iOS4 Takes Over from MacOS

The past year has been a very, very good one for Apple – and particularly its iDevices – iPhone, iPad, iPod line of products. Apple has now passed Microsoft in stock value and is approaching the highest valued company in the World, ExxonMobil. And next years prospects are even better:

Trefis Model of Apple Stock Value

In effect one can see the huge value that the iDevices are to Apple – the Mac line-up of desktops and notebooks makes just over 18% of the value of the stock while the iPhone is more than 50%. The $dollar writing is on the wall – Apple is making the transition from MacOS to iOS4 devices. The signs of the transition are everywhere:
1)Two years ago the company changed its name from Apple Computer to Apple Inc;
2)For the past three years, Apple has had an opportunity to take over a much bigger share of the PC Desktop and laptop markets with its Mac and MacBook line of products offering a superior experience to Microsoft’s Vista and virus plagued PCs. True, Apple cannot come close by an order of magnitude to the number of apps/programs written for the PC but virtual technology allowed a bypass. But Apple has priced its Mac hardware at 2 and often 3 times the price of the equivalent PC. And they are equivalent because the computers  often use the same parts/components: CPU, disk drive, RAM, graphics processors, and other basic components. Why keep the price of Macs so high  when PC market share is low hanging fruit – easy for the taking? Perhaps because Steve Jobs is laying  most of his marbles on the next generation of client devices – or should  I say iDevices. So, by pricing high Steve gives his iDevices much wider profit margin room – and iPhones and iPads sell for 2-3 times the price of Netbooks and EEE-PCs at $250-350. But Steve Jobs has seen what Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates failed to see for 10 years – most consumers want light, highly-portable, mobile-connected, long-battery life devices which draw  a small set of apps from a huge stable/store of Apps. And they want a drag/drop/touch and swipe easy to use and remember how to operate interface. Users definitely do not want huge huge programs 3 level deep menuing systems or dozens of hieroglyphic icon driven system with huge learning curves.
3)This in turn allows Steve to lead the parade on the next dominant client platforms – his iDevices. In every case from iPod as media container through iPhone as the pioneering smartphone   to  iPad as the dominant tablet, Apple has a first start lead of  nearly a year or more and an App lead of  more than 50%. In effect, Steve is betting that Apple can replace Microsoft as the client platform of choice among consumers – and with iPad among organizational/business users as well.
4)For the sake of launching a new platform to replace Microsoft-dominated PCs, Steve has been willing to sacrifice his Mac line-up and in many ways beyond pricing. For example, 3 years after the iPhone and its multi-touch interface brilliance, Mac users can only use multi-touch through a “Magic Pad”, no direct on-screen multi-touch operations[conceding that advantage to a growing number of  Windows full-screen, multi-touch laptops and PCs]. In addition, Apple did not repair/improve the performance of its Mac’s with respect to graphics speed of processing . For example,  Windows 7 running on Apple Mac hardware is anywhere from 10-40% faster than the MacOS powered units. Another small but telling instance of the change-over to iOS4, is that the Worldwide  Developers Conference in August 2010 was devoted to iOS4 with NO MacOS developers sessions. In short, MacOS is consistently being short changed at Cupertino.
5)Historically, Steve has abandoned his older technologies. Apple II and III for Lisa and Macs. Motorola Macs for Power PC Macs. Power PC Macs for Intel Macs, etc.  And now the Apple Servers are being cut out yet again. So Steve, if not his customers, is always willing to move onto something more innovative and leave his old technology behind. Its called Creative Destruction.

Implications for 2011 and Apple’s Future

Expect the iDevices to see major improvements and a fast track of added features and peripherals. Steve now knows that the iPad was missing some key hardware and software features. Apple has already corrected several of those shortcomings with the release of much improved  iOS4.2 – particularly multi-tasking, wireless synching and links to Mac OS. So expect a very big iPad hardware and software refresh in late January. You aint seen nothing yet.

But that leaves the problem of the Macs. Macs are hopelessly behind Windows in terms of number of apps/programs – likely 1/10th the number of PC programs. That is the only reason people put up with the Windows nonesense [think Vista, IE Feature Freeze,  and horrendous monthly security patches] that emanates from Redmond. So how do you flip that apps advantage to Apple’s favor. You make iOS4, which has a tremendous app lead in all the iDevices, the “new and primary” Apple OS. Suddenly, the WWDC devoted to iOS4 with no Mac coverage makes sense. Ditto no multi-touch screens for Macs. But what do you do for all those loyal graphic designers,  web developers, and gen-x-ers [like Jimmy Fallon who uses a big Apple machine on his Late Night Show]?

Well Steve Jobs, planted in the heart of Silicon Valley,  knows Moore’s Law  is alive and well – and the industry will continue to  double computing power[everything – CPU, RAM, disk space, and inter-machine bandwidth] every 2 years or so. This will allow his iOS4 machines to have the compute power necessary to do the advanced graphics and design that is currently done on Macs in about the 2014-2016 time frame. And it will then have multi-touch and gestures, floating components, and new design software from Apple to beat the bejesus out of anything in Windows. And Macs will have the ability to do iOS4 speak and transfers with the ease of a Lion. So a path to iOS4 from Macs will be provided.

But really, MacOS and what to do with it may be the $64,000 question for Apple in the next few years. Is there a big enough market and Steve’s interest for what can be done with the Mac. Would Steve allow Macs to be spun out?  Is the CPU intensive  graphics designers markets of sufficient interest and new innovation? Or will the inevitably increasing computing power [Moore’s Law is alive and well both for CPU and disk space] create a Mac-replacing iPad or other special iDevice. Only the Shadow knows what lurks in the Jobsian mind.

1 thought on “iOS4 Takes Over from MacOS”

  1. Wow, the inanity of this post is matched only by its illiteracy. – I rarely do this but the belligerent tone of Thomas Paine (truly patterened in the provocative style of the US Independence movement pamphleteer) demands direct response.

    “Is the CPU intensive graphics designers markets of sufficient interest and new innovation?” If that means what I think it’s intended to, the answer is a resounding yes, since that market has sustained Apple since the first LaserWriter rolled off the assembly line and the Mac became the only tool (not the tool of choice, but the only tool) for graphic design and publishing.- An elitist line and delusion – there are great graphic designer tools (many identical cross platform tools of design). The only real difference is on identically the same Apple hardware these cross platform tools run faster in Linux and Windows.

    “Macs are hopelessly behind Windows in terms of number of apps/programs – likely 1/10th the number of PC programs.” Did you know people have, again, been making this argument since 1984? The answer then is the answer now: those one out of ten work, and nine out of ten programs on Windows don’t. – Again simply delusional. There is no doubt that there are 3 times as many working, functional iOS apps as Android and likewise there are about ten times the number of working, functional Windows apps as Apple ones. In fact I am just finishing a review of ten free photo editing apps that are remarkably good at, and 9 out of the 10 best are Windows only.

    “Users definitely do not want huge huge programs 3 level deep menuing systems or dozens of hieroglyphic icon driven system with huge learning curves.”

    Define “users.” There’s a market for real computers, just like there’s a market for DSLR cameras. – all computer or iDevice users want something closer to the easy to learn multi-touch+gestures found on smartphones and tablet apps rather than the complexity of say Adobe Illustrator or Quark Express with 3-4 level deep menus, a score of panels, and many icon toolbars. Direct multi-touch, like Flash and Java, have been ruled out of the iOS experience. But Windows 7 has multitouch +gestures plus Flash plus Java now unlike Mac OS in the case of Multitouch+gestures and no Java or Flash for iOS. I don`t like a vendor preaching to me which tools I can use or not just as much as I dislike the fact that Microsoft has developed for only one platform until the late addition of ARM and still very little MacOS

    “Macs will have the ability to do iOS4 speak and transfers with the ease of a Lion.”

    Exactly. (I think.) – But likely not vice versa(very few Mac programs running on iOS4 for quite awhile yet). And Apples tablet lead with iPad is not assured given that the Android-based Motorola Atrix 4G has been one of the few tablets to see the light of going dockable – see here.

    And in fact I would recommend you read my postings under the category MSFT to see how tough I have been on Redmond and some of its hijinks.

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