No, Apple shouldn't kill off the Mac
Wall Street Journal tech columnist Christopher Mims wonders if it's "really a good idea for Apple to continue to put resources against being king of a last-century technology" by releasing new Mac products in addition to other wares.
I'm going to set aside the fact that it doesn't make financial sense for Apple to stop making profitable products. (The company still sells iPods, for god's sake.) Mims addresses that argument in his column, and frankly, it's a boring topic.
But I can't ignore the fact that I'm typing this on a new-ish MacBook Pro while my iPhone 6 sits in my pocket, and the iPad mini with a shattered screen sits in a closet, waiting for me to cough up the $300 or so it will cost to have it fixed.
That I'm using all those products shows a few things: one, that Apple products have earned my trust; and two, that there must be a reason why I've purchased so many devices from a single company instead of mixing things up a little bit.
It's that second thing which shows that Mims creates a false dichotomy in the conclusion to his piece, which I'll quote here just in case you don't feel like making your way around the Wall Street Journal's all-too-porous paywall:
Apple is an exceptional company, and it is at a crossroads. Is Apple a tech company, or an experience company? Does Apple make computers, or does it make consumer goods? In a world in which the cloud is increasingly the hub of everything individuals and businesses do, and our mobile devices its primary avatar, what on Earth is Apple doing running victory laps around a dying PC industry? Personally, I’d rather see Apple push the envelope on what’s next.None of those things are mutually exclusive. Apple can be a tech company and an experience company. It can make computers and consumer goods. And, given its struggle to get here, a few victory laps around the PC market is earned.
In fact, Apple's existence at the intersection of those false dichotomies might explain why it continues to release Mac products even though it's also working on smartphones and tablets and smartwatches and Jony-Ive-knows-what-else.
Part of the reason why I use so many Apple products is that they work well together. The products all complement each other, and that's become more true in recent years with the introduction of features like Handoff or iMessage.
I have a better experience with my consumer goods (iPhone, iPad) when a decades-old tech company makes a computer that works better with them than a Windows or Linux machine ever would. Removing anything from that system weakens the whole thing -- albeit to varying degrees, depending on the person.
Apple keeps making Macs because it can keep making money from them, because they keep getting better than most people would've ever imagined, and because they complement the envelope-pushing products Mims likes so much.
Products like the iPhone, the iPad, and the Apple Watch might be the future. Yet that doesn't mean the Mac is done, or that people don't want to have a Mac on their desks to do all the things you can't or shouldn't do with those products.
So what on Earth is Mims doing running around the Mac claiming it should die?