It’s inevitable. Each Apple event now changes the industry: sometimes for the better; other times… well, depends on who you ask. The latest Apple event may not be as obvious a game changer as others this past year, but its effects will be felt nonetheless.
Dead or on Life Support
It’s been a little over a month since the last Apple Media event. The aftershock in the tech industry from that has yet to be fully felt, and there are some additions to the casualties I listed in September.
If Apple and Facebook can work things out regarding Ping, the final nail in MySpace’s coffin may be struck. Some of the new features in iTunes, like the artwork viewer, make certain add-ons like Sophiestication’s CoverSutra a little less appealing. Rogue Amoeba is sitting on the fence waiting to see if it’ll be able to participate in the updates to iOS 4.2 regarding Apple’s new AirPlay. While competition is still healthy among GameCenter’s competing services, iAd is starting to pick up some steam as it continues to innovate in the smartphone advertising space.
Next in Line for Execution
That’s what happened last time around. Here’s a short list of what’s on the chopping block after yesterday’s revelations:
The End of Disks (and Discs, Too) — A Timeline
- The floppy drive was the first to go in 1998 when Apple released the iMac G3. Rather than pursue disk-based alternates like the Ultra High Density Floppy disk, Zip disks or an Imation drive, Apple opted for a USB port.
- In the last several releases of iLife, one of the original cornerstone software programs, iDVD, has not seen any new features or updates.
- Apple has also been very vocal in its reluctance to support Blu-ray.
- Earlier this year, the icon for iTunes was updated, removing the disc from the icon entirely.
- When the iPod lineup was refreshed this year, the only model not updated was the iPod Classic, the one with an HDD inside.
- Then, following the quarterly earnings call where Steve proclaimed Apple’s love of flash, Apple announced an update to a drive-less MacBook Air: a MacBook which already lacks a SuperDrive.
See the pattern? Hard drive manufacturers sure do. Western Digital has warned investors that with the advent of the iPad and the decline in low-end notebooks, the hard drive market is slowing drastically. The MacBook Air announcement couldn’t have helped matters much.
Online Software Version Trackers for Mac
As developers flocked to iOS, many OS X development efforts were left high and dry. There was a notable dearth of new titles on the market, and bundle programs like MacHeist started offering wholesale pricing to boost sluggish sales. App discovery, purchase, download, install, and update are what Apple sees as missing. Yet that’s exactly what I use MacUpdate for. We’ll have to see how quickly developers adapt to Apple’s Mac App Store, and also what value-add sites like MacUpdate and CNET’s Downloads.com (formerly Version Tracker) can offer in order to stay afloat.
Apple Desktop Widgets
This one isn’t quite as clear as it could be. It appears as if iOS apps or something like an iOS app could run in some capacity on OS X. Changing the paradigm and allowing for multi-touch gestures and full screen apps could spell the eventual end of dashboard widgets as we know them today on OS X.
There’s a good reason everyone pays attention to Apple when they decide to speak to the media. Apple’s successes spell success for other companies as well. Samsung, a major flash supplier, no doubt benefits. And LG, supplier of the iPhone’s Retina Display, makes out pretty well. But not everyone comes away a winner when Steve Jobs opens his mouth. For some businesses, in fact, Apple’s idea of progress marks the end of the line.
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