Blog Post

How Apple’s fall event affects my digital strategy for the next 12 months

Every year, it seems the end of Apple’s year, the final impression that it leaves on the tech world, is its fall event. The fall event shows how Apple adapts to changes in its business. It used to be the music Event, where it would show off the new iPods. Seems kind of quaint now, doesn’t it?

“How cute, a whole event dedicated to a single-use device to play your music.”

A few years ago, in addition to the music event, Apple moved its annual iPhone announcement from June to September. The music event became Here are the new iPads, and whatever else Apple feels like announcing. Tim Cook’s expression of thanks for the efforts of Apple’s employees from a stage in October tells me that Apple won’t be releasing major product updates for another 10–12 months.

If I’m going to buy something, I’ll have all the information I need.

A single anchor point

In his Mac OS X Yosemite review, Ars Technica’s John Siracusa mentioned the concept of a single anchor point.

While direct interaction with the file system may still be where usability goes to die, history has shown that all it takes is one good anchor point to make things at least a bit more comprehensible. In the past, this anchor point was usually the desktop—the one place people knew how to reliably find. More recently, Dropbox has filled this role for millions of people.

I’ve talked a good game about my iOS usage, and that is largely still true. I continue to march my digital life towards iOS. It’s not possible for me to go exclusively onto iOS yet, however. To be honest, that day is probably years away. I need a single anchor point; not so much for storage (I’m a heavy cloud user) but as a a digital centerpiece.

Why I still need a non-iOS device

I need a desktop-class operating system for three main reasons: I play World of Warcraft, use my computer as part of my musical life, and I have a large digital media library. But I can do 99 percent of my freelance writing business on iOS.

World of Warcraft is my main leisure activity. I don’t spend all of my free time during the week playing the game, but my gaming probably falls in line with the average person’s TV usage, and I can’t play WoW on a tablet. Well, the Surface 3 would probably run it, but the Surface 3 for me is more laptop than tablet. Plus, I’d need the $1,549 model.

Logic Pro X is is my main recording platform. There are a lot of recording choices for the iPad (I’m a fan of Auria). I like the drummer module in Logic Pro X, and I have a 24″ monitor which makes dealing with multiple tracks easy.

Lastly, I have a 1TB drive sitting on my desk that is solely for storing my ripped media library that I run Plex on. While Dropbox can let me store 1TB of data, there’s no way in hell I’m uploading a terabyte of movies to Dropbox.

So, I still need a Mac.

My changing mobile needs

When I bought my MacBook Pro in 2011 it was absolutely the right choice. I was living a nomadic lifestyle where I would spend half the week in different houses. (Divorces are weird that way.) I needed a laptop for school. iOS wasn’t yet at the point where I could even think about going solo on it.

Fast forward three years, and the picture has changed. My laptop has gone from a constant companion to rarely leaving my desk. Apps like Pages and Byword let me write away from my desk. About a year ago I decided my next Mac would likely not be a laptop. This was driven by my decreased mobile needs and an increased need for USB ports. My audio inputs for recording require a hardwired USB port and I can’t use a hub for them.

How Apple’s announcements affect my buying

If it wasn’t real obvious, Apple Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller spending all of 7 seconds this week on a lukewarm iPad mini update means that Apple considers the iPhone 6 Plus to be the successor to the iPad.

The iPad Air 2 is interesting but my iPad 3 still gets the job done. I will likely upgrade it when an iOS update doesn’t support it. I’m still bullish on extensions radically changing how I use iOS, and I was encouraged to see Pages for iOS now support third party storage services. That said, this year I think there will be a lot of wait and see on how developers actually implement the new APIs. More reason to wait and see what next year brings.

I’m probably going to buy either the $699 Mac mini, or the mid-range iMac. The Mac mini being dual core is a drag, but the chief question will still be: How well does it play WoW? If it plays it decently, I’ll get the mini. If not, I’ll get the iMac. I have a nice monitor already so, I don’t really need the iMac, except for the better video card and the quad core processor.

7 Responses to “How Apple’s fall event affects my digital strategy for the next 12 months”

  1. One OS where’s One OS?
    Apple is creating a 3rd OS, Windows is retrofitting Future OS with legacy, Google has their AdOS split in three (Chrome, Chrome, Android).
    One device? For some a phablet could be it.

    But what the industry is trying to appetize us to, a 4 devices use: Smartwatch for style, Phablet for mobile, Big Tablet for consumption, Laptop for Work, Desktop for Home/Lab.
    Yeah, that’s crap, industry suckerz crap.

    You need no more than: the phone you like and a Notebook for some serious work.

    The interims fuzz about tablets has shown us what’s possible, but unwanted by the industry nearly killed the laptop/desktop. That had to stop, now phablets are there to take back the ask for production tablets, leaving space for cheap and expensive Laptops and desktops, in addition, take away small phones and replace them by smartwatches.

    Yeah strategy. lol.

    Seems One OS is as unwanted as a single mobile productivity computing device.

    Waiting for innovation – not strategic confusion of consumers.

  2. Nicholas Paredes

    The Retina iMac will appear in my home soon. Personally, I’m not getting another laptop, and hope one day to be able to dock an iDevice for real work. The Mini is appealing simply because I can carry it if necessary, but it will come in near $3K with a pro-grade monitor regardless. The iCloud will be my choice until DropBox gets some reassurances that another data loss isn’t possible. Seriously, how was that possible. Even I have backups of backups.

  3. ChromeShine

    The Mac Mini without SSD is a tad slow — I know, as I have one with 8GB RAM, but elected not to go for the SSD model back in 2012. Today, you can get the mid-level one for $899 with SSD, or better yet, go for the top level one and choose the PCIe-SSD. This will increase the performance above that of the mid-level Mac Mini with SSD. The processor will be a little faster as well. If you need more RAM beware that it is soldered in ( yea, that changed ) so get your 16GB if needed. In my case it is not. Average consumer will usually not require more than 8GB RAM. Yosemite may be using a tad bit more RAM, but only a little over 4.75GB .

    The top Mac Mini at $999 with the SSD selected is the star performer and value.