Long post ahead, looking forward to constructive discussion and thoughts on the matter for those willing to read/discuss:
So a quick background: I've been an Apple user my whole life. I was (un)lucky enough that my parents were using Macs and knew very little about PCs, so my first computer was, shockingly, a Mac. This one
. Honestly, I hated it. I had this cool GUI (zero appreciation at the time, as all my friends were basically hackers firing them DOS commands for just about everything) and a small boxy all-in-one with but a few wires sticking out, but I never got to play any games, or share files with my friends who had PCs (99% of them). Nobody wanted to work on school projects with the weird kid who has that blue, translucent, computer which has Word and PowerPoint, but if he touches anything, the document's all messed up.
After the Classic 2, Performa, OG iMac (Bondi Blue) and a few more colorways (Dalmatian Blue and Graphite), by the time I moved on to G4 iMac lamp and, later, PowerBook G4 I started to fully appreciate the Apple life. My iPod was just out of this world, OS X was stable and fast, I was finally able to share PowerPoint files with my classmates without each apostrophe turning into a funny glyph, and Macromedia FreeHand was just blazingly fast. Then came the first iPhone which was nothing short of a revolution, but with the 3G things started to slow down a little and I switched to Android. Fast forward 10 years, I am back on the iPhone, and I feel it's gotten really stale. The UI isn't really optimized for big screens (reachability doesn't count as UX but a patch at best), some things that were bothering me a decade ago are still present to this date, and what is up with sticking with that app grid? Let it go. In contrast, Android has completely transformed in most of its iterations, taking giant leaps ahead.
As you probably figured it out from above, I never worked for more than I had to on a PC. I was even in a position to demand from my current employer (very PC-centric multinational corporation, VPNs, firewalls and all that) to make a Mac work in this environment, and after a lot of headaches IT department had to endure, they made it.
A few weeks ago, however, I had my MBP serviced, and as we don't have other Macs in the company, I was given a top spec Microsoft Surface Laptop, pen, that funny mouse and all, as a replacement. The repair lasted longer than 2-4 days initially promised by the Genius Bar, so I got to really use it. And I liked it. More than I care to admit. Not just a certain aspect, but the whole experience. The hardware is on par with Macs (not sure about that alcantara after a couple of months of use, though), mouse is just as uncomfortable as the Magic Mouse, but at least it folds, precision touchpad is just short of that on MacBooks, and Windows 10 is for the most part stable, fast, and intuitive. There are still some legacy parts that jump out when you least expect them to, but this is a whole new world compared to some previous versions I encountered.
Where am I going with all this? As a life-long Apple user (not a fanboy, though), I really like(d) it, not just for the funky logo (which doesn't even glow anymore), but for everything it represented - innovation, ease of use, simplicity, productivity, ingenuity. I feel that Apple today is more a status symbol than it ever was before; you just aren't perceived as creative or cool if you aren't using a MacBook or an iPhone, plus, it goes upwards of $2,000 or $1,000 respectively, so you're obviously doing well enough (or not eating enough) to be able to afford one. Everything Apple used to really stand for has kind of faded away in the chase for that $1bn turnover mark, similar to how Steve Jobs
described it 13 years ago. Siri is barely as smart as my dog (in Siri's defense, Boris is a very smart doggo), hardware is no longer ahead of the curve, and software can't be considered as cutting edge either. So, where does this all leave Apple? You have smaller companies like Razer and OnePlus pushing innovation in hardware and software, tech superpowers like Google and Amazon making AI and machine learning transcending hardware limitations in ways previously never thought possible, even old mastodons such as Microsoft are embracing their past failures and trailblazing the new wave of boldness and innovation in software and hardware. Does Apple even stand a chance in the long run without a visionary leader? We've seen it happen virtually everywhere, from automotive to fashion; disruptive shifts where these seemingly untouchable leaders were left fighting for existence.
I don't want to give up on my trusty 2015 MBP or Macs in general. I am not sold on the new keyboard-failing-overheating one, though. Not sure I'm sold on the iPhone either; other than being a wonderfully machined slab of metal and glass, I find it less practical and usable than a comparable Android in most situations. My biggest fear, however, is the sheer focus on profitability, which seems to be eating away innovation and resourcefulness that brought almost 900k of us on this sub. The same boldness that said fuck floppy discs and PS connectors, all you need is USB and CD drives. The same innovation that redefined touchscreen smartphones making them the way they are today. The same OCD that went to extreme lengths bending laws of physics to make sure every piece of metal was meticulously welded, and every cut symmetrical. Is that Apple gone for good, and, if so, will this new one survive the next ten years? What are your thoughts?
EDIT: Missing link