Just Figure Out What’s Next

In the beginning, there was Macintosh, and it was Apple. It begat iOS and iPhone, and the rest is history. Apple has made it known that they see iOS as their future, and devices like iPads as the common computing devices for basic needs in the years to come. Although Macintosh is a very healthy business, it accounts to the equivalent of pocket change in the grand scheme of Apple’s revenue. Yet, Macintosh represents more than money for Apple. While iOS and iPad have matured to the point that many users could get by with an iOS device as their only computer, there are certain fields, including iOS development, that require MacOS. So, knowing that Apple’s vision for the future revolves around iOS, what do they do with Macintosh at this point in time? They focus.

The desktop Mac is the iMac. Like the iPhone, its design has been distilled to the essence of its purpose, so I doubt we will see the drastic changes in form factor that it went through to arrive at this logical conclusion. The current design of the current Mac Pro is a marvel, but if it is to survive long enough for MacOS to be made obsolete by iOS, it would be better to adopt a more traditional tower design that accepts industry-standard cards and other components, allowing Apple to keep it updated more easily.

The MacBook and recently announced MacBook Pros are thin and light, like iPads. The keyboards are more shallow, more akin to typing on glass or the iPad’s Smart Keyboard, and now we have the Touch Bar, that brings an iOS-style contextual input area. They are beautiful, capable machines, but they are merely placeholders for the day that Apple can deliver an iOS device that can replace them.

Apple has its vision of the future and is firmly pushing its users to accept it. The future is iOS. MacOS is being nursed along out of necessity, but its days are numbered. The iOS of tomorrow will be as powerful and capable as MacOS is today. One day, years from now, all portable Apple devices will be iOS-based. Perhaps we will see desktop versions of iOS devices in some configuration unimagined at this point. When Apple has addressed every computing need with iOS, the last Macintosh will be sold. Apple will control every facet of its computing lineup, no longer hamstrung by dependence on Intel’s product roadmap.

Although I own a powerful iMac with a gorgeous 27" 5K display, I am typing this on my iPad Pro 12.9 inch, a computer that has delighted me like no other before it. While MacOS carries the legacy of a decades-old desktop metaphor that is increasingly irrelevant in the age of cloud computing, my iPad feels zen, without the distraction of arranging windows and fiddling with countless settings. There are still some mental adjustments that I make on a daily basis to adapt to this new way of computing, but many of my workflows are now faster on my iPad as I let go of my previously held conceptions of how a computer “should” work. iOS is the future, and I’d rather work to embrace the future than toil at clinging to the past.

“If you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.” — Steve Jobs