You remember the Mac, right? There once was a day, in the not-to-distant past, when the Mac was Apple. With all those eggs in one basket Apple struggled to survive and almost kicked the bucket and bought the farm back in the mid-1990s. But the Mac formed the base that Apple used to ignite a string of successful, industry disrupting products this century. So, where is Apple’s love for the Mac?
Oh, How Quickly We Forget!
This missive is based upon Apple’s recent Special Event which was primarily an event about everything but the Mac. Apple Computer, Inc became Apple Inc. for a reason. The Mac just isn’t all that important anymore.
To be fair about this analysis, the Mac is selling at record levels each quarter, growing while the traditional PC industry stutters, stumbles, and falls like a drunken sailor wondering what all the noise is about on the Titanic. Apple owns about half of the industry’s profits so it’s important to Apple, and despite the wondering and criticizing is not likely to be dismissed as irrelevant and a relic of the past.
This most recent Special Event was expected, just as new iPhones are expected this time of year, every year. And, for more than two hours, in one of the fastest paced and longest presentations in Apple history, company executives extolled the virtues of every product line of substance emanating from One Infinite Loop in Cupertino– except the Mac.
New iPads, new Apple TV, new iPhones, but no new Macs. Also to be fair, the newest Macs, the MacBook and MacBook Pro line, were upgraded recently and sport the new Force Touch trackpad which on the newest iPhones is called 3D Touch. Why is the Mac relegated to a side street?
The iPhone is Apple’s bread and butter. Wait. It’s more than bread and butter. If the Mac once was Apple’s bread and butter, followed by tens of billions in profits from iPod, iTunes, and iEverything devices, then the iPhone is a seven-course meal of fine dining. The Mac eats with the servants in the back of the kitchen.
Back in the day, and not that far back, Apple would charge customers for iWork’s Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, and charge users to upgrade to the latest version of OS X. All those software packages are free these days. We’d pay Apple for a Mac, then pay Apple again for an upgraded OS X until it was time to buy a new Mac again. Since those glory days Apple has figured out many new ways to extract our money from our personage. iPod and iTunes Music Store. iPhone and iPad and the App Store. Apple Watch and Apple TV.
We’ve gone from being loyal Mac users who bought a new Mac every four, five, or six years, to having an array of Apple products that are often ‘must have’ status because they all work so well together, and they’re so beautiful and well designed and do so much for us.
Here’s an interesting test. Let’s assume that you own one of everything Apple makes. Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Watch, Apple TV. If you could keep only one device, which one would it be?