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Apple's Device Model Beats the PC Way

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the i-heard-a-mac-and-pc-talking-about-mossberg-the-other-day dept.

445

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Walt Mossberg argues in the Wall Street Journal that Apple's model for PCs and devices is beating Microsoft's. In early battles for dominance of the PC market, Microsoft's component-based platform crushed Apple's end-to-end model, he says. But in today's post-PC era, where the focus is on music players, game consoles and cellphones, the end-to-end model is the early winner. From the column: 'Even the Mac isn't as closed as its critics charge. It's still designed to work with Apple's own operating system and software. But it can handle all the common files Windows uses, can network with Windows machines, and can use all of the common Windows printers, scanners, keyboards and mice. The Mac gives you the same access to the Internet as Windows. Heck, the newest Macs can even run Windows itself.'"

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445 comments

History Repeats Itself (5, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318792)


From TFA:
The jury is still out on whether the end-to-end model will prevail in the long term. Many at Microsoft, and some outside analysts as well, believe the new devices will eventually succumb to the component model, and that Apple's success with the iPod will fade, just as its early dominance of the PC market did.
I'd have to disagree with the above, based on the following observation:

I believe we're seeing an evolution of PCs and electronic devices that closely parallels the evolution of the electric motor. When electric motors were first available to the public, it was in a general-purpose, component model. You could buy an electric motor, and it would normally come with different belts or chains allowing you to attach them to a wide variety of other devices. Nowadays, electric motors are much more within the end-to-end model, in which they are made for a specific task and embedded in the end product.

Computing devices seem to be following that same general curve...becoming more specialized, embedded, and specific-to-task (one example: console games vs. gaming PCs). Given this inexorable movement away from the general-purpose to the application-specific, I'd have to guess that the end-to-end model will be excercising progressively more dominance in the market as time passes.

Re:History Repeats Itself (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15318878)

Indeed this is a great analogy.


I remember back in the '80s someone making the same analogy in a debate about the future of computers. One guy was predicting that the mainframes and minicomputers would eventually become affordable that everyone would have one in their garage and send all computing-needs-tasks to it as batch files.


The other guy disagreed with the same analogy -- he said that when the electric motor was first gaining popularity, people predicted that you would have a large motor in your garage and pulley and chain and gear systems that would transfer the power to your sewing machine in your living room, etc.


Of course, as you observe, now electric motors are in whatever device that needs one; and computers are in almost every device that needs one.

Re:History Repeats Itself (1, Troll)

alxtoth (914920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318919)

Am I the only one who can't understand why newfound "Intel Apple fans" are the only ones thrilled about running Windows ?!? After decades of Mac zealotry ?!? Even MS's own employees have a thing called Mini Microsoft http://minimsft.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] .. Somebody must pay hard cash to keep up the good blogging of Macs running XP ...

Re:History Repeats Itself (1)

poolmeister (872753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319205)

Totally agree with you there, I (as many of us Slashdotters) refuse to put up with Windows on any of my PC's, but to think of spending a sizeable wad of cash on slick & stylish new Mac and then purposely loading a Windows OS in favor of Mac OS, that's just sounds really dum to me.

Re:History Repeats Itself (1)

magicjava (952331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319251)

Am I the only one who can't understand why newfound "Intel Apple fans" are the only ones thrilled about running Windows

Speaking only for myself, I run Macs and Windows on my home setup. Have one machine that supports both operating systems greatly cuts down on the cost of hardware and reduces desktop clutter by over 50%.

WinXP on Apple HW has grass roots excitement (1, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319342)

Am I the only one who can't understand why newfound "Intel Apple fans" are the only ones thrilled about running Windows ?!?

You are. We live in a world where one sometimes needs or wants a Windows app. Emulation can be slow (PPC emulating x86), file compatibility can be spotty, ... Not having to own two machines is a huge improvement. Dual booting is fine for now, virtualization would be better still.

After decades of Mac zealotry ?!? Even MS's own employees have a thing called Mini Microsoft http://minimsft.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] .. Somebody must pay hard cash to keep up the good blogging of Macs running XP ...

No. Pick a site that has a World of Warcraft dual boot showdown, WoW on OSX/GL vs WoW on XP/D3D. XP/D3D kicks butt (for now), no more having to normalize the two computers, one computer running both OSs, a far fairer comparison. Comparisons like this generate a lot of organic grass roots excitement. Comparisons like this and being able to coneniently run formerly troublesome software is something worth getting excited about.

The Apple world is quite Orwellian. Yesterday's "enemy" is today's partner, get used to it. IBM, Microsoft, Intel, they've all flipped sides at least once. If you are going to be associated with Apple, get used to this and learn to go with it.

Re:History Repeats Itself (5, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318931)

The electric motor analogy to computer devices is one of the key arguments in the book "The Invisible Computer", by Donald A Norman in 1999. Coincidentally he used to work for Apple. Which probably made the book and his theory rather popular there. Perhaps it even provided the catalyst for Apple deciding to do the iPod. It's probably one of the best example of the kind of "invisible computer"/"information appliances" he described.

It was a good book, and probably worth reading again now to see how his predictions are going.

Re:History Repeats Itself (4, Interesting)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318936)

I think your analogy only works for "computers" to include any turing-complete integrated circuit. In that case, computers, just like motors, are already manufactured in a dizzying array of form factors, capabilities, and functions. Specialized computers are manufactured for practically every consumer product that uses electricity.

But a PC is intended and designed to be as general-use as possible. The very concept of software is to enable the device to perform functions that were not contemplated at the time of manufacturing. To the extent that the PC is modular, it fills that role better, because increasing the functionality beyond the design conception is cheaper and easier. Perhaps some people would be willing to give up the flexibility of a PC in favor of something like a game console: slicker, better at doing what it was intended to do, but limited to its designed functionality. But I think many people are attracted by the open-ended nature of possibilities created by a general-purpose PC.

Missing the change... (5, Interesting)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319260)

Here is the thing to remember...

1985, Apple's offering is about $4000, the IBM offering is ONLY $3000... A few years later, Apple's offering remains about $3500, IBM compatibles are $2000...

Now, remember we have 20+ years of inflation... That $4000 machine from Apple is like spending $10,000 in today's dollars ($8000 from inflation, another $2000 from income increases)

For a while, the price differential was huge.

Now? The "Apple is expensive" crowd is sounding increasingly absurd. The Mac Mini is like $500-$700, the Dell is $400-$600... Sure there is a price differential, but it's now small. $100-$200 difference is NOTHING compared to the $1500 ($3000-$3500 in today's dollards) difference.

A family today often has two computers, maybe more. My Apple //c was the family computer for 5 years, because even the cheap Apple was expensive.

Five years ago, the idea of a central home computer with WinTerms seemed like a possible future. Now, why bother, the workstations are basically free. We don't have modular systems, we have digital hubs...

10 years ago I went to college with a computer containing: a motherboard, CPU, RAM, graphics card, 3D acceleration card, ethernet card, SCSI card, sound card, 2-3 hard drives, CD-ROM, CD-Recorder, etc....

Now, I use a MacBook Pro, but it wouldn't matter if I had a PC... I'd have a machine with a keywork, mouse, monitor, and box. Upgrades? Everything is on-board, USB/Firewire peripherals add my expansion. Do I need to upgrade a video card? Why bother, when you can get an entire computer for $400-$600 why do I need replacable parts? Only on laptops where a $2k-$3k replacement cost may matter do I even think about how nice it would be for a speed up.

Computers are cheap and disposable.

Alex

Re:History Repeats Itself (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319300)

The thing is that the general purpose PC is now become so cheap you can have a general purpose PC AND several specific purpose computing devices as well. There simply isn't much money to be made from the manufacturing of the general purpose PC anymore (well there is money to be made, but its from bulk quantity now). Seriously I could definatly see a time when people stop buying 500 dollar video cards for their PC, and just simply stick to buying $600 gamespheres.

Re:History Repeats Itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15318973)

Electric and small gas powered motors are still made and sold in this manner. Now the manufactor buys the generic motor and drive system that meets their spec. If a motor is not available that meets a very specific need or if extrememly large quantities are needed, specific motors are built for that job. Of course your local hardware store does not sell just motors any longer but other places do.

Re:History Repeats Itself (1)

Shazow (263582) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318980)

You make a very good point. A very depressingly good point. :-(

There seems to be a similar parallel in software and operating systems. My beloved Linux (and Unix in general) took the component model from the beginning. Making little programs that do little things very well, strapping them together and doing clever things. Then Microsoft came along with Windows which seems to employ the end-to-end model. Especially with the upcoming Vista which has a version of the OS for each type of user (a brillaint economic move in terms of price discrimination).

This depresses me, but you may be right. Things may be moving towards a proprietary world.

- shazow

Re:History Repeats Itself (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318988)

That's a good comparison. To take it a bit further, generic motors are still produced as generators. However, no one connects a device directly to a motor these days. Instead, the motor's output is first converted into a universal format (electricity) before being distributed to attachable devices. This design allows any device with a standard power plug to make use of the motor. It also allows for devices to be chained via power strips.

Now compare this to a computer. External devices used to be directly chained to the bus via ISA, PCI, PCMCIA, or Serial lines. As time progressed, the market moved to a generic "in-between" bus known as USB. (Universal Serial Bus) Just like with generators today, any device that has a USB connector can be attached to nearly any large computing device. With a hub, USB devices can even be chained to allow for as many devices to be controlled as can reasonably be handled by a single device.

The parallels are simply amazing.

Re:History Repeats Itself (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319202)

For iTMS, I think this electric motor analogy stinks -- For the same reason that comparing pirating MP3s is not the same as stealing CDs from the store. Mossberg is arguing that the user-experience factors outweigh the (potential) network factors. Electric motor are used the way they are for cost reasons, not user experience.

It's all just software, there's no physical restriction which confines you to the "end-to-end" model. Apple's Good User Experience and Apple's Closed DRM Format are mutually exclusive IMO. In fact Apple is going with a closed format because they know that UE can't sell forever and eventually there's going to be "good enough" alternatives eventually.

I don't really care about iTMS, because for most people music is cheap and disposable. But keep in mind that right now people have two digital music players (PC and iPod), and iTMS seems like a great idea. In the near future, your Car/Phone/TV/HD-DVD/Microwave/etc will all play digital music, and people are going want the network effects more than the user-experience.

you know what he is saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15318794)

customisation of computers is dead!

take it how the manufacture gives it...

Re:you know what he is saying... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15319072)

And you know just how manufacturers like to give it to you...

Clear dominance... (0, Troll)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318800)

Which is why Apple is dominating the PC market share...oh wait.

Re:Clear dominance... (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319061)

I don't know, 80%+ is a pretty good chunk of market share. Especially when that's the market (iPods) that leads to very high margins, customer loyalty, and culture icon status, not the other market where there a half dozen big players at between 10% and 30% market share.

Re:Clear dominance... (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319157)

I do not own an iPod (or any other portable music device except a PDA that can play MP3s and Ogg files from an SD Card), but if I did I would likely NOT get an iPod. Why should I pay a premium for a device to have an Apple logo on it?

That said, it is pretty ironic that a "personal computer" manufacturer's top selling product isn't a "personal computer".

But then again, your response of 80% market share was regarding the iPod which was not the "market" that was being referred to.

hmm (1, Funny)

epiphani (254981) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318812)

from the journalist-gets-paid-to-state-the-obvious dept.

I am SHOCKED! (4, Funny)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318823)

Walt Mossberg things Macs are better than PC's?!?!?! Impossible!

Re:I am SHOCKED! (3, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318858)

The man has long exhibited a keen grasp of the obvious.

-jcr

Really ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15318829)

Well, that will be true, if iPods will be replacing PCs in all their functions.
I do not see that happening anytime soon, the whole post-PC thing sound
like an utter crap. The need for a generic computational device is there
and it is going to stay.
We do not see Apple dropping PCs (as in personal computers) from their
product line. Quite the opposite, they strive to beat PC vendors in that.
The reason - huge market and demand, that is not going anywhere.
Anyone who does not see that is welcome to surf web and do his taxes on
iPod.

Re:Really ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15319214)

WTF! what are you talking about, rtfa! He's talking about appple computers not apple's individual devices. Their "whole device model". As opposed to a "componment model" MORON! RTFA!! RTFA!! RTFA!!! RTFA!! RTFA!! RTFA!!! RTFA!! RTFA!! RTFA!!! RTFA!! RTFA!! RTFA!!! RTFA!! RTFA!! RTFA!!! RTFA!! RTFA!! RTFA!!!

Re:Really ? (1)

tfb (49770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319280)

More than half of Apple's income comes from iPods. The `PC' market may be enormous but the profit margins are tiny, and Macs run a severe danger of being commoditised the way other PCs have (and the way laptops are being at present). I wouldn't be at all surprised if Apple leave the `PC' hardware market in the next few years (and I'm speaking as a Mac owner).

Cheap sales pitch (-1)

ClickWir (166927) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318836)

Sounds like a cheap sales pitch by, yet another, apple fan boy trying to justify their apple purchase. If you have a bad feeling about using an Apple, it's ok to stop and go back to windows. Otherwise, shutup and just use it. We don't need to hear you trying to justify your backside being raped.

post PC era? (5, Funny)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318839)

when did the PC die? Netcraft never mentioned that!

Re:post PC era? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318961)

It's not that it died. It's just that it's no longer the most significant, most used or most vital computer people use.

What? (3, Informative)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318856)

The Mac gives you the same access to the Internet as Windows.

What? Then please explain the following:

http://television.aol.com/in2tv/
http://www.movielink.com/ [movielink.com]
http://www.vongo.com/ [vongo.com]

There are still quite a few things on the Internet you can not do with a Mac. Leopard, if it includes built in virtulization, can't get here fast enough.

Re:What? (5, Informative)

rritterson (588983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318910)

That's only a DRM issue and has nothing to do with the platform itself.

As a slashdot user, I'm disappointed you didn't go on a rabid rant about how DRM is evil and will destroy everything we've ever worked for.

Re:What? (1)

Skadet (528657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318935)

Um, it's pretty obvious why those sites don't work on a Mac --- wait for it.... DRM.

WMP isn't developed for Mac anymore, thus the DRM wouldn't work.

Maybe I misunderstood your complaint, but you should bitch to media companied that require DRM rather than whine about Macs being incompatible. In this case, the incompatibility saved your ass from supporting DRM!

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319037)

Maybe I misunderstood your complaint

He's not complaining or whining, he's refuting a claim that "everything works the same," and proving by counterexample that the claim is false. "Why" it's false or "whose fault it is" are irrelevant.

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

Skadet (528657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319154)

Ok, I'll bite.

he's refuting a claim that "everything works the same,"

Define: straw man
"a weak or sham argument set up to be easily refuted"

The actual claim was:
"The Mac gives you the same access to the Internet as Windows."

Think of it this way:
"The Yugo gives you the same access to the highway system as Porsche."

Pragmatically true. But nobody would claim that "everything works the same".

Re:What? (0)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318947)

You can't do most purely-internet things with Windows running Firefox either. A lot of the stuff on the Internet that doesn't work with Linux or Mac either installs a .exe (and thus isn't purely internet) or requires ActiveX (which is enough of a headache that I'd rather not have it on PCs either).

Re:What? (1)

BodhiCat (925309) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319253)

"It's a poor workman who blames his tools."

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15319274)

A lot of the stuff on the Internet that doesn't work with Linux or Mac either installs a .exe (and thus isn't purely internet) or requires ActiveX (which is enough of a headache that I'd rather not have it on PCs either).

I guess it depends a lot on what kind of websites one is visiting ;)

Mossberg is "high class" infotainment. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15318857)

Mossberg is no different than John Dvorac and Robert Cringely: he gets paid to make noise. At the end of the day he's a journalist and doesn't understand technology. If he can get a few extra tens of thousands hits from Mac phanboys dieing to hear that Steve Job's 1984 prophecy that Apple will liberate humanity, then ... hey .. whatever. I guess Mossberg and his readers are happy.

Re:Mossberg is "high class" infotainment. (5, Insightful)

syphax (189065) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319228)

I don't think that's fair. Dvorak and Cringely have a business model that's based on coming up with crazy shit.

Mossberg is a technologist for the common (business) man. He writes about technology from the perspective of a normal person (what we might call 'user').

There is nothing overly provacative over this particular theory, except that it is probably wrong. In new fields, integrated, proprietary technology usually gets the headstart because it can innovate faster (not having to worry about standards and such). But eventually, as the new field matures, innovation slows and the advantages of standardization and commoditization catch up. Here [itconversations.com] is an excellent talk by Clayton Christensen at the 2004 Open Source Business Conference. It is really an excellent talk. Christensen may not be 100% right, but he is at least mostly right, and has some great insights and stories.

Apple is kicking butt right now because they developed an awesome family of music players that while proprietary, are not overly so, decent software for managing said devices (iTunes is great at some things, sucky at others, but overall is pretty decent), and the first sane online music store (and kudos to them for their successful negotiations with the record labels). It's excellence of execution more than a winning business model. Plus, the industry's perceived need for some sort of DRM, which will let Apple sustain it's closed system for awhile.

If we ever get past the DRM BS (hah!), we'd at some point be able to buy music from store A and play it on player B. At that point, Apple will lose margin in both markets (stores and players) due to increased competition (right now they are exploiting the oft-talked about but rarely observed concept of 'synergy').

Re:Mossberg is "high class" infotainment. (1)

Homology (639438) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319343)

Apple is kicking butt right now because they developed an awesome family of music players that while proprietary, are not overly so,

Now, that is just hilarious!

Bah Humbug! (1)

erbmjw (903229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318860)

Even the Mac isn't as closed as its critics charge. It's still designed to work with Apple's own operating system and software.
The OS is not Apple's it is Open Source!

Re:Bah Humbug! (1)

oudzeeman (684485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319347)

the kernel is open source, a few other components are open source, but I wouldn't call the OS itself open source, since OS X has a lot of closed source proprietary technology

I Like Components... (3, Interesting)

Quintios (594318) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318862)

I like building my own PC's, being able to upgrade this part or the other, and being able to compare prices so I can minimize my expense as much as possible.

I don't know diddly about Apple. Can someone tell me how upgradable the typical Mac is? If I want to uprade the memory, cpu, hard drives, optical drives, gfx, etc., how easy is it to do this, and what's the longevity of the parts? How do prices compare between Apple and PC for these parts?

Re:I Like Components... (1)

magicjava (952331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318975)

Can someone tell me how upgradable the typical Mac is?

No where near as upgradable as a PC. Yes, you can upgrade a Mac, but if your a hardcore hardware junkie, stick with PCs.

Re:I Like Components... (2, Informative)

DebianDog (472284) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318997)

Memory - REAL EASY actually the same as a PC CPU - It depends lot of G4 upgrades no G5 upgrades as of yet HDD - Standard SATA DVD,HD drives - They use off the shelf models but you will be stuck with certain ones Video Cards - Ditto

Re:I Like Components... (1)

lexarius (560925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319029)

Depends. If you get one of the towers (still only available with G5s), then it has the standard stuff. Uses standard hard drives, standard ram, standard AGP cards, standard PCI cards. You're probably not going to have much ability to swap out the mobo, but third party processor upgrades have been standard fare for a long time.

The rest of the machines (iMac, Mac Mini, the laptops) are approximately as upgradeable as a PC laptop, which is to say not all that much. Hard drive and ram can be replaced, of course. The Pro laptops have a PCMCIA slot, but not the others. No mini-PCI slots either (as far as I know), but who uses those anyway?

Minor correction (1)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319100)

The Pro laptops have a PCMCIA slot, but not the others.

The Powerbook G4s have a PC Card slot. The Macbook Pros have an ExpressCard/34 slot.

~Philly

Re:Minor correction (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319245)

The Powerbook G4s have a PC Card slot.

It's actually a CardBus slot.

Expense is more than cash at the register. (4, Insightful)

Skadet (528657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319049)

I like building my own PC's, being able to upgrade this part or the other, and being able to compare prices so I can minimize my expense as much as possible.

You end up paying one way or another. How many of us have found/been given a part (a 28.8 modem in my case, when the 14.4 was king) and spend hours getting it to work? I suppose if you don't value your time at all, your argument makes sense. But more often than not, you can either 1) buy a quality component that Just Works but costs a lot, or 2) "shop around" and "minimize expense" (at the register) and spend a few days tweaking it to work, costing you time with your wife/girlfriend/kids/dog.

My roommate, for example, bought an MB/CPU combo from Fry's along with the rest of the components necessary for a working computer. By all accounts, the thing should be cranking away, but Windows won't get through setup. For the heck of it I tried installing an old version of RH I had lying around, no luck there either. Long story short, he's wasted TONS of his own time and countless hours of mine all in the name of saving a few bucks.

By the way, the 17" Powerbook that's on my desk -- picked it up about 5 months ago. Never crashes. Installed a bluetooth KB & mouse without having to reboot(!). Running an external monitor, and it remembers that if I have my second monitor hooked up, I want the LCD's rez to be lower, but if I don't have that second monitor hooked up, I want full rez on the LCD. Point being -- the stuff just works.

I don't know diddly about Apple...

Maybe if you spent less time shopping around you'd have time to relax and read about Apple or some other tech that interests you? (BTW plenty of good resources to answer your questions above on the web).

Re:Expense is more than cash at the register. (1)

Quintios (594318) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319242)

I suppose if you don't value your time at all, your argument makes sense.

The sad fact is, I enjoy having to muck with stuff. I think I'm truly in the minority here, but it's fun to tinker, especially when you can eventually get it to work. If I couldn't ever get stuff to work I'd probably be buying Macs.

Maybe if you spent less time shopping around you'd have time to relax and read about Apple or some other tech that interests you?

Very good observation. Course, I'm a heavy gamer so I tend to look at the PC market first. Maybe with Windows on the Mac I can switch?

Re:Expense is more than cash at the register. (1)

magicjava (952331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319314)

Quintios, you'll probably want to wait until the intel towers come out later this year. The other Macs really are difficult to upgrade. Just take a stroll into an Apple store, pick up a Mac Mini and see if you can tell how to even open the case. Even with the towers, you'll probably want to visit an Apple store and ask them how the machine can be upgraded to what you want.

Re:Expense is more than cash at the register. (2, Interesting)

toleraen (831634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319331)

Your example is absolutely terrible for the point you're trying to prove. You're talking about building a computer from scratch vs buying a prebuilt computer. You should be comparing buying an apple to buying a dell. And from that point of view, I know for a fact that you can buy a dell (with everything you need) for much cheaper than any mac.

And btw...your friend tried to save a few bucks by purchasing everything at Frys? Good lord! Do you buy your discount clothes at Macys too? My friend priced out his computer at frys, went home, in 15 minutes had priced it out on newegg, and saved about $350. Ordered it, came one day later, and in two hours we had a system built from the ground up, and completely operational.

Re:I Like Components... (1, Funny)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319052)

I like building my own PC's,

Really? I find the soldering work to be a bitch.

Re:I Like Components... (1)

Quintios (594318) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319165)

Really? I find the soldering work to be a bitch.

It is, but it's very satisfying when you can get it to POST for the first time! Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!

Re:I Like Components... (1)

gwhenning (693443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319093)

On a typical Mac (iMac or mini, the towers are still considered pro computers) you can upgrade the RAM or Hard Drive. Since they use small form factor CD/DVD drives with no bezel you can upgrade them, but they are hard to find. (Compared to a PC tower.) Beyond that your upgrade choices are a bit pricey, but the plus side is that you get a shiny new computer with the CPU upgrade.

I build my own PCs, but I order my Macs to spec. (Well except the RAM & HD which are cheaper to buy third party and install myself.)

When you are the minority player in the market... (4, Insightful)

gravyface (592485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318874)

you *have* to be interoperable with the market leader's file formats and software. Chalk this up as a "duh" and move on. Nothing to see here.

Software is the reverse (3, Interesting)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318898)

In software however, I've seen a lot of the reverse: Apple's stuff working better because it uses the "bazaar" model, as opposed to MS's "cathedral". Tiger consists of at least a dozen interconnected programs, each of which is removeable and replaceable (including Dashboard, the Finder, Spotlight, Safari, the Dock, etc.) Whereas Windows is all sort of jumbled together and is less seperable or partially replaceable than OS X.

Re:Software is the reverse (4, Informative)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319034)

Ha! Great in theory, but just [b]TRY[/b] to replace the Finder completely, the Dock, or Spotlight. Good luck. They should be easily replaceable (and this was the original vision in the Rhapsody Design documents), but they aren't in practice. It's still very much cathedral style, just like Windows (in that respect, anyway).

Re:Software is the reverse (2, Informative)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319068)

Your post seems very off-base, so much so, I wonder if you even use a Macintosh.

From the user interface, Apple does not provide any way to remove or replace [Dashboard|Finder|Spotlight|Dock]. Yes, there's hacks to change these things, but similar things exist on Windows as well. All of this is very tightly integrated from the User's POV and not "removeable and replaceable".

On a technical level [Dashboard|Finder|Spotlight|Safari|Dock] are very integrated into system libraries and share a lot of code. Just like [IE|Explorer|Outlook|ActiveDesktop] on Windows. If there's any significant architectural difference between how IE works on Windows and how Safari works on OS X, I'd like to hear about it.

Re:Software is the reverse (1)

dingDaShan (818817) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319075)

I have used macs extensively for graphics, and they lock up/freeze/generally go crazy just as much as the pc. Also, did anyone forget to mention that a pc has a better price to performance ratio. PC's generally cost more. More software, more parts vendors, more manufacturers all drives the price down and the quality up. Competition

Uh... HTF is that a bazaar? (1)

Slithe (894946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319087)

None of the programs you mentioned are open source. How exactly do they follow Eric Raymond's bazaar [catb.org] model? Most of Microsoft's 'integration' was done for marketing reasons rather than technical reasons, except for the kernel mode video interface. There are programs that will trim the fat from Windows installations, so the components cannot be integrated THAT tightly.

Re:Software is the reverse (3, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319105)

In software however, I've seen a lot of the reverse: Apple's stuff working better because it uses the "bazaar" model, as opposed to MS's "cathedral".

Dear God Man!

If Raymond read that, he would die, bury himself & start spinning.

From wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (as ESR is a nutcase & I won't link to his new book).
* The Cathedral model, in which source code is available with each software release, but code developed between releases is restricted to an exclusive group of developers. GNU Emacs and GCC are presented as examples.
* The Bazaar model, in which the code is developed over the Internet in view of the public. Raymond credits Linus Torvalds, leader of the Linux kernel project, as the inventor of this process. He also provides anecdotal accounts of his implementation of this model for the fetchmail project.
Both Apple & MS follow cathedral models - what you're thinking of is a unixy 'lots of useful little bits you can string together' vs 'big monoloithic and single use' models.

Re:Software is the reverse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15319207)

That is spelled bizzarre not bazaar

Can Network With Windows Machines (1, Interesting)

jchawk (127686) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318906)

Yea because getting Active Directory and a Mac is so easy to do... :(

This is my only complaint about macs in a PC dominated world. It's a struggle to get AD working properly. Once this is a simple point and click wizard I'll be thrilled!

Re:Can Network With Windows Machines (1)

Drizzt Do'Urden (226671) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318976)

On Mac it's called Assistant, you insensitive clod! ;)

Re:Can Network With Windows Machines (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15318978)

I'd say this [apple.com] is the place to look.

It links to this [afp548.com] as well.

I'm sorry, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15318994)

I got a Mac running Tiger connected and authenticating to my company's AD in a matter of minutes, and it has run trouble-free for a year. What exactly is so hard about it?

Re:Can Network With Windows Machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15319039)

Your stupid right?

(comment above was rhetorical, incase you are stupid)

Macs can network; Windows boxes can't. (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319079)

The problem is not that Macs don't support Microsoft's proprietary technology; the problem is that Windows doesn't support real standards like NFS and Kerberos!

Re:Macs can network; Windows boxes can't. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319161)

NFS is poop. You actually get better transfer rates using samba between two Unix systems than you do using NFS. Besides, if you use Windows Services for Unix [microsoft.com] , Microsoft does support NFS. But it still sucks.

The article submitter... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15318938)

... is "Carl Bialik from WSJ" with e-mail address "wsjarticles@wsj.com"
This for an article published on the WSJ web site.
I think that about says it all.

---
This anonymous post was brought to you by the image-protected password "profuse"

convert (3, Interesting)

xao gypsie (641755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318942)

This is prolly just going to get modded to an oblivion, but i recently found my wife's older g3 ibook. i added some ram, got a new battery (4 hours of life!!!), and put panther on it, and even the g3 run better than my athlon xp 3000 with windows (now it just has bsd).

I am so impressed with the way os x works. it is fast, accessible (through the bsd subsystem) and i can do anything on my ibook than i can on my desktop (no i dont game). After my experiences running a mac, i will never buy another non-mac pc. even if that means that i have to wait to save more money, they last longer and run better than windows machines.

Re:convert (2, Interesting)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319050)

i actually still use my blueberry G3 ibook as well. I have never had to upgrade. The new BTI optimized batteries get you almost 5 hrs actually, even when using airport (wifi). Considering it is a 7 year old computer and i've seen no need ot buy a new ibook, i think that says a lot. If you use xpostfacto you can install Tiger on it as well if you want it (yay! spotlight!).

Re:convert (1)

xao gypsie (641755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319185)

i used to have the opinion that macs are superior in every way but price. and now that i am using my ibook, i realize that that is also wrong. they save you money in the long run because they actually hold their value. upgrading isnt constantly necessary (especially cause i dont game anymore). I have all the programs i could ever need, and then some. the hardware will last me a long time. although those new macbooks are damn sexy. i need to start dropping more hints with my wife...

Re:convert (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319278)

"they save you money in the long run because they actually hold their value."

I couldnt put it better. Your G3 ibook will still fetch a 400-500 on ebay if you ever wanted to sell it.

Re:convert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15319244)

Why would you get modded down? You Rah Rah'd Apple. That's an instant +3. You should have mentioned how every single Mac in the world "Just Works" like 12 times then sum it all up with a Netcraft confirms it remark and you've got a +5.

Apple May Not Win... (2, Interesting)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318987)

but they will certainly not lose either. Having used both Windows and Mac for a while now, I can honestly say I do not prefer one over the other for general use. When it gets down to working though, each OS can offer me different things in different areas. An example would be that when working I would like to use a Mac for design and image processing of whatever kind. At home I may want to play a game or two and I would not get a Mac for that now would I. Creating a niche for certain things could what got the company to this point as it is, but they are only just now expanding on the success the last couple years.

I am certainly happy that Apple/Macs are getting better and better and are able to compete with Microsoft/Windows. All that does for us is give us better products faster from both companies and I am certainly not going to be upset with that.

Shit thread. (-1, Flamebait)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318991)

Shit thread. Splitting hairs. Macs are more generic PC than evar. Author sounds idealistic/deluded more than realistic.

Flame me down!

Video and the Wii (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15318992)

this is also available for free in video (WMV) [wsj.com] where he also talks about E3 and the Wii's similarity to apple's approch and also compares media center PC and Front Row.

But what about the Games!? (4, Informative)

azcoffeehabit (533327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319008)

Apples end-to-end device model seems to me to only be coming out of Apple's devices. Of course when you make the device, make the computer, make the operating system, and sell the service you are gonna have a good end-to-end device model. If you don't than you have a serious problem within your company.

I don't see any third parties being given access to the Mac's core to provide alternative end-to-end device solutions. Their end-to-end model is nothing more than Plug-n-Play when it comes to third partys.

My critisizm... Where are the games? [ugo.com]
One of the biggest reasons new PCs are purchased as well as all of the new componants for the PCs are the games. Video games can be directly attributed to the reason computers are getting pushed faster and faster in the consumer market. Up until vista, the non gaming user would never need a 128Mb DX10 graphics card. People don't need a PPU to use Excel. Heck, even laptops have been hovering at 1.7Ghz for the last 3 years!

Apple has yet to get the support of the gaming development companies. Sure there are a few games getting released now and then, usually months or years after the general PC/Console release.

Has Apple even attempted to get into this market?

Re:But what about the Games!? (1)

GateGuy (973596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319211)

It is true that the games that are published for the Mac usually lag behind their Windows counterparts by months or years. But I like to think of the Windows gaming community as a big filter; only the best of the Windows gaming world make it to the Mac.

Side note: my first post (very long time lurker)

No, only the most popular ones. (1)

Slithe (894946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319313)

The problem is that quality is not determined by marketshare (as a Mac user, I am sure you can agree with that). True, you will be shielded from most buggy, poor quality games that die in the market-place before the developers can even THINK about a port. Unfortunately, you will miss out on a lot of gems that, for whatever reason, did not sell well. Surefire hits like the Sims, Warcraft (and WOW), Unreal, and any idSoftware game will be ported to the Mac, but less popular games, such as the excellent Gothic series, may never be, because the few more sales would not justify the cost of a port. Just like Linux, OSX may be shielded from a lot of crappy commercial games, but most of the ported titles will cater to the lowest common denominator, which disatisfies gamers with alternate tastes.

Re:But what about the Games!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15319237)

At this point, that's just about all PCs are good for: high end gaming. Low end gaming is owned by the consoles. Office apps have historically been owned by the PC but there is no technical reason for this to continue. Internet apps work on PCs, Macs and Linux so they aren't unique to IE anymore. Basically, the only reason left to get a PC is to use the latest motherboard with the latest graphics card (and the latest physics card in the near future) to play the latest games.

End to end? (1)

The New Stan Price (909151) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319012)

PCs have had "end to end" for a long time, it's called LAPTOP.

Seriously though, if it were not for customizable PCs, Apple would probably not get such a great deal on the integrated hardware chips they use. Sure they would get the bulk discount, but there would also be less competition and therefore prices would be higher.

Apple is just another PC maker (0, Troll)

aka_big_wurm (757512) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319025)

They just happen to have an os.

But really what makes OS10 so much better than Windows?

Re:Apple is just another PC maker (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319200)

What, you want a list? I don't think slashdot allows comments that long.

BTW, I don't even own a mac right now. Last one I had was a Rev A bondi blue G3, which was a festering piece of shit. OSX still rules though.

Re:Apple is just another PC maker (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319252)

Apple isn't a PC maker, because if what they made were truly PCs MacOS would install on regular PCs as well. The fact that they are technically almost identical yet product tying is used says a lot about the success of the "end to end" model of design IMHO. If it was really so great, how comes they ended up simply selling PCs with an operating system?

Incidentally, I don't really like this market tying. Monopolies aren't allowed to do it because it's harmful and distorts the market, I don't see any reason why non-monopolies should be allowed to either ...

macs are great (0, Flamebait)

dingDaShan (818817) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319030)

but where is the software? ilife is great, but where are the alternatives? The biggest problem with a mac thus far has been the lack of software compatible. Games are another big issue. Even a mac that runs windows doesn't have the power to run the top of the line games like Half Life 2, Battlefield 2, and other graphics intensive games. Macs have traditionally had 'average' graphics cards included with them. Unless the only games that you want to play are the Warcraft series, macs can't take the games.

Re:macs are great (5, Informative)

Wizard Drongo (712526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319216)

I call bullshit. My pal has a MacBookPro. It's damned cool. If I had £1500 I would have one too. It runs every game you can think of for Windows very well. Doom 3 plays flawlessly at native res, with all the options. So does HL2, GTA3, Tomb Rider Legend, and a whole shitload of older games. I don't think it can currently play older DOS-based games, but that's more that XP can't do them old games, and the MacBookPro won't run anything older than Win2k. No matter whether you love or hate Mac's, or your opinion of the switch to Intel, there is no excuse for the FUD you spouted. Now, the old PowerPC macs, yeah, due to the limitations of virtualisation couldn't do 3D, but that wasn't Apple's fault. They didn't write VirtualPC. Microsoft and before them Connectix did. But the new Macs run games exceptionally well. So much so that when the MacBookPro was launched, it was (famously) the fastest windows laptop you could buy! Please get it right in future!

Re:macs are great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15319289)

but where is the software? ilife is great, but where are the alternatives?

The same place all the non-free alternatives to Microsoft Office on Windows are: Nowheresville. Who the hell would pay for something that does exactly what iLife does when iLife comes free with the computer? Good luck finding a venture capitalist to fund that idea.

The biggest problem with a mac thus far has been the lack of software compatible.

Again, WTF are you talking about? Name a common file format that a Mac can't deal with.

Macs support more standards than Microsoft does. Macs can still read and write PC-formatted floppies (if you plug in a USB floppy drive) out of the box. Macs can read and write to FAT and FAT32 formatted hard drives, and can read NTFS formatted hard drives out of the box. Macs can effortlessly join Windows networks and authenticate with Active Directory, out of the box. OS X can create PDFs out of the box. OS X can create and expand .zip files out of the box. The Mac version of Office can read and write Windows Office files, often more easily than two differing versions of Windows Office can.

The computers are components (2, Insightful)

kfstark (50638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319046)

I loved customizing my computers 10-15 years ago. It was fun and the end product was a cool computer. That was the end product.

The end product now is a system of interconnected devices.

Computer, phone, stereo, television, DVR, camera, video, IPod, game system, internet. These are the components of the new system. You would buy slightly different versions of each one to customize your complete system, but you don't worry about customizing each component. You only worry how the component will work with all of your other components.

Apple wins hands down on integrating into this newer interconnected system.

--Keith

It is now safe to ignore this article... (1)

bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319060)

as soon as you see "post PC-era" you know it is irrelevant.

Sync with devices (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319077)

One other thing Macs do, a nice byproduct of their device model, is they can sync to things properly. Using .mac, files just magically get between PCs. Emails are always accessible. Your contacts and calendar work in all applications, and sync nicely to your iPod. Photos can be used in the DVDs you burn...

What do PCs have that is close to that?

Ultimately, Apple only needs a solid minority... (5, Insightful)

Stick_Fig (740331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319190)

...to come out a winner long-term. The PC market is huge, and as long as Apple keeps its niche comparable to the market share that other hardware companies have (i.e. its market share should be compared with HP and Dell, not Microsoft), then they've succeeded in the market.

Let's stop making this a Apple v. Microsoft fight, because it hasn't realistically been one for a while.

USB != "Windows" device (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15319191)

Since when is the USB standard a "Windows" standard? As far as I know, I can also plug my USB mouse and keyboard into my Playstation 2 and they work. These are not "WINDOWS" devices. These are UNIVERSAL devices. So what makes a Mac so damn special for supporting USB?!?!

Re:USB != "Windows" device (2, Informative)

dbialac (320955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319311)

They were the first to include it on their entire product line. Intel had been pushing USB for years, and only a few niche computer manufacturers like Sun incorporated USB previously. Apple brought it to the mainstream. That fact, though, is old news as pretty much everything does USB these days.

O RLY?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15319199)

The real proof is what the name of the Mac version of Duke Nukem Forever will be.

THAT MADE NO SENSE!! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15319210)

From above:

Even the Mac isn't as closed as its critics charge. It's still designed to work with Apple's own operating system and software. But it can handle all the common files Windows uses, can network with Windows machines, and can use all of the common Windows printers, scanners, keyboards and mice.

In order for the Mac stuff to be interoperable it must have the ability to be used on other systems, not vise-versa. Can any of Apple's OSX apps run on anything else besides a Mac. Can you use music you purchased from the iTunes music store on another MP3 player besides Apple branded ones? Can you play songs purchased at any of the other online stores on your iPod? How is Apple any better than Microsoft when it comes to interoperability? At least with Microsoft I can still build my own system if I wished to do so. I'd hate to see a world dominated by Apple, where that was no longer possible.

whatever... (1)

araczynski (265221) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319231)

until the mac (and accessories) costs as little as the pc, and
until the mac plays ALL the games that i can play on the pc, and
I don't give one stinking fart what anyone thinks of the mac. nor will i for a second consider even getting one.

except... (0, Offtopic)

UltraAyla (828879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15319235)

Heck, the newest Macs can even run Windows itself.

Except after running windows, some of those macs ONLY run windows [com.com] . Oops

Apple's "Network" TV ad says it all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15319316)

Isn't all this just a long-winded summary of the following commercial?

http://www.apple.com/getamac/ads/ [apple.com] (click on "Network")
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