The Future of the Mac After Lion

| Ted Landau's User Friendly View

I’ve spent the past few weeks using a telephoto lens to zoom in on OS X Lion, examining all its nooks and crannies. For a change of pace, I’ve decided to shift to my wide-angle lens and look at the bigger picture: Where exactly is Apple heading with Lion? What can the new version of OS X tell us about the future of the Mac?

In my opinion, Mac OS X Lion represents a major turning point for Apple. I believe it is the most significant upgrade to Mac OS X since its initial release. My conclusion is not based on the number nor quality of the new features in Lion. Rather, I base it on the “message” carried by the most notable changes in the new OS. That message is: “iOS-ification,” the implementation in Mac OS X of features and philosophy originating in iOS.

To see examples of specific iOS-based features, look at Launchpad, full-screen apps, Mac App Store, Resume, the expansion of multi-touch gestures, and sandboxing of apps. For many Mac users, these will be welcome additions, importing to the Mac the best of what made the iPad such a hit. They will agree with Apple’s implied view that these new features offer improved security and hide unneeded technical details from the typical user. Others will see these features in a negative light. They will complain that Lion constrains access to the contents of your drive and to helpful technical features. To these critics, the result is a “dumbed down” version of Mac OS X.

Regardless of your viewpoint (and I fall somewhere in the middle of these extremes), there is no doubt that Lion has introduced some obstacles to previously available technical data and features. Here are a few examples…

Lion hide-and-seek

When you select More Info in About This Mac in Lion, you no longer get the detailed system report that appeared in Snow Leopard. It’s still there — it just takes a bit more effort to find it. As noted by Melissa Holt, you can get to it by clicking the System Report button in the Overview display — or by holding down the Option key and selecting System Information from the Apple menu.

As noted by John Martellaro, Safari 5.1’s display of cookie data, in Preferences > Privacy > Details, no longer lists the details of expiration dates, contents, etc. you saw in the 5.0 version. To access this information, you must now go through a convoluted series of steps that begins with enabling the “Show Develop menu in menu bar” option in Preferences > Advanced. [Safari 5.1 also runs in Snow Leopard.]

The Home directory’s Library folder is now invisible in Lion. You can still access it, if desired. In fact, as pointed out by Dan Frakes, there are at least 19 ways to go there. For example, as I cited in a previous column, if you hold down the Option key when selecting the Go menu in the Finder, a Library option will appear.

As explained by Apple, “Many folders in the System domain that were previously owned by the admin group are now owned by the wheel group.” This includes the Applications folder. One consequence of this is that it is now more difficult to remove files from Applications. Simply dragging an application icon to your Desktop, for example, just creates an alias of the file. You’ll need to Command-drag (and possibly authenticate as well). In the case of some programs pre-installed by Lion, even a Command-drag may be rejected.

You may have also discovered that the Lion installer application is moved to the Trash after the installation is over. Unless you remember to save it, you’ll have to redownload it from the Mac App Store if you need it again (typically this requires holding down the Option key when selecting the Purchases category).

Even Mac OS X Lion Server, which is not intended for casual users, apparently shows the effect of this same trend. As John Rizzo writes in InfoWorld, “It’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that Lion Server is not built for those of us in IT. Many routine tasks that were formerly a mouse click away now can be accomplished only via the Unix shell command line. Worse yet, some routine tasks are no longer possible at all.” 

A look back

To appreciate why these changes represent a dramatic shift in Apple’s direction, we first need to take a brief trip back in time, to the origins of Mac OS X more than a decade ago.

Mac OS X 10.0 was derived from the NeXT OS, which itself was a shell built over a UNIX base. The major innovation in the initial release of Mac OS X was Aqua, the graphical user interface (GUI) that gave Mac OS X a look and feel that was familiar and comfortable to existing Mac users — and generally easier to navigate than NeXT. Even at this early stage, Apple began this game of hiding the more technical underbelly of the OS from the casual user. Case in point: The UNIX directories were invisible in Aqua. For those who sought access to the UNIX level, Apple offered the Terminal application. This decision seemed entirely reasonable, and I don’t recall hearing any complaints from users on either side of the fence.

Over the following years, Apple has kept pushing in this same direction. For example, Mac OS X’s über-technical Directory Utility (and its NetInfo Manager predecessor) were initially located in /Applications/Utilities. Starting with Snow Leopard, Apple changed things so that accessing Directory Utility now requires a ten-step procedure that begins with a trip to the Accounts (Users and Groups, in Lion) System Preferences pane. Again, as most users will never touch this utility (other than perhaps to enable the root user), there have been few, if any, objections to this move.

Back to the present

With Lion (as I have already indicated), this trend has become much more aggressive. This is more than just a quantitative increase. There is a qualitative philosophical shift as well.

Prior to Lion, there has been a tacit assumption that the first priority of an operating system, any operating system, is to accommodate those at the more technically-skilled end of the spectrum. With the Mac, it is certainly true that OS X provides a GUI designed to appeal to lesser skilled users, the so-called “rest of us.” This has always been a major part of the Mac interface. But, in the end, there remained a sense in which the burden was on novice users to stay out of trouble. The Library folder in the Home directory remained visible for ease of access for troubleshooting and such. Users who didn’t know what to make of this folder, and were perhaps intimidated by its contents, were simply advised to stay away.

No more. In Lion, more than in any previous OS version, the priority is given to consumer users. The burden is now on technically-skilled users to find out how to get where they want to go. It’s hard to argue with this logic. In fact, I’m a bit surprised Apple took this long to get here. But here we are.

Like it or not, things are only going to get worse (or better, depending upon your perspective). Future iterations of Mac OS X will be more and more “consumer-friendly” — as in “like an iPad.” In contrast, the options to tinker with lower levels of the OS or customize the OS in ways not supported by Apple will steadily diminish — again, as in “like an iPad.” As I wrote in a previous column, we may even be looking at the eventual deprecating of the Finder.

One more thing: the Mac Pro

What does all of this imply about the future of the Mac Pro?

For the moment, the Mac Pro is the only model in Apple’s line-up that has not yet been updated to include a Thunderbolt port. Is such an update coming? My guess is yes, almost certainly; probably next month. Despite the fact that the Mac Pro makes up only a small percentage of Mac sales, it retains advantages that no other Mac can match. It’s the only Mac where you still have easy access to the internals, where you have an option for two internal optical drives (as opposed to the Mac mini and MacBook Air, which come with zero), that can have as many as 4 internal hard drives, that can accommodate PCI cards, and (unlike the iMac) gives you the flexibility to choose your own display. I don’t believe Apple is ready to abandon the segment of the market that wants such features. At least not yet. But I won’t be shocked if I am wrong.

I still believe the demise of the Mac Pro is coming. Within two years at most, probably sooner. Almost two years ago, I wrote a column titled “Mac Pro: R.I.P.” — where I suggested that the Pro’s days might well be numbered. I was roundly castigated by readers for my prediction. Times have changed. With the arrival of the iPad, the expanding popularity of the MacBook Air, the demise of Xserve, and the almost complete absence of the Mac Pro from any of Apple’s current marketing — you have to wonder. Even Apple’s OS X Lion Server web page predominantly shows the software running on MacBooks and iMacs — not a Mac Pro. Want to buy a Mac with Lion Server pre-installed? You’re directed to the Mac mini rather than the Pro. Suddenly, the demise of the Pro doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

And now there is Mac OS X Lion. This is not an OS built with the Mac Pro in mind. Mac Pro users are not the sort that will welcome or benefit from the shift to increased simplicity and consumer-priority discussed here.

The Apple train is heading in a new direction. It isn’t one where the Pro wants to go. I expect that the end result will be that Apple leaves the Pro off at a station along the way. Sure, Apple will lose some Pro customers that won’t want an iMac as an alternative. But Apple won’t care. There will be more than enough customers staying on board, eager to follow Apple to its new Lion/iPad destination. Or, to use one more metaphor, Apple is evolving to an ever more consumer-oriented company. As a result, the Mac Pro is on the “endangered species” list.

Comments

Lee Dronick

?iOS-ification,? the implementation in Mac OS X of features and philosophy originating in iOS.

Putting previous versions into the ossuary.

As noted by John Martellaro, Safari 5.1?s display of cookie data, in Preferences > Privacy > Details, no longer lists the details of expiration dates, contents, etc. you saw in the 5.0 version. To access this information, you must now go through a convoluted series of steps that begins with enabling the ?Show Develop menu in menu bar?

I use Cookie which is available in the App Store. It has a few quirks and the documentation is sparse, but it is handier when it comes to managing cookies. It kind of sucks that we need to buy a 3rd party product to better manage privacy, but never the less here we are.

Hopefully we will be pleasantly surprised by what Apple does with the Mac Pro line. Maybe they will offer them with a more geeky OS than Lion.

I am liking Lion more and more every day, but as with anything new there is a learning curve.

mhikl

Kudos, Ted.

There is so much reluctance to earnest praise these days. We seem to want to pick and piddle on any idea, new or renewed. It?s endemic to every conceivable idea put forth. To me, Lion is perfectly wonderful. It challenges me, it reminds me to think outside the box, it orders me to experiment. A number of help articles at TMO have been teaching old lessons overlooked and they remind me that to assume to know it all is to know nothing.

We need to stand up to strengths with out attaching buts and riders to everything. Sometimes it just takes stone, to use one of Bosco?s turns of phrase, to take a stand without summarizing all the possible faults that might pop up along any path taken. Frost took a path less travelled by, wondered what the other might have offered but made a stance and was not sorry that he had. Such is the sojourn with Apple. It offers up so many possibilities for those who chose upon its path.

dlstarr7

Ted - what is your guess to the length of time before we have iOSX?  A combined OS for all Apple devices?

Ross Edwards

The Mac Pro as it currently exists will certainly not stay around… at a very minimum, I’d expect a far smaller-footprinted box that maintains expandability and access but takes advantage of shrinking components.  But I’m not sure Apple will ever drop the notion of a top-end pro system, for a number of reasons.

1. Small market?  Reflected in price premiums.  Apple can keep up some pretty niche stuff if the margin is right.  Pros in most professions already expect to pay a premium for tools that aren’t of any use to consumers.  Ask a professional stenographer what the latest USB-enabled stenograph decks cost.  Or just Google it.  Even Steve Jobs’s eyebrow would go up at seeing $35 worth of trivial electronics with minimal embedded software selling for $450 because the market is so niche.  Or look at music—the top guys don’t go to Guitar Center and whip out their Visas.  The manufacturer builds what they want, and they pay for it, either in money or endorsement rights.  People who need a Mac Pro to make a living will grumble that it’s several grand at the bottom end to get in, but it’s the cost of doing business… and Apple knows it.

2. For some professions, the Mac Pro is and remains the only adequate option by such a margin that even the thought of having to switch brings on a violent outcry.  Witness pro video processing, and the debacle of FCPX.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy, perhaps the most ambitious cinematic undertaking in recent memory, was postproduced on Mac Pros and only Mac Pros. (Well, Power Macs or whatever they were called at the time WETA built their farm.)  What will tomorrow’s Peter Jackson (which might, in fact, still be Peter Jackson) use to make tomorrow’s ambitious technical masterpiece, but Mac Pros?

3. In this economy it doesn’t really come readily to mind, but there are people with resources who demand performance for their own preferences, who will always pay to have a Mac Pro with a pile of Apple’s best displays and all the blingest accessories they can get.  Some people play golf, collect Kachina dolls, or lift weights as a primary hobby.  And some, despite (or because of) the cost, recreate via ultrapremium computer workstations.  Apple is pretty good at figuring out where they might be leaving money on the table, and finding a way to go get it.  Power users are no exception.

4. Finally, what if Apple “won?”  What if people finally gave up on PC sh*tboxes and Apple had an iPad-like market dominance in the PC realm?  (And with the iPad itself increasingly squeezing the PC’s role, this may be closer than we realize, though business inertia and governments with billion-dollar Dell and HP procurements are going to be a tough dam to breach.)  If Apple owned 95% of the consumer computing market in whatever form, do you really think the server farms, video labs, libraries, bioengineering firms, and so forth would stick with Windows or Linux if neither was significant in the consumer market (and thus no economy of scale existed anymore in pricing)?  If Apple’s grand plan is, as it appears, to revolutionize computing and end up the last vendor standing, there is still going to be a need for their product on the service side of the equation.

*cough*

Now, okay, I admit these factors won’t be true for everyone.  I am fortunate in that my profession is writing and the non-pro Macs are adequate to meet my needs.  (Though Pages still isn’t, making Office a sad necessity mumble mumble.)  But I suspect the need for a truly top-end Mac will persist for users that need, well, the heavy lifting capability that only a truly top-end Mac can provide.  Its precise form may yet surprise us, but I think it’ll be there for the foreseeable.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Sometimes it just takes stone, to use one of Bosco?s turns of phrase, to take a stand

Stones, plural, you little piss ant. Real men have two of them, plural, stones with two s-es, one at the beginning and one at the end. And please, stones is not when you and RonMacGuy get up on stage as members of the folk duet Two Girls, One Cup and count two stones between you.

Gareth Harris

I see this coming too. BUT As a member of the computing oldtimers [I remember 55 gallon drums full of 12AU7s. I am afraid that if I go into a computer museum they won’t let me out.], I will hold on to my Mac Pro until they pry it out of my cold dead hands.

I represent a very limited set of Apple customers - scientific and engineering users. I use a Mac Pro with 4 3.0 GHz cores, 16G ram and four disk drives with backups attached via FireWire 800 and a 30” monitor. Although I have written operating systems including UNIX clones myself, I use Apple UNIX now because it is a good implementation of BSD that somebody else takes care of. 

I agree in making computers used out in the field as stable and idiot proof as possible, but maybe Apple should provide a special technical/root login, where the hood is unlocked, instead of making simple tasks difficult. After all, no matter what you do, nature will always evolve a better idiot.

danf

I guess the message is that anyone who actually makes a living on apple hardware should begin transitioning somewhere else. 

For me personally, I’m spending more time with linux.

The thing that is most irksome is how gratuitous this is.  Actions lacking all real necessity.  Hiving off certain classes of customers and declaring them unimportant. 

Interesting comments on the new lion server.  I guess if I am going to have to invest time in the command line, I may as well focus on Linux

Lee Dronick

I guess the message is that anyone who actually makes a living on apple hardware should begin transitioning somewhere else.?

What do you do for a living?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

The thing that is most irksome is how gratuitous this is.? Actions lacking all real necessity.? Hiving off certain classes of customers and declaring them unimportant.?

There’s a solution to this problem. Just be like everyone else here and pretend Apple didn’t just shoot your dog. Here, try it… The only people this is going to bother are the geeks. Doesn’t that feel better? Smart people suck anyway. All they do is make stuff complicated. If not, try this: This is a taste of the future! That solves it for most people. Who doesn’t want to see the future? Well, besides dead people anyway. Now that you’re holding it right, you can continue to spend money on Apple stuff and feel good about it.

vpndev

The change in ownership of /Applications from “admin” to “wheel” is probably due to MacDefender trojan. That made painfully clear what many of us had complained about, unsuccessfully, to Apple for years - changes could be made to /Applications without anyone noticing or any authentication/authorization.

I see this change purely as a security issue rather than OS X evolution towards iOS

p.s. for those unfamiliar with the various Unix groups, “wheel” is the group that corresponds to user “root”. All the critical system directories have long been owned by user “root” and group “wheel” (often written root:wheel) and this just extends that rule to Applications

vpndev

I just noticed another interesting change. Since Lion opens application the way they were before, OS X can close an application that has no windows.

It has been very hard to get the “quit” vs. “close” message across to Windows-switchers and now we don’t have to. Yay!

Ion_Quest

I would expect Pro to be replaced by a Semi-Pro mini-tower with a single multi-core processor.  Price starting @ $800 including keyboard and mouse.  I dream-cloud.

eolake

I’ve installed Lion on my iMac but not on my Mac Pro, there I have too many legacy apps I use every day (dangit).
And when I looked in the app store for mac and saw all those toy apps, I thought “dangit, Mac is becoming a play computer!” 
And now you say the pro model may go away.

I’m sure it might make business sense for Apple, but it still feels like treason to me. What are we professional users supposed to do in the future? Use Windows? I’d rather eat broken glass.

eolake

I hope you allow links here. I just wrote an admittedly bitter post about this:

http://ereaderjoy.blogspot.com/2011/07/future-of-mac-after-lion.html
Or:
http://snipurl.com/macprodead

-Eolake

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

OK, before some of you go on “troll alert” over eolake not loving everything about Lion, please visit his website and notice who has praise for him in the right column.

@eolake: the best thing you can do is keep your options open. As a pro, try to do some things with Windows so that you’ll always be comfortable with it. Windows 7 is actually quite tolerable for everyday use, even from the perspective of an honest person who has strong affinity to the Mac. My own issue with Windows as a main OS is mostly about hardware at this point. On larger screens, I prefer menu bars in the windows where I’m working.

eolake

Thank you, Bosco.

I can use Windows if I have to. I would just really prefer not having to. Mac at best is a fun and helpful tool, Windows at best is when it does not get in the way.

Lee Dronick

@Eolake

I read your blog post.

People are only speculating that the Mac Pro is going away. Sure they may be reading some indicators that they intrepret as its soon to be demise, but until such time as Apple discontinues the Mac Pro it is still just speculation. Apple has a way of surprising us and the next thing may be a new line of professional Macs. For myself I will cross Bitter Apple Bridge when the road reaches it, if it ever does.

eolake

Harry,
Surely that is a healthier attitude.

And it’s one I used to have, I couldn’t believe pro machines and system from Apple ever disappearing, but recently the evidence has just been piling up. I *hope* Apple will soon show some serious interest in the pro arena, but today I am just not feeling the optimism.

wab95

Ted:

Intriguing thoughts. Well-reasoned insights.

Quick thoughts.

Whether or not the speculation about OS X post-Lion or the Mac Pro prove true or not, you’ve highlighted an undeniable truth; Apple are moving their OS platform (OS X and iOS), hardware and services inexorably forward.

That move, to my observation, is characterised by convergence, complementarity, and what appears to be standardisation in operability. You’ve addressed these in your piece, but in brief, we observe convergence in both software (OS X and iOS functionality), convergence and complementarity in the hardware (iPad vs MBA), and standardisation in operability in the GUIs (hand gestures and software performance).

Could this be interpreted as a ‘dumbing down’ to the least common denominator in user experience, expertise and even hardware options? It could. That would be, again in my view, a misread that fails to see these changes in the broader context of where Apple have been headed this entire past decade, and what it has been signalling to the industry, the market, its competitors and its user base.

In brief, Apple have not be contracting its appeal but expanding it, and with it, broadening its user base by expanding its goods and services, with a focus on consumers, but making substantial secondary gains in the enterprise (iPhone, iPad and of late - Macs). For Apple to continue that trend, it must continue to provide a range of options to address different needs and sectors. Apple are not playing for a niche, but market dominance. This means a more, not less, diverse user base with more, not fewer range of demands.

It would be prudent not to confuse a harmonisation of form and function in hardware and software with a contraction of options. To my thinking, Apple simply want to ease the interoperability of its goods and services so that, someone who transitions from Windows to the iPad to the Mac to the iPhone can do so with relative ease and intuition, with a minimal learning curve between those packages.

As for pro hardware, if and when Apple retire the Mac Pro workhorse, it will be, if history is a guide, for something with in a more refined form but greater, not lesser, capacity and will be equal to the task.

Duty calls.

eolake

wab95, I really hope you’re right.
It’s not always so. The X-Serve is gone.

vpndev

I am sure that Apple tracks closely the percentage of Macs at colleges. For the freshman classes of the last year or two they were quite high—a majority at a few and close to even at many.

For Apple to now de-emphasize the Mac would be to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. No-one has ever accused Steve of *that*

wab95

The X-Serve is gone


Good point, eolake. I think there are two separate issues, at least as I see them.

First, there is the question of form and function. Second, there is the issue of product development for new vs existing markets.

Addressing the second issue first (I know, it’s perverse), I view the X-Serve as Apple’s attempted foray into a new market with its own version of the blade server. From the outset, the target was the enterprise market (recall that just prior to the X-Serve there was concern about Apple ignoring the enterprise and how this was suicidal etc, etc). Why would Apple create servers, particularly, enterprise-ready servers? Where did this fit in Apple’s long game? Taking a low-orbital view, my assessment is that this was nothing less than an assault on that enterprise stronghold to expand Apple’s market share for its then flagship product line, the Mac. If enterprise-level servers were a barrier to Mac uptake in the enterprise, and therefore, expanding total Mac marketshare, then here was a solution.

While people bought the X-Serve, it was never a big seller, contributing little to Apple’s revenue, but most importantly, it saw little enterprise uptake. I don’t have these data, but would wager that, when Apple looked at who bought their server, and how they were used, they concluded that they could serve that same market with another form-factor, the Mini, and cut their production costs by discontinuing the flagging X-Serve. Thus, they continued to provide a service to that market, they just changed the form factor. The strategic reason for doing so was that the X-Serve did not expand Mac marketshare, although Apple did create an Apple server market, albeit a limited one. Besides, and importantly, the iOS devices came along, and have been able to breach that enterprise fortress, and even facilitate Mac marketshare expansion in that sector, in a manner of which the X-Serve could only dream. Mission accomplished. Project X-Serve, reassigned.

This leads to the first issue of form and function, and addresses Ted’s timely point about the Mac Pro. The point I attempted to make in my earlier post above is that Apple are trying to address an expanding swathe of demand as it expands its user base, but it is doing so in classic Apple style, namely with minimalist efficiency. Apple continue to look at how their products and services are used (function) and relentlessly prune and hone their product lines to do avoid waste (form).

A recent example of this was the discontinuation of the MacBook (white unibody). Apple’s explanation was that, in looking at the market, and how by whom that product was used, the same could now be done with the new MBAs, which have been upgraded with the Sandy Bridge i5 and i7 multicore (dual, not quad) processors, superior GPUs and Thunderbolt. Function is preserved. The form factor is smaller, better and the capability superior. What’s not to love? 

Can we foresee this with the Mac Pro? I think Ted is right. I would argue that Apple will apply the same principal in tackling this question. Apple have been signalling for some time now a clearly discernible message to the Tower Tenants; change is coming, either remodelling or relocation. The tower has been updated on a discernibly slower cycle than the other Pro lines (laptops and iMacs). At the same time, these pro users, which not only make up a substantial fraction of Apple’s user-base, but comprise the majority of users in their respective industries, are an essential creative element of Apple’s client base. Apple are not about to cede these to Dell, HP or anyone else. Strategically and financially, that would make little sense, and would affect SJ’s other projects, like Pixar. I don’t see this happening.

What I do see is Apple providing the same function in a new form factor. I could see this provided with something akin in size if not form to the Mac Mini, but not your father’s Mini. This would be a Mighty Mini, a Mad Mini, a ‘Don’t mess with me in a dark alley’ Mini. Alternatively, it may come in an entirely new form factor, or be subsumed into an existing product, as suggested with the Mini. Given current exploits in CPUs, GPUs, storage and advances in heat management (lower clock speeds complemented with multicores and turbo boost), I can see this happening anywhere within 2 - 5 years. It’s a question of incentive, and Apple creating the motherboard to exploit that raw potential. It can be done, and likely will be soon, with the added advantage that non-tower users, and non-Apple tower users may take these up if they have such a smaller footprint, further expanding Mac marketshare and continuing the trend away from the desktop form factor as we have known it.

Consistently Apple in form and function.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@wab95: One segment of customer who bought XServes were content shops that wanted end-to-end Mac solutions. Think render-farm. I know of several. I’ve sold custom software to a few. The advantage they sought was simply that they could run some custom app on a creative’s desktop for small jobs or “creative” messing around and move the same software to the back-end for larger scale production. QuickTime plus Macs tied it all together. Try to substitute QuickTime on Windows blades and there were always limitations, missing codecs, etc. Not that the machines or Windows OS was bad or limited—far from it, the Windows blades were always more powerful, efficient, etc. But a consistent platform for users and the back end made the process easy, and the extra cost for going all Apple was more than offset by the cost of maintaining a dual platform operation.

Apple’s suggestion of a dual-Mini rack caddy replacement for XServe just misses too many advantages of a rack-mount server, even ignoring hot-swappable drives and built-in RAID. Wires are a mess, heat doesn’t channel, etc.

This is what chafes the creative people. They bought into Apple because scaling to a point most could only dream of was easy. Now, they’re pretty much forced to look elsewhere and absorb extra costs to keep their Apple investment useful. Same deal with the new Final Cut Amateur. There are many very profitable activities where customers want stability and incremental innovation at best, not wholesale replacement and abandonment.

wab95

One segment of customer who bought XServes were content shops that wanted end-to-end Mac solutions

Point taken, Bosco. I agree with you.

My point is simply that this immediate and past market was simply too small to be fiscally sustainable without loss. Apple are engaged in an industrial war of ideals, products and profits. And just as in real war, painful decisions have to be made to sacrifice a battle to win a larger, more important objective, which if successful, does not rule out a return to and redressing of a past loss.

If Apple’s inroads into the enterprise with the Mac, let alone the iOS platforms, continue at this pace, can we foresee a return of an enterprise-level server? Indeed we can. Only this time, it would be play a different strategic role, even if providing the same function. It would be meeting the demand of an existing and expanding enterprise market, rather than trying to create one by brute force.

Far too early to rule out a return of the X-Serve, or its next-gen replacement.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@wab95: Most customers don’t want to be part of Steve Jobs’ crusade. They don’t want to sacrifice for the cause. They just want to buy stuff that works for them. That’s why they bought into Apple stuff to begin with.

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