So long, and thanks for all the fish

David Braue
26 February, 2010
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Nearly three years after I started using Macs, I am happy to report that the change seems to have stuck. Although I initially switched largely because of the existence of GarageBand (and, perhaps, proved that use of Garageband should be subject to government licensing), it turns out the rest of the Apple ecosystem is largely approachable, eminently functional, and on the whole is worth the sacrifices.

Who really needs Blu-ray drives in their iMacs, after all, or a DVD drive in their iPad, or a version of Aperture that doesn’t crash in flames at random intervals? After all, we’ve lived with that last one for years and years in the Windows world. Yes, I am being cynical here, for I find it’s a healthy thing to do when faced with inexplicable truths and unshakeable dogma like that which guides Apple.

It has been 18 months since I took the helm as Online Editor at Australian Macworld. Over that time I’ve come to appreciate the many advantages of the Mac and – despite my initial reluctance – the iPhone. I’ve watched as the iPhone grew from being a curious gadget for the technology-obsessed into a cultural icon that is selling in the tens of millions and has totally reshaped the smartphone and mobile-phone industry. It continues to set the high-water mark for the rest of the industry, but its position is not unassailable.

I’ve seen Apple consolidate its position in the PC industry, releasing ever-sexier iMacs and MacBooks that have earned grudging respect even in corporate circles. I’ve watched the release of Leopard, and then Snow Leopard, with interest as Apple filed down the rough edges of its previous versions and introduced game-changing new technologies under the hood.

I’ve watched Apple wrestle with the uncertainty caused by the health problems of a CEO whose very existence is fundamental to the image and success of the company. I’ve also watched Apple wrestle with efforts to loosen its iron grip on its product ecosystem, staring down challengers including jailbreakers, Palm, and Psystar – and coming out on top. And I’ve watched once-innovative products like the Apple TV be quickly surpassed, then left in the dust, of a consumer-electronics industry where innovation has truly become the lifeblood of success.

I have not, however, yet watched a movie on an iPad, or watched myself on the screen of a videoconferencing-enable iPhone, or watched Apple commit the once-unthinkable strategic move of embracing Microsoft’s Bing search engine on its mobile products. These things will all come later this year, I predict, and from a different situation, as today is my last day as Online Editor for AMW.

The site will lie fallow from Monday, until my replacement is onboard. He or she will bring their own perspective – and, perhaps, a little less Apple-bashing, although I remain a firm believer in keeping even the most-adored companies honest – and guide you all through what is set to be a major overhaul of AMW’s online strategy.

Like you, I wait with anticipation to see how the new AMW emerges – and how it will fare in an online environment where competition for exclusives, and eyeballs, is fiercer than ever. Until then, thank you for your readership, your support, your advice, your arguments, and your passion. Because, the merits Garageband aside, the one thing I have learned about Mac users is that they are driven by passion for their chosen platform. And passion, in all its forms, is inherently a good thing.

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