There’s been a lot of talk recently about the new partnership between Apple and Intel. Although this story is pretty old, today's announcement of the next generation of Intel chips has many Mac fans wondering what's ahead. These new chips from Intel almost certainly represent the pool from which Apple will draw their first production MacIntels.
The Apple-Intel partnership is symbiotic relationship in its fullest sense - Apple gets the low-wattage chips it (supposedly) desires and Intel locks in another major IT player. But it seems to me that there is more than just watts and cents behind this deal. There is an incredibly unpredictable variable in this equation - the mind of Steve Jobs.
Kick in your Reality Distortion Field jamming devices.
Here's the future of Apple.
Dvorak had it partially right. Apple will eventually open up their OS and make it seem like it was forced to do so by the mobs of geeks installing pirated versions on the PCs. But is this the sole reason for the switch from IBM?
Apple is evolving. The success of the iPod + iTunes has shown that the magic of Apple engineering extends farther than the PC. But I think Jobs is steering the company in a new direction, one in which creates a hybrid of a Sony/Microsoft business model.
While the Microsoft might be a little more obvious, perhaps you’re wondering where Sony enters the equation. As a tech company, Sony known for it’s high-end computers and personal electronics. If they were both using the same OS, I think Apple and Sony would be considered direct competitors. But they’re not. Yet.
That’s where the Microsoft model comes in. By licensing its operating system and software, Apple stands to make substantial inroads into domains it has previously not known. Witness the rise of iTunes. Add video support (to run on, you guessed it, Intel hardware) and iMedia becomes the content leader for years to come. The same values that have made iTunes so popular – simplicity, ease of use, advanced features – will also serve Apple when they release OS X for x86 PCs. But it won’t stop there. I think the time is coming when Apple will begin to sell more of its software, such as the iLife suite, and in doing so become a legitimate rival to software powerhouses such as Microsoft.
Its hardware business, which has been lauded so often as the sole lifeline of Cupertino, will take a page out of the Sony book – if you want great hardware (even if some of it is proprietary), come to us. Apple then says, hey, if your grandmother can’t afford one of our machines, buy her a Dell with our licensed operating system and software. While you're at it, buy one of our CE devices as well. Apple makes money both ways, and the revenue from the millions of people (like me) who will now use OS X but were previously too poor to buy a Mac will easily compensate for any possible lost hardware revenue. If there would be any loss at all.
So Apple becomes like Sony for hardware and Microsoft for software and OS. In my opinion, it will work. It hasn’t been done before, but that’s ok. Maybe it’s time to truly “Think Different.”