What comes after the Mac?

“When I said Apple should kill off the Mac (“Why Apple Should Kill Off the Mac,” June 14, 2015), I specifically said the Mac ‘brand,'” Christopher Mims writes for The Wall Street Journal. “I definitely didn’t mean that Apple should stop giving people the ability to have a desktop-like or notebook-like experience, since these are valuable form factors. The question is whether Apple needs more than a mobile platform to power them.”

“I think that as Apple becomes ever more a maker of consumer gadgets rather than computers, Apple should stop making ‘trucks’ designed for heavy computational lifting, just as it exited the server market in 2010,” Mims writes. “If Apple phased out the Mac, how would those who use it to get work done carry on? …The first answer is to the question of how professionals who do heavy lifting with the Mac will live in a Mac-less world. This isn’t Apple’s problem.”

Apple Macintosh
Apple Macintosh
“The second answer, which goes for what I believe is the overwhelming majority of the people currently using Apple’s notebooks, is that Apple already has you covered–or will soon,” Mims writes. “The (rumored) forthcoming iPad Pro has a screen with approximately the same dimensions and pixel density of the screen on a MacBook or MacBook Pro. And the operating system that will run on it, iOS 9, will for the first time have full support for keyboards and a trackpad-like function… If the iPad Pro isn’t a reasonable laptop replacement, suitable for the needs of 90% of the notebook-buying public, I’ll eat my hat.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously. Eventually. Someday. It’s all just branding anyway.

What comes after the Mac is a Mac by another name – whether it be “iPad” or something else entirely or, perhaps, if iOS becomes so powerful as to negate the need for a Mac, what’s to stop Apple from not ditching a brand name they built with over three decades by simply creating an iOS-powered “Mac” (think “MacPad” or to be a bit cheeky, the “iMacBook” (the “i” denotes an iOS-powered device). (Yes, “iMac” would be problematic. We’ll leave it for Apple to sort out.)

Regardless of the actual names, the visionary Steve Jobs often clearly laid out the plan, as he did in these two quotes, fourteen years apart:

If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. — Steve Jobs, February, 1996

And so, he did just that with iPad:

When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people. I think that we’re embarked on that. Is [the next step] the iPad? Who knows? Will it happen next year or five years from now or seven years from now? Who knows? But I think we’re headed in that direction… [With iPad] you have a much more direct and intimate relationship with the Internet and media, your apps, your content. It’s like some intermediate thing has been removed and stripped away… I think we’re just scratching the surface on the kind of apps we can build for it. I think one can create a lot of content on the tablet… Your vision would have to be fairly short to say that these things can’t over time grow into tools that can do many things. — Steve Jobs, June, 2010

The power of the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, and the Apple Watch, isn’t in their names, the power is Apple software’s ease-of-use coupled with masterfully designed hardware, inside and out. Apple’s best products elicit a certain feeling – users notice a touch here, “ooh, look at that”, another touch there, “wow, that’s nice” – a coherent aura throughout that says, “This product is thoughtfully designed and carefully considered inside and out with you, the user, always foremost in mind.”

A Mac by any other name would smell as sweet.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

60 Comments

  1. Christopher Mims who writes for The Wall Street has no clue what he’s talking about. This is what happens when reputable newspapers are purchased by elderly psychopathic dolts who have no interest in educating we humans about the nature of reality but instead insist up on filling our heads with manipulative and idiotic garbage.

    So please stay OUT of technology journalism, Mr. Mims, WSJ, News Corp., Murdoch valetudinarians. We have intelligent things to read.

  2. As a content creator that needs speed and power and storage… I fear for my platform 🙁

    They took my 17″ laptop away, what next!!! Apple used to only cater to the artistic professional field, but now they seem to be much much more consumer facing… I hope they don’t abandon us!

  3. Oh this is Apple’s problem alright.

    I am not locked into Apple’s ecosystem.

    I am locked into the Mac, by choice. Remove that choice, I will keep the least expensive device from Apple I can find to access my music and movies with, i.e. an AppleTV.

    I will quietly move to LINUX for computing, Windoze for gaming and start bringing clients with me. OS X is the Mac, not the hardware.

    OS X is the foundation of my relationship with Apple. I expect it to keep improving, growing and evolving. I’m not not looking for some gutless google chromebook experience.

    Remove the Mac and all this talk of “Apple in the Enterprise” is pretty much over.

    I’m sick of moron columnists who just discovered Apple when they got their first iPhone thinking that the phone is the gist of the Apple experience.

  4. “…If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. — Steve Jobs, February, 1996…”

    Pretty sure he was thinking that NeXT was the NeXT Big Thing at the time and that the Mac was OS 9. Apple did exactly that. They continued to milk the old Mac OS for everything they could while moving on to OS X.

  5. Agree with most of the comments above. I don’t know why fashion takes a back seat to performance on the Pro line.

    The MacPro “coffee can” is a brilliant design, but clearly not what we wanted. And was it REALLY necessary to make the latest 27-inch iMac so frigging thin that we had to lose the optical drive? Or the iPhone 6 so thin it still sacrifices battery life despite all the extra room?

  6. License OS X out to a a couple of key partners and let them concentrate on devices that make them money.

    In reality, if there were lower costs OS X devices out there, the halo effect might actually sell more iOS devices.

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