The Future of the Macintosh
I happen to think the Mac is one of the best inventions of the past 50 years. It enables creative minds to do things that no other product can and the things other products can do so much nicer. It’s familiar and easy to use, which is a key part of why creatives use it, but there’s something more. Something Mac. Bold moves. It has been willing to set the standard for desktop computers and more recently mobile ones that no other machine has. That’s because Apple takes risks with it like no other company does with their own. They’re stuck in a battle between the software and hardware and if they don’t do something one company says another will be sure to follow. That’s where the Mac comes in. Apple designs the hardware, software and services all together at the same time. It's a similar story in the smartphone and tablet space. By creating everything in-house you end up with an experience that becomes one with you, rather than something you have to fight against.
Now all you Android, Windows and various Linux distro fans can bash me, and you’re welcome to, but I believe this integration is what makes Apple products better products. Some people make the case that manufacturers don’t bother. That may be true for some but not all. Even companies that try the integrated approach like Google did then they bought Motorola three years ago now fail. They just don’t get it. Here’s why. They fail to achieve the harmonious intersection between the hardware, software and services like I talked about earlier. Google does well at services but fails miserably at software and hardware. LG get hardware right but fail with software and services. Canonical get hardware and software right but fail in services.
Why such a long introduction? Well because I think it's key that we outline what makes a Mac, a Mac. After all, how can we envision a future for a product when we don’t even know what the product's purpose is and how it is unique? The Mac has had a great history, one which is ripe with innovations and distinguishing features. Many however believe the Mac is getting less innovative and is on course to die. At this point, it's best I use the analogy Steve Jobs used five years ago. “PCs are going to be like trucks, they’re still going to be around but only one in every twenty-five people will have one”. What did he mean? He meant that Macs will still innovate and be used in very selective areas. Five years on we know he was right, he cared about the very thing he helped popularise back in the 70's.
It's not a surprise really that people say the Mac will die, after all, it’s the logical next step, as more and more people move towards mobile, a number of people that will stick around to see the desktop out will be fewer and fewer. However, there is one key reason why Apple is still betting on the Mac. Longevity. Most creatives love the idea of something that’s easy to use and that they’re familiar with, the Mac embodies that perfectly, moving with the times when need be but also keeping it classic and classy.
Whether it be for the 90s Rock kid that wants to make the next big hit, the 00s indie film producer looking for recognition or the 10s graphic designer aiming for perfection, Macs have a proven track record. Many people mention price as a negative, I see it as a positive, you pay for the quality and the duration you use it. For a Mac, it’s clear that people who use it, really do use it.
The funny thing is that people say the Mac is dying, I actually see products like the new Mac Pro and iPad Pro as doing the same for people as the iMac did in 1998 and does now, in different form factors. For designers and artists, the iPad Pro is a godsend, for visual or audio professionals the Mac Pro has your back. The Mac isn’t dying, it’s just being different, being Apple.