Hardware Thats Too Good

By Sean Gallagher  |  Posted 2004-05-10 Print this article Print

But why doesnt Apple enjoy a larger market share? Well, anecdotal evidence would point to the lifespan of Apples older hardware—it just stays functional for too long. Now, I wont be drawn into any of these performance-related pantomimes that Apple has staged to try to prove its MHz were better than GHz in the past. But even Intel and Advanced Micro Devices have as much as admitted that processor clock speed is no longer the gold standard for performance. Its what you can do with the horsepower that counts. Or keep doing, in Apples case.
Louderback called the Power Macintosh G4 Cube a "boat anchor." Sure, it had design problems, like the faulty power switch that Apple ended up replacing on many systems. But Im typing this column on a G4 Cube that I bought four years ago with my own money—and its survived three operating-system upgrades without any noticeable drop in performance. If anything, its gotten faster.
On the other hand, one of my PC file servers was literally rebooted to death by Windows Updates. As for the desktop PC I purchased around the same time as the Cube, the best I can say about this machine is that it runs Linux well. Maybe the reason Apple doesnt have bigger market share is that its machines dont become boat anchors as quickly as PCs. To deal with this longevity, Apple has adopted a downright insidious approach to spur customers to refresh their hardware. It created must-have software as a lure. Many wondered how Apple could make money off of applications such as iTunes and iPhoto and the rest of the inexpensive iLife suite. The answer became evident when Apple started making newer, cooler versions of the software dependent on newer, cooler hardware. Want to rock out with GarageBand? Youll need to buy a system with an integrated SuperDrive DVD Recorder first, thank you. Next Page: The missing enterprise Mac.

Sean Gallagher is editor of Ziff Davis Internet's enterprise verticals group. Previously, Gallagher was technology editor for Baseline, before joining Ziff Davis, he was editorial director of Fawcette Technical Publications' enterprise developer publications group, and the Labs managing editor of CMP's InformationWeek. A former naval officer and former systems integrator, Gallagher lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.

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