Apple in 2006

by Devanshu Mehta Mar 23, 2006

Like most Apple years, 2006 is shaping up to be an eventful one.  The Intel transition is working out, people are watching videos on their iPods and the anti-climax of the February event is but a distant memory.

But here is what Apple may have in store for us in the next 10 months:

Mac 10.5 Leopard
Everyone has a wish list of features they expect from this one, some of which have been requested since 10.1. Expect eye candy and show-off changes, especially since there is a good chance it will be out before Windows Vista. The media mileage to be gained is significant.

Intel Inside Everything
By the end of the year, or much earlier, we will have Intel inside everything. No surprises there, and since the transition has been smooth so far not much else is expected in this area. The desktop Macs and especially the iBooks with Intel processors may even be released without the traditional Apple fanfare.

OSX Boots on Anything
This will happen. As much as Apple tries to protect their OS, sooner or later the hackers will prevail. This is the way of the world, but the battle is sure to get interesting as Apple believes it has a lot at stake.

Video iPod
You have already heard the rumors, seen the fake pictures, think you have seen real pictures, and bought “High School Musical” for $9.99 from the iTunes store. Just so you could watch it on your cool 4-inch, touchscreen, virtual jog-wheeled display with Bluetooth headphones. They are all rumors at this point, but one such rumor says we may see it as early as May. Of course, it may never happen. but if it does, it will be this year.

iPod Phone
One more from the old rumor files, the iPod cellular phone has multiple corporations in multiple industries anxious. With rumors of deals in Taiwan and Wall street analysts predicting its appearance within the year, Apples trademarks of the terms Aloha and Mobile Me suggest that an iTunes ringtone store may not be too far in the future.

A True Movie Store
I know you can buy “High School Musical” for $9.99 at the iTunes store, but one unknown Disney flick that nobody bought does not make a movie store. Deals with studios may be even tougher than the ones Apple made with the record industry and the price per movie is still a big issue. A variable price model, which would be a major about-face for iTunes, makes more sense for the movie store but only time will tell how that plays out.

A True DVR
The Mac mini is almost a digital video recorder, but not quite. Expect Apple to move that machine closer to the center of the living room with ever iteration. Part of the problem is that the mini is being advertised as a computer. At some point, when Apple thinks it is ready, it will be advertised as the single box that will connect your house.

The trouble for Apple, however, is not that they do not have enough things in the pipeline but that each of these developments are either expected or old rumors. The trouble with old rumors is the Star Wars Prequels effect- no matter what you do, the end result cannot meet the expectations. People have had too much time to speculate, pontificate and generally voice what they think Apple should be doing.

The only way Apple can break out of this effect is to release a product that has not been rumored- the blindsider.

The Blindsider
You know it’s coming. We have seen it happen many times before. That product that nobody is talking about, the rumor sites have not heard of and that will either change an industry or die an ignominious death.

Revolution or bust- such is the way of Apple and part of the reason why we love it.


  • DVR wouldn’t play nice with a movie/TVseries store in my world.

    Emil had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 10
  • A DVR and movie downloads are not mutually exclusive. Downloads are not for real time because if they were they’d be called broadcast or streams.

    I’m not sure I see Apple making a DVR. Front Row sort of points in that direction but not much else has tipped Apple’s hand.

    I’m not paying $10 for a download. Period. I buy my DVDs for that average price. The convenience of a download isn’t enough for me to put up with “BYOB” “Bring Your Own Bandwidth”

    Downloadable movies will not have the same impact that music has. I’m happy with Netflix.

    hmurchison had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 145
  • Yeah- the movie and music industries seem similar but the fundamental difference is that people do not rent music. An Apple movie store would have to compete with rentals and purchases of DVDs and so would have to be at a price point somewhere between the two; i.e. better than renting but not as good as buying a DVD.

    Devanshu Mehta had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 108
  • DVR is an essential element if Apple wants the Mac Mini taken seriously as a media hub.  DVR=media center.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • In any case, people are already using the Mac Mini as a media center. Apple will surely want in on that action.

    Devanshu Mehta had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 108
  • My old Nokia is falling apart but i am putting up with it while I wait for Apple to bring practicality and flair to this technology.  Has anyone used a windows phone?  I have - on an HP iPaq.  Its not a good combination - big, clumsy, slow…  No thanks.  I ditched it and went back to my old Nokia which is stuck together with tape…  Note Apple: I want buttons like a normal phone, not menu items which require a stylus… How many times have i dropped that bloody stylus!!!  The iPaq is a disaster as a phone - i am using it as a GPS navigation tool, but its not much better at that - the battery goes flat all the time and the whole unit has to be re-initialised and the software reloaded every time this happens.  If there is any single device which shows how clunky the windows platform really is, this is it…

    Oh, and did everyone else notice that Microsoft announced, without a hint of irony, that Vista will now include revolutionary “stand alone” html applications, to be known as GADGETS.

    Who are they kidding?

    sydneystephen had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 124
  • Oh, and did everyone else notice that Microsoft announced, without a hint of irony, that Vista will now include revolutionary “stand alone” html applications, to be known as GADGETS.

    Yep, they ripped off Konfabulator, just like Apple did.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • Well, i must admit I had never heard of Konfabulator.  But we live in the days of Google, so now i am up to date…  And if you go here, there is a well reasoned argument which rebuts the ripoff assertion:

    But you miss my point - Apple has made a big splash with Dashboard and Widgets.  They could, because they have made it a sexy feature which comes free with OS/X - and who ever heard of Konfabulator apart from apple diehards?  But for Microsoft, coming on the heels of Dashboard, this is an entirely “Me too” situation - it looks like a panic reaction to OS/X, which perhaps it is…

    Which suggests that Microsoft are paying more attention to OS/X and perhaps they really are starting to be concerned that Apple is making serious headway in the battle for the hearts and minds of the home user?

    Another point: this is so patently a “catch up” issue - it speaks volumes for the paucity of new ideas coming out of Redmond that MS feel they have to pre-announce “Gadgets” for Vista…  What?  Is there nothing else in Vista more exciting to talk about than a feature already available in OS/X?

    If OS/X continues to announce new sexy features, and MS are obliged to continue to play “follow the leader”, it won’t take long before this begins to be felt in product sales.

    Of course Apple dont play in all the areas where MS do - notably in the corporate space.  But by my reckoning, the Apple brand gives them the ability to charge a premium in the retail space and still win market share.  MS can’t afford to play catch-up to Apple in this space for too long - but my guess is that this is exactly what will happen.  Apple are simply more nimble on their feet, and they have a better handle on how to build sex appeal into their products.

    Oh, and ease of installation and ease of use…  Neither are an MS strength today.

    So… Apple has MS on the run, at least where the sex appeal of OS/X versus Vista is concerned.  And the press are beginning to understand this, so the general public can’t be far behind…  There is no doubt that Apple is enjoying fantastic press recently.  The Intel move has just worked - with no drama.  And the iPod and iTunes go from strength to strength.

    2006 looks to be a fascinating year.  And for a recent Apple convert i have to say that after nearly 30 years in IT, I am excited by technology again…  After years of drudgery from Seattle, IT is sexy again…

    Bring it on!

    sydneystephen had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 124
  • That daringfireball “argument” is little more than an apologist screed.  For one thing, by focusing on implementation rather than look-and-feel, it ignores years of Apple fanatic arguments over Windows ripping off the Mac.  If you concede, for example, that Apple’s widgets look and feel like Konfabulator widgets but because the underlying technology is different it isn’t a ripoff, you completely give up any claim that Windows ripped off Mac.  In fact, the ENTIRE Apple fanatic argument against Windows is based on look and feel.

    But to listen to daringfireball, none of that means anything anymore.  It’s about underlying technology.

    But you miss my point

    No I think I get your point.  You’re throwing around “rip off” accusations based on your own admitted ignorance and now trying to find a way out of it.  Suddenly the rules change.  Now, according to you, if you made it popular even though you didn’t come up with it, then anyone who follows is a rip off.

    By that rationale, Windows made the GUI popular, which means that any GUI feature that follows is a rip off of Windows.  Right?

    After all, whoever heard of Dashboard apart from Apple users?


    Beeblebrox had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • wow.  you need to go take a valium.

    Microsoft announced Gadgets - Apple already have it.  I think we will see more of this throughout 2006.  Thats my point.

    sydneystephen had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 124
  • wow.  you need to go take a valium.

    And you need to start thinking for yourself instead of regurgitating Apple-apologist talking points. 

    It’s very telling that you didn’t know ANYTHING about Konfabulator and yet your retort is to repost a link to a hypocrisy-laden Apple-drone website.

    It’s also very telling that you didn’t really address the point about look-and-feel vs underlying technology (if you even bothered to think about it one iota, which I doubt), which is at the crux of the daringfireball article (that and desktop accessories, which is frankly too stupid to even bother with).

    Microsoft announced Gadgets - Apple already have it.

    And Apple stole them from Konfabulator.  Which isn’t really what bothers me.  Software companies copy from other software companies all the time. 

    What bothers me, and what does Apple no service, are the brainless fanatics who create insane logistical gymnastics every time Apple copies someone else, particularly when it’s a feature that someone else turns around and copies.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • As i said, take a valium and calm down.  Firstly, I never said that Windows stole Apple’s look and feel,  Re-read my post.  Weren’t Xerox first with the while point and click interface anyway?

    And I am not saying that MS is wrong to implement Gadgets, nor is Apple wrong to implement Dashboard.  This is not my point at all.  My point is that Dashboard has sex appeal.  Sufficient sex appeal for MS to not only include something similar but to feel that it is important enough to actually announce at this time.

    Apple has MS on the run in quite a few areas…  That is my point - so take a deep breath, re-read my post, and address my point if you wish - not some other point about who stole what from whom…

    And, just for the record, the daringfireball article is well reasoned with plenty of references and no emotional language.  If you want to make a point about this article it would have more impact if you responded in the same way.

    Look and feel?  Is this to do with my point or your point?  Whose argument am I supposed to address?  MS has implemented Gadgets in Vista - i havent seen how they look or feel, have you?  If you are talking about Konfabulator, the daringfireball article points out that the look and feel of Konfabulator’s product is based to some considerable extent on the look and feel of OS/X.  So any OS/X desktop thingamy’s (as with those which shipped in earlier mac operating systems) would be expected to have an apple look and feel.  HTML based or not.

    Less emotion, and more intellectual discourse sir.  Please…

    sydneystephen had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 124
  • Less emotion, and more intellectual discourse sir.  Please…

    Saying something stupid but saying it calmly isn’t the same thing as “intellectual discourse.”

    Pretending for a moment that you were talking about “sex appeal” the whole time and not injecting it to backtrack from what seemed to be a charge of copy-catting, do you or do you not think that Apple’s html-based apps called WIDGETS are a rip off of Konfabulator’s html-based WIDGETS?

    Because knowing what you know NOW, wouldn’t your original comment apply equally to Apple?  Couldn’t you say, for example: “Oh, and did everyone else notice that Apple announced, without a hint of irony, that OS X Tiger will now include revolutionary “stand alone” html applications, to be known as WIDGETS.  Who are they kidding?”

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • No, you are still missing the point.

    Konfabulator is not a competitor of Apple’s except in the smallest possible way.  But Apple and Microsoft are locked in serious competition for the hearts and minds of home users (iPod, iTunes, Home Entertainment - if not computers at this stage).  Apple or MS could, at any time, and without generating much comment, announce the absorption of a 3rd party facility within their O/S. MS have done this many times as I am sure Apple have - and both will do so again…

    So when Microsoft announces that they, too, are going to have a feature that Apple already has (however Apple acquired it) it is noteworthy.  Especially when their competitor has made it a feature of their marketing and it has had lots of press, as Dashboard has.  No vendor likes to be seen playing catch-up - and in this situation, that is precisely what MS are doing.  Catching up is still catching up even if both vendors steal someone else’s idea.

    That is my point.

    But you have raised others.  On the issue of the propriety of Apple or MS implementing a Konfabulator look-alike, I think daringfireball successfully argues the point that Apple have behaved with propriety and Konfabulator have no grounds for a real gripe.

    3rd party apps often get absorbed into an O/S.  Sometimes the vendor will buy the technology, but if, as daringfireball points out, the vendor doesn’t want the technology and want to implement the idea some other way, then what do they do?  You can’t patent an idea, and who owns the look and feel of OS/X anyhow?

    Apple have implemented an idea in Dashboard which Konfabulator implemented in a different technology.  Konfabulator implemented an idea which was around in the original Mac O/S and made it look and feel like an OS/X application.  Apple “owns” the look and feel of OS/X inasmuch as anyone owns the look and feel of their O/S - and they obviously felt that they had a better idea about how to implement it.  Otherwise, to be honest, they probably would have bought Konfabulator.  Its cheaper and quicker to buy and implement something than reinvent it.

    Which is better for Apple users?  Daringfireball says that Apple’s implementation is better for OS/X and presents convincing arguments to support this case.

    If Konfabulator had implemented their solution differently (in other words, the way Apple have now done) then it is likely Apple would have just bought the technology, or even the company.  They didn’t and, at the end of the day, had nothing to sell to Apple except an idea - which is at least based in part on a borrowed idea from an old Mac OS, just implemented differently.

    History is full of examples of people who look at a product and see a better way to design, manufacture or sell it.

    So while I understand your point of view that the windows look and feel versus Apple look and feel debate is too often trotted out by Apple fans, I haven’t put that point of view and I don’t think it is relevant to the issue i raised, which is about market positioning.  And it is certainly not worth getting hot under the collar about.

    One last point.  You have derided the daringfireball article - derisive language, without reasoned argument, means nothing.  If you wish to take issue with the article then answer it point by point.  It is easy to casually dismiss an argument in emotive language - easy, but unpersuasive.  To be effective, your commentary must have teeth.  I am happy to be dissuaded of my view that the daringfireball argument has merit.  But I need to see more than angry froth…

    sydneystephen had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 124
  • For the record I am on valium….

    As far as OS components go, Windows has ripped off Mac since Mac licensed its OS to Microsoft a ways back….

    Microsoft being the first Mac OS licensee.

    That was done to require MS to make and keep updated MS Word and Excel.

    A good point was made that MS made the gui marketable. Very true. Apple have done things terribly wrong in the past.

    However, Apple has righted the ship and is one of the best media/computer companies on the planet…well ok, the best.

    IMHO, I think Apple will come out with their own technology that will work with Linux/Windows native speed emulation much like OS 9 Classic works with OS X. It will seem like the apps are transparent (opening like any other OS X app) with the other operating system running in the background (not requiring a window). If Apple does this, there is no reason why they won’t make massive gains in market share. Any windows app can run. Running those apps can’t adversely affect the Mac OS. There will be no compatibility issues with stuff like client side installs to view MS Business Intelligence reports, etc..

    It will just work. And that my friends, is what it is going to be all about. Take the power back into Apple’s hands - not relying on MS to Intel-ize Virtual PC.

    As for Adobe, and Mac Intel version of their CS will be out by the end of the year. Why? Because a deal was struck with Apple to do this or Apple would come out with a superior competitor much like they did with Final Cut Pro which sunk the sales of Director.


    milklover had this to say on Mar 23, 2006 Posts: 22
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