updated 01:15 pm EDT, Wed October 5, 2005
New projects at Dell, Toshiba and IBM among others focus on developing computers and gear that appeal for the rather than just getting a job done, reports Chicago Tribune columnist James Coates. A few days ago Michael Dell went to New York's pricey Ritz Carlton hotel on Central Park South to announce a burnished metal-clad laptop dubbed XPS, which "emulates Apple's to-die-for tungsten-encased PowerBook." Coates also talks about how Jobs made design paramount at Apple, after being "rushed back from retirement [in 1997] to save the company from MBAs run amok." Many subsequent products -- including iMacs, PowerBooks, iBooks, iPods and now Nanos -- have "kept Apple front and center in a game in which its actual footprint is negligible while PCs own more than 90 percent of the market."