What Happened to Apple's 'Why'?

What Happened to Apple's 'Why'?

If you spend any time on the Internet, then you’ve probably seen by now that Apple announced their long-awaited updates to the MacBook Pro during an event at their campus in Cupertino. Spend a little more time on the Internet and you’re sure to see the plethora of articles pointing out how Apple seems to become less and less innovative as years go by, many even pointing to Microsoft as a great example of innovation with their really fantastic Surface Pro line of portable computers and the newly announced Surface Studio. Microsoft more innovative and creative than Apple? Let’s dig in and figure out what happened.

In his book, "Start With Why," Author Simon Sinek discusses the concept of a company’s “why,” emphasizing the idea that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Sinek frequently references Apple as a company that established their why from the beginning of the company and have held true to it through the life of the company. "Start With Why" was released in 2009, however, and I am fairly certain that Sinek has a different opinion on Apple’s direction seven years removed from the publishing of his book.

Sinek has a concept that he refers to as The Golden Circle, a way of defining your company that keeps you centered on why.

He uses Apple to demonstrate how they hold true to their why, and what they would look like if they didn’t.

If Apple were like most other companies, a marketing message from them would move from the outside in of The Golden Circle. It would start with some statement of what the company does or makes, followed by how they think they are different or better than the competition, followed by some call to action. With that, the company would expect some behavior in return, in this case a purchase. A marketing message from Apple, if they were like everyone else, might sound like this: 'We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. Wanna buy one?'

Sinek contrasts this example by laying out how Apple actually markets themselves (or at least, how they used to):

Let’s look at that Apple example again and rewrite the example in the order Apple actually communicates. This time, the example starts with why: 'Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. And we happen to make great computers. Wanna buy one?'

That line right there is what used to encapsulate Apple as a company, “We exist to challenge the status quo.” Apple has done this since their inception, challenging the idea of what a personal computer should be, what kind of expertise it should take to use one, and what the experience of the user should be like. Even during the Jobs-less period of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Apple continued to push against the status quo of what a computer was, and what the experience of using one was supposed to be like. Let’s rewind back to ‘80s for a moment. Remember this gem?
This isn’t just challenging the status quo, it’s shattering it (literally and metaphorically). Apple’s drive to inspire users and not just sell them features was as foundational in their company as the idea of freedom is for Southwest Airlines (Sinek has a great writeup on Southwest in the book, won’t get into it here). The point is that, for over 20 years, Apple has stood for something, and it’s something their users have identified with, but now that something is disappearing and we’re no longer as captivated as we used to be.

I grew up as a lover of computers. Our very first computer was an Apple IIc, and I swear to you that thing was magic. A few years later, we moved to PC, and I was captivated again. By the time I was 11, I was foraging parts to build bastardized PC’s in my bedroom, dumpste- diving and hitting up resale shops to try and upgrade every part I could. I was so deep into the PC mindset you wouldn’t believe it. I made fun of Macs and the people who used them. I built my own stuff; I didn’t need some gimmicky purple laptop to feel cool. Did those people even know how to edit their registry? Then I graduated high school, and someone gave me the white MacBook as a graduation gift. I was going to sell it and use that money to get the Alienware laptop of my dreams, when I thought “what the hell” and I opened the box up, booted up my first Mac, and I was done.

You’ll call it being a fanboy or drinking the Kool-Aid or whatever, but I went from thinking Apple was a joke to thinking they might be the greatest company of all time. Everything just made sense. The operating system was intuitive, even for a hardcore Windows truther like me. The aesthetic fit me, the experience was not just enjoyable, but relatable, and I fell hard. No really, I fell hard. Two months later I was working at the local Apple Store where I spent the next year seeing how Apple’s why inundated not just their products, but their culture and business practices. Since then (2008), I have owned four different Apple laptops (and just ordered the new one, more on that later), a Mac Pro, every generation of iPhone, several iPod Touches (and an iPod shuffle, we can all agree that was a mistake), a few iPads, and an Apple TV. I’ve gotten my family on Macs, my wife on a Mac, I’m the guy friends come to with their Apple questions, and I answer them gladly. But for the last few years, I have felt less and less connected to the brand that sucked me in and more like I’m buying a product for the features. Nothing wrong with that, but feeling marginal contentment is quite a dropoff after years of feeling inspired.

At the core of it, that’s what Apple did: they inspired users, not through clever marketing or manipulations, but through genuineness in vision and purpose that came through in their products. Remember that line from Sinek’s book about how Apple challenges the status quo and they do that by making beautiful products that are simple to use and user-friendly? The how of that is still the same; their products are still beautiful, they’re simple to use, and they’re user-friendly, but the why behind that seems to be gone. Why does Apple make beautiful products? Because that’s what they do and that’s what they believe their brand is built on.

So what’s the reason for this loss of why? The easy answer is that Steve Jobs passed away in 2011 and that he was the driving catalyst behind Apple’s why. Well, sometimes the easy answer is the right one. Many pundits and industry “insiders” have said much of the same thing, but it’s not just the simple absence of Jobs that explains the slow decline of Apple and the loss of innovation. He was absolutely relentless in the pursuit of Apple’s why. Users shouldn’t be content, they should be inspired. User experience was everything, not because that would help drive the bottom line, but because it was the right way to make something.

Think about Apple’s advertising. The ads you remember weren’t about features or upgrades, they were about inspiring a certain aesthetic, a certain personality. Remember the awesome “Get a Mac” TV spots? No one wanted to be John Hodgman; everyone wanted to be Justin Long. Well, maybe not everyone, but Jobs (and Apple) would have told you that they didn’t care about the consumers that wanted to be PCs; they wanted to inspire the users that wanted to be Macs.


To do what Apple did in their advertising took balls, no way around it. They had absolute confidence in their vision and in their why. “Here’s a commercial of some silhouettes dancing around on color backgrounds. Why? Because we love to dance to our music. Music should be simple; there shouldn’t be a barrier between you and your music. We don’t have to wow you with the features of our music player because it’s not about how much storage the iPod has or what formats it supports; it just makes enjoying your music easy. Why a click wheel? Because buttons for music are dumb, so we did something better. We think of experience first first, and the features that experience dictates are what we make.”

Apple used to be relentless about its pursuit of features that might seem trivial, but enhanced the user experience beyond normal computer specs. I present as Exhibit A the MagSafe. Yeah, magnetic power adapter, whoop-de-doo, but it was small touches like these that made Apple stand out and that elevated the user’s experience. Do you know what feature I bragged about to people when I took my MacBook places? It wasn’t the processor or the amount of RAM I had put in or even the cool, sleek design of the computer’s body, it was that silly little magnetic power plug that popped into place with no effort at all and popped right off if someone or something tripped on the cord. The MagSafe was one the many tiny ways that Apple told its users: “We get it, we’re one of you, this thing about computers sucks, and we don’t care how other people do it, we’re going to do it better.”

Well, now the MagSafe is gone, and sure, it’s gone for good reasons; USB-C is a great standard, and it needs to be driven forward for the market to adopt it fully. But the MagSafe is more than just a nifty feature that we all need to move on from for the good of the computing industry, it’s symbolic of the mindset of a company that for so many years seemed to be in lockstep with creatives, understanding our needs and operating as a partner and not just a vendor. Watch the video above again; it’s not a spot about a great feature, it’s saying: “Well yeah, our computers do this because that’s how computers should work, we don’t care how everyone else charges their laptops.” And now, that “feature” is gone.

I get it. A large contingent of PC users out there haven’t even read this far and have just scrolled down to the comments to explain all the reasons why they never used Macs, and that’s fine. When it comes down to it, this is just a computer company: they sell a commodity that we buy. But what made Apple different from the IBMs, Toshibas, HPs, or whatever company is making PCs now (is Gateway still a thing?) was how they connected with the needs of their users, and that difference seems to be slipping away, keynote after keynote.

So all of that brings me to Microsoft, who announced their Surface Studio the day before Apple’s MacBook announcement. Sure, the announcement felt more like a dressed up infomercial than a TED Talk, but I can’t deny that I felt that same spark of inspiration that I used to feel from Apple announcements. Of course it’s a touchscreen with a stylus! I don’t want to be divorced from my images when I work on them, constantly looking down at my keyboard (or Touch Bar) while I work; I want to be in my images. And of course the display tilts down to a usable angle! It just makes so much sense! Now, do I think that Microsoft has suddenly discovered their why and are on their way to supplant Apple and take back the creative market from the longtime leader? No, I don’t. I honestly think Microsoft has stumbled into something great with the Surface Pro and now the Surface Studio. I almost get the sense that they don’t necessarily understand why those two products are so compelling, but they sure are excited that they are. If they discover that why and embrace it, then awesome. I have no beef with Microsoft. I want companies to succeed, and I want them to make inspirational products for users and not just iterative ones, so if Microsoft heads that direction, then fantastic.

All of this to say, I bought the new MacBook Pro. I bought an (almost) maxed-out model, and I’m actually pretty excited to see what sort of additional functionality the Touch Bar adds to my workflow, but that’s really it. My current MacBook Pro is three years old, and I need the latest tech features to help maximize my productivity. This was a purely feature-based decision. When it comes down to it, I think that the Surface Pro might be a better product for my needs; I just really don’t like Windows. It’s a decision that was all about features, not about inspiration. The days of feeling like I am buying a product from a company that understands me, that has the same values as me are gone. I no longer feels inspired by my Apple products; I just feel...productive.

If you're passionate about taking your photography to the next level but aren't sure where to dive in, check out the Well-Rounded Photographer tutorial where you can learn eight different genres of photography in one place. If you purchase it now, or any of our other tutorials, you can save a 15% by using "ARTICLE" at checkout. 

Andrew Strother's picture

Andrew is a professional photographer based in Houston, Texas. Texas is better than all other states including Canada.

Log in or register to post comments

Great article. I'm late to the Mac train. I used to build PCs as well. I still love my Mid-2014 MacBook Pro but more than that, I love the customer service that comes with it. I remember the days of being on hold for literally two hours to get 7 minutes worth of customer service. When I don't understand something on my Mac or iOS device or just yesterday, my AirPort Extreme, I get helped nearly immediately and they stay on the line long enough to ensure themselves that I completely understand.

Honestly, I can deal with a features based purchase as long as the people keep me excited. While I haven't been on the Mac train ling enough to notice a loss of why, who knows, the people who I speak with in CS might just be able to inspire the why back into Apple.

I was almost someone who didn't read the article and just left a comment instead haha.

13-inch MacBook Pro powered by dual-core processor and Intel Iris Graphics 550 no dedicated video card this is joke yes? :) I will remind you we almost in 2017. UK price £1,949 should be not more than £999

exactly the point of the article...
if you want more power, get the 15 inch.
But yeah, Apple seems to have dropped the ball with this iteration...

13-inch MacBook Pro they should call it just MacBook definitely not PRO

This is a great article that grasps a lot of the frustration I've had with Apple lately. I would like to pose a theory though. I think Apple is still operating of of the same 'Why' that it was years ago. Hear me out.

They are determined to challenge the status quo and thinking differently. How? They're moving forward and leaving inefficient concepts and dated technologies behind. But then they came to the what, and Steve wasn't there to say, "No."

I think the problem is ultimately the "What" and it's execution.


Apple has been going no where now for years, their technology is no different than other vendors, Their electronics are no better, their OS software is still just an OS no better than the others, but they are better at branding.

Microsoft has not been good at that. However you can't continue to just change a few things and rely on your branding from one phone and laptop to another. It's boring and not innovative. Branding does not excite me, innovation does.

Now I must say that these new products from Microsoft, the Surface and the Surface Studio are very exciting. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will continue with innovation but for this point in time what they have done leaves Apple behind.

I use both Windows and macOS and say up front there's no bad OS, but there is a bad PC and both Apple and IBM clone manufacturers are guilty as each other in producing them. In the early days Apple had the conviction to drive their view and people accepted it, why? Because they was often right and they owned their own eco-system so they had total control over it. This is something MS learned the hard way, their hubris culminated in MS Vista but after that you started to see the changes in MS from Win 7 on-wards. The philosophy behind the Surface line is more akin to the original Apple Vision, it's a halo product to be the best that technology can be but more importantly to designed to allow you to be creative and to look stunning. The transformation of MS has taken a better part of the decade, but this article isn't about MS it's about Apple. So you have to ask why didn't they take advantage of MS's own stumbles (and OEM partners) over the last decade? There's been plenty of opportunities and the answer really comes down to mobile devices. The fact that Apple took nearly 4 years to replace the Macbook Pro says it all, and they release a lukewarm make-over (especially against existing laptops on the market like the Surfacebook or Yoga) only when their mobile divisions are starting to flat line or shrink. Sure the TouchStrip is interesting tech, but again it's not attention grabbing, there's been several failures on the PC over the years. However one thing that'll goes against Apple's own philosophy and the reason a lot of people loved Apple computers and the OS is the UI/UX was second to none. taking away the Function keys is a user hostile move. As a touch typist I don't want to be looking up and down trying to find a non-tactile target potentially of varying size let alone finding the esc key. Then you have the removal of other features that photographers my find useful such as video out or even a SD card slot.

All this said Apple is pursuing their own vision of the future as is MS. MS sees convergence whereas Apple sees diversity. Neither Vision is 'wrong' but Apple is starting to fray at the edge because before they was relatively unique (especially in the PowerPC days) and didn't suffer the travails of being ubiquitous, before when they was a niche product they had a prestige and a sense of Elitism to go with their marketing. When Apple started to get popular you started to see the cracks in the quality control and also security. In delaying the release of the Macbook Pro so long they've lost some of their mindshare that existed and allowed the competition to steal a march on them and even surpass them. Also Apple was looked to produce the 'Next Big Thing', the tech press always looked to Apple as the weather gauge as to the future of tech. Last year they got lambasted for being a "Me Too" company copying the Surface Pro with their own iPad Pro. However this year more than any other year the Press hasn't been kind to Apple, something usually unheard of as Apple is notorious for being ruthless about not inviting press that says things detrimental to the companies image. Add into the fact the decisions they've done over the last few years with software (OS X Server, Final Cut Pro, the Macbook Pro being limited to 16Gb RAM and so on) has alienated large swathes of their user base.

As a multitasking creative content creator: Oh why didn't they give an option of more than 16GB of RAM, whyyyyy? And why did they not make the touchpad Pencil-compatible?

I think Apple has lost its way. iPhones and iPads are easy to use but the Mac Operating system is awful and so is iTunes . Both very poorly designed and a poor user experience. MacOS makes Windows 10 look good. Apple got a lucky break with Samsung battery issues. It's very hard for Apple to make their IPhones different. The operating system was perfected in the first version. Every new phone looks remarkably like the previous one. I was surprised Apple didn't bring out a large IPad first before the large Surface Pro. They were miles ahead of Microsoft but Microsoft have caught up. A lot of users still want a keypad and Microsoft caters for it. A number of Cop shows have large touch computers - that was pointing the way to the future. I can see a lot of executives wanting that large Surface Pro. Hopefully it will spur on Apple. The industry seemed to be running out of ideas.

I switched to Mac about two years ago, have been very happy I did. But like you, since Steve Jobs is gone, I feel like the innovation is gone as well. It's like no one is pushing them anymore. I hate Windows, seems to be updating for 30 mins everytime I use my PC. No so with my Mac, updates take seconds, it runs like a champ and no virus'. But, I have to say, when I saw the Surface Studio ad I was wow'd. Apple needs another Steve Jobs at the wheel, someone who will push his people to think beyond, to say good enough just isn't. I was pretty bummed to learn they won't be making a 5K Cinema display, that I would have to go and buy an LG or something. Not impressing me with this years offerings.

I use my computer to edit photos and videos. It does not get in my way, once it does I will update it. I use my phone for nearly everything else. I read the news, blogs ect on my phone. Many are like me. I believe computers are literally becoming less relevant, compared to tablets and phones. I hardly browse the Internet on my computer anymore. I work so much on my computer that I simply loath being near it when I don't have to be.

Apples inability to "Think Different" Is easy to explain. Jobs was a visionary. Cook was a bean counter. Ive was a designer.

All three were necessary to bring Apple to greatness. But with Jobs gone and no one to replace him then the company is pretty much exactly what you'd get with a bean counter and designer in charge. Products that are over-designed and over-priced but are uninspiring and unfocused.

Exactly. Remember that Cook promoted Ive to a level next to godhood at Apple. I wonder if he can say no to him? Ive needs to be told no, and Apple is melding its fading iPad line with the laptop, because that's the direction Apple needs to go in.

Good comment.
We got the new(ish) Apple TV.
Every single day I accidentally turn on my TV with that stupid little remote.
The entire top half is a big button. So if you reach for it in the dark or even just ever do slightly carelessly.... oh crap not AGAIN.
Jony must be so proud of the thing's design but he cannot have ever actually used it.
This is where Apple is going with everything it does. The magic is gone. A bean counter is at the helm. Oh well.

I must say, I agree with almost everything you said. I myself have set up everything apple in my home, not going into details it is just simpler that way. Yet, in the end your essay starts sounding like someone with Stockholm syndrome. It does seem like you regret that purchase yet for some reason have difficulties admitting it.
While I love OS X, and absolute despise using Windows (for me it is just naturally backwards to how I work), Apple as a whole has become rather a gimmick.

Thats exactly how I feel right now! The main problem though is that here in Italy Apple raised the prices of MacBook Pro so much (e.g. old 15'' is still sold at 2300 euros, new base model 15'' is 2800 euros + dongles) that even if I dislike windows with all my heart, now that I have to buy a new computer I am unsure what to do.

I think the next (obvious?) headline is probably, "How Apple Ruined My Chances of Ever Being Considered A Professional Photographer".

I wish I was kidding.

@Andrew this was an interesting read and well written article but allow me to tell you that you're are missing the point here. Apple is again and still fighting the status quo, and you like most consumers are immersed in the idea that innovation means doing something that you have never seen before.

Touch screen laptops and desktops are the worst "innovations" of our time it has been done before i.e the cyntiq and many pc hardware companies have tried it a long time ago and failed. Now that the touch screen technology is nicer and more accurate they are trying to bring it back.
It's failing for the simple reason that it is not natural to tap on your laptop's screen or desktop's screen it is far more natural to hold a tablet or a phone and work with your fingers.

With the new touch bar Apple is fighting the idea that every new computer should have that same touch screen tech. Instead of adopting the trend like everybody else they actually just came out with the perfect combination of touch input and computer use kind of like adding a tool that will become a standard and always present on your machine not an external device like that scroll wheel microsoft just came out with the day you loose it or it stops working you'll only become handicapped from your work routine.

To sum it all up, theTouch Bar is innovative and the right thing to do because people can't use touch screen laptops like they use tablets. This is innovation, you can't grasp it just yet like everything that's NEW and INNOVATIVE.

p.s i don't understand the move of removing the magsafe but there must be a valid reason to it we will find out.

With all due respect, I don't think you understand me. I have no illusions about what innovation "should be". I still consider Apple to be an innovative company, but I believe they now innovate for the sake of features and not out of a primary drive for user experience and inspiration. Pointing to things that Apple did before anyone else is an easy way of illustrating my point, but it's not the only thing that Apple used to do that "challenged the status quo". Apple's entire retail concept was wrapped around the idea of challenging what a retail experience should be for the consumer. None of what they did in their retail stores were all the revolutionary, but the small things they did created a retail experience most consumers had never had before. Even that experience is now being lost as the Retail directive becomes more and more focused on systematizing everything to such a degree that the customer is no longer the focus and going to the Apple store no longer feels like a personal relaxing experience; it feels like most other retail shops.

Again, I did not say that Apple is no longer innovative, I said their core direction and 'why' have changed, therefore their innovation has changed.

@Frederic "i don't understand the move of removing the magsafe but there must be a valid reason to it we will find out."
Why do most companies do anything? It's to make or save money. Why add another port when the USB-C port will charge it? I think it's a good idea, now I can bring my laptop to my office, my client's office or home without an AC adapter, just the cable. I can plug it into a monitor to power it.
Though I'm sure I'll miss it the next time I knock my laptop to the floor instead of just pulling out the cable.

I have been using Apple computers since the Power Mac 6500, about 20 years ago. I used and replaced 7 other macs since then. Personally, I think the problem with Apple is their success, especially with the iPhone. They used to be cool but functional, now days they are trying to be cooler, but they are rendering themselves nonfunctional. It's style over substance all day long at Apple now days. Such a shame. I bought my first PC last year, now I use both Apple and PC, maybe in the future I'll just stick with PCs.

I would have to disagree and say that their why has not changed. You stayed that their why is challenging the status quo, making computers that are easy to use, and beautifully designed. The status quo is currently hybrid touch screen laptops that double as tablets. Apple is clearly making a stance by saying that keeping the computer, a keyboard and mouse driven idea that requires precision a finger can't replicate, and the iPad, a touch interface, separate gives their customers the best experience possible. Making computers easy to use, the touch bar accomplishes this. Realize that people who read this site are the 1%, the power users who memorize Photoshop keyboard shortcuts, know how to switch between safari tabs without clicking on them with the mouse, etc. For the other 99% of their customers, macOS is easy to use, but these shortcuts are not intuitive and remain completely unknown to them. The Touch Bar is a beautiful piece of technology that brings productivity to the masses by allowing them to get the same app specific productivity without having to reach for the mouse or trackpad and dig into the menus to find different actions and tools. For us here, the 1%, the Touch Bar may not prove to be useful as you know that the [ and ] keys adjust photoshop brush size, but for everyone else learning to use the program, its game changing for them. Yes I do believe force touch on the iPhone is not as intuitive for this same population, but their same why and innovation is there in the hopes of making a product that is beautifully designed and easy to use. Yes the MagSafe is gone, it Apple is clearly moving to a wireless world where you're not plugged in for the sake of mobility and battery life enables this. If Apple's belief is that you should be able to use it unplugged, completely free of cables, the MagSafe is no longer relevant. Yes it's a Pro device that will have most professionals plugging in externals and displays, but in that case, the MagSafe wouldn't save your computer anyways. Craig Federighi just did an interview with CNET he clearly paints this same ideologies, it's a great watch and it assures their user base that they are still focused and have a clear understanding of where they are and what they want to be.

"When it comes down to it, I think that the Surface Pro might be a better product for my needs; I just really don’t like Windows."

Honestly, I don't think so.

I have no MacBook but iPhone and iPad + AppleTV (not the latest but the one before).
And I have a SurfacePro4! I work in Germany (IT Consulting) and I do that on windows now since the early nineties. First at university I had a PC desktop, later at work I had a PC notebook. Mostly I had Thinkpads. First when the were still from IBM and later the Lenovo versions. My last was the X1Carbon. That was the best PC I ever had, not just by absolute measures, but also by relative means, judging the PCs in relation to their time.

Now I have the SurfacePro 4 connected to the dock and to that attached I have two monitors.
Maybe the surface is a nice tool if you don't do that, (dock + external monitor) but if you want to be productive I guess, you do not want to edit pictures on that tiny display.

Judging by the above mentioned standard, relative to the time I went from the best PC to the worst PC in my working history.

I can explain why I think like that, but that way I would continue to be off topic, as this is about the why of Apple and not about Microsoft... so sorry for that detour, but your quote made me think I need to tell Andrew, that the SurfacePro is nothing to look jealously into the PC block.

Best wishes

Fascinating how 2 announcements can so immediately clarify:

1. I love my Macs.
2. But I merely skimmed their announcement
3. While I immediately fantasized my life with the Surface Studio.

I was a long-time PC user (and one constantly rolling my eyes at the people who bought Macs and had no idea why they were buying one other than it was trendy). My last PC purchase was a SP3. Not long ago, I started a school program that required me to have a Mac. Now I own a MBP 15". The end result is that I won't be going back to PC for a long time. Even with the nice SP3 running the nice windows 10, there's just something about the MBP that just "works". No, it's not a night and day difference, but those few percentage points of more reliable, better cohesive, less buggy behaviour really goes a long way towards keeping me sane in a world of technology where something always seems to be wrong. MS is always annoying me too with always being late to the game and feeling the need to make their own version of this and that, and then abandoning it or drastically changing it because it doesn't catch on.

All that said, I agree that the tides seem to be turning against Apple. Some of it does seem to be their own doing, and some of it just seems to be inevitable. Hats off to MS for a really cool new product. But, that said, I think Apple did something really cool with the new MBP as well with the touch strip. I think it's a fantastic idea and for someone who doesn't really like a full touchscreen - a real ingenious alternative. Anyway, yeah, I hate how the need for profits result in having to make a new model every year which must have new features, which are often not really helpful, and also can be a real pita for existing users as we have to update the OS, update different programs, buy dongles, etc. Bleh!

Nice article. As an Apple shareholder, former Windows user, current Mac user (including a 3 year old MacBook Pro), I found this latest product announcement put me over the edge. For the first time in years I am worried about the direction Apple is going. I am sure people will buy the new MacBook Pro, but Apple has made this machine a lot harder to want to buy for many other users. How many USB-C devices are currently on the market? Smashing the status quo by abandoning the SD card, USB-3 and HDMI inputs, and the MagSafe connection, and raising prices, and giving us the TouchBar which may be nifty and sleek but has yet to prove it's utility, and not letting us even plug our iPhones into the damned thing, may make management feel like they are living up to their mantra, but for many of us we are simply wondering why they are going this way. It only seems to have the effect if decreasing the number of users who will want to upgrade their machines. Surely that is not the kind of "why" that Apple intended. .

I do not agree with the concept of what, how, why. I believe that the PC is a tool and as such I use it to perform and complete a project. And that project can be different for every end user. Example: I need a hammer so I go to the hardware store and there's all types of hammers from finish, roofing, framing, furniture, demolition...and so on. I'll purchase a hammer for the purpose of the job at hand and may have several different type for other purposes intended. There are a few multi-use ones but none that cover all uses. Thus the same concept should be implemented with PC's: types for photographers, videographers, bloggers, musicians, designers, graphic artist, construction, architects... another words from the point of use and need with efficiency and purpose.
Nowadays most PC's are developed/built to do this or that, but do not mix well with all the software and applications that the purchaser installs. If the PC is made specifically to function at its maximum related to the software recommended to perform with and different ones per a person's level of need then that to me would be innovative.
Microsoft's latest Surface product is meeting that nich need. Apples is just adding revamped features upgrades that do not meet a specific need.

I wished Adobe would come out with a PC unit which would work exclusively with their CC products. Think about it, a tool that works in the environment they create.

I switched to a macpro a little over a year ago. I'm a photographer with a fairly standard work flow and I have never been able to get comfortable with the mac trying to take control of how I want to do things. I assumed it was just a learning curve and in a few months I'd be praising the glory of macs to everyone. That has not happened. Many things take to many extra steps and I find it frustrating.

I also found the mac is just a big marketing tool and it is always trying to get me to spend more money an apple stuff. I hate marketing like that and refuse to be forced to use their stuff just because I have one product. Have you ever priced thunderbolt products!!!!

I had to buy aftermarket SW just to sort my photos by date taken because none of the mac users I know in the graphic arts industry could show me how to do it. I needed yet another aftermarket program to get basic EXIF data from my images. The list go's on and on and I will go back to a more user friendly windows device at my next upgrade.

Needless to say macs are not for everyone, but if you prefer to be lead and are a natural follower then it might be the right product for you. I personally prefer to have my equipment work the way I do and not the other way around.

This is so typical: each of the things you say you can't do on the Mac are readily available with the built-in tools. EXIF data is a right-click away, sorting photos by date can be done very easily in several places. You can even merge PDF's, fill out PDF's forms, resize photos, change their dpi, rotate them, etc, all with the built in tools.

I have had many lifetime mac users in the graphics art industry try and show me how to do things in one click, that are one click in windows without any luck for many of them. Ignorance is bliss I guess.

Please tell me how to sort by date taken with base mac SW. I can't even find date taken info in the EXIF with finder. I have to use aftermarket SW. I have been trying to get help for over a year and everything I find online or anyone I have asked says you need to buy other SW.

I was disappointed in the new MacBook Pro until I tried it!!! Go to the Apple Store. They have the 13" with function keys on display now and soon the models with the OLED display replacing the function keys.

The new MBP is much smaller than the old one. It looks and feels like a jewel. It feels right.

I ordered the 15". :-)

I am very curious about Windows but when I look at the best options (Surface pro maxed out) how different is the pricing relative to power really? Is Microsoft support as good as Apples? Is Windows as well integrated with iPhones (or Androids?).

I have zero interest in a touch screen on a computer. Much prefer keyboard, mouse, track pad and soon a Wacom.

Some months ago my current MacBook Pro stopped working at around 9pm on a weekday. I went to the 24 hour Apple Store, got it diagnosed, and walked out with a new one to use as a temporary by midnight. (Ok, how many cities have 24 hour Apple Stores like NYC, but still ....).

I think that a lot of what we pay for in the price of the Apple is for service and high quality construction and design. I went to the Dell web site to check on their computers and yes, you can get similar power and features for $1000 less but even just navigating the web site was a pain in the butt and dealing with their "chat" person was agonizing. I have heard horror stories before about Dell support (please post here about your experience, I am curious, probably others as well).

Apple forced me on FireWire800 when nobody had it, I went along. Then Apple forced me on Thunderbolt when nobody had it -- I went along too, bought RAID just because I don't want Donglemania.

Now THIS! USB-C, just 4 ports for the high end, one always used for charging!!

This is completely ridiculous. And I buy new RAIDS or tons of dongles and docks. To have a pristine design marred by the cancer of adapters, dongles... And I get a machine with the second before last technology too.

no way. I resisted the PC world for decades, now I will jump

Apple used to create things we didn't know we needed. Now they seemed more determined to tell us what we do and don't need instead. I have a hard time believing that they ask the consumers what they want. I think a good example of the beginning of this trend was with the iphone. Every other manufacturer was offering larger screen phones. Apple insisted that they had the ideal size for all phone uses. Eventually they caved to pressure but it definitely wasn't the direction they wanted to go.

I am not sure I would like the touch screen aspect of a computer as a photographer. I am having a hard time figuring out how I would use the touch screen. I would end up constantly smudging the screen. I am much more fascinated with thunderbolt 3 and the possibilities of faster external hard drives to manage my 5DSr images.

I'm very intrigued by the possibility of retouching photos using a stylus/pen/pencil device directly on the screen surface, at high res. This was why the iPad Pro was introduced last year. Apple needs to begin melding their pad and laptop lines.... if only Jonathan Ive would get out of the way.

I have never jumped on the Mac train. I love the products and the way their work and have been designed. I see the benefits of a closed system, which the Mac/Ipad/Iphones is. And the products are really very well made and beautiful. For a rather steep price tag by the way.

However I can't live with a closed system. I'm an Android fanboy not because I think their operating system is superior to IOS but because it is open. I can setup my homepage as I see fit, not as Apple sees fit. I can install whatever I want if I choose so because I am not limited to the app store. I can install custom roms if I choose so. I own a Nexus 6p with stock Android so I don't feel inclined because I love stock Android. I hate all the skins which most Android manufacturers put on their phones and I think this will be the downfall of Android in the long run. Especially Samsung is notorious for not updating their skins and so you will end up with a really old operating system quite fast. This is the big plus of the Iphone and the big downside of Android devices (which isn't Android's fault since that is developped continuously).

The same for pc's. I don't want to be limited hardware wise by what Apple offers me, I want to choose from the many options available for pc's. I don't want to be forced to change all my peripherals every so often, because Apple decides to change all their adapters. That magsafe was ingenious by the way. I was really a stroke of genius.

I don't hate Apple products, I actually like them. I however hate Apple's policy. And I sure as hell hate their warranty service. I know enough Mac user to know that this sucks. Maybe it is different in the USA but in Europe it is awful. They try as hard as they can not to give warranty.

In the past the operating system of the Macs was really much simpler and easier to operate. But since Windows 10, I think the differences aren't that big anymore.

What about the dongles? That to me is the biggest "Why?' they have no answer for.
Sleek and sexy is destroyed when you toss 3 dongles on a machine to get wired internet, my USB External HD to show up and then my second HDMI display. 3 dongles, that most any other PC laptop can handle with no dongles. I too like you have been a mac guy since the Imac DV+ SE got me into video editing and thus projected me on my life's work and path. Now at work I usually order the new mac laptop, top of the line and send my current into a rental pool. Yet, I really don't need the track bar. I don't want to have to carry dongles with me everywhere. And ANOTHER power cable and plug?
Why do we feel the need to change adapters, ports and plugs every 1 to 2 years for minor speed bumps and major annoyance to all those users before. At least offer a dongle exchange plan and recycle the old ones. I got 3 dongles now that will be totally useless in a matter of 2 weeks.
I agree too on the Surface. VERY interested in that wheel and pen. Could be VERY powerful. What is sad is that all my data, files, work is all on pages, keynote, LR and mac formatted. To change over would be a massive hassle, but sadly I have no choice but to accept the changes from Apple, which feels like stepping on an ocean tanker with no idea it's destination. Besides, my wife's laptop had a quick button bar and it was a HP from 6 years ago.
I think if apple was smart, they'd reinvest in PRO machines. For years they went with easy, for everyone. You got a great grip on the market, but for the love of gawd, talk to the pros who use your machines and build a PRO laptop that weighs more, has more normal ports, with very little dongle use needed, and a gawd damn headphones jack. Save your courage. please.

To be fair (and don't get me wrong, I hear your point) there hadn't really been a major port change until Thunderbolt a few years ago (with the exception of the display port getting smaller, something I didn't have a problem with). USB has been around foreeeever. I think the last major change before that was when they dumped Firewire, which irritated me at first but once I started getting USB-3 peripherals it was clearly worth it.

No two ways about it, the dongle thing sucks, but not as much as wavering between cutting edge and archaic ports for the next few years. I would rather most companies make the jump now and use be settled with USB-C for a while. The dongle party won't last long as more and more USB-C accessories come out. It actually reminds me a bit of when USB-A was really coming on and all the little adapters I had to get to plug my old mice and keyboards into USB ports. Change is never fun but it's better to get it over with quickly rather than drag it out.

Very well argued. You summed up much of my own thinking following last week's Apple event. The company is riding along on the power of Jobs's legacy, but that is fading. I wonder if Jobs really thought Cook could innovate, or would just carry out Jobs's plans for Apple? At any rate, they have to begin real soul-searching to find the WHY that you talk about, then figure out the HOW and the WHAT. Jobs also said Apple created products people didn't realize they needed. A "Touch Bar" is a very modest feature that some may feel they didn't realize they needed. But I don't think Jobs would have been satisfied with modest upgrades. Last year Apple introduced the iPad Pro, with great fanfare. This was the future, they said. And it had a stylus ('Pencil"). Now, they hardly talk about the product anymore. The iPad Pro was basically what the new Microsoft Studio is, with the addition of a positioning bracket. Touch should absolutely have been incorporated into Apple's laptop line by now, and the execs who are resisting true innovation at Apple are out of step. Jobs would never had accepted the current situation. Perhaps Apple should be renamed... Pear.

I have been using Apple products for more than 10 years and have been a huge fan despite being overpriced. A few weeks ago I purchased an iPad mini 4 WITH cell to replace my very old Samsung TabS cell. After it was purchased I was stunned to find out that despite being able to insert a sim card (it is the cell version afterall) it cannot make mobile phone calls - something my ancient Samsung Tabs could do years ago. Without realising it I had bought a piece of modern technology that sent me backwards with No phone - incredible! This is not the Apple company being leaders in technology.