Despite the improvements to the newly announced MacBook Pro model, the one with a smaller foot print, more power, fast SSD, less RAM options, and a comically interesting visual touch Function bar, people are complaining.
What’s going on? Peak Mac? No, the Mac is changing and we need to get used to that. For now, there’s something of a wall in the way of the next great morph where the Mac changes entirely from what was once a car that transported us on our computing journey, to a truck that does heavy lifting and heavy computing but not the device we take with us wherever we go.
A Truck, Not A Car
This past week or two I have voiced my share of complaints about Apple’s lack of a Mac update in 2016, and the seeming lack of a professional level performance machine in the new MacBook Pro models. No RAM upgrade options (stuck at 16GB max when so-called professionals demand 32GB) seems to be the rallying cry of everyone who remains disappointed in Apple’s latest and greatest Mac.
Remember, Apple and Mac were once synonymous. The Mac was Apple. Those days are gone. The Mac accounts for nearly $23-billion of Apple’s annual revenue. Think 10-percent. Yet, even with modest marketshare, the Mac line accounts for more than half the entire industry’s profits. Typical Apple.
What’s happening should be obvious. The world is changing. Computing is done in the hand on tablet or smartphone, iPad and iPhone. Less and less so-called computing is done on the Mac or Windows PCs, both of which are experiencing steady sales declines, even while mobile devices have reached a saturation point.
Just as the agrarian society that used trucks as transportation changed to a suburban society that used cars to get around, the Mac is being abandoned in favor of smartphones (and, to a less degree, tablets). The Mac once represented the car. But the car has become an iPhone and that makes the Mac a truck. A lightweight truck, but a truck nonetheless.
Time vs. Mac vs. Cars
The amount of time we spend on our computers has changed, too. I decades past time was devoted only to Macs and PCs. These days, our mobile devices occupy nearly twice as much of our computing time as desktops and notebooks, professional writers, programmers, and graphic designers notwithstanding. They’re all using trucks now. The cars are handheld.
In other words, just as the purpose of a vehicle in a mostly agrarian society was to carry mostly things and few people, and cars in a suburban society are designed to carry mostly people and fewer things, the Mac and PCs in general, have themselves become a truck, perhaps a pickup truck; the device that does more heavy lifting than a smartphone or tablet, yes, but gets used for computing tasks less and less, too.
The shift is toward mobile devices and handheld computing, and Microsoft’s clever TV commercials pitting the touchscreen Surface tablet-cum-notebook hybrids notwithstanding, the future is in your hands, and not on your Mac.
Is a MacBook Pro with a 16GB RAM limitation enough of a truck to do the heavy lifting of recent models? I would like to see some benchmarks of new 16GB MBP models vs. similarly equipped Windows PCs and older Macs to determine just how much of a truck the Mac can be in an age where nearly everyone else uses cars (handheld smartphones and tablets). I have 16GB on my 2015 MacBook Pro with an Intel i7 Inside, the faster SSD, and I can state that it’s the fastest Mac I’ve ever owned, but it’s a truck compared to the iPhone and iPad cars which get more usage.
Regardless, Apple’s Mac hasn’t changed much physically, and neither has its ability to do heavy computing jobs not suited for iPhone or iPad. But what we do with each device has changed, and that accounts for mobile device usage going up each day, while Macs and PCs are used less and less. The Mac once was our truck and our car. Today the Mac is just a lightweight pickup truck and the cars are held in our hands.