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P-Day Approaches, X-Day Waits

A buzz that's become a roar.



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Apple's iPhone goes on sale on Friday. Three days before the rollout the buzz is already a roar.

Surprisingly there's more roar outside the world of Apple than inside it. And when you see Rob Enderle contributing to the 'discussion' rather than using a chunk of his $200,000 to disparage Apple you know you're onto something.

The cellphone market is huge with over one billion users worldwide. Apple hope to sell 10 million units of the iPhone initially. That's a drop in the bucket - akin to their market share of personal computers - yet the media are going nuts. And of course this makes great copy for journalists who can stretch the thing out ad infinitum.

The iPhone represents a walloping technological achievement; but whether it's a success depends now on what the customers say. And in a few short days they'll be talking.

64-Bit

Meanwhile the next generation release of Apple's OS X has been put on a back burner. OS X 10.5 Leopard is to be a fully 64-bit operating system - in the seams. Even the GUI's API (Cocoa) will be fully 64-bit. This might not represent a speed boost for users but it will give them the ability to handle astronomical amounts of data.

And as Eric Raymond pointed out, the first to deliver a fully 64-bit platform - and get enough third party vendors to come on board - will achieve the coveted 'tipping point' and win the market. And as things stand today Apple are poised to do it.

[Apple aren't first to 64-bit personal computing - DEC were first with their Alpha. But the DEC Alpha is long gone. Ed.]

Eric also insists that the move to 64-bit 'wipes the slate clean' - in other words companies like Microsoft are essentially starting over from scratch. And Microsoft are not quite there yet as regards 64-bit computing - even if people are still willing to put up with their buggy leaky products (which is doubtful).

Eric would like open source (Linux) to move faster to the 64-bit arena but with the factions prevalent in 'FOSS' it's unlikely they'll be able to effect a concerted move. Apple on the other hand want to keep their system locked to their hardware so at the end of the day it's their own production scalability which will undermine their own best interests.

Something's gotta give. Right now everyone's talking about the iPhone and yet compared to colossi like Ericsson and Nokia Apple are and will continue to be a nobody. It makes great copy but it doesn't change the shape of things.

Yet 90% of the world's end users are still using a totally crapped out operating system so atrociously bad that the US FBI are now fighting its effects. Spam today is almost totally generated by infected Windows machines. The latest vintage of Windows is so poor and so stillborn that users are finally 'getting it': as Mister Bill puts on the clamps he alienates his loyal customers.

2007 is Apple's year. There's hardly a doubt about that. They've at least captured the media. There's always a lot to write about as long as Steve Jobs is on stage and in the news.

But whether this changes anything in the big picture remains to be seen.

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