Chesapeake Home Theatre & Hi-Fi

Larry Dent is the owner of Chesapeake Home Theatre & Hi-Fi.

These articles were written for the Islander Weekly.

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Larry's Tech Talk

Talkin ‘bout my generation

Not too many years ago a west coast software company was dominating the world’s computer technology marketplace. Revenues were skyrocketing and competitors were being crushed. Companies like Intel, Dell, HP, and Compaq partnered with Microsoft and profited in a huge way. Bill Gates, the founder and CEO was the world’s richest man. Microsoft was everywhere and everything, or so it seemed. How could any company ever challenge this giant?

Meanwhile, rival west coast Apple Computer was sinking fast. Their computers cost more than Windows-based units. Apple’s technology marketshare was well below 5%. Microsoft was crushing its competitors with the Windows Operating System and its application software. Products like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint became market leaders and even Gov’t and Corporate standards. Remember Lotus and WordPerfect? Maybe??

What could a company named after a fruit (not that fruit is bad, I’m just setting you up!) possibly do to turn itself around against Microsoft? And what does this have to do with audio and video, dude?? Answer; EVERYTHING!

Miniature hard drive music players were just hitting the market, and there were plenty of them. The Sony Walkman was doomed, nice unit in its day, but the cassette tape was doomed. TA-DA!! Enter the Apple iPod. The iPod was the slickest handheld music device ever seen (and still might be!). It had the touch wheel, the display, even the box it shipped in was really cool. And the device that fit in your shirt pocket could store hours and hours (maybe weeks) of music. Did I mention it was really cool too?

iPods sold like hotcakes. Anyone that was into music had to have one. Sure, teenagers were probably the big market, but older (the rest of us) folks that commuted and traveled scooped them up too. The iPod was great with headphones and could easily be added to a home or car audio system. The iPod easily stored entire music collections, 100’s of CDs! WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN THAT??

Well, better than that, was already in place. And it was FREE! Apple invented a free software download called “iTunes”, which allowed anyone to download music or video via the Internet to their computer and sync to their iPod.. Sure, songs were $.99 each, and movies or videos cost $$. But the required iTunes was free. Free razor, just buy the blades concept?? GO APPLE, GO APPLE! So, Apple pays the artists a royalty, and takes a minor fee, everyone is happy. Except the record stores! They are ALL GONE! Apple re-invented, perfected the audio/video distribution business and spanked Microsoft in a big consumer computer related marketplace. Apple’s Macintosh line of computers also grew major market share from the success of the iPod. I think of this as bottom-up marketing.

Of course the skeptic in me had to think, what is this cool device lacking? I still have to travel with an iPod, a laptop (for e-mail) and a cell phone. Nobody could ever package a device that does all that. WRONG!! Enter the iPhone! It does all that and more! Then enter the iTouch, the iPad (an awesome 9-inch touch screen tablet) and you have become a member of the “i” Generation! Think you’re a Baby Boomer? Hippie Gen?
Gen-Xer? NO, we are all members of the “i” GENERATION!