My dad brought home a Toyota Corona one weekend in 1968 on a "tryout." (Having moonlighted as a car salesman, he was on good terms with the dealer.) I drove the little Corona from Baltimore to Springfield, Virginia and was an instant convert to Japanese automobiles. The boxy, light blue compact, smaller even than today's Yaris, struck me as a miniature grown-up's sedan. It was automatic, neatly styled, and every bit as equipped as any Chevy behemoth. More…
A few months ago, 39 years after my weekend fling, Toyota passed Ford to become America's number 2 automaker in new car sales. And all that leads me to my favorite techno-love: Apple Computer.
It is clear to me that Apple has become the Toyota (or Honda if you prefer) to Microsoft's Ford. Already this year the company's Macbook and Macbook Pro have burst out of their supposed "niche" and doubled market share from 6 to 12 percent, thanks largely to very happy iPod owners who have figured out that Jobs and Co.'s computers and operating system are as superior to Windows machines as the iPod is to its own humiliated competition.
Of course, the iPod's success has upped the quality bar in portable media players, and lately there have been some decent, truly competitive machines released. But they're probably too little too late: The iPod has become a cultural brand icon.
Tomorrow Apple is holding a special media event, and Steve Jobs will announce that the company is getting into the downloadable movie rental business. I think he will also announce a sixth generation, widescreen video iPod with wireless capabilities (even if only a wireless dock). It's also possible that he will announce the production of an iPhone (or iTalk), complete with service plans. If that announcement doesn't come tomorrow, it certainly will by early 2007.
Want to stay with your Windows machine? Fine. And keep driving that old Taurus too. But sooner or later you'll make the switch, and then spend awhile kicking yourself for not doing it sooner. Resistance is futile.