What I want from a new version of an operating system, especially one as mature as Mac OS, is that it fixes or improves what was not working well in previous versions, and that it leaves tried-and-true features and functionalities as untouched as technically possible. I don’t need and I don’t want disruption for disruption’s sake on a yearly basis. While I understand that today’s tech motto is The show must go on, that also doesn’t have to mean that the show should get painful to watch.
Here’s how I’d summarize Apple’s position on macOS: Apple wants to focus their energy on areas of growth, and the Mac isn’t growing much. But Apple does recognize that the Mac has an importance greater than its growth numbers belie (even if it is a begrudgingly recognition). For one, all of the software for iOS is built on the Mac1, as is a disproportionate amount of media content, and software development for other platforms, relative to the Mac’s market share.
These advantages are important enough for Apple to want to keep them, and in order to do so they just need to make sure the Mac can still run their own pro apps, Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, and Xcode, and a larger selection of third-party software2 that at least includes Adobe Creative Cloud, Homebrew, and Visual Studio Code.
Back to Mori’s piece, what we should expect from Apple going forward is that they’ll reduce the flexibility and power of the Mac3 as much as possible while still making sure that those apps can run. So if you depend on the Mac for something other than those apps, you’re going to be in for a bumpy ride.
It’s hypocritical for Apple to promote the iPad as the future (“what’s a computer?”) when everything the company makes is built with Macs. Carts can’t pull horses; what Apple should be doing is improving the iPad to the point those employees are using iPads for their work and then start pitching it as the future. ↩︎
The list of third-party software is surely a lot longer, and most likely includes many media production apps like Ableton Live and Cinema 4D. Notably, it probably doesn’t include any indie Mac apps (although any apps that already also run on iOS are probably fine). ↩︎
Power and flexibility are difficult to maintain, and Apple has convinced themselves, perhaps rightly, that they can be compromised without impacting the Mac’s market share. ↩︎