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Apple recently announced details of its world-wide developers conference and observers noticed that training sessions and labs are focused around iPhone OS, Open ES, HTML5 and other similar technologies, which means that the WWDC will be heavy on iPhone and iPad, but light on Macintosh.

For many years Apple has been losing market share until Steve Jobs returned to the company as the chief executive officer and the company introduced the iPod, which literally helped the company to rise from the ashes. But while sales of Macintosh computers have been growing along with iPod or iPhone for years, Apple is now concentrating more and more on things like iPhone or iPad. Meanwhile, Macs seem to become less innovative and Apple is slowly transforming itself into a yet another PC brand.

At the moment Apple Macintosh computers lack Blu-ray disc support, business-class capabilities, Direct 3D-based video games, USB 3.0 and may other features, which personal computers powered by Microsoft Windows operating systems do support.

The Bag of Hurt

Personal computer makers, namely Sony and some other companies, have been integrating Blu-ray disc readers into their systems for about four years now. However, Apple has been saying that the technology – the only high-definition format that can provide 1080p video quality with high bit-rate along with lossless audio track – is too hard to implement. 

“Blu-ray is just a bag of hurt. I don’t mean from the consumer point of view. It’s great to watch movies, but the licensing is so complex… We’re waiting until things settle down, and waiting until Blu-ray takes off in the marketplace before we burden our customers with the cost of the licensing and the cost of the drives,” told Steve Jobs toldthe audience at an Apple event back in 2008.

Mr. Jobs reiterated the claim in 2010. However, by this time there are loads of personal computers that can playback Blu-ray movies without problems. Albeit, there are software limitations – Avatar and 2012 – do not play on older hardware/software players due to protection technologies and other Java-related things, loads of computers nowadays feature Blu-ray drives, but none of them come from Apple.

Video Gaming?

The vast majority of people who use personal computers today started their usage from video games like Digger, Doom, Tetris, or… S.T.A.L.K.E.R., a Microsoft Corp.’s Direct3D-based game.

It is obvious that there is a trade-off between stability of Unix-based Mac OS X and versatility of the world’s most used Windows operating system. The result is that the latest PC video games just do not work on Macintosh systems. Fortunately, Valve Software’s Steam has proposed to port hundreds of PC games to Mac. The only question is why Macintosh system holder is not truly interested in modern games?

Apple thinks they are not: modern Apple computers are equipped with moderate graphics cards at the best.

Interface of the Future

The SuperSpeed USB – or USB 3.0 – represents the pinnacle of today’s external cable connection interfaces. Many mainboards from Asustek Computers, Gigabyte and MSI actually support this kind of interconnection, so do select storage systems. Needless to say that PC makers actually use those motherboards. But they are HP, Dell, etc., but not Apple.

Business Features

Loads of notebook users have been using business features of IBM/Lenovo Group ThikPad PCs for many years now, fingerprint access, remote recovery, remote update via v-Pro (not exactly a pleasure), Intel anti-theft technology. None of the aforementioned capabilities do exist on default Apple configurations, many of them even cannot be ordered.

All-in-All

Apple has actually done a great job: the company has created the world’s slimmest notebook, back in years the company was the only provider of terrific 30” monitor with 2560x1600 resolution, in addition, Apple has been using advanced materials for its PCs for many years now. However, without support of leading-edge technologies, quo vadis, Apple?

Tags: Apple, Mac, Macintosh, Blu-ray, USB

Discussion

Comments currently: 6
Discussion started: 05/01/10 02:10:10 PM
Latest comment: 05/04/10 09:48:01 PM

[1-6]

1. 
USB3: won't be in mainstream use for several years. On the other hand displayport is being used, and has been a fixture of Macs for a long time, while PCs are still coming out with VGA.
Blu-Ray: has some importance but rare on PCs. Only worthwhile on desktops/HTPCs anyway as PC notebooks almost always have TN panels.
Video gaming: when have Macs been good at this? And actually, the vast majority of PC users are not gamers, and didn't start using computers with games.
Business features: when have Macs been top-notch business machines?

I don't think Apple is falling behind with hardware. Compared to PC makers Apple makes good hardware choices. Its software has a technology gap compared to Microsoft (e.g. all the .NET-related stuff) but the average consumer doesn't seem to care.
0 1 [Posted by: CSMR  | Date: 05/01/10 02:47:18 PM]
Reply

2. 
USB3 is not supported by Intel chipsets. Apple could have done an add-on, but I am not sure it would give the full speed.

To expect that Apple would implement Direct3D, a Windows API, is ludicrous.

I would have liked to see blue-ray support, as I dont have a player.

I do feel that Apple slows a bit down on the Mac side when it releases a mobile device.
0 0 [Posted by: schafdog  | Date: 05/02/10 12:04:52 AM]
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3. 
Well,

XBit-Labs just don't know which notebook is the slimmest in the world. Macbook Air is the lighest "Mac" ever ONLY, while Lenovo, Sony and Fujitsu all have notebook products slimmer than Apple.

The slimmest record belongs to Sony, limited availability to Japanese market only, her VAIO model X505 Extreme launched in 2003 with full carbon fiber case construction remains the slimmest PC until today.

Sony also still holds the crown of lightest wintel PC ever announced with the discontinued VAIO UX back in 2005.

The current Sony VAIO X is the lightest 10" notebook ever announced.

Lenovo, with her X300, also scored the slimmest notebook with internal optical drive ever announced, while the lightest notebook with optical drive again belongs to Sony with 2007 VAIO TZ!
0 0 [Posted by: RoyalHorse  | Date: 05/03/10 12:21:01 AM]
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4. 
I too wish there were more options available on my Macbook Pro. I've held off upgrading until the refresh offers a more substantial change. My 2007 MB pro is still ok, but come on Apple, a better video card and Blu Ray recorder as an option.
0 0 [Posted by: beck2448  | Date: 05/04/10 02:31:34 AM]
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5. 
Female voice: What's wrong?
Man on monitor: I just bought one of these yesterday, and it doesn't fit my consumer, and the store doesn't have any of the other kind.
[LUH presses a button]
Male voice: For more enjoyment and greater efficiency, consumption is being standardized. We are sorry ...
Man on monitor: This is -
[cut off]
0 0 [Posted by: nforce4max  | Date: 05/04/10 05:30:31 AM]
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6. 
I agree with the general idea of this article. I have a Mac Pro and I feel Apple is still acting with the Mac as if they don't have enough resources. They do, they have a huge amount of money to invest. They could invest their money in their own line of products if they don't want to invest this capital in others technology.

What can I say, maybe I am wrong and Apple comes with a great update to their pro line, but to be honest I am not expecting that much.

And when you may think there is no to much room for innovation Apple comes with the iPad and people gets crazy about it. So, why Apple can't come with a new Mac or what is stopping them? Aren't they the innovators in the PC market?
0 0 [Posted by: jecastej  | Date: 05/04/10 09:48:01 PM]
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