Many cool things appeared at Apple’s most recent product unveiling: new iPads, Mac Pro, OS X Mavericks and more.
But then a number of things disappeared as well — like a long list of features in the iWork apps.
Depending on one’s willingness to drink the juice, reactions ranged from mild annoyance to utter disbelief. It was either an unavoidable step toward a better future or an unforgivable slap in the face.
But — if you squint your eyes a bit, you’ll actually see this development as one more reason to feel good about Apple.
Good grief Ken. Could you possibly be more of an apologist fanboy?
I knew you’d say that. Especially since I myself couldn’t resist grousing about the missing features in Pages just a couple of weeks ago.
This is actually a story about guts — something that Steve Jobs had in abundance. When Steve saw ultimate benefit to Apple’s customers, he had no problem moving to a new place. Even if it meant blowing up the old place.
Witness the moves to Intel processors and Mac OS X — both of which caused inconvenience on a far greater scale than what just happened to iWork users.
Sorry, you’re not talking your way out of this one.
One more minute, please. Then you can pummel me further.
For most companies, “safe” is the preferred route. Few would risk present-day customers (and profits) to pursue a future state that exists only in theory. In fact, CEOs lose their jobs over such things, accused of failing in their responsibility to shareholders.
Yet Apple has a rich history of blowing things up — and ultimately proving how smart that is.
This is the company that killed the iPod mini while it was the best-selling model in the iPod family.
It blew up Final Cut Studio when that suite had become the weapon of choice amongst pro video editors — causing large numbers to cry in anguish.
And, as mentioned above, it blew up both its OS and processor platform, forcing massive changes for developers and users alike.
What did Apple learn from all of this destruction? That it’s hard to leap ahead when one foot is mired in the past.
Well, the move to OS X was different. Mac OS was clearly on its last legs.
At some point, all technology is on its last legs. Smart companies don’t wait until the house is declared uninhabitable before they find a nice new place to live.
In fact, Steve Jobs used that very analogy when he talked about the move to OS X.
He described the Mac’s original OS as a house built long ago. It was a good house and it served customers well. But to keep up with the times, Apple was constantly adding rooms and reworking the plumbing and electrical. There were renovations on the renovations, and the house was getting rickety.
OS X was Apple’s way to fix that. It created a brand-new, industrial-strength foundation for the Mac. It would be a great place to live from the start, and it was designed to accommodate additions for decades to come. It was fast, reliable and flexible. And so the decision was made to stop jerry-rigging the old house and move to a gorgeous new one — even though moving is always painful.
Apple is a forward-thinking company. (We know this because the iPhone 5s theme line says so!) It weighs long-term advantage over present-day happiness and acts accordingly.
It’s a fine line, of course. Steve Jobs was always guided by his desire to create the best possible user experience. And being appalled by the newest version of your much-used app is not a good experience. However, Steve could also tell when future gain was worth the present pain.
With the new iWork apps, Tim Cook has pulled a classic Steve move. He’s betting that a brand-new suite of streamlined 64-bit apps, unified across iPhone, iPad and Mac, will create a far happier user experience in the future — no matter what kind of criticism he hears today.
Uh-huh. So how do you live without your “absolutely critical” iWork features, smarty-pants?
I use the old Pages until my missing features re-appear.
I get agitated over poorly designed products, bad ads and B-grade marketing strategies. It’s hard to get mad at a long-term plan with some smart thinking behind it.
When I see the Microsofts and BlackBerrys of the world clinging to old ideas, I better appreciate Apple’s willingness to make the leap.
It takes guts to blow things up. But that’s what innovators do.
I’ve been told that before.
Sorry, but when you work in advertising, you come to appreciate companies who are willing to take a risk. There just aren’t many of them.
That said, please restore my Pages outlining feature as quickly as possible or I’m going to cry. Thanks.