Yeah, everyone follows Apple, but someone has to make these things work. I mean, look at the market now: everyone's catching on to wireless/Airport (e.g. Toshiba in a big way); flat-panel all-in-one desktop units are trying to make headway (Compaq, NEC - it's just been too expensive to catch on until now); many companies are (still/again) playing with tablet designs (Dell, even M$); modular stuff has been thrown around for years (RIP Tandem, frogdesign's early-90s Apple mockups) but never really happened; voice recognition is only now beoming usable (Dragon, IBM - but they aren't at the OS level).<br><br>So Apple has the ideas first. But what's their execution like? Does the industry perceive that Apple actually does "think different" if it doesn't release anything like this? The iBook and TiBook, amazing as they are, are still both laptops after all. The iMac, though, wasn't exactly a first - a desktop all-in-one - but provided enough of a technological and stylistic milestone (USB, no floppy, and some actual thought put into the design!) for others to be scrambling to catch up.<br><br>I think Apple really are delivering technology that "just works", and "thinks like I do" (Mac OS 8.6 and AppleWorks 5 are still my pick!). And I can see where the "digital lifestyle hub" may be heading. I just want Apple to get there before the competition does, because they'll do it best anyway!<br><br>For example, iTunes in concept (Rip, Mix, Burn - hehehe!) is pretty simple, but it's in the slick execution (for a v1.0) that Apple outshines. iMovie, iDVD, even AppleWorks - all simple, smooth products. All we need is good voicemail, fax, videoconferencing and graphics apps rolled into the Apple consumer suite and - well, all I could say is wow! Because Apple has at least two things going for it: simplicity and style. (And then, the grunt to really power the professional stuff.) And if anyone can pull that kind of concept into reality, it's Apple. It just involves a little more "thinking different".<br><br>I wasn't planning on this post being so long - God help me (more to the point, God help you!) if I ever get offered any sort of editorial column!
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