I was a Mac partisan until the early 90s, when I got tired of overpaying for average hardware and an OS that crashed 3x-4x a day.
After Jobs returned, things got better, but by then I was happy with WordPerfect and thought Windows was good enough, especially when compared to Apple’s very closed, very expensive hardware universe.
Then came the disaster that was Windows Vista, and I thought hard about returning to a Mac. But chose free, fast, open-source Linux instead.
I pretty clearly made the right choice; this article from Bloomberg underlines the growing unrest among Apple’s staunchest fanboys — Mac power users:
That’s part of a broader shift toward making Macs more like iPhones. Apple prioritizes features, like thinness and minimal ports, that sell its iPhones and iPads, which generated about 75 percent of revenue this year. Those are contrary to professional needs, like maximum computing power. Early prototypes of the 12-inch MacBook used the iPhone’s Lightning connector, although this was ditched for a more standard USB-C port. There was even a gold MacBook Pro planned, but this was shelved because the color didn’t look good on such a large product.
Power users are criticizing Apple’s high-end machines like its Mac Pro for their less-than-stellar performance and lack of upgrades.
Yet the Macintosh only accounts for approximately 10% of Apple’s sales, which explains a lot. Again, from Bloomberg:
Interviews with people familiar with Apple’s inner workings reveal that the Mac is getting far less attention than it once did. They say the Mac team has lost clout with the famed industrial design group led by Jony Ive and the company’s software team. They also describe a lack of clear direction from senior management, departures of key people working on Mac hardware and technical challenges that have delayed the roll-out of new computers.
To make matters worse, upgrades are one area where Apple’s vaunted secrecy backfires; users don’t know what’s coming down the pipeline.
When you count on your computer to make a living, uncertainty is not your friend. Long silences between upgrades force power users to start casting covetous looks at non-Apple machines.
And yes, it doesn’t help that in recent years, what has come out of Apple’s pipeline has been largely disappointing.
After reading the comments in articles and blogs posts, I’m struck how Mac power users — the people who use Macs to actually create stuff — have been forced to seek performance through third-party and DIY upgrades.
They sound like a bunch of PC gamer geeks trying to squeeze a bit more speed from their machines. It’s not exactly what you expect in the Mac universe, and more than a little awkward; Macs aren’t typically built to be upgraded.
Even worse, when your biggest proponents feel marginalized by a focus on smartphones, the future in computers doesn’t feel that bright.
Factor in the disastrous state of much of Apple’s software (I’m looking at you, iTunes), and rosy isn’t the word I’d use to describe the Mac universe.
Apple has become more a luxury goods company than computer firm. To iPhone hounds, that’s great. To those creating videos or artwork or producing magazines for a living, it’s less thrilling.
Keep writing (I’m using Linux, so no drama here), Tom Chandler.