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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

June 07, 2005


So, all the nay-saying pundits, including me, were deeply wrong, and Apple really have announced a move to Intel chips, starting next year, 2006, or Year Zero, as Steve "Pol Pot" Jobs seems to have it. What happens to Apple hardware sales in the meantime? As one Macworld Editor Notes:
"And the one big question is: Who is going to buy any Apple hardware between now and next June? Unless I'm missing something, I foresee a huge decrease in sales coming between now and then. Sure, Apple will sell some high-end machines and laptops, but really, why buy now when the technology is a known dead end? Personally, I now know for sure that my 12-inch PowerBook and original dual-2GHz G5 will be with me through at least next June. I was contemplating an upgrade for the PowerBook later in the year, but now, I'm going to wait and see what the future holds. So for the next nine months, Apple sells what, iPods only? Is that enough to sustain the company? Or am I overlooking some large group that will continue to purchase hardware?"

Which is the same question I was asking yesterday.

Clearly Apple think they have a strategy for the next 12-24 months that will get them through. And, as has been clear for some considerable time, they don't give a shit about the dealers who have sustained them for 25 years, who stuck with them through the dark days of the mid-1990s, and who were switch-selling customers to Macs before Apple's own "Switch" campaign was even a gleam in Job-Pots' eye.

The Apple hardware market has tended to buck tech trends, because the people who use Macs in production environments (newspapers, magazines, recording studios, and, increasingly, film and tv production) need the hardware now, not next year or the year after. If you're making a feature film or tv programme today and planning to edit it using Final Cut, then you need that Mac now.

So that's one thing. On the other hand, if you're happily producing a set of magazines on a number of ageing Macs today, well, I think you're gonna want to wait for your next upgrade. And you won't bother upgrading your Quark Xpress or Photoshop licences either.

I've no doubts Apple will handle this transition, just as they did the transitions to Power PC and Mac OS X. But that's the point. Their loyal customers have just got through 10 years of expensive transitions, first with the change of processor from 68k and then with the move from ADB and SCSI to USB and FireWire, and then the operating system. A lot of those customers are only just settling down with OS X and Quark Xpress or Pro Tools running OS X. Those who haven't jumped yet? If you still run a recording studio running Pro Tools under OS 9, what are you going to do now? If it was me, I wouldn't be looking to spend £15k upgrading everything.


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