The Biggest Deal About Macworld was the Name Change

by James R. Stoup Jan 11, 2007

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.”

—From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

At the end of Tuesday’s presentation, Apple did a very important thing, they changed their name.

Old And Busted - Apple Computer Inc.
New Hotness - Apple Inc.

Now, it wasn’t an enourmous change, I’ll grant you. They didn’t go from Apple Computer Inc. to Steve’s Discount Electronics Barn but it was, nonetheless, a signifigant event. Why, you ask? Well, because this “officially” lets the world know that, while Apple still makes computers, they are no longer the main focus of the company.

When Apple created the iPod they could reasonably claim that they were just extending their current computer business by selling consumers an extra small computer that just so happened to play music. And when they released the iTunes Music Store they explained it as simply extending the iPod experience. And both announcements seemed inline with what they were doing as a computer company, sort of.

But that all changed Tuesday. Apple just announced a device that connects to your TV. A device that plays movies and TV shows. A device that in the very near future will be competing with cable, TiVo and satelite TV.

And then, if that wasn’t enough, Apple released a highly advanced cellphone. A device which, simultaneously, competes with (to varying degrees) with PDAs, cellphones, tablet PCs and hand held gaming systems.

Ladies and gentlemen, Apple is no longer a computer company, they are a consumer electronics company. In fact, they are begining to look more and more like Sony in the 80’s and 90’s. They make high quality products that span a wide range of interest and are dominant in several markets.

So, with the realization that Apple now has more in common with Sony than Dell or Microsoft, what does that mean for Apple’s future? Or, put simply, what will they do next?

Maybe. . . video games? Now, I realize there has been much speculation, with very little evidence, concerning this topic but the release of Apple TV makes this such an obvious market. Look at it this way. If Apple manages to sell consumers a box they plug into their TV, is it really that much of a stretch to think they might also sell them a wireless controller too? Look at the interface for Apple TV, do you think it really would be that hard to add in one more icon that says “Games”?

Seriously folks, if all Apple has to do is update their software, create some games and sell a controller, how long do you think they will stay out of this market? And what about the iPhone? It has motion sensing technology built in, it has an infinately configurable interface and an incredibly beautiful screen. Hum. . . if only it could play games then it would directly compete with both the GameBoy and the PSP. So, how long before Apple starts selling custom games on iTMS?

2007 might really be the year Apple expands it business and shows the world just how big they can get. After all, it isn’t just about computers anymore.


  • It’s not about computers your right. It’s about a lifestyle and the digital goods that fill it. I think the name change is really being blown out of proportion already. When you refer to your computer you say “Mac” and everyone in the world knows it’s an “Apple”. When you say “Ipod” people know it’s from “Apple”. Not Apple Computer.

    IBM used to make typewriters and copiers, however we refer Xerox to copiers and back in the day typewriters were commonly made by Brother (at least the most popular ones) yet we all know IBM as a computer company. Today they don’t make computers they make supercomputers and mainframe systems, while still computers not in the sense most people refer to them as.

    So they dropped the computer part, no biggie. There still Apple which to mean means Innovation, design, functionality that works together.

    What we’ll see in the next 10 years is Apple growing into a one stop digital place. From computers to software all the way through to car stereo’s and maybe wireless service (doubting the service part but who knows). What worries me is wether they can handle all these new realms. I don’t see any issues yet because it all still revolves around 1 device, the Mac and OS X.

    xwiredtva had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 172
  • Apple Inc has a ton of money to spend right now, and at least some of this is going to be spent in the Mac arena.  The success of the Intel Macbooks means Apple would be crazy not to extend the range, and I would expect some announcements in this area in Q1.  We still have Leopard to come, and perhaps updates to iLife and iWork, including perhaps a spreadsheet application - important if Apple is going to reduce their reliance on Office for Mac…

    Macworld clears the deck by getting the name change, the iPhone and the AppleTV product into the market and out of the way.

    sydneystephen had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 124
  • What are computers? Everything is a computer today. I managed to buy a high quality coffeemaker last year that had not the last bit of computer inside, but boy was that difficult. I have seen remote-controls with more CPU power than was available to send Apollo 11 to the moon (if you believe in that wink ). Apple turned from a company that makes computers and software to a company that makes devices that cater to certain needs / solve specific problems and software to run those devices, but the lines have started to blurr a long while ago. So in the end I care little about what the company is named as long as it keeps coming up with good ideas. A single very good idea got zero mention on tuesday, and that is the iPhone as a remote for the Mac/iTunes. Free hint, Apple: Better implement that in time for the release.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 371
  • if that’s the case then expect over the next little while to see new VP’s show up in charge of different departments. That will signal the areas Apple will be going into. I’d expect HDTV’s to be a natural extension. I’d also expect The Summer/Septemer Macworld to grow in importance since Apple could launch a few products just in time for the Holiday season. Update all the computers, launch new HDTV monitors, update software, new ipod bundles, New iPhone configurations, iDVR, ICameras and have them ready for Black Friday. Use the January Keynote to launch completely new things, OS updates. Their retail store look like a brilliant move since now they can expand the locations to all consumer products they sell.
    Mental note to self buy stock.

    mcloki had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 25
  • Well I think we’ll see TV Channels showing up in the iTMS soon. Like we have radio. Then they’ll be able to tie the phone to the iTMS system so you can listen to iTunes radio watch iTunes TV and purchase music/movies/tv all from the phone. The phone should be able to link into Apple TV, again iTMS TV stations…. Get the idea… Although the Sat and cable companies are going to go through the roof. But the technology is there and those of you who have a PC can use’s interface to watch LIVE TV from around the world. All Apple needs to do is tie the feed to iTMS and it’s done. There’s some good content on there like Bloomsburg and Italian MTV (actually is kinda cool).

    So first online would be the freely available stations across the globe. Next up, Disney TV? Hey why not, new advertising medium. And in a couple years you’ll see more and more people ditching thier cable and sat because Apple has all the channels available, apple tv is also a DVR as well as the ability to purchase and download everything you’d need or want (including a roaring fire video for those in NYC).

    Ok, maybe I’ve said too much or just talking out my rear… But that seems to be the way these two new products will be able to co-integrate into tech’s that are there and coming online.

    The iPhone and Apple TV are just components to a service industry that’s here but not there yet. With these two and whatever else is to come Apple will begin looking more like Taco Bell in Demolition Man.

    xwiredtva had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 172
  • Can they finally get around to licensing OS X, now that computers aren’t their main game anymore?

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • As everyone duly noted, OSX is embedded in the iPhone and therefore it is a Mac at heart and Leopard (although much slimmed, for sure) is definitely at work there.

    This embedded or core OSX is the driver for ALL digital mobile/portable products that Apple will invent from the iPhone on. This core OSX is the differentiating factor and Apple’s lifeblood.

    Do you think they will share this to anyone?

    Robomac had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 846
  • “licensing OS X”....

    Things aren’t going to change drastically now that computers isn’t in their name.

    Before: We’re a computer company that also makes iPods and other entertainment devices
    After: We’re a company that makes lots of devices, including Macs, iPods, InternetTV, and other entertainment devices

    Greg Alexander had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 228
  • Certainly, the Mac community needs reassuring that Apple still has the Mac at its heart. I have little doubt that this will take place over the next few months, however.

    I am wondering just how much ‘OS X’ actually shares with Mac OS X. If iPhone is not to open its gizzards to 3rd party developers, for instance, I can’t see much point in actually including Core Animation.

    Trust the marketing I do not. This is not the same stuff as our computers are made on. Can anyone shed any light on the suitability of Darwin for slimmed-down mobile devices?

    Benji had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 927
  • Things aren’t going to change drastically now that computers isn’t in their name.

    Well is it or isn’t it?  I’m hearing it’s significant, and certainly it was enough for them to change the name of the company.

    As has been noted, they announced NOTHING new regarding the Mac itself, and certainly the sales of new Macs are dwarfed by their other products.

    Honestly, I don’t why Mac fanatics are so dead set against it.  What does it have to do with you if somebody else wants the OS but not the hardware?  You can still shell out the premium for the hardware if you want.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • Hmm, if the name change is important/significant, as you say, your Shakespeare quotation really doesn’t make sense, since it’s about the name not mattering…

    scottymac had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 1
  • The corporate name change was expected (at least for me) since the iPod caught fire in the last 2-3 years.

    When Apple created the iPod division it was a clear signal to the faithful that it was undergoing a major strategic overhaul. Apple’s focus became more consumer-oriented from the minimalist hardware, software integration, to UI designs.

    Apple is not abandoning the Mac as some FUD poppers would like us faithfuls to believe. Quite the contrary, Apple is intent on using the iPhone to continue what the iPod has done to Mac hardware sales.

    How would you like to hear “iPhone Halo Effect”? I thought so. A couple of years from now this effect will even dwarf the iPod’s effect on Mac sales. After all, the overall cellular market is over a billion units per year. Apple want at least 10% of that. That is a huge number to ignore.

    I know what you’re cackling, Nokia, Samsung, and Motorola are currently guarding the gates of the cellular kingdom. Tell those goons that Sony, Diamond, and Creative used to sit on their MP3 thrones back in 2001. Where are they now?

    Robomac had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 846
  • Darwin, like Symbian can sit just fine on an iPhone. In fact slimmed down versions of Darwin were developed just before apple pulled the plug, then reinserted it.

    I don’t think, and hope never, Apple will license OS X or any derivatives to any other company. Because THAT is what makes Apple, Apple! It’s the cointegration of the software desing FIRST that integrates with the hardware capabilities SECOND that lets the hardware designers make a package THIRD that makes an Apple product an “Apple Product”.

    You want OS X and all it’s goodness? Buy a Mac.

    I think I see where Apple is taking the company. And I think I can say a hell of alot more than what I’m respectully alowed here. But basically everything they do concerns the computer side. It all revolves around the “Mac” as the embodiment of all things Apple. iPods sync with PC and Mac along with almost everything they have. However Marketing revolves around the Mac working and being easier to use than the PC. Is it not? So you have an iPod, get an iPhone and you decide Apple TV will work great with your XP machine. All of a sudden your one stop short of what? Full 100% integration on a single product line.

    Ok, enough of a rant. I hope those who read this understand what I’m saying. An apple is an apple no matter what it taste like but they all come from a Tree. That tree is the Mac computer system, the roots are OS X, and the fruit my friends are the little devices that hang off the tree.

    xwiredtva had this to say on Jan 11, 2007 Posts: 172
  • Nice.

    Hmm, if the name change is important/significant, as you say, your Shakespeare quotation really doesn’t make sense, since it’s about the name not mattering…

    I think it’s all the more apt. the point in R&J is that the name is a major sticking point, but why - “what’s in a name?”
    Here we have the situation that the name change is being considered a big deal by some, but others, like Juliet, see that it’s not really important:
    So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
        Retain that dear perfection which he owes
        Without that title.


    Benji had this to say on Jan 12, 2007 Posts: 927
  • As important as the iPhone’s awesome interface, the innovation that will mark the most the years to come is the integration of OS-X inside a component that’s small and relatively cheap (probably around $100 for CPU + ROM) as it prefigures a whole new generation of smart, or “brilliant”,  devices that all communicate with each other.

    It might seem ironical to notice that at a time when Apple is dropping the “Computer” from its brand name, the company is starting to instill a computer in even the tiniest of its products. But don’t get it wrong: in fact, the “Computer” wasn’t dropped; it simply became transparent. And that’s really powerful.

    Pierre Saslawsky had this to say on Jan 13, 2007 Posts: 4
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