The Operating System Is Dead
If you were on a desert island and you could only take the following two machines:
1. A MacPro with all apps installed with no internet connection
2. A Windows box with an internet connection, Firefox, IM, etc.
Which one would you take? me thinks even the most diehard Mac fan would take option 2.
Why? Because the operating system doesn’t matter anymore.
Before you all start screaming and cursing look back at my original question. And be honest.
Why is this? Well, as I said, because the operating system doesn’t matter anymore.
Or, another way of putting this is that the internet is the operating system.
Sure, it doesn’t boot out computers (although it can) but it does run our lives. How much of our computer time is spent on the web, using our email, using applications that require an internet connection, and using IM? More and more with each passing day. And, when we think of enjoying our computers, yes we think of the incredible things we can design and create with our applications (which, by the way, can increasingly run on either platform,) but we also think of surfing the web and emailing friends.
So what does this mean for the Mac? Well, first of all it means that Apple should be doing everything it can to focus on product development that leverages the internet. In many ways it is already doing this. The .Mac product line and isync is a good example. But a better example is iTunes, Apple’s most used application (note, released on Windows too) that happens to have the internet at the heart of its raison d’etre. After all, iTunes really is an internet client for the music store, podcasting, and a CDDB server for your collection.
Apple needs to think about its operating system and where the internet can fit in much more aggressively. And it needs to prepare for the day when the OS is simply a dumb terminal for a series of web services. Word processor? Gone. Mail App (oh yeah, already gone)? Gone. Need to rotate an image? Do it in Flickr not iPhoto. Heck, need to manage a photo collection and share it with others? Flickr again.
Apple needs to think iPhoto, and think about an OS and applications that leverage the internet at their core.
Otherwise, 20 years from now, Apple will just be an operating system, that funny thing that we used to need but no longer do.