Just over fifteen years ago in 2002, Apple shifted from “Think Different” ads associating its products with respected thinkers to “Switchers,” a new campaign that played up how terrible PCs were in the words of regular people.
Steve Jobs sought to sell Windows PC users a “BYOKDM” drop in replacement: the Mac mini (and Xserve). A few years later, Apple’s “I’m a Mac” campaign similarly invited PC users to switch and enjoy working where things were so much easier. However, Apple hasn’t been actively pushing Macs at Windows users lately.
The truth hurts PC feelings
Instead, in 2015 Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook yanked out the tablecloth of accepted expectations when he rhetorically asked in an interview, “I think if you’re looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?”
He upset many PC pundits by simply explaining what was happening in the industry: “iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people. They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones.”
Audible gasps of disbelief greeted Apple’s subsequent iPad commercials, which dared to ask “what’s a computer?” Another iPad ad focused on school kids proclaimed “the perfect computer for learning looks nothing like a computer.”
The shock turned to seething anger. How dare Apple question the nature of the industry it created in the 70s, revolutionized in the 80s, was cheated out of in the 90s, clawed back in the 2000s, and then radically disrupted in the 2010s? How does selling more computers than any other PC maker make Apple some kind of expert in personal computing?
And how does Apple know anything about the nature of the mainstream computer business, given that it only sells the high-end products that most affluent people pay a premium for, and doesn’t experiment with radical new form factors that only sell to a tiny frivolous niche, like Microsoft’s Surface and Lumia, or Google’s Chromebook and Pixel?
The cynical explanation for Apple’s fixation on disrupting the status quo of computers has been that Apple is simply abandoning the conventional PC to shift to the mobile world, where everyone else has failed. But that’s false.
iOS-oul of a new Mac
It’s not just false, it’s absurd. This year, Apple again devoted massive new attention to macOS Mojave at its Worldwide Developer Conference. And fittingly so, because developing software for its massive mobile iOS platform requires a Mac.
Apple’s macOS Mojave is still a work in progress, but the strategy is clear: Welcome to the Mac for iOS users.
Three weeks after Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi first showed off macOS 10.14 Mojave at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference in the first week of June, Apple released the first Public Beta of its revamped desktop operating system.
The Mojave release offers a clear look inside Apple’s strategic thinking and the state of the art in 2018–both in what it aspires to deliver and what it doesn’t even make an attempt to do. There are no ads on the desktop, for example, and Siri isn’t always listening to determine what TV shows you’re watching the background so it can most effectively sell your data to advertisers.
The engineering decisions made for the Mac–alongside iOS 12–will shape the future of technology across the next year for the world’s largest and most successful vendor of premium personal computing and mobile enterprise hardware. Apple is crafting an integrated hardware and software experience that sells you the product, rather than selling “you, the product,” and the result is a rarified, luxurious experience.
If you already own a modern Mac, the Mojave release is Apple’s latest, free annual update, designed to significantly upgrade your overall experience in several major ways and across a broad array of minor thoughtful touches, adjustments and fixes.