Apple – style over substance?

I’ve been a Mac user for close to ten years, but for the past six months I’ve been splitting my time pretty much equally between a Macbook Pro and Surface Book. So as someone with a foot firmly in each camp I was very interested in the Microsoft and Apple events last week. In the few days since those events there has been a lot of comment, much of it highlighting the innovation coming out of Redmond and the perceived lack of it coming out of Cupertino and in particular Apple’s lack of support for the professional market.

I don’t intend to add a huge amount as so much has already been said, but I do have a view.

As a long time user of Apple products I have often rejected accusations that they are all about style over substance, but I no longer think that’s true. I read two posts on Daring Fireball this morning, in which John Gruber summed up Apple’s approach.

In the first he said:

Apple simply places a higher priority on thinness and lightness than performance-hungry pro users do. Apple is more willing to compromise on performance than on thinness and lightness and battery life.

And in the other:

But the price you pay for the MacBook Pro isn’t about the sum of the components. It’s about getting them into that sleek, lightweight form factor, too. In a word, Apple is optimizing the MacBook lineup for niceness.

If that isn’t a description of style over substance I don’t know what is.

I think this is an indication that Apple is completing its transformation from a computer company to a consumer electronics company. That’s fine – it’s been a very successful strategy for them – but it’s time to accept that’s what they are and stop pretending that they’re the natural home of creative pros.

Most of the time I spend in front of my Mac or PC is focussed on creating things (words, images, videos etc.). I’ve been leaning more and more to the Windows machine lately as it seems to be more reliable, it’s noticeably quicker and I find it just plain nicer to use – and I don’t think this is by accident. It really does appear that Microsoft are more interested in the pro market than Apple are, and they’re making the hardware and software to support them.

4 thoughts on “Apple – style over substance?”

  1. Never thought i’d see the day Barry Sampson switched allegiance. I’ve just bought a new W7 laptop. Anyone want to buy a little-used MacBook Air?

    1. We’ll, I’m not making any immediate changes, but I’ll be in the market for a new desktop machine soon and I’m not convinced that it should be a Mac.

  2. Interesting. I must say I have been disappointed in the last few releases from Apple. I haven’t felt like there has been enough change and innovation to warrant the price tags. However, after spending years developing on windows machines, I have spent the last 4 months using a MacBook Pro… I have to say it has been a breath of fresh air. I can get on with my development without running into issues or having the machine randomly freeze on me.

    1. I can honestly say that my experience has been that Windows 10 and macOS are about as stable as each other (but then I’m not using a corporate build like you…). That said, I think there are some technical benefits and workflow benefits being in the Apple ecosystem. My biggest bugbear with Windows is it’s poor handling of High DPI screens and mixed resolution workspaces.

Comments are closed.