Never before in the history of computing has the consumer had so much power and convenience available to him. What only ten years ago was viewed as a super-computing application is now freely offered to anyone with the hardware to support it — genetic sequencing, video editing, 3D graphics, explosion reproduction. It is in this climate that we must ask ourselves what the next step will be, and where we will allow it to take us.
In 1996, SGI (formerly Silicon Graphics, Inc.) swapped out their home-grown operating system and processor — IRIX and MIPS, respectively — for commodity components Linux and IA32. Today, SGI is in the doghouse and fares little better than any other PC vendor. Into the gap left by SGI came Apple, who in 1996 themselves purchased what is arguably the most advanced UNIX in existance: OPENSTEP, aka Mac OS X.
Now with QuickTime 6.1 and Quartz Extreme, is there anything that can stop Apple's juggernaut-like race to be king of the high-end server market? Only lack of hardware to run their crown jewels on. The Mac is so good at what it does, Apple is pressing Motorola and IBM for PowerPC chips that can meet the exhaustive demands of new high-end customers. The best of both breeds, Apple offers scalable, high-end UNIX to the Fortune 500 clientele as well as ease of use and simplicity to its private consumers. With things going so well, Apple seems to be on an unstoppable rise.