Apple, How Did It Come to This?

Last week, I sold my 2015 MacBook Pro to a New Yorker vacationing in San DIego and returned to using Chromebook Pixel LS, which I wouldn’t have guessed when buying the Apple laptop in June. From Day 1 the MBP felt slower in every way. I expected the Mac to be a creative enhancer, as had been my experience going back to my first in December 1998. The computer proved to be an impediment instead.

What’s missing in subtle but cumulative ways: Quality. The computer looks the same but doesn’t feel the same. My reaction to Apple Watch, which I also sold, is similar. Something is missing. There’s a glitchiness that is hard to characterize that is pervasive. Time is wasted, and creative flow is disrupted. 

It’s almost like this: Post-Steve Jobs, Apple still pays attention to the details but they are the wrong details. Form goes before function and design emphasizes past user interfaces rather than embracing future ones. The Apple Watch crown concept, which CEO Tim Cook and company tout, is backwards innovation not forwards. Voice trumps touch, and touch shouldn’t require as much operation as the screen combined with crown and button demand. Google gets touchless interaction. Apple doesn’t.

That said, in many ways,  I prefer Apple Watch to Android Wear but that’s not an option without iPhone; I sold my 6 Plus, too. When I bought the three things, there were two objectives: Eventually test and review new iOS and OS X versions and to reinvigorate my creative mind around the Apple lifestyle. The lesson learned: In a way, I’ve moved on to a different way of computing, while Apple clings to the past, while claiming to be the future around post-PC devices.

But post PC isn’t about devices but contextual usage scenarios. Apple kind of gets it. Google really does. Apple’s synchronization isn’t smooth among devices, and little software annoyances accumulate subconscious dissatisfaction.

Maybe it’s a post-Scott Forstall thing, too. His star shone brightest during the Steve Jobs era, followed by big troubles with Apple Maps and Siri after the cofounder’s health collapse and death. The quality of Apple software I always relied on is less.

A Core i5 laptop with 8GB RAM shouldn’t feel slow, like my 2015 MBP compared to another several iterations older. What does it say when webapps load faster over the Internet on a Chromebook and are overall more responsive than OS X and its apps running locally? And there is less distraction that disrupts creativity.

Gasp. Apple, how did it come to this?