Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ditch the Product Reform of Jobs II - Think Sim City for Jobs III

I think iMacs are going to get evolved up to spec for another six months. Upon Jobs' return, he will bring with him a one hundred twenty foot scroll detailing all necessary hardware changes for four years going forward.

The product scheme started in 1997 (and continued to this day), is ill-fitting. The famous de-Performafying of Apple, into a seller of a four-part grid of products, no longer works. The idea of computer market segments (desktops and laptops) addressed with call-and-response models (MacBook and iMac, [Air and Mini], 17in and Mac Pro) and consumer products called i-something, with some networking gear and random peripherals, is outmoded. 

Think like Maxis for the restoration of Jobs. A new split: industrial, commercial and residential.

The remaining iProducts are all Residential. This includes iWork, iLife, iMovie, i-everything, and the MacBook. The Airport Express and Time Capsule, too. And Bento for fun.

The commercial products. The MacBook Pro/Air, Mac Pro, the 24in LED and 30in display, and the Airport Extreme. Final Cut Studio, FileMaker, iWork Pro [think of a Mac Write Pro Pages that drops the pretense of competing with InDesign, but really takes on Word.]

The industrial products are Xanything and server-anything. XServe, XSAN, etc. Final Cut Server, etc.

A focus on these three going forward yields livingroom iMac 42s that look like TVs with dock connectors, a fusion of i-hub stuff that keeps all the media and files in a home cloud, and makes the iMac the ONLY Mac. It is Mac, and it is the center of the hub, and it is Residential.

The Mac Pro can split into a many-model range that can take 100% of the over-1200 market, and has the virtualization and management hooks (in hardware and software) that let Apple into the business market, without getting confusing, or even making people think of them as "Macs." Mac Pros are OS X Workstations, with different performance emphasised, and cost profiles that need not step around any residential-model price/performance comparisons, because the other hardware differences (6 USB ports? quad cores? redundant power supply?) set them apart prima facie.

Industrial products are kept current to assist the commercial market drive. I have little to say, though I know the Mac Mini is used like an Apple blade these days, 4 up in 1U. The demand for a real industrial push is there. Even Cisco is doing it.

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