TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Mar 99 Viewpoint

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 3
Column Tag: Viewpoint

Sep 98 Viewpoint

by Nicholas C. "nick.c" DeMello, editor@mactech.com

Plays Well with Others

My mother told me that the secret to getting ahead in life is being flexible and learning how to get along well with others. Frankly, you can often loose more by insisting on having things your way, than you gain by doing something the "right" way. I think Apple has taken this wisdom to heart last year and has learned to pick their fights very carefully. Today's Mac definitely plays better with others, and that may just translate into a larger market share in the coming year.

The Macintosh is a wonderful and unique instrument that offers so many powerful features and is so easy to use and fun to explore that one has to wonder why everyone doesn't have one on their desk. Well, the reason often comes down to compatibility. Macs are great, but replacing my hard drive costs twice as much as it should, it can be easier to find an honest politician than a really great joystick, and you can't get good games for it for love or money. Well at least that used to be true. It simply didn't make good business sense for third parties to address those markets.

Apple's adoption of IDE hard drives may have been the first sign. Buying a Macintosh computer suddenly became a lot more cost effective (by hundreds of dollars on the hard drive alone) and Mac users now have access to expansion options that simply weren't available before - at any price. I still remember turning over every stone I could to try and find a 800 mb SCSI hard disk for my Duo, when my buddy with the ThinkPad could pick up a 2 gb IDE HD at the corner computer store - cheaper. Adopting IDE has made the Mac a more useful tool for many of us and therefore an easier choice for first time buyers. Adopting USB was an even better move.

Over the years, many vendors have made wonderful peripherals for the Macintosh, but let's not kid ourselves. You could walk into any computer store and see aisles of joysticks, keyboards, specialty mice, and other input devices. It was always a lot of fun exploring these aisles... until you realized that the Mac section was over there (that bottom shelf with two mice and one Joystick). For most vendors, it just didn't pay to build an entirely separate piece of hardware for the Mac, the market was too small. But that lack of choice also kept the market from growing, creating a vicious cycle that Apple has tried very hard to fight against for over a decade.

Well, it seems Apple has given up. Or, more accurately, realized that there are some battles that it is simply foolish to fight - especially when those same resources can better be applied elsewhere. Why not tap into the huge reservoir of peripheral vendors that happen to be making tools for the PC and make it easy and profitable for them to sell to the Apple market as well? With the emergence of the USB standard it was perfect time to do so, and now I can get a great Joystick for my iMac. It's no longer a hard sell to convince a vendor to support the Macintosh, instead it's a no brainer for them to increase their market share by simply creating a Mac OS driver for the exact same hardware they're already selling to PC customers. It now makes good business sense to support the Macintosh.

Then there's OpenGL. If you're not familiar with OpenGL, that's not too surprising. It hasn't been very popular with Mac programmers over the years - it's just the rest of the computer world that's been relying on it. OpenGL is a graphics library that, since 1992, has been the de facto standard for 3D Graphics programming. The OpenGL engine supports the easy and platform independent generation and manipulation of detailed 3D constructs as well as advanced rendering options like reflections, refraction, and transparency. This full ray tracing engine has been incorporated into most modern operating systems. Because you could count on OpenGL being available in every installation of Windows 98, you only had to write a fraction of the code that you needed to to create the same game for the Mac. At Macworld San Francisco, Apple has finally announced that OpenGL will be implemented in the next release of the Mac OS 8.x and will be integrated into Mac OS X as well.

So what does this mean to game programmers? It means exactly what USB meant to peripheral manufacturers: all those wonderful 3D games out there, the ones based on OpenGL game engines can now be ported to the Mac with very little work. It means that the Mac can take the best that Windows has to offer and make it our own with very little effort.

While many Macworld attendees were off toasting OpenGL, those who weren't programmers were focused on another announcement. Connectix, those wonderful folks who brought us Virtual PC, announced the Virtual Game Station - a Sony PlayStation emulator for the Mac. After all, if the Macintosh is going after computer gamers just trying to match the Windows offering isn't really setting much of a challenge for ourselves. Sony is the king of play time.

With Apple promotions that bundle Virtual PC with new Macs and Connectix selling the Virtual Game Station at an extremely attractive price, the Macintosh is now the only system on which you can play just about any game made. There may be a new king in town.

Steve Jobs doesn't need any back patting from me. He's a shrewd businessman who understands the computer market better than I ever will. Never the less, I want to tip my hat here. Apple has created a new line of computers that offer tremendous speed, powerful graphics, easy expandability, and an increasingly stable and reliable feature rich operating system. But I think we may just come to see that the real strokes of genius in the resurgence of the Macintosh lie in the quieter moves Apple has made to set the stage for a growth in market share. Beyond candy colored boxes and monstrously powerful CPU's, Apple's subtler decisions with regard to standards and emulation allow the platform to effortlessly tap into the tremendous third party hardware support of the Intel PC, the army of game programmers relying on OpenGL, and the wealth of existing games on Windows and PlayStation platforms. This just may mean the difference between a reinvigorated Mac platform reclaiming our comfortable niche in the computer industry, or expanding to become something larger.

 
AAPL
$99.02
Apple Inc.
+1.35
MSFT
$43.97
Microsoft Corpora
-0.53
GOOG
$590.60
Google Inc.
+1.58

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OS X Yosemite Wallpaper 1.0 - Desktop im...
OS X Yosemite Wallpaper is the gorgeous new background image for Apple's upcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite. This wallpaper is available for all screen resolutions with a source file that measures 5,418... Read more
Acorn 4.4 - Bitmap image editor. (Demo)
Acorn is a new image editor built with one goal in mind - simplicity. Fast, easy, and fluid, Acorn provides the options you'll need without any overhead. Acorn feels right, and won't drain your bank... Read more
Bartender 1.2.20 - Organize your menu ba...
Bartender lets you organize your menu bar apps. Features: Lets you tidy your menu bar apps how you want. See your menu bar apps when you want. Hide the apps you need to run, but do not need to... Read more
TotalFinder 1.6.2 - Adds tabs, hotkeys,...
TotalFinder is a universally acclaimed navigational companion for your Mac. Enhance your Mac's Finder with features so smart and convenient, you won't believe you ever lived without them. Tab-based... Read more
Vienna 3.0.0 RC 2 :be5265e: - RSS and At...
Vienna is a freeware and Open-Source RSS/Atom newsreader with article storage and management via a SQLite database, written in Objective-C and Cocoa, for the OS X operating system. It provides... Read more
VLC Media Player 2.1.5 - Popular multime...
VLC Media Player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, MP3, OGG, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It... Read more
Default Folder X 4.6.7 - Enhances Open a...
Default Folder X attaches a toolbar to the right side of the Open and Save dialogs in any OS X-native application. The toolbar gives you fast access to various folders and commands. You just click... Read more
TinkerTool 5.3 - Expanded preference set...
TinkerTool is an application that gives you access to additional preference settings Apple has built into Mac OS X. This allows to activate hidden features in the operating system and in some of the... Read more
Audio Hijack Pro 2.11.0 - Record and enh...
Audio Hijack Pro drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio with Audio Hijack... Read more
Intermission 1.1.1 - Pause and rewind li...
Intermission allows you to pause and rewind live audio from any application on your Mac. Intermission will buffer up to 3 hours of audio, allowing users to skip through any assortment of audio... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Traps n’ Gemstones Review
Traps n’ Gemstones Review By Campbell Bird on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CASTLEVANIA JONESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fight mummies, dig tunnels, and ride a runaway minecart to discover ancient secrets in this... | Read more »
The Phantom PI Mission Apparition Review
The Phantom PI Mission Apparition Review By Jordan Minor on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: GHOSTS BUSTEDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The Phantom PI is an exceedingly clever and well-crafted adventure game.   | Read more »
More Stubies Are Coming Your Way in a Ne...
More Stubies Are Coming Your Way in a New Update Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
The Great Prank War Review
The Great Prank War Review By Nadia Oxford on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: PRANKING IS SERIOUS BUSINESSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Though short, The Great Prank War offers an interesting and fun mix of action and... | Read more »
Marvel Contest of Champions Announced at...
Marvel Contest of Champions Announced at Comic-Con Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] Announced over the weekend at San Diego Comic-Con was the fairly exciting looking Marvel Contest of Champions. | Read more »
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review By Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DULL SWIPINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The pizza power is weak when it comes to this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game.   | Read more »
Exploration Focused Puzzle Game Beatbudd...
Exploration Focused Puzzle Game Beatbuddy Set to Make Transition from PC to iOS this September Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
PlanetHD
PlanetHD By Nadia Oxford on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SPACE MADNESSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad PlanetHD will keep players busy for a while, though its unpredictable physics are a handful to deal with.   | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: July 21-25, 2014
Another Week of Expert App Reviews   At 148Apps, we help you sort through the great ocean of apps to find the ones we think you’ll like and the ones you’ll need. Our top picks become Editor’s Choice, our stamp of approval for apps with that little... | Read more »
Reddme for iPhone - The Reddit Client (...
Reddme for iPhone - The Reddit Client 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: News Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Reddme for iPhone is an iOS 7-optimized Reddit client that offers a refreshing new way to experience Reddit... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $1099,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $1099.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $100 off MSRP. Price is... Read more
Roundup of Apple refurbished MacBook Pros, th...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. Their prices... Read more
Record Mac Shipments In Q2/14 Confound Analys...
A Seeking Alpha Trefis commentary notes that Apple’s fiscal Q3 2014 results released July 22, beat market predictions on earnings, although revenues were slightly lower than anticipated. Apple’s Mac’... Read more
Intel To Launch Core M Silicon For Use In Not...
Digitimes’ Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai, report that Intel will launch 14nm-based Core M series processors specifically for use in fanless notebook/tablet 2-in-1 models in Q4 2014, with many models to... Read more
Apple’s 2014 Back to School promotion: $100 g...
 Apple’s 2014 Back to School promotion includes a free $100 App Store Gift Card with the purchase of any new Mac (Mac mini excluded), or a $50 Gift Card with the purchase of an iPad or iPhone,... Read more
iMacs on sale for $150 off MSRP, $250 off for...
Best Buy has iMacs on sale for up to $160 off MSRP for a limited time. Choose free home shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Prices are valid for online orders only, in-store... Read more
Mac minis on sale for $100 off MSRP, starting...
Best Buy has Mac minis on sale for $100 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup. Prices are for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: 2.5GHz Mac mini: $499.99 2.3GHz... Read more
Global Tablet Market Grows 11% in Q2/14 Notwi...
Worldwide tablet sales grew 11.0 percent year over year in the second quarter of 2014, with shipments reaching 49.3 million units according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation... Read more
New iPhone 6 Models to Have Staggered Release...
Digitimes’ Cage Chao and Steve Shen report that according to unnamed sources in Apple’s upstream iPhone supply chain, the new 5.5-inch iPhone will be released several months later than the new 4.7-... Read more
New iOS App Helps People Feel Good About thei...
Mobile shoppers looking for big savings at their favorite stores can turn to the Goodshop app, a new iOS app with the latest coupons and deals at more than 5,000 online stores. In addition to being a... Read more

Jobs Board

Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Sr. Product Leader, *Apple* Store Apps - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.