I’d like to begin by saying the following are purely my personal thoughts (and worries) about Apple and where we are heading with them. I have no insider knowledge, or any other connections to Apple. Since Steve Jobs died, there’s been a lot of speculation and rumour, with many saying Apple is doomed and will not survive without him at the helm, but so far, these have proven untrue. That doesn’t mean there’s no reason for us fanboys/fangirls to be worried about the future of Apple.
For some time now, I’ve been saying that macOS and iOS will become one and will be the only Apple provided OS for their computing devices. But, I hear you saying, Apple has categorically said they will not do this and have even made this clear with a big “NO.” being shown at the last keynote. However, I have to say look back at the things Apple have said they wouldn’t do, but did anyway. And now we see iOS apps will be coming to Mojave.
Part of the trouble, as I see it, is due to the loss of direction caused by Steve’s death, but that isn’t the only reason as much more is down to his successor, Tim Cook, who’s direction of Apple through his choices of management and products, has, I believe, changed Apple for the worse. It all began when he brought in John Browett, the former Dixons boss, who lasted six months before getting the chop. That didn’t help in many ways but it was the hiring of Angela Ahrendts that, to me, was the beginning of Apple’s problems.
It’s never been a cheap option buying into the Apple ecosystem. I’ve parted with a good few pounds over the years since I bought my first Mac, the Mac mini G4, and have owned a succession of Mac computers and iOS devices (I currently own an iPad Pro 9″, iPhone 7 Plus, Apple TV 4th Gen, Apple Pencil and a MacBook Pro 13″ retina model). But in recent years everything has rocketed skyward in price. When I bought my MacBook I knew I was paying a premium to own this device over the equivalent Windows machine but I gladly did so. I would have to part with at least an extra £1,000 or more to get its equivalent today… that’s around £2,500+. It also used to be more expensive to buy the iMac and less so to buy a laptop, but that’s no longer the case.
Now we find the Apple stores are slowly becoming ‘designer boutiques’ along the lines of a Burberry store due to the changes made by Angela Ahrendts. Gone is the Genius Bar where we knew we’d find someone to talk to about any problems experienced with our devices. Now we find ourselves lost when we arrive in a store looking for someone who might be able to help. Previously, the old way, was to go to the Genius Bar where a specialist could be found who would have all the tools and equipment needed for diagnosing problems, dealt with in a degree of anonymity, as those around were also there for similar reasons, but now we mingle with people buying, or drooling over the shiny toys, or people in to play around with the devices or use the free WiFi; hardly a great experience.
Other problems are now appearing above the parapets that give me concern. Reliability has taken a real dive, not only with software systems but also in the quality of hardware too. Yes, we can expect problems and I’ve had my share too (my 15″ MacBook developed problems and ended up being replaced with a new machine, and my current MacBook Pro 13″ had a screen replacement due to the anti-glare coating peeling off) but the list of things going wrong has, in my mind, increased in the last few years either due to bad design, bad manufacturing processes or software issues.
Looking at the professional side of Mac, Apple has dropped the ball so much so that they are back-pedalling as fast as they can to appease the professionals. It all began with Apple deciding to no longer support the professional photographer with the dropping of Aperture. Then we saw videographers and music professionals being affected by redesigns or the dropping apps of that many used, resulting in them walking off to the dark side and buying Windows computers as the only software they could get was for Windows. Then we had the trash can Mac Pro… need I say more…
Now we have the latest where we have a laptop, the MacBook Pro 15”, that is in the stratospheric realms in price… Yes, if you’re a professional then money is possibly no object, but even they are finding that hard to swallow. So where is Apple heading, or at least, where are they trying to make the ordinary Mac user head? Well, as I see it, it’s to iOS and the iPads. It’s pretty obvious that they want non-professionals to move over to iOS and for the professionals to be on macOS (and pay for it too). You could say that’s a good idea, as most Apple users only browes the web, read and send emails, watch YouTube videos, etc. and you don’t really need a Mac to do that. The iPod is the device for those purposes but… I edit images, and use macOS apps to do that. Yes, I also use an iPad Pro and I do edit images on that device… I can hear you saying ‘so what’s the problem?’ The problem is simple, iOS apps such as Snapseed do a great job editing images, so much so that I use it on a regular basis, but, there’s no way to catalogue, or save to a library in iOS as far as I can see. Yes, we have Photos which works well enough for most folk but it eats data, which can fill up my iPad. With my MacBook however, I can save to an external hard drive: admittedly you can get a Sandisk Pen Drive that plugs into the Lightning port, but it’s far from ideal.
Apple seem to have dug themselves into a big hole they can’t get out of, and Microsoft is filling that void with their products. The Surface Pro tablet devices are similar to an iPad Pro, but run a full OS, which means I could have Adobe Lightroom and Skylum Luminar 2018 to edit and catalogue my images with (you can add an external HDD for storage and use a mouse/pencil too) and with the launch of the Surface Go tablet, they might just have come out with a real “iPad killer” as it runs Windows S (upgradable to full Windows 10) allowing full apps to work on a portable device… I’m even tempted to get a Go or Pro rather than go for an iMac to work along with my MacBook Pro 13”. Hell will have frozen over if that does happen…