Remember the Macintosh? There was a time when Apple and the Mac were synonymous. Today, Apple has more iPod customers, more iPod touch customers, and more iPhone customers than Mac customers. That’s good for Apple. With all the attention on the iPhone and iPad, what’s the future of the Mac?
Better Than Ever
Without question, the Mac of today is the best Mac ever. Faster. More powerful. More stable. More secure. A balance between complexity, elegance, ease-of-use, and dependability.
Increasingly, Apple is becoming known as the mobile device company. Though Apple sells more Mac notebooks than desktops, the trend is obvious. It isn’t that the future belongs to the iPhone and iPad. That part of Apple’s mobile future is here already.
What of the Mac? What can Apple do to improve the next generation of Macs? What’s missing from Mac OS X?
The Mac Of Today
Today’s Mac is made up of two basic components. Mac OS X, and Mac hardware. The Mac is price competitive with comparably featured Windows PCs, and despite a barely double digit market share, dominates the above $1,000 market segment.
The Mac’s reputation is one of dependability, flexibility, security, and simplicity (as far as 21st century computers can be called simple). The Mac runs OS X, various flavors of Linux, and Windows.
Today’s Mac sits on a powerful Unix core and the faster versions of common Intel CPUs. Clearly, Apple aims for the quality conscious buyer who is willing to pay a little more for a quality reputation.
Beyond hardware, what makes a Mac a Mac is OS X, the all-purpose operating system which is also used as the foundation for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Mac OS X, and Mac software in general, is considered state of the art, dependable, easy to use, and affordable (Adobe’s CS5 notwithstanding).
The Mac, as we know it, is affordable state of the art. Mac sales, revenue, and profits have never been higher. What about the Mac of tomorrow?
The Mac of the Future
It should be obvious that Apple sees the future of computing in handheld mobile devices. Already the company sells more mobile computing devices than Macs. Mobile is the future.
What can Apple do with the Mac to extend its life, to make it more attractive, more valuable? Or, has Mac OS X reached the zenith of the notebook and desktop computer?
More stability. More security. Faster CPU’s. Better graphics. Those are items for what’s under OS X’s hood. On the surface, Apple can improve the Dock, the Finder, the interface tools for programmers. Apple can polish up and tweak the apps in iLife and iWork.
These are cosmetic, evolutionary changes; features which are improved a few dozen at a time, year after year, which enhance the overall experience, but that experience may not be much different than our Mac today.
Is it voice recognition technology that will drive the Mac to a longer life and another level? Personally, I’m convinced we won’t see a touch screen desktop Mac. Ever. Too much elbow lifting.
Are Mac’s destined to become the best of computers as we remember them, but what we have now is about as good as it gets?