As a card carrying Apple pundit, I’ve had my share of complaints and praise about our favorite Mac, phone, and tablet manufacturer through the years.
With Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Retina display, Apple is doing to us what it’s been doing since the last century. Kicking out the old, rushing in the new, and making us love the whole process.
Not Your Father’s Gadget Maker
During Steve Jobs’ second reign at Apple, we’ve grown accustomed to rapid change; the kind that looks scary at first glance, but seems all too natural after just a few weeks of use.
Let’s go back to the original iMac in 1998. It didn’t look like any Mac before (or, since). It was fast running and fun to look at.
Remember, that iMac didn’t have a floppy disk drive (when every other Mac or PC did), and it did have USB ports (when every other Mac or PC didn’t).
Tech pundits, myself included, derided Apple’s nonsense exclusion of the floppy disk, a complaint quickly forgotten as the iMac gained popularity (and dispensed with the term sneaker net).
A few years later the MacBook Air arrived and all we could hear from anyone with a blog and an ax to grind was how background the diminutive notebook was without a SuperDrive.
Comparisons of the first MacBook Air to the ill-fated Mac Cube were obvious and aplenty. By reinventing the future, everyone said, Apple had forgotten the past. Except for one thing. CDs and DVDs were quickly becoming passé and Apple merely hastened the end.
The larger than life 27-inch iMac sitting on my desk at the office has a built-in SuperDrive. In the past 18 months I’ve used it once (tried out a new DVD movie while at work). That’s it. Apple was right again. CDs and DVDs are so 1999, and Apple is so tomorrow. Today.
What about Adobe’s Flash? It’s the de facto standard for advertising animation, cheap and crude games, and streaming video. Sorry. No Flash on the iPhone and now, no Flash on new Macs. Who cares? The pundits cried and decried Apple’s stance, but the customer didn’t miss Flash at all.
Where is Flash just a few years later? It’s a dying heap of dinosaur flesh, which still stinks after all these years of Adobe telling us Flash is a necessity.
Who needs a Retina display? Nobody. At least, nobody until Apple starting shipping the iPhone 4. Every other display now looks anemic. The MacBook Pro with Retina display marks the future, but is here today.
There’s no built-in hard disk drive; replaced by speedier, quieter, less power hungry SSD storage. There’s no built-in SuperDrive; replaced by more battery, lighter weight, and slimmer design.
What’s different about this new Retina display Mac, and the original iMac with USB but no floppy disk drive?
Apple has trained us well. If Apple says we don’t need a particular function, then we just agree and move on. It’s change that ends up being good for us anyway because, well, you know, Apple is usually right. And we love it when our favorite gadget maker is right about something.
Change is inevitable. Nothing improves without change. Apple is willing to make changes that benefit customers with more advantages than when customers lose some previously standardized function.
The only difference between then and now is that we don’t argue as much with Apple about whatever new changes they bring.