Monday, August 15, 2011...10:48 am
Why Apple sucks (almost) as much as Microsoft now
Freelance media life is always a bit precarious – not least because we have to keep up with technology out of our own pockets, not relying on a friendly employer to provide all our hardware and software.
So, any freelancer looking to replace their creaking MacBook in the past few weeks will have realised, with a bit of a shock, that Apple has decided to phase out the sturdy, relatively inexpensive, entry-level laptop.
That’s “relatively inexpensive” in Apple Mac terms, obviously. £700 or more is twice the price of a Windows laptop. But then you’d have to use a Windows laptop – and no one should have to suffer that pain.
What replaces the MacBook? Well – technically nothing. You get to choose from the “entry-level” MacBook Air – all light and thin and lovely, but with an 11-inch screen (down from 13-inch) and a massive 64GB of storage. Mmm. Oh – and no disk drive or ethernet port, if you need that.
To prove that less is, or at least costs, more, the lovely MacBook Air starts at £849 – more than the entry-level MacBook used to. Fancy a real computer? One that does at least what your MacBook did? Then you need a MacBook Pro – the silvery version, with bells and whistles.
To replace my MacBook – 13-inch screen, 4GB of memory and 250GB of storage that cost £897 inc VAT in February 2010 – would now cost £999 for the entry-level Pro (the nearest specification). It’s a hike of more than 11% – and it can’t all be down to the more expensive dollar.
The machine is a bit better (Firewire and a useful audio input, which I’ve been missing), but that’s not the point. If you wanted and needed the next version of the same thing, you can’t have it – there’s only more expensive, or not as good.
But, wait – there’s more pain. Upgrade your machine, and you’ll be getting the new Mac OS X Lion operating system. Which is super fabulous, apparently, but doesn’t now include a really useful feature that allows you to run your creaking old software on it.
Up until Lion, Mac users running versions of Office that were designed for older versions of the Mac hardware could still use the software on newer Macs. Not now. Lion has quietly dispensed with a feature called Rosetta that allowed the older software to work, so if you upgrade your machine – at higher cost – you’ll have to upgrade your software too. Thanks for that.
So – to recap. Apple has pulled the plug on its excellent entry-level MacBook, with little warning; and pulled the plug on its useful retro-software compatibility, with little warning.
Yes – consumer usage is changing. People want smaller, lighter gadgets, and we have less use for disk drives. Cloud computing and online apps mean it is becoming less important to run legacy software from your hard drive. Apple is clearly moving in the right direction as a business.
But perhaps you could give us a bit more warning that this is happening – so we can, you know, plan ahead.
That’s another key element in being a good business, not just a rich one – not treating your customers as cattle to be milked of cash in the way that simply suits you. Apple – you are starting to suck…Tweet