My Turn

Apple Needs a Revolution, Not Just a New iMac

Jason Laffin - 2002.01.14

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

In the QuickTime promo for the new iMac, shown in the Macworld keynote and available from Apple's website, VP of design Jonathan Ive describes the new iMac as revolutionary.

Except for the (arguably) pleasing aesthetics of the base and the lack of cables from the back of the monitor, the new iMac is as revolutionary as was the original iMac.

Both are just a visually pleasing version of something Apple or someone else already made.

Brought down to the lowest denominator, the original iMac was just a G3 All-In-One in a pretty rounded case (I understand some hardware revisions).

G3 All-in-one
G3 All-in-One

NEC PowerMate 2000
Twentieth Anniverary Mac
20th Anniversary Mac
Those who think that Apple is the first with all-in-one flat panel computer should check out machines like the NEC PowerMate 2000. So much for the claim of going where no PC has gone before. [What about the Twentieth Annivesary Mac? ed.]

As much as we build up the new features of the iMac - the G4 processor, SuperDrive, 5 USB ports(which is something they finally got right), and 2 FireWire ports - Apple needs to do something to get the common person to have to have an Apple.

Coming from the bicycling industry, five years ago, everyone was selling steel frames for mountain bikes. Now you would be very hard pressed to find a single mountain bike with a steel frame for over $250.

The same has to be true in the computer market.

OS X is a great OS. I run it on my iceBook, but as iCEO Steve pointed out, there is no Photoshop, PageMaker, or Dreamweaver available for OS X yet. No one has focused on selling OS X. Where are the commercials like the Windows XP commercials?

Does the common person know there is a really easy to use operating system that doesn't crash (I hesitate to use the word never, though I have never had a crash), is easy to use, and will run all the applications a PC can (thanks to Virtual PC)?

The answer is no. That's why Macs are 5% of the computer market.

What can save Apple?

First - and this is the worst one for pure Mac fans - port OS X to PCs. Whether it's a rumor or not, Apple was supposedly close to finishing this task, and it got shut down.

If we could get PC users to use an OS other than Windows, with the aforementioned features, they would buy the iPod and switch. This exodus would lead software manufacturers to build more OS X native software - and faster than they do now.

Apple is afraid because it would cut into their hardware market (sound familiar - this is the same argument they had against clones), which is 80% of their sales.

Here's an idea: Have users try OS X on their PC and marvel at it's speed and ease, but leave them wondering, "How fast would this be on a Mac?" They'd be hooked.

Second, level the processor playing field. Every Mac fan was hoping that this Macworld would bring the G4 (or maybe even the G5) to the 1 GHz level. When will Apple, and AMD for that matter, realize that it is about GHz? That's what sells computers to the common entry level buyer, not "chip performance" measurements (I know that a 867 MHz G4 is faster than a 1 GHz P4, but your average consumer doesn't).

Third, do something really revolutionary. Not an adaptation of current technology, e.g. Gigawire, new iMac, iPod, etc. Do something that will set the lagging computer industry on it's head.

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