‘A Bite Of The Apple’



Gregory V. Boulware

Apple computers have frequently been criticized for putting design over function. Is their product designed to meet the needs of the masses? Which is a better buy, the proprietary schematic or one that is interchangeable?

The IT Community has big issues with Apples’ stance on covert and proprietary practices in the world of technology. One gripe about the product has IT decision makers in a survey, saying “This is an ergonomic flaw that reveals a preference.” They say Apple likes form over function. The iMac connectors on the rear of the machines are designed and/or decided by anal retention.

Your existing customers already know, like, and trust you. This gives you the technology, tools, and retention marketing expertise to increase their immediate and long term expenditures within your company. Every day, you focus on increasing total customer lifetime value and profitability by retaining your customers longer and increasing the frequency of their purchases, right? Apple’s practices as it relates to IT’s position, one has to wonder if Apple is indeed on the side of technology or profitability.

A second criticism reflected by the survey revealed Apple being held up as a leading innovator. The reality of it tends to refine existing ideas that have already been invented. Apple didn’t invent the MP3 Music Player, The Smartphone, or the Tablet computer. However, from niche to market, it made the breakthrough device that took those products to homes, hands, and the pockets of consumers worldwide.

Does success make its’ own argument? Do not be surprised of more enterprising and acceptance leads to CIO’s bending and ear or two and making choices that benefit IT. Apple also didn’t invent the USB port. It did, albeit, adopt and incorporate it into the family as a universal interface when few PCs used USB. So that means, as proprietary as Apple product are, they did lend a helping hand in jump-starting the widespread adoption of those devices;the convenient and desirable tech toys.

“Inflection Point,” according to Apple, means success. Attention from IT management, at the very least, thinks it’s worth a closer look. (One possible meaning: A point on a curve at which the curvature changes from convex to concave or vice versa, also called flex point, point of inflection). Regardless of whether they’re talking about delivering digital music, connecting an online store to a brick-and-mortar retail presence, developing a unibody laptop chassis, driving ubiquitous Wi-Fi or, innovating smartphones and tablets, Apple has either been impossibly lucky or has managed to repeatedly anticipate and advance transformational technology trends, according to a report in the InformationWeek Magazine’s January 28, 2013 edition. Richard Hoffman described several scenarios surrounding the Apple Outlook Survey by InformationWeek. The article focused on more than 90% of 331 IT decision-makers who support iPhones and iPads or have plans in the making that do. The report says more than 80% support or plan to support Mac laptops and desktops. Furthermore, there’s reason to believe IT would like nothing more than to go back to the days of top-down hardware purchasing.

Hoffman reports that i-devices are here to stay. But enterprise support is weak and IT is calling for ways to manage them more efficiently and securely.

The kind of change the survey represents can’t be overstated. Many IT pros remember, not that long ago, Apples’ presence in the enterprise outside of a few markets, was negligible. One respondent said “Apple products are nice, but they are not really suited to the enterprise because we have no means of ensuring their security. Apple is slow to release security updates for known exploits. Their products are fine for home use and small business, but they have an outdated approach to security that is not acceptable.” The respondent continued on with his opinion, “If they do not make the necessary implementations, they will not be an IT enterprise ‘go-to’ solution. One example is when Apple abruptly killed its well-regarded Xserve Rack-Mount Server Line two years ago; IT pros saw it as one more bit of proof. The bottom line is that Apple is not a reliable partner.” In short, IT Pros aren’t enthusiastic about having Apple gear in their data center.

The gripes continued to flow with yet another IT beef. It appears that Apple is abandoning its long term customers. They have embraced an effort to jump into the mobile and tablet market with all available hands and feet. A ‘Higher Educational Coordinator’ announced a major change in their long-term plans for hardware and software because of the abandonment. The coordinator stresses a fact labeling Apple’s previous offerings as amateurish when benchmarked with the iOS system.
On record, Macs running OS x tends to operate in a near perfectly stable service than their counterparts. Its stability has a unique advantage in both its hardware and software operations. Apples ‘Multiboot’ utility and virtualization applications allow you to run Windows via parallels and VMware’s fusion at full speed. The excellent compatibility allows Linux to similarly run as well.
Apple feels their proprietary standards allows for a less chaotic environment in terms of compatibility of drivers and components.

Hoffman also reports that Macs are less likely to be infected with malware or to need time consuming repair of OS re-installations that Windows devices require. The report continues to say that it is arguable how much of the security is due to architectural and implementation decisions. The company refuses to undercut its margins. They stand firm in their belief – the product is worth it.

IT organizations say if they would make their schematics and repair information more accessible, the expensive point of pain could be cured. An Onsight Services and IT Consultant chimed in with his two cents. “They should change to standard screws and closures to make repairing an out-of-warranty item possible for re-furbishing – especially for power users.” The consultant continued to say it would add great value and show that they care how long their products remain in the marketplace. Christopher Grande said, “When I see a 20 year old Volvo or a 10 year old Dell, that’s a tremendous selling point – that’s stabilization.”

Apple has used a great deal of it revenue to construct a well-oiled, fine-tuned, marketable enterprise designed to deliver top-quality products to tech enthusiasts at large. Apple has made mistakes along the way. One example was its sub-standard iPhone maps app and a faux pas that have led to complaints about some iPhone app developers improperly collecting users’ address book information. But…reports have been recorded to reflect most of Apples’ data points to an extremely well run operation.

Apple is reported to be putting more effect into business user marketing. The survey suggests that Macs and iDevices are making their way into the enterprise arena because IT managers, not users, like them, according to a poll of 244 end users. Many other users of IT organizations say the cost of Apple stuff is to expensive. They also say the value of the product is rated between poor and fair, the latter value at fair.

End user data suggests the product as good and excellent on ease of use, design, and reliability.

20% of Apples’ revenues have dropped while maintaining a solid position in Macintosh sales. Dell was down by 16.5%, the PC by 2.1%, and Acers’ by 21.6%. Apple doesn’t rule the school in cooling strategies for small network and IT spaces, regardless of its sales standings. Every kilowatt of electricity consumed by the IT equipment creates a kilowatt of heat that must be removed from the space to maintain uptime. It almost makes one wonder why it’s no coincidence that Apples’ interest in data center hardware waned just as the iPhone began to gain popularity over the Mac.

Many network closets and other small IT spaces were never designed to house IT or networking equipment. These spaces are often cooled by building HVAC systems and can accommodate low density deployments in small IT spaces.
(Ex.): power levels below 700 watts, passive venting (appropriately placing holes of vents to the ambient air) is effective for critical closets. An air fan-assisted venting is recommended for power levels between 700 and 2,000 watts of power.

When a UPS (uninterruptible power supply, a power supply that includes a battery to maintain power in the event of a power outage. Typically, a UPS keeps a computer running for several minutes after a power outage, enabling you to save data that is in RAM and shut down the computer gracefully) is installed in the closet, the IT equipment will continue to create heat during a power outage. The cooling system therefore, will need to continue to operate. If the runtime is more than 10 minutes, fan-assisted ventilation of a dedicated air conditioning unit must be powered by the UPS. This type of support is quite a bit for many small computer manufacturers and data base managers as well. Apples operations to not offer or include support nor do they spend time with concern.

The closing facts in Hoffman’s report says that the survey based results have IT decision makers saying they have little choice but to move ahead with Apple products; based on 11% of IT decision maker respondents. In 18 months, 16% predict their companies will spend more than 20% of their IT budgets on Apple stuff. Such are the pros and cons of IT Decision Makers. Would you be willing to pluck a juicy red Apple from a seemingly lifeless IT Tree…and take a nice big bite of it?

Beware; a bite of the apple can produce a worm of two. You know, it doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Forrester predicts that Apple will sell $7 Billion of Macs and $11 Billion of iPads with $13 Billion in 2014. The report espouses Apples financial health as unparalleled, with profits rising year after year.

That may well be…but for me, it’s the PC.

Til next time…



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