iSchadenfreude

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Finally – Apple is falling.macbook-touchbar

I take a little joy in this post because it’s been hard being a PC type during the rise of Apple. I will be the first to admit that Apple devices have offered a superior experience for most of the company’s history. I’ve even bought a few of them, but for the most part I’ve endured life with Windows and Android devices.

I do have fond memories of drawing in the Mac Lab at my university in the mid 80s  – yes drawing – pictures on computer. I rendered a very impressive picture of a bridge to the moon.

Professionally, most of my career was in IT. We didn’t like Macs. They just didn’t play well with our …. printers, floppies, networks, file formats, networks, servers, and so on. The name of the game of IT in the 90s was cost management through standardization, and Macs weren’t standard. As a monopoly and cost center, it was a pretty easy argument to win.

Then Steve returned to his company.

After I moved to Google Apps, my computing life was spent in FireFox. I was convinced that the browser was the winner in the Mac v PC war, and that there was no reason to pay a premium for the browser on a Mac. It was probably the wrong conclusion.

I endured Vista and later Windows 8 while my friends marveled at their machines.

I’ve never owned an iPhone, but felt they were too closed, Though I have never changed my battery, I still think it is a god-given fundamental right to be able to do so.  I also wanted to be able to load music and videos directly from my computer over a cable.

For years, I’ve had to defend my decision against the technorati. But lately the tide has turned- The mighty Apple is falling. It’s hard to say when it started – Maps? Watch? The declining frequency of system updates?

I don’t really fault Apple for being less innovative – that’s a natural byproduct of growth and large markets. It’s much harder to disrupt yourself than say a Blackberry.

What’s really hurting Apple is vision and execution. I think they made a mistake with the headphone jack on the iPhone7, but admit that only a relatively small set of its users are truly impacted. Where that might be gray, the new MacBook Pro is clearly a miss.

Colin, my co-blogger here at TalkingPointz, is an Apple fanboy (but I knew him when he was a PC bigot back in the 80s). Apple won him over with sheer engineering and user experience. His mental loyalty ended a few years ago, but his wallet loyalty has remained strong. Even colin didn’t buy a MacBook Pro on the first day (actually he did, but then cancelled the order).

I’m seeing a consistent stream of Apple angst on websites and my Twitter feed. The MacBook Pro missed. Here’s some of the issues:

  • Too little too late. The old MacBook Pro was essentially in place for four years.
  • Too limited – the top of the line has a maximum 16 GBs of RAM.
  • The Touch-Bar – actually seems kinda cool – but Apple missed the larger, more functional touch-screen. Note that modern capacitive touch came from Apple (on the iPhone). Touch is becoming the new standard on PC laptops and even Chromebooks.
  • The cable and dongle fiasco: It’s not so bad by itself, but paired with the current iPhone 7 it really shows lack of vision across devices. The MacBook Pro uses USB C (as do most new laptops), does not have Lightning, and eliminated USB B. Thus there is no way for the computer or its power adapter to charge the iPhone. Microsoft’s Surface Pro computers have a USB B charging port directly on the power supply brick – smart. Further, the MacBook Pro supports analog headphones and the iPhone doesn’t. Actually the Macbook Pro and the Google Pixel means less power supplies and headphones.

These are some of the big ones – for a round up of thoughts on the new MacBook Pro see here 

To be fair, the MacBook Pro is an impressive machine. The Touch-bar is clever, and the machine’s combination of weight, power, and battery life are all state of the art. But it’s not a flagship, and Apple took built-in obsolescence too far with a 16GB max. Expect MacOS to require 17GBs of memory within two years.

See my journey to my Lenovo here. It’s a convertible style laptop, plane tray ready for videos. It has a touch screen and stylus so I can sign documents and take handwritten notes when needed.

For the first time in years, I think I have a superior machine over my Mac friends. However, if you bought a Mac – I wish you the best. Use it in good health. I know what it’s like having to compromise.

Dave Michels