“PC makers have begun a radical overhaul of their machines’ appearance. They’re racing to replace boring boxes with sexy silhouettes that will differentiate their products, entice new buyers and command higher prices,” Robert A. Guth, Justin Scheck, and Don Clark report for The Wall Street Journal.
“In the process, they’re hoping to compensate for factors over which they have little control, such as software options. Unlike Apple, famous for its easy-to-use operating system and other original programs, PC makers largely rely on Microsoft Corp. for the underlying software. And that company’s latest version of Windows, called Vista, has been panned by some reviewers, despite healthy sales,” Guth, Scheck, and Clark report.
MacDailyNews Take: We couldn’t have written that little paragraph much better ourselves except to point out that Vista’s “healthy sales” are due to its being preloaded on most new PCs. Buyers are stuck with it by default. They certainly aren’t buying boxed copies of Microsoft’s latest mess. The dime-a-dozen PC box assemblers made their beds, now they have to lie in them. Microsoft’s Windows is the albatross around their necks.
Guth, Scheck, and Clark continue, “PC makers need new ways to spur consumer demand in the U.S. and other mature markets. By wooing buyers who care little about technical features, they hope to better tailor PCs to specific users — including women, students, PC gamers and sports fans.”
“‘It’s a very dangerous route to go,’ says Sohrab Vossoughi, founder and president of Ziba Design, which has designed PC prototypes for Intel. ‘Things go up, and things go down.’ A possible pitfall, notes Mr. Vossoughi, is misinterpreting the lessons of Apple’s success, which is hardly based on design alone. Rather, Apple’s forte has been to create synergies among its hardware, software and retail stores in order to make its cool machines more au courant and simpler to use,” Guth, Scheck, and Clark report.
MacDailyNews Take: Today is “French Day.”
“During most of the industry’s 30-year history, PC makers didn’t worry much about style… the biggest change agent was Apple’s iMac, introduced in May 1998. The unusual one-piece design, in its first iteration, sported a colorful casing in translucent turquoise and gray. The computer sold so well that competitors scrambled to improve their own designs,” Guth, Scheck, and Clark report.
“Apple’s Steve Jobs, who in the prior year had returned to lead the company he co-founded, kept conjuring up design breakthroughs. The iMac, for example, slimmed down as cathode-ray monitors gave way to flat-panel displays. With better prices and profit margins than its competitors, Apple can simply pay suppliers for design changes such as shrinking a circuit board, says Patrick Gelsinger, an Intel senior vice president who has spearheaded its design crusade,” Guth, Scheck, and Clark report.
“The company in 2001 elevated the utilitarian laptop with a PowerBook model clad entirely in titanium, a metal more frequently found in fighter airplanes. That same year, it introduced the first iPod, which transformed digital music players with features such as its smooth shape and DJ-like wheel for navigating through songs. Along the way, it made white cords a staple of the new tech-chic,” Guth, Scheck, and Clark report.
“Will more-engaging designs pay off? The numbers from Apple are encouraging; for the quarter ended Sept. 29, the Cupertino, Calif., company says Macintosh sales rose 34%, more than double the world-wide PC growth rate of 15.5%,” Guth, Scheck, and Clark report.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Citymark” for the heads up.]
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: They can try (and fail) to match Apple designer Jonathan Ive’s award-winning team all they want, but, as Mac users know and the general population is finally picking up on, it’s the inside that really counts. PC box assemblers’ OS-limited machines cannot offer Mac OS X, iLife and all of the rest of Apple’s often-best-in-class applications. A chrome-plated turd is still a turd. Only Apple Macs are OS-unlimited and capable of running all of the world’s software.