State of the Mac Address

I caught yesterday’s address from chancellor Jobs and his dark lords of software development on their eminent plans to unleash Lions and dominate the personal computer market.

I probably shouldn’t phrase it that way as I sit here on my MacBook, watching the keynote from their podcast while in iTunes, and writing a whole blog post about how it makes me feel. But I can’t shake this feeling that things are going to change for the mac, and I don’t know if its for the better. First was the September not mentioning of the iPod Classic, and the seemingly ridiculously small nano touch screen. I was fearful of what would happen today.

The keynote started off well, Macs are selling more and more, and their goal of world domination is quickly being fulfilled. They are also ready to take over the engineering market with an upcoming inclusion of autoCAD, which is an interesting development considering some of the other announcements they made.

The big thing that came out was iLife 11. I don’t use iPhoto that much, so I won’t comment on the craziness of it tracking all of your online accounts, where you took the photos, and who’s in every photo. I was hoping that iMovie would revert back to the actually functional iMovie HD of ye olde 2007 times, but it continued in catering to people who would rather not learn how to use editing software. The keynote took a horrible turn when the demonstrator “fixed” some clipping audio by turning it down. IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT! Garageband has always been a good beginner DAW, and I have heard some good projects from it. However, Apple decided to make it into some sort of Guitar Hero Pro with midi tutorials and time stretching to fix your horribly uncoordinated band. Maybe its just the audio professionalism in me, but the iLife stuff oversimplifies things in such a way to compromise quality of how people edit things.

I am excited for Face Time for mac, i think it will be truly cool to call someone’s computer from an ipod… I just downloaded the beta, you should call me from your mac device!

Unfortunately, Face Time wasn’t enough to make me happy after they went on to unleash their newest big cat ever… Lion. Basically the idea is that they sell more iPhone than macs, so they are going to make the mac a different version of an iPhone. Multi touch gestures seem like they would improve work flow, hopefully they work the way they say they do. Auto Save isn’t necessarily a thing to want, especially with my workflow of saving multiple versions of a file so that I can see the changes or go back if I screw up. The handling of Apps is where the real change/evil begins.

Lets begin with a little history of computing:

Once upon a time, people wanted to calculate things faster than humanly possible and in mind-numbingly huge quantities. So they made programs on punch cards so that they could solve these problems. As time went on, programs got more complex, becoming word processors, games, and more. But then there was the internet. All of the programs slowly began to move to faraway servers and the computer used one browsing program to access all of the different processes they want to create. You could word process at googledocs, game on Farmville, or waste a lifetime on Youtube. Then came the Smartphone. With them, browsers were meaningless because you couldn’t type the URL or Google something easier. So they invented the “app” model of computing. You just use a touch screen and point your finger on what you want the computer to do. The screens were small, so you would only want the apps in full screen.

Now, apple asks the question why not use the “app” on a computer?

Because you have a mouse and a keyboard. You have enough screen real estate to run multiple programs. All of my stuff is already saved on the cloud and I already am used to do things this way. When they change an app online, you don’t have to download anything. I’d rather run one browser than run 10 apps. That’s why. Maybe its easier to learn how to compute this way, but I am tired of dealing with people that don’t know how to find files in finder (or windows explorer) because they only use apps, and never have to learn how a computer works.

Maybe as someone who uses the mac as part of my profession, I am less inclined to the notion of sacrificing my control of a software and the specifics to ease of use. Although being able to do all of the template things in the new iMovie will be great, I don’t care because the art is from breaking the molds and doing your own thing. I’d rather sit down and create midi in Reason than use some appleloops from garageband because then it will be me. I feel like the app model of computing requires people to do more while thinking less, whilst the cloud-browser model makes us think more about how we are computing.

I guess I’ll finish up with some comments on the new Macbook air. It seems like flavored water. I either want water or juice, none of this froofy in between nonsense. I either would want a portable iPad or a real Macbook, not an anorexic Macbook.

Do you care about what apple releases? What do you think about cloud computing versus app computing? Can you believe I wrote this many words? Please comment with your own rant about Macs!

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