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"Macintosh: the computer for the rest of us." Not any more?
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willed
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May 13, 2010, 07:11 PM
 
Hey all.

I haven't posted here in a while but I thought this was an interesting discussion for the MacNN community.

Reading the blogs today, I noticed this story about further Facebook integration with iPhone OS, and it struck a nerve with me.

It felt like another nail in the coffin for the idea of the Mac as the computer 'for the rest of us'.

Apple was always about tight integration of hardware and software, and there were always certain things you couldn't customise in the same way as Linux or Windows. But the Mac was always the choice of the free thinker, the person who didn't want to be a part of the herd. People who were - or at least felt themselves to be - creators rather than consumers, not tied in to the Windows monopoly.

Perhaps it's a symptom of Apple's success. With the move from underdog to 800lb gorilla, some of the shine was always going to be lost. Apple now represents 'the Man' just as much as IBM did at the time of the first Macintosh commercial. But did it really have to be such a sell-out?

With the iPod, iTunes, Apple TV and FrontRow, the MacOS feels more and more like a store front or inconvenient host for the cash cow that is the iTunes Store. Everything is geared towards buying Apple music, movies, and now books. Other systems are either tolerated (ebooks) or censored to a greater or lesser degree (music and films) if you want to use them with Apple peripherals (or, sometimes, at all). The iPhone OS is even worse, with every App having to pass the standards of Apple's thought and morality police. Also, as has been noted elsewhere the iPad, while amazing, is designed for grazing and consuming rather than creating. Enhanced facebook integration just feels like another sell-out for those who don't want to live their digital social lives under the watchful eye of major corporations.

Does anyone feel that for all its success, Apple is losing or has lost something here? Or am I just ignoring the realities of the internet age?
( Last edited by willed; May 13, 2010 at 07:20 PM. )
     
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May 13, 2010, 07:26 PM
 
It's a company. Companies are built to make money. Just took Apple a few extra years to learn how to do this well.

cause we're not quite "the fuzz"
     
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May 13, 2010, 07:49 PM
 
the company has market leadership in products they (re)invented, mp3, ipad, ipod. of course they are not the people's company. They focus on selling as much as possible to appease shareholders.

In a really lousy economy, people tend to spend their money on small luxuries: An ipod, an iPhone, an iPad. That's why they are doing so well nowadays. Most indebted people can still afford a few hundred quid on a popular gadget.
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May 13, 2010, 07:55 PM
 
You just posted about everything Apple makes except the Macintosh. I don't understand why the Macintosh is not a computer for the rest of us because the iPhone has a closed ecosystem.

Additionally, the phrase "the rest of us" means the non-geeks - the average consumer. It has nothing to do with being "the Man" and everything to do with the usability of the device being more important than the amount of features. The iPhone, iPad, etc. definitely fall into this category, and quite well.

I also think you don't realize that you don't actually fall into the category of "the rest of us" - and that goes for most people that post on computer forums.
     
willed  (op)
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May 13, 2010, 08:06 PM
 
All good points, and I know Apple is a company out to make cash. It's just that their marketing at least led people to believe that originally this was a secondary consideration.

Maybe (probably?) that was never the case, but you can't deny that they had a pretty political message when they started up. For example the 1984 commercial (mentioned above) and this one.

Originally Posted by hayesk View Post
You just posted about everything Apple makes except the Macintosh. I don't understand why the Macintosh is not a computer for the rest of us because the iPhone has a closed ecosystem.
I think that's what I was trying to address here:

With the iPod, iTunes, Apple TV and FrontRow, the MacOS feels more and more like a store front or inconvenient host for the cash cow that is the iTunes Store. Everything is geared towards buying Apple music, movies, and now books.
     
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May 13, 2010, 08:37 PM
 
With the iPod, iTunes, Apple TV and FrontRow, the MacOS feels more and more like a store front or inconvenient host for the cash cow that is the iTunes Store. Everything is geared towards buying Apple music, movies, and now books.
You can't turn the store off in the latest iTunes/OS X incarnation?
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May 14, 2010, 12:24 AM
 
Have Apple lost something?

Well, let's see. We have the most powerful Apple portables ever. We have thoroughly modern GPUs and CPUs in MacBooks Pros and iMacs. We have stunning LED screens. The iPhone is selling like hotcakes, the iPad is selling like hotcakes. Apple owns the largest repository of music in the world, with sales only second to Walmart (I believe?).

No, Apple haven't lost their way. They've found it.
     
imitchellg5
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May 14, 2010, 12:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by willed View Post
With the iPod, iTunes, Apple TV and FrontRow, the MacOS feels more and more like a store front or inconvenient host for the cash cow that is the iTunes Store. Everything is geared towards buying Apple music, movies, and now books.
Everything is geared towards that? I fail to see how one (well, two, since iBooks is separate) application means that EVERYTHING is geared towards buying more. Nobody is forcing you to use the iTunes Store.
     
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May 14, 2010, 01:40 AM
 
I feel their computers are expensive, very polished in all respects, but not as innovative as they used to be.
     
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May 14, 2010, 06:17 AM
 
Some people think that what made Apple great was what sucked: being the underdog, having a pathetic 2% of the market, being unique and different, but not in any way popular.

Well, it wasn't those things. Those things made it more of a fight and a struggle, but Apple always wanted to be the best AND make tons of money.

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May 14, 2010, 07:29 AM
 
I see Apple as a dead company now. If there was one thing that made Apple unique for so long, allowing them to weather impossible storms, it was that the hands on the wheel kept the company a reflection of the people energized by its products. But what life there once was has been shunned for goals of volume, share, margin...

I still use a Mac because my MacBook is a well built piece of kit, and I'm still pleased with OS X for the moment. But the same passion that used to drive my lust for Apple products... that drove the fervor with which I prosthelytized has been quite well killed from within.

The Apple that used to exist is long gone, and a colder deader one exists in its place. That is a fact reflected not only in the products, but in the behaviour of the company. And anybody who denies this is doing so out of naivety because they weren't around when Apple was great, or because they simply never cared enough to take notice in the first place.
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May 14, 2010, 08:19 AM
 
I've been a Mac user for over twenty years.

The iPad is, in many ways, the culmination of what Apple set out to achieve with project Macintosh: a compact appliance so simple, undaunting and easy to use that it becomes virtually transparent to the user.

The computer for the rest of us (i.e. everybody who does NOT hang out on message boards discussing these things).

More so today than ever before.
     
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May 14, 2010, 12:06 PM
 
is apples expanded market shares and frat boys running around with macbooks making you guys feel less unique?
     
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May 14, 2010, 12:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by scaught View Post
is apples expanded market shares and frat boys running around with macbooks making you guys feel less unique?
No.
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The Final Dakar
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May 14, 2010, 12:17 PM
 
I'm about to use an analogy I have no business using, but I think some people look at this like a punk band that sold out.


I think both sides have good points. Spheric talks about the iPad, and I think he's right it is the computer for the rest of us. However, this is a different computer than what was in the past. Its focus (at least now) is to consume, rather than create.

Then there's Steve as Big Brother of the App Store. I have trouble imagining 1984 Jobs would be comfortable with the role he's taken here.
     
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May 14, 2010, 12:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by willed View Post
Reading the blogs today, I noticed this story about further Facebook integration with iPhone OS, and it struck a nerve with me.
Simple solution, either don't sign up for facebook or don't add the account to your iPhone. Easy Peasy.
     
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May 14, 2010, 12:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by scaught View Post
is apples expanded market shares and frat boys running around with macbooks making you guys feel less unique?
I am a frat boy with a MacBook!

Okay, we don’t have fraternities and sororities here, so not technically a frat boy. But close enough.
     
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May 14, 2010, 02:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
I see Apple as a dead company now. If there was one thing that made Apple unique for so long, allowing them to weather impossible storms, it was that the hands on the wheel kept the company a reflection of the people energized by its products. But what life there once was has been shunned for goals of volume, share, margin...

I still use a Mac because my MacBook is a well built piece of kit, and I'm still pleased with OS X for the moment. But the same passion that used to drive my lust for Apple products... that drove the fervor with which I prosthelytized has been quite well killed from within.

The Apple that used to exist is long gone, and a colder deader one exists in its place. That is a fact reflected not only in the products, but in the behaviour of the company. And anybody who denies this is doing so out of naivety because they weren't around when Apple was great, or because they simply never cared enough to take notice in the first place.
It could be you are getting older and have more perspective on the company than what you did "when Apple was great." Try to think back at what was great about Apple in the past - could that apply today?

Not only that, the computer market has changed. Back "when Apple was great" computers were still a fairly geeky product so the differences between Mac and PC were more apparent to the average user, because the average user was more technically inclined. Once the Internet came along that everyone wanted a computer. So the user base changed, and it's no longer easier to point out the differences to the average person. Imagine telling the average guy on the street "don't you think the BSD subsystem in MacOS X gives it an advantage over Windows?" I don't think it's so much that Apple is dead, but more likely computer users have changed.
     
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May 14, 2010, 10:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by scaught View Post
is apples expanded market shares and frat boys running around with macbooks making you guys feel less unique?
I think a lot of people read "best" for "rest".

The elitism of the 90s was an unintended by-product IMO.
     
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May 15, 2010, 12:33 AM
 
To be fair, the iPad can still be used to create, it's been on the market for a few months, and especially with a screen that size you can be creative. I think for a long time computers have been about consuming, and the fact is Apple hasn't removed the Mac as a creative hub, it just created a computer that's great for communication. It's got a bit of growing to do, but at the same time keep in mind the iPad was designed as a companion device.

I think there's a good chance we'll see someone come out with a pressure sensitive pen for the iPad and then we'll see a rebirth of Photoshop like apps that kick Photoshop's ass. I think we'll see drawing and music apps developed on the iPad that are simply stellar. Just about anything OS X could do on a 12 inch PowerBook you can do on an iPad once the development is there.

That said, I think Apple's enjoying it's success and it's realized that making money is a good way to continue to fund it's R&D. (duh) At the same time do you not think Facebook can be a creative outlet? Social media is a big front for collaborative creation and the sharing of ideas. Every time I do a new graphic I upload via iPhoto to Facebook and get freedback from my friends.

Has Apple sold out? About as much as you could expect from a company. Are they still focused on being different? I think Apple now is more than ever focused on being excellent.
     
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May 15, 2010, 04:27 AM
 
iPhone , communicate.
iPad, consume.
Mac, create.

With some overlap for each. Thing is, most people consume most of the time.

iPhoneOS, is IMHO...the new "Mac"....the new "Home Computer".
     
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May 15, 2010, 05:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by Salty View Post
At the same time do you not think Facebook can be a creative outlet? Social media is a big front for collaborative creation and the sharing of ideas. Every time I do a new graphic I upload via iPhoto to Facebook and get freedback from my friends.
And in the process of making it public, you've given it up. Facebook now owns whatever you do.

Sorry, but those guys are starting to really scare me. Hearing the founder speak on privacy and public persona is nothing short of terrifying.
     
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May 15, 2010, 11:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Salty View Post
I think we'll see drawing and music apps developed on the iPad that are simply stellar.
Drawing? Maybe.
Music? No. If they make something it'll be far from "stellar" - there's a couple of TB of storage missing, for starters.

Originally Posted by Salty View Post
At the same time do you not think Facebook can be a creative outlet?
No. It's an averageness generator.

Originally Posted by Salty View Post
Every time I do a new graphic I upload via iPhoto to Facebook and get freedback from my friends.
Every time I do a new song I upload to iTunes and get freedback from my bank account.

See the difference? All yer friends are going to be positive about what you do, which limits your creativity. The market, on the other hand, is brutally honest. Hence, FB is an averageness generator since it never gives you the indicators needed to improve your art.

Now you've had your art displayed in a boutique shop in LA, shouldn't you be beyond uploading to Facebook?
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May 15, 2010, 11:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
And in the process of making it public, you've given it up. Facebook now owns whatever you do.

Sorry, but those guys are starting to really scare me. Hearing the founder speak on privacy and public persona is nothing short of terrifying.
QFT.

And Google. They scare me these days too.
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May 15, 2010, 02:24 PM
 
Drawing on iPad = fail, until pressure sensativity is there. If apple came out with iPad PRO, with pressure sensativity, I would buy it.
     
willed  (op)
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May 16, 2010, 06:19 PM
 
As you may have seen, Steve Jobs has weighed in on some of the points raised in this thread, in particular the App Store morality police. Apparently it's to give us all 'freedom from porn'. He says it's done to protect children. No 'freedom from violent video games' on the App Store though - surely just as bad for our little ones?

I love the Orwellian phrasing of 'freedom from porn'. Perhaps prison should be renamed 'freedom from freedom'? Interesting points on both sides though.
     
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May 16, 2010, 06:25 PM
 
Steve Jobs is America's morality, don't you remember? He has such a sterling history.
     
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May 17, 2010, 05:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by willed View Post
I love the Orwellian phrasing of 'freedom from porn'. Perhaps prison should be renamed 'freedom from freedom'
Exactly my thoughts. Steve should be aware of the slippery slope he's gotten onto. Actually, he should know better.

It would have been better to just refer to it as a judgment call on Apple's behalf plain and simple. Stick with that. Much more honest than this heart-warming blather about protecting children (meanwhile cashing in on sales of fart apps and violent games).

Interesting points on both sides though.
Agree with that as well. I commend Steve on staying (mostly) factual despite the rude attitude (and bad language) displayed by the other guy.
( Last edited by Simon; May 17, 2010 at 05:20 AM. )
     
imitchellg5
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May 17, 2010, 10:36 AM
 
Steve probably knows what a slippery slope it is, but why the heck did Ryan keep on bringing it up? Tate acts like a 12 year old, and I'm glad that Steve was calm and calculated.

Why is everything that Gawker does totally childish?
     
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May 17, 2010, 11:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Steve probably knows what a slippery slope it is, but why the heck did Ryan keep on bringing it up? Tate acts like a 12 year old, and I'm glad that Steve was calm and calculated.

Why is everything that Gawker does totally childish?
Agreed. That article, the Blam response to Steve email, and basically the entire iphone giz saga has really soured them for me. I appreciate a bit of humor with my gadget blogs, so they've been my choice for a while (even though they've gotten significantly less funny as time goes on). I need a new place for gadget news.
     
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May 17, 2010, 11:03 AM
 
Personally, I can't believe Steve read and replied to emails that long winded.
     
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May 17, 2010, 03:00 PM
 
The Mac hasn't been the computer for the rest of us for a very long time. The computer for the rest of us was the motto back in the DOS and possibly Win 3.1 era. That's when the Mac had a strongly undisputed lead in ease of use, which is what that motto reflects. That's not to say that the Mac isn't easier to use than Windows even today - I contend it still is - but the differential is much smaller in that area than it was in the DOS era or in the General Protection Fault Win 3.1 era.

Since then, the Mac became the platform for the Different, the distinguished. It's the computer for the freer thinker. The computer for the masses has the Dell or HP label on it.

I do agree with some of your premises, willed. I fault modern Apple for constraining the Mac, specifically desktop Macs. There's no Mac for the rest of Mac users who want to buy a midrange desktop, as we've discussed. If there had been I would have gotten one instead of building myself a PC. I don't agree with you, however, that OS X is positioned as platform primarily for Apple sale-through. For being such a Big Mac fan I'm not a big iTunes Store person. I don't own an iPhone. I'll rarely purchase an app for my iPod touch; most of the music on my iPods has come from my personal CD collection or sources other than iTunes.

Yes, the iTunes Store and the App Store environments are Apple walled gardens. You play by their rules and dictates or you're out. If you want an open platform, don't look toward Apple's iPlatforms. Apple has always wanted to control the user's experience as much as possible; that dream has been fulfilled with the iPlatforms. If you want an open mobile platform you've got to go Android instead. The market provides choice and can accommodate more than one major player. Choice is a good thing.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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May 17, 2010, 03:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Personally, I can't believe Steve read and replied to emails that long winded.
Yes.

Steve

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May 17, 2010, 08:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Exactly my thoughts. Steve should be aware of the slippery slope he's gotten onto. Actually, he should know better.

It would have been better to just refer to it as a judgment call on Apple's behalf plain and simple. Stick with that. Much more honest than this heart-warming blather about protecting children (meanwhile cashing in on sales of fart apps and violent games).

Agree with that as well. I commend Steve on staying (mostly) factual despite the rude attitude (and bad language) displayed by the other guy.
Chiming in on the “freedom from porn” issue: I agree that Steve shouldn’t have gone there and should’ve just quit while he was ahead. Something like, “there’s a good business case for it and you can find porn using Safari.”

(The whole thing is made more ironic by the availability of plenty of sexually explicit material in Podcasts, Audiobooks, and iBooks. Which I’m totally okay with.)

Other than that, it was hard to even notice when Tate made good or bad points, because he was so annoying and rambling. Steve came out looking classy by staying calm.
     
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May 17, 2010, 09:12 PM
 
"Freedom from porn" is going to sell a lot more product than "you can still get porn"... ...since not everyone is a forum-dwelling deviant geekoid like you lot.
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May 17, 2010, 09:44 PM
 
I think Steve should really drop the freedom from porn thing... he sounds like an Evangelical. He should probably state that most reputable businesses don't participate in the pornographic industry and that Apple is taking that route.

I dont' think anyone's gonna start labelling android as the porn platform... and if they do it'll just help sell more Android phones... and screen protectors.
     
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May 17, 2010, 10:53 PM
 
^Exactly.

(The presence of text/audio porn in iBooks/iTunes is still funny.)
     
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May 18, 2010, 03:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by Salty View Post
I think Steve should really drop the freedom from porn thing... he sounds like an Evangelical. He should probably state that most reputable businesses don't participate in the pornographic industry and that Apple is taking that route.
I agree 100% with that.
     
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May 18, 2010, 07:01 AM
 
It seems to me that Apple got rid of porn because it was infecting the App Store and was really pervasive. I remember looking at the entertainment section one time and finding nothing but porn listed in the top list of apps. The "freedom from porn" reference is somewhat strange, though. It makes SJ sound hyper-conservative, but maybe he truly is an enlightened higher intelligence from a different planet for whom porn is revolting.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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May 18, 2010, 04:44 PM
 
"Apple owns the largest repository of music in the world, with sales only second to Walmart (I believe?). "

Actually I believe that they passed Walmart some time ago. Now Walmart is reducing the number of CDs that they carry in the store. I guess you can buy online and have delivered.???

Macs in decline.????? Son, what have you been smoking? :-) All these units use a Mac to link, download, upload, backup...... and the Mac is still the hottest computing device there is. 50 % of buyers at Apple stores.... are from the PC world. and once you go Mac, you never go back.

Just a thought,
en
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May 24, 2010, 02:52 PM
 
For all you complaining about allowing porn on the iphone, if you cant find it on there, you have no business owning an iphone. Get real and find something else to BITCH about!
     
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May 24, 2010, 11:57 PM
 
If you want to be a technology hippie, there's always LINUX and the OS movement. You could hang out with Cory Doctorow and bitch about how buying an iPad erodes your rights as a consumer.

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May 25, 2010, 03:27 AM
 
What's funny... is that sex is legal, when you are an adult. Stealing cars, shooting people, however fun, is basically always illegal. So it's weird that the sex stuff is banned (but legal in real life) and the violence is sanctioned (but illegal in real life).
     
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May 25, 2010, 04:23 AM
 
Porn and sex themed content is easy to filter out. Violence is far harder to filter. But you're right, it's an odd double standard.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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May 25, 2010, 08:10 AM
 
On this whole pr0n stuff......

I think any store has the right to include or exclude any product it wants to. No super market is under any obligation to sell products they don't want to.

When it comes to the iPhoneOS, lets face it.... the gateway to apps that Apple does not want to sell is Safari. Apple isn't filtering the websites we visit, so i'm not sure what all the comotion is about. Personally i think it's an excuse for people who dont like Apple to grasp at something pretty insignificant just cause they can..just like with Flash.... the fervor with some of those cretins are rallying behind Flash, you'd think there's a cult-of-i-hate-Apple. i mean 2-3 years, who cared about Flash ?

Eventually even RIM/Nokia/HP-Palm/WiMP7, etc...will all have guidelines on what they will allow on their system, and when that happens, the Apple haters will suddenly not have a problem with it. Personally, i still enjoy having the largest selection of safe/tested/screaned mobile apps at my fingers.

Cheers
     
osiris
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May 25, 2010, 08:45 AM
 
Gee, I was kinda hoping for a porn themed series of "Think Different" ads.
"Faster, faster! 'Till the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - HST
     
imitchellg5
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May 25, 2010, 10:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
What's funny... is that sex is legal, when you are an adult. Stealing cars, shooting people, however fun, is basically always illegal. So it's weird that the sex stuff is banned (but legal in real life) and the violence is sanctioned (but illegal in real life).
Ha, I never thought about it that way. Interesting.
     
The Final Dakar
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May 25, 2010, 10:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Porn and sex themed content is easy to filter out. Violence is far harder to filter. But you're right, it's an odd double standard.
It's thoroughly American. See: TV.
     
   
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