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Steve Jobs And The Oh-So-Cool iMac

JonKatz posted more than 12 years ago | from the what's-cool--what-works-what-doesn't dept.

Technology 1170

From the first, this has been a cornerstone idea at Apple Computers: make stuff that is cool and hip enough and it will eventually succeed. Until recently, this foolish idea permeated the hacker culture as well -- if it's neat, it's good. Initially, Apple was a welcome antidote to the elitism and cluelessness of the tech elites who designed early computers. Although that seems a long time ago, the early idea behind Apple was revolutionary -- make computing accessible to everyone, not just coders and programmers. But the recent history of software development, networked computing and the Net suggests that now just the opposite is true: being cool is nice, but it's not nearly enough. Steve Case and Bill Gates have known this for awhile. Nobody would ever label them cool, just stunningly successful.

The truly successful technologies and technology companies are utilitarian and dull -- decidedly non-hip. You will never seen a Microsoft or AOL exec talking about how cool the their companies or products are, only how useful and easy to use. They don't really care how much heavy breathing they generate in the media or among excitable teenagers and college students. Those two companies have, in fact, dominated their environments by pointedly focusing on the non-technologically adventurous middle-class and busy business executives and workers and by presenting themselves not as cool but as reliable and accessible. And for this sin they get jeered at -- all the way to the bank. Their motives may be money, greed and power, but they understand what really drives technology in America and much of the world. Steve Jobs does not.

The tech media have served as enablers and co-dependents in Steve Jobs' sometimes-brilliant marketing impulses. Last week, the volatile Jobs projected himself onto the cover of Time magazine by unveiling the oh-so-cool new iMac, a computer as entertainment/culture center, a "hub for music, pictures and movies." It's elegant and affordable, says Time, and takes up little desk space, "but will millions of PC users get it?"

Probably not.

Gates understands something Jobs and media don't. When it comes to technology, it's middle-class consumers and their tastes, needs and expectations that determine success or failure. This is a hard lesson for many hackers and programmers too, who remain bewildered that superior systems like Linux aren't on every desktop. But the middle class, for years abused and exploited by the arrogant tech industry (just think of what poor Comcast subscribers have been going through for weeks now), wants easy of use, safety, utility. Just consider at the telephone, the automobile, or for that matter, Wal-Mart. Apple has demonstrated for years, and so, to some degree, has Linux. Harry and Martha in Dubuque decide which products will enter the mainstream and last, not college kids editing movies or downloading music and DVDs, or using firewire ports to fiddle with video clips.

Apple, perenially aspiring to coolness, has always been the favorite computer of the non-hacker hip and the creative. And of many people (like me) whose entry onto the Net and Web has been made easier for the first programming language that really made sense to non-techies. Jobs' colorful, well-designed, fun and entertainment-centered iMacs and Powerbooks have been getting fabulous press for years. His idea to fuse the desktop with pop culture is, in fact, a powerful one. But it's too soon. The middle-class isn't ready for that. Most Americans don't need the 1,000 songs the iPod can store, and would rather go to the megaplex than edit movies on their computers.

So Apple accounts for only 4.5 per cent of new personal computer sales, according to Gartner Dataquest.

That's probably because Jobs hasn't addressed the central problem facing computer makers: the public doesn't trust them. Burned by years of outrageously poor tech support, increasingly expensive software, and hardware that's almost instantly outdated, middle-class consumers aren't the least bit interested in the coolest new new thing. They want computing that works like TV does -- that's easy to use, takes little space, costs relatively little money and works every time you turn it on, year after year. The public is increasingly wise to tech scams like hardware that's obsolete every 18 months and software that doesn't even last that long. Computers -- even the jazzy new iMac -- are a long way from reliability, and are profoundly mistrusted. In fact, it was only a couple of years ago that the candy-colored iMacs were the next cool thing. Now they're about as hip as Windows 98.

If you're a teenager, Web designer, film editor or visual arts major, or even a loving Grandma, it's great that the iMac allows you to create your own DVDs, organize and edit digital pictures, play CDs or convert MP3's, turn home videotapes into high-quality edited films. What's less clear is whether or not the public -- especially that critical middle-class chunk of it -- wants to do those things on a computer, or is confident about its ability to use machinery that's still more complicated and problematic than its makers seem able to admit.

For nearly a generation now, from Jobs to the makers of instant replay TV machines, some of the best minds in the tech world -- usually the younger ones -- have been crippled and misled by the confusion between what's cool and what's going to be successful, between what's neat and what's necessary. The survivors of the Net's first generation -- brilliant plodders like Gates and Steve Case -- understand quite well that they aren't the same thing, and have, as a result, increasingly come to dominate the Net.

cancel ×

1170 comments

Blow Jobs and the oh-so-cool iAnus (-1)

Trolligula (527461) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842670)

First things first, lets see a brand new picture
of CmdrTaco [dirtysanchezthemovie.com] after an evening with JonKatz.

Now, with that out of the way, how about some poetry
to get everyone in the mood?

I know of a fag named JonKatz
Who played with vampire bats
With his dick in his hand
His voice did command
"Try sucking the blood out of that!"


There once was a Malda named Rob
He loved to show off his knob
He flashed it at Hemos
Who was such a homo
He sucked it like corn on the cob


CowboyNeal was a man from Nantucket
Who's dick was so long he could suck it.
He said with a grin
While wiping his chin,
"If my ear were an ass I would fuck it".


this public service announcement was brought to you by the good
people at the ~cdpb~

<O
( \
X
8===D


In the event of an actual first post, directions will follow on how to moderate.
Good day!

WIndoze (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842674)

First Post Yo
WIndoze sucks
linux rules
me so l337

Waste! (-1, Offtopic)

dostick (69711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842676)

Such long story about nothing.
Aren't we reading this every day?

Re:Waste! (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842718)

No shit. The Slashdot Janitors shit them selves when another site puts ads with the news [slashdot.org] . But, Slashdot does it every fucking day of the week. Either it is an ad for a new book from FatBrain, or an ad about a movie, or some new overpriced toy. Bleh...

Re:Waste! (-1, Offtopic)

IAgreeWithThisPost (550896) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842754)

ÎÒÍÒâÕâöÚÎ lameness filter encountered

Steve (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842678)

Steve Jobs pwns me!

Slurp, slurp, slurp... (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842680)

So, how much if Jobs paying for all this advertising here on Slashdot?

Re:Slurp, slurp, slurp... (-1)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842699)


I wonder if Katz got a free iMac2 in exchange? He could send it to Junis, after all, he needs a new b0xen.

Re:Slurp, slurp, slurp... (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842736)

I am sure Katz has a good reason [thetimes.co.uk] to head over to see Junis. The new iMac would be a nice way to get in Junis' good graces.

Re:Slurp, slurp, slurp... (0)

Junis_from_Kabul (542067) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842748)

Thank you very much for thinking f me my foriend! This new imac is very much impressive for immpressing peoplee. If myh friend jon wouuld send me one I think that I would position the screen flatly and use it to hold my commodore since my furniture has all been taken by lootingg foriegner troops.

Re:Slurp, slurp, slurp... (-1, Troll)

IAgreeWithThisPost (550896) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842776)

I agree with this post. Hello junis from USA. I ship you amiga 500.

Re:Slurp, slurp, slurp... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842867)

Apparently not as much as Linus.

uh oh (-1)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842684)


Some one set up us the katz !!!

Total gibberish (5, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842687)

So I'm to understand from this article that if Apple didn't focus on design, they'd have more than 4.5% market share?

I don't think its a stretch to for Jobs to concede that MS won the operating system war - thats why he is trying to fight the total user experience war - something MS can't do unless it wants to start making boxes.

I think Jobs is an egomaniac, but he's also driven by some very appealing ideas about consumer computing, and I'd take his strategy over Katz's punditry any day of the week.

Re:Total gibberish (0, Insightful)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842727)


Linux isn't focusing on design either, and what is it's market share?

Re:Total gibberish (2, Informative)

mick88 (198800) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842741)

I think the point was that Apple is not targeting any one audience in particular - or if there is an audience it is a narrow one.

Think about it: why don't you use a Mac? You like the design, right? Then what is it that stops you from using it? It's the same thing that is only giving Apple a 4.5% market share.

Re:Total gibberish (1)

sehryan (412731) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842807)

i think what katz was getting at in a round about way is that you have to appeal to the middle of the market, a la politics. the person who wins elections nationwide is not the person who is a way right republican or a way left democrat. its the person who can appeal to the moderates and centrists. that is who wins elections, and that is what katz is getting at. *nix is way right, mac is way left, and pc/windows is sitting right in the middle, a little of both to make the average consumer happy.

PC market is not an election (5, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842834)

i think what katz was getting at in a round about way is that you have to appeal to the middle of the market, a la politics. the person who wins elections nationwide is not the person who is a way right republican or a way left democrat. its the person who can appeal to the moderates and centrists.

Thats because only one person can win the election. The Mac is a product in a diverse market - Apple makes money, has a load of cash in the bank, and has loyal users. What are they missing?

They have in fact succeeded by not going after the middle of the market, where they would have been creamed.

Re:Total gibberish (5, Insightful)

Mark Hood (1630) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842827)

By Katz's argument McDonald's is better than the 5* Michelin-Approved restaurant down the road...

When was the last time someone said 'wow, I had a great burger yesterday?' - Mickey D's might make more money, be in more cities, may even be the staple food of millions, but no-one can ever say that THAT is the sole benchmark of success.

Jobs has a very different view of success, as was pointed out in a very insightful article by Bob Cringely. [pbs.org] Mac & Linux users (deluded though we may be) choose not to use PCs or Windows because we prefer something which is different.

And let's not forget, you use a computer to do a job, you eat food to do a job (keep you alive). Linux or Apple may be a niche market, and might stay that way - but don't accuse Steve Jobs of FAILING, or of NOT UNDERSTANDING what he does, anymore than you criticise your favourite restaurant for not being a huge multi-national burger bar.

Re:Total gibberish (2, Interesting)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842850)

"I don't think its a stretch to for Jobs to concede that MS won the operating system war - thats why he is trying to fight the total user experience war - something MS can't do unless it wants to start making boxes."

WARNING--I am not trolling :)

The problem I see is that the majority of the people he seems to be going for are really a niche market. Honestly, unless you are an artist or technophile, most of the products MS has out there will do what you need, and they are super easy to get. Ease of use for new computer users--sure, except that 90% of the people out there recommend Win9x or 2000 for them, since it is truly easy to use (think of it this way, is that grandma in Des Moines likely to slap a dvd in and make a movie, or is she more likely to have a crap machine SHE CAN AFFORD win 95 on it and dial up access for the ONLY thing she uses it for--email)? It is sad to see that most are ignorant of the choices they have. When your avergage user thinks of a computer, they think MS...
but, what do I know, I am just a stupid user :)

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842690)

first!!!

Slow News Day (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842691)

I thought Katz would at least ramble about something controversial. Then we could flame him properly. All we have now is a lame rehash of an old story.

hmmm (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842693)

it doesnt matter how much you dress it up, it's still a piece of shit.

i cannot beleive people will be wowed by the imac, "hey, its a different shape, it must be really fast"

Re:hmmm (5, Insightful)

AtaruMoroboshi (522293) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842746)

>i cannot beleive people will be wowed by the imac, "hey, its a different shape, it must be really fast"

You are missing the point. My coworkers' reactions were "woah, takes up such little space, i need one." and "dvd burning and a g4 with monitor for $1800? I'm sold."

My reaction: "perhaps i don't need a second powerbook, when this imac would be portable enough for touring with."

It's a great piece of design. Those who value their living space (like those of us here in NYC) will eat it up. Those who want affordable dvd burning and video editing love it. Those in the market for a "nearly portable" are also gaga for it.

A computer can be a work of art too, you know.

.

Aha (1)

Judas666 (551115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842819)

So you have a computer for: having 2 GHz Athlon with 1 gig of ram and 400 gig of hd and a geforce 4 graphic card... Cool for you, I have a computer for work :-) And this is where my Apple is fucking reliable - every day Judas666

"ONLY 4.5%" (5, Informative)

mattsouthworth (24953) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842702)

I mean, really ... 'only 4.5%' is a lot of fucking computers. 'Only 4.5%' of the automobile (or whatever) industry can make a very successful company. Most developers would be successful beyond their wildest dreams if their software were on 4.5 of computers.

Re:"ONLY 4.5%" (5, Interesting)

poiu (106484) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842857)

Yup ... that's higher than BMW's and Mercedes-Benz's market share Combined! And, I could be wrong, but I don't think than anyone is calling either of those cars endangered or that their existence is threatened.

Here is Apple's retail manifesto:

Apple currently has around 5 percent market share in personal computers. This means that out of one hundred computer users, five of them use Macs. While that may not sound like a lot, it is actually higher than both BMW's and Mercedes-Benz's share of the automotive market. And it equals 25 million customers around the world using Macs.

But that's not enough for us. We want to convince those other 95 people that Macintosh offers a much simpler, richer, and more human-central computing experience. And we believe that the best way to do this is to open Apple stores right in their neighborhoods. Stores that let people experience firsthand what it's like to make a movie right on a Mac. Or burn a CD with their favorite music. Or take pictures with a digital camera and publish them on their personal website. Or select from over 300 software titles, including some of the best educational titles for kids. Or talk to a Macintosh 'genius' at our Genius Bar. Or watch a demonstration of Mac OS X, our revolutionary operating system, on our theater's giant 10-foot diagonal screen.

Because if only 5 of those remaining 95 people switch to Macs, we'll double our market share and, more importantly, earn the chance to delight another 25 million customers. Here we go ...

Shop different.

Re:"ONLY 4.5%" (2, Insightful)

Mark Hood (1630) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842859)

and a LOT of that 4.5 % were people buying a first computer! People who would not have bought a huge grey/beige box & hundreds of cables... The iMac made a niche in the marketplace - tell me that's not hard to do, and I'll ask you for some VC to make my own!

Computers != Cars (2, Insightful)

wintahmoot (17043) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842862)

I see you've been listening to Steve Jobs a lot lately. Don't get me wrong, I am an OSX user, but the computer industry - automobile industry comparison is somewhat besides the point.

Contrary to cars, computers become more and more useful if they are compatible. Most people i know like the Mac, but would never buy one because everybody else has Windows and they wouldn't be able to share documents and software with these people (they think).

Cars are independent, they get you from A to B, and that's it.

At least that's the way I see it.

Re:"ONLY 4.5%" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842876)

Considering Opera [idg.net.nz] only has 0.6% of the market share for browsers, 4.5% is quite impressive.

Katz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842705)

Why do we have to read some psuedo-thesis on Slashdot every couple of weeks from Katz? This is the rambling of an intellectual dwarf.

Please make it stop. Please.

look at me i'm jon katz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842707)

Blah blah blah..blah blah blah..blah blah..

I now pronounce Slashdot dead to me.

Later.

Uh-ho (-1, Offtopic)

MouseR (3264) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842711)

...there goes my karma cap ...

Prfltltlt!

You're just jealous.

What? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842713)

How old are you?

money, money, money (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842714)

the middle class, for years abused and exploited by the arrogant tech industry (just think of what poor Comcast subscribers have been going through for weeks now), wants easy of use, safety, utility.

Personally, I tend to think that price tends to trump all of those concerns (which of course is something that perennially hurts Apple, I'm afraid)...

Form has a place too. (4, Interesting)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842715)

You can't deny that there is a place for form in the market as well. I'll grant you that function is tops, but you can't just throw out form as many would have you believe. Form (aesthetics) is equally as valuable as function and the state of mind of the person using the product has actual effect on the end result.

Make the user happy and make the machine functional and you'll never go wrong.

Re:Form has a place too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842778)

The form of the casing may be pleasing but the form of the software is devolved and noisy. However, nobody notices this since the lack of interoperable function makes many aesthetic features inaccessible and therefore inappreciable.

Ease of Use (4, Insightful)

goldid (310307) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842716)

Given that the Macintosh and is OS have been the most easy to use and reliable system in the PC world I think that JonKatz is a little off in claiming that Apple doesn't understand this. Jobs is trying to make some devices that technophiles who read sites like this one and people who can't understand the difference between the WWW and the Internet can both enjoy.

Cool PC's and laptop draw additional users. But, it's not all about that at Apple. They're trying to put together the easiest to use and most powerful system that they can (at the same time). That's the hard part. The growth of Mac seems inevitable as it becomes as BSD box with the coolest hardware and the most capabilities.

It is not understanding PC users that brings Gates to the top. It is the fact that he uses monopolistic powers and bully tactics to force people and competitors to use his sytems. Maybe Steve Jobs just isn't that mean.

P.S. I'm not a Mac user... but, I may be one soon.

Re:Ease of Use (0, Troll)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842730)

Given that the Macintosh and is OS have been the most easy to use and reliable system in the PC world

Ha ha ha ha, ha, . . . ha . . . you are joking, right?

Re:Ease of Use (0, Offtopic)

goldid (310307) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842762)

Not really. Remember here that I am talking about general consumers. You and I can easily use Linux, which is a better desktop alternative, but most people are afraid of it, while they are not afraid of Mac.

Unless, of course, you're arguing Windows is better, in which case I couldn't agree ...

Re:Ease of Use (1)

sheriff_p (138609) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842799)

PC has come to mean x86 architecture. Therefore, that's somewhat like saying Windows is the best of the Open Source Operating Systems.

And before you try and make the point that PC stands for personal computer, let me remind you that the word gay means happy. kthnx

Re:Ease of Use (1)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842809)

I'm reminded of the evils of failed inits, users having to set memory on a per application basis, and the sheer lack of ability to do anything except force quit when there's a problem. Yes, Windows has similar difficulties, but Apple put them into the market first :). No, I don't think Windows is particularly better.

Re:Ease of Use (2, Insightful)

AtaruMoroboshi (522293) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842783)


you don't think that UNIX (in the guise of OS X) is reliable?

OS X is certainly easy to use.

.

Re:Ease of Use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842832)

He said "MacOS," not "OS X."

~~~

Re:Ease of Use (1, Troll)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842865)

I owned a mac Classic and it was not a stable machine. I crashed that box like 10 times a day. However, only one out of a thousand crashes required me to reinstall anything. Most of the time I just power cycled the box and it was fine. Now with Windows 95 and later, whenever I crashed.... well who knows what would happen. Sometimes it would just work, sometimes reinstall everything. in 96, (freshman year of college) we had a weekly ritual of reinstalling win95 because it would die so often.

True, part of the reason that win95 died so much wasn't MSes fault. It was bad software downloaded from the highspeed access, corrupting the registry and whatnot.

Re:Ease of Use (1)

Dephex Twin (416238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842844)

It is not understanding PC users that brings Gates to the top. It is the fact that he uses monopolistic powers and bully tactics to force people and competitors to use his sytems. Maybe Steve Jobs just isn't that mean.

IMO, Steve Jobs just has too much pride to marginalize Apple like that (which I think is a good thing).

mark

Re:Ease of Use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842858)

Why isn't this post marked flamebait?

Slashdot Editors are deleting posts!!! (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842717)

I found this comment [slashdot.org] that was posted to this article [slashdot.org] earlier today. I book marked it to see what people said in the discussion because it was some negative comments about Linus. I don't remember exactly what was said in the comment, but appearantly it caught the attention of the editors because when I went back to my book mark, the comment was gone!

I can't believe that on a web site that claims to support your rights online and freedom of speech, they will delete comments on a whim just to further thier own agenda.

not "truly successful"?? (3, Redundant)

sajiimori (535333) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842720)

The original iMac sold many millions of units. It was the direct hit that Apple had been waiting for, and Jobs delivered. It's style has influenced countless PC designs. And, perhaps most significantly, it's success was all despite the overwhelming popularity of incompatible PC hardware and software.

It would be unrealistic for Apple to aim for domination in the desktop market. But they've found a hell of a niche that nobody else seems able to fill with such grace.

Windows is reliable and easy to use!!! (5, Funny)

anonymous_wombat (532191) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842724)

So, the reason that Windows won out is because it is reliable and easy to use. Thanks for the enlightenment.

I am so sick of Jon Katz garbage (-1, Redundant)

IAgreeWithThisPost (550896) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842729)

Anyone remember the afghanistan post? did he ever respond to that fiasco about afghanis viewing movies on a commodore buried in their friggin backyard? i really want to know. Has that joke of a post been swept under the rug this cleanly? also, i DO NOT agree with this post. Non sono d'accordo con questo alberino.

Ease of use (3, Insightful)

at_18 (224304) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842739)

Katz mentions several times "ease of use and reliability" as a selling point for Bill Gates, as opposet to the "just cool" model for Macs.

I wonder, how can anyone think that windows is "easy to use" compared to MacOS? Or "more reliable"???? At least for the 3.11/95/98 series, which is what we are talking about.
The only thing I can see is the power of a good marketing deparment...

MacOSX = iCrap (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842742)

Take a dying operating system (BSD) and put a crappy interface on the top!(Aqua)

What do you get? iCrap!

and top it all of with an expensive craputer with a one button mouse!

hmmm... (2, Funny)

i7dude (473077) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842752)

"...it was only a couple of years ago that the candy-colored iMacs were the next cool thing. Now they're about as hip as Windows 98."

wasn't win98 the next big thing a few years ago as well???

Consumer Tastes Bland? (3, Insightful)

ksr (207427) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842753)

When it comes to technology, it's middle-class consumers and their tastes, needs and expectations that determine success or failure.


Surely there is a feedback loop between users' tastes and the paradigms presented by technology companies. I find it hard to believe that the "beige minitower" form factor somehow taps into the a priori sense of what's best. It's simply what's been successful from a market penetration standpoint. I'd hate to imagine a computer industry without Jobs and Apple pushing out the edge of the envelope.

Profitability (4, Redundant)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842757)

Katz is right, Apple is a complete failure! If they had the right idea, they'd be profitable! Oh, wait, you mean they are profitable? And in fact just posted profits for a year in which the tech sector was in a serious slump? And the value of their stock has increased tremendously over the last five years. Yup, Apple is a complete failure, Katz is right on the money. I'm definitely turning to him for investment advice!

Steve Case??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842758)

Isn't Steve Case John Romero's other half???

And when Utility is a commodity? (3, Insightful)

akookieone (530708) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842763)

Seems like the argument here starts as utility trumps "coolness", and then that "coolness" is no good when it is not what people want to do (a cool new way to poke yourself in the eye.)
But I do think PCs are reaching a commodity level for the thinks most people do, and if trust of computer makers is an issue, it cuts everyone, there is no uniqueness to Apple focusing on design.
So I think, as PCs are more of a commodity, the design is going to be a key differentiator, just as the Cola wars are not about nutrition (potable utility) but about taste and preference - so maybe Apple is a bit ahead of the commodifying of PCs, but better design is definitely going to be an increasing part of how consumers make decisions. (They all surf the web, and they all crash, so I'll take the pretty one.) This is a good way to try and fight off the fact that M$ is the conventional wisdom (They all surf the web, they all crash, so I'll get what everyone else did...)

Check out this related Cringely rant (3, Informative)

cbowland (205263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842764)

Re:Check out this related Cringely rant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842869)

Wait a minute! Cringely and Katz are the same person! It's all making sense now...

Can't sleep, clowns will eat me...
Can't sleep, clowns will eat me...
Can't sleep, clowns will eat me...

Oh-So Cool iMac? (-1)

TrollMan 5000 (454685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842765)

Speak for yourself. The thing looks like a giant upside-down white chocolate chip. It's butt-ugly.

Gimme a break already!

wake up and smell the price tag (2, Insightful)

Dethboy (136650) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842767)

Doesn't matter how 'cool' it looks or what it will do - bottom line is someone walks into a store and sees the iMac sitting there for $1400 next to a PC for $699.

Both run Office. Both access the 'net. Both play music. Both can probably edit video to a limited extent.

Which one are you going to buy?

Re:wake up and smell the price tag (1)

AtaruMoroboshi (522293) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842843)

> Both can probably edit video to a limited extent.

the $1400 imac can do a heck of a job of video editing, while the $700 pc is gonna be a serious pain in the ass. that's the difference.

Apple appeals to people who realize that they get what they pay for. Good design, good software, excellent integration.

.

Moronic... (4, Redundant)

Refrag (145266) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842770)

Katz, you need to realize that total-world-domination isn't the only measure of success. Apple is a successful company -- it has, what, $5 billion in cash. The old iMac is a successful computer -- it has sold more than $6 million units in its time. Steve Jobs is a successful man -- he runs two very cool companies (Apple and Pixar), and probably has a better quality-of-life/lifestyle than Billg (Jobs' jet is better).

Apple's Position (4, Insightful)

under_score (65824) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842771)

Jobs seems to be aware of this issue at some level. His comments about the market share of BMW's as compared to Apple computers is actually quite revealing. Jobs is not just content with that market share, but actually actively working towards innovation and therefore expects to have a smaller market share. That's the positioning that Apple has taken. And unfortunately right now, I am just not in the market segment that buys BMW's or for that matter Apple's computers. I would love to be, but so be it. Katz seems to spin this all as a criticism of Jobs and Apple, but in fact Apple is financially just as successful as Microsoft or AOL, just on a smaller scale. Their huge cash reserves are proof of that. Watch out when they find the project on which to spend those reserves!!!

Defining the Big Win (4, Interesting)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842772)

See Cringely's [pbs.org] piece on how Jobs defines 'winning'. It's not how Katz defines it.

I like it (2, Insightful)

Judas666 (551115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842773)

I migrated from Linux & Windows to MacOS X. I am very satisfied. I dont understand all the talk about the User Interface of OSX, in my opinion its neat and easy to use. Its a modern System for these very good quality apple computers. Apple is really a bright sight in these times of fucking cheap and unreliable PC hardware with all its thermal problems and unaproved drivers and electrical designs. My Apple Computer is just doing what it should do: running. I can really say: most of the folks talking bullshit about apple never really used one. I used all Windows versions, Linux for more than 3 years, and I can say: Apple and MacOS(X) is the best. Wintel PC is only for people who has nothing else to do then keeping their machine running. Judas666

I believe this misses the point ... (4, Insightful)

Jieves (21184) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842774)

I'm sure a lot of people will go into detail, but I think Katz is wrong because:

* He focuses on marketshare, not profitability. Apple has been profitable for the past several years (with the exception of this one) and even when they were bleeding red ink they never has less than $2 billion in the bank. As long as Apple remains profitable, they remain successful. And they're on track to be profitable in 2002.

* Yes, mediocrity (good-enough) generally wins out in the marketplace, but there is always room for a deluxe, well-made product. Apple's analogy about BMW is relevant here. Furthermore, there are a lot of companies (Compaq, Gateway) that have followed roughly the same path as Microsoft and AOL and are fighting for survival. Business likes boring, but business is not the be-all and end-all of the market, and boring will not guarantee you life.

* Most importanly, Apple's emphasis is not on what is coolest, but on what is easiest for the consumer. That's the point of the Digital hub strategy. That's the point of the original iMac with no floppy drive and only USB connectors. That's the point of iPhoto, iTunes, i* etc.

* And, a little off-topic (but a general misconception) ... I think a lot of the reason that people don't buy Macs is not because they're harder to use (they aren't) or more expensive (a little) or alien (any more than the computer they use at work is). It's because they can't pirate Apple software from their friends. They can't just drop by Bob from accounting and get the latest version of MS-Office to take home and install (Of course, that's becoming harder too with Microsoft's current registration schemes).

I don't dislike Katz, but I do think he often has some very basic perception problems. Either that or he's just taking a positon to spark discussion.

--Jieves

how (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842782)

How is that apple always seems to take 3 year old technology encase it in lucite and everyone in the media just creams over it? Perhaps just more evidence that the only people that really care about macs are the art fag crowd.

so predictable.

Keep It Simple, Stupid (1)

Mr. Fusion (235351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842784)

The middle class tends to buy a computer that will get the job done. Non-savvy users are most likely to go out to Costco or a department store and buy a computer, somewhat regardless to the specs. Bigger is better, they think. Yet Apple is doomed until they can establish a wide user among office users. The way to go about this is to either competitvely cut costs or perhaps even make the MacOS interface feel a lot more like Windows (minus those GPFs.)

As far as the middle-class is concerned, the Apple is like eye-candy to them - higher class computers that are fun, not productive. You can only have recess for so long before you have to come inside and do your work.

Porsches, BMWs and Lexuses oh my (4, Insightful)

Synn (6288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842788)

Function isn't everything. Swatches didn't dominate the wrist watch market in the 80's because they were so functional, it was the style.

My dodge Neon gets me to work just fine, but that doesn't mean I don't want a Porsche.
Jobs knows what he's doing, he's creating a brand not just a computer. Function is important, but don't think for a second that image doesn't count.

"Elegant, floppy-free, and doomed" ... (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842790)

... is what I remember some columnist (John Dvorak, maybe?) calling the original iMac. He used basically the same arguments we've seen here: cool premium computers aren't what sells, cheap beige boxes with aggressive marketing is what sells, and Apple Just Doesn't Get It.

But the fact is that the original iMac was the single most successful personal computer model in history, and it pretty much saved Apple. I'd say that this is proof that Apple Does Get It, in a way that most columnists apparently don't. Look, Apple will never take over the world, and we Macheads know that. That's okay. What matters is that Apple keeps making the world's best computers, and enough people (4.5% is a small slice of a really enormous pie, and that's okay too) keep buying them so they stay in business.

Oh yeah ... take a look at Apple's financials vs. those of Dell, Compaq, HP, or IBM's PC division. Not only do they Get It regarding design and marketing, apparently they Get It regarding the bottom line too, because they're making money hand over fist at a time when almost all other personal computer makers are struggling.

AOL commercials (1)

Kupek (75469) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842794)

You will never seen a Microsoft or AOL exec talking about how cool the their companies or products are, only how useful and easy to use.

But I will see a new commercial every time AOL puts out a new version saying how this is the easiest to use incarnation of AOL yet. Part of this premise is wrong--AOL very definitely sells itself on ease of use, true or not.

What Gates knows... (1)

SJS (1851) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842795)


Gates understands something Jobs and media don't.

True. He understands that in business, it's okay to lie, cheat, and steal, if you get away with it. (Or even if you get away with it for long enough.)

It has been said that a dollar spent on marketing is worth five spent on engineering. I'm inclined to think this is an understatement, except that Apple is doing relatively well in absolute terms, if not in percentage-of-the-marketplace.

But then, my income is a very small percentage of the wages paid to software developers (the corresponding 'marketplace'). This is not a problem.

When cars can fly (2)

blamanj (253811) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842797)

I think this argument is like saying design doesn't matter for automobiles because we have problems with pollution, safety, and gridlock. When cars can fly, then it's time to worry about design.

Clearly this is nonsense. Computers are commodities now, despite their many imperfections. So a manufacturer must compete on price, service, and/or design.

Apple, which doesn't have the advantage of the WinTel community's oversupply of component options can't really compete on price. Service is a reasonable area, but there's a real lag between when the market acknowledges service as a value so it's not very cost-effective, at least early on. Therefore, their best differentiator is design and they clearly understand that.

Now I agree that it would be nice if a computer were as uncomplicated and reliable as a toaster, but it's simply not going to happen in the near future and its unfair to take Apple to task for not solving the problem with Microsoft has far more resources.

New Macs aren't just "cool" (1)

Dephex Twin (416238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842802)

Macs are not merely a case of style and form over function. Yes, Macs look ten times better than the other PCs out there. But they are also functional. I got an HP digital camera for my birthday. I took some pictures, and upon plugging the camera into my computer, my pictures instantly popped onto the screen for download. I plugged in my printer and again, instant recognition. Things DO just plain work reliably. (I'm not making claims about what Windows boxen can do.)

Maybe people are scared by how "cool" Macs are, and don't trust them because they are too extreme, or something. I can see people looking at a beige box because "most of the computers look that way". But Macs aren't just "cool", they work.

mark

What Jobs understands... (5, Insightful)

natpoor (142801) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842810)

Jobs understand what Katz doesn't, unless Katz is just trying to rile up some responses. Apple cannot compete with Dell, IBM, Gateway, Compaq, etc., in making beige boxes. It's a brutal market, and one that Apple isn't in - Apple does a mainstream OS and boxes. IBM couldn't do it with OS/2, but Apple is still chugging along.

What peeves me is that whenever one of the PC makers releases a new piece of hardware, it's all about the specs. When Apple releases something, it's held to a much higher standard. Apple brought the GUI, the floppy, easy networking, design, USB, etc., to the mass market, and now has brought Unix to the masses as well (and it's partially open sourced).

Katz, if you want to feed the monopoly that keeps you down, fine.

forget market share, what about profit? growth? (5, Interesting)

abde (136025) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842812)


who cares about market share. The real question is, how do Apple's profit earnings compare to Microsoft and to Dell (need to compare both since Apple does OS and the box).

Also a good question to ask is, how does Apple's growth (in terms of profit percentage) compare to Dell and Microsoft?

If Apple has better growth/profit than Dell/Microsoft (D/M$), then 4.5% means good news - there's still 95.5% of the market that can potentially be consumed.

If Apple makes the same profit (in terms of bottom-line $$$) as Dell, but does it in only 4.5% market share as opposed to Dell's insanely huge 35% or whatever, then which is the stronger company?

Note, I havent looked up the numbers. I'm just suggesting that these are more interesting demographic/statistic metrics than merely repeating market share market share like a mantra. Market share isnt everything.

What turned me from Apple... (2)

weave (48069) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842815)

I bought my first mac (128K) in April of 1984 for $2500. I also bought the fat mac upgrade soon as it came out for $1000, a brand new Mac Plus, a Mac SE, etc...

I found a clear pattern of "soak the loyal" early on, then quickly drop the price to reasonable levels.

Now I know new tech costs more and then slowly drops, but most of these new products were just natural progressions of the line. I bailed from the scene before following the later paths to being soaked. Remember the Newton? The first iMac, while cool, had marginal hardware at the time and within a few months, they were upgrading it at the same cost.

There's a high cost to being a Mac loyalist.

However, with all that said and after being anti-Mac for the past 10 years (I gave up when system 7 had as many stupid bombs as earlier revs), I'm buying a new iMac for the living room for casual use. (It only does 1024x768 so I can't do anything too serious with it...)

I played with OS X a bit in the store and was blown away. Slick, nice user interface, on top of Unix of all things. Being able to open up a terminal window and run emacs was just too much for me.

So, I'm going to get the high end iMac next week and I bet you, within 3 months, they'll come out with a new model with a flock()ing 18.1" LCD display and I'll be really ticked off again.

Gates arrived at the right time...... (1)

Nick's Name (531306) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842818)

and he delivered the right product. Gates focused on the majority of the population and delivered a product that satisfied their needs, the needs of the average business and business person. Gates also continued to build on this idea of accessibility and ease with reckless abandon. Do I hate Gates for being an incredibly successful business man? Of couse not but maybe I hate him a little because it's not Unix.

How is apple better? (2)

alen (225700) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842823)

mac's aren't really faster than PC's. Most of the parts are identical. So why would I pay more for a mac than a PC?

WTF are you talking aobut? (2)

Havokmon (89874) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842824)

You beat around the bush saying that Mac's aren't easy to use, people don't want sexy, they want easy to use, then you say that must be why Apple has 5% market share.

Umm. WTF? Did someone completely forget about this whole monopoly thing?

Yes, Mac's a cool. YES! Mac's are easy to use. The article should mention (I fell asleep towards the end), that having this cool, sexy easy to use "Shell" doesn't mean a damn thing when you can't put anything in the shell.

"Yeah, I have this 10000 square foot mansion, but I have to buy specialty furniture, and Appliances, because everyone else has 3ft wide doors, and AC.. While I only have rotating doors (What are those circular things?), and DC power. It's not easy having what I think is 'cool'."

I knew I never should have started reading that article. What a waste of time.

Cable TV (1)

baby_head_rush (131448) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842826)

Most Americans don't need the 1,000 songs the iPod can store, and would rather go to the megaplex than edit movies on their computers.
What, you want me to pay for what's on TV?! I'd rather listen to my radio and eight tracks than flip through hundreds of channles.
Damn, choices.

If Apple used Katz's model... (1)

Millard Fillmore (197731) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842828)

They would chuck up MacOS and start shipping with Intel-based systems running Windows. And what would be the sense of that? Is Mac struggling? I get the sense that they are just where they want to be with their business model - they want to appeal to the very people that are buying their products. They know they can't get the kind of market share that MS does, but they continue manufacturing superior products. And I think that we should look upon Apple as an ally in the fight to maintain our rights to listen to, view, and manipulate information. Who else puts ads on TV that actually show someone using MP3s? I think Mac has a niche market, and they play to it, and they succeed.

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842829)

They want computing that works like TV does -- that's easy to use, takes little space, costs relatively little money and works every time you turn it on, year after year.

Isnt that what a iMac is? this article seems confusing Apples computers are far more than the add campaign. They are in my estimation the best computer experience one can buy.

Steve Jobs Doesn't Get It? No, You Don't (4, Troll)

Outlyer (1767) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842836)

Sorry Jon, I typically don't jump on the Katz-bashing, but today, I'm dumbfounded by this article.

1. How much market share does BMW have? Do you think that they have 4.5% of the world's market? I doubt it. Does it matter? Would I buy a BMW instead of a Ford? Definitely.

2. Steve Jobs knows exactly what he's doing. Do you think trying to trump Microsoft on making a commodity OS is the way to go? No, that job is already taken.

3. Take this example. I decide to open a store in a mall. There is a Walmart there already. Do I:
a) Build a gigantic department store and try to compete with Walmart?
b) Do I build a speciality store wherein I can attract a strong, loyal niche market, and make my money rather than getting crushed

I think Steve gets it fine. So do I, so do a good chunk of the posters thus far. But apparently, you don't get it.

The better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842838)

the better idea is to target the younger audience. Maybe now older adults are having trouble with computers and how to use them. But that will change, and those who know that will succeed. Jon you also seem to believe that success is measured in popularity and how much money you make. By being the biggest and most abusive you become the best *. But that is not true of companies goverments or any other social structure. Being big only causes problems to those who are small.

Katz is right (1)

farmgeek (318817) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842841)

but Apple is sooo close to doing this right.

The new iMac is pretty, and it's pretty cool too. The same can be said for OsX, plus it's stable.

The problem is that they're TOO pretty. They're too pretty to blend into the background the way a useful tool should.

Take the new iMac, add wireless KB and mouse, tone down the colors, push the virtual PC bit and get normal people to do the commercials.

Let us stiffs forget that Steve Jobs ever existed. Let me forget the whole mystical daisy like aesthetic. Let me forget about how easy it will be to edit video I don't have time to shoot and move music to the iPod I'm not going to buy.

Just make the whole machine transparent, let it blend into its surroundings and take its place among the other appliances of the world.

Then I'll buy one.

And yet Apple thrives (2)

Deagol (323173) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842846)

If any of you wouldn't want the net wealth of Steve Jobs, please raise your hand.

(sound of crickets)

Thank you.

The fact is, even with huge players in market (or a monopoloy), smaller niche competitors can thrive. It's ok to tout your coolness factor. Who cares if stuffy business suits don't trust your coolness! To hell with 'em, I say.

Granted, Jobs may in fact be the anti-christ everyone says he is, but he's doing quite fine for himself, don't you think?

And one thing Katz forgets: those conservative baby boomers have... kids who want "cool" technology. This is not a market to brush off so easily!

Product lifespans (3, Interesting)

MrAndrews (456547) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842849)

Ever since the new iMac came out, a good comparison to cars has been surfacing more and more: mainly that iMacs are like BMWs (slick, cool and over-priced); while PCs are like Honda Civics (cheap, affordable, but if you sit in them the wrong way it can break your tailbone). And I wonder, given the premise that people feel their computers are obsolete in 18 months, if perhaps the new iMac is planning ahead in a smart way.

The big uses for computers for the average folk these days would be email, web browsing, word processing. For that, you can live on less than a gigahertz of speed. Things aren't going to improve that much with a top-of-the-line Athlon as compared to a discontinued PII. So if you don't need the extra speed, what differentiates the computers? RAM, HD, video card... style maybe.

What differentiates cars? Why don't car manufacturers spend gobs of cash throwing the newest "maximum speed notched up by 10 mph!" engines for their vehicles? Why do they, instead, focus on styling, CD players, automatic this-and-thats? Probably because you could make a car that can go 500 mph in the shape of a Civic, but honestly no one would need the extra speed (mainly because of traffic laws, but you know...)

So maybe the iMac's push for style (and very good specs, given its intended audience) is just Apple moving into the next arena of computers as stuff-of-life: the basic concept stays the same, but it's what you add in details that matters.

In that way, Apple is definitely ahead of the game.

Maybe I'm trolling... (2, Insightful)

SuperMacNinja (78474) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842851)

I've been debating doing this for a long time, but this article has finally set me over the edge. I am now officially filtering all Jon Katz posts. I never want to see anything this moron writes ever again. And no, I'm not posting this anonymously because I'm proud of the fact I will no longer have to read drivel like this.

hire an editor? (0)

rapid prototype (551089) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842854)

But the middle class ... wants easy of use, safety, utility.

shouldn't that be 'But, the middle class wants ease of use, safety, and utility.'? even office 2000 catches the 'and utility' fix. maybe this is proof that jonkatz doesn't use microsoft office?

-rp

What is this? (1)

turbine216 (458014) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842855)

Did somebody leave Katz's "think out loud" switch set to "ON" again? The guy posts absolute drivel, again and again, with little or no regard to his own integrity. Why doesn't he just pack it in? What's he waiting for - a big zinger of a post that everyone will like and agree with? News flash, katz - it ain't gonna happen. Nobody respects you anymore. We know that you're a trailing remnant of the dotcom bust, and that you're just trying to ride whatever's left of your popularity into oblivion. Everyone knows that you have very little (if any) knowledge of the techie world, and that you're a complete and total poseur with no remaining media outlets.

CmdrTaco, RobLimo, whoever - if you're reading, pleast - consider what you're doing to the public by allowing this man to continue his charade. We've long since grown tired of his garbage. Now try and salvage what's left of this site's integrity. Just get rid of the guy! That's all it takes. I mean come on...is he some kind of vicious stalker or something? Is he going to feed your dog some poison or kidnap your children if you just turn him away? He doesn't even respond to comments about his own stories!!! He can barely be called an active participant if his only contribution to the editorial staff is one "freshman in high school" analysis of some outdated topic every week.

DO WHAT IS RIGHT, PEOPLE!!! GET RID OF KATZ FOR GOOD!!!

Jobs knows that middle America runs the show (5, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842860)

but that doesn't mean he wants to sell commodity products. Because BMW doesn't target 7-Eleven employees doesn't mean that their executives aren't aware of American automobile buying habits. It means that they've chosen to target a different audience.

Apple, like any large corporation, has a culture of its own. The culture at Apple favors certain things. It places a value on aesthetics and on how people interact with their computers. It places a value on taking risks in order to push new technologies (some of which Apple invented, like Firewire [apple.com] and others, like USB [usb.org] that it didn't). It places a higher value on originality and elegance than on following established norms.

A company with such a culture will never rule the world. It will never defeat Microsoft in the marketplace. It will never unseat Dell. But it doesn't have to. In order to grow and prosper, Apple just has to keep its customer base happy. Its customer base is not Ma and Pa Gateway.

For better or for worse, the people who like Apple products tend to actually enjoy using their computers. They don't usually care about whether they can play any one of 10,000 available PC games. They simply want a computer that allows them to accomplish things and to have fun while doing those things.

As long as Apple can keep providing products that innovate in favor of the user, they'll do just fine, and the rest of the industry will continue to use them as an R & D lab.

Easy to Use? (1)

moongha (179616) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842863)

This whole article is based around the uninformed and ridiculous concept that Microsoft got where they are by creating the most 'easy to use' OS.

It also makes a ludicrous comparison between classic MacOS (extremely easy to use, technically inferior) and Linux (technically sound, extremely difficult to use).

This is struggling to get beyond the CNET level of tech journalism.

My take on this.. (0)

Chicane-UK (455253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842866)

After the new iMac was lauched, I proceeded into the Multimedia Office to chat to our local Mac fan about his opinions.

He felt that the product could be a winner because of its design to be a small home applicance which people can use, and stick discreetly in the living room.

But then, like me he read the specifications and the awful price, and he agrees that it is over priced and under specced.

Sorry Apple - I used to think you guys were cool. But apart from the new design being oh so ugly, how could people want to buy one of these with regards to performance?

Blah blah... I'll shut up now :)

Honestly, who writes this shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842868)

I have to seriously say that this is the lowest form of inflammatory journalism - except it's not journalism. Really. Journalism (as experienced in laboratory conditions) includes such things as facts and even, in extreme circumstances, arguments that will support a statement. THis article contains none of these traits.

Jon Katz needs to find a new job, 'cause this writing bullshit just isn't working for him.

Beauty is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2842873)

Did you choose your woman according to the same principles as your computer? If yes, I'm scared...
I spend several hours a day working with my computer. Having a beautiful machine in front of me improves my daily life a lot. Like having nice furniture, a nice car, a nice cat... Utility is not the only thing in life. Otherwise, why are you posting on /. in the first place?

Holes, Holes, Holes (2, Insightful)

Murdock037 (469526) | more than 12 years ago | (#2842875)

The article is pushing the limits of journalistic credibility to points I'd not ever expected to encounter on a website I respect.

I'm growing increasingly weary of Jon Katz. It used to be that I just had difficulty following his trains of thought, and I attributed it to a lack of focus on my part. But when I actually sit down and try to concentrate on what he's written, I realize that it's both lazy and contradictory.

This article is like so many of his others: it makes broad, sweeping statements phrased in such a way as to imply that there is no room for argument; that the ideas Katz presents are not to be questioned, that they are merely given. It feels like the article is merely an outline of what could be a decent paper. But it would have to be filled in with real research and facts, rather than, you know, kind of a feeling, sorta.

It bugs me that he states that the iMac has not reached the mainstream, without acknowledging that Time Magazine is about as mainstream as it gets. He even points out that Grandma likes playing with the iMac-- how can a computer reach a broader audience than that segment of the population who have the least experience with and the most apprehension about computers?*

(*Look. I just made a statement based on nothing more than an idea that maybe sounds about right-ish, because it fits the point I want to make. It's JUST THAT EASY.)

It sounds like Katz is coming up with his conclusion, then trying to bend the facts to support it, rather than more appropriate opposite.

I'm not trolling, damnit. I'm just grouchy.
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