While all of us geeks dance and sing about USB 3, Retina displays and 0.71″, there are other humans… regular humans, who couldn’t humanly care less. While I’m ready to give up at least one, if not both of our kids for the MacBook Pro with Retina display for no other reason other than I really, really want one, it doesn’t change much for the everyday Apple user (read: normal people1).
Let’s look at everything Apple announced and what it might mean to everyday users:
MacBook Air and Pro Updates
This will make no difference to anyone other than us (and I’m not even sure that all that many of us are tempted). The biggest possible impact is the availability of larger SSD drives which might appeal to digital pack-rats. All of the updates are great; none of them change anything.
MacBook Pro with Retina display
Tempting, damn sexy but really, really, really expensive. As the price comes down and the screen quality comes to the MacBook Air, this will be a huge deal. Today, it will be a drool-worthy purchase for those whose wives are better than mine and are willing to sell off a child. As I shared yesterday, Devir Kahan makes the best possible argument, explaining:
This really seems like the first real professional-grade portable machine. This is the sort of thing that really makes me consider going laptop only (with a Cinema display for at home).
He is also right that long-term, this is the future of all laptops, but for right now this is every geek’s fantasy and an every-person’s unnecessary luxury.
OS X Mountain Lion
Shawn Blanc really got this right before the keynote went live. There are tons of tiny details that will make life better, but iCloud is the one that will make life different. Geeks have spent years stringing together synced notes, reminders, contacts, calendars and most importantly files (we do love our Dropbox). With Mountain Lion, Apple took all of the fear, confusion and most important of all, work out of this for everyone else with iCloud. We’ve been heading this way for a while, but with Mountain Lion, everyone, even technophobes just became a whole lot geekier without having to actually get geekier (you lucky bastards). I still have my concerns as to Apple’s competency when it comes to the cloud, but the ease of synchronization across all Apple devices will be a major temptation when Mountain Lion arrives next month.
If it is as easy and prevalent as it looks, Dictation on the Mac has the potential to be huge. It will all come down to execution here (e.g. how well it plays with long-form writing, how easy it is to activate and deactivate), but it seems like a no-brainer for quick bursts of text such as quick email responses, Tweets and Facebook status updates. And while we’re on the subject of Facebook, as much as the geeks will hate this, the rest of humanity will love these features, both on OS X and when they come to iOS 6.
Speaking of Apple’s mobile OS, I’m hoping that there will be a lot more to see here when the next iPhone is launched, as what we saw was a bit of a disappointment. Sure it has a lot of small touches (the Phone app updates look great, Passbook has monster potential and as I said, Facebook integration will please everyone but the geeks who hate Facebook), but there was little that was game-changing here. Many will disagree and hail the new maps and turn-by-turn directions as innovative, but anyone who has been dying for GPS probably already has one. FaceTime over cellular is interesting, but few use it even when on WiFi. I could be wrong, but I don’t think cellular access will do much to increase activity here. The new Siri features are nice, but limited, and Apple still didn’t address the biggest issue: it’s dependability (or more accurately, its lack thereof.)2. I’m hoping that the keynote will serve as more of a tease before we see the new phone later this year. That said, I have a feeling that we just saw the majority of what’s to come in iOS 6.
Geeky rant (’cause I just can’t help myself): While I would have loved to see updates to the homescreen and springboard, what I was really hoping to see here was better API’s for Siri (the ability to change which apps Siri uses for existing functions like reminders would have been a nice start) and deeper integration between 3rd party and Apple’s own applications (JUST LET ME USE TEXTEXPANDER WITH THE MAIL APP AND I’LL SHUT UP ALREADY). I figured that getting both of these would be a long shot, but was hoping we would see one or the other with iOS 6.
On the long-term front, the fact that Apple is unifying our cell number with our Apple ID is interesting to say the least (and if I was a phone carrier, I might just go as far to say concerning). The ability to take phone calls on our Mac and iPad diminishes the importance of the phone carriers and sets up some interesting possibilities for the future.
My geeky griping aside, Monday seemed like a great day for Apple users. It’s a continuation of steady, iterative improvements to their hardware and software as well as yet another step in the collision of their mobile and desktop platforms. While I don’t think it really changes much of anything, that’s ok, because it continues to make everything just a little bit better. Which is usually all that the average Mac user is really looking and hoping for.
What do you think about the latest updates and offerings from Apple?