Apple keeps making the Mac better, and that’s a good thing. But what is Apple doing to the Mac that is insanely great? A new and brilliant execution of an innovative idea for personal computing? Or, are the Mac’s revolutionary days gone forever?
The Future Is Not The Mac
When the Mac was launched back in 1984 it was hailed as another example of Apple’s innovation, and, indeed, the Mac’s graphical user interface changed how we used computers.
The mouse, a finger, and knowledge on what to click and when made the Mac, and eventually, the Windows PC, easier for the masses to use.
What has changed since the Mac was launched nearly three decades ago?
Today’s Mac is faster, has more memory, much more storage (and faster), an aluminum-clad body instead of plastic, and Retina displays.
Instead of a few apps which all too often summoned the crash bomb to the Mac’s screen, today’s Macs come loaded with a variety of table stakes applications– mail, browser, Calendar, Contacts, and apps for music, movies, photos, and more.
Most of what we see in today’s Mac are evolutionary changes. There’s a built-in video camera, and wide screen displays to match. But the Mac, like the PC, is still pretty much a point and click computing device.
We demand more of the Mac, and it delivers plenty of capability; whether MacBook or iMac or Mac mini.
Where’s the latest evidence of Apple’s famed innovation, a revolutionary leap, an insanely great idea that only Apple could bring to market?
Voice recognition? So far, Siri, while cute, is mostly lame when it comes to integrated productivity. Facial recognition? Apple doesn’t even bother, but a few apps take advantage of all those built-in cameras.
Speed? That’s not of Apple’s making. CPUs and SSDs are bought off the shelf and shoved into new Macs these days. Apple may push the boundaries with advances such as the Retina display, but even that is showing up in other devices every day.
The reality is this. Apple advances the state of the art, yes, but in measured, calculated, and obvious steps, as opposed to the less obvious but insanely great advances in products of years past. The Mac is a mature product, born of a stream of evolutionary steps dating back decades, but is mostly devoid of the same great leaps that came with the iPhone and iPad.
Tech pundits were critical of the Mac’s original graphical user interface back in the day, yet it was the Mac that heralded the future of personal computing. The same pundits decried the iPhone’s touch interface, yet today, just a few short years later, it’s that touch interface that makes up the vast majority of smart phone products.
Tablets? Microsoft and their manufacturing partners didn’t have much success with tablets for a decade before the iPad was launched. What’s the tablet form factor today? It’s the iPad. Apple led the way. But if Apple leads with revolution and then marches to evolution, and it’s been years since the iPhone and iPad forged a new future, are we nearing the end of Apple’s evolutionary cycle and ready for some real innovation? If so, what will it be?