Change. Get used to it. Life changes and so do our revered institutions. When it comes to Apple, my fear is that the personal computer as we know it– desktop iMac or MacBook notebook– has entered a long and painful period of disruption on the road to extinction; that one day in the not too distant future, most of our heavy lifting personal computing requirements will be cloud-based, and whatever screen we carry around with us– iPhone, iPad, or Mac screen– will be our portal to computing.
It wasn’t that long ago when Apple and the Mac were synonymous. It was Apple Computer, Inc. and the Mac was Apple. Then along came the iPod and suddenly Apple had tens of millions of new customers, and most of them used Windows PCs. While the Mac prospered along the way, it was merely a few short years and Apple’s big businesses became the iPhone and iPad.
It was Steve Jobs who made the Mac the center of the digital hub. And it was Steve Jobs who moved the digital hub to iCloud and made the Mac simply another device connected to the hub. Obviously, there are huge differences between Apple’s desktop and notebook Macs vs. iPhone and iPad; both in performance and usability.
The Mac, OS X, and professional level apps are more capable than ever, yet Apple has seen fit to twist and contort OS X Yosemite to dovetail with iOS 8 in a clever blending of useful functionality. The new buzzwords are Continuity and Handoff— your Mac can answer incoming phone calls or call out by seamlessly connecting to your nearby iPhone. It works with text, too. Conversely, the Mac and OS X have become more like iOS on the iPhone and iPad. Apps sync data and files seamlessly between all the devices.
Other than professional level applications– Adobe’s Photoshop Creative Cloud suite is a good example– the only real differences between a Mac and iDevices are screen size, keyboard (trackpad and mouse), and mobility. Today’s iPhone– sans screen, keyboard, and power apps, is almost a Mac in your pocket.
What of the future? Already Apple is separate from the Mac. The company is now Apple Inc. The iPhone represents over 60-percent of the company’s sales and profits. Clearly, the future is in mobile devices. Or, is it? Could the future be nothing more than a mobile screen with functionality to meet the size– smartphone vs. tablet vs. notebook– and the cloud (iCloud or successor) becomes the computer?
The trend of development is moving in that direction. It promises to be either a Brave New World, or Skynet (designed by Apple in California).