In another reversal decision, Apple has reportedly decided not to spin off the Newton.
While one can argue that, in all these cases, the initial decision and its subsequent reversal, were the right decision at the time, it still creates the sense that Apple unable to maintain a strategic direction for any length of time.
The future More generally, you might want to check out three very different viewpoints on Apple's new policy regarding clones (or the impending lack of them). Don Crabb asserts that it is a positive and correct move for Apple. Ric Ford continues to stress that it is a likely mistake. While a third viewpoint by Christopher Pott (apparently taken seriously by people within Apple, who alerted me to this URL) asserts that while it is still not clear whether it is good or bad, it was the best that could be done - given the changing situation that Apple faced.
Whichever overall viewpoint is most accurate (and I am not going to speculate on which one that may be), all three of these diverging reports were in agreement on at least one important point (aside from the obvious truth that Steve Jobs is the driving force behind all of these recent decisions). Consider these three quotes:
Don Crabb: ...don't be surprised [to see] Apple-specific Intel CPUs that work exceptionally well with Mac OS and Rhapsody. Apple might embrace other microprocessor architectures, too.
Ric Ford: [Apple plans] to continue with Rhapsody as a cross-platform replacement for the Macintosh, and you [Steve Jobs] are focusing more on Intel hardware than on PowerPC hardware. Apple will produce some new PowerPC systems in the next year, but the strategy is to move to Intel.
Christopher Pott: It's important to realize that in the new paradigm, Mac OS clones are really just a Mac OS 8 issue. Rhapsody will run on Intel, and will almost surely be licensed broadly and cheaply to any Intel-standard manufacturer who wants it.
In other words, despite Steve Jobs' assertion last August that attention must be paid to the Mac OS, these reports all agree that the real and very immediate future of Apple is with Rhapsody - probably running on Intel hardware. If correct, it appears that we had better get used to the idea that saving Apple and saving the Macintosh platform are not synonymous. While Apple may yet survive, even thrive, the future of the Mac platform as we know it is very much in doubt.