The landscape of the PC market is taking a new shape in my opinion and Apple Computer is leading it.
I find this funny and even a little ironic that it’s Apple instead of, let’s say for argument’s sake, Dell. I chose Dell over others because they have earned the most money in PC sales this decade and therefore would have a base to be creative and innovative.
You see, back in 1976 Apple really got the personal computer market kick-started. Today, after really a decade of slumping or at best flat sales and innovation of PC products, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company will be taking its first step into the living room with a product called iTV. The product will plug into a TV and be able to wirelessly download video and audio from a Mac or the Web.
It is this sort of creativity that is propelling Apple back into the PC arena.
And, while Microsoft is launching its Zune MP3 player and music community, Apple will compete with Microsoft on the Media Centre front.
Sure Microsoft has the lead here, but it’s not as if they have taken the market and are running away with it. Microsoft is counting on its vendor partners such as HP and Dell along with the 200,000 or so system builders around the globe to provide the hardware necessary to run video, photo and audio content through its Media Centre OS. In January, Media Centre will be available on Vista and for the first time can be purchased without hardware.
Meanwhile, Apple, which has a content distribution system, called iTunes, that is already in place and widely popular, will release the iTV early in 2007, which is the size of a paperback novel.
This will pose an interesting dilemma for customers who are interested in organizing and have video and audio content in every room in the house.
Do they spend thousands of dollars setting up a Media Centre PC or do they buy the iTV for under US$300 and house content on a Mac if they have one?
Another question is in how many rooms do you want to listen or watch content around the house?
Still, Apple is furthering the capabilities of the Mac, while its competitors – specifically Dell – are still trying to find their way into the living room. Don’t forget that Dell’s LCD TV was a complete bust.
Also don’t forget that Apple has movies on its iTunes online store.
Other manufacturers have noticed this Apple trend, most notable ViewSonic. The LCD monitor maker will be releasing the ViewDock, which is a widescreen LCD monitor, designed specifically for the iPod.
Dell’s current struggles comes from a lack of innovation. When China-based manufacturers can produce an Intel-based P4 notebook for US$550, you can see why being creative will count today and in the future.