New York Times: Apple Computer ‘well positioned for the future’

“In the weeks leading up to the Macworld Exposition in San Francisco last week, some of the Mac faithful expressed concern that the iPod’s phenomenal success was diverting the attention of Apple’s chief executive, Steven P. Jobs, away from the Mac. Apple announced record quarterly earnings last week; the results showed that the iPod and iTunes accounted for almost 40 percent of the company’s revenue last quarter, up from 15 percent in the quarter a year earlier. Whatever the percentages, children need to be reassured that Dad loves all equally. But the iPod has shown Mr. Jobs new ways to think about Apple’s future, which arguably has never looked better,” Randall Stross writes for The New York Times.

“Consider some competitors. Microsoft has a near-monopoly on the basic software used on the hardware owned by most people, enabling the company to extract what is basically a head tax. Google has a near-monopoly in the digital library business, which enables it to do very well with advertising that monetizes eyeballs. But Apple has an absolute monopoly on the asset that is the most difficult for competitors to copy: cool,” Stross writes.

“Apple is well positioned for the future. When consumers open their wallets to buy things that have machine intelligence, or provide digital entertainment, or link to the Internet – that is, just about everything in a household that is not edible – they are likely to be drawn to the company with cachet, offering the best-designed, best-engineered, easiest-to-use products, priced affordably thanks to Mr. Moore’s old law and Mr. Jobs’s new pragmatism. They’ll turn to the company that best knows how to meld hardware and software, the company embodied in the ecstatically happy hipster silhouette. The company that is, in a word, cool,” Stross writes. “Apple has $6.4 billion in cash, a seemingly small sum next to Microsoft’s $64 billion. But it is Microsoft, the poor little rich kid, who must be envious of Apple. All of the billions in its corporate treasury, all of the personal billions of the co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, all of the money in the world, cannot buy the ability to fathom the metaphysical mystery of cool.”

Full article here.


  1. I always grimace when someone describes my computer as cool and trendy. It certainly is a “cool” computer, but that label, and especially “trendy” distracts from why things such as the iMac or iPod have been so popular, which is their ease of use. They also tend to overemphasize how nice they look, “oh you have such a cute computer!.” Yes, Apple knows how to make computers look good–we hear that all the time in newspapers–they pay scant attention to the real reason gem of the Mac, which is the OS. I would love to see some coverage of the features of Tiger, and less on the form factor of the computer.

  2. The Mac has always been a consumer electronics product in a market of hobbyists and vocational users. Jobs returned Apple to that focus and it’s been a slow but action-packed climb from there. The mainstream is finally catching up.

  3. Bill doesn’t care. His windows GUI introduction was “cool enough” to capture 90%+ of the desktop market. Enough of an approximation of what the Mac OS offered that clueless sheeple opened their wallets and traded their souls for Alf pogs.

  4. Maybe if Apple just put out a non-descript box that wouldn’t be too distracting to the ‘attention-span-of-a-gnat’ naysayers, then Apple could…

    … uh.

    Hey! The Mac mini is a box.

    . .. …

    But, damn! It’s too good looking! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue wink” style=”border:0;” />

    MagicWord in a sentence: [Apple makes good looking ‘systems’].

  5. Like many, I work in an office riddled with computers. I’m sorry, but when the computer at your desk looks boring, you feel bored. Looks matter more than you think.

    I would love to replace that dull black dell with something tiny and shiny.

    Yes, the biggest reason is the OS, but its the little things that people notice.

  6. It’s cool that Macs are “cool” but it is way more than just marketing as some windozers pundits would like to have us believe. Macs are the most functional, easiest to use, and, yes, cool computers on the market. If you haven’t already just try one and see.

  7. The cool factor is not all-important but it IS quite important.

    You’re beginning to see this in universities – particularly in American and British universities.

    The students who have Macs might emphasize the superior OS or the increased security.
    And although they might disclaim the cool factor, being, as they are, above such things; they do tend to carry their iBooks or Power Books so that the ‘apple’ is visible.

  8. you guys,

    i wake-up sometimes late at night and set on my chair just to stare at my powerbook for a while …. then i might be able to sleep….

    i love my mac, no … i LUST my mac …

    oh, maybe i need a wife…

    am i the only one like this?

  9. well my Apple Logic Pro is acting up on me again and i really need to leave the office cos i have a date…. and Logic is ACTING UP!!! ever since Apple bought emagic, they program has been less reliable…. and updates take forever compared to a few versions back…. apple isn’t perfect i guess…


  10. I did not buy my first, second or any other number Mac because of “coolness” or anything else. I bought it because it was and is the best tool for the things I want my computer to be and be capable of. I would contend that that is the case for most adult Mac users. Everything else is BS.

  11. I began using Macs in 1986 … bought my first one in 1987 and never looked back.
    At home, I have an ethernet and AppleTalk network that carries everything from a Mac Classic with system 6.0.8, a Classic II with 7.1, an LC 580CD with OS 8.1, a Quadra 800 with OS 8.1 as a server, a PowerBook 280c with OS 8.1, a Power PC with OS 9.1, and finally, an eMac with OS 10.3.7. All on the same network.
    Mac users know what that neans; good engineering and software design.
    For me, its sheer fun to have them along for the ride!

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