Here we are, gazing at Apple and the future of the Mac platform. We've come a long way, seen quite a bit, and felt strongly about certain points. Now, the harsh stock tumble lands Apple in a new position, the users voice their opinions ever so strongly, and Apple remains unwieldy in the eyes of many. Only time will reveal the truth for what will happen in the future.
However, I've heard quite a few users' comments, and I too have some issues to voice. I'd like to point these out and let the Apple Relations Staff read them. I am willing to bet that at least one person from the Apple corporate latter will read this article. (In the past, I've learned quite a bit of interesting material about who reads certain articles. Yes, this includes you Mr./Mrs. Apple employee. My hope is that you will consider these points and actually discuss them with someone. I would be willing to further discuss these issues as well.)
Most analysts think that the recent poor computer sales were contained within the Apple market. So let's say that Apple sales are dropping and the PC sales are leveling off or growing. This may not be a big problem for a month or so, but it will take you down the drain. There are some feasible solutions to this problem. One of these solutions may be overlooked, and that is the education market. Why not deploy the Mac machines to young students? Get them introduced to the Mac and let them become aware of its greatness. You can't sell a Mac to a college student who has used PC's since first grade. These students are brought up with disgust towards the Mac, as their experience with the Mac is simply lame. How many schools are using out dated Macs? Students see these and turn the other way towards the seemingly great PC's. Push in the new stylish and powerful Macs to the students while they are still young, allowing them to decide their preference on machines. At this time, they won't be bias on Mac or PC. Apple will have to work with the education buyers to ensure that the newest Macs can be obtained within a reasonable budget. This is a longer term solution but should work well if Apple has plans for that far in the future.
We also need some answers for today's troubles. Many people have kicked the Mhz benchmark back and forth, so let's give it a final punt. Apple needs to simply market faster chips. Stop worrying so much about the add on features of the processor/MP, and just dish out some raw speed. I see the PC ads where systems are running well over a gigahertz, and later that day I page through a Mac catalogue to see Macs running at 350 to 500Mhz DP. It just doesn't look right. Yes, I know the 500Mhz single processor could wreck the 1Ghz PIII in certain areas and that the Mhz benchmark does not indicate how speeds are obtained. But seriously, do you think the new users or PC users know this? I don't want to hear that it's not Apple's fault that faster chips can't be put on the market. Apple leaves the public blind to their newest products for the future. How about speeding up those public product deployment dates to meet the expectations that have already passed?
Now the prices are an issue. The iMac line prices are fine, users should be able to handle that. I like the boosted performance of the new iBooks and even more, the $100 price drop. But what were they thinking by cutting the 512K L2 cache to the new 256K L2 cache? Isn't this a part of what sets the Macs aside from the PC's? The PowerBooks received a boost in options, so that's alright, but still slightly high in price. The monitors will have to do (although where is the 17 to 21 inch CRT?). But the G4 Cube, this has some problems that are making deeper holes as time elapses. Seriously, drop off $200 and make it the same price as the entry level G4 tower. This will make the consumers reconsider their whole Mac buying plan and boost them to newer levels. I don't even want to comment on why consumers should spent $1800 to buy a cracked--molded piece of machinery. Price reductions would allow more units to be purchased, but would also cut back in total profit, so this would have to be tweaked by Apple's financial people.
The means by which Apple sells its products is growing more interesting. The online Apple Store has handled a notable sized portion of the sales. Resellers' profits were probably reflected by this. But they may have a better reason to get worked up. The new Lime iBook is being sold only through the Apple Store, not being offered to any resellers. What is Apple trying to do here? Even more peculiar is the possibility of Apple opening their own physical stores in select cities. This chain of stores could force smaller computer resellers to drop the Apple line. Only large resellers would carry Apple products. The physical stores in cities such as New York and L.A. could be a great success though. The final point for Apple is to check where it's decisions will have an impact. Before smashing the small resellers with the competitive battle, work out a solution which will allow for the existence of both parties.
Well now, I hope nobody took offense to this article, but I took a different approach to laying out the issues. I hope that Apple will change, allowing for further growth. (Although, my business relations with Apple Relations people have proved that so many of the related rumors are true.) I don't expect everyone to desire a Mac, nor do I want this. There must be some users who do not use Macs, but I'd like to see less of them and more of those who do. PC users are blind, and some freely admit it. This difference is what makes the Mac different, unique, desirable, and stronger. I know I'll support the Mac as long as Apple keeps playing a fair game, and I'll hate the PC as long as there is evil within it.
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