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Issue of the Week: Time for Apple to Get Serious About Real Computing

By Doug Barney

It seems silly to criticize Apple, Inc. of Cupertino, CA. After all, its stock is at an all-time high, it invented and owns the world of mobile music, the iPhone is the hottest thing since burnt toast, and Steve Jobs has more young fans than Hannah Montana (though most of his are male).

Yet while the Mac has a decent line up of desktop engineering tools (at my last count there were 54 CAD programs) and also has an array of engineering (construction, manufacturing, mechanical, environmental, and electrical) as well as data acquisition and imaging tools, Apple could be doing so much more.

First, I would argue that Apple has entirely given up on the enterprise. And if you have barely any role in the enterprise, it is an uphill battle to place Macs in engineering departments.

Nor do I see Apple aggressively going after the engineering community. Go to the Apple Website and you have to dig deep to find any mention of anything related to engineering.

Apple has terrific hardware, including a nice line of dual-core laptops, desktops, and servers. Yet in all 2007, Apple never made a single announcement about HPC, technical computing, clustering, or engineering.

Perhaps Apple truly believes it has no chance of increasing market share in HPC and engineering markets, and fears how the stench of failure might affect its other products. This might be a big mistake. The world of HPC is where the hardware revolutions are happening — from cheap small supercomputers to massive clusters that bring cloud computing to everything from huge engineering projects to consumer websites. Apple might have revolutionized music and portable phones, but it can’t be a true leader in computing if it can’t keep pace in HPC. Tell me where I’m wrong by writing barney@deskeng.com.

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