James O'Neill's Blog

January 10, 2007

End of an era. Apple is no longer a computer company.

Filed under: Apple,General musings,Mobility,Xbox — jamesone111 @ 1:08 am

I don’t know what has happened between Steve Jobs’ company and the one owned by the Beatles. It was always the case that the guys from Cupertino had to call themselves Apple Computer to keep themselves distinct. Not anymore.

Scoble got it from Om Malik who thought it was of the noteworthy part of Jobs’ keynote. I couldn’t face watching another whole Keynote at Midnight after watching Bill last night, but about 1hr 40 into the speech Jobs explains that they’re not really a computer company any more, what with the iPod and the new iPhone and Apple TV (formerly iTV which wouldn’t work in the UK. That device seems a bit weak I’m not the only one who thinks an Xbox does more.) . They’ve been the Mac company for 23 years – but their Computer has been eclipsed by their other offerings, so from now on they’re just plain Apple.

Back in April I wrote

Apple is a leader in industrial design: which is why my wife has an iPod Nano – the iPods have a magic to their design which no-one else seems able to match. The number of things which borrow from the original iMac design shows how other designers admire it. I’ve just bought a new Samsung TV and I didn’t consider Dell’s offering but I’d look at an Apple TV. As well as design, Apple has brand kudos that Samsung, Dell and (yes) Microsoft lack, so the idea of Windows on Apple hardware is seductive.

iPhone has that magic. I’ve got to hand it to Apple: it’s beautiful, even if it does less than my 3 year old smartphone – Jason’s more neutral in his analysis.

Steve quoted some interesting numbers. 26 Million Games Consoles sold world wide in 2006. Robbie Bach said at the CES keynote that we’d sold 10.4 Million Xbox 360s. If those numbers are calculated on the same basis then Xbox 360 has a 40% share of the market. I don’t know what the original Xbox sold in 2006, and what the rest of the non-Sony Market is. Steve compares this against 94M digital cameras, 135M MP3 players, and 209M PCs. And about 1 billion cell phones.

But iPhone is $499 US with a 2 year contract. Now I’ve no idea what the world market in $499 designer phones is, but it sure ain’t a billion – and it doesn’t look like it has the things which business users demand (like sync to the corporate mail server). I wouldn’t buy a $499 phone any more than I’d buy a pair of $499 shoes. But Steve want’s 1% of the whole market – 10 million phones in 2008. A man who wants to create a $5 bn market in it’s first full year: what can you do but be impressed ? 


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Postscript. I might have guessed that Hugh would have something witty to say about this

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

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