I suppose I will really never be able to fulfill my childhood dream of working for Apple Computer, Inc. Bummer. The changing of the name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. is certainly symbolic, but I think carries far more weight in the industry than anybody is really giving credence.
Over five years ago, Apple told us that the Mac was becoming/is the digital media hub. They told us that the Mac was going to be the center of our digital life, and like a dropping a penny into an empty well, nothing happened. A glance of the industry as a whole is almost sickening in terms of the void that just didn't get filled. Apple should not have needed to create the iPod. Apple should not have needed to create the iPhone. To paraphrase what Steve Jobs said to a reporter from CNBC "we create products we want to [need/]use." Apple is slowly learning what John D. Rockefeller learned over a hundred years ago, vertical mergers will make you obscenely rich, or to put it more succinctly in terms of Apple's situation, you cannot trust the rest of the industry "figure it out." The Nomad Jukebox is a decent device, but it doesn't integrate into the rest of my "digital life" like the iPod did when it came out. The Motorola Razr, or the Blackberry are all nice devices, they sleek, they have appeal, but they just suck. The software is miserable, and they don't integrate like the iPhone does/will, so they're doomed to play the second-fiddle that Microsoft is finding itself playing with regards to the Zune.
Moving from Apple Computer to just Apple is a weighty change at least in terms of the company mindset that should have the rest of the industry scared sh#$less. Apple is moving away from just computers to something most Mac OS X users have become familiar with, the experience which they have excelled and building with iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, and the peripherals to go with them. While Microsoft did beat Apple into the living room with the original XBox (I know a number of people that use their first gen XBoxes as both DVD players and media hubs), appleTV has some catching up to do, but has something Microsoft doesn't (besides the religious fanbase), the "experience" necessary to get every joe and smoe type to not only desire an appleTV, but actually use it.
The iPhone is a good example of Apple's power to look at an existing market and completely change the "level of play" required to compete in that market, and do it in such a way that everybody from Main Street to Wall Street is now paying attention.
That's officially my one, requisite, Macworld 2007 blog posting. I'll finish with this image, courtesy of David Young's blog.