May 19, 2006

What kinds of stores stay open 24 hours a day?

For one, the new huge and glamorous Apple Store in New York City.

Don't you love Apple? And if you don't, doesn't it drive you crazy that Apple is lovable?

56 comments:

AlbieNYC said...

While I admire Apple's technology, and have absolutely no love for MSFT, I don't drink Apple's marketing Kool-aid. They are not the savior of computing. They are a bit player in most markets (iPod excepted.)

If Steve Jobs had his way, we'd all be operating in closed systems. I find the limitations of the iPod and iTunes frustrating, despite the iconic status the product has achieved.

Doug said...

A 24 hour Apple store, because you'll never know when that desire for an iPod will hit you at 3am.

Seven Machos said...

I think you can measure the liveability of a place by the number of 24 stores it has, be they Apple of whatever.

Abraham said...

doesn't it drive you crazy that Apple is lovable?

Yes, it absolutely does, because it seems to bring out the worst in people. Otherwise intelligent people who ought to know better seem to eagerly buy into Apple's marketing lies, with the rationalization that it's really good marketing! Which wouldn't even bother me so much, if they didn't then (taking their cues from Apple, of course) try to paint non-Apple users as uncreative troglodytes needing to be converted to the One True Way. More than anything else, it's the unabashed elitism apparently inculcated with purchasing a Mac, and eagerly embraced by Apple's marketing department, that disgusts and repels me. I curse their name and wish them ill.

Jennifer said...

Ha ha Seven Machos. Then I live in hell. Hardly anything is even open on Sunday around here let alone 24 hours. I think Walmart might be open 24 hours, but who wants to go there?

Ann, I love Apple. But I left it. The inability to use a lot of the web sites I need and a lot of the functionality on other sites drove me crazy! But I miss my iBook. Apple is just so much more stylish than the crap I have now.

Art said...

Would Apple be as loveable if the alternative weren't Windows?

Balfegor said...

And if you don't, doesn't it drive you crazy that Apple is lovable?

Why yes, yes it does. I have never really grokked what makes Apple loveable to people -- their style is attractive, sure, but it strikes me as very 50's "modern." And it all looks so identical, little rows of computers all looking exactly the same, little iPods all exactly the same, little stores all with exactly the same arrangement, etc. It all seems so mindlessly conformist, these endless plastic rounded boxes all in antiseptic white. It looks totalitarian.

On the other hand, I have had a grudge against Apple fans ever since the late-90's, I think it was, when I confirmed that they had, in fact, been lying to me about how well their Macs worked.

I have never owned a Mac, but I've had to use them in computer labs all the time (because the PCs were usually all taken). And they always broke -- that is, I would be typing away, and they would suddenly freeze, or go dead or whatever. And my data would all be lost. Now, I had long assumed this was my own fault, that I had been doing something wrong. Back then, it was somewhat the same with PCs, where eventually you understood that for whatever reason, there were certain things you didn't try making your computer do, or else it would freeze up and you would have to reboot. So I continued on my merry way, believing that what they said was basically true, and that I simply had never got the hang of operating a Mac.

Until Mac OS X (the Unix knockoff) came out. At which point, it came out that everyone had been having these stability problems -- or at least enough people that it was a widespread problem even among heavy Mac users. Everything they had told me about the vaunted stability of the Mac system was a lie. And I have never forgiven them.

Now, all the things they were telling me in the 90's may be true now, now that they're using some kind of Unix-type system. But I am mistrustful.

Re: Doug:
A 24 hour Apple store, because you'll never know when that desire for an iPod will hit you at 3am.

Actually, beacuse of their "genius bar" and its absurdly bureaucratic appointment system ("I'm sorry, sir, we can't help you. You need to make an appointment," -- when there is no one being helped.), having a 24 hour store is actually kind of useful. My sister's iPod has broken at least 4 times (in 2 years), and the past two times, since I live near an Apple store, she has handed it over to me to get them to replace it for her. I have had to wake up at 6AM to get a slot on a weekend. Having it open more of the time should mean more slots, and less of a chance of the day filling up before I've woken up. The next time my sister's iPod breaks.

mcg said...

Given that I am typing this on my shiny new MacBook Pro, running Mac OSX and Windows side-by-side---and this after years of being, frankly, quite content with Windows machines---you bet I am fond of Apple!

katiebakes said...

Balfegor: I think Apple has the right to be bureaucratic in their genius bar scheduling, considering that they do much of their work free of charge!

Anyway, one thing I appreciate about Apple in general is that its employees really love the product. When I had my computer repaired at the genius bar, they really went the extra mile, installing new programs for me at no cost, looking much further into my problem than I've ever had a technical support person look, and doing all this quite cheerfully.

A lot of the Apple griping strikes me as just inevitable backlash to a wildly successful run for the company.

The new store is gorgeous, by the way. Two great photos here.

Ann: I think you need to take a trip to NYC with your camera for this one!

Dave said...

Put up a blog about a technology product and hear all the bitter people rant.

Balfegor said...

Balfegor: I think Apple has the right to be bureaucratic in their genius bar scheduling, considering that they do much of their work free of charge!

Do they? That's nice of them, but my sister purchased an extended warranty so they'd continue to service her iPod (and now her Mac laptop). And before they'd even look at the iPod, they made sure to check whether it was under warranty. So it wasn't free for us.

knoxgirl said...

I'm one who believes that a lot of the Mac-vs-PC debate is very subjective. With that said:

I've worked in both the Mac and PC environment, and I feel that the PC operating system and user interface is clunky and quite un-intuitive compared to a Mac. It's always trying to force you to organize your stuff according to its weird geek hierarchy (what the hell does "c drive" mean to me???). Perhaps the new Windows operating systems are not as bad? But in my experience, both the old Apple OS and the OSX environment are lightyears more intuitive and pleasant to work in than any version of Windows I've encountered.

I will totally concede that the old Mac OS was not particularly stable. But I have to say, neither was ANY PC that I ever worked on!

The "cool" factor of Apple's marketing is probably annoyingly cocky to a PC lover. But that doesn't make their assertion that they are better
"lies."

Balfegor said...

Strictly speaking, of course, Apple is a corporation, and run for profit, so they have the right to do pretty much whatever they like.

I'm not trying to say they have no "right" to insist on good Prussian adherence to procedure, only that they are punctilious martinets.

katiebakes said...

I'm sure everyone has their own anecdotal story. Mine is that I never paid a cent for all the work they did on my laptop, which was not under warranty.

I do agree with you about the iPods. They definitely deteriorate quickly. My now-obsolete Mini somehow continues to cling to life...

Balfegor said...

But that doesn't make their assertion that they are better
"lies."


In the 90's, when they were telling me "No, my Macs never crash!" that was a lie. When they said "Macs are stable! They don't crash! They don't crash like a PC," that was a lie. They did crash, all the time, just like PC's.

An assertion that they are "better" is mere puffery.

Balfegor said...

An assertion that they are "better" is mere puffery.

Sorry, and I mean to indicate that this is OK. Salespeople do it all the time, and one expects nothing less of them.

Alan said...

I admit that I'm tempted to purchase one of those new MacBooks. I've never owned an Apple save that IIE back in the early eighties. Maybe it's getting near that time.

Elizabeth said...

Marketing didn't send me to the Apple side. Using a Mac did. I've used Macs and PCs since the mid-1980s, and I've purchased a PC only once. I service and network 150 PCs in my classrooms, have a PC on my desk, and two PC laptops for work, but my personal computer is a 5-year-old Apple iBook. The next computer I buy will be Apple. It's all about useability for me. PCs are a royal pain, daily.

While I've never had a Mac crash at the rate PCs have and still do, I'll agree that the Unix-based OS X is more stable. But I've never been pissed off at a company for fixing a problem and improving their product!

Palladian said...

"Put up a blog about a technology product and hear all the bitter people rant."

Especially Windows people, who seem to have this weird delusion that their leaky, dangerously unstable and vulnerable operating system is a viable competitor to the Mac!

Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battlestation!

MadisonMan said...

The wife does design stuff, and finds that a Mac is vastly superior to a PC. Like others, I appreciate the more intuitive feel to Apple products.

I rarely do anything to a computer that crashes it, so that's a non-issue for me.

Anthony said...

it was somewhat the same with PCs, where eventually you understood that for whatever reason, there were certain things you didn't try making your computer do, or else it would freeze up and you would have to reboot

Yeah, like turning it on.

This from a lifelong Winblows user and hater. Well, not strictly true. I went from DOS (which I liked) straight to OS/2 which was better then than Winblows is now.

I've been tempted to go Mac ever since OS-X came out but two things have prevented me from doing so: Mac people, and the need to buy all new software and transfer all data files from one to the other. MOre the latter than the former, but Mac people are still irritatingly smug, without even having a good reason to be.

Now, we OS/2-heads have good reason to be arrogant. . . .

katiebakes said...

I'd be curious to see the breakdown of Windows/Mac users in the blogging community.

Also, has anyone else been to the Apple website? They introduce the new MacBook thusly:

"Introducing the
superfast,
blogging,
podcasting,
do-everything-
out-of-the-box
MacBook."

I lovessss it!

Balfegor said...

While I've never had a Mac crash at the rate PCs have and still do, I'll agree that the Unix-based OS X is more stable. But I've never been pissed off at a company for fixing a problem and improving their product!

See, regarding the Windows crash rate, it was never very high for me under the earlier Windows versions, and Windows hasn't crashed once for me since XP (although I have reinstalled a few times, because of adware -- that's certainly a fair criticism Mac users can make). I have discovered that when I leave my SanDisk in the USB port on startup, it doesn't boot up correctly, and my Dell notebook runs perpetually hot. So there are still PC gripes (or Dell gripes, in the case of Dell). But this is not exactly the the Blue Screen of Death anymore.

On the other hand, in about 100 uses of Macs throughout the 90s, I never had a Mac not crash on me (which is why it's only a hundred or so uses -- Macs have always been the computers of last resort for me). And the only thing I ever did on them was try to type up reports and essays and the like. Well, and try (unsuccessfully) to check my email once. Possibly this was because these were computer labs, and someone had mucked with the settings -- I have no idea. Maybe they were misconfigured. This is just my experience. Which has always been powerfully negative. Indeed, when my sister got her nice new iMac (or Powerbook or whatever -- the laptop that is all white, not metallic), not five minutes after starting it up and marvelling at the lovely GUI, she put in some kind of CD that had come in the box, and could not subsequently remove it without going to the Apple store to get them to fix it. After she got home, she put in some other CD (an audio CD, I think it was), and that got stuck too. I think she has got the hang of it now, though, and has figured out what not to do.

Abraham said...

Especially Windows people, who seem to have this weird delusion that their leaky, dangerously unstable and vulnerable operating system is a viable competitor to the Mac!

Blah, blah, blah, more ignorant bashing from a self-delusional Mac bigot. I understand that because you feel insecure by the Mac's tiny, tiny market share, you probably make up for it by retreating to a fantasy where everyone still uses Windows 95, and you will be one of the illuminati who leads all the poor souls to enlightenment. Meh. Macs are mostly just a way for consumer elitists to signal to other consumer elitists that they are members of the consuming elite. Nobody else gives a damn. Have fun being different, exactly the same as all the other trendy know-nothings.

Balfegor said...

On the gripping hand, in fairness, this may be because I don't do a heck of a lot with my computer. I browse the internet. I write up notes and things. I do some graphics (Blender, Painter, Inkscape, some Gimp), using a Wacom tablet. I watch DVD's and the like. And I do a little audio recording. In the past, I used to have a MIDI hookup to a nice Roland keyboard, although now I just play the keyboard standalone. Ah, and I watch Korean and Japanese TV over the net. So I don't spend a lot of time adding new programs and new drivers, the way a gamer, say, might -- most of the programs I use (apart from codecs and internet related stuff) are 5 or more years old.

I know that some of my friends, who do use their computers to run more recent programs and play games and all that, do run into problems all the time. Mostly because they are pirating stuff over the internet, I think, and getting malware accordingly. One of my sisters installed Kazaa and practically destroyed her computer as a result of all the malware that came along with it. But this is also probably because their configurations all get rejiggered on a regular basis, with the result that things turn incompatible, and they end with the Blue Screen of Death.

Re: Abraham
Blah, blah, blah, more ignorant bashing from a self-delusional Mac bigot. I understand that because you feel insecure by the Mac's tiny, tiny market share

Given that his next line alludes to the Death Star from Star Wars, I suspect there's a certain amount of intentional irony in what Palladian was saying.

Palladian said...

"blah, blah, blah, more ignorant bashing from a self-delusional Mac bigot. I understand that because you feel insecure by the Mac's tiny, tiny market share"

Wow, defensive aren't we? Who's talking about market share or "elitism"? I'm talking about functionality and good design. The PC is the equivalent of the stereotypical oafish straight man: slow, dim-witted, defensive, messy, brutal, insensitive to aesthetics.

If you wish to extend your weird sexual, genital size metaphor, I'd say that the Mac market share may be smaller, but at least it isn't prone to sudden crashes (Honest, honey, "illegal operations" happen to all guys every so often!) or worse, spreading viruses. Windows needs the computer equivalent of both Viagra and a condom!

Jennifer said...

Heh heh. I'd say the comments answer your questions, Ann. Yes, you either love Apple or you hate that people love Apple.

Bruce Hayden said...

I was forcibly introduced to Macs when I went to work for Motorola, at that time making PowerPC chips for them. Moto had spent hundreds of millions of dollars at Apple's behest codesigning this chip with IBM, etc. It then built up the biggest Apple clone business. And, then, Jobs came back, and pulled the pin on clones - forcing Moto to take another couple of hundred dollar writeoff. Finally, shortly after that, Apple moved most of its IC business to IBM, after Moto had stood by them from the first. Indeed, they only got involved with the ill-fated PowerPC at Apple's insistance.

During that time, when I was using a Mac at work, I moved to NT 4.0 at home. And the stability difference was striking. I would reboot my Mac a couple of times a week, and my PCs running NT 4.0, every six months or so. Indeed, at one point, I configured them to reboot every New Years day.

Part of my problem is that I push systems, because of my software background. So, I was doing stuff with my Mac that no one else even thought of doing. So, most everyone else in the office didn't have these problems with their Macs.

Since then, I have worked in PC shops. Right after my Mac, I had a WinTel Laptop. We had to special order the NT, since 98 came standards. The NT was far more stable.

Ultimately, I have moved to mostly Win2K systems, since NT 4.0 didn't support plug-and-play. Win2K isn't as stable as NT 4.0, and, even worse, my laptop runs XP, which is worse than my Mac was as to stability. I should add that Win2K Workstation Professional is a lot more stable than 2K server, which is as bad as XP. My project this weekend is to replace my 2K server with 2003 server, and see if it is any better.

So, for MSFT Windows, I would suggest the following for stability:
3.11>95<98<NT4>2K>2KS>XP

Back to Macs - I do agree that they are more intuitive, but you won't get me to ever use one again, after what Jobs did to Motorola. And, yes, I do take it personally. I spent a lot of time as an attorney working on the AIM Alliance and PowerPC.

Bruce Hayden said...

Sorry, in my last post, it should have been "pulled the plug" and not "pulled the pin" and that pulling the plug cost Moto several hundred MILLION dollars in writeoffs.

Abraham said...

The PC is the equivalent of the stereotypical oafish straight man: slow, dim-witted, defensive, messy, brutal, insensitive to aesthetics.

Well then I guess as a straight man who uses a PC, I'm just about the lowest form of human that exists. But no, you're right, I'm the asshole. I should never have questioned the superiority of an unpopular, very shiny computer.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
twwren said...

Apple's market capitalization is about $50 billion. The cash on MSFT's balance sheet is $40 billion.

rafinlay said...

This sounds like a DiscWorld situtation: all that religious fervor which cannot be attached to a religion (for PC reasons?) is just sloshing around & accreting to Computers.

Why not just accept that PCs are better for some things & Apples are better for others instead of insisting on the "uber alles" approach? Free minds and free markets, eh?

My observation is that techno-geeks tend to prefer the PC because they can customize, fiddle, and otherwise play with them. Pure "users" appreciate the Apple's "intuitive" GUI, and don't care that they are limited in there options for use -- because they don't use it in a way that requires those options.

Kinda like hotrods versus minivans, with the "cool" factor inverted....

Pastor_Jeff said...

I'd just like to go on record saying I really don't care on way or the other. A computer is a tool, that's all. If you can make one that works well, looks nice, and easily interfaces with others -- great.

I don't love or hate Apple or Wintel. The only thing that's mildly annoying is the fanaticism this argument brings out -- whether it's an Amway-like religious devotion on one end, or defensive posturing on the other.

It's a computing machine. You're arguing over glorified TI calculators. Ten years from now the thing you're worked up about will be completely obsolete and useless. My wife's cell phone has 40 times the RAM of my first computer.

Thanks goodness Betamax died out, or we'd still be having that argument, too.

Palladian said...

Beta was, from a technical standpoint, better than VHS.

"Ten years from now the thing you're worked up about will be completely obsolete and useless."

So what? 10 years from now the current arguments over the Iraq war will be completely obsolete and useless, but the effects of those arguments won't be. The same thing goes for computers or art or whatever. The developments and philosophy behind the current operating systems will have a profound effect on future development. Measuring present importance by comparing it with future importance (and hindsight or forehindsight?) is a silly metric. Those of us who appreciate the good decisions that Apple has made over the years feel that they're contributing to present and future stability and functionality. I criticize Windows because their philosophy is to keep putting rubber plugs in the dark, inscrutable, rusting hull of their bloated OS and hope none of the passengers notice that the ship is slowly sinking. Not that Apple doesn't make bad decisions (they do all the time); but fundamentally the choice for me seems obvious; the choice for you may be different. I do think that people who use Windows not by choice but by default are duped.

Anyway, these arguments are much more palatable than war/Bush/NSA/whatever arguments because the stakes are so much lower.

Palladian said...

And then there's Linux! That's a REALLY fun way to get people to fight!

Anyway, I'm going up to the Borg cube, err, new Apple store tonight to check it out.

Dave said...

Well, I'll be at the new Borg cube tonight as well.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Palladian -

Well, okay then. I'm sorry I failed to recognize the inherent superiority of your preferred brand of computer.

Perhaps like those hillbillies I've gone blind from drinking Fudd beer. All hail Duff!

knoxgirl said...

katie said: I lovessss it!

Me too! (channeling Gollem? LOL!)

Anthony said...

And then there's Linux! That's a REALLY fun way to get people to fight!

Nah, only the Linux people will be hopping up and down. Everyone else will just yawn.

Judith said...

"Well, I'll be at the new Borg cube tonight as well."

Gee, I guess I should too, it's 10 blocks from my apartment. Maybe we should have an Althouse fan club meeting at the store.

Dave said...

Judith: Already came back from it.

Ho hum.

A bunch of Mac Addicts lined out the door waiting to get in.

Personally, I don't have a stake in the Mac/PC wars given that I use both companies' computers. But the cult is just a bit too precious for my jaded taste.

Alan Kellogg said...

You ever get the feeling that if some people got their rash treated they'd have nothing to talk about?

J said...

I always liked the Macs I used at work, but in an odd irony, my first home computer was an IBM PS2 with a microchannel bus (it was "cheap", by late 80's standards anyway), and I resolved never to buy a computer which required proprietary periphals again as long as I lived. I know that's not the issue with Macs that it once was, but I've also discovered that as with software, what's best is what you're used to using.

It always seemed disingenuous to me that Apple ran stuff like the 1984 commercial when they were the ones who forced users to conform to their way of doing things and sent hordes of lawyers after anybody who created anything even remotely resembling their products.

Uncle Mikey said...

I'm amused by how irrational the Mac hate here is. They're "bit players"? There are "marketing lies"? It's "mindlessly conformist" or "elitist"?

No, they just work better. And they're more secure, more reliable, less susceptible to malware, and when you plug in a peripheral it works without you having to get tech support on the phone. And most of all, they're not saddled with a crap OS whose best features are Mac ripoffs. Put down the Microsoft Kool-Aid and stop projecting your neuroses on the rest of us.

Abraham said...

Uncle Mikey: The machines themselves are perfectly acceptable. It's the company, and the users, that are intolerable.

I will concede that Macs may be better for those who are ignorant about computers. The problem is that these ignorant (in the non-pejorative sense) users refuse to acknowledge the fact of their own ignorance, and instead proclaim their preference up to superior taste, knowledge, or magic. As you might imagine, this is rather offensive to users who know what they are doing and have sound reasons for their choice.

It's like an office worker who commutes back and forth to work every day telling a big rig truck driver that the truck driver is an unsophisticated fool for driving that ugly, unwieldly truck when he could drive a sleek, elegant Porsche for the same price.

knoxgirl said...

...and here's where the PC lovers who hate on Macs reveal their own elitism. See, Macs are for "those who are ignorant about computers...."

You sound like the IT guy that used to roll his eyes when he'd come to troubleshoot my PC at my old job.

Dave said...

"It's like an office worker who commutes back and forth to work every day telling a big rig truck driver that the truck driver is an unsophisticated fool for driving that ugly, unwieldly truck when he could drive a sleek, elegant Porsche for the same price."

What a foolish comparison. Who the hell would turn doen a Porsche in favor of a truck?

Abraham said...

and here's where the PC lovers who hate on Macs reveal their own elitism.

Feel free to substitute a euphemeism, like "non-technical."

johnT said...

More than anything else, it's the unabashed elitism apparently inculcated with purchasing a Mac......

Hmm Abraham, what was that about unabashed elitism?

...I will concede that Macs may be better for those who are ignorant about computers....

Especially all those Unix-y users out there. A Mac's better for those ignorant bastards, for sure.
While I agree that the Mac fan club thing gets old, you can hit tons of forums and hear pc evangelists promulgate the fundamental uselessness of a Mac, unless you're a N00b.

I work as a developer; so I basically use a pc during the day at work. Any work I do from home gets done on a Mac, and I much prefer it. I find it more intuitive to get around in the OSX environment. That's purely opinion, of course, but I think I've put in enough time on both platforms to evaluate their respective strengths and weaknesses. I daresay Abraham is speaking more from folklore than experience regarding his disdain for the Mac platform. Perhaps even balfagor, with his vast experience with Macs in computer labs in the 90's, might not be the best person to listen to regarding the benefits and drawbacks of the Mac OS made today.

Windows 2000/XP was a snazzy OS when it came out (leagues better than OS9), but it's REALLY starting to show its age; and I don't think it's any big secret that Vista is facing some significant hurdles making it to market. OS 10.4 has already made inroads to the indexing/smart folders phenomenon that Vista is hinting at. That alone gives Macs the edge for me right now. Even little things like Expose, which seems gimmicky at first, have turned out to be huge timesavers for me.

As for stability, it's not really an issue for me with either platform anymore. Well, I'm forced to use XP SP1 at work, which has quite a few problems, but SP2 is just fine. And I almost never get a kernel panic with the later iterations of OSX. Either way, the days of catastrophic crashes and huge data loss are long gone, no matter what platform I'm on.

The insistence on the part of Windows cognoscente that the Mac's popularity is solely the product of "Apple's marketing lies" smacks of whistling past the graveyard. Microsoft is facing stiff competition on a lot of fronts right now, and it's not so certain anymore that sheer market penetration will carry them through. Maybe that was true in 1998, but not now. And, no, I'm not suggesting that Apple will topple Microsoft in desktop OS's, but I don't think Apple will be so easily dismissed in the future as they have been in the past.

And the undercurrent running throughout these comments about how Apple often forces people to use their proprietary technologies, while often true, is disingenuous. From my experience, MS is plenty guilty of that, too (ActiveX, anyone?).

As usual, if you're a gamer, get a PC.
Otherwise, let's not presume that fanboy-ism is the sole domain of the Macintosh crowd.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Good brutal fight on this thread.

Some great lines:

Abraham: "I curse their name and wish them ill."

Balfegor: "It looks totalitarian."

Knoxgirl: "What the hell does "c drive" mean to me???"

Palladian: "Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operation battlestation!"

Abraham: "Macs are mostly just a way for consumer elitists to signal to other consumer elitists that they are members of the consuming elite. Nobody else gives a damn."

SippicanCottage: "Bill Gates is your Dad, Steve Jobs is your stoner uncle.

Rafinlay: "Hotrods versus minivans, with the "cool" factor inverted...."

I know nothing about computers. If I could afford it, I'd get an Apple because I think they look cool. I generally buy stuff based on whether or not it looks cool.

Balfegor said...

The insistence on the part of Windows cognoscente that the Mac's popularity is solely the product of "Apple's marketing lies" smacks of whistling past the graveyard.

I wasn't complaining about Apple's ads -- they don't even lie in their ads, just have shadows dancing with iPods and people talking about how much Windows sucks. My complaint is about Apple devotees who lied to me in the 90s.

And mind, I'm not disputing that Windows is bad. Way sub-ideal. I just think Apple is (or at least until OS-X was) just as bad -- that's all.

In addition, the obvious rejoinder to "the Mac's popularity" is: "what popularity?" It's market share is a whopping 3%. It's the iPod that's popular, not the Mac.

Ann Althouse said...

Balfegor: Minimizing Mac by pointing to market share leaves out something important, which is that many computers are sold on low price, with a slim profit margin. Presumably, Apple isn't trying to compete in that sphere. That's not its business model. To properly gauge the success of the Mac, you need to redefine the category, not just all computers sold, and you need to take into account the profit the company makes per sale. I don't know what these numbers are, I just think that Apple folks aren't trying to compete for all that 97%. It's like, if you had a quality clothing line to sell, you wouldn't measure your success by looking at all the clothing sold at Walmart and Target.

Balfegor said...

I don't know what these numbers are, I just think that Apple folks aren't trying to compete for all that 97%. It's like, if you had a quality clothing line to sell, you wouldn't measure your success by looking at all the clothing sold at Walmart and Target.

True enough -- the nearest competitor to Apple's business model (higher prices for more stylish packaging -- "luxury" or "status" computers, so to speak) is probably Sony, whose Vaio systems have roughly comparable sales numbers. Higher worldwide (probably because of the Japanese PC market), and slightly lower inside the US.

I can't think of any other manufacturer that sells on style, though, other than maybe Alienware (acquired by Dell recently), which apparently markets to hardcore gamers, who want their computers to look fierce and menacing, even if they're overpriced for the functionality. But that's a different kind of style.

you need to take into account the profit the company makes per sale.

But we're just talking about popularity -- you can be extremely popular and turn no profit at all. The profit is just relevant for the success of the business model.

Anyhow, Apple apparently turns a substantial profit on each computer, like 25% or something, even if a lot of it gets plowed back into unique R&D costs, arising from their vertical integration. So effective profit on their overall computer business is somewhat lower, though how much I do not know, and Google does not tell me.

At the same time, though I am not an economist (or a business analyst), I think the most accurate comparison would probably not be Apple against Dell (to take an example -- wikipedia says Dell's profit is like 6%), since Dell purchases the internal components from everyone else, and the overall profits are thus divided between Dell and the component manufacturers. Apple does outsource some components -- Motorola made their chips until recently, I think, and in the future they'll be buying from Intel -- but vertical integration means they capture more of the profits down the line than a company whose primary service is really just putting your PC together for you.

A comprehensive comparison would have to take these differences into account, I think. For an investor, I don't know that they would care, but in evaluating how Apple stacks up against PCs in general, I think a function-to-function comparison of cost and margin is appropriate.

Alan said...

Here's a cool video of the opening:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7agVGPrLH1k

Alexander said...

Oh no, Apple have started including Windows in their stores!