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Macworld Thoughts

astorm

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I’m primarily interested in the “Sub-Notebook” rumors. I’m still waiting for the modern computer I can carry around with me as easily as I would a paperback book. The iPhone is the best internet enabled phone I’ve ever used, but it’s still just a phone with email and a web browser.

I know it’s a fuzzy distinction, but to me a computer is something that lets your do whatever you want to with your data and information, including manipulating it with code. That’s not the iPhone.

I have this nagging theory, (likely/hopefully wrong) that Apple is done innovating on the computer side of the equation. From a business perspective innovation is dangerous and you’re better off milking what you have for all it’s worth. Apple could not afford to do this in late nineties and had to gamble on innovation. Whether they continue to do so is anyone’s guess.

I have, in recent months, started playing with Ubuntu again. Between Apple’s recent focus on consumer electronics and a Leopard release that makes me wonder if Apple can avoid the XP/Vista complexity trap, Ubuntu may be the future of pure computing. It’s is still very linuxy, but they do have the best package manager on the planet. The problem is when things go off the rails they go way off the rails, and you’re hacking away at config files again.

For example, I tried adding a wireless card to a laptop after installing Ubuntu, and after a few days of not getting it to work ended up just reinstalling the OS so it could pickup the right drivers.

Apple machines remain the best computers money can buy. If you want to bring your Linux/Ubuntu/Windows arguments to the table that’s fine. I’ll virtualize your killer feature with VMWare or Parallels, and still have the best computer money can buy. It’d be a pity of all future Apple R&D went into the gadget market, which, while lucrative, is a rich-boy playground that’s more about status than actual usefulness.

Originally published January 14, 2008