On the eve of another product release by Apple it’s a good time to reflect on where they are. With the headlines shouting about Apple’s first revenue decline in a very long time it seems to echo what I see as a consumer of their products. First a bit of background, I’ve owned and been a strong advocate for Apple products for a very long time. The first personal computer that I owned was a Mac Quadra 660 AV. That computer was amazing at the time. I edited videos with it, did design work, I basically loved it. As time went on I owned a variety of computers up until about 1998.
Most Apple users of the time were probably feeling let down by Apple. Competitors were out innovating Apple on every turn. It was one of the few times I have not even owned an Apple computer having given them all up and switched to a Sony Vaio. While I don’t think Apple is currently that far into a rut yet, I do feel like they are on the way. They are being out innovated by their competitors on every front. They seem to have hunkered down into a fox hole and are trying to survive.
Tomorrow will be an interesting launch for Apple since all the rumors seem to indicate they will be updating their MacBook Pro. Having just watched the Microsoft launch event it will be a good comparison. The new Surface Studio from Microsoft looks amazing. They are targeting and appealing to creative people in a way Apple is not. In fact if you are a creative person I don’t know how you work at Apple and not own either a Microsoft product or something that runs Windows 10.
My primary creative device is a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. Wacom just announced their new update to that line which is the MobileStudio Pro. This device looks like a great upgrade and I think it will be the best stylus and touch tablet for artists. The iPad Pro is nice, but is hobbled by lack luster software and an operating system platform that just doesn’t scale into real work. The amount of jumping jacks and push ups you have to do negates how wonderful the hardware is. I think the iPad Pro has the best hardware design and form factor out there. However, the software side of the story makes it unusable. Inevitably someone will say “just use Astropad” or “just use Duet”. No, sorry, they don’t compare.
This brings us to Apple’s announcement tomorrow. If the rumors are to be believed then Apple will be announcing an updated MacBook Pro line with an OLED based touch screen above the keyboard. If this is their big innovation then we will all watch the Apple revenue slide deepen. Microsoft and their cohorts are crushing Apple. Instead of embracing the touch screen interface and stylus input for the Mac line they are adding a tiny little touch screen above the keyboard.
By this time next year I may for the second time in my life have abandoned all Apple computers in my daily use. I hold out hope this isn’t the case, but I’m also a realist.