Trucks and Cars and Mac SUVs

Trucks and Cars and Mac SUVs


When people talk about if tablets will replace
computers, it’s only a matter of time before we start talking about cars and trucks. That’s because of something Steve Jobs said back in 2010 when he was trying to describe the “post-PC world.” Back in the day, the best way to get on the internet – the only way – was to buy a computer, so everybody bought a computer, because
the Internet is awesome. These days smartphones and tablets do that job as well, if not better, than the PC, and that leaves the personal computer in this strange position, where it’s becoming a specialty tool only for the people who really need to use it. It’s worth going back to what Steve Jobs actually said in 2010, because quite frankly, what we remember is not quite what he said. When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, cause that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the
urban centers, and America started to move into those urban and then suburban centers,
cars got more popular and innovations like automatic transmission and power steering
and things you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. This isn’t really true. In 1908 Ford began selling the Model T, the
first truly mass-market vehicle, and it was a car. Still, Jobs does make a fantastic point here
about how consumer demand shapes product design. Through the years, car designs have evolved
to make things much more comfortable for the people who buy them. Can you believe cars didn’t used to have cup holders? PCs are gonna be like trucks. They’re still gonna be around, they’re still
gonna have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by 1 out of x people. In other words, PCs will be a niche technology,
while the majority of people will gravitate to smartphones and tablets. And this transformation is going to make some
people uneasy. People from the PC world, like you and me. It’s going to make us uneasy. And we like to talk about the post-PC era,
but when it really starts to happen, I think it’s uncomfortable for a lot of people. Because it’s change, and a lot of vested interests
are going to change, and it’s gonna be different. This is perhaps the most interesting part
of what Jobs said. Because it’s about how those of us who were
raised in the PC era will become increasingly uncomfortable with the changes ahead of us. When Steve Jobs says “Vested interests are
going to change” it makes me think of the concerns professional Mac users have had since
the new MacBook Pros came out. It was once Apple’s vested interest to cater
to the professional computer market. Is it now? If tablets are cars and Macs are trucks, how can you explain Apple’s design of the
2015 MacBook and 2016 MacBook Pro? These are optimized for lightness and thinness, not processor power. A MacBook Pro that trades more memory and
a more powerful graphics card for thinness and lightness sounds an awful lot like a car
to me. So maybe it’s a mistake to think that Macs
are trucks. Maybe today’s Macs are more like SUVs: they’re
more expensive and better appointed cars. It’s a category that’s just as popular as
the car, and way more popular than the pickup truck. If Apple decides the largest market for Macs
is the SUV market–people who want to buy a computer, but don’t really need to be Professional
Grade–Where does that leave the harder-core pro users? If you’ve been driving a Ford all your life,
will you switch to a Chevy? Or will you drive a Ford SUV and learn to
live without the truck bed? So I think that we’re embarked on that. Is it the iPad? Who knows? Will it be next year or five years from now
or seven years from now, who knows? So here we are, six years later. And PC sales are down. But so are tablet sales. Meanwhile, smartphone sales are in the stratosphere. So what does that mean? Maybe the _smartphone’s_ the car after all. Maybe the Smartphone is the general-purpose computing device that everyone’s going to own and use to happily get on the Internet.. But what’s the truck of tomorrow? Will it be the personal computer, as Steve
Jobs suggested? Will it be the tablet? Will it be some merged combination of the
two? And if you’re someone who loves Apple products,
will Apple still be in the business of making trucks? Or will it be too focused on the business
of making cars for the masses? Just as Steve Jobs suggested back in 2010,
it’s change. And it’s gonna be different. And it’s gonna make all of us uneasy.