Looking to a fruitful future for Apple

Looking to a fruitful future for Apple

Summary: Apple's 30. Isn't it time it grew up and got itself a proper job?

TOPICS: IT Employment

On Apple's birthday it is tempting to cast a retrospective eye over the company's successful and not so successful products and strategies of the past 30 years. But as the company approaches middle age and the inevitable launch of the iHarley, perhaps it would be more fruitful to look to the future and start taking the workplace more seriously.

Apple's greatest strength has always been the desktop — this is the metaphor it has lived by for most of the past 30 years, and it is the place that the company understands better than any other. Steve Jobs knows, perhaps better than any other tech chief executive, what people want. For the most part that is a seamless, easy experience, and it applies to music players as much as to computers, which is why the iPod has been such a success.

So why are Macs still such a rare site in the enterprise? The reasons may seem obvious — cost, relatively low availability of applications, Apple not caring to compete with the cut-price merchants — but they are increasingly bogus.

Macs are generally more expensive to buy than PCs, but when it comes to TCO, Apple has one great advantage that no other major desktop PC vendor has: total control of the interface between operating system and hardware. One company building the hardware and the (OS) software should thereby be able to increase reliability and reduce support costs. If that also makes work a little bit nicer for your users at their desks, isn't that a good thing?

Some will argue that Apple's lock-in is greater by virtue of its refusal to sell copies of the OS for just any hardware: at least by buying Windows-based PCs you have a choice of hardware vendor. Perhaps, but the flip side is zero ambiguity when things go wrong.

And the days of worrying about application availability for Macs will shortly be, if it is not already, a thing of the past. Apple users have always enjoyed a slick range of content-creation software, but the increasing library of open source software means that there is a correspondingly large pile of cross-platform applications that gives Apple owners a taste of the wider world.

So come on Steve, Apple's 30 and the time is now ripe to take the enterprise seriously. If you do, you might just find yourself pushing at an open door.

Topic: IT Employment

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  • I work in the post-department of a commercial production house in Toronto, and our office is entirely mac based! This also seems to be the case with many other offices in this industry, as well as 90%+ of the production freelancers who come through here.

    I admit it'd be nice to see Macs in more 'mainstream' offices - my father works for a bank and they're a LOOOOONG waay off, but at least there's one industry where Apple seems to have a solid (if not dominant!) foothold. And aren't photography studios using mac more and more...
  • "...Macs are generally more expensive to buy than PCs..."

    This quote in the story is absolute drivel, and it reveals lazy reporting and editing. ZD - do the damn cost research and keep it up to date. If you are going to report a vague conclusion as you did, please cite your sources and research data.

    The reality is that Macs and PCs cost about the same these days. Period. Now, if you compare out-of-date, feature stripped, bargain basement PCs with the most current Macs, your statement is technically correct, although these PCs are never configured with all the hardware features and software that Macs bundle. So, these are not comparable products...
  • Why do so many journalists assume that the only goal for a company is growth, growth, growth? Most business articles on Apple compare it to Microsoft and point out what a small share of the PC and laptop market that Apple has (usually around 3-6%). So what. Apple is tops in the creative world (movies, graphics, multimedia) which is a completely different culture from business. I don't WANT Apple to become another Microsoft. I don't WANT Mac OS X running on ugly beige boxes. I want Apple to continue focusing on the usability of digital products. As for the higher prices of Apple products in general, well, you get what you pay for. Since switching to Apple, I figure I've SAVED money. I've had my Powerbook for over 3 years now, and I've not had to fuss with viruses, it has never crashed, it always wakes from sleep mode properly. And it's beautiful as well. Oh, and I am an Apple shareholder.
  • Umm, yes. Which is why we said reasons such as the relatively high cost may *seem* obvious, but are in fact increasingly bogus.