Sour Apple

For the last couple years, at the end of every Apple event (in which they unveil some new gadget or updated hardware), I’ve found myself overwhelmed with a desire to purchase a new computer — one that runs Windows.

October 27, 2016 was one such event, a supposedly “Mac-centric” one in which a third of the time was spent flogging the iPhone and AppleTV, and the rest was spent on MacBook laptops. No iMac update. No mention of Mac Mini. Not a word about the Mac Pro. Just a constant swooning over a gimmicky Touch-Bar that replaces the function keys on the high-end laptops.

Big Whoop.

The new laptops were touted as professional-level tools and to validate the concept, there was a demo showing the new MacBook pro as a video editing station, hooked up and powering two large monitors. Um, that’s great, Apple, but you know what would be even better than a video workstation centered around a laptop? A video workstation centered around a powerful desktop.

Where is that piece of tech?

It’s as if Apple forgot it also sells powerful stationery workstations. Or perhaps they wish we would forget it. Go to the Apple web site, to their Mac section (this page), scroll down and see if you can find a Mac Pro. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Couldn’t find it, could you.

That’s right, the most powerful workstation Apple sells, a machine built expressly for the purpose of running Apple’s premier video editing software, Final Cut Pro X, is nowhere to be found on Apple’s MAIN MAC PAGE.

Do they really think a laptop with a consumer-grade processor and a limit of 16GB RAM is going to power the next blockbuster from Hollywood? What? Say that again, I couldn’t hear you over the laughter of the film industry.

The truth is that Apple is no longer interested in the creative market. They don’t want the hassle of designing workstations for content creators. They smell more profit-potential in the content consumption market. And you know what? They’re right. It was consumer gadgets (iPod, iPhone, iPad) that made Apple the richest company in the world, not Macs.

But from the start of the digital revolution, it was Apple that provided the best hardware for creative professionals like graphic designers (yours truly), video and 3D creators. We were the darlings, the belles of the ball, and Apple catered to our needs like no one else. And when it was verging on bankruptcy, it was creative pros who dragged Apple back from the brink.

So a little gratitude would be nice.

Instead, our cries for a better Mac Pro are ignored in favor of thinner laptops with a brightly lit emoji-bar at the top of the keyboard.

I could go on, but who cares? The creative Mac is dead. The future in Tim Cook’s Apple is about watchbands, emoji’s, and consumer gadgets. There’s nothing left at Apple for content creators. If I weren’t so close to retirement, I’d be looking at HP towers – the Z Series are built for performance and longevity – for my next system. As it is, I’m hoping my current system (Mac Pro 5,1 / 3.46GHz Dual 6-core Xeons / 64GB RAM / Nvidia GeForce GTX 680) can power along for the next 6-8 years until I’m ready to hang up my (digital) T-square.

My advice to young designers: Don’t look to Apple for powerful creative tools; and don’t depend on Apple for consistency in product upgrades, or even for information on future upgrades; begin the transition to Windows and PC hardware now, before Apple lets you down – because they will let you down.

Even though I’m looking to retire in a few years, I’m following my own advice: This post was created using Windows 10 in a Virtual Machine on my Mac. I use Parallels emulation software to run Windows side by side with OSX. I’m slowly getting my feet wet in Windows 10 and I think it’s pretty good. There are distinct differences between the two operating systems, and I still prefer the font-handling and visualization in OSX, but Windows 10 seems solid, reliable, and mostly well-designed. There are aspects of the File Explorer (Windows’ version of OSX Finder) that I actually prefer to the at times too streamlined (read “dumbed down”) OSX. Honestly, if I didn’t have so much investment tied up in Mac software and fonts, I’d have already made the switch to Windows.


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About the Author

Steve Merryman

Almost Daily is a blog by Steve Merryman. He writes about things that make him tick, and things that tick him off. You may object to his views; you may think he's a moron; and you might wish to tell him so. In return he would remind you that his lack of concern for your feelings is only exceeded by his indifference to your opinions. Good day, Sir!