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Apple’s Debt

Apple owes a huge debt to Windows and the PC industry; in fact, without the PC enthusiasts, Apple would have some really interesting problems. People like to point out that Apple has moved over to commodity hardware; which it has mostly but why has that hardware become commodity? It’s because of the PC. 

Steve Jobs makes a big thing about controlling the whole stack, both hardware and the operating system come from Apple; in this way, Apple get to build devices that simply work.  But the world of the PC massively subsidises his hardware development costs; for example, without the PC and especially the PC games players; where would Apple’s graphics cards come from? And there are many more examples in all of Apple’s hardware. 

It would be nice for the fan-bois to acknowledge this debt; there is no doubt that Apple put together some really nice machines, this entry is being typed on a new MacBook Air which is simply the most gorgeous laptop that I’ve ever owned. Is it revolutionary though? Not really, it’s just a really great instantiation of the laptop. And yes, it’s probably overpriced for what it is but then again, you can say that for many things. 

Perhaps including the integrated stacks some of the vendors are pushing…they need to stick Apple logos on them I guess!!



  1. Lode says:

    By “commodity hardware” you mean x86 CPUs, I suppose?
    True, the costs of maintaining a x86 stack are probably lower than what PowerPC used to cost, but this “subsidizing” and trickling down go both ways. USB, WiFi, FireWire (although sadly not used nearly as much for outside storage, even though it’s technically superior), computers without floppy drives (remember those, ugh), … All innovations that first appeared on the Mac platform, at a premium cost to end users at the time.

  2. Martin G says:

    USB?? Apple were the first ship a machine with only USB ports but don’t think they were the first to ship with USB. And at the moment, Apple aren’t embracing USB3 which is a tad annoying.
    WiFi also not really an Apple innovation..
    And it’s not just x86 CPUs; if it were just x86 CPUs, you wouldn’t be able to build a Hackintosh…
    I like Apple kit but they aren’t especially innovative in the personal computing space; they polish and refine really well.

  3. Ryan says:

    Conversely, doesn’t the PC industry owe a portion of it’s foundation to Apple popularizing the concept of computers in the home?
    It’s quite cyclical, I think.
    On a side note: Although this is my first comment, I do regularly stop by. It’s not that I’m some hawk swooping down on any Apple comments on the Internet… I’m just totally and certifiably under-qualified to comment on any of your excellent storage/industry posts!

  4. EtherealMind says:

    I’ll acknowledge that. At the same time as pointing out that after twenty years, Microsoft still cannot get OEM’s to make decent drivers that don’t crash their OS on a regular basis. Or, conversely, Microsoft is not able to make a decent API for device drivers to use.
    It’s not where the engine, gear box, tyres etc come from, it’s about the driving experience. I want quality, I do not want cheap, I do not want failure, I do not want slow, I want quality.

  5. Martin G says:

    Interesting comments and it gets to the heart of some of the attractions of the integrated stack whether it is on the desktop or in the data centre.

  6. Martin G says:

    Blimey Paul!! Can we have update on your blog next?

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