Apple, Inc. seems to have something of a personality disorder. The company’s executives claim to be focused only on building the best products and the best user experience. Really? Does that high and mighty claim actually hold water?
On the surface, yes. But with a little scratching we can see that Apple doesn’t always put its best public relations effort on products near and dear to customers vs. executives. A good and very public example is the Mac. Apple’s own CEO, Tim Cook, says PC owners should own an iPad instead. We know he’s talking about Windows PC users, but the Mac isn’t getting much love from Apple. And, oh yeah; the Mac is a PC.
Infinity And Beyond
Buzz Lightyear had it right even if it was wrong. Apple is about the future. That explains why Apple sometimes jumps forward in time with a new take on products that have been around awhile, but somehow the engineers and design teams at One Infinite Place cobble together the right technology pieces and show everyone else exactly how it’s done. Then does it. Then sits back and doesn’t do diddly squat until the next great revelation and revolution occur.
The Mac was a great revolution and jump toward the future, and it took Microsoft nearly a decade to catch up to the by then incompetent Apple, but it wasn’t the first PC with a graphical user interface. Apple’s own and very expensive Lisa was there first. So were the efforts of Xerox PARC’s famous engineers who had the whole PC future world in their hands and let is slide away to someone who could see the future as plainly as today.
Therein lies Apple’s problem. The Mac is the past. iPhone is the present. What is the future? Whatever it is, Apple isn’t telling and that assumes Apple even knows, but technology can be a mashup of strange bedfellows that brings together elements of the future with elements of the past. That explains why the PC isn’t dead. And despite being beleaguered and seemingly ignored, the Mac isn’t dead. Yet.
Stupid Patent, Down Boy
We all want to see a Mac befitting of the 21st century; not just an appliance envisioned by Steve Jobs and peddled by design honcho Jonny Ive. A growing number of Mac users want to see something with muscle; a Mac that harkens back to the day when customers could roll their own, and bask in the glory of swappable GPUs, user installable RAM, and CPU upgrades. Alas, those days appear to be gone as Apple has entered the crazy days of crazy ideas.
Need I say more?
What you see in the image above is a drawing that accompanied an Apple patent. Uh huh. That’s right. Someone at Apple thought sticking an iPhone into the front of a tablet– maybe nothing more than keyboard and screen– to use as a trackpad, was a good idea.
If this is not a perfect example of a company that is lost in the depths of an identity crisis, I don’t know what is. True, not every patent Apple files will turn into a product to grace the Apple Store’s tabletops. This kind of idea, not likely to make it to fruition, smacks more of desperation by patent than a good idea that matches up with Apple’s once and past desire to build the best products and provide the best user experience. That idea should be embarrassing to Apple.
Got another example, Wil?
How about the iPad? OK, A $329 entry-level price tag on what amounts to iPad Air 3 with a little less air is Apple being aggressive on a product line that hasn’t found its upgrade legs. But as for user experience, why doesn’t iOS on an iPad have multi-user capability. The Mac does. Why not the iPad?
Because Apple is more about selling hardware than it is about user experience. Why build one $329 iPad that can be used by four or five family members, when Apple can sell two or three iPads to the same household?
The Mac is yesterday’s news and while Windows PC makers and Chromebook makers race to the bottom of the profitless pile, Apple has decided that innovation just isn’t necessary in the real world, but even the idea of an iPhone that can fit into a keyboard and screen device is just silly. Make the iPhone work on a connected or wireless display, Apple; Apple TV style. Then I could truly have a Mac in my pocket.
Rant. Stops. Now.