If the Mac isn’t dead in Apple’s eyes, the product that saved Apple nearly a couple of decades ago is a fading memory. Why? Because computing in the 21st century isn’t like computing in the 20th century. To Apple, the Mac is just so 1999.
Consider what computers were to Apple and Mac users back in the late 20th century, even the time period when Jobs returned to save the company from the chopping block or a worse fate. Most computer tasks were the same, Mac or Windows, but Apple Computer, Inc’s popular Mac was good at some things Windows PCs were not; media and graphics come to mind.
As people began to add more digital toys to their lives, a hub to manage them all was born. Or, rather, developed and advanced sufficiently to help us care for digital movies, DVDs, burning CDs, and connect to the internet via browsers and email. Even Apple co-founder Steve Jobs called the Mac the digital hub, the device which managed our digital toys and gadgets.
The Apple Store was introduced to provide a better showcase for the Mac; and that was back in the day when Apple was synonymous with the Mac. The Mac was Apple. All good things come to an end, so they say, and in 2001 the iPod matched up with iTunes and extended Rip. Mix. Burn. to a portable digital music player. iTunes Music Store came along, and when it was obvious the iPod had a limited life, thanks to growing capabilities in so-called smartphones like Palm, BlackBerry, and Treo, the iPhone was born and the mobile device revolution took over.
The Mac was no longer our personal digital hub. Instead, Apple became fat and rich on the iPhone and iPad as the mobile device revolution took over the world. Today, personal computer sales continue on a downward path, joined recently by the Mac itself, and despite the fact that Apple’s link to the past owns much of the industry’s profits, a notebook or desktop computing device is not the future. It’s the past.
Look at Jobs and his history at Apple. From the beginning, Jobs pressed Apple to move on to the next great thing. Apple IIe? Meh. Apple III (a disaster). Meh. The Mac became Apple’s savior. For awhile. Then it was iPod and iTunes. Then the iPhone. What’s the next great thing? Wearables? Maybe. But it won’t be the Mac. By the end of 2017 we may see Apple with two Macs. The Mac notebook in MacBook and MacBook Pro, and the Mac desktop in iMac.
That means no Mac mini (seldom refreshed) and no Mac Pro (never refreshed).
Apple’s executives, designers, and engineers live in the future and the Mac is the past; a computing relic which everyone at the company knows has no place in the future. Think iPhone and iPad Pro for the present. But think wearable technology for the future; Apple Watch, Apple Glasses, but not Apple Mac.
It may be many years before the Mac is laid to rest, and it is likely to go through many variations, adjustments, and tweaks in the future, but Apple is no longer synonymous with the Mac, and the Mac no longer owns a position of importance at Apple.
At its peak, the Mac may have had 75-million users. Meanwhile, iOS– iPhone and iPad (which still outsells the Mac by more than double each quarter)– has over 1-billion users.
That’s why the Mac is so 1999.