This morning I woke up to TechCrunch's article about this partnership between Apple and IBM.
Personally, I think this is fantastic! It's about time that Apple will officially be brought into the workplace. People have been unofficially bringing Apple into the workplace for years through BYOD. They were the outlaw/bandit technologies. In some places, there would be an option for people to choose to work with a Mac or a PC; but those working with a Mac were either developers or creatives. Business people have a hard time adopting them for work.
I find this ironic because I remember when an office would have BOTH Macs and PCs and there would be races on complex calculations in Excel to see which computer system would win (hint: Mac always did). The Mac was always the superior computer - even for the business team.
Apple is like the pretty girl at a party - no one expects her to be smart, good at math or science, and actually be able to hold a conversation. Unfortunately in our society, the qualities of being efficient and effective doesn't include beauty. Or fun. Or entertainment.
More irony - to run entertainment "products" and projects you need some seriously hard core systems due to the extremely large file sizes and the need for granular processing (at the pixel level). Audio and video files are massive! Dreamworks buys high-end HP servers to support their animations, which have amazing levels of detail. Detailed photographs require amazing pixel level control to mirror what happens on traditional film - and it requires amazing amounts of computer power to process that. Art/entertainment is really big IT business...but some conservative IT professionals sadly just don't see it.
Consumers are behaving differently than in the past. 10 years ago, people used the devices they were assigned at work. Today, they see how these devices are easy to use and bring them to work to use their. The division between work and personal life is fast deteriorating. Technology needs to helping people do more in their lives so they can enjoy living rather than only optimize the workplace. Apple and IBM seem to have caught on to that. And hey - if you can't beat 'em (I think the whole BYOD movement has demonstrated that), join 'em.
Little known fact - Apple was in the enterprise market with their servers (they recently pulled to the small business market). Again, the speed of the Apple OS makes it superior, but there were some key components missing - they fixed the multi-user management, but integrating with other proprietary systems proved challenging. Apple's OS is REALLY Unix - it is from NeXT (and I know most hard core Unix fans believe that they had a superior system). This is why Apple's OS performs so much better than Windows. But this proprietary nature of Apple made it hard to be enterprise class.
Windows run on any type of PC, just like Microsoft server software. And Bill Gates gave away a lot of enterprise software for free to get customers "hooked." As a strategy to get marketshare, Microsoft SQL was given away for free when it first came out. It worked! I remember a number of IT directors telling me that we wouldn't use the better Oracle database for a project because the Microsoft license was free. Sure, they got stuck with a Microsoft database, but at the time, $30K vs free was an easy decision.
Today, more IT decisions are being made from users than it is from the directors making the decisions. Why this partnership between Apple and IBM makes sense.
In some ways, we all should have seen this partnership coming. IBM got out of the hardware business, but it is still working with businesses, so what was it going to sell to them? I doubt Dell products.
Apple will get further into the enterprise business, and IBM showed that it is listening to its customers with this BYOD problem. Sure, some companies will have a hard time accepting iPhones, iPad and Macs in a workplace, in the same way that some labs can't accept the pretty girl finding a cure for cancer. But the companies' employees will be thrilled that they can use 1 device - not one at home and one at work - do their job anywhere.
We will have more blurred lines between work and leisure, but more opportunities for living.