Why Apple Should Revive the NeXT Computer
Here’s what I’d like to see. A new NeXT Computer. For those of you who don’t know, NeXT was computer company founded by Steve Jobs after he was fired from Apple. The NeXT computer was a never a mainstream success, but its technology became the basis of all modern Apple products. Apple retired the NeXT name pretty much as soon as Steve Jobs came back, but I would love to see them revive the derelict brand.
The NeXT Step for Professionals
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Apple’s neglect of their high end workstations has left creative professionals reeling. Thankfully, they have acknowledged the problem, apologizing for the Mac Pro’s neglect. So hopefully in the next year or so we’ll see a revival of that product line. This would be a perfect opportunity for them to revive the NeXT Computer.
A Clone with Control
Right before Steve Jobs came back, Apple tried opening the Mac market to competition. They started a clone licensing program. The idea was to enlarge the market by catering to people who would otherwise buy cheap beige box PCs, but the net result was to cannibalize the existing Mac market share. Jobs shut the program down as soon as he got back, and Apple has never delved into the clone market again.
Imagine if Apple made NeXT a semi-autonomous division that manufactured high-end Mac clones. These systems would use standard PC components with macOS. Because they would be branded as NeXT machines, these computers would not be marketed to the regular Apple demographics. So where Apple machines are designed to be usable by just about anyone, NeXT Computers would cater more toward creative professionals, IT departments, and computer geeks in general. That way, Apple could keep the “it just works” philosophy for their main product line, while still capturing the more professionally-minded market.
A Prestigious Brand
Brands are powerful, as Apple well knows. Along with Nike and McDonald’s, Apple is one of the few companies in the world that can use its logo without any additional wording. While the NeXT brand isn’t nearly as famous, it carries an impressive pedigree amongst computer geeks, with a logo designed by graphic design legend Paul Rand. The NeXT brand name has been mothballed for over twenty years. I say it’s time to dust it off for the twenty-first century.
What do you think of my idea for reviving the NeXT brand name? Do you have an alternate ideas? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.