I’m starting to think my friend was right about the Mac. He told me that Apple no longer cares about the Mac and he increasingly disagrees with every release of OS X. He was a big Mac user for many years, before and after Steve Jobs returned to the company. He remembers using his old beige G3, and Apple’s transition to Mac OS X. He had several Macs during that time and he could tell me the in’s and out’s of OS 8, 9 and early versions of X. He knew the in’s and out’s of every PowerPC-based Mac you could think of. He helped me get my old iBook G4 running on wifi at my house, since I had WPA2 security and I needed an update on 10.3 to get it connected to that security. He updated several of my PowerPC computers to whatever he felt would run the smoothest, and he was always right. He appreciated Apple’s attention to power users and the little things that Apple did that power users would appreciate. One thing he loved about his PowerBook G4 and pre-Unibody MacBook Pros was that the disk drive was on the front of the computer instead of the side. That enabled him to more easily put in a disk when the computer was positioned on his desk. He could just pop the disk right in.
He absolutely loved Apple’s computers. Thus, January 9th, 2007 must’ve been quite a sore day for him. That was the day that Apple changed it’s name from “Apple Computer Inc.” to “Apple Inc.”, signifying that the company’s focus was no longer on it’s computers. Instead, Apple at that time was selling a slew of iPods and just came out with the iPhone. The Mac line, while much more successful in 07 than it had ever been, started to become an increasingly smaller part of Apple’s repertoire. That was the moment, according to my friend, where the Mac that he had known, had begun to die. In his eyes, Apple slowly begun to not care about the absolute processing power of Macs that they could offer but instead increasingly buried their heads and resources into the iPod, iPhone and eventually the iPad. To the world at large, this was and is certainly not a bad thing. To the Mac community, some are increasingly upset at Apple’s neglect of the Mac. My friend was upset since they moved the disk drive from the front, to the side.
The increased reliance on iOS, according to my friend, has led to an increased neglect on the Mac platform. If this is true, Apple has played it’s cards correctly; the iOS ecosystem is the biggest OS on the planet, but it has come as a price to the Mac. To him, Mac OS has become increasingly iOS-ified. Starting with Lion, features that are in iOS begun creeping into OS X. Launchpad, a copy of the home screen on iPhone came it’s way to the Mac, various iOS design monikers used in Lion onwards. Every OS X since then has seemingly copied from the iOS release with which it was released alongside of. The most obvious of which was iOS 8 and Yosemite, only this time, the Mac was a year behind in the design switch. I think that’s telling. Apple decided it’s most popular platform, not it’s most venerable one, should get the new look first. It’s not hard to see Apple’s priorities here, nor blame Apple for them. Now, it’s even easier to see Apple’s iOS-ificiation with macOS Sierra. The name macOS replaces the long-time (Mac) OS X. Lower case “mac” followed by “OS”, lower case “i”, followed by “OS”. Again, you can’t blame Apple for wanting to align everything it has with the iOS, Apple’s biggest money maker by a long stretch. But at the same time, the Mac community is hurting.
The design moves, pulling iOS and OS X (now macOS) closer together was something most Mac users could, and did, get used to. Some met with resistance, such as Apple’s iOS 7/8 like changes to iWork, which took away some popular productivity features, but for the most part Apple has been able to continue it’s march toward the iOS-ification of the Mac. While that upsets some people, and certainly upset my friend who has since migrated to all Linux, that is not the reason to be mad at Apple. Because of iOS’ popularity, Macs are becoming more and more popular and up to recently has been the only computer increasing in sales and marketshare. It only seems natural that the two platforms come closer together. Apple’s software has changed to uphold iOS, including Mac OS, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Since many Mac users are iPhone users and vice versa, this kumbaya of Apple devices is welcome, not shunned.
However, along with Apple’s streamlining of OS’s comes something that is deplorable. What has upset many in the Mac community, many of whom are questioning leaving the Mac platform entirely, is Apple’s neglect of Mac hardware. The dates of new iPod releases used to average around 200 days, depending on the type of iPod and what period of time we’re talking about. Now the average release time has dropped significantly to 400 days or greater. The biggest recent such gap of release time was for the iPod shuffle, Sep 2010-Sep 2013, a total of 1103 days. Of course, the iPod line is much less consequential on Apple’s revenue and profits than the Mac, but my question is why is Apple treating the Mac like that’s not the case? Every single Mac besides the MacBook is listed as “Don’t Buy” on MacRumors.
337, 484, 554, 698, 1000. That’s how many days the iMac, Retina MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and the Mac Pro have gone without an update. 1000 days is getting up there with the 1103 days of the iPod shuffle. Granted, I would imagine it would be more difficult justifying updating a several thousand dollar workstation, than an iPod shuffle, but the question must be asked as to why Apple has allowed the Mac Pro, which has not changed in price any since it first released 3 years ago, to whittle on for so long without any spec bump at all. No updated processors, GPUs, RAM, storage, I/O. Nothing. When my friend said that Apple no longer cares about the Mac, I see why. They aren’t updated enough for professionals anymore, people who can truly appreciate the power of what these machines can do. Those professionals, and increasingly lots of consumers, want those updated specs. Perhaps my friend wasn’t upset about the iOSification of Mac OS itself, but rather what he thought it meant for the Mac hardware down the line.
Apple has truly become a consumer electronics company in every sense of the phrase, from it’s phones to it’s computers. Much more focus, more so than ever before, has been driven to the consumer. Apple has now all but completely neglected it’s professional users, a group that Apple had for so long prided itself in having. An example of this is Apple’s discontinuation of Aperture in favor of Photos. Photos doesn’t have nearly as much or as good photo editing software that Aperture had. What is really astounding is how little Apple really cares about that. Apple isn’t the company for people like my friend anymore. They don’t make computers like they used to. In many ways, that’s okay. The Mac will continue to do just fine, and perhaps maybe better than fine. The Mac will continue to be important to Apple for years to come. The Macs will continue to be updated. However, it appears that the importance of the Mac will only continue to decline. The iPad Pro is hailed as the next true path of the post-PC world. Apple’s A10 Fusion processor only accentuates that progression. Silicon in mobile devices is catching up to silicon in laptops. iOS, iPhone and iPad are already desktop-class and are only continuing in that direction. In some ways, my friend doesn’t like that progression. Sure, it may be similar silicon, but you can’t exactly restore an iPhone off an iPad Pro, like what some may have needed to do today with the release of iOS 10. Marketing the iPad Pro as a Mac replacement is appealing to the everyday user at it’s finest. The iPad Pro is a great product, I have the 12.9 inch model. But I wouldn’t give up the Mac for it yet. The post-PC future is coming, but the least Apple can do is ease the growing pains and update their Macs every so often so that we can take advantage of this year’s silicon, not silicon from 1000 days ago.
Thanks for reading,