(Note: I wrote this in 2002 and decided to post it here because I've received a lot of questions about what language to use for iPad development. More on that in my next post)
Recently, several investment analysts rated Apple Computer a sell. I have not read their analysis, but recall that analysts are not always right nor do they always understand technology.
I tend to agree with Mr. Twain. What's more, an understanding of technology tells us that Apple’s future looks bright. Clearly their software strategy will play a large role in future success.
Software is the highest form of leverage a business can employ. As you probably know, too much operating or financial leverage can increase a firm’s risk while reducing the ability to respond to changing business conditions.
Software leverage is the degree to which a company utilizes existing software in the development of new software. Increasing software leverage reduces risk and enhances the firm’s ability to respond to change. This is a paradox unique to software development, one that astute engineers take advantage of whenever possible by using objects.
The Subject is Objects
Object-oriented programming is a method of development that increases your ability to leverage software by reusing software objects. Apple’s object-oriented frameworks provide trusted software that developers can use again and again. Instead of releasing software applications riddled with errors, they can release solid new applications.
Software engineers at Next used existing objects to develop WebObjects. WebObjects was developed in a relatively short time frame, but was also a
stable application server from the start. Stability was derived largely from the fact that 70 percent of the software consisted of reusable trusted objects.
The same software frameworks used to build NextStep and NextStep applications.
Mac OS X uses many of the same software frameworks that were used to create the Next platform. These frameworks along with many new frameworks are used to enhance OS X and create new applications. Keynote, the new presentation application, was built upon software frameworks. While building Keynote, additional objects were surely designed that can be reused by other Apple developers in myriad combinations.
The ability to use objects independently or in any combination is a rewarding way to invent products. It’s like snapping together Lego blocks to create software. You remember how easy it is to build a Lego house.
Apple’s Jonathan Ives tells us in a business article that other companies proffered job offers, but he has little interest in leaving Apple since all the necessary processes are in place to rapidly develop new products.
This is where the fun begins for many designers. Once they've built the necessary infrastructure, they're able to derive immense satisfaction from creating hardware or software products rapidly.
The capacity to build software at light speed bodes well for Apple. While objects are an interesting technical subject, how does this help you?
What This Means To You
Sure, the technology sounds cool. How does it help you in business or at home? Consumers are always asking, what’s in it for me? Objects are one of many OS X technical features that create user benefits:
• Enhanced versions of OS X.
• Steady flow of new applications.
• Reliable Applications
Enhanced Versions of OS X
Jaguar (the latest version of OS X) was developed in relatively short order. The next version of OS X is due in the fall of 2003 - less than a year from Jaguar’s launch. Apple's ability to introduce products rapidly creates a competitive advantage.
Users benefit from enhancements in several ways. Tired of wasting your time deleting junk mail? Use Jaguar’s Mail App to filter spam.
iMovie and the other media applications are an example of some of the applications that have been developed for OS X. Just as hardware needs an excellent OS, an OS needs application programs for it to have true value.
Many pundits believed that Next was hindered due to the fact that there were relatively few applications for the Next platform. Apple is determined not to have that problem. Evidence their latest application, Safari. It is the fastest web browser on OS X and is only a beta version. Other applications are sure to follow.
OS X’s UNIX foundation and object-oriented nature make the operating system and applications more trusted and reliable. You’ll spend less time pondering technical problems and more time solving business problems.
I have no idea where Apple’s stock price will be next year. Although, people who buy an Apple Computer will receive dividends for years to come.
Apple’s design philosophy creates options and leverage. As long as Apple correctly positions products, they have the vehicle to drive significant benefits to customers.
Imagine the enormous investment Apple has made in software. An investment that enables rapid software development that directly benefits OS X users.
What if you’re stuck on another operating system where the updates and benefits flow to you like blackstrap molasses on a Winter day?
Simply switch to OS X.