Apple Cider: Random Squeezings From a Mac User
The Year of Big Changes
There’s an old expression that goes “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Never has that sentiment been more true than in the year 2001.
As we find ourselves in December, we turn to centuries-old traditions to mark the end of one year and the beginning of the next. We take out the same holiday ornaments, crank up the same holiday CDs, and load the same holiday screen savers on our Macs. We buy our new “365 Reasons to Hate Bill Gates” page-a-day calendars for our desks and try to figure out where Aunt Martha and Uncle Jed will sleep when they visit for a week.
But 2001 has been one of those years where we know we have changed from how we were back in January.
For me, the changes have been profound. I became a dad for the second time this past April. Yes, it’s true, that when you have two children the amount of work you have to do increases exponentially. It takes me four times as long to get out of the house than it did with only one child in tow.
And, I know each of us has changed after the events of September 11th. Never again will we take safe air travel, routine delivery of our mail, or even a peaceful walk on the beach or in the woods for granted. In so many ways, we are so fundamentally different than back in the early days of this year.
The high-tech world, including Apple Computer, has changed drastically as well. From products that hit the scene in a blaze of glory to those that fizzled out, Apple’s hardware and software lineups have been shuffled and remolded several times, creating a new landscape for computer buyers to navigate. And, the high-tech industry has seen some interesting twists and turns through the year as well. Looking back over the year, here are some notable highlights:
Cube Down the Tube—Sometimes, things are released way ahead of their time. For instance, Blade Runner, one of my favorite Harrison Ford movies, broke ground in 1982 with its atmospheric feel and gritty sci-fi story line. Unfortunately, when it was released, movie goers didn’t really cotton to it. That’s a similar fate that the Cube experienced earlier this year. This slick, modernistic computer attracted enough attention, but it never really found its niche in the Apple marketing scheme. It’s a real shame, too, because it really did break some new ground in design that I’m sure will be adapted into some future computer designs.
Super iBook—The iBook’s new shell with its sleek design gives just a hint of what’s to come when the up-to 600 Mhz system boots up. Yeah, customers can get a lot with this laptop, and good sales figures are showing that the iBook will continue to be part of the backbone of Apple’s powerful lineup.
iPod: Powerful Portable Tunes—It’s the proverbial jukebox in your pocket. The iPod, the latest and greatest in MP3 players, promises that you will be able to cart around 1,000 songs and hear them with digital clarity. Now, that’s what I call a good use of technology! Sure, the iPod has its critics ’cause this thing has its share of warts, but the technology is where all of the competitors will be heading. Kudos to Apple for getting out in front again!
OS X Marks the Spot—It’s here! It’s here! And it’s got its fair share of bugs! Apple’s foray into the modern world of operating systems has won some converts, but slow production of OS X-compatible software and a strong reliance on the NeXT operating system’s architecture have made its adoption a little slower than expected. New versions which have fixed several bugs have made OS X easier to work with and far more reliable, but it may take until the middle of next year for this newest direction for Macintosh to truly take hold.
Forget the cat, Bill Gates has nine lives!—OK, so let me get this straight. The proposed settlement deal with Microsoft is that it can donate a cool half billion dollars to underprivileged schools around the country to allow technology into the poorest classrooms. Microsoft will let the schools have one million licenses to use the Windows operating system, and all of the associated software that goes along with it. So, in effect, this settlement is going to allow Microsoft more access to more potential consumers, locking out more competitors in the market. And this is supposed to make the market playing field more level? More level for whom?
You know what—I’m giving up on hating Microsoft. That’s it. No more. I give up. If Microsoft can be found guilty in a court of law of using monopolistic tactics, and other companies which have held monopolies have been broken up (AT&T, Standard Oil, etc.), but Microsoft is allowed to flood more product into a marketplace and further erode one of Apple’s strongest market segments, then I surrender. Microsoft should just be socialized, making it the state-run software company, and all others should be burned at the stake—Apple included. There’s absolutely no way anyone else can win.
Apple Stores Showing Off—Consider them showrooms for the Macintosh—Apple Stores have sprung up in several high-end malls around the country, and, so far, people are flocking to them. The holiday season will be telling for this new direction in marketing the world’s easiest-to-use computer. Can the on-the-spot retail sales boost Apple’s market share, or are the folks in Cupertino about to realize that foot traffic in stores doesn’t necessarily equate to instant sales? Tune in for this one—2002 promises to be a year full of surprises!
• • •
Well, OK, I do have to admit that some things in the year 2001 fell short of expectations. After all, in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, we were supposed to be able to travel to the moon and beyond with a minimum of fuss. I guess that didn’t happen. Another issue I have with this year is that 2001 wasn’t released on the big screen as I had hoped.
Oh, well, Hollywood does continue to disappoint me. I guess that’s one thing that hasn’t really changed.
Here’s wishing nothing but happiness, peace, and prosperity for you in the upcoming year.
Also in This Series
- Look How Far We’ve Come · May 2012
- A Year Apart · March 2003
- And now, the end is near… · March 2002
- Spam I Am · February 2002
- The Year of Big Changes · December 2001
- Legends in Their Own Time · November 2001
- What’s in Store? · October 2001
- Hey, I Recognize You! · September 2001
- 50 is Pretty Nifty · August 2001
- Complete Archive