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iPontificateThe Mac is Dead, Long Live iPod!

by - June 1st, 2004

The Mac is Dead, Long Live iPod!

That's the word from a lot of so-called Mac pundits concerning the news last week that Apple is creating a separate iPod division within the company. Once again, these guys must be in need of a boost in readers, because we all know that the easiest way to get those page views up is to predict the demise of Apple. The Mac Observer's Apple Death Knell Counter is evidence that a lot of "journalists" recognize this fact.

So, is Apple dumping the Mac for the iPod? Absolutely, unequivocally, no! By spinning the iPod into its own division, Apple is ensuring that iPod development will be as focused as possible to best counter the upcoming threats from companies like Sony who wish to take a piece of the iPod pie.

Why is this necessary? To see why, we should review the brief history of our favorite white (and pink, gold, silver, blue, and green) music player. The iPod was originally created to drive Mac sales in an effort to expand the digital hub. The digital hub concept is using your Mac to manage your photos, music, and movies. You use your Mac in this scenario to interface with your DV camcorder, digital camera, and MP3 player, and then use Apple's way cool apps to manage your media.

Apple didn't enter the camcorder and camera market because Sony and Canon and others had that wrapped up. However, the consensus within Apple was that no one yet had created a truly compelling MP3 player. So they created the iPod, and with it a cultural revolution.

Apple quickly noticed that a lot of people wanted an iPod who didn't have a Mac. So, they did what any savvy business would do, they attempted to leverage the iPod to increase Mac sales, which at the time was Apple's only game. If Apple was to grow, then there was only one thing to do: sell more Macs.

Did it work? To a degree. Some Windows users saw the cool industrial design of the iPod and made the Switch, but there was no mass exodus from Windows. However, there was good news even so.

The iPod was becoming so popular that it became clear that there was another way to grow Apple: sell more iPods.

From this realization came the iTunes Music Store, and iPods that worked with Windows and Mac, right out of the box. The iPod was a money maker in its own right. Where the iPod originally was a tool to sell more Macs, now the iTunes Music Store is a tool to sell more iPods.

Since the iPod's mandate is no longer to grow Mac sales, but to sell more iPods, it only makes sense to separate development and to stay focused in this new and potentially turbulent market.

More Mac sales will be a beneficial side effect of the cool new devices we will surely see from the new iPod division, but Steve Jobs knows that each product has its own target audience and must succeed on its own merits. Most importantly, each product is a money maker, and that is the bottom line.

Macs are profitable for Apple. As long as they continue to be, Apple will continue to make them. Spinning off the iPod to its own division was a measure to ensure the success of the iPod, not to get out of the Mac business, as has been suggested by many.

So, there you have it. Since this column wasn't about the impending doom of Apple, it probably won't get as many hits as a column that is; but page views be damned, Apple isn't going anywhere.

Sorry to bring you such good news.

is an Idiot. He is the co-founder of IWS Interactive, a New York (and now Houston) based development company for Macintosh. Now he spends his time writing about, developing for, and getting clients to buy Macs. Oh, yeah, and he recently had a kid. So his days are filled with taking care of little Jack, then playing with his Mac. He wouldn't have it any other way.

You can send your comments directly to Gary, or you can also post your comments below.

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