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Apple fortifies home offerings whilst competitors journey to the cloud

Apple’s keynote at Macworld 2009 this morning was surprising.  After rumors suggesting a possible iPhone Nano and much needed new iMacs, we were instead given an in-depth look into feature updates on largely non-web-service software and an updated Macbook whose battery design sounds as problematic for environment as its servicing does for remotely located owners.

On a positive note it’s great to hear that iTunes is going DRM-free and that the new 17″ Macbook Pro will be offered without a glossy screen, albeit for an extra $50.  The celebrity music lessons on GarageBand also sound cute.

For me there were two worrying trends in this keynote:

1.  Apple continues to concentrate on non-web-service productivity software when Microsoft, Google and the IT industry as a whole continues to press on towards online web services such as Microsoft Office Web and Google Docs.  Apple is missing out on extending its application reach to Windows users by doing this.  iWork.com seems to be solely an online document sharing facility for local iWork users.

2.  Apple continues to concentrate on extremely powerful computers in relation to the market as a whole; even its base Macbooks are far more powerful than mid-range Vista laptops (which are cheaper).  This makes me concerned that when (the apparently very fast) Windows 7 gets released the value differential between Windows and Apple laptops will widen further, as Windows 7 will run well on cheap low power computers.

Enhancements like geotagging in iPhoto are nice for the small user-base they serve, but they don’t really extend Apple’s reach into Windows homes compared to say Picasa which is on offer for both Mac and Windows (as well as Linux) platforms.  I can’t help feeling that Apple is moving further towards high power local computing which might not be recession-proof, whilst the market as a whole is gravitating towards a more inclusive low power cloud model which also happens to be more recession-friendly.

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

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Jan 6, 2009 - Posted by | Apple, Computing, Hardware, Microsoft | , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Good points but let us be serious: Microsoft ahs never in hteir whole history released a fast Windows which uses less power than older versions and they will not in the future.

    Comment by Your non-geeky reader | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

    • Yes I think that is historically true Gunter, but my feeling is that the current Microsoft vision recognizes the importance of the Cloud, integration and the market explosion of greener lower power netbooks/net-tops which have captured the public’s imagination. I personally believe that green low power usage devices will become an increasingly important market sector.

      I’ve been told by Microsoft reps that they’ve done a lot of tuning work to optimize Windows 7 for speed. I’ll be trying it soon, the global public download site went live today here.

      The demos I’ve seen at CES so far show some sweet new features, and the online content integration in Media Center is fantastic. For example online episodes from content providers like Netflix, NBC and Fox are available right from the program guide so you don’t need to go to their websites, which is just how it should be.

      As soon as I install and use it for a while myself, I’ll write a post of my experiences…

      Neil Berman

      Comment by theONbutton | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply


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