If you are regular reader of the blog you’ll know that I’m a fan of Apple. I have been since my first Power PC back in the early 90s, all through the bad days after Steve was pushed out – you know, when Apple even made trainer shoes! Then through the reborn Apple since the first iMac, then the iPod, iPhone and iPad and Apple Watch. Their story, from failure and almost bankruptcy, to being the world’s most valuable company and brand, is really quite a journey.
Last night I watched the unveiling of the new MacBook Pros. I’m typing on my 15 inch 2012 MBP right now and still love it. As they revealed the new updated machines I felt myself slipping into that distorted reality field known by so many Apple fans. The new Touch Bar looked great. I soon began to hear a voice trying to convince me how much easier work would be if I had that. The demos were good (apart from the DJ one, they could have dropped the DJ one).
I think Apple have made a good innovation here and done what Apple do best. Whilst the rest of the PC industry are desperately trying to make laptops and tablets one and the same, with removable touchscreens that you can take with you (of course you don’t want to take the keyboard too, that would be…silly), Apple have looked at the uses people have for laptops and tablets and seen that, shock horror, people use them in different ways! So why make a touchscreen on a machine with a keyboard? They are two different workflows. For instance I bought a smart keyboard for my iPad Pro thinking it would be a sound idea, and found typing, then touching the screen, then typing, then touching the screen, a pain in the arse. So I just went back to the screen’s virtual keyboard. The Touch Bar is right there near your fingers, a useful incorporation of touch technology, and the way it morphs with each different app is genius.
I then looked at the price…
For the equivalent machine to the one I’m using now would be £2600. Crazy. I wonder if the executives at Apple are now so rich that they have completely lost touch with how the rest of humanity live. There is no way I could afford that. Once the distortion reality field faded away I realised that the Touch Bar is a nice feature, very useful, innovative, but I absolutely do not need it. At all. This 2012 model will see me though a good few years, and maybe then I’ll get an older model with the Touch Bar because who knows how much the new ones will cost by then!
I still love Apple. But even this old fanboy is thinking that they are losing their way. The old adage they had It Just Works often now doesn’t ring true anymore. The iPhone 7 I bought recently is a lovely device, but my old iPhone 6 had far better battery life. This all new wonderful phone barely makes it through the day on a charge. Is it that we are now spoilt and expect too much? I don’t know for sure. I watch most of the Apple live events and have noticed that they are waning in their popularity. The applause last night felt fake, like someone had been planted to queue the clapping. Shots of the audience didn’t show a sea of transfixed excited faces, but rather a mix of a few smiles, dead-pan expressions, and even one person asleep! Starting by telling us all about the Apple Watch and iPhone 7 felt like an unnecessary filler. The Apple TV TV app is only available in the US, and then almost the entire MBP presentation was about the Touch Bar.
No mention of iMacs, Mac Pros, the Mac Mini, and just the barest mention of the MacBook Air. Hopefully they will arrive soon, but I don’t hold much hope that they will be in any way affordable to your average Apple fan. Apple relies on the goodwill and loyalty of its consumer base. That base is not there to be fleeced of every $ or £ they have. Apple need to be careful they aren’t pricing themselves out of reach of their fans.
They already might have done with this one.