Page Two

By Matthew Rothenberg  |  Posted 2002-11-18 Print this article Print

: Waiting for the Mac Tablet"> Technological considerations aside, there are also marketing priorities that should drive Apple tablet-ward sooner than later. As a vertically integrated company whose product lines rely completely on its own proprietary hardware and software, Apple cant afford to take a flyer on every new initiative attempted by the Wintel juggernaut. But with a large percentage of its revenues based on its portable devices, it also cant ignore a new effort to reshape the notebook market. In a recent interview with eWEEK, for example, Acer Chairman Stan Shih expressed high hopes for the Tablet PC in the education market and multimedia—two markets Apple cant afford to cede. The Tablet PCs early successes as a vehicle for electronic publishing (including plans for electronic versions of magazines such as the New Yorker and Forbes) couldnt help but command the attention of a company as closely tied to the publishing market as Apple.
Those of us with a Mac pedigree are wont to portray Apple as a trailblazer whose lead the PC majority follows. And indeed, the company has set agendas ever since the revolutionary plug-and-play features of the Apple II. In the case of portable computing, its frequently taken the lead with product advances great and small—from its pioneering Newton to the niceties of the recent SuperDrive-equipped PowerBook G4.
However, Apple has never operated in a vacuum, either as a developer or a marketer. The company was quite late to the notebook party, despite pleas from mobile Mac users; it held off on entering that market until it had concocted its own twist on the design, and it wasnt until after some false starts (viz. the 1989 debut of the $5,800, 16-pound Mac Portable) that the company actually hit its stride in 1991 with the first PowerBooks. During the second reign of Steve Jobs, Apple is a far more focused place than it was during the John Sculley administration of the late 80s, and its already got more than a decade of mobile computing experience under its belt. The Macs minority status (and Apples economic realities) mean that the company has to pick its battles; however, I believe its going to arrive well-armed for this one, should it choose to compete. Mac veteran Matthew Rothenberg is online editor for Ziff Davis Medias Baseline and CIO Insight magazines.

Online News Editor
Matthew has been associated with Ziff Davis' news efforts for more than a decade, including an eight-year run with the print and online versions of MacWEEK. He also helped run the news and opinion operations at ZDNet and CNet. Matthew holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel