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Apple's Device Model Beats the PC Way 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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Apple's Device Model Beats the PC Way

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  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:46PM (#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.
    • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:58PM (#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.
    • by amliebsch ( 724858 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:59PM (#15318936) Journal
      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.

      • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:28PM (#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.

      • 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.
      • The PC was designed to be general purpose. But now that people have 30 years of experience with desktop computers, they've found some "known solutions" that fulfill the needs of large segments of the market. Large enough that the machines can be "locked down", and the flexibility and a lot of complexity removed. Imagine a machine with web browser, office suite, finance package, photo catalog, and music. Do what a $400 PC bundle does, but eliminate viruses and spyware and worms and DDOS drones. You don't
      • 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.

        The reason PCs were so modular back in the day is because A.) They were expensive and sometimes you didn't need to buy everything and B.) Cheaper an
      • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @02:11PM (#15319729)
        But a PC is intended and designed to be as general-use as possible.

        But that's just what they said about the general purpose electric motor. That's the whole point of the analogy.

        As an extreme example, take Word Processing and Spreadsheet use. You may think that the same general purpose computer is best adapted to both tasks. But it's not:

        Word processing on a PC is compromised because the screen is the wrong shape to fit a representation of a piece of paper on. A portrait orientation would work better. Yet for spreadsheets, landscape is better.

        Likewise the keyboard is not optimised for either task. Instead of anonymous but general purpose buttons market F1-F12, and relatively arbitrary control and alt key combinations, which vary from application to application, there should be buttons marked perhaps BOLD, CENTER, STYLE etc. on the word processor and ABSOLUTE/RELATIVE or SUM on the spreadsheet.

        Who knows, perhaps the spreadsheet would be better with different pointing scrolling controls. Perhaps a trackball purely for scrolling.

        Perhaps the word processor should have a scanner/ocr built in. Because it doesn't need anything more than a cheap embedded CPU and no fancy 3D graphics it could have extras like that and still be a fraction of the price of a general purpose PC.

        BTW, don't argue with any of the specific suggestions here. They're out of my hat and for demonstration purposes only. The point is that looking at each application separately, hardware can be designed to support a specific problem far better than the general purpose machine can. Those optimal designs would certainly be different from my examples.
    • 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 econo
      • by Skreems ( 598317 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:49PM (#15319487) Homepage
        Actually, I think looking at things that way yields somewhat different conclusions. Look at the early PC market, for example. Apple sold completely pre-fab systems. Yeah, they came in a number of flavors (different speeds, different add-in cards) but essentially you were buying one complete system. The parts used to make such systems weren't available, even to businesses; Apple was the only one who could put together an Apple PC.

        In contrast, x86 machines were built from modular components. If you wanted to, you could order different components from vendors and assemble the machine yourself. More common, though, you would pay someone else to assemble the components for you. Gateway, Dell, HP, whoever you picked, they could get the same components as every other manufacturer, and put them together, then ship it to you. You got a fully functional system, but since it wasn't proprietary you could easily swap out parts, and the competition in who was providing these pieces meant lower prices and (sometimes) better performance.

        Now move to the software analogy. With Windows, Microsoft builds a bunch of pieces that they assemble into an operating system. They sell it in several different styles, and you can pick which one you want; but the pieces they use to make those systems are not available to anybody else. Another company cannot just come in, buy the parts, and assemble a version of Windows to sell to you. It's a closed market.

        Linux, on the other hand, is nearly identical to the x86 market. The system is composed of a bunch of pieces that fit together in standardized ways. Many different people or groups have taken a stab at building versions of these components, though. You can take kernels patched and tweaked in any of thousands of different ways, different device systems, different GUIs, etc, and assemble them into a functional system. Individuals can do this themselves, but more often they will get a full package from some company that has taken these widely available pieces and assembled them.

        The situations are parallel to a striking degree. And the results are nearly the same as well. Apple makes computers in which all the parts work together. You don't have to worry about the CPU overheating and frying the motherboard. All the parts are quality controlled, and while they may not be the very best on the market, you know the system is going to Just Work (tm). Windows is the same. You can't swap out the chron manager or the system logger if you want different functionality, but you also know that one piece of the OS isn't going to eat the rest of it. With Linux, you have a huge range of choice in which components you assemble, but that comes with the added risk that some available components are much lower quality than others, and some may be incompatible with each other; exactly the same way with assembling x86 components yourself.

        In the end, who won? Well, it's not a perfect parallel, but it seems that in the long run, interchangeable parts and systems with more options won out. It took companies who would hide that abstraction from the user to do it, but Linux is getting there. Fedora, Suse, Linspire, etc are all catching on more and more, and as people start to realize that "computer" is not synonymous with "Windows", they'll continue to do so.
    • 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 ch
    • 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 I
      • "Electric motor are used the way they are for cost reasons, not user experience."

        This is an excellent point.

        "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."

        On this point, I disagree. I think that there will pretty much always be an opportunity for UE to sell... Granted, if the hardware stayed the same, then UE would evolve to a certain level that was "good enough". However, I'd argue that inn

  • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:49PM (#15318823)
    Walt Mossberg things Macs are better than PC's?!?!?! Impossible!
  • by a_greer2005 ( 863926 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:50PM (#15318839)
    when did the PC die? Netcraft never mentioned that!
  • What? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Luscious868 ( 679143 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:52PM (#15318856)
    The Mac gives you the same access to the Internet as Windows.

    What? Then please explain the following:

    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? (Score:5, Informative)

      by rritterson ( 588983 ) * on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:56PM (#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.
    • 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? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by amliebsch ( 724858 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:09PM (#15319037) Journal
        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? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Skadet ( 528657 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:19PM (#15319154) Homepage
          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".
        • 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.

          The number of online movie purchasers however is a number so low that it is a statistical abberation, and thus does not in fact provide an effective counterexample.

          I would warrant that number of people who have bought the single movie on ITMS (that disney high school movie) is greater than the entire customer base of the services mentioned, combined.

          Since ITMS is the
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:52PM (#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.

    • by syphax ( 189065 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:26PM (#15319228) Journal
      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').
    • "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."

      Maybe that's all there is to it, but I generally thought Mossberg stayed within his area of competence, I.E. end-user product reviews. Maybe I haven't been reading him long enough. This is a muddled folk-lorish rant going nowhere.

      For one thing there is no mention of standards, open or otherwise. Both Apple devices and PCs use many of the sa
  • 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!
    • 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... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quintios ( 594318 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:52PM (#15318862) Journal
    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?

    • 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
    • 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 cour
    • by Skadet ( 528657 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:11PM (#15319049) Homepage
      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).
      • 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
      • Hours getting a modem to work? Sheesh, but then again that's why I only did external modems. RS232 is so simple it's really damn hard for any manufacturer to screw it up. Internal modems always seemed like a kluge, except for the ones that literally had a UART connected to the bus, and then that was connected to the modem guts. Software-based modems? Don't get me started - total ugly kluge to save a few bucks. It's like anything else - if you buy a serious kluge, you're going to have trouble.

        I probabl
    • I like building my own PC's,

      Really? I find the soldering work to be a bitch.
    • by be-fan ( 61476 )
      A PowerPC Mac is almost a regular PC. You can use standard memory, hard drives, optical drives, etc. The graphics cards are standard, but the BIOS in them is not. It's usually pretty trivial, though, to flash a Mac BIOS onto a regular PC card.

      The new Intel Macs are regular PCs. Within the limits of the form-factor, they are just as upgradable as a PC. For example, you can pop out the CPU on an iMac and stick in whatever Core Duo chip you want. You can't upgrade the motherboards on the current set of Intel M
    • 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

      On a PowerMac, it's about as easy as on any given PC. Same components, too.

    • Here's a bit of my own experience: at home I use a 5-year old G4 Quicksilver. The original hard drive is long gone, replaced with 2 120 GB drives. RAM is upgraded to 1.25 GB. The video card is upgraded to whatever the fastest card I could get which was backwards compatible with 4xAGP, which is as fast as my slot goes.

      Last, but not least, the original (single) 867 MHz G4 CPU has been replaced with a dual 1.6 GHz G4 setup. The CPU upgrade required a firmware change and a screwdriver (to remove the heat

  • by gravyface ( 592485 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:53PM (#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.
  • by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:56PM (#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.
    • by diamondsw ( 685967 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:08PM (#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).
    • 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 li
      • Really? So you use Safari to browse your filesystem, huh? And you probably use Mail to make appointments, manage your contacts and manage your calendar, don't you? And you probably use iTunes to view not only your mp3's but also your videos, right?

        Well, the last point not withstanding, Apple has a history of building applications for very focused tasks. You browse and open files with the Finder. You browse the internet with Safari. You send e-mail with Mail. You organize your life with iCal. You mana

    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:59PM (#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"
    • by ObligatoryUserName ( 126027 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:39PM (#15319366) Journal
      ... 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.

      What exactly does it say? It says that someone working at the Wall Street Journal was one of the first people to know that article was live and knew it would be interesting to Slashdot. (If it wasn't interesting it wouldn't have gotten posted, right? If there was posting-payola involved they wouldn't have made it so obviously submitted by the newspaper, would they?)

      That someone from the WSJ would submit their articles isn't surprising is it? Slashdot has been around for quite a few years now and its original mainstream claim to fame was its large audience(Slashdot effect). There might be a hint of impropriety if the submitter had hidden their identity, but as it is, what's the problem?
  • convert (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xao gypsie ( 641755 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:00PM (#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 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by minus_273 ( 174041 )
      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!).
      • 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...
        • "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.
    • even the g3 run better than my athlon xp 3000 with windows

      Statements like this are so off the wall, they really tell you nothing more than "I've Drank the Kook-Aid!!" The reality is that the vast majority of 3Ghz PC users would find an old G3 iBook to be unacceptably sluggish and difficult to use.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • by azcoffeehabit ( 533327 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:07PM (#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?

    • by Pengo ( 28814 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:49PM (#15319481) Journal

      I have been a PC gamer for years and it has been the primary reason that a Mac usually sits to the side of my windows machine, and not in front of it. As I have gotten older and my free time is more and more sparse, I tend to enjoy less and less video games and more and more console games as I can jump on and off and enjoy.

      The only game I have played on a computer in the last year is World of Warcraft, which now plays nicely on my MacBook Pro.

      The rest of my entertainment from video games consists of an occasional round of Fight Night 3 on my xbox 360 or some hack'n'slash with Oblivion (again on the 360) or Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (again on the 360).

      My gaming career was on the PC, never gave the consoles much credit as I could build a PC to do much better graphics and seemed to have more fun online playing games.

      But , other than my occasional WoW binges, who wants to be cramped in a corner of the house huddled behind a PC when you can spend that time hanging with your kids playing fun games behind a 65" high-def TV with graphics that match what I am seeing on my PC, without any compromise of playing online with other people (via. xbox live for example).

      To get to the point of my rant, that's the biggest reason my Mac is now a viable computer for me.. not the interoperability, but more the fact I don't really game on my PC any longer.

    • IANAGD (I am not a game developer)

      Apple tried to make Mac OS more attractive for game developers, back when it was still Mac OS and not Mac OS X. There was a set of libraries called Game Sprockets [apple.com] to help game developers with things like controller support and 3d sound, but the project was killed in the switch to Mac OS X. Right now there things like OpenGL that can be used for games, but nothing specialized for games.

      Big companies like Blizzard can afford to have a small Mac unit, and some companies actual
    • One of the biggest reasons new PCs are purchased as well as all of the new componants for the PCs are the games.

      Says who? Please cite some references.
  • by kfstark ( 50638 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:10PM (#15319046) Homepage
    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.

    • 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.

      Well, I won't say I hated it... if I trully hated it I wouldn't have done it. I remember at one point I had a Pro Audio Spectrium 8bit which offered semi-decent audio but for some reason I needed to upgrade to 16bit. Righto... onwards and upwards to the PAS 3D which was not fully supported in win95 though having a really nice digitizer. Same deal with some obscure 14.4 Mwave non
  • 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?
  • by Stick_Fig ( 740331 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:22PM (#15319190) Homepage
    ...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.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    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?!?!
    • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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 pur
  • Microsoft has to test their software on thousands of different CPUs with thousands of different add-on cards, creating a test matrix that is simply impossible to manage. So they simply test on a few configurations, then wait for users to report problems with the others. Apple only has to test their software on devices Apple has sold in the last few years; it is physically possible for them to cover all current configurations. (There is a limit to what they test, and I suspect that most of the problems not c
  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @01:53PM (#15319535) Homepage
    Capitalism is a funny system because of a few basic assumptions it needs to function well. One of those assumptions is that users will know things, like what is a better product to buy. Because of this, people who sell shoddy equipment on unreliable gear will not succeed.

    Now let's apply this. I have a PowerBook that is very reliable. I also have a desktop that's very reliable (in fact, 3). However, these desktops are component-based machines; they run Linux. How is it that these component-based macchines are as reliable as my end-to-end model PowerBook? I bought components which aren't garbage. AMD CPUs, Kingston lifetime warranty RAM, Enermax power supplies, etc. It's more expensive than what most people probably buy, but I've never had a peap of trouble. I know what components to buy because I take the time to look into it, and because I only buy components that the Linux kernel supports (which, for some reason, happen to me more reliable than random Taiwanese garbage).

    With Apple's model, we skip this step. Apple themselves takes the time to try and get quality components that work reliable with OS X. Since they vend the machine and the hardware, they can't hide behind the "Windows sucks" excuse the way cheaper component suppliers can. However, and this is important to note, they're still interested in shrinking costs as much as possible to maintain their fat margins, and they still like to charge a high markup. Plus, they're not immune from mistakes (note the GOBS of heatsink goo on the heatpipes of the 15" MacBook Pros). This means they don't always do as good a job as someone who knows what I do.

    Really, it's just moving the burden of choosing chocolates from shit from the consumer up the chain a bit, but even then it's not perfect. If you want thinks done right, do it yourself -- learn about PC construction, or pay someone you trust (be it Apple or your friend). If you just go buy the cheapest thing you can, you're on a roller-coaster ride to the bottom in terms of quality and consistency -- that's why Wal-mart's stuff is different (they have different product badged the same to cut costs), and also why Wal-mart is not always the best place to shop.

    Adam Smith's invisible hand requires you to do research!
  • by Ryan Amos ( 16972 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @02:01PM (#15319607)
    There's a good reason for this: Home PCs are commodity equipment. Unless you are a gamer (which means you're not part of Apple's target market anyway,) you will probably buy a $500 HP or Dell. All the $500 Dells I've ever worked with don't have more than 3 32-bit PCI slots anyway. No AGP, no PCIe. Usually only 1 SATA connector and 2 EIDE connectors.

    The point is, you're not going to be upgrading your economy PC from Dell or HP anyway. If something faster comes out, you just buy a new PC because they're $500. Apple is now in this price sphere though, and the Mac mini looks sexy and small compared to a $500 Dell in a mid-tower case. Home PCs are commodity hardware, and this fits Apple's business model a whole lot better. Who cares if it's expandable if you're just going to replace it anyway?

    The Mac mini is Apple's $500 box, and when you compare it spec wise to a comparably priced Dell or HP, it stands up. Of course, a $500 Dell comes bundled with Google Desktop and MusicMatch Jukebox, and the Mac comes with the whole iApp suite, which is more powerful and easier to use for a home user than anything even available on Windows.

    Which would you choose? The $500 Dell or the $550 Mac Mini?
  • by version5 ( 540999 ) <altovideoNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Friday May 12, 2006 @02:04PM (#15319636)
    Wikipedia tells me that when Apple started to make a come back with the iMac, they discarded legacy Apple ports like Apple Desktop Bus, GeoPort and SCSI. That's why they can support Windows printers, scanners, keyboards and mice, and with AGP and PCI-E support, high performance video cards too. They also support the standard internet protocols, RSS feeds for podcasting and a POSIX kernel.

    So how is this a good example of an end-to-end model?

  • by jejones ( 115979 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @02:34PM (#15319967) Journal
    From TFA: "Critics attack the iPod and iTunes as 'closed' and 'proprietary'...but..iTunes and the iPod work on Windows computers, not just Macs. So how is that closed?"

    From The Blues Brothers: "We have both kinds o' music here—country and western!"

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain