Has Apple Strayed From Its Roots?

Just recently Apple released its new version of the MacBook Pro, a laptop that has been around since its original release back in January of 2006. Throughout each new generation release the laptop has gone through various hardware changes such as the addition of a retina display in the third generation MacBook Pro. This year Apple has taken a step further and has removed all previous ports that were included on the MacBook Pro such as USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt, and even the SD card slot. On the new 4th Generation MacBook Pro you will find simply 4 USB-C ports as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Apple is a company that has proven itself to be daring in its choice to move the world forward and present newer technologies to replace the old. In 1998 Apple had released the iMac G3 which featured a new port called USB, but they had also decided to not include a floppy disk drive, which at the time people were extremely skeptical about. Steve Jobs himself had said at the D8 conference in 2010, “We have at least the courage of our convictions to say we don’t think this is a part of what makes a great product so we’re going to leave it out”. The Apple mindset towards providing consumers with new and innovative products can clearly be seen throughout the company’s history; however, with the new MacBook Pro complications arise.

When the first Macintosh was released back in January of 1984 there was a mindset behind the product that Steve Jobs pushed forward, and that Apple has stuck with until very recently. That mindset was behind the principle of continuity. Continuity takes two different forms, continuity among software and then continuity among hardware.

From a software perspective Apple has done a wonderful job with continuity, those who own the Apple watch can unlock their MacBook pro with it. Messages from ones iPhone can be seen via the Messages app on the Mac. FaceTime can be used on both the phone and laptop, and many more features. Apple has clearly provided a wonderful user experience via their operating systems and how well they work with one another. But have they forgotten about hardware continuity?

The new MacBook Pro has removed all ports on the previous model and replaced them with just 4 USB-C ports along with a 3.5mm headphone jack. Clearly this is the courage that makes Apple one of the powerhouses in the tech market, but the issue that arises here is that continuity is destroyed amongst hardware.

Let’s think about the fact that Apple’s latest iPhone, the iPhone 7 still comes with a lightning to USB cable for charging. If users who are a complete part of the Apple ecosystem want to sync their phones with their MacBook Pros which is a more than likely case, then they can’t do so directly. This is where user experience diminishes. Apple’s mindset had always been that Apple products will work with other Apple products in the smoothest manner possible, clearly the ball has been dropped. Now one would expect that iPhones would possibly be manufactured with a new option to pick from that includes a lightning to USB-C cable; however, that has not happened. Apple does offer the cable to be purchased separately on their website, but that strays away from providing simplicity for the user in exchange for a gain of profit. Although Apple’s products are in a higher price range, the fact of the matter has been that simplicity for their users was a priority. Now not only is continuity being destroyed, but so is the user experience.

It seems as though MacBook Pro users will have to purchase a variety of dongles and adapters allowing them to connect their already owned devices to their new laptop, which is a true consumer tragedy. As someone who has been using Apple products for a number of years now and who has been a big fan of what the company has done over the years, I am quite frankly disappointed.

“If the market tells us we’re making the wrong choices, we listen to the market. We’re just people running this company. We’re trying to make great products for people.” — Steve Jobs

Apple may have strayed from its vision for the time being, but I truly hope that within the next year these issues are sorted out and that they continue to release great products and put the consumer first.