Bang On: We all need Apple

Even if you don't own an iPod or an iPhone and regardless of whether or not you run OS X, there is one inevitable truth that many people may overlook: As consumers and geeks, you and I need Apple.

I'm sure Apple fans are cheering and Windows and Linux users are getting ready to pelt me with virtual tomatoes of disagreement and disdain. Apple is just one of those companies, though. They incite such strong loyalty in many and such fervent hatred in others. Our very own forums and the accompanying log of warnings is a clear indication of that. Love them or hate them, though, you have to admit that Apple has a knack of delivering technologies in a way that nobody else can. Even if the idea isn't new, Apple makes it accessible and beautiful.

You can't discuss Apple without discussing the single product that seemingly turned the company around: the iPod. The MP3 player from that company in Cupertino came out in October of 2001 and within a few years, it managed to revolutionize the personal audio industry. The Microsoft Zune, arguably, wouldn't exist if Apple hadn't taken that faithful first step. What about all of the digital music stores? While they were most likely inevitable, they would definitely be years behind where they are today. Heck, we might still be dealing with DRM choked music files if the iPod hadn't come out so long ago or, even worse, $20 compact discs. If you leave your computer and jump into the living room, almost every company has a speaker system with iPod connectivity on its feature list. That little MP3 player single handedly pushed the industry down this road of digital music and, while audiophiles may boo and hiss at that fact, the mainstream consumer world is gleeful enough to dance as shadows on a bright colorful background with only a white iPod showing through. Thanks, Apple.

If we go a little further down the yellow bricked road that we're already on, we'll eventually arrive at the iPod's beefed up successor, the iPhone. As soon as the device hit the market, with its beautiful design and multi-touch screen, the mobile phone industry (or cell phone industry. for us Americans) changed forever. Two years ago, touch screen devices were part of a niche market and had almost no appeal to anyone outside of that little geek world. Then, one magical day, Apple brought us the iPhone. Everyone took notice. Where would we be today had the iPhone never been released? Would we still be relying on Palm's horrid Palm OS touch screen devices or HTC's ugly as sin line of touch screen mobile phones? Probably. The iPhone singlehandedly forced the market to take the touch screen and not only make it useful, but also wrap it in a more aesthetically pleasing package. If it weren't for Apple's market dominating phone, there's a good chance that none of HTC's latest Touch branded devices would have ever hit the market in the form that they have now. Would Android be around? Would Windows Mobile finally be getting some of the improvements it so desperately needs? Thank you, Apple, for saving us from a world dominated by Palm's and Razrs.

Finally, love it or hate it, Apple's highly advertised operating system, OS X, is one of the driving forces behind the innovation and progress being put into Windows 7. Before Windows and OS X started going head to head on a more mainstream level, Microsoft was perfectly fine with releasing a product that not only looked terrible, but was as secure as a paper bag left in the rain tethered to a pair of scissors. Granted, some bad publicity from some high profile viruses nudged Microsoft along, it was Apple and their marketing that really forced Microsoft's hand, especially with Windows 7. For the first time, Microsoft can't just develop an operating system for the corporate world and give it to the public with a few consumer friendly add-ons. The entire OS is being designed to be more consumer friendly and more secure than ever before. Why? Because Apple has made it very clear to the public that its operating system is as user friendly and safe as a golden retriever puppy in a room full of pillows. Some Apple zealots would probably argue that OS X is even cuter than that puppy in that pillowy room, but they're just crazy. Regardless of those nut jobs, Microsoft fell victim to Apple's very sound OS and amazing marketing machine. Windows 7 wouldn't be half of what it is without Apple's help. Thank you, Apple.

Love them or hate them, Apple is the company we all need. They may not always be original with their ideas, but they wrap them up so tightly and cleanly and present them in a way that drives mass adoption. Even if you don't use Apple products, you benefit from this because there's a good chance the device you're using or the mobile phone you're using was designed to compete with one of Apple's products. Imitation isn't just the greatest form of flattery; it's also the greatest thing that can happen to the consumer, especially when the idea being copied works so darn well. So, when you eventually power on a Windows 7 machine or come across a slick new touch screen device that makes your previous cell phone look like a toy, a little gratitude for Apple may be in order. After all, we need that company from Cupertino.

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Geranium_Z__NL said,
Noooo not another apple fight

Don't worry. We're going to be cracking down on the moderation of news comments in future in order to make this section of the website as clean and enjoyable as possible for all members

I think that windows 7 isnt as good as it is due to Apple so much as it is due to XP. Microsoft's biggest competition at the moment really is itself with XP. Vista could not manage to oversell that beast and now its 7's turn to finally take it out of play.

I think people already know that competition drives the market forward... I agree that Windows 7 is only as good as it is because of the competition though.


For all the people with counter opinions you'd think there'd be a 'rebutal' written up and posted by now.
Instead of worthwhile discussion about how "[mac os x] is as user friendly and safe as a golden retriever puppy in a room full of pillows." is a false statement we get people saying compound-falsehoods like "You get the unix kernel[1], use it on the top of a GUI[2], and rename it OS X[3] "

[1] Saying <operating system> is build on "The UNIX kernel" is like saying that <neowin home page> is "the HTML". UNIX is a collection of standards, Mach (the Mac OS X kernel) and Darwin (the BSD subsystem) are one implementation of those of one of those standards. Just as Neowin is one site using HTML on the Internet.

[2] WindowServer, Finder, Dock, etc. are processes running on top of Mach, the comment got it backward.

[3] Nitpicking, but the operating system used on Macs is Mac OS X. Apple's marketing literature prior to the release of the SDK said "iPhone uses OS X" (note the missing "mac", a distinction Apple had always been careful to make since renaming the operating system from the "System #" series when they started licensing their OS to clone makers). Today iPhone is described as running "iPhone OS" in the SDK documentation - it's similar to Mac OS X but is missing several notable features and isn't UNIX.

Good op-ed piece bangbang023 - but I think people are so defensive of Microsoft these days that they simply can't give a shred of credit where it's due to any competitor - especially the dreaded Apple. The comments on this piece make for infuriating reading frankly.

It's worrying to see a simple opinion article generating so much hate. Get a life people.

Like it has been said before, give credit where credit is due. Like it or not, Apple has been one of the most trend setting companies in the last decade.
Remember who started including WiFi as default in laptops? Or brought colors to the PC market(iMac)? Who made the first easy to use music store and player? Who made the iPhone? And these are just a few from the top of my head.

This has nothing to do with who makes the best products, it has to do with who sets the trend. The Moto RAZR set a trend. Was it good? Not really, the software was slow and buggy and lacked many features compared to a symbian phone. But it was the target to kill in the slim phone market.

So as long as Apple innovates, we need it (along other companies) to keep the market going. That is my opinion anyway.

Someone gets it. I would have loved to include more options and was actually going to discuss their contributions to the laptop hardware industry, but it would have made the article too long.

Wow removing comments shockz, criticizing the lack of quality of items/editorials on the front oh how it doesn't surprise me....

You know what next time disable comments make it a whole lot easier. It's better we don't discuss the topics/articles at all if we cannot speak out differently to editors opinions and socio-followers or question the integrity or quality or point of it.

Digix said,
Wow removing comments shockz, criticizing the lack of quality of items/editorials on the front oh how it doesn't surprise me....

shockz did not remove comments which discussed this article, he removed comments which went against our rules.

We would like to keep the news comments on topic, discussing the related article, please. If you have a problem with any staff decision, please PM a member of staff.

Thank you.

Its funny because Apple is a mark widely used in a couple of countries (USA, JAPAN and one or two more). In the rest of the country Apple is a rare product that sell ipod and the new iphone and nothing else.

So, when you talk about WE all need Apple, then the "WE" is pretty limited, to think otherwise is myopia.

And, for innovation :
Window interface :Xerox.
Mouse usage :Xerox.
Ipod :portable mp3 pendrive with a harddisk.
Iphone :Pocketpc.
and so on.

ps:i am a macbook pro user (also a xp user) but i still feel that Mac is not quite popular, in fact it is not popular at all but in specific ecosystem.

Again, my point is missed. Even if you don't own any apple products, my contention is that the gadgets you do own were probably influenced and pushed forward because of what Apple does.

Never needed anything from apple (no gadgets, no software, no computers)... Still don't.... Wait, no, still don't...

My point is that the gadgets/software/computers you may very well owned are probably inspired by something Apple's done in recent history. What you have, in my argument, performs so well or does what it does so well because of the competitive push from Apple.

bangbang023 said,
My point is that the gadgets/software/computers you may very well owned are probably inspired by something Apple's done in recent history. What you have, in my argument, performs so well or does what it does so well because of the competitive push from Apple.

I think you'll find it's more a natural life cycle and evolution rather than apple inspired. inspiration or innovation isn't always the person who does it first. It doesn't mean others aren't thinking about it parallel.

But to deny the fact that the touch screen mobile phone market didn't take off because of the iPhone or that the MP3 player market didn't take off because of the iPod is silly. There were MP3 players before the iPod and touch screen phones before the iPhone, but they were somewhat unfriendly to use and very geek oriented in design. Apple, as I said, took existing technologies but presented them in a very consumer friendly way and nudged the industry to go down the same path, thus making better products for all of us.

In another time, before or after, there will be another company doing this, but, for now, it's Apple.

I think it's the article's name makes the whole problem. We could split things here:
1. Apple inspired some tchnology advances, which later was picked up by other companys and developed - I agree with that.
2. Still don't need anything made in company named "Apple".

Why don't we all give thanks and credit to all tech companies? They are competing everyday, and we get the benefits of that.

Apple doesn't deserve more credit than any of the other companies, except just for the iPod that drove everyone to offer better mp3 player interfaces...

It's just that, not OS X, not iPhone, not Apple computers. They still believe in a closed market but they will get caught by it in the near future if this isn't happening yet.

They both need each other. Microsoft and Apple. There, that's settled now. :P

I must say that as much as I really despise Apple's attitude towards marketing, and the general attitude of their most hardcore fans (er... worshippers ;)) if they come out with a product that's good and fits my needs, I'll give it as much consideration against its competitors.

Apple from day one has employed a centre-of-the-universe attitude, thanks to Jobs. Doesn't matter who their allies are - one day it's Motorola, next day it's IBM - whom Jobs gave the one-finger salute in the 80s, and then Intel whom Apple called the Pentiums turtles compared to the Gx processors... their friend one year is their enemy next, or vice versa. It's all business. Not so much of a problem, but when that centrist attitude carries over to its most dedicated customers, then we get this nasty position we have today. People blood thirsty to disown Apple from all corners because the opposite camp has this mental ideology that NO ONE else in the industry can ever innovate. The best people are those who sit in-between these two extremes and are simply consumers open to anything.

I could just as easily argue that Apple's products are a result of their competition. I'm sorry, but this opinion piece seems to suggest that all of Apple's competitors send valentines and gift baskets to the white shinny palace at the end of the golden road.

Windows 7 Appears to be compiled from 4 years (including beta) of vista feedback...

Vista appeared to be compiled from 7+ years of XP Feedback.

SOME...SOME SOME of that feedback could have been "Make it more like OSX" but... I really doubt it.

To say they caused things to change is like saying Quartz caused the need for atomic clocks. Technology advanced, increased security needs were DEMANDED, and Microsoft answered, eventually. I don't see the fact that Apple, too, answered and in a slightly faster way, as proof of their impact on the competition. If anyone is to thank for Vista/7's increased security (as one example) It's the hackers who made it necessary. Microsoft answers to the clients it has, and I really oubt they act in a reactionary way very often.

So if Apple influenced them it was by influencing consumers as a whole... Of course, that's very very unlikely outside of a few key markets / concepts. Not saying the article is FUD, just that it may be seeing cause/effect relationships as clearly as it should.

lost me at "Apple makes it accessible and beautiful." ... what the f*ck man, go lick that iphone some while i play some Xbox and kill things

I found this a great article.
Apple started the MP3 revolution, the nice interface revolution, the all-in-one pc revolution, touchscreen cell phones revolution and more.
Tough, Apple is not the only one that made revolutions, without MSFT, we would not have a PC in our homes...
Without Motorola, we would not have Cellphones...
Without Palm, we would not have smartphones since Palm popularized the PDAs...

It's also not a secret right now that Apple are making profit and rise in market share, where Microsoft, Sun, Dell, HP, Adobe have all made massive employee layoff in 2008 for cost-cutting.

+NienorGT said,
Yeah, I was talking about the MP3 player
Tough you are right, no MP3 files = no MP3 Player

Yea, I know. Was just giving you a hard time...:)

simon360 said,
Apple started the legal, pay-for music revolution, and built on the existing mp3 players.

Its a shame other companies didnt jump on the online song buying sooner. Everyone knew it was the way to go but no one had the balls to be the 1st to try it. All the bitching the RIAA is doing about losing money...welll, they could of capitalized on this big time....

Hear, hear. Tomorrow morning if every OSX Kitty box on this planet somehow didn't boot...the world would hardly miss a beat. Same cannot be said of Microsoft of even the major Linux vendors.

Please keep the BangOns coming! I don't happen to agree with this one, I really think just about any company could take Apple's place of recycled innovation with an (often impractical) glossy finish, but opinions counter to mine on technological issues never hurt.

I imagine at some point it will become hard to justify posting these editorials as the replies consistently disintegrate into a giant flame-fest, but don't get discouraged. :P

But at least one opinion column is welcomed, and Chris does a decent job. Although, I think it's obvious enough that if the front page news drowned into an endless sea of editorials (or editorials posing as real new articles) we'd have problems.

You can't discuss Apple without discussing the single product that seemingly turned the company around: the iPod

and here I thought it was Microsoft buying 150 million non-voting Apple shares that helped the bad..

Apple exists because MS needs a "credible competitor" to keep from being declared a monopoly. Otherwise, MS would have crushed it (like it has everyone else) a very long time ago.

Don't get me wrong, I'm GLAD there's competition in the marketplace.

Apple exists due to its own merits, and not due to MS. That cash infusion in 1997 was due to a legal settlement that MS was compelled to accept. Apple quit handily blackmailed them. Go back and look at that case.

Apple exist because it produces compelling products that people want, and given their current finances, at exactly the right prices. That's all it takes.

Not sure how Microsoft would have "crushed" Apple, whatever that means.

They would have bought it outright years ago.

Apple exists because Microsoft needed them too. It's why they settled.

The fact that Apple has since gone on to create the iPod, which has made them un-buyable, is just a lovely twist of fate and Apple deserves every bit of credit for that, 100%.

But never forget why Apple COMPUTERS still exists in the Windows world.

What on earth are you talking about? I hope you're joking. Do you really think that's how it happens? Companies just go around buying other companies like you buy socks at Wal-Mart??

Part of the settlement involved Apple dropping the outstanding patent infringement suit against MS and make IE the default browser on the Mac. And in return MS would invest in that Apple non-voting stock. The Office deal was also a part of this. MS recouped a third of it's investment the very day the deal was announced at Macworld in Boston; the stock price soared by more than 30%.

Steve Jobs and the litigiousness of Apple saved Apple.

Interestingly enough, it was Gil Amelio himself who approved the purchase of NeXT. It was NeXT that saved the company.

Some have argued that Apple should have simply pursued the infringement suit against MS. They had them over a barrel on it.

Apple is great - but telling us OS X, "is one of the driving forces behind the innovation and progress being put into Windows 7" U got it wrong!

That movie is amusing, but there's a lot of holes - but that's expected for real life to film adaptations.

If you'd read Woz's autobiography he points out a few of them.

I never expect people to agree with what I say, but to call me a fanboy is silly. If I tend to favor any company in the technology world, it's Microsoft, but that's not really a point that should have to be made. My motivation behind this article is the realization that most of the technology we enjoy this year and last is based on devices trying to compete with Apple products. Mobile phones have taken off, technology wise, because of what the iPhone has done to the market. MP3 players are what they are because of the iPod. Windows 7, in my opinion (this is, afterall, an opinion piece) is heavily driven by Microsoft's desire to bridge the friendliness between Windows and OS X. Partly because MS focuses more on the corporate environment and partly because OS X has much less of a variance in hardware and such to deal with, OS X has been touted as being more user friendly. It's one of the top two claims Apple makes in every one of it's advertisements. The second? How secure OS X is compared to Windows. If it wasn't for this pie in Microsoft's face, they could very well do what they did for a long time and develop software at their own pace and still focus mostly on the business side of things. This time around, with Windows 7, there is an obvious concerted effort to bridge that gap and not only make Windows look better, but make it way more intuitive, innovative, and secure. Basically, they're trying to shut Apple up, regardless of how much Apple may exaggerate in it's advertisements.

excalpius said,
No, your motivation is to drive ad hits to the site.

Wrong. If you knew anything about why we've hired new writers and have editorials, exclusives, and original news articles, you'd see that were focusing on quality and beating the competition, to provide the user with a unqiue, and great experience.

It's not just about money.


Providing flame bait editorials just to drive up hits isn't providing anything "unique" or "great". You can find that on every blog under the electrons, or even Digg FFS (and at least Digg has a way to interact with the thread and posters).

As far as quality goes, you seem to have no editors or at least no editorial policy at all. For example, I've been flagging front page stories without sourced links for months now, and this "editorial" (and the others recently) have clearly not been fact-checked at all.

Now, I also gave huge kudos to the in-depth Windows 7 stories, etc. so I'm not just being negative all the time here.

But as a person with PROFESSIONAL tech writing credentials (I've been paid for articles for BYTE, OMNI, etc. etc. over the years), I'm going to call BLOG vs. SERIOUS NEWS SITE when I see it, k?


how is this flamebait, its simply an opinion....and please, where have you been "flagging" stories w/o sources...also, id love to read all your paid for articles

How do you fact check an opinion? I provide very little in actual facts since this is an opinion column and doesn't really serve the purpose of delivering new information.

The idea that Apple makes technology "beautiful" and "accessible" is hysterical. Apple makes technology look cold and sterile.

Apple is nothing more than a competitor in the marketplace. And it's only leading in one market (portable music players) with a significant presence in one other (mobile phones). That's it. Having them in the arena helps push it's competitors but not a lot more or less than any other competitors with significant presence.

We don't "need" Apple. If the company shut down tomorrow, the mobile phone, mobile music player, and computer industries would all survive just fine. They would continue to innovate with new and old players in the game.

Windows 7 wouldn't be half of what it is without Apple's help.
Uhh, no, Apple wouldn't be in existence today without Microsoft cutting them a cheque back in the day. When you find an innovation in Windows 7 that actually came from Apple be sure to let us all know.

The new taskbar in 7 is much more "influenced" by the Sinofsky's Fluent UI than anything. It's practically an upside-down ribbon.

If there's any OSX influence it is with the desktop (or sidebar in Vista) widgets borrowed from Dashboard, which was borrowed by any number of companies.

Many would say the new taskbar is highly "influenced" by the dockbar in OS X. That's just quick off the top of my head, though

Sure, they could. And I could say those people are idiots and don't have the foggiest idea what they're talking about.

How is it when most people are saying they're nothing alike? Are you talking about in terms of looks or what? I've yet to see anyone say something like that without having tried it...

The entire "article" can be summarized as "Competition is good for the marketplace" without needing to resort to inaccurate and readership polarizing mischaracterizations of the relationship between say OS X and Vista/7, for example. Ahem.


Like someone already posted: if there hadn't been the iPod or Windows or Apple, some other company would have stepped up to compete against whoever else was out there and over the years you would get refined products and advances. It doesn't matter what company it is.

Just look at Palm we should all be thanking them for innovating and giving us the smart phone market since they basically invented it, and now with the upcoming Pre they might be back.

COMPANY is irrelevant, COMPETITION will happen and that is all that matters.

Great article! Its true the other way around...weren't it for the bazillion Wintel clones, Mac's may still be using a one button mouse

MS security and Win7 had nothing to do with Apple...

Apples effect on PC was getting rid of the beige box by iMac and then UI.. cant belive the article doesn't mention the Aqua UI. which really started skinning as we know it. "mainstream"

What a waste of words.
The only thing I agree with is the iphone being a wake-up call for all the other companies to make better touch devices. Still, apple can only wish to move as many units as nokia does.

And windows7 being based on osx? no thanks.

Windows 7 is 'vista done right'. All those perks/bugs/feedback discussed by people during vista beta1 and beta2 are finally being addressed. I don't think windows7 is the result of copying OSX, it is the result of microsoft addressing that stuff.

I have to admit, I'm by no means an apple fan boy. Only Apple product I have is an iPhone. Which converted me from windows mobile HTC devices.

With out the iPhone, We wouldn't have all these nice lovely looking Windows mobile and Android devices coming out.
Which in return are making me want to turn back and check them out.
I come from a tech background. It doesn't really matter what OS I use at home. Linux, OS x or Windows. They will all do what I need them to do. But by personal choice I choose windows. As I like it. But you can see things changing based on what others have been doing. Would you of had Tabs in Internet Explorer if it had not of been for the raising popularity in Firefox(I'm sure firefox didn't come up with the Tab idea first) but it was it's popularity that most likely forced IE 7 to include tabs.

So this article is true. Apple has been known for making things look pretty. Now the competition is matching it.
But with the iPhone. They made things simple. It doesn't do everythign like other phones. But what it does do it does well and it looks nice. So that's what is is bringing to the market and making others change.

Great article Chris - thank you!
I totally agree with you, I hope that strong competition in the market continues to force everyone to innovate to survive.

I am also no fan of Apple products, but you can't help admire what they do.

The title of this article made me laugh my ass off. A whole article on why we need Apple. Should we expect a "Bang On: We all need Microsoft" post next?

Look, we dont need apple...we dont need Microsoft. If history has shown us anything, when something falls...something else is close by ready to pickup the pieces. And all companies steal ideas from other companies. Apple steals for MS, MS steals from Apple.

Also, I dont agree that if the iPod didnt exist, thens like the Zune wouldnt exist either. I am sure someone else would of came up with the iPod idea if Apple didnt. Saying something wouldnt exist if someone else didnt think of out, well, thats kinda stretching..isnt it? I am sure if MS didnt develop Windows, then someone else would of.

If I want shiny multicolored stuff, I will go with Apple. If I want to actually use a PC and be able to do pretty much anything I want, I will go with a PC.

Sure seems that way, techbeck. Even though the article discusses Apple, the main idea behind it all is that you need a competing force in the market that's actually worth something to bring about changes. You claim that if a company dropped the ball then someone else would do it. It's always easy to say that (and that statement can be applied to many aspects of life), but how many people or companies really would do it, or even be capable of pulling it off?

Think about nearly any tech advancement and in hindsight it seems obvious. Do you recall what cellphones were like before the Motorola RAZR? Nice and bulky. When the RAZR came out it was incredible, because suddenly every single phone company out there was offering a RAZR look-alike. Slim cellphones - that's a bit obvious, isn't it? Yet the fact is that if Motorola hadn't come out with the RAZR when they did, cellphones would probably look quite different today. (Not that slim cellphones are a Godsend - it's just an example.) Give credit where credit is due.

Some day Apple may not be a company that leaves a big imprint on markets - that's fine, and that's not the point. The point is that we should all be pushing for those companies that, no matter how tiny, raise the bar for everyone else's development. We as consumers "win" when that happens.

And please... give credit where it's due. It's easy to say something was obvious in hindsight or to claim that someone else, anyone else would have done it anyway, and thus that it's no big deal. But when you're the one actually choosing the future direction and wading out into the big unknown, not knowing how a product will be received, there's a fair bit of skill, intuition, and luck involved. Reward those who take those risks so as to encourage them to keep moving forward with their work.

Other companies will stand up and pickup where another has left off. This has happened many times before and will continue to happen. To think that only one company has a certain idea is asinine. Many people/companies have the same ideas...its just who brings them forward first.

Yea, RAZR was the first think phone but isnt it a given that things get smaller and smaller? I mean, remember the first computer? It took up city blocks and now it just takes up part of a desk. If Motorola didnt come up with the slim phone, someone else would have.

And I neither gave credit to apple or said anything bad about them. I didnt slam Apple at but can if you want. :)

All Apple is doing is promoting competition and getting others to develop new ideas. This is good and I hope someone comes out with a new phone, MP3 player...or whatever to give Apple a run for its money. I am not saying this as a bad thing but Apple's hardware is not perfect...far from it. Competition against Apple will force Apple to give the customers more features, batter hadware, and better support. And if anyone wants to argue that Apple is perfect and wonderful at these things, then argue all you want. No company is perfect and their is ALWAYS room for improvement.

No, it isn't a given that things get smaller and smaller, or smaller and more efficient. For example, consider processors: the Pentium 4 was a monster in terms of power draw and it was shown to be not all that efficient (compared with the AMD Athlon). Intel's roadmap was originally to continue pushing the clockrate, which would have just boosted the energy draw. AMD helped to shatter Intel's roadmap and pushed them toward makings things more efficient. If AMD hadn't been there, how long would it have taken for Intel to change its course, if ever?

Phones before the RAZR were already small compared with the first cellphones. The idea to make them slim - that was a big deal. Since we've been living with slim phones for about four or more years now it seems obvious, I'm sure, and it's easy to say that someone else would have done it. But no - other companies were trying other trends. To creat a slim phone and to make it so popular required something special, and you're really downplaying that.

I'll give you another example of how innovation doesn't always sell itself. Touch screens are suddenly the next big thing, right? We have Microsoft Surface, the iPhone... let's focus on the iPhone. Do you think that the iPhone was the first fully touch screen phone? It wasn't. I don't know how many preceded it, but the Motorola A1200 is one that I know of, and it's been around since the end of 2005. Surely you've seen that every single company is creating a fully touch screen phone to compete with the iPhone, just as every single company created a slim, RAZR-like phone to compete with the RAZR. Why didn't all of those touchscreen competitors appear with the Motorola A1200, or any of the fully touchscreen phones that preceded it? There's no single reason, actually, but wouldn't you agree that it shows how a special something is needed to not only bring the technology about, but make it a big enough deal to go mainstream?

I agree with you that Apple needs competition, as well. Ideally all companies would have it.

I never said what Apple is making is not needed. Just stating that many others have the same ideas and if Apple didnt produce their products, someone else would of. Granted, it may take longer for this technology to emerge, but it would still happen. Human nature is to go forward, not backwards.

And things have always gotten smaller. Look at TVs, PCs, PROCESSORS, hard drives, expansion cards, cars...people want technology that is small and portable. Small meaning SIZE, not functionality.

Again, I never said that Apples stuff wasnt needed or that it wasnt "Special" I mearly stated that if Apple didnt come up with these ideas, someone else would have. Same goes with Microsoft...Adobe...Intel...whoever. Companies give other companies a kick in the ass sometimes to get them to think and improve their products and the way they do things. This is what Apple has done with the phone and ipod.

I do hope the new Palm phone, dubbed the iPhone killer, gives Apple a run for its money. Maybe this will make Apple improve the iPhone and give it more features.

The point that I think you're overlooking: "forward" is not a defined direction. Innovation, even in the form of recycling an idea and making it more presentable, is not easy. Some day we may look back at our current technology and say to ourselves that we were so backwards in our thinking; that all of those developments were for naught, because what we're using now is worlds better (and how obvious; why didn't we think of it sooner?)

I know it isnt easy. Heck, I wish i could come up with an original idea and make millions. And I meant moving forward as making things better and more reliable. Would you buy the new iPhone if it had less battery life and less features?

But anyway, I get your point and thanks for not flaming me. I know that what I say sometimes isnt though out fully...haha. Its good to have conversations with people calmly and maturely.

So Christopher Vendemio, are you expecting a free iPod, iPhone or iMac from CrApple? Overpriced elitist "high quality"-hyped products. Their iPhone is certainly an achiever but the company's US-only attitude drives me mad. All other software and consumer electronics companies are so global.

"Windows 7 wouldn't be half of what it is without Apple's help. Thank you, Apple."

You should be writing for appleinsider with "pull them out of your arse" comments like that...

Whilst I realise the title would lose its impact if it were phrased like this, I believe it should read: we should all want a company like Apple. I think you may have got the balance wrong between sensationalism and meaning for your argument clearly is based on my title, not the one you chose to use.

Allow me to try and explain my reasoning. The distinction between needs and wants is ever muddied in our society; they certainly aren’t words that should be confounded. We don’t need the products that Apple produces. As your argument can be applied away from Apple the use of “a company like” is more befitting. Your argument could equally apply to Dyson for example, revolutionising the vacuum industry with their bagless vacuum cleaners (though it's a lot less 'sexy' ).

“Windows 7 wouldn't be half of what it is without Apple's help. Thank you, Apple.”

Ignoring qualms regarding the factual accuracy of this statement, it implies that Apple works in the interests of the consumer at sacrifice to itself. For there would be no reason to thank Apple other than if it were doing this.

Apple works in the interest of itself, not in the interests of the consumer. If it just so happens that the interests of Apple and the consumer align then so be it, but we certainly shouldn̢۪t be thanking Apple for this happy coincidence. iPhones being locked to one network provider is an example where these interests are skewed.

I don̢۪t mean to be lambasting Apple for this fact either, it's a company and as such duty is to its shareholders whose utmost care is towards profits. Whether or not this is right is an entirely different issue...

Not really. OSX is about the only x86-based OS you can't install on your existing PC, so technically it's not any competition at all.

Sure it's competition. You can buy it, and if you buy it there's a good chance you're not buying or using the competitor's stuff.

I like both. This whole MS vs Apple rivalry is really old. At some point in time (1997?) Microsoft owned a nice chunk of Apple stock. I'm sure Bill Gates invested in Apple too. Similarly, Steve Jobs probably has had investments in MS.

MS put $400 mil into Apple when no one was touching it.

Here's the video of the announcement, Microsoft paid market price for $150m worth of non-voting shares. Apple's share price was ~$4.80/share the day before that announcement. The day after it had increased 30% to around $6.70. In October Apple's stock was lower than before the announcement (which is typical: Apple's stock has dropped at least 5% after every major event they've held in 15 years) and by Christmas APPL had lost as much percentage as it gained: dropping to ~$3.30. 1

On that day Apple had $1.5 billion dollars in cash and short term investments. 2The $150m Microsoft invested was symbolic because Apple didn't need more cash to continue operating. The real value of that announcement was the promise to continue Microsoft Office for Mac OS. Apple went on to make some of their most popular products ever (iMac, iBook) with Steve jobs back and running the show. They also able to shed their losses trying to develop a "next-generation" operating system by picking up NeXT. They also drastically restructured their product line and distribution network. Those are the changes that ultimately led to Apple's recovery, but none of them would have been possible if world+dog assumed that Macs wouldn't be a viable platform, which meant having MS Office.

I agree that competition is good, and Apple has brought more competition to the industry, but the author gives a little too much credit to Apple for the advancements of Windows over the last 6 years.

Pre-SP4 Windows 2000 and (to a slightly lesser degree) pre-SP2 Windows XP were the last Windows releases that could be described as inherently insecure. Microsoft adopted the SDL and pushed towards improved security before OSX really became a blip on the radar. Vista was the first consumer-level OS that Microsoft developed from the beginning with security in mind, and Windows 7 only adds slight improvements to Vista's security success. So Windows 7's security has little to do with Apple. If anything, Linux pushed MS to make Windows more secure, not Mac OS X.

Search, GPU accelerated UI, better device handling, improved media experience - these were all started before OS X came into fruition, although Apple was quicker to market with some of it thanks to the Longhorn development problems...

As much as I hate it, this guy speaks the truth. Without competition, it slows the need for new development. The reason why whether or not Intel is better, we need AMD to keep pushing Intel to release the latest and greatest.

Good discussion. I always said that I wish Windows were more like OS(whatever) when it came to installation/uninstallation. One of the things I miss about my Powerbook.

He's not a fanboy, he's an employee serving a purpose. In this case, injecting some life into an otherwise dead main page by posting an article assured to get a response on both sides.

Sad? No, what is sad is you rejecting an article as being written by a "fanboy" when you don't know anything about the author. How about you take on the topic and not the writer?

apple takes risks that none of the other people want to do.

trackpads on laptops,, first was apple, everybody else was using nubs. ( Powerbook 500, i looked it up )
the first Mp3 player was i think creative but they wernt as popular and had an ass load of buttons, but the iPod brought it mainstream and simplified it

Apple is willing to take risks that nobody else is. im still waiting their MagSafe adapter to migrate to the PC side.

This is an argument you hear a lot when talking to Mac users/lovers/or zealots as the article mentioned. They credit Apple with just about all of the advancements in computing as well as the consumer electronics (iPod/iPhone) market. That view has to be the most non-objective and colored take on things I've seen, and frankly reminiscent of propaganda marketing, much like Apple's very own I'm a Mac ads, which as many agree are exaggerated to state it mildly.

Apple does good business by taking a look at market trends watching closely to the pioneers in the market and capitalizing on their shortcomings all the while adding their spin to muddy the competition and shine their product in the same breath. This kind of tactic produces popularity as well as fans (Mac cult). Popularity drives proliferation it doesn't have to be the best or most advanced to do so either.

We don't need Apple, we just need strong competition just like in ANY market. You could rewrite this article and state how we need Microsoft or Linux/OSS, because most assuredly those two have influenced Apple in their products as well and deserve credit.

Spin/Shine by Zealots. creaditing apple with advancement of *insert bla here*
you mean like Windows ( Unix/ every computer manufacturer made their own OS pretty much, MS made theirs Nicer to use )
Office ( Lotus Notes/123 anybody )
Hotmail ( originally not owned by Microsoft )
Everything MS does/has was owned by somebody else, or the exact same thing as somebody else made.

a VAST majority ( aka almost all of them ) watch the trends only to see if they can copy/make money in what somebody else is doing. not trying to create the next new thing

People who don't recognize Apple as providing competition and innovation in the industries they are in, are idiots.

It's less prominent in the OS market, and Microsoft deserve more credit with what they have done with Windows 7, but MP3 and Phone consumers have a lot to thank Apple for.

There was an article about iPhone users surf the web 7 times more than other smartphone users.
Well, nuff said, that's why we need Apple. Drives competition crazy

Thanks, guys. I've developed a thick skins over my 6 years working here, but it's always a much needed pleasure to get some kind words lol.

He is right without a shadow of a doubt.
They are one of the 'big' companies who are able to spend billions on R&D and help move our generation forward.

I agree that competition is always good. However, MS change toward better security started in 2001-2002 with the Trustworty Computing Initiative, way before Apple's OSX.

Max1978 said,
I agree that competition is always good. However, MS change toward better security started in 2001-2002 with the Trustworty Computing Initiative, way before Apple's OSX.

Competition in the form of little man syndrome, arrogance and "force field" like skin deep consumer respect isn't exactly good.

Mac OS X (The Mac OS 9 looking certified UNIX) shipped in 1999, the painfully colorful consumer version that you'd recognize as the predecessor to Mac OS X 10.5 shipped a year later.

Mac OS X was out and in the public hands years before your stated start date. It's far more likely that Microsoft was responding to years of criticism about the security and reliability of their products than anything Apple was doing. At the turn of the century "beleaguered" was still a mandatory prefix when mentioning the Apple Computer company by name.

Except XP (2001) was just as insecure as it's predecessors. It wasn't until some more high threat viruses and an Apple ad campaign that touted how it was more secure that Microsoft started to do something about it.

2001 was the age of Nimda, CodeRed, Slammer, etc. There is no doubt that the string of bad-press wrt. Windows security weighed heavy on Microsoft's decision to focus on security and reliability for Vista. While Apple may have offered some motivation it wasn't exactly their finest year and I don't think Microsoft saw them as a serious competitor. Mac OS X was barely functional, Mac OS 9 was no more secure than Windows 9X (though the virus/worm situation didn't show that), and Apple had been bleeding market share for more than a decade.

Mac OS X 10.0 was damn near worthless at launch: a tech demo at best. Apple advertising was still heavily focused on Mac OS 9 because it wasn't possible to the "burn" part of the "Rip. Mix. Burn" advertisement with Mac OS X until the free 10.1 update. The initial slogan for Mac OS X was "It's the biggest thing to happen to Macintosh since the Macintosh"—the majority of tech demos were focused on the updated UI, the compatibility with network/filesystem stuff, and improved stability (preemptive multitasking returns to an Apple OS after a 10-year vacation). Here's a collection of the hardware print ads from the 2000-2002 period. Only one of them mentions Mac OS X—and that is focusing on the ability to run UNIX applications and the flexibility of a BSD system for über nerds: security is never mentioned.

Apple's advertising of that era still focused on the hardware The powerbook commercials don't even show or mention the operating system. iLife was flogging the relative making mix tapes. iBook and iMac commercials of the era focused on superficial hardware features like "it's not beige" and "it has a handle" or hardware claims like "G3 is twice as fast as P3".

The "switch campaign" followed in 2002 but mostly focused on Macs "Just working" with charming (ug) stories about saving christmas because it detected a camera. Viruses/worms/etc. were rarely mentioned (3 out of 40-something commercials IIRC).

It wasn't until "Get a mac" in the mid-2000s that Apple finally started hammering on Windows security and reliability record. Possibly because they knew that as long as Mac OS 9 was a major part of people's day they really didn't have a leg to stand on, or maybe they thought most people just didn't care.

Mac OS 9 was not secure by any reasonable stretch—certainly no better than Windows XP—of the imagination: like Windows 3.x and 4.x it was built for a time before ubiquitous net connections, multiple users, etc. Mac OS 9 didn't have a virus or worm problem but it wasn't because the system had the security secret-sauce poured in.

I really don't think we need to give Apple credit for causing Microsoft to step up their security game: their customers demanded that all by themselves.

Um, when Apple came out with Safari, and before it was even in a stable release for Windows, they were calling it the "fastest" browser out there, despite that not being the truth, and that's not even bringing in the instability and lack of features at the time.

Point I'm trying to make is that a company will always claim their product is better, faster, more secure, etc. How that can be made into assuming Microsoft was thinking,"Oh snap, Apple's talking smack, let's work on our OS!!" is beyond me.

Great article, Apple does a whole lot to promote innovation in the industry (for the zealots who didn't bother even reading it).

Thanks to Windows 7 because of Apple? This article is definitely by a Apple Fanboy . Windows 7 had to come as a great product because Microsoft were on loosing side because of Netbooks being installed with linux.. So i would like to thank netbooks and i'll never be a apple sheep. Their iPhone sucks totally... and their laptops have great design but its low featured and overpriced pos

bangbang isn't a apple fanboy at all. and MS isn't concerned with linux netbooks in the least. think about how many netbooks offer xp and how little sales would be if there wasn't a windows option. hp has already dropped linux on netbook lines in europe

"hp has already dropped linux on netbook lines in europe"

Yet they just came out with their own Linux distro which will be used on all their upcoming netbooks as well as afew currently out. But yeah okay /sarcasm

I can tell you for a fact that Chris is not an Apple fanboy in the least.

Saying the iPhone 'sucks totally' is just... never mind, I won't bother. You're wrong, it has at least a few good aspects. The biggest problem people have with it is that it lacks MMS and a good camera. If that's the only thing wrong with a phone, then Apple has done a good job.

Finally, the Apple laptops are a bit pricey, for sure. But they do have that design and durability, and I don't know where you got the idea that they lacked features.

People thinking Chris is an "Apple Fanboy", that's about the hardest laugh I've had all day. Chris uses Windows, Windows Mobile, Xbox 360, and just about anything else made by Microsoft.

The thing that SUX about the iPhone and iTouch is the battery life. I would actually retire my last gen 30gb iPod video for a touch if the battery lasted longer. My niece bought a 8gb touch last xmas and it was constantly on the charger. ?

Boot polish doesn't make your shoes brand new. Just because one product is a success for them and another is a strong player but very much still a minor player in the game. This doesn't make them a company we need anymore then mozilla.

But we need Mozilla too. Sure, the individual doesn't need to install Firefox, but the existance of Firefox (and to a lesser extent Opera and others) is the reason that Internet Explorer 8 will be standards compliant.

Competition drives innovation in a capitalist society.

Majesticmerc said,
But we need Mozilla too. Sure, the individual doesn't need to install Firefox, but the existance of Firefox (and to a lesser extent Opera and others) is the reason that Internet Explorer 8 will be standards compliant.

Competition drives innovation in a capitalist society.

But point is here you can talk about the internet without mentioning mozilla just like we can live life or use computers without mentioning a thing about apple.

simon360 on 17 Feb 2009 - 18:21
It's completely true, you don't need to even acknowledge Apple. But they've done something for you anyway.

What in reality have done for us is the pocket our money, either called Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla etc

But we need Mozilla too. Sure, the individual doesn't need to install Firefox, but the existance of Firefox (and to a lesser extent Opera and others) is the reason that Internet Explorer 8 will be standards compliant.

Competition drives innovation in a capitalist society.

No, we need Netscape and so on...

Truly, we need a real innovator and not a second runner, for the case of browser :Mosaic, the rest is just a legacy.