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Many Apple critics and fanboys of competing platforms regurgitate the “talking point” that Apple customers have few choices. Not so. Apple users have over 700,000 apps, 1.5 million books, and millions of songs on iTunes. iTunes doesn’t have the largest selection of video content (although it has a lot), but iOS has an Amazon app, Netflix, and Hulu Plus. iTunes offers the latest and greatest TV shows and movies, and their complimentary counterparts (Netflix, Hulu) offer older shows (or new shows with advertising) and less popular movies.
There really isn’t a platform out there that offers more choice in terms of content. When people talk about limited choices with Apple it is a superficial point — you don’t have a choice as to hardware. Should Apple make the same mistake as GM — too many models? When you have too many models, economies of scales is simply not possible. It is more difficult for developers to cope with all of the capabilities (and shortcomings). At best, they design for the lowest common denominator.
There are other tablets and smart phones with different sizes, processors, cameras, multiple flash bulbs, external data storage, etc. These hardware choices seem to be mutually exclusive with choice in apps. By creating a uniform platform, Apple enabled developers to create almost a million amazing “must have” apps. Other platforms are struggling to keep up, as their developers are abandoning the technology due to a lack of profitability. Too much diversity is a bad thing. How do you make an audio dock or alarm clock that works with so many different devices? My gym has iPhone and iPad docks on the treadmills. Let’s face it — Apple created a standard. I had to grin and bear years of Microsoft hegemony. Apple hegemony isn’t as bad. I have yet to see my over three-year-old Mac Pro crash. I use it all the time.
The new iMac is beautiful and almost paper-thin. It boasts improvements in virtually every area, as well as a new “fusion” drive. The operating system is installed on a flash (solid state) drive, and user’s storage is on a hard drive. This dramatically increases performance. The new iMac is hermetically sealed, making it virtually impossible for users to upgrade the hard drive. The Thunderbolt connector, however, makes it easy to install an external drive which can run as fast, or faster, than an internal drive. The iMac was never made to be user-upgradable. That’s what the Mac Pro is all about. Even a child can install a hard drive or RAM in a Mac Pro.
The new devices are impressive, but the numbers are spectacular! There are now 200 million iOS 6 users. That is impressive considering a lot of users have yet to upgrade! Users have sent 300 billion messages through iMessage. Users have downloaded 35 billion apps. The Mac is making huge strides. The Mac is both the best-selling desktop and notebook computer. Of course, Windows is still the dominant operating system. Apple will have to sell a lot more Macs to dethrone Microsoft. This could change, as Microsoft is taking a huge risk with Windows 8. Macs are getting cheaper, and they can run Windows (and Linux too). Windows PCs cannot run OS X, which I feel is a superior operating system.
Apple hegemony is clear, but is it a present danger? I think their success can only inspire challengers. As much as I am critical of Apple, I still use their products. I think they make some of the best technology products on the market today. It’s just that sometimes I am frustrated with some obviously poor decisions and inferior offerings. These are opportunities for competitors, and that’s a good thing. Both Google and Microsoft are unveiling new products, and it will be exciting what innovations (and immitations) will come next… Also keep posted for the predictable scandals and “-gates” that are sure to arise from any Apple product launch, as geeks put these products under their scanning electron microscopes… “oh, look there’s a nanometer long scratch on the back panel… epic fail…”