SAN FRANCISCO--Apple Computer is relying on the Internet to keep the company going, said James Buckley, president of Apple Americas, in his keynote speech here today.
The influence of Macintosh platforms on the Web is pervasive, said Buckley. Up to 20 percent of all Web servers are Mac-based because they're easier to set up and cheaper to maintain than their Unix counterparts, he added. "Macintosh users make up 40 percent of people accessing the Web. The Internet is a destiny-changing event for Apple and the Macintosh community," said Buckley.
To make Net access easier for Macintosh users, the company plans to provide a set of online browsing tools known as Cyberdog. "Cyberdog shows why the Net and Macintosh are made for each other," said Buckley. The goal is to make using the Net as easy as desktop publishing. "It [Cyberdog] integrates Internet capabilities into the Mac operating system and makes using the Internet in the '90s as easy as we made desktop publishing in the '80s."
But its Internet strategy isn't the only high card Apple is holding, said Buckley. The company is also betting heavily on Copland, an object-oriented operating system due out this year. "Copland was designed to provide you with powerful new ways to work, learn, create, and play," he noted.
The operating system is due out next year and is still in an early alpha state. But next year may be too late, said one analyst. "If they're waiting on Copland, they're really in trouble. That's like Custer waiting for help to arrive three days after the fight has started," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga, a market research company in San Jose, California.
To stay competitive, he said, the company needs a fix quickly. "They're going to lose additional resources in cutbacks that will delay Copland even further," Enderle added.
The object-oriented nature of Copland will make Macintosh systems more customizable for users, said Vita Salvaggio, group product manager for Apple. Under Copland, users will be able to choose from among six different interface styles. "The metaphor and the way the Mac is used will be the same, but the appearance is different," said Salvaggio.
Apple is apparently not the only company currently working on a simpler, more customizable version of the PC. According to a report in the January 8 issue of Electronic Engineering Times, Microsoft has already trademarked the name "Simply Interactive PC," and is working on a set of open specifications that would make it easier to build interactive functions into x86 PCs.