Feeds

Computer takes a back seat at Apple

Apple downplays roots

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Macworld Despite all hype surrounding the iPhone, this year's MacWorld conference was more notable for what it downplayed -- the computer that put Apple in the limelight in the first place.

The annual confab has emerged as the chief showcase for the hottest new Apple products, and yet this year's event paid nary a word to the Macintosh, which the company and its legions of fans have vaunted for more than two decades.

Instead, Jobs devoted almost the entirety of his two-hour keynote to the introduction of two new products: the iPhone - an amalgamation of the iPod, a cellular phone and an Internet communicator - and Apple TV, a device that funnels pictures, video and music into the living room. Those hoping for faster Macs or updates on Leopard will have to wait longer.

Indeed, Steve Jobs, who forever shaped the world of computing when he introduced the Macintosh in 1984, said his company was changing its name from Apple Computer Inc. to Apple Inc.

Referring to the Mac, iPod, iPhone and Apple TV, Jobs said: "Only one of these is a computer, so we're dropping 'Computer' from the name."

Apple is hardly alone in demoting the computer from the image or products it presents to the world. A few years ago, Dell also excised "computer" from its name. More recently, IBM, which helped unleash the PC craze in the early 1980s, sold its notebook outfit to Lenovo. HP, which has never used the word in its name, consumed Compaq Computer.

A search on Yahoo! Finance for companies with computer in their moniker revealed Casio Computer, Cray Computer, Sumisho Computer and others, none of them household names.

Apple's downplaying of the computer may be an unavoidable necessity in today's market, where the falling prices and market saturation of PCs are taking the shine off even top-of-the-line Macs. But the move is a tad risky.

By throwing itself fully on into the world of consumer electronics, Apple's chief competitors are no longer limited to Microsoft and Dell, whose strong suits have never been sleek designs and flawless products.

Increasingly, Apple will find itself in the cross hairs of Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and other companies who are finding today's environment a rough slog despite having significantly more experience. Apple can open only so many of its own stores, and its retail presence, when compared with that of a Sony or Samsung, is likely to remain small for some time to come.

Then there's the non-trivial problem of quality control. Just about every Mac owner I know has a horror story about a failed hard drive or other component that required the machine to be shipped back to the factory for repair. And my first iPod fried in its first month, which required me to get it replaced. (Fortunately, all 60GB of its contents were on my PC, so I didn't lose thousands of dollars worth of data.)

But in the realm of consumer electronics, people expect things to simply work, and hell hath no fury for a company whose whizz-bang new phone/music player/internet device craps out, leaving a traveling knowledge worker stranded without email, web browsing or, heaven forbid, a MP3 player.

Is Apple up to the challenge? ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.