Moments ago I finished reading John Markoff’s New York Time’s piece entitled, “As Apple Gains PC Market Share, Jobs Talks of a Decade of Upgrades” and it added to my belief that the introduction of Leopard this Friday is going to mark the tipping point of Apple’s acceleration in the PC marketplace (disclaimer: I own a fair number of shares in Apple).
Much analysis and opinion has swirled around this coming OS upgrade — most positive and pleased with features — but I’m going to point out what I see as a deeper meaning behind some of the top features and why a tipping point will occur:
1) Time Machine: We all have the best intentions to backup but most of us just don’t. Now that many of us have both a desktop, a laptop, an iPod and many an iPhone too, keeping everything in sync is a friggin’ nightmare. As more new form factors arrive (like the rumored Mac tablet/multi-touch device/ultralight portable), keeping our data synchronized is going to be even more challenging. From what I’ve seen and played with in the developer version, this is going to be a laughingly simple backup and sync that normal non-techies will adore.
2) iChat: I just cannot emphasize enough what a game-changer this could be. Every single day I connect with someone that wants to show me something or have me show them. Videos, presentations, web sites and more are shared but it just isn’t easy. I have an atypical ability to communicate with all the available tools at my fingertips, but almost everyone I connect with gets frustrated because they can’t return the favor.
3) Parental Controls: If you don’t have kids (and especially a teenage boy like I do!) this isn’t a big deal perhaps, but the ease of setting this up, controlling access and some level of filtering is fantastic. I’ve actually delayed a purchase of a 3rd party application that does much of this in order to use Leopard’s…it’s that good.
4) Boot Camp: Though I run Parallels on my Mac with Windows XP installed, I’ve discovered that I almost NEVER USE WINDOWS for anything. There was a period of time where I absolutely required it, but as I write this I’m struggling to figure out what’s out there that I can’t do on my Mac. Still, I’ve loaded even old PC games in Parallels and it’s just too slow. My son and his pals are pumped for Leopard (two of them are PC users whose parents will buy a Mac but wouldn’t use a beta Boot Camp pre-Leopard) since they’ll be using the reboot-into-Windows capability to load the machine with games. This will be a game-changer (pun intended) since all PC games will run in a PC environment and a Mac can now be two machines for the price of one!
5) Dashcode: For power users and web developers, I believe this is going to be THE biggest and most important feature in Leopard. Why? Imagine libraries of thousands of widgets as well as every creator of application functionality has widgets as part of what they deliver. Most people don’t know what widgets are and don’t care. But for those that do, this extremely simple method of creating them is going to change delivery of applications and information on the Web.
If you think Dashcode will be hot too, peek at these two posts to understand my thinking more:
No question in my mind that Apple delayed an iPhone SDK (see “Third Party Applications on the iPhone“) until Leopardshipped. There are too many signs pointed that way. Also, the still anemic .Mac service will undoubtedly leap forward with more features after
Lastly, I’m surprised on a daily basis with the people that are connecting with me about their decision to buy a Mac and switch from Windows and are asking for guidance. From my cousin Kathy to my Aunt Marlys (PC users) to my pal Kevin, these are people I never expected would switch. When asked why, they all talk about the design, how “gorgeous” the operating system is, how well it works and how hideous Vista is. They’re sick of adware, spyware and viruses and the intrusive and bothersome Vista popups making them decide on just about everything that occurs in the OS (or so they think).
Then you read articles like this one from Princeton University’s newsletter describing what I’ve seen anecdotally: “This year, the University’s Student Computer Initiative has sold more Macs than PCs. Students were offered a selection of Dell, IBM and Apple computers, and 60 percent chose Macs, up from 45 percent last year.“
This evening’s Apple earnings call ought to be interesting as I suspect good news about Mac shipments is coming (and iPhone shipments too). This is going to be a good holiday season for the kids from Cupertino, heh?