The Mac is no longer at the heart of Apple

Anthony Caruana
9 October, 2017
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Back when I first started contributing to Macworld Australia (it was called Australian Macworld back then), during Matthew JC Powell’s tenure as editor, we ran a section in the middle of the magazine called ‘The Hub’. Long-time readers may remember it. It was an eight-page section that covered four areas: music, movies, photos and mobility. I wrote the mobility column for a couple of years before a redesign of the magazine led to that section being removed, replaced with more reviews and other content.

The reason we had ‘The Hub’ was because it made sense. All our photos (managed with iPhoto), home movies (ingested to the Mac over FireWire and edited with iMovie) and music (deftly handled by iTunes) were stored on our Macs. Even our mobile phones (like my old Palm Treo and its predecessor in my pocket, the Ericsson t61) were managed by connecting them to my Mac over USB.

But time has marched forth and we are in a new era.

The Mac is no longer the heart of the Apple experience. The beating heart of the Apple experience is now in iCloud.

Every new service Apple releases hooks into iCloud somehow. Every app it releases hooks into iCloud. There’s a programming interface so the apps you buy for your Mac and iOS devices can share data over – you guessed it – iCloud.

I suspect most people could see this coming, but the recent move to remove the App Store and the associated app management functions from iCloud brought this home for many people and took many by surprise. The reaction from a lot of people has been very negative. I agree with the many readers of this newsletter, website and magazine that Apple is designing its user experience with users in mind who have access to fast, reliable internet wherever they are and whenever they want.

I am fortunate. I have a fast internet connection in my home office and have the means to access cellular data when I am away. That doesn’t come cheaply, but it means I’m connected on my iPhone and iPad wherever I travel in the world. But not everyone has access to that. Many people I know are lucky to have a home internet connection that exceeds 5Mbps over ADSL.

It’s unfortunate but if you want to stay within the Apple fold, iCloud is fast become the new hub. In the long term, that’s probably not a bad thing as it means your data, apps and services will follow you around and be device independent. But until ubiquitous, fast, reliable and affordable internet connectivity is available to everyone, there will be some people who simply are unable to keep up with Apple in the new world.

One Comment

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  1. Graeme says:

    Unfortunately, as you have pointed out, many of us do NOT have a fast internet connection, and in Aus there is nothing we can do about that.
    Apple is increasingly insistent that their vision (based on an isolationist American perception) is the correct one,and any other can go jump. Not patching the previous OS to fix a basic security flaw that doesn’t force you into a cloud-centric situation is just criminal.
    Not Happy Jan.
    This insistence on only one way to sync IS a bad thing, IMHO. Why not let the gentle way remain?

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