What’s a Mac? Hardware? Software? It’s that sweet and magical spot in between, where hardware and software meet to create your computing environment.
The near-term future of the Mac is easy to predict based upon the recent history of Apple products. Some of that future has begun to unfold. Much of the future will unfold within the next year. It will be spectacular.
Guessing The Future Is A Fool’s Game
As a prognosticator of all things Apple, my record through the years is about 50-50. My list of wants for future Macs is always longer than Apple’s ability to deliver.
What I want, I want now. Apple, for whatever reason, has a different schedule.
With that said, there are a few ways to glean the future from the recent past. The future become more clear when one views Apple’s progress with iPhone and iPad.
What’s so special about those two newcomers? Long battery life. Light. Fast. Simple. Screens to die for.
There it is, folks. This fool is ready to up his game.
8 Roads To The Mac Of The Future
Most of the time Mac360 focuses on Mac apps. It’s what we do. Sometimes we’re given sufficient latitude to embarrass ourselves in public. But not today.
#8 – Lighter, Stronger Enclosures: Aluminum has a wonderful feel to it. Strong, attractive, recyclable. What of the future? Two words: Liquid Metal. Apple has a huge stake in the technology. When we see it on the iPhone or iPads of the future, we’ll know that lighter and stronger Macs are soon to come.
#7 – More Apps: Remember when Windows PC users would laugh at the paltry number of apps available for Macs? No more. Mac apps rock and rule. They do more and cost less.
The Mac App Store makes it easy to shop, easier to buy, easier to update to newer versions. Within a few years we will have forgotten about how we once went to 27 different web sites to try out 27 different apps.
#6 – Gestures, Swipes, Clicks, Oh My! The future is touch. Apple is doing everything possible to bring the iPhone and iPad’s notoriously simple touch to the Mac.
The Mac’s Magic Mouse is a touch screen. Most Macs have trackpads and Mac users know how to swipe, pinch and gesture. The Magic Trackpad brings it home to iMac, MacPro, and Mac mini users. How about a touchscreen? Nope.
#5 – Speed Burns, Baby! There was a time when Mac users had to defend RISC against CISC. We had horsepower envy when Intel’s chips began to pull away in the speed race.
That’s no longer the case. Apple’s Macs are usually cutting edge in the CPU count. Now if we could just get everyone, including Apple, aboard the 64-bit gravy train…
#4 – SSD’s Don’t Spin: The days of the hard disk drive are numbered. All the MacBook Air models come with Solid State Drive storage. All the MacBook Pro models have options for SSDs. No moving parts. Faster access. Slowly, lower prices.
If differentiation is key to a product’s success, Apple aims to differentiate Macs based on performance. Faster SSDs. Faster graphics. Faster Macs.
#3 – Battery Life: Did you notice the specs of the latest MacBook models?
Battery life is estimated at seven hours. The iPad is 10 hours. The iPhone even longer.
Clearly, Apple sees battery life as a technology where being on the bleeding edge of performance has sales benefits. So long as there’s no Flash running on your iDevices.
#2 – Connectivity: Apple was first to the starting gate with USB and FireWire. The former in all Macs shortly after introduction on the original iMac, and the latter an Apple homegrown product. USB is ubiquitous. FireWire is for serious connectivity between devices. Say goodbye to both. There’s something faster and easier.
Apple is first again with Thunderbolt, technology developed by Intel, and pushed by Apple. It’s 20 times faster than USB 2. 12 times faster than FireWire. It’s not copper, it’s fiber optics for the masses. Unfortunately, it’ll be a year before we begin seeing peripherals to take advantage of Thunderbolt, but all the MacBook Pro models have it already and it’s likely we’ll see it in all Macs before any other manufacturer gets it out the door.
#1 – What You See Is What You Get: This is a no brainer. Once you’ve used an iPhone with Apple’s Retina Display, you’ve seen the future. It’s print quality on a digital device. Apple was first with the iPhone, and is pushing hard to bring higher resolution screens to future iPads and Macs.
Apple is either leading or near the lead in all eight of the most important elements for the future of computing. What’s missing? Apple designs, but doesn’t manufacture. Apple specifies, but doesn’t build. When will that change?