You may recall that I took a crack at running a separate blog dedicated to my musings on Apple and technology. Like many of my Internet dreams,1 it seemed like a great idea but in practice wasn’t such a huge success. Turns out it’s hard to write every day about the same subject, especially when there are about 1000 people out there doing the exact same thing. I admire those who can find something to focus their writing each day. And I’ll let them do it.
So I shut the Mac Daddy site down awhile back.
That doesn’t mean I don’t still have the urge to write about Apple-related stuff. And just because I only have a personal blog doesn’t mean I can’t share those thoughts here, right?
Thus, coming soon will be the first of my occasional reviews of iOS apps. I’ve been obsessed by a fun little game over the past couple weeks. So keep an eye out for that in the next day or so.
But, while I have your attention, a few thoughts on the surprise announcement last week of the next iteration of the Macintosh operating system, Mountain Lion.
Like many people, when the news first broke Thursday morning, I thought it was some kind of joke. After all, when Apple wants to surprise the world, they have a big event. They don’t talk to a select group of journalists and writers and let word trickle out. But, as they said, they’re doing things differently now.
After reading a number of the insider scoops, I’m left with a single impression: the operating system wars really are over, at least on the desktop. Apple, Microsoft, Intel, and the PC manufacturing community are far more interested in what’s happening in the portable device space. Desktop/laptop computers are still important and won’t disappear any time soon. But OS X and Windows are so advanced and the payoff for pushing them further is so little that all sides will scale things back dramatically there.
What makes that apparent to me is Apple’s announcement that they will now be doing annual updates to OS X, as they’ve done with iOS since its introduction. No more massive rewrites. No more starting from scratch. No more 18-24 month cycles that bring dramatic changes to the core OS. Every year they’re going to tweak some things, upgrade the security features another notch, refine some of the differences between OS X and iOS, and ship an update.
Along with the end of the massive update, we will also never again see a $129 price tag on the update. At least from Apple. The last two updates have both been in the $20 range. I expect that to remain the case. As iPhones and iPads have become the biggest components of Apple’s business, gone is the need to turn desktop OS upgrades into money makers. It’s better to keep the growing installed base on the latest iteration for a modest upgrade fee than try to goose revenues every couple of years with a major release.
And while it’s obvious Apple2 is pushing their desktop and mobile operating systems closer together, I think this is a clear sign that while they may share more common elements over time, they will always remain distinct. The annual updates will keep the desktop side of the business as fresh as the mobile side, from a software standpoint, and make the overall experience even more similar. But running the same apps on your MacBook Air and your iPad is not happening any time soon.
Finally, you can’t help but look at this announcement and how it was handled and speculate on the changes in the company since Steve Jobs’ death. Maybe he signed off on this and it’s been in the works for a year or more. But it’s a very good sign for the Tim Cook era at how the company is moving forward. Execution is always the hardest part of any business plan, but so far it looks like Apple will not miss a beat in the new era.