The Shift

Ap­ple has re­vi­tal­ized the Mac and iPad, be­lieves david chartier, with a raft of new an­nounce­ments at this year’s WWDC

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David Chartier is heart­ened by the WWDC an­nounce­ments.

Few peo­ple could ar­gue that the Mac and iPad haven’t stum­bled over the last cou­ple of years. Much of Ap­ple’s fo­cus seems to have been on the iPhone, its new moth­er­ship head­quar­ters that ac­tu­ally live up to the name, the Ap­ple Watch, launch­ing video con­tent like Planet

of the Apps… you get the idea. While I’m cer­tainly not try­ing to paint a pic­ture of doom and gloom – the com­pany is do­ing great over­all – some com­mu­nity sen­ti­ment has soured as of late. Pro-ori­ented Macs have lan­guished for a cou­ple of years in terms of sig­nif­i­cant up­dates, and peo­ple have be­come in­creas­ingly up­set and vo­cal about it. To di­rectly ad­dress some of this dis­con­tent, Ap­ple talked with a hand­ful of press in April to dis­cuss what went wrong with the Mac Pro’s 2013 re­design, and to an­nounce a ma­jor re­vamp com­ing in 2018. It rarely talks so can­didly.

The iPad Pro is my com­puter of choice these days but it, too, has stum­bled on its own unique chal­lenges. While Ap­ple’s tablet has al­ready sold more units in its seven years than the Mac in its 28-year his­tory, Ap­ple has at times strug­gled to ex­plain its na­ture and pur­pose to con­sumers. A no­table de­cline in sales, ex­ist­ing cus­tomer up­grades, and gen­eral growth in re­cent years hasn’t helped ei­ther.

Through all this, ex­ec­u­tives have re­peat­edly af­firmed Ap­ple’s com­mit­ment to the iPad and Mac, and I do be­lieve they’re be­ing gen­uine. In fact, at its World­wide De­vel­op­ers Con­fer­ence (WWDC) in June, I think Ap­ple de­liv­ered the most sig­nif­i­cant ex­am­ples of this com­mit­ment. What’s more, I get the sense that the com­mu­nity is happy with Ap­ple’s re­leases and di­rec­tion for both iPad and Mac.

To sum­ma­rize, Ap­ple an­nounced ma­jor ad­di­tions to the forth­com­ing iOS 11, many de­signed es­pe­cially for the iPad to ad­dress long­stand­ing frus­tra­tions and re­quests to make it a more for­mi­da­ble and flex­i­ble work ma­chine. Even though Ap­ple rarely re­leases hard­ware at WWDC, there was a sig­nif­i­cant iPad Pro hard­ware up­date, ma­jor MacBook Pro per­for­mance im­prove­ments, macOS High Sierra, a big iMac bump, and even a pre­view of an iMac Pro due in De­cem­ber. Ap­ple also in­tro­duced ma­jor Mac tools and part­ner­ships for aug­mented re­al­ity and vir­tual re­al­ity – ar­eas of fo­cus for the en­tire in­dus­try.

Put an­other way, Ap­ple showed that it’s been lis­ten­ing – to us, to the in­dus­try, and to its many no-longer-niche com­mu­ni­ties that care. Not that I ever doubted it over­all, but a Mac Pro go­ing over three years with­out an up­date, and a “re­place your PC” iPad go­ing seven years with­out es­sen­tials like drag and drop, were not good looks for the com­pany.

Ap­ple has proved that it’s get­ting the iPad and Mac back on track, and we’ll all be bet­ter for it.

Ex­ec­u­tives have re­peat­edly af­firmed Ap­ple’s com­mit­ment to the iPad and Mac

The new iPad Pros are just one sign that Ap­ple is ac­tu­ally lis­ten­ing to its users.

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