Originally Posted by addabox
You know, usually when Apple brings forth a game changer, they make sure you know it. Even the inveterate Apple hater is obliged to acknowledge that something is afoot. But with the new Air they just sort of slipped in, like "Cool, here's an update to the Air." Did anyone immediately think, "Holy shit, that's the Mac that goes ballistic?"
As I continue to read the reaction to the 11" Air around the web, the "awesome to meh" ratio is running something like 10-1, which is unheard of for new Apple hardware. I think this thing is going to be a huge, runaway, massive success, another one of those "we keep having to revise our estimates upwards" things that once again swells Apple's revenue and market share numbers.
I think I recently read that Apple's actual consumer market share in the US (factoring out the legion of PCs that get sold en masse to businesses) is close to 20%. If Apple keeps this up they're going to be popping over 30% soon enough, and I wonder if they can't go higher?
With all the iOS hoopla we had all sort of forgotten about OS X and Macs as a competitive platform, but Apple doesn't seem to have.
You got me thinking. Will need a few hours before I can respond.
Here's what I think. It really is about "Back to the Mac". That's how the MBA 11" has to be viewed.
iOS took Apple to an entirely new level. The iPhone, then the iPad. It's an order of magnitude more popular, trendy and desirable than Macs... looking at global consumers at a whole.
The irony is OS X is viewed as a disadvantage to many. They have fear of changing over from Windows. If the MBA 11" was a few $100 cheaper and ran Windows out of the box, it would sell insanely more units. Heresy, I know, but you see...
...With the iPhone, it's a phone. It broke new ground in an area which was just emerging, and managed to capture hearts and minds before they were entrenched in a certain way of doing things. Smartphone interaction and design still an malleable paradigm.
...With the iPad, it basically created something out of nothing overnight. Suddenly, here was a device just for the sake of not even having to use a laptop, desktop, while being way better than the phone. Again, the iPad is capturing hearts and minds before they are entrenched in any kind of tablet paradigm (we can safely ignore "tablets" that came before it since they were never really popular).
...With the Mac, it has a long history, but also it has a well-defended foe in Windows PCs - ubiquitous, cheap, everyone knows how to use it, almost everyone does not have a choice. Windows has about two decades of people being used to it.
The MacBook Air is about the *start* of Apple really taking iOS, iPhone and iPad "Back To The Mac". People are mistaken when they think "Back to the Mac" means Apple re-devoting attention to the Mac. This is wrong. Apple is looking at iOS, iPhone an iPad as the premier standard to which Macs must now conform. This is not like when you had iPod and Mac, where the Mac was still the primary profit driver and core business. I'm not sure at which stage, despite the Mac growing and doing well, that Steve and team conceived of iPhone and iPad, but the moment they did that, they went far, far outside the PC-Mac-Computing "box".
Now Apple has the fairly daunting task of looking at the Mac and how to really apply iOS to it. People have either progressively gotten stupider, even more paranoid because of Windows being horrible to manage, very used to the pure simplicity of iOS, or all the above.
I had a guy come into the Apple Reseller shop yesterday, and he was a typical Windows hostage. His questions centred around, OK, my Mac... Now, how do I partition it, where do I defrag, where do I put files, how do I install, how do I clean up, why are programs still running, how can you have those minimised windows, they must be eating up resources..! etc. He was worried of putting hundreds of files and subfolders in one particular folder. I told him, you can put thousands of files and terabytes in one folder, the only thing is searching for it, even then there's spotlight anyway.
The mindset of a PC user is so ravaged that iPhone and iPad is a breath of pure fresh air to them, because there is nothing to compare it to.
But when it comes to Macs, it's like their brains lock up and they feel as though they're somehow "cheating" or maybe "going to make a mistake" by switching to OS X. The MacBook Air 11" is the first bastion in which Apple can liberate users. It starts with pure desire, slipstreaming OS X into the heart of the mini-laptop trend and hijacking PC users. It will be successful, but the war will be fought and won in OS X itself. The Dock has got to go. Most people are confused about apps on the Dock and apps elsewhere. Forget them knowing what the heck Stacks does and how to use it. The file system has to be adjusted. They see the hard disk and they think of C drive, D drive, and wanting to somehow throw away folders at the root level because they don't know what it does. Launchpad is a step in the right direction, as is Mission Control.
My view is certainly coloured because I talk to a lot of new users, but the Mac must become something you just open, use, and it makes sense straight away. iPhone does that. iPod touch does that. iPad does that. Mac... is beatifully engineered, but the challenge is not making a better Windows competitor, but simply, making an easier, no-brainer computer (that also does not drive experienced users up the wall).
This round of "Back to the Mac" brought hardware innovations of iDevices to the Mac. The next step, are all the OS innovations and ease-of-use. It will take several years, but nonetheless Apple is clear on the trajectory of the Mac.