Keep vs Kill: New Apple is the Old Microsoft


Let's face it: today's Apple is the Old Microsoft. The lumbering juggernaut, with millions of followers locked in to an almost unbreakable software ecosystem.

Microsoft in the 1980's and 1990's used their unchallenged Windows operating system with millions of endpoints to provide developers with an audience for their software, whether it was WordPerfect, CoralDraw, Tetris, Duke Nukem, and early versions of Microsoft Office.

Apple, in the 2000's and 2010's used their unchallenged iOS mobile operating system and unchallenged iTunes store with millions of endpoints to provide developers with an audience for their software and music, whether it was BoyZone, Madonna, Candy Crush, and just about any car racing game you could play on your iPod. iWork sat in the background, without posing any real threat to Microsoft Office.

While Microsoft became old and stale, offering Windows 3.11, XP, Vista, and Windows 8, its dominance enabled Office to thrive, and millions of new PCs continued to carry Windows.

Meanwhile, Apple innovated with the iMac, the G3, music software, design software, graphics software, and the cool image that went with it.

Fast forward to today, and Microsoft is the new kid on the block, with impressive hardware including the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, Surface Studio, the recently-revealed Surface Laptop, and the upcoming new Surface device to be released on May 23rd in Shanghai.

Apple brought us the fresh new and impressive Mac Pro workstation in 2013, and since then... not much has changed. Minor spec bumps to iPads, deleting the ports from their MacBooks and selling us USB-C-based adapters had us adapting to more and more adapters. Then they ditched the headphone jack from the iPhone, which did take courage, but gave us another adapter, just in case you wanted to use your $400 Apple-owned Beats headphones with your courageous new Apple phone.

Apple even went so far as to change their name from Apple Computer Inc to Apple Inc. No more computers? Not until the iPad Pro was marketed as a "Super. Computer." with both dots.

So now...

So now, like an unloved Kardashian husband sulking in the corner of the room while everyone else plays with their selfie camera, Apple is the old Microsoft, and Microsoft is where Apple should begin the minds of consumers.

While millions of fans do remain loyal to the Apple brand, they're waiting restlessly for the next breakthrough device, hopefully a laptop with ports, or an iMac with ports, or in iPhone with a headphone jack, all of which they're unlikely to get.

The only thing Apple is adding more of, is cost to their sticker prices at the stores. We were lucky to get additional USB-C ports on the new MacBooks (some have one, some have two, some have four, all USB-C). Plus, someone somewhere waited for Steve Jobs to die before killing the MagSafe power connector.

Meanwhile over at Microsoft, the Kardashians might not be moving from Kalabasis to Redmond just yet, but they're on the way (please, no, stop them at the state border). The cool kids in the Surface team have hotted up Microsoft hardware. The cool nerds in the software team have kicked Windows Vista to the kerb and brought us Windows 10 Everywhere, and the new Windows 10 S. We have ports, we have software, we have interoperability with Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android, and we have a slightly dead Lumia phone charging up somewhere.

Apple needs a new Mac Pro and more interesting iMac to keep their power-hungry professional customers happy. They need to at least bring back the HDMI port and SD card slot to the MacBook, and give us back MagSafe power.

Windows needs a phone. That's it. Everything else is done.

Apple has more than one edition of the iPhone. Microsoft - give us more than one phone! Please! Now!

Microsoft needs to give us two phones: A Surface UltraMobile and a Lumia 11-series phone.

The Surface UltraMobile would be the flagship device for corporate and professional customers, with a Qualcomm processor, Windows 10 ARM edition, and access to emulation for every piece of desktop software that a power user or corporate customer would want. This device would be the evolution of the Microsoft 950XL and the HP Elite X3, giving us a miniature Surface Pro 5 in your pocket.

The Lumia would be a conventional mass-market mobile phone for everyone else, with some minor Microsoft branding, some major Lumia branding, and - shock horror - an Android operating system, with access to all of Microsoft's own Android apps and everything in the Google Play store. Microsoft owns patents to some key Android bits and pieces, so why not use it to their advantage?

Microsoft's only user-acceptance issue is the "app-gap", of not having an app collection tailored for phones. The Surface UltraMobile wont have this problem because it will be able to run UWP apps and emulated apps. The Lumia 11-series wont have this problem, because it can run any Android app store app.

Keep vs Kill

To top things off, while Microsoft goes about creating those two new devices, Apple desperately needs to kill it's old hardware - specifically the iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, every Mac Mini, and the unloved and now outdated 2013 Mac Pro. Kill the expensive and moderately useless Apple TV Siri Remote and replace it with a re-branded iPod touch called iCloud Remote.

Please Apple, give your creatives what they want - kill the iMac 21.5" and give us a gorgeous new iMac 24" with updated internals, Thunderbolt 3 ports, and dedicated graphics; alongside a pair of new Apple-branded monitors that look exactly like an iMac, but with no brains, beside Thunderbolt 3 daisy-chaining and on-board dedicated graphics behind the screen, in 24" and 27" screen sizes. Give me a dual-monitor iMac setup.

In the end, they both have work to do, but Microsoft is winning.

Until next time,

Xavier Zymantas

XYZ Media Group

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