The genesis of this acceptance may start in the home and migrate toward the enterprise, suggested some longtime Apple watchers. "We havent seen the low TCO [total cost of ownership] message from Apple," said John Gallaugher, associate professor of information systems at the Wallace E. Carroll School of Management at Boston College,. He also consults at corporations with large computing installations, advising them on strategic use, and had chaperoned a group of his students to the Macworld keynote. He suggested that this message, which hinges on Mac OS Xs security and relative immunity to spyware and viruses, "may come up from the home."Overall, he was sanguine about Apples prospects. "Weve seen the unveiling today of a case that will be studied for years to come: Lead with low-price-point products, generate foot traffic and make customers move upstream" to more expensive products, or at least to ones with better margins. For example, Gallaugher pointed to the new, low-cost iPod shuffle and the accessories Apple is selling alongside it. The new iPod model, he said, likely has a low margin, but the accessories could represent up to a 70 percent margin for Apple. "Its the strategy everyone was saying would fail," Gallaugher said. "I was a skeptic." Claude French III, the manager for desktop services at a graduate-level academic lab in Lexington, Mass., agreed that there was nothing new in Steve Jobs Tuesdays speech specifically for the enterprise market, but he still saw "potential" for the Mac mini in large computing environments such as corporations and, specifically, his lab. "We have one of everything ever made," he said, stating that this means he has to support all platforms at once. French said his primary curiosity about the Mac mini was its potential to drive interactive kiosks, but he later thought the compact units could serve as cheap upgrades for some older desktop models in labs, at least for locations that didnt require high-end computational power. "In the past 18 months, weve been buying more Apple products," he said, including Xserves for where computation power was crucial, plus "a lot" of laptops. Editors Note: David Morgenstern contributed to this story. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on Apple in the enterprise.
"There are a lot of executives who have kids who bring home Macs," Gallaugher said. "And as a father, I want to document my life," he said, adding that this made Jobs presentation of the iLife "digital lifestyle" suite more attractive.