Then, along came the next great thing. iPod? iPhone? iPad? No. Apple figured out how to transfer the essence of a Mac into other products and create even more sales and profits. Today, the Mac represents the short leg of Apple’s three-legged profit stool, taking a back seat to both iPhone and iPad.
Progress? Innovation? Or, Death Of A Family Member?
Despite the fact that Apple is producing the highest quality Macs with the best value ever, the march of change will not leave our favorite computing platform unscathed.
The Mac as we know it is changing, even dying; now in the beginning stages of transmogrifying to a device that may have more in common with iPhone and iPad and iOS than the Mac we knew and loved up until a few years ago.
To be fair, the Mac’s Unix underpinnings are not going away (as they make up the basis of iOS, too) any time soon.
What Apple is doing is making the Mac more like iOS, Apple’s OS for the masses. It doesn’t take much to see that each new OS X cat is being skinned and remodeled to match the expectations and experience of iOS users new to the Mac.
Everywhere we look there are signs of iOS in Mac OS X, each of which changes, ever so slightly the Mac personality. Gone for most users is access to the user Library files and folders.
The Mac App Store has instituted a new sand box security requirement for apps which further dilutes the capabilities of apps, making them more akin to iPhone and iPad apps.
The more recent versions of OS X are riddled with iPhone and iPad touches. Reminders. Messages. Notification Center. Dictation. Sharing. Game Center. AirPlay. Facebook and Twitter integration.
Mac OS X’s famed iCal and Address Book become Calendar and Contacts, ala iOS. How does the Mac’s Launchpad differ from how apps are launched on an iPhone or iPad.
On the hardware side, the Mac is beginning to resemble the iPhone and iPad. The latter two are not user serviceable (not easy to open up), and neither is the new MacBook Pro with Retina display. That’s the future of the Mac. Sealed, impenetrable, closed.
Look at the screens on any new MacBook model, and even the iMacs. See the big black bezel around the edges. Compare that to both iPhone and iPad. Transmogrifying, indeed.
How long before AppleScript, the little scripting tool that could, is completely removed from OS X because it is integrated with the OS to perform functions and tasks not fit for the great unwashed masses of new Mac users.
Apple is not afraid to make giant leaps toward the future. The company killed the iPod mini in a heartbeat. Final Cut Pro Studio was ditched in favor of a new app that did less. Remember the inexpensive plastic iBooks? Gone. Remember the highly touted IBM and Motorola PowerPC chips? Gone.
Even the Mac and Mac OS itself has undergone a few dramatic transformations through the years. Classic Mac OS to OS X? That was a fun ride. Bumpy, of course.
My iPhone and iPad, for the most part, are rock solid devices that just don’t fail, and never fail to amaze; especially when loaded up with a few hundred useful, usable apps. The Mac is being transformed into a new device, more closely identified with our iDevices than with Macs of the past.
In the name of progress, Apple is killing the Mac as we know it. Long live the Mac.