Date: Tuesday, May 6th, 2003, 09:46
Apple is not just about ease of use or thinking differently – Apple is about elegant design.
Apple is not just about ease of use or thinking differently – Apple is about elegant design. That’s why the iPod is so successful. Small size, the speed of firewire, the integration with iTunes all combine to make for a package that is undeniably elegant. Initially, I thought the high price and very limited market of Mac users with Firewire capable computers would make for a slow start, but momentum just kept building until the Windows version was introduced, broadly expanding the potential market.
The same will be true of the Apple Music Store and it will only serve to reinforce iPod sales when iTunes is released for Windows. Most reviews of the Music Store seem to miss what to me is the most important feature – the use of AAC compression. In fact some reviewers see the need to rip MP3’s for use in MP3 devices as a negative aspect of the new store. I find even the best MP3’s to be inferior enough to consider the format as only useful for casual listening. Purchasing an MP3 has no appeal to me at anything less than cut rate prices. After a number of downloads, I have decided that the AAC format is a good enough compromise for me to accept as a primary source for my music. Don’t forget that audio CD’s are a compromise as well, with a fixed sampling rate and a fairly old standard at that. For my middle aged ears and my audio equipment, AAC is just fine and this makes me an entirely new kind of customer for online purchase of music. Keep in mind that iTunes was initially created from Apple’s investment in the existing SoundJam MP3 player software.
I suppose Apple’s Sherlock utility would look elegant if it weren’t for Watson. Watson is hands down better and Apple seems to be just coasting with Sherlock. Apple ought to try to purchase Watson and just rename it Sherlock. It is my understanding that Watson is being developed for Windows and I think it would be a great product with a huge potential audience. I would not worry about potential lost “Switchers” by selling Apple developed applications to Windows users. The more Apple software for them, the better. Quicktime needs Windows users more than any other Apple product and it will probably be required to play AAC files with iTunes on Windows just as it is on Macs.
Apple’s laptops are elegant, so is the new line of servers as well as the flat screen iMac – enough said.