Today Apple announced the dates for the 2010 Worldwide Developer Conference. They also mentioned the categories for the Apple Design Awards, and made an apparent omission of awards for the Mac. This year seems entirely focused on iPhone and iPad software. At each WWDC Apple gives out awards for software that exemplifies great design. These awards are extremely valuable to developers, and can turn what was merely a project into a thriving company. This has many developers crying foul, and wondering if Apple is still behind the Mac platform.
They are, I believe, still behind the Mac, but without question to a lesser extent. Of all companies, Apple seems most keen to the understanding that you have to let go of the old to make way for something new and great. They left behind pre-OS X systems a long time ago. They have left behind serial ports, floppy drives, SCSI, PowerPC, and many, many more. Given some hardware decisions within the last year, I’d wager to say they’re poised to leave FireWire behind too. Everything they abandon is decried by someone who cares, but Apple sees that the new doesn’t thrive when it’s competing for space (space in any sense: physical, retail, economic, usage, mental, etc.) with the old. This readiness to make way for the future at the expense of the old sets Apple apart from the crowd.
With the iPad, Apple is presenting a new platform. It’s a platform that is leaving behind the keyboard and mouse. Here and there are complaints about all the things it doesn’t do. Rest assured, it will do or replace those things in days to come. This is only the beginning, but for the new platform to succeed, the old platform needs to yield some of the ‘space’ that it’s been holding on to. Apple is slowly starting to make this happen. Apple stopped participating in MacWorld, they are no longer maintaining the Mac downloads page, they have cancelled the Mac vs. PC ad campaign, and they have apparently left the Mac out of the Apple Design Awards. This trend isn’t likely to about-face.
I don’t plan to stop using my Mac anytime soon, but I do think the day is approaching when my iPad, or some facsimile, is what I call ‘my computer’. My Mac will just be some machine, sitting lonely at home, to do some backups, or maintain some database or something.