USPs to avoid the OS/2 Effect

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
When OS/2 was attempting to compete with Windows, it offered the ability to run Windows code natively inside OS/2.



The problem was that in the minds of software developers this undermined the case for developing native OS/2 apps. Why bother with all the expense of devloping for OS/2 when all the OS/2 users can just run the Windows apps?



If ,and it's a big if, the Intel-based Macs are capable of booting Windows, it could undermine the case for software development for the Mac platform. Why develop for the Mac if Macs can boot Windows?



As a sales proposition, if the Intel Macs (Macintels Mactels) are fairly vanilla hardware they will face stiff competition in the market. The Apple products will have to distinguish themselves in the eyes of business customers, home users and developers. And that will be tougher if the hardware is much the same.



Apple's main unique selling point is OS X and iLife. OS X is fantastic. But is this USP enough on its own? It's enough for me. But if I was running Apple, I'd prefer to have something else too. Just to be safe.



What could Apple and Intel do more to differentiate these machines from the crowd of beige tin boxes?



1) Product Design - Apple will certainly create attractive, cutting-edge product designs which are a million miles away from the typical tin-box PC. This certainly matters to some consumers.



2) Legacy free hardware. The PC world has been hogtied by Microsoft to a platform that has its roots in 80s. Some of the design compromises that are made to support this legacy hardware are truly horrible. A modern legacy-free approach would be leaner, more reliable and easier to administer. But few consumers seem aware of this issue.



3) Limited hardware support. There is a vast ecosystem of hardware manufacturers making cheap boards for PCs. Some of them great, some of them not so great. One bad driver can turn your machine into an unstable piece of junk. Apple currently avoids this by supporting less hardware but the hardware that is supported is done so invisibly with drivers embedded in the OS. Apple will want to extend this to the new machines. (But some customers might not see this as an advantage)



4) Faster cooler better motherboards. Apple and Intel design motherboards which cost a bit more but run a whole lot faster. Hmm not sure if I believe this one.



5) Something else.

Not convinced by any of the above, I get the feeling that there ought to be something else. Something we don't know about yet. This "Feature X " will distinguish the Apple product line-up from the Windows clone field in some fundamental way.

This Feature X would have to be included in the basic package, would have to be very desirable and ought to be difficult for a Windows PCs to emulate.



What might that be? If Intel is serious about this new relationship with Apple perhaps they have something new that will be exclusive to the MacTel platform.



Here are some guesses - but I'd love to hear more.



Airport HD - Home Media Network - capable of shifting multiple HDTV channels to different rooms. Makes it easy to watch, download



GPU Usage - Makes limited hardware an advantage. The standardised hardware allows 10.5 to use the GPU for all sorts of tasks giving a major performance boost to media, user interface and so on.



h.264 - Apple develops a world beating HD Tivo-like device. It works better with Macs than PCs



iCinema Movie Store - Apple is able to make a new media distribution network (like iTMS) . Steve Jobs convinces Hollywood that only the MacTel hardware has the right sort of DRM built into the hardware.



Any takers? Or is OS X enough of a USP?



Carni
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,757member
    OK. Mac users already have the ability to run Windows software in a separate environment than OSX. In it's simplist terms, it involves going down to BestBuy and picking up a $300 whitebox, then going home, turning it on and then running an application.



    In fact, this current option offers more flexability and convienience to running Windows alongside OSX than allowing Windows to run on Mac hardware.



    Why the hell would allowing Windows to run on Mac hardware lead developers to consider not developing for the Mac? If they were looking for an excuse to drop development of Mac software, the cheap Windows PC already provides an out and is easier for the average user to figureout and does NOT require a reboot.





    Allowing Windows to run on Mac hardware is an entirely different situation than allowing Windows software to run within OSX, as OS/2 did.



    This thread is a duplicate of another, still active thread.
  • Reply 2 of 23
    carniphagecarniphage Posts: 1,984member
    You are missing the point. Although perhaps I made it badly.



    The move to Intel makes Apple hardware less exotic. Once Apple is selling an X86 box - alongide a hundred other X86 boxes, it will be selling hardware that a million other companies are selling.



    So how will Apple create a product that offers something unique to consumers?



    Either it will rely soley on the the fact that the Apple box runs OS X. Period. And that might be enough.



    Or Intel and Apple will use their engineering skill to offer something that is unique in additional ways.



    I am interesting in discussion on what that USP might be.



    Carni
  • Reply 3 of 23
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,354member
    I think having the best Unix on the planet for consumers coupled with nice design is enough to keep most people happy. People only buy PCs for compatibility(well generally) thus if they have the potential to have their cake and actually eat it to then that's where a significant amount will go.



    In the future virtualization will allow multiple OS to function like one giant MegaOS obviating the need to reboot.
  • Reply 4 of 23
    carniphagecarniphage Posts: 1,984member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    I think having the best Unix on the planet for consumers coupled with nice design is enough to keep most people happy.



    You might be right. After all OS X is a fairly unique proposition. And I agree that the iMac and Mac Mini form factors are a key selling point.



    But I do worry that once Apple comes out of the PPC ghetto the mainstream computing press are going to give it a hard time about driver support.



    "Why can't I plug the a NVidia6.21J into my Mac and have it just work?"



    Carni
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Few people use Macs for the hardware. As for it being exotic, perhaps people think Mac hardware is exotic because of the styling, but most users don't even know what PPC stands for. They may know that Macs are "different inside" but that's the extent of their knowledge - to most users, it's all a mystery inside that box.



    Also, most people don't buy a Mac to run Windows. They buy a Mac so they don't have to run Windows, and so they can run OS X.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    cubistcubist Posts: 954member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Carniphage

    ... But I do worry that once Apple comes out of the PPC ghetto the mainstream computing press are going to give it a hard time about driver support.



    "Why can't I plug the a NVidia6.21J into my Mac and have it just work?"




    I'm not sure that will be much of an issue. People will have to get into the habit of looking on the box and see what environments are supported.



    Since I've started running Windows x64 on a box, I've found very few devices work in that OS. Also, I've found that, when friends want to upgrade their boxes to XP, a lot of their old hardware isn't supported. So, the hardware support issue is already simmering in the Windows world. Longhorn, being basically the same as XP x64, will undoubtedly make this worse.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    addisonaddison Posts: 1,185member
    I don't think Apple is going to release a "Wine" type environment for OSX86 - you Mac will still look like a Mac boot like a Mac, they only way you will know it is different to the current models is that the case will probably be smaller and quieter.



    What will happen is that VPC will run a whole lot faster, and there is probably not much that Apple will/can do about that. Most people NOT buy VPC, so developers will HAVE to continue their Mac development.



    The future for Apple is bright, processor performance is about the to removed from the loop. Now it is going to be all about which is the better OS and overall package. Apple may lock you in to approved hardware etc but nearly everything just works on the Mac and that won't change. Apples market share is increasing and I think it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    i don't think the processor is what makes apple computers exotic. the industrial design alone does that. i would guess that a good percentage of people who have recently switched to macs have little to no idea whatsoever what chip is inside their computer. if they do, they have no concept of whether it has a more technically elegant design than a standard windows box. people buy macs for the operating system.



    the old centris computers weren't exactly "exotic".
  • Reply 9 of 23
    mynameheremynamehere Posts: 560member
    If Apple didn't think that consumers cared about good design, chances are they wouldn't spend the money to design those cases. The iPod proves that design is very important to consumers, and often comes before functionality.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,665member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by admactanium

    i don't think the processor is what makes apple computers exotic. the industrial design alone does that. i would guess that a good percentage of people who have recently switched to macs have little to no idea whatsoever what chip is inside their computer. if they do, they have no concept of whether it has a more technically elegant design than a standard windows box. people buy macs for the operating system.



    the old centris computers weren't exactly "exotic".




    I'll second that.



    It's not like Apple has been selling boxes filled with some unique "Apple" take on a computer, and now they will suddenly be selling pretty cases that are indistinguishable from commodity PCs on the inside.



    The computers Apple sells now have the same graphics cards, hard drives, optical drives, memory, PCI slots, power supplies, ethernet, firewire, USB, VGA and DVI ports as can be found on most PCs. The soul difference is the motherboard and its CPU.



    And yet, for all the interchangeable hardware, they seem are perceived as uniquely Apple computers.



    Apple will continue to make computers with all the stuff above, and will continue to do a superior job on fit and finish and design, and the soul difference will be the motherboard and its CPU, and they will be perceived as uniquely Apple computers.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    vox barbaravox barbara Posts: 2,021member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by addabox

    I'll second that.



    (...)

    Apple will continue to make computers with all the stuff above, and will continue to do a superior job on fit and finish and design, and the soul difference will be the motherboard and its CPU, and they will be perceived as uniquely Apple computers.




    I'll second that. Btw, i really don't understand people, who

    think that apple will abandon all that what it stands for.

    Apple will remain apple, the manufacturer of the Apple Macintosh,

    leading industrial design, top notch OS, beautyful software,

    pacing software development, and so on...



    ...the licencing issue is a different point. However if apple

    decides to licence Mac OS X for whatever reason, apple still

    remains apple. People who love sleak an' graceful design will always

    choose an original Mac over a non apple manufacturer. Period.



    cheers
  • Reply 12 of 23
    carniphagecarniphage Posts: 1,984member
    As the poster of this thread, I suppose I was a bit dumb.



    When I asked the question "is OS X enough", to a bunch of Mac fans, I should have been able to predict the answer.



    And as a rabid mac fan myself I agree with that. Being able to run OS X will create a unique selling proposition - and coupled with Apple's trademark industrial design it'll be a force to reckon with. Yes yes yes.



    However, my guts keep on telling me that the Intel macs will simply not be beige boxes in Apple drag. Not that there is anything wrong with a bit of transvestism.



    I am certain that Apple will strive to "think as different as possible" when it comes to its first generation of Intel-based hardware.



    Remember when Crocodile Dundee says "Call that a knife? Now THAT'S a knife!" I'd imagine when Steve goes on stage to present the first MacTel machine, he will want to say "Call that a PC? Now THAT'S a PC!"



    So my question is how would *you* differentiate the hardware. Go on go nuts. Think different.



    Carni
  • Reply 13 of 23
    You have to break up the market in three ways to make this really make sense.



    1. Mac Geeks/Unix Geeks/Developers/Computer Industry Professionals - will love this because it doesn't hurt them in any way, and it promises to make MacOS a bigger player in the OS worls. Easier to develop for, makes Unix people happy, etc. These people don't need any special features.



    2. Average Consumers - Don't know crap about crap. Will "pivot" around whether they like the OS/industrial design so much more than Windows PCs that they are willing to pay a premium for it, or they can't justify paying that much more for something that is the same under the hood, even if the animated dock is cool.



    3. People who need to get things done - this is my category. I am a lifelong mac geek and afficionado, but I am a professional photo retoucher and need a computer that does that well. Likewise there are video professionals, 3D pros, etc etc. who aren't going to spend lots of extra money to get the nice operating system. We are tied to our hardware more than our software, and we liked Altivec.



    I demand satisfaction
  • Reply 14 of 23
    mikenapmikenap Posts: 94member
    If you are a photoretoucher, as I am, I wouldnt worry much about Apple going the Intel route if your main app of choice is PS. The PPC is pretty much getting creamed in high end PS work like running huge batches/actions, and this is against the older Dual Xeon (sp?) machines from Intel, the new dual core Intel and AMD units are way faster than the old Xeons, so it's safe to say that our performance will not be decreasing with the switch to Intel.



    As far as the speed thing goes however, I am constantly shocked at the general state of Windows and the PC market in general, in what the deam to be acceptable. I have been working training a small print shop to use the Creative Suite 2 on some brand new Dell PC's, set up by a local high end PC consultancy firm. When we reboot the machines and just open photoshop, it's pretty darn fast. BUT... as the other programs open, things just get weird. Basic functions of the OS and the apps just stop working right, toolbars dont show up, random quits, etc. The consultants reinstalled windows (cost about a zillion bucks, and i gues the do it alot) and put the apps back in, but it's just one thing after another. You should have seen then setting up a network laser printer, I thought they were configuring a server for gods sake, it took hours. My Ibook saw the printer in 5 seconds, and worked with no software install, they almost sh__ a brick on that one.



    worst of all, as the apps ran, i dont know if the memory gets fraged or what, but the performace drops off huge. WInXP does not seem to like having alot of big apps open at once, my Macs could care less.



    All this being said, i think combining the fast Intell chips with OSX will be a very good thing. I just cant believe the WinXP is the worlds default OS, and even more surprised that ANY designers have switched. It's a freaking cob-job, and I have no fan-boy attitude, we use it in my print shop for accounting every day, and just keep them off line and the seem to be OK. (altho there seems to be alot of hardware failures over time).



    We are so lucky to use our equipment, because the rest of the world does not operate like our machines seem to do by default.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    dave jdave j Posts: 84member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Carniphage





    So how will Apple create a product that offers something unique to consumers?



    Either it will rely soley on the the fact that the Apple box runs OS X. Period. And that might be enough.



    Or Intel and Apple will use their engineering skill to offer something that is unique in additional ways.




    If, as has been postulated by one wag, that the move to Intel is as much about Intel crushing MS as any benefit to Apple, it is possible to conceive of an Intel/Apple design innovation which would surpass those available to Wintel boxes. How long Intel could resist Dell pressure to give them the same thing is another matter. And whether you believe the wag is correct yet another.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    synpsynp Posts: 248member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Addison

    I don't think Apple is going to release a "Wine" type environment for OSX86 - you Mac will still look like a Mac boot like a Mac, they only way you will know it is different to the current models is that the case will probably be smaller and quieter.



    Apple won't release a "Wine" type environment, but somebody will, and for free. After that happens, people can run Windows applications right on their macs. I can see where software vendors may be tempted to drop separate Mac development.



    Quote:

    What will happen is that VPC will run a whole lot faster, and there is probably not much that Apple will/can do about that. Most people NOT buy VPC, so developers will HAVE to continue their Mac development.



    That's where WINE is better than VPC. It will probably be free and it will look more integrated with the Mac Desktop.

    It's far cheaper to add to your supported platforms a sentence like "Supports OSX (with OSXWine installed)" than employing some programmers to support a whole platform.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    henriokhenriok Posts: 537member
    I don't think OSX will go the way OS/2 did.. for everal reasons:

    OS/2 wasn't that different from Windows, in the respect to look and feel

    OS/2 was almost but not supported på IBM

    There was never a complete culture of developers concentrating entirely on OS/2

    I don't think OS/2 would've survived any better if it hadn't supported Win16 applications, but it would have it it did support Win32 applications.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Henriok

    I don't think OSX will go the way OS/2 did.. for everal reasons:

    OS/2 wasn't that different from Windows, in the respect to look and feel




    I'm very familiar with OS/2 and worked for IBM dealing with it and helping with its implementation until Windows became the corporate platform.



    The Workplace shell felt fairly different from Windows in both look and feel. OS/2 introduced the right-click contextual menus when Windows 3.1 was the big dog and many things inside the shell functioned very differently. In many regards, it felt similar to how OS X feels. OS/2 had a dock-like toolbar that could be moved. Granted, later versions had something akin to the START button, but OS/2 was more customizable. It also introduced trays before they were featured in Windows 98. OS/2 was one place where MS took a lot of ideas from after OS/2 had taken a lot of ideas from Apple (and Windows was only a transitional tool to get to OS/2 in the first place before MS decided to not work with IBM anymore).



    Quote:

    OS/2 was almost but not supported by IBM



    Guess you mean fully supported. This is definitely true. IBM had other interests and was later forced to back off on OS/2 if they wanted regular OEM rates for Windows on their PCs. At this point the PC market was still important to them and they knew they needed Windows to sell PCs. Even if it wasn't important, they never saw enough of a profit margin on OS/2, except on their big servers.



    Quote:

    There was never a complete culture of developers concentrating entirely on OS/2



    True. MS got a few at the beginning, but most left after MS did.



    Quote:



    I don't think OS/2 would've survived any better if it hadn't supported Win16 applications, but it would have it it did support Win32 applications.




    I disagree. Win32 would have done nothing. The OS wasn't simple to use. Most all drivers needed to be installed via the OS/2 prompt with very specific commands not always provided by the manufacturer. Not all hardware was adequately supported in OS/2. Granted, it was more stable than Windows and had a great kernel and some really cool ideas, but IBM has never been great at making stuff user friendly and didn't care enough to even try as OS/2 progressed. It became an OS for geeks and industrial tasks (many airports still run on it).



    But OS X is nothing like it. It's easy to use. Apple can get developers. It's easy to look at. OS X is more stable. Apple itself is a great developer. And it'll be packaged with excellent looking hardware that works perfectly with it. Plus, Macs are have a large enough market that drivers are not an issue. Most external peripherals work on both platforms nowadays.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    I wonder how long it will take somebody to create a program simular to wine that will run OSX apps on windows.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    mynameheremynamehere Posts: 560member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ThinkingDifferent

    I wonder how long it will take somebody to create a program simular to wine that will run OSX apps on windows.



    Wouldn't that hurt Apple in the long run?

    Does WINE even run in OSX anyway? I thought it didn't...



    EDIT: Come to think of it, wouldn't WINE for OSX hurt Apple as well, since that goes back to the whole "Devs don't want to develop for OSX" debate in some other thread...?
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