • Reply 6 of 33
    Yes, and the big sale today to Army of a second Apple supercomputer marks the end of a long effort by Apple to establish itself beyond the consumer base. Comapany CEO Steve Jobs commented "It was a great effort to develop all these insanely great technologies found in the xServe and PowerMac, but were is the fun in standing still and making a profit? Apple is about the future and developing tomorrow's technology. So we will be closing down our computer sales and taking a one time right-off (that should wipe out this year's profits) to concentrate on just one aspect of our company-the digital appliance division. We hope that in several years we will bring Apple back to profitability and earnings as we now enjoy."
  • Reply 7 of 33
    quagmirequagmire Posts: 558member
    Just want to add, if apple was really going to shut down the computer side to concentrate on digital indrustry, then why he made 2 divisions? Now we can have 2 groups concentrated on 1 thing. The 1st group can concentrate on ipod the other group on Mac. I don't think apple will shut down their computer side because of all the profits they are getting.
  • Reply 8 of 33
    No, no. no. no! The iPod division gets guns grenades etc and the computer division gets some long stick and a pocket knife. Then they rumble until the best division is left standing. Saves on restructuring costs.
  • Reply 9 of 33
    quagmirequagmire Posts: 558member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Carson O'Genic

    No, no. no. no! The iPod division gets guns grenades etc and the computer division gets some long stick and a pocket knife. Then they rumble until the best division is left standing. Saves on restructuring costs.



    It would be funny if the computer division wins. But, you are thinking that it is going to end up as back when Jobs put apple II vs Mac. Not going to happen. Apple will make computers intill there is $0 profit from them. We would all be mad and riot and kill Jobs for doing it. Really people why is some people thinking this is going to end up what happened with Mac vs apple II.
  • Reply 10 of 33
    Quote:

    Originally posted by quagmire

    Just want to add, if apple was really going to shut down the computer side to concentrate on digital indrustry, then why he made 2 divisions? Now we can have 2 groups concentrated on 1 thing. The 1st group can concentrate on ipod the other group on Mac. I don't think apple will shut down their computer side because of all the profits they are getting.



    has anyone considered that the two divisions may just be the first step in a good legal move? Apple Records would have no legal standing if Apple Computer divested all of its music-related stuff into a seperate company/subsidiary. maybe I'm wrong, but I see this as being not-too-crazy. And anytime you can save millions in legal fees and settlements, while maintaining your strong brand identity, it's a win.
  • Reply 11 of 33
    limtclimtc Posts: 82member
    Apple just need to allow cloning, and control OS X will do. Before you said Steve will never do this, remember that now Apple is in a very different situation than in the past. Apple used to be a hardware-only company, and the cloning of Mac nearly kills Apple. But now Apple has iPod, iTunes Music Store, and a whole range of applications. Lesser machines sold can be make up by more application/OS X sold. I don't think Apple wanted its software like Motion to be used on only 3% of the market and give up 97% to Adobe. This will allow Apple to increase market shares without porting OS X to other platforms. By the way, to avoid others undercutting Apple, just allow cloning for big manufacturers like IBM or HP, which also needs to protect their margin and image (of course, whether they will want to be controlled by Apple, is another story).
  • Reply 12 of 33
    limtclimtc Posts: 82member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by concentricity

    has anyone considered that the two divisions may just be the first step in a good legal move? Apple Records would have no legal standing if Apple Computer divested all of its music-related stuff into a seperate company/subsidiary. maybe I'm wrong, but I see this as being not-too-crazy. And anytime you can save millions in legal fees and settlements, while maintaining your strong brand identity, it's a win.



    The brand iTunes is already very strong. All they need to do is to call it iTunes Music Store. This is the same case like Java is now a bigger brand than Sun.
  • Reply 13 of 33
    kenaustuskenaustus Posts: 888member
    I think Apple is in a very good position not - including their computer division. The 3 gig chip was delayed by IBM having fab problems and neither IBM nor Apple are going to give up on it, or the road map of successors. The PMs are going to sell well because there is significant benefits from the 90 nm processing, even at 2.5 gigs.



    Everyone seems to forget about notebooks when thinking about how "bad" things are with the computer line. PB kick @ss - I know because I am typing this on a new one that I love. iBooks are fantastic value for their performance levels. If you think that this is a bad range the competition.



    iMacs? They have been waiting for the new PMs - can't have them going 90nm G5s before the PMs, now can we? Don't think the designers and engineers can pull off a great new design? If not it's time to start looking at the offerings on the Dull web site.



    The reality is that the iPod, while great, is like the Newton in that it is a great idea for a product that goes on top of their core business. Sure, it's doing better in the market, but computers are the core market. The iPod & music business are now in a new division to maximize profits while the times are good. If the market has a drop in profits then the CORE business (computers) will keep on trucking as always, with "other divisions" profits falling a bit. Sad for me as I am a small shareholder, but fine for me as a Mac user.



    Finally, don't look at the last 12 months when developing plans for the next 5 to 10 years. Very short sided.
  • Reply 14 of 33
    dglowdglow Posts: 147member
    Hi, Sport73. Thanks for an interesting post.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Sport73

    First, he commented on how software was the portion of the digital age that Apple's competitors hadn't understood yet. He made it clear that he saw software as a more important item than hardware in driving a consumers experience.



    Perhaps Steve Jobs meant exactly what he said. Software is more critical to a consumer's experience than hardware. That's very different from saying hardware isn't important! (I doubt Steve would ever say that)



    Hardware - specifically, industrial design - speaks to a user's emotional side. It is less rational. Which Life Saver iMac was your favorite color? Which OS you prefer: 9 or X? Which response is rooted in more or less rationality?



    Perhaps what "Apple's competitors hadn't understood yet" is that being able to integrate software working on many levels is more potent that just stopping at the OS. Whether it be my PowerBook's boot ROM, OS X's Web Kit, the Music Store's hybrid, cross-platform 'web-store', or Airport Express' firmware, Apple gets to write more code and put it in more places... resulting in a more comprehensive user experience.



    Apple's genius in software, IMHO, is in choosing which pieces of functionality get put where, then making careful and consistent use of that functionality. (real dogfooding - M$ could learn a thing or two about that)



    My $.02
  • Reply 15 of 33
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by concentricity

    has anyone considered that the two divisions may just be the first step in a good legal move? Apple Records would have no legal standing if Apple Computer divested all of its music-related stuff into a seperate company/subsidiary. maybe I'm wrong, but I see this as being not-too-crazy. And anytime you can save millions in legal fees and settlements, while maintaining your strong brand identity, it's a win.



    A ton of people were saying that the day Apple announced the splitting of divisions, and I think it's exactly why Apple split it into two groups so quickly. It only makes good sense.
  • Reply 16 of 33
    lucidalucida Posts: 104member
    Consider the explosive growth Apple could achieve by becoming a Digital Lifestyle Hardware/Software company.







    How about charging PC users $99 for the full iLife package but still giving it away free on Macs?



    Make money from the PC trolls whilst giving an incentive to switch.
  • Reply 17 of 33
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,070member
    Apple has spent a huge amount of of money getting its pro apps ready for prime time. Currently that pro stuff mostly runs on Macs and in the few cases where it does run on non-Mac hardware (Shake for example), pricing makes the mac version far more attractive.



    Seeing as that mac software (which generates nice revenue streams) needs mac hardware (which also generates revenue streams) I don't see the mac going away anytime soon.



    Apple got very lucky with the iPod but it would be a crass error to plunge too many resources into that basket. The iMac boom didn't last forever, nor will the iPod boom. Macs are still the staple diet for Apple. There will be more gadget type stuff that's for sure. There will be a lot of convergence too.
  • Reply 18 of 33
    sport73sport73 Posts: 438member
    Not quite as much anger as I anticipated, but some interesting responses...



    Please allow me to clarify my position:



    1. I DON'T WANT THIS TO HAPPEN. I own a Dual 1.8 PowerMac G5, 12" Powerbook, 17" iMac, 14" iBook, and an old 400Mhz Powerbook. I also have both a 30Gb and 40GB iPod, and just about every Apple accessory you can think of. I LOVE Apple hardware, almost as much as their software and I would not like to see them move away from that business.



    2. I'm not suggesting the end of the PowerMac lineup, but rather that Steve may be considering changing the playing field. The iPod and iTunes has shown that Apple can win with better hardware and software across platforms. There may be room to port more software over to the PC while simultaneously selling the PowerMac etc. The idea is that you can't convert Windows users all at once, they're too scared of change. Give them apps like iTunes and with each one they come closer to joining the Mac.



    3. If that strategy still fails, then perhaps it's time to port OSX to intel devices. Not to become an OS provider like Microsoft, but to expand market opportunities. Apple makes better hardware even without OSX, they could still compete and win against rival systems from Dell, HP and others that also run OSX. (Especially if costs drop upon the adoption of Intel chips).



    4. Apple has paved the way for legal music distribution, and set the standard for a portable device to play that music. That has changed the perception of the company from a fringe computer 'cult' to a hip, stylish, digital lifestyle company with the credibility to challenge SONY across a wide spectrum of consumer electronics devices. Apple's greatest opportunity remains finding ways to replicate the ITMS and iPod's success across a wider spectrum of 'digital lifestyle' activities. Photos, Movies, Television (PVR's), Cell Phone/PDA, etc. are all areas that the entire market (including PC users) would be ready to embrace Apple into. The key will be to START with cross platform functionality, so that everyone can 'play' today.



    Apple has an incredible opportunity. I hope the path that works is to get Windows users to switch and to keep the Mac platform closed (and thereby better integrated). No one can deny, however, that the company has earned a chance to morph into something a little different than it once was. Ask the average PC user if they would buy an iPod, most would say "Sure". Ask them if they'd buy a Mac: "Never". Ask the average PC iPod user if they'd buy a Mac: "Maybe". Ask every Apple customer from hardware to software, PC to Mac, if they'd buy an Apple branded PVR, Cell Phone, Movie Store, Digital Camera, Display Device, etc., and the response will be a more resounding "Sure". People know (All people) that Apple "gets it", now its up to Apple to capitalize.
  • Reply 19 of 33
    I find it hard to believe that apple would ever stop making computers. All of this talk is based on speculation by individuals who don't know jack about apple internals or much of the industry from what I can tell. The ipod is cool, and all of their apps are great, but they are nothing without the hardware and history has shown that no one wants to make Apple hardware; the clones were a disaster, mostly because of internal issues, but a disaster none the less. I think Apple is looking to compete in less crowded and more prolific markets. With all of the advances they've made with QuickTime and it seems more logical that they are seeking to become the source for embedded media players. Anyone who uses QuickTime on a regular basis and is aware of the changes and growth in QuickTime over the years is aware of this. QT may never reach the embedded market (though given recent announcements I'd except to see QT in certain embedded devices) but the point is If apple execs are on top of their game (and they sure seem to be) they are going to look to distribute their strongest widest reaching products into market that their competition doesn't have a foothold. QT is just the perfect example, everyone can use it (whether they know it or not), it works with almost all modern data formats (including PDF?s, audio, video, still picture) everything the end user needs to share information and communicate. Apple made it a core technology to their OS and Applications.



    The smart move would be to keep a handle on their boutique computer market,(Apple makes bad ass computers these days and they?re only going to get better (hell even at their worst they were still better than crappy dells and gateways) establish a foothold in the embedded market with a bit of software that is already more or less embedded (Digidesign helped this to happen in the pc realm and so is itunes, pro tools avid and now itunes all use QT's abilities to make it all work) and even on a PC you can't have one without the other. No, Apple will never give up their hardware division, their computers are great and they still make Apple tons of money and wouldn't have been able to do so if they had to worry about making the OS and all of their software work on every clone out there, it's too complicated and tends to make a glitchy machine (have you worked on a windows machine lately?) and a lame ass user experience. Apple may port over a few more utilitarian apps over to the PC realm, but you can forget them not developing the hardware
  • Reply 20 of 33
    messiahtoshmessiahtosh Posts: 1,754member
    Also..



    The iPod may not stay on top forever, then what would Apple do if it killed off hardware and only sold the iPod? Clooney would say, "we're in a tough spot" and Apple surely would be.



    The iPod still only accounts for what is equal to the revenue of the iMac line.



    Apple Computer is the name for a reason...it's computer business is its primary source of revenue.
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