The Back Page - Apple Death Knell #49: No Macs by 2010

by - Match 8th, 2006

I've read a lot of crap during the seven years I've been editor-in-chief of The Mac Observer (and the two years before that I was a contributing editor for Webintosh), but every once in a while, someone is able to pull something from so far up their nether regions, that even I am nonplussed by the inanity.

To wit: Chris Seibold's piece at AppleMatters titled, "Five Reasons Why There Will Be No Macs in 2010." While well written (something not usually true from the usual suspects in the Apple Death Knell Counter), Mr. Siebold's five reasons are just absurd.

In fact, they are so absurd, the whole piece might be satire, but I don't actually think that's the case. If so, the joke's on me, because this piece is being added to the Apple Death Knell Counter as Apple Death Knell #49.

As I am heading out of the office for a vacation, I will jump right into a brief deconstruction of Mr. Siebold's five arguments.

Reason # 1: Something about Windows Vista being so much better than Windows XP as to make it unreasonable for Apple to continue to make Macs. I am not sure exactly what his point is, as this was his most vague reason, so there's not much to deconstruct.

Reason #2: Apple is running out of cool cat names for OS X, so it will have to stop making the OS. This was the part that made think that maybe the piece was satire, but this argument is presented in so straight-forward a manner that I think it's a legit argument. Well, not legit, because it's just insanely stupid.

Apple will run out of cat names, but rather than throwing up their hands and saying "We give up," OS X will be replaced by a new iteration of the operating system (call it OS XI for the sake of argument) with a new naming convention that likely doesn't involve animals at all. Bah, it's just so silly...

Reason #3: Apple's switch to Intel will mean that few will be willing to shell out the extra bucks for Apple's hardware because they will prefer to get a cheap box from a toaster maker like Dell, HP, etc.

It's fair to say that Apple has still to demonstrate that it can sell Intel-powered Macs, but heading into the transition Apple's market share was on the rise. Personally, I think that Apple's efforts to change the rules by which it competes -- away from lowest common denominator economics and towards design, function, and style -- will continue to be successful.

This is a matter of opinion, of course, and only time will tell.

Reason #4: The success of the iPod means that Apple will stop caring about the Mac and focus on this super-profitable aspect of its business, the music business. To back it up, Mr. Seibold offered a statistic from 2004 when the Mac's market share hit an all-time low.

Ignored is the fact that the Mac's market share is on the rise, and is higher than it has been in years, but that frankly doesn't matter because of the things I will point out in reason #5.

Reason #5: Apple's switch to Intel means that Apple will finally see how much smarter it is to become a software-only company (like Microsoft), that it will make OS X run on any beige box made by any dilrod PC maker.

This is a common argument from people that don't understand Apple or Steve Jobs. The latter thinks that proprietary solutions where the manufacturer controls the whole widget are better, and the latter controls the former. Tada! That's it. That is the only deconstruction needed.

I'll clarify, though: As long as Steve Jobs is running Apple, Apple will make computers that are controlled by Apple. This is a fundamental aspect of what makes Steve Jobs tick, and it trumps everything else. If you want to see proof of this, look at the way the iPod and iTunes work, and the success of those two products vindicates Steve Jobs' convictions on this issue in every conceivably way.

Should Steve Jobs leave Apple (again), it is possible that the company would stop making Mac hardware, but then all bets would be off anyway. Personally, I think that Steve Jobs is happy to be at Apple and will remain at the company for some time to come.


In short, Apple will continue to make Macs as long as Steve Jobs is at the helm. When and if the Mac ever stops being made, it will be because Apple has replaced it with a new proprietary computer where the company still controls the whole widget.

That's really all there is to it.

[Edit: This column was edited to correctly reflect Mr. Seibold's #3 reason. - Bryan]