What happened to the digital hub? Our Macs were supposed to be the center of the digital universe.
That’s no longer the case at Apple, Inc. with Macs, iPods, iPhones, and OS X. What’s the new center?
When was the last time we talked about the Mac at Mac360? It seems like last year. Or, maybe it was the year before.
Oh, yes. I remember. It had something to do with the Mac switching from PPC chips to Intel chips. Not much since, huh?
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t exactly remember when Steve Jobs first called the Mac the center of the digital hub. After events of the past few years, the Mac may be back and doing well, but it’s no longer the center of Apple’s universe.
What’s the new center? Some would say “opportunism.” Apple figured out that people would buy truckloads of iPods; not as profitable as Macs, but they sell tens of millions more of them each year.
Apple wants to sell tens of millions more iPhones each year, too. With Macs and software and iPods and iPhones, where’s the center of our digital universe?
Software. Apple’s software is now the digital hub of the 21st century. What about hardware? That’s where Apple’s software lives. Macs, iPods, iPhones, AppleTV, QuickTime, Airport Extreme 2007.
Apple software living on hardware. Software of all kinds. Hardware of all kinds. Including hardware not made by Apple.
For Mac users, the Mac may remain a hub of sorts; especially when connecting cameras, printers, scanners, PDAs, iPods, and soon, iPhones. The Mac remains that sweet combination of elegant hardware and software, also epitomized in the iPod and, so far as we can tell, the iPhone.
Thanks to the tens of millions of iPods, Apple has more Windows PC customers than Mac customers. So, for Apple, that digital hub isn’t really the Mac.
It’s Apple software living on a variety of hardware devices. Macs, yes. Windows PCs. iPods and, soon, iPhones. At the center of Apple’s software revolution is OS X (note: not “Mac” OS X, but plain old vanilla OS X), and QuickTime, and to an increasing extent, iTunes.
Windows PCs need QuickTime and iTunes to connect to iPods. OS X drives the iPhone, and may drive future iPods and other handheld digital devices from Apple.
iTunes synchronizes between a Mac and AppleTV, between Mac and Windows and iPods, and may be the way to connect and sync to the iPhone.
It may be difficult for us to imagine that the Mac could be anything but the center of our digital universe, but tens of millions of Apple customers use Windows PCs instead.
The digital hub is alive and well at Apple. But it’s not the Mac. It’s Apple’s software.