How the iPod Ended the OS Wars | iLounge Article


How the iPod Ended the OS Wars

By Hadley Stern, Publisher of AppleMatters
February 20, 2004

Operating system (OS) wars go back to almost the very beginning of personal computing, and amazingly, they continue online and at water coolers across the world. Twenty years ago, it was Apple versus IBM, Commodore and Atari. Today, visit hard core computer news site Slashdot and you will see Linux people bashing Windows people bashing Mac people.


But these aren’t the days of DOS or command line prompts. It’s a simple fact that any machine running Windows or Mac OS X uses the same “windowing” interface, plus and minus a few features per platform. In any case, you drag things around a desktop to access and organize, throw them in the trash (or recycle bin) to delete, and within applications, What You See Is What You Get.

Sure, beneath the pretty graphical interface, the old command line prompt remains hidden - even the Mac has one now, after almost 20 years of doing without it - but most consumer machines these days behave alike. And amongst them, even PC fans will reluctantly admit that the Mac is the most elegant of the bunch, with nicer icons, a bulletproof environment, and best of all, no viruses or spyware.

Oops, there I go again! The OS wars. One tiny (truly mini these days) thing stops me in my rhetorical tracks and stumps me into silence. It’s not the patch of the week released by Windows, nor is it the latest horribly ugly desktop environment to come out of some kids basement for Linux. No, it’s that little thing in your pocket. The iPod.

Why? Because once and for all it has shattered the myth that you need a Mac to play well in the digital hub. Using either a Mac or a PC, you can transfer music to your iPod blisteringly fast, buy music from the Apple iTunes music store (heck, you can even run an Apple application on your PC - iTunes!), and share music between machines using Rendezvous. Thanks to the iPod, Apple is telling consumers that both from a hardware or software standpoint the PC can do everything a Mac can. (Sure, iPod use can be a little more troublesome on a PC. You may have to buy an extra cable, install some drivers, and cross your fingers, but the fact remains that you can use an iPod on either platform.)

So where does that leave the hardware and OS wars? Back when it was DOS versus the Mac, it was easy for Mac users to snicker at keyboard prompts. But now PC users use Photoshop, Quark, Flash, and all the programs that started out on the Mac. And Apple knows it. Suddenly the fight is not for the only machine on people’s desk, it is for the second or third machine they buy.

After trying “Switch” as a campaign to sell the Mac on its own merits, Apple is assuming that the iPod might serve as a gateway drug, demonstrating the company’s legendary ease of use and seducing Windows users into adding a Mac to the den instead of another PC.

There is still a possibility that this will work. But now with even Steve Jobs using a PC at Macworld SF 2004 (which was, in the history of computing, a very significant moment) Apple’s strategy could also fail. But from where I stand, Apple couldn’t ignore the potent reality in the marketplace. If Apple continued to market the iPod and iTunes to only the Macintosh audience it would have been a horrible business move and irresponsible to their stockholders.

Curiously, though, even as this little white and silver thing has started to turn PC users’ heads, it’s also muddied the waters: while PC users are looking at Apple, Apple is salivating over the 90 plus percent of the world using Windows machines, and even writing different applications for the competing platform. Recently Apple touted iChat’s interoperability with Windows machines. What’s next, iChat for PC’s? iMovie, iCal, iDVD, or, shudder, OS X? After all, Apple can no longer say that the Windows OS or Intel hardware is not powerful enough to run Apple applications. It clearly is. And by picking Unix as the underlying platform for OS X, Apple acknowledged as much several years ago.

No matter what happens, the iPod has been fantastic for Apple - both for profits and hopefully, for its long-term vision. The iPod has proven that it is OK for Apple to sell Windows products, and established Apple as a maker of premium computer and electronic goods around the world.

Even though all of the above is true, I must admit that when I went a year ago into an Apple store to ask about the availability of the first OS-independent 10-gig iPods, I was a little depressed when Apple’s sales rep asked me if I wanted the Mac or PC model.

But that is what the iPod has done. It has ended the OS wars.

« Taking apart the iPod mini

Future Pods »

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I guess we’ll see an new round of OS wars like never before in a couple of years from now. When Apple will take OS X to the whole new level, Linux finally get a desktop it can be proud of and Microsoft fail to deliver the Longhorn. It’s not about peripherals (iPod, cameras, printers). Reliability,  privacy and security will rule.

Posted by Vlad Lebedev on February 20, 2004 at 9:39 AM (CST)


> Recently Apple touted iChat’s interoperability with Windows machines. <
Well, not really. iChat is an AOL AIM client and has always worked with PC using AIM clients. iChatAV extended IM to audio and video. AOL announced that their new AIM client on the PC now has the AV capabilities. Apple probably worked with AOL on the original iChat, they would have to as it belongs to AOL. Apple probably also helped AOL with the AV capabilities. It doesn’t end the OS war, it just provides interoperability. I doubt you’ll see iChat itself on a PC unless Apple develops it into its own platform with all kinds of other capabilities.

Posted by George on February 20, 2004 at 9:51 AM (CST)


You’re article is really a stretch!

Posted by Jim on February 20, 2004 at 9:53 AM (CST)


Unfortunately Apple’s insistence on higher prices (to protect higher gross margins) is what’s keeping a lot of people from switching. Add to that the very limited range of hardware or customization options within each product category (you can’t leave out a graphics card or HD and add your own cheaper or pre-existing device) and you have a lot of Windoze people saying “No thanks” to Apple products.

Their iPod and iTunes works on their DELL PC, plus they have tons more games and apps so why bother? Everyone gets virii on Windoze so its not that big of a deal, you clean it out or reinstall and go on with your work.

Until and unless Apple sacrifices its obscenely high gross margins or figures out how to make its products cheaper at the same margins you will never see Apple break double-digit (sales) marketshare. This isn’t the 80’s when everything else was a dinosaur compared to the GUI-fied Mac with Mac-only DTP and more.

Posted by Neo on February 20, 2004 at 10:08 AM (CST)


The iPod is not the first Apple product to do this. Way back in August 1993 Apple introduced the Newton MessagePad that worked with Mac’s and <gasp> Windows machines. This was the first Apple product I had ever owned. (I had used the computers plenty of times though) The Newton also got me to consider buying a Mac because of how wel thought out it was (It can still run rings around current PDA’s as far as functionallity, albeit the hardware is getting old)
This was also the product that soured me on Apple when Jobs stated he was keeping the Newton (pulled the spin-off Newton Inc. back into Apple) so Apple could devote the resources it needed, then killed the product. At that point, buying a Mac was not an option for me.

The iPod is the first Apple product I have purchased. As always, Apple has done an excellent job with it. I just hope they don’t allow someone else to take over the market. It would be ashame to have the iPod die out. I like Apple products but historically Apple is usually it’s own worst enemy.

Posted by Tom on February 20, 2004 at 10:11 AM (CST)


Yeah this article is definitely a stretch. By no means is the OS wars over and something as insignificant as an MP3 player is not goign to bring people over to Apple. I see this everyday, everyone loves the iPod but they don’t say to me, hey, I’m gonna switch over to Apple.

Price matters, if Apple is serious about taking some marketshare away, lower your damn prices. I’ve heard the stupid BMW argument and etc. What works for BMW isn’t going to work for Apple. Apple needs to start being more aggressive and Steve needs to take his head out of the sand.

Posted by Chomper on February 20, 2004 at 10:33 AM (CST)


As a matter of fact, the profit margin that Apple makes is much less than it used to be. That is, on most of its products. Currently, the highest margin is on the iPod. (which is purchased more than 50% of the time by Windows users) You are correct that you cannot purchase from Apple the way that you can from Dell. That is, essentially having a build it yourself experience but with out actually DOING it yourself. Apple is running ona different paradigm. They want you to have products in configurations that they know will work, and work with their apps. It is a different sort of experience. The DIY’ers are not the market, I would say.

Posted by Gregory Wostrel in Rhode Island, USA on February 20, 2004 at 10:55 AM (CST)


If anything has muddied the waters between operating systems it has to be the internet.

Posted by Recoil on February 20, 2004 at 11:09 AM (CST)


oops, correction to my earlier post.

The iPod is the first Apple product I have purchased since the Newton MessagePad.

<I didn’t see a way to edit my post>

Posted by Tom on February 20, 2004 at 11:17 AM (CST)


I do hope that Apple releases MacOS X for Intel. That is far more sensible than porting other iApps to Windows. I say that as a Windows+Athlon XP1700+ user with an iPod 40GB.

The Switch argument always depended on users switching not only 1.) operating systems but also 2.) hardware platform simultaneously—which only makes sense if you are completely starting from scratch. Ignore for a moment Apple’s relatively higher hardware acquisition cost.  So many users, like myself, have an existing, functional PC that we can’t justify buying everything all over again just so that we can run the MacOS and all its related apps. Moreover, I still run apps that have no Mac counterpart and seem poorly suited to both OS and processor emulation.

Apple has new appeal because 1.) the iPod is a masterpiece of engineering and design; 2.) Panther and the iApps are really starting to shine as the rough edges have been smoothed out (and users have been given a taste of that with iTunes for Windows); and 3.) Microsoft is mired in security deficiencies, a poor update managment process, a lack of new products/features for the next 2-3 years, and ever increasing costs/licensing constraints.

But Apple has a limited window of 2 years to attract significantly new developers and users before Microsoft and Linux on the desktop catch up.

Make it as easy and cost efficient as possible for users to switch. Break the switch apart into an OS switch and a hardware switch. If the G5s are as earthshatteringly great as the charts suggest, then, when I am ready for a new computer in a few years, I will buy an Apple G5 too.

Surely, the old argument that Apple can’t afford to release on Intel because it would jeopardize its hardware sales profits is signicantly less important today when a.) sales of software including not just the OS but iLife, .Mac and other software services; b.) hardware includes not just computers but the iPods and peripherals; and c.) forthcoming G5 hardware models look increasingly capable of competing even when the OS is available on other manufacturers machines/architectures.

Posted by mpc on February 20, 2004 at 11:19 AM (CST)


To sum: Increasing the OS user base will spread the cost of OS development across more users. Increasing the OS user base will increase the quantity, speed, and quality of applications on the Mac OS platform. Just the announcement of Mac on x86 alone could be worth hundreds of millions in free advertising. And increasing the brand loyalty through software will fuel future hardware sales.

Posted by mpc on February 20, 2004 at 11:19 AM (CST)


My boss switched from PC to a 20” imac months after buying an iPod for his wife, falling in love with it and keeping it, then buying another one for his wife. Total: $3000 to apple and one PC in the landfill.

Posted by Mr. Pink on February 20, 2004 at 11:38 AM (CST)


I think your article got it completely wrong.  iTunes on windows and iPod for windows doesn’t prove there’s no difference between the platforms—it proves that only Apple is delivering the usability and elegance that consumers want. Even if Microsoft could copy the look and feel of OSX entirely, it’s still driven by a “consumer hostile” mentality—more and more Windows (and it’s formats, i.e. Windows Media Player) is designed to lock content in a digital prison, and treat consumers like criminals.  And have you noticed that this year particularly, Windows is being hit with worms and viruses and adbots and spyware at an alarming rate?  The windows world has become a sewer.  Everyone knows how badly it stinks, and it’s getting worse.  So I couldn’t disagree more with the author of this article—the difference between Windows and OSX is like night and day, and becoming more so every day.

Posted by bruce on February 20, 2004 at 12:45 PM (CST)


If people are so damn worried about the profit margins on Macs, go look at MS’s last quaterly report. Their profits are 50% of their revenues. So who exaclty is gouging their customers?

Posted by David on February 20, 2004 at 12:56 PM (CST)


First, it’s not the Mac costs too much money - you are either not making enough or if you don’t really need much from a computer, you don’t need a Mac. Just like a Chevy Metro, if you just need basic transportation - like a PC, it’s cheap and does the minimal it’s supposed to. If you can’t afford more or don’t need more - nothing wrong with it.

When you can afford more - you can step up to the Porsche of computers. But that’s your choice and ours/mine to choose how we spend our money. Sure, it costs more but we think the VALUE we get is exponentially greater than just going by cost. If all you judge whether to buy a product is on cost - that seems pretty narrow-minded (presuming you’re not just in college), that’s your choice. You may choose to spend your dollars how you choose.

But don’t sneer at better things just because it’s within your means. Macs are costly because they are flat out better and really, much cheaper because they are several quantums better than a Pc but only a few hundred dollars more. In this case, you get EXACTLY what you pay for.

Take the Dell Mp3 player - looks somewhat like an ipod - main selling points - longer battery life and cheaper BUT ... it does NOT sync. And it goes silent when fast forwarding or in reverse. Or that it records low quality speech - sounds useful except you cannot EXPORT it even to a PC. Like many Pc products, it has ‘features’ galore but when it actually comes down to usefulness?

Because a PC cannot win on anything else, it can only get you to buy it because it’s CHEAP. Think about that and waht you stand for.

Posted by jbelkin on February 20, 2004 at 1:10 PM (CST)


All those programs the article mentions that started out on the Mac still run better on the Mac.  So, I don’t see the point.

By the way, ever tried running ProTools on a PC?  What a nightmare!

You’re right, but we all know MS is trying to control the Internet as well!

Posted by The Raven in USA on February 20, 2004 at 1:21 PM (CST)


The Linux market share is now larger than OSX.

The battle is no longer between MS and Apple, it is between MS and Linux. Apple is a bystander.

And what the fuck does “several quantums better” mean, jbelkin? A “quantum” is something so small you can not see it. Something infinitesimal. Like your sense of what you are talking about.

Posted by Linux on February 20, 2004 at 1:21 PM (CST)


I don’t see grandma and the kids fudging around with Linux anytime soon.  Linux may be making it in the enterprise, but there’s a long way to go before it becomes as threat to MS dominance of the consumer desktop.

Apple is not a bystander.  Apple’s OS X is rock solid without the sloppiness of Windows and without the complexities of Linux.

OS X is everything Linux wants to be.

Posted by The Raven in USA on February 20, 2004 at 2:21 PM (CST)


It would be a big engineering project for Apple to port to x86.  Having to deal with the myriad of hardware/shipset/pci card combinations that exist in the PC world.  Sure, they can qualify OS X/86 for a limited set of hardware combinations but then people would still complain it doesn’t work on their no-name boxes and cards and that getting brand name hardware is too expensive and we would be back to square one.  Point is, if you need work done, get a Mac.  If you want to contually upgrade and patch, get a PC with Windows.

Posted by Mr. Sensible on February 20, 2004 at 3:06 PM (CST)


Mr. Sensible sees the point clearly.  A Mac is not a piece of hardware and an OS (well technically it is ahha), but its a carefully designed experience.  Sure they could easily port OSX to x86 (in fact it could even exist), but then hardware becomes an unknown or unmanaged factor.  The “ease of use” would be tainted because they cannot manage the hardware configuration piece.

Apple has a nicely streamlined OS and some impressive hardware, but the key factor in the experience (i.e. “it just works”) is their control of everything involved.  They know what the hardware is and they work out the software bugs on the known hardware platform.

I would love to see OSX on x86 as much as the next geek, but IMHO the resulting fallout would tarnish their “it works” reputation.

Posted by Xenious on February 20, 2004 at 4:51 PM (CST)


Grandma and the kids are already “fudging with the complexities” of Linux - have you been to Walmart lately? Linux is so popular that they are now carrying two brands of Linux: Lindows and Suse.

You can get Linux PCs for $200!

Granted these are not powerhouses, but for 90% of what most people do with PCs - word processing, web browsing, playing music and video - they work fine.

Walmart is the lowest common denominator - if the Linux installed on these PCs wasn’t moronically simple to operate then Walmart wouldn’t do it - they don’t have the margins to deal with support issues.

Saying that OSX is a serious contender for Joe Q Public’s affections is sticking your head in the sand - Apple’s share of the OS market has declined since they were #1 in 1980… and it’s all been downhill since then with a continual slide into gathering obscurity. Now Apple ranks below Linux in terms of installations, and behind crappy clone vendors like Acer and Legend.

And finally, all OSes have issues. Saying OSX is “rock solid” flies in the face of OSX’s occasional proclivity for eating eternal filesystems.

Posted by Walmart on February 20, 2004 at 5:20 PM (CST)


hahahaha… I love how people say that Mac’s are more expensive… considering you don’t need to pay for and you get all this software included…

Oh yeah.. well I saved like 150 bucks on not having to buy Norton AntiVirus..

And deleting your harddrive after another worm is a big deal…

Besides.. PC users have been using the price thing for ages now.. and if you compare two similarly equipped comps mac/pc.. the macs are more affordable.. go try it..

most wintel guys would be shocked to see all the stuff that’s included on each and every mac… those firewire ports cost money you know..

So at the end of the day it has nothing to do with money… if apple wanted a great marketshare.. they’d put out a cheap MAc… they know this.. they don’t really care.. as long as they have a nice CONSUMER marketshare.. we’re not talking about fuckin’ bank teller boxes from legend here…

At the end of the day, win users cannot understand the mac users. They have NO IDEA how they think.

Posted by Mike on February 20, 2004 at 5:39 PM (CST)


“those firewire ports cost money you know.”

Firewire cards for PCs start at $7. Gosh that’s a lot. Yeah, that must be why Macs cost so much.

FW800, or “1394b”, well, they are more pricey. Try $50. Yeah, I still see why Macs cost so much.

Posted by Firewire on February 20, 2004 at 5:50 PM (CST)


Your kidding, right?  LMAO.  Mac’s are WAY more expensive.  Where can you get a 2.5 GHz Mac w/ a 80GB hard drive and 17” monitor for $500?  Oh wait, Mac doesn’t have 2.5 GHz computers and their cheapest models are around $1,500! 
Also, my PC came w/ way more software than ANY Mac does.  Norton Antivirus was free, Microsoft Encarta (encyclopedia), Streets & Trips (maps), Microsoft Money, Microsoft PictureIt, MusicMatch Jukebox, 2 DVD players, and tons more!  Also, Windows Media Player is so much more capable than iTunes and QuickTime player combined.  My 3.06 GHz PC w/ 160 GB hard drive and 512 MB RDRAM was cheaper than the 1.25 GHz G4 PowerMac.  And it has 2 firewire ports, 6 USB ports, and additional keyboard, mouse, parallel, and parallel printer port which is far more ports than the G4/G5’s.  Not to mention the applications (especially games) that aren’t available on Mac or they come out much later.

Posted by Cheech on February 20, 2004 at 5:56 PM (CST)


Great, Cheech you bought a $2000 game machine. My PS2 cost $199. But seriously, what graphics card did you get in your machine? Have you ever used iTunes or QT? I’m guessing not for very long. Are those 6 USB ports independent or two ports and 6 connections? Apple’s cheapest model is $799 (w 17” Monitor). The Dual 1.8GHz G5 is cost comparable to equivalent “high” brand PC (like IBM or HP). My Mac came with iMovie, iPhoto, iDVD, GarageBand, iTunes, Quicken, WorldBook, a couple of Pangea Games, OmniOutliner, AppleWorks, GraphicConverter, iChat, Mail, Addressbook, iCal, Preview, and Font Book (don’t need Norton AntiVirus, yet).

It’s good that you are happy with your purchase but not all people want just the cheapest machine.


Posted by David on February 20, 2004 at 6:47 PM (CST)


Idiots…get a grip ya’ll. Who really cares!
Buy what ya want…if you had a lfe you wouldn’t be posting here…nobody reads this shit except for you losers and me :-)
Normal people don’t care.

Posted by Frank on February 20, 2004 at 6:50 PM (CST)


Windows Media - you can also find these in QUicktime but I said “Why Bother?”

I’m A Mac Gamer

Old but still funny:

The Mac Experience

Posted by Mac Adverts on February 20, 2004 at 7:15 PM (CST)


A lot of my friends have done this, and I’m trying to get the money to do it as well.

We all have PC desktops.  We’re all gamers so it doesn’t make sense to have anything else at a LAN party.

But for mobility they all have and I’m getting a Powerbook.

We do a blend of the two.  It is possible to co-exist.

On my desktop I even have dual boot WinXP Pro and Linux Mandrake.

Can’t we all just get along?

Posted by Felix Leech in PA on February 20, 2004 at 8:48 PM (CST)


look…Apple made the first GUI, MS copied…everything that Apple does MS copies…so basically everyone who is buying cheap ass PCs are just buying mac knock offs…like iPod knock offs (samsung, dell etc etc) so…the Mac OS X is better. Period. and linux…linux are cheap computers for white trash people who cant afford more than 250$...

Posted by Ninja Turtl on February 20, 2004 at 10:25 PM (CST)


Turtl, you’re an idiot. Linux is flexible in that it can power $200 PCs. It can also power $50K workstations, and $500m supercomputers. Far more supercomputers use Linux than use OSX.

And you are wrong. Apple didn’t make the first GUI - that was Xerox. Apple and Microsoft both stole the idea from them.

“You’re ripping us off!”, Steve shouted, raising his voice even higher. “I trusted you, and now you’re stealing from us!”

But Bill Gates just stood there coolly, looking Steve directly in the eye, before starting to speak in his squeaky voice.

“Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”

Posted by lies on February 20, 2004 at 10:38 PM (CST)

31 guys are about as bad as the windows fans…until Apple puts out a os that will run on x86 I won’t be buying a mac. I will never pay someone to put a computer together when I can do it in a hour and save my self a couple grand. What makes you people think that if you spend more money your getting more?

So what you are really saying is that you “expensive” mac is way better than my “cheapy” pc. Which is a amd 2500+( running at 235x11), 512x2 Muskin black lvl2 3500+(2-2-11), asus a7n8x deluxe,ati 9800xt, audigy2, plexwriter cdrw,2 120 gig hds…I built my whole machine over a grand. Your telling my its a cheap piece of crap? Get a life. If your macs are “exotic” cars..then I guess mine is good old american muscle.

Posted by Halvie on February 21, 2004 at 6:40 AM (CST)


Halvie, if you want to use the car analogy - most people don’t want to build their own cars. They don’t want to fiddle with what they don’t entirely understand. If you know how to build a PC, good for you. I don’t, and don’t particularly have any interest in learning - just like I couldn’t care less about how to build a car.

Posted by Nathan on February 21, 2004 at 8:33 AM (CST)


Well, I guess this thread is a perfect demonstration of the fact that the OS Wars are definitely NOT over…

I like macs. They’re easy to use, have style, and set themselves apart from the crowd of otherwise boring computers. Why buy a MINI Cooper when a Ford Focus has more room and probably the same horsepower, and better gas mileage? A TAG Heuer watch costs $2000 and has fewer functions than a $50 Timex!

What the windows bean counters don’t see is that Apple DOESN’T want to be the fastest, cheapest, or most mass-produced computer. The consumer market is riddled with designer items that cost more than their cheap-o counterparts but have more style. As long as Apple keeps making stylish, easy-to-use computers that are fun to look at even when they’re turned off (my 17” iMac is a case in point), There will still be a strong apple following.

The mac zealots need to realize that on most tangible criteria by which computers are measured, the Mac will win some and lose some, but that’s OK, because what makes the Mac a high-end machine are the intangibles, like style, cool factor, and ease of use.

Posted by DrPete on February 21, 2004 at 9:12 AM (CST)


There are a few things that people aren’t considering:

I had a pc that was voted the ‘best pc for under a grand’ by a respectable pc mag. It actually cost me

Posted by JIMMY on February 21, 2004 at 9:13 AM (CST)


...... continued….....

I was a pc gamer, and yes, there are not many games out for the pc, (i like the video’s above - look at the links from ‘Mac adverts’) but at least halo is out for mac and pc, so i’m not too bothered. besides, there is a point in your life when you realise pc gaming is extremely sad, especially with gay headsets and mics! (all you counter strike geeks should be ashamed! ;)

I understand all the views from pc owners as I too was formely one, but it doesn’t take long on a mac, say 30 mins, before the GUI starts playing on your mind, and then you sit back down at your pc, and you feel inferior (deservedly so..)

The point is, I don’t regret switching for one second, I have virtual pc running on my mac (see [url=],[/url] as cool as this is, i only have to say ‘i can!’ msn messenger is on my mac, microsoft office, but you can’t beat safari for surfing the web and iapps are so intuitive.

(Although i do enjoy using windows media player just to remind me why i switched! it’s laughable!)

There is nothing more to it, mac is fashionable! And to think I used to have an 8 buttoned mouse! Why, when 1 button is so much cooler (especially when it’s a pebble like bluetooth one!).

I like the fact that die hard pc users aren’t going to switch, because that would bring the coolness to the masses. Some people are born to be geeks. No offence, you wouldn’t understand.

If you have a friend who has an imac, powerbook or G5, have a play, and then if you feel it inside, you will know that you are ‘allowed’ to own a mac.

gaming? - that’s what my xbox is for..(yeah, i know it’s microsoft)

oh plus, when i first switched, I thought the cost for OS software would be similar to MS OS.. As far as i can remember, Panther is about half the price of Windows, but yet is so much nicer to use. No horribe colour schemes. oh and no serial numbers, as mac seems to trust their users.

Sorry to ramble on. feel free to email me.


Posted by JIMMY on February 21, 2004 at 9:14 AM (CST)


You need to review your history on GUI development. Jef Raskin had this idea independently of Xerox but it took a visit to Xerox to convince Jobs that this was the wave of the future. Raskin and others added many features to the GUI that made it realizable (like drop down menus, QuickDraw, and overlapping windows). What Xerox did was great but don’t leave out Jef.

Posted by David on February 21, 2004 at 9:38 AM (CST)


Did anyone watch these videos? They are great!

Posted by videos on February 21, 2004 at 10:27 AM (CST)


Actually, Linux in Lindows and Lycoris has made Linux a desktop system.  Its actually pretty cool. And if your building your own PC, $50 for the OS is cheap and is a breeze to operate (for a newbie).  WalMart is selling complete Linux PC’s for under $250 (can you imagine).  I would agree that Windows will eventually be maimed by the economies generated by these deals. (don’t think it can’t happen, all giants fall).  I mean for $250 I get a bundle of funtionality and the internet.  Thats cheaper than just buying just the XP OS!!!!

But, even as I stare at my dead eMachine and contemplate Lindowing it, I am typing and iTuning on my G4 and would consider nothing less than my Mac.  Looks like it will just have to remain a glorified paper weight.

Being that Apple’s core is similiar to Linux, I wonder if they would port iTunes over to run on these linux boxes being sold at Wal-Mart?

Posted by Ron in Pittsburgh on February 21, 2004 at 12:13 PM (CST)


Get the price issue right!!

Once I saw an add for a $500 Dell. But after I went to their site and added in what you would get with an iMac 17” it ended up only being about $200 cheaper. It isn’t just firewire either! It’s all of the apps the Superdrive. And if you andd in set up time you get about even. There’s a lot of design technology that goes into designing an all in one like the iMac. Also and GHZ argument just show the lack of knowledge of the poster. Macs aren’t over-priced luxury Cars, if anything they’re correclty priced ones.

Bottom line - Buy what you want and don’t belittle those that make a different choice Mac, PC or Linux!

Posted by Bill on February 21, 2004 at 5:48 PM (CST)



It’s hillarious to see how worked up people get over their computer platforms. Such insecurities.

These companies are taking their 100s of millions and laughing their way to the bank while your simmer in your self-righteous loyalties.

Posted by Michael on February 21, 2004 at 10:56 PM (CST)


What’s all this talk of a possible OS X port to x86? It’s already done. A while ago, Apple had a feature-complete version of Jaguar running on Intel boxes. I figure they have Panther by now (unless they were hedging their bets on what to do about the G5). Sure, there are the issues of random configurations (PCI cards, drives, etc) but the core OS was/is there.,4149,1501062,00.asp

Posted by joel on February 22, 2004 at 1:29 AM (CST)


“If you look on ebay at the prices for 3 year old imacs, they do actually hold their value well”

You are not thinking this through.

When you are Dell build a PC you are assembling it from potentially millions of suppliers. This pricing pressure keeps the total system unit cost low.

In “3 years” or so, your collection of parts is then competing against the latest and greatest the market has to offer, both in terms of price and quality and technologies.

PCs advance at a steady, fast rate. Therefore your system depreciates quickly.

OTOH, when you buy a Mac you are not competing with anyone except Apple. They assemble a standardized suite of components and basically fix a model for a long period of time.

Macs do not steadily evolve, like PCS, and so depreciate. Instead, they tend to depreciate steps.

Every few years Apple refreshes the entire Mac line (think G4->G5, or OS9->OSX) and that advances the Mac state of the art.

It is these Apple-driven stages that cause price depreciation on a Mac. That is why a 3-year old Mac intosh sometimes holds its value well—if it is still comparable to current models—or is sometimes worth nothing.

Have you priced any early, non OSX-capable PowerMacs on eBay? They sell for next-to-nothing.

As a Mac owner since 1988 I can tell you that the secret to staying current in Macs at lowest possible cost is knowning exactly when to sell and when to buy a new Mac with the proceeds. You wait until about two-thirds through a current product cycle, just as new prices have dropped but older resale prices have not yet dropped for your previous generation.

PCs don’t suffer from this - they are always depreciating at a steady, constant rate, because of the commodification of their components and their individual rates of technological advance or obsolescence.

Posted by market realities on February 22, 2004 at 10:51 AM (CST)


I agree.

On a yearly basis, i will be looking to sell my mac and buy a more recent one, it’s a hobby, i enjoy it. I’m regularly on the apple website because i’m proud to be an apple owner.

I was just dissappointed when my

Posted by JIMMY on February 22, 2004 at 11:11 AM (CST)


it seems to me that everyone on here has a severe mac bias. You guys need to realize that 99% of America uses Windows XP and loves it. You continually tout the ease of use that OS X affords, but find any 12 year old kid and hand him a mac and it’s totally foreign to him. The Windows security issues aren’t creating a problem for your average consumer, the interface is familiar, and there are more options for hardware and software.

Personally, the day i run a system with OS X is the day i can assemble a custom Intel system for 5 to 600 dollars and not have to pay the ridiculous prices for Apple’s inferior hardware (yes, inferior… as “earth shattering” as you all believe the G5 to be, if you do a bargain analysis against the Athlon 64 chips its not so great). And for the people who don’t like or know how to build the system themselves they can buy a bargain system from Dell or Gateway and easily upgrade Video, RAM, and hdd space down the road. Apple traps people into a cycle of purchasing their overpriced configurations every few years.

I love my iPod, and i’ll admit that i wouldn’t mind having a Mac around the house too, but at those prices most people are glad to stick with their friendly customizable PC’s

Posted by your average american on February 22, 2004 at 5:44 PM (CST)


Your Average American:
I hope you not refering to your lack of education with your screenname.

1. Windows XP does NOT command 99% of the market! Not even all Windows verisons together. Macintosh itself is supposed to be 3% (more if you change the “lifetime” parameter - as Macs traditionally have a longer usage lifespan) - not to mention other OSes.

2. As far as I understand, the Athlon 64 CANNOT run XP, because XP is NOT 64 bit compatible.

3. Check your QUALITY PeeCee company prices of the same configuration against the macs. and you’ll see the price difference isn’t as much as you think. Macs are generally(not always of course) ahead of the technology/UI and has a smaller market, so of couse you’re going to pay a little more. Like you to prove the “inferior hardware” statement!

4. Apple’s configurations are mainly targeted at the casual home users. Their Pro(sumer) level PowerMac is quite configurable. CPU, RAM, Graphics Card, HD, Removable Media, other I/O, wireless, etc. I’m not quite sure what yo would want to configure or put in after-market that you can’t w/ a Powermac.

5. Apple doesn’t trap anyone. The PC industry is large and diverse - you can buy what you want.
Here are the Macs I’ve bought over the years.
Used MacPlus - late 1988
Performa 460 - early 1994
PPC PowerTower Clone refurb. - mid 1997
Orig iBook - 1999
I(ce)Book - 2003

I wouldn’t consider that every “few years” or anything quicker than any PeeCee user. Also, Mac have traditionally been much more backwards compatible. I was running System 7.5 on my MacPlus (Try running Win 95/98 on a 8088 PC). I’m also running MacOS 10.2 on my old iBook for my wife. The G3 was out with the P2. (Try running XP on a P2 - 2K runs poorly enough)

Fact is - if you prefer a PeeCee over a Mac or Linux over a PeeCee or Unix over Linux or whatever; state it as opinion don’t pass it off as fact. Didn’t anyone teach you that in school??

btw - I’m a former Network operator/tech. and have a master’s in Educational Technology, so I’ve used a variey of machines with a variety of OSes and NOSes. I prefer Macs - but I don’t think everyone should. Just don’t pass of opinion as truth!

Posted by Bill on February 22, 2004 at 8:06 PM (CST)


he OS wars are definitely not over just judging from this post, Windows fans, Mac fans, and now the Linux fans all arguing endlessly over which OS is better. Some time go to a car show and walk up to one of the guys with a Ford Shelby Mustang and ask him whether or not his car is faster than that GTO a few rows down, now wait for his answer and then go down the line and ask the guy with the GTO the same question. Two entirely different answers steped in mythology and torque equations.
The Mac vs. Windows argument is the same. Frankly, I love the Mac, I enjoy OSX

Posted by Hulugu on February 23, 2004 at 1:33 AM (CST)


Bill: Just FYI, Athlon 64 does run XP.  The neat thing about the new Athlons is that they run both 32-bit and 64 bit apps and OSes.  You can’t take advantage of the 64-bit nature of the Athlon64 until the new 64 bit XP comes out, but then, OSX is not fully 64 bit either, so again, it’s a draw.

I use all three major platforms, personally.  Each has it’s pros and cons, but each excels in certain given areas.  I choose to take the advantages of each.  Granted, not everyone can afford the luxury.

Posted by compudude on February 23, 2004 at 3:12 PM (CST)


Hopefully Jobs will lose his controll complex and decide to port OS X over to x86 so he can actually tap into that 90+% desktop market.  The reason why he doesn’t want to do this is quality issues & maybe cannibalization, but I don’t think the latter would be true, on the contrary, it would just expand his market and increase revenue albeit with lower profit margins.  Now for the quality issue, it’s true that we can’t expect the same flawless experience of OS X, iLife, et al, on pc architecture with its miriad of commoditized components from various vendors, but who cares?  It will be good enough, and if its not, people will get hooked onto OS X and everything that it brings to the table and decide they should switch to Mac hardware.

Posted by haig on February 23, 2004 at 3:20 PM (CST)


I want to point that Os X’s Darwin is now available to without the bells and whistles of phanther or juagar.  Now for PC x86 or PPC.

At the moment using linux it’s great at no cost.  And, being that Xp home or Xp Pro is just to expensive for a home pc.

Just, imagine how many people approaching when I’m working in the computer store and choosing to buy a new pc because is xp demands juice.  Well, mostly come Xp.  Man I never heard to just run an OS you need to get the latest pc to run xp’s package and it’s system hungry kernel.  Meanwhile, linux and BeOs is one my favorite for it’s 64bit support all filesystems and being the only pervasive multithreading Os it’s great.  Be died out and sold it’s source code to some company.  Now there many variants of Be out there just as Linux distributions list keep adding up.  Even is getting into Os; linux that’s right!

I stick to linux and BeOS because I enjoy tweaking and nothing that allows me to change the way I want it to for the cost of what?, I ain’t going to jumping into it


Darwin from Apple:

Posted by Victor on February 23, 2004 at 11:33 PM (CST)


“The Linux market share is now larger than OSX.”

Not on the desktop.

Posted by pb on February 24, 2004 at 2:19 AM (CST)


Well my iPod crashed the other day, and typical of mac, there was nothing i could do about it. I had to wait for the batteries to die. Ease of use means removing stuff, on the ipod, a physical button turning it on and off would have saved alot of bother.

Posted by Steven Beeching on February 24, 2004 at 11:25 AM (CST)


I’m a windows user and i dont hate mac, i cant see why anyone would.

Im a programmer which is an obvious reason i dont own a mac, seeing as about 3% of people own them.

Anyhow i built my PC for around about

Posted by BlackICE on February 24, 2004 at 11:56 AM (CST)


Does anyone else see the irony of this article? Or maybe it has broken the ceasefire of the “OS Wars”

Posted by struddie on February 25, 2004 at 1:13 PM (CST)


I response to a previous post, I became a Mac user because of the iPod. As soon as the iPod became functional on a PC, I picked it up and absolutely loved it. I was instantly converted into an Apple enthusiast and went out and picked up an iBook as soon as my HP notebook died.

The article is a little far fetched though…

Mac’s have always come across as trendy and avant-garde, yes they are more pricey but if they were just as cheap as a Dell and everyone owned them, would they still have the same effect? What makes Gucci more appealing then Gap? The styles are not mainstream, they are carfefully designed, strong brand recognition and a heftier price tag. Does the heftier price tag matter? No people still buy it, because there is a market for it… 

Mac users are a certain kind of bread, we will pay more for a more well thought computer. I want a reliable notebook that runs all the programs I need it to. Sure there are more programs available for PC, but when all the ones I really need are on Mac, what’s the big deal? I get to work on a cool looking machine!

Posted by Brandon on February 25, 2004 at 4:55 PM (CST)


I have a Windows PC. I have to spend about $400 every six months to upgrade the hardware so it will keep running the software that comes out, i.e., games and bloatware from Microsoft. I also have a Mac G4. I’ve used it to build complex web sites and do image editing and design. For over three years that Mac ran flawlessly without my touching the inside of the box,except for adding a 500MB RAM chip and a second video card so I could have two monitors.

My discarded PC hardware is worth almost nothing when I take it out. I just bought a new Mac for $1,000, and sold my old one for over $600. For a three-year-old computer. Score goes to Apple for hardware that lasts for years.

Posted by grtgrfx on February 25, 2004 at 6:53 PM (CST)


My friend if you are spending $800 annually upgrading a PC just to run MS Office then you are being ripped off.

Office runs fine on those $200 Walmart PCs - I know because I set one up recently for a relative.

If you are spending $800 annually to run the latest games then that’s your business. In these days a high-end graphics card can cost $500 new. ut in a year a better card costs $200.

Personally I think you’d be better off buying a PS2. And then upgrading your console every few years.

And that’s a better model of how Apple pricing works. PCs are continuous while Apple’s are staged.

Every few years Apple changes their product suite and sets a new standard price - usually around 30% higher than equivalent PC prices.

Apple prices tend to stay fixed for around 2-4 years because Apple fixes them that way. Then they refresh their line and prices drop like a stone.

Just like consoles. Because they are both proprietary platforms controlled by a single company with absolute pricing power.

Posted by brooklyn bridge on February 25, 2004 at 7:06 PM (CST)


Interesting article, although I can’t help thinking it simplifies the situation somewhat. But lets face it, as soon as the 2nd generation ipod arrived, there was suddenly no reason why PC users shouldn’t buy one. Obviously prior to that there were 3rd party software packges to link a Mac ipod to a PC, but for some it was not ideal.

Basically, the reason people buy ipods is because they want the best MP3 player available. With Steve Jobs’ focus on design (and let’s face it, there are some gorgeous apple products out there), the only thing holding them back from a larger market share is the Mac OS. The (perceived) problems with using PC software on a Mac are a real issue for mainstream hardware users. I’m talking about those users who, although they know what they’re doing on a PC, aren’t particularly ‘techy’ people. If Steve Jobs could get over this hurdle, even just the looks of Apple products would ensure a much larger market share, even with the price premium.

IMHO, of course

Posted by Nick on February 26, 2004 at 1:07 AM (CST)


I’ve used Macs since 84, and owned several since 87.  I’ve also used and owned PCs since 97.  I also own a 3G 20GB iPod.

Until Apple builds a G5 iMac without built-in video and prices it at $499, they will not get the same sales that Dell and e-Machines get.

We need a cheapie Mac without the DVD-R and built-in video.  When you can buy a 17” monitor new for $60 people find it hard to justify $800.

Something that I’ve noticed, 95% of the consumers out there do not care about quality.  They want the $45 DVD player and think it’s just as good as a $300 one.  It’s clear it’s not, but they paid $45 and don’t care.  Not until they are buying a car….  Then, suddenly they look at bang for buck.

Posted by trancelgic on February 26, 2004 at 11:40 AM (CST)


i would love to see osX for the pc…. give those borderline retarded dell users a choice!

Posted by elpha on February 26, 2004 at 10:27 PM (CST)


Wow… I’m thing on buying a new iBook but if you have to buy a new one every 4 to 5 years should I? I must admit that it is wonderful it come with all the software you need from the get go and really simple to use (the iPod… I love it’s simplicity and power) however I don’t thing I can aford a new mac every 5 years. Any advice?

P.S. Be nice to each other pls.

Posted by Jules on February 27, 2004 at 8:53 PM (CST)


this is sad… I have seen very few facts in here. just assumptions and stats pulled out of people’s asses.
Linux is growing though, many people I know are converting to linux, and linux probably has the best market position in my opinion. the fact that most people have windows pcs, and the fact that windows and linux can be install on dual boot(you can use Linux on the same computer, and keep windows there too until you want to actually uninstall it) will allow people to convert to linux much easier. converting to mac is a hassle because you need to buy an entire new computer which will probably be expensive and which many applications wont support at all.
so I see Linux as growing to overtake windows and mac soon enough. the fact that OSX cant dual boot with pcs will be it’s ultimate demise. the ability to try an operating system, without actually buying a new computer, or even getting rid of your old one, is an incredible advantage.
soon enough the OS wars will be not be windows or mac? but instead “which Linux distro should I use?” (the linux distro wars are actually in progress right now :-$ )

Posted by itsmekirby on February 28, 2004 at 11:47 AM (CST)


Dual booting is *so* 90s. Virtualization is where the smart money is, kids.

You can run virtual PC on OSX and run Windows and/or Linux in a window. Likewise on Windows you can run Linux in a window. One day, probably OSX as well. Finally, on many platforms you can run VMWare and run OSX, Windows, Linux, and lots of other OSes, all at the same time.

I think the growing trend towards virtualization makes the “OS Wars” a relic of history. I don’t think the iPod has or had anything to do with it.

Posted by virtual pc on February 28, 2004 at 2:30 PM (CST)


Good Article. As a life long PC user, I have always laughed at everything apple. But when the Ipod came out for the PC, I just couldnt resist checking it out. There is no doubt in my mind that the ipod is the best HD MP3 player on the market today. After getting an ipod I have to admit, i dont look at apple with quite as much disdain as I used to. Quite the opposite, I often find myeslf browsing to see what they will release next. Maybe apple is “bridging the OS gap” per se after all, showing that apple is not such an “exclusive” user group anymore.

Posted by Maverick on March 1, 2004 at 1:01 PM (CST)


Somehow I can’t help but think that this is just some intentional trolling disguised as journalism, and I

Posted by Lee on March 4, 2004 at 11:40 AM (CST)


I just chuckle at some of these posts. So, tell me windoze iPoder’s, if price is such a concern, why did you buy an iPod?  Long live Apple, because without them you’d still be picking your asses with a c prompt.

Posted by CSD on March 11, 2004 at 6:55 PM (CST)


I just chuckle at some of these posts. So, tell me windoze iPoder’s, if price is such a concern, why did you buy an iPod?  Long live Apple, because without them you’d still be picking your asses with a c prompt.

Posted by CSD on March 11, 2004 at 6:56 PM (CST)


I just chuckle at some of these posts. So, tell me windoze iPoder’s, if price is such a concern, why did you buy an iPod?  Long live Apple, because without them you’d still be picking your a$$es with a c prompt.

Posted by CSD on March 11, 2004 at 6:56 PM (CST)


I just chuckle at some of these posts. So, tell me windoze iPoder’s, if price is such a concern, why did you buy an iPod?  Long live Apple, because without them you’d still be picking your a$$es with a c prompt.

Posted by CSD on March 11, 2004 at 6:57 PM (CST)


OS X is crap! I use a G3 450 w/ OS 9.2.2 and it is THE BEST! OS X is just another crappy UNIX clone. And the G5 architecture is dumb. Apple will NEVER be able to make it scale above 2.0 GHz, and IBM will be sticking with the Power4 for many years to come… no G6 anytime soon, unless it’s a SPARC or something goofy like that.

Posted by KingFlathead on March 15, 2004 at 8:30 PM (CST)

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