The Macbook air showed that the whole computer industry functions around one factor: upload speed. Follow me a bit here.
What do you do with your computer? You probably work a lot, writing email, juggling spreadsheets and word documents, browsing
facebook wallstreetjournal.com. Then there is your personal space made of conversations, websites, but also pictures, videos or music. That is why you call it a personal computer after all.
Back in 1995, Microsoft got really annoyed by Netscape when the Redmond giant realized that the web browser was set to become an operating system in itself. To use Gmail or Writely (an online equivalent of Word, now bought by Google) all you need is a browser, and you don’t care if it runs on top of Microsoft, Linux or Apple software.
So it is not interesting to fight on this ground. It is a lost war. What the operating system makers need to do is to focus on two things: what people do not want to upload, and what people can not upload. Why? Because it is everything that happens outside of the web browser, and in that sense it is where you can make a difference, you can separate yourself from the pack.
One company seems to have understood that: Apple. What do you get out of the box if you buy a mac? A web browser (Safari) but no office suite. You go online or download the free Neo Office for that. Then you get tools to manage your digital assets (iTunes for music, iPhoto, iMovies, etc…), i.e. these things you can not upload because of network limitations.
And the mac will also take care of the stuff you do not want to share because they are too personal, you have encryption (Filevault) and automatic backups (Time Machine). That is what you call focusing on users needs.
Now there is a next step coming. Uploads are getting easier with bandwidths widening slowly. More of the things you had to do on your computer (like edit a picture or a video) are moving online. Ask Rodrigo of vpod.tv for a demo of their next product and you will be blown away. You can edit video, create transitions, add overlays of information, all online and in real time. Flabbergasting. Imovies and Photoshop are now coming to the browser.
The tasks we could not do online because of technological limitations will soon be available as web pages. A next paradigm is coming, and again, who gets ready for that? The macbook Air! It is a lightweight terminal with reasonable performance (it runs a web browser very well) and a small 60GB hard drive (about half the size of what you get on the cheapest PC).
This is the computer for the next evolution, when everything you do is online, and the personal computer has to become a light, reliable, safe, autonomous and friendly terminal able to connect to the web and run a browser. Apple is getting in position to reign on that market, taking the lead in almost every dimension that matters (interface, size, security, communication). That is why you should buy Apple stocks.
And the reason not to buy these stocks? The fact that this company loses 50% of its value if Steve Jobs has a car accident tomorrow. Who said investment was a gimmie 😉