Freshly Squeezed OpEd: Time To Move On

I’m torn. Certain things that Apple has done in the last six months have encouraged me. Others have ticked me off intensely. But I’m hoping Apple has realized how much they have screwed the pooch over the last several years, have come to their senses, and are turning things around.

It’s a new decade and a new broom sweeps clean. Looking back over the 10s, I want to say most sincerely “Thank You” to Sir Jony Ive. You took us out of the beige box pen and moved us into the era of design. A computer (desktop or mobile), a mobile device (smartphone or tablet), even a watch can be a mesmerizing thing to look at, let alone use. The merger of technology and style. That’s magical and for that, we are forever in your debt, Sir.

Still, I feel there was a point where the balance between form and function dissipated. In the beginning, having tech grow ever smaller was great. Anyone who remembers the combat-style wireless phones of nascent days knows what I’m talking about.

And I gleefully went for the ride. I remember carrying my SE30 around in its cloth bag. That was a portable computer. To accomplish video editing on a device that I could toss in a backpack or under my arm was pure science fiction.

When Steve could produce a laptop, granted of lesser power, out of a manilla envelope, I was a little kid on Christmas morn.

But somewhere along the line, we began repealing the rules of design. Form must follow function. But soon, function was following form. And that put a major damper on the party.

We were surrendering ports. We were throttling speed to appease the thermal gods. Engineers were being asked to pull technological rabbits out of their hats.

Soon things were going out of the door, both hardware and software, without being fully baked. The most recent OS releases are concrete proof of that. My daily exercise isn’t working out with a medicine ball but firing up the computer, iPhone, or whatever and downloading the latest patch.

But I think even though Steve said, ‘Don’t think what would have Steve done,’ it feels to me as if someone has.

I offer as evidence the 16″ MacBook Pro. Yes, it’s a little heavier (about as much as a BLT), and a little thicker but it was necessary to give us, the dreamers/the crazy ones what we kept clamoring for. Better cooling, a keyboard that didn’t drive you up a wall, the return of the Escape key, and more. That’s not to say there aren’t other items that we want or need. But somebody or some group of employees has embodied the spirit of Steve and has said that if something is not living up to its promise, it’s crap – go back and work on it until it’s something we can take pride in when the buyers get it into their clutches.

As I alluded to earlier, the recent parade of OS patches is proof the ship is still turning around. Ships don’t turn around right away. An ocean tanker takes miles to turn around. And that takes time. But it feels like someone has finally taken control of the helm.

At least, let’s hope so.

©2020 Frank Petrie