Fast Company

Macs Versus PCs Becomes iPhone Versus Pre

This is the story of two phones. The first is the most remarkable phone ever to come from the great Palm factories. The second's the astonishing brainchild of Apple's laboratories. The two devices are in pitched battle, supported by devoted fans. And the plot is thickening. 

The story begins very simply, with a history lesson. Exploding onto the scene in 1984, the revolutionary Macintosh was designed to challenge boring grey boxes and tedious user interfaces defining a typical PC. As such, it began an Apple versus Microsoft battle that's evolved into the famous "Macs versus PCs" internet and marketing meme. Those "I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC" adverts pitch a standard viewpoint: Macs are easy to use, friendly, and better than the boring, fuddy-duddy, flawed PCs powered by monopolistic Microsoft software. 

Two years ago, taking some of the design thinking from the Macintosh, Apple condensed some neat technology into its new iPhone: An intentionally revolutionary and direct challenge to boring, flawed existing smartphones, and the huge market share owned by Microsoft. 

The iPhone became a roaring success, that's probably changed how everyone thinks about cellphones. It's everywhere, in movies and TV shows, on the net, and in millions of users' pockets. Apple became the monopoly. And that's where this story's plot develops nicely. Today, the Macs versus PCs meme is being recreated as The iPhone versus The Pre. 

Because just when the iPhone is settling into its multi-million-selling global success, all of a sudden along comes Palm. The underdog, stumbling about in a last-ditch effort to save itself from disappearing into tech history. It's Pre phone has a revolutionary interface, powerful functions, sound hardware and is a direct challenge to the smartphone paradigm that Apple's basically invented. 

Thus the story has a fabulous plot-twist: In this new contest, Palm is the "Mac" and Apple is the "PC." 

The End. Or is it? Actually, dear Palm and Apple fans, it's not the end at all. Because this battle's actually more like Macs versus Macs. Remember that out there, in the rest of the world, Nokia is actually the big, slow-moving, slightly dowdy, market dominating PC.

[Palm, Apple]

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