The Pros Lament: Apple WWDC 2012


Oh Joy to the Apple Faithful, today was time for my usual “Apple Day” Ritual, which involves going into an information black out and fervently waiting for a spoiler-free video stream of the keynote to be posted to Macrumors.com.  I’ve been doing this ritual for a long time and I have learned that The Steve Giveth and The Steve Taketh away.  This is Apple’s nature, and while I recognize it’s for the best to push forward and clear out the decaying and dead, I sometimes still have to take time to mourn.

Today I want to eulogize my beloved Macbook Pro 17 inch.  This was their baby.  And they just killed it.  I’m typing this now from a 2010 17-incher I affectionally call Big Lappy.  It’s huge, it’s heavy, it might even give me back pain, but I take it everywhere, I throw it in my backpack and ride around town on my bike.  I use it like other people use a macbook air (on couches, in bed, while eating), only I do it all better.  Why is it better?  Because I can watch movies in full 1080p and the screen is so big and bright it’s better than any HDTV, especially when i keep it close to my face.   For ADHD multi-taskers, I can watch the Daily Show and read my endless stream of blog feeds AT THE SAME TIME!.  Try that, and fail, on your 11inch-macbook air.

But most importantly having a large screen makes doing the kind of work I do, video editing and motion graphics, not just possible but pleasant.  The more screen real-estate = better access to tools = a better way to get things done.  For pros being able to have the screen real estate to have two application on the same screen without compromise is a must.  (And no I don’t want to have to use an external monitor to get the same effect, I do prize portability).

I appreciate that the new Retina Display 15-incher is the sexiest laptop Apple has ever made, and I will probably buy the next version that comes out once 500GB SSD drives are priced for mortals, but pixel-density and screen real estate are not the same thing, especially for people whose eyes aren’t like hawks.  While the whole world is oohing and ahhing about a laptop wiht a retina display, it really is only a game changer for objects you hold close to your face like a iphone or an ipad.  Laptops are meant to be kept at arms length, because you use your arms to type..duhhhh.  Most people won’t see the difference in regular use, but they will have a lot harder time reading text on the “next generation” Macbook Pro (man it’s getting harder to talk about Apple products, which “ipad”  1st gen or 3rd gen” or which “15 inch macbook pro”, fat or thin).  The 1920×1200 resolution on my Big Lappy is perfectly fine, any more dense and I wouldn’t be able to read text on it.  In fact I have my web browser magnify everything by 15% so I can read a regular webpage at this pixel density.  I can’t imagine how much I’d have to squint with 4x higher density.

So I’m sad apple is killing my big baby, but it’s obvious the Pro market is not filling up enough of the pretty profits graphs they make in Keynote presentations.  I feel even more sorry for the people waiting for a Mac Pro update.  The incredibly minor bump today way an insult.  A lazy insult, and hard to believe considering Apple prides itself on making “Amazing Products.”  Releasing a Mac Pro without the latest processor architecture or any of the newest standard features(thunderbolt, usb3) smacks of something wrong at Cupertino.  Now you’re just toying with the Pro market and they will not be amused.

The sad truth is many of us pros will take the abuse because we can’t not use Apple products at this point.  It’s who we are.  It’s what we do.  We’re just going to have a harder time doing it.

Other remarks about today’s announcements:

  • Apple Seriously needs to work on an iOS file system, even a super simplified one.
  • Thank Steve, they added facebook integration to Game Center, without it it’s a worthless turd.
  • The best feature in my mind is Airplay sharing from Mac to TV.  This is the only “Apple TV” I need.  And it’s also the best interface to just use you laptop to find what you want to watch instead of a remote or siri.
  • Most revolutionary feature might be Passbook.
  • Dig the cheap OS updates ($19.99 for Mountain Lion).  Cheaper, quick iterative OS updates > than long drawn out expensive updates like Windows 7,8
  • Things I want:  Please merge facetime and imessages into one app.  Please put upcoming calendar events on Lock Screen.
  • Make better tools for teachers to use and manage many ipads in a classroom.  It would be great to have the same features that desktop users get from Apple Remote Desktop in the classroom, but for iOS.  Guided Access for iPad is a good step though for early education.
  • I want to see my house on flyover.

Thanks for keeping me obsessed Apple, we hate because we love.

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