Middle age. What a wonderful time to be alive. The Mac celebrates 35 years on planet earth. Depending on who is doing the counting, that’s about middle age; give or take a few years. No, not Middle Ages.
Middle age is the period of age beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age.
By technology standards, the Mac could be considered well beyond middle age, yet the platform remains vibrant and strong, continually growing. The Mac predates Windows PCs (which trace their own heritage back to the Mac), tablets, smartphones, and just about every modern technology we know, use, and love today.
In the modern technology era– the one that spans the latter part of the last century to our current status in the 21st century– it seems that only running water and electricity predates the Mac. What else?
Cars and trucks. Refrigerators. Washers and dryers. Radio and television. The light bulb. Film. Video recorders. After those, the list gets rather thin.
In the so-called personal computer era, the PC era for the masses and more-or-less started by Apple in the late 1970s, what competitor or comparable device is still on the market?
My memory may be faulty but I count zero. CP/M and DOS PCs are gone, replaced by Windows and Linux, both of which trace heritage– point and click– to the Mac. Even Android OS, the most popular on planet earth, came as a copycat after Apple’s original iPhone OS, which itself, is based upon Mac OS X.
Why has the Mac continued to grow and prosper while so many competitors and other technologies have died and been buried?
“Survival of the fittest” is a phrase that originated from Darwinian evolutionary theory as a way of describing the mechanism of natural selection. The biological concept of fitness is defined as reproductive success. In Darwinian terms the phrase is best understood as “Survival of the form that will leave the most copies of itself in successive generations.”
There you go.
The Mac is the most fit of the species. Look at all the copies. What do Dell and HP and Lenovo and Acer and Asus and Chromebooks look like today?
A MacBook Air.
Is the Mac’s longevity little more than survival of the fittest? Or, is there something more? Let’s go with what’s behind door #2, Monte.
Interpreted as a theory of species survival, the theory that the fittest species survive is undermined by evidence that while direct competition is observed between individuals, populations and species, there is little evidence that competition has been the driving force in the evolution of large groups such as, for example, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.
It may be that there is more to the Mac’s 35 years of success than just being more fit than competitors. The Mac has a personality that endears the device to users who disdain the alternatives. Other devices may be priced lower, or have more capability and functionality, but the “it just works” mantra is adopted by enough customers through the years that ongoing prosperity set it.
The Mac is entering middle age and yet we were duly excited by last year’s new models– iMac Pro, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini. Clearly, Apple’s customers may buy into the survival of the fittest mantra, but there is more to the Mac than electricity.