Why is Apple focusing on content consumers, not content creators?

Apple used to be about creation. Its most recognizable symbol, the Apple with a bite of it, conjures up stories of innovation, tales of great knowledge and passion for producing content for the world to share. Apple’s were the tools the more talented of us used to create a new kind of art and a new way of interacting with machines. The products were made by and for elitists who were never really exclusive, just misunderstood.

Even Apple’s flagship products were geared toward the high-achieving, content creator. Beautiful tower computers promised nearly immeasurable power, as the PowerPC line never really advertised itself as the fastest, only the best. Even their laptops promised professional power in mobile form. Most Mac users thought that Apple was a high-end-hardware only kind of company and bought in completely. The more average content consumer still though of Apple as out of reach, except for audiophiles.

But then the winds changed. The massive success of the cross-platform iPod – the first versions were either Apple or PC formatted, never universal – must have shown Apple’s leaders, okay Steve Jobs, that their existing market was no longer enough for them. The Apple faithful, those who had stuck with the company either through Jobs’s absence or at least since his return, while extremely loyal and predictable, weren’t numerous enough. Although they were the new blue collar class, each one a content creator but seemingly always part of a team, they were a smaller market than the content consumer. More was necessary to satiate a seemingly new goal of Apple to rule the world, not just the Mac.

This wasn’t a sudden decision. The earliest version of OS X, based heavily on UNIX and NeXT, was built universally. Jobs and Apple had already hedged their bet just a bit, but no one outside knew that yet. Apple’s decision to jettison the PowerPC platform was certainly met with opposition, but Intel’s chip line proved up to the task. This race for processor speed was soon won, but then came the size wars. Now even laptops had dual-core chips, and top Power Macs had 12-core systems.

Yet these same computers don’t support the TRIM command for state-of-the-art flash drives. They don’t yet support USB 3.0, we’re still only at FireWire 800 and the graphics cards, while powerful, always seem a step or two below what most PCs have options for. It’s not much of a disadvantage, but it’s a slight one. Even as many claims say that the best computer for Windows XP is a MacBook Pro, I can’t help but think a Mac should be leaps ahead.

Perhaps we Mac elitists have just lost our minds or woven our entire identity into what we create. Maybe this obsession with chip speed and size has affected the way we view our Macs, and we forget that Apple is more than Mac. Now instead of never looking at the top hardware because nothing would work with our PowerPC systems anyway, maybe now we are directly comparing our machines to PC setups.

I refuse to believe that. I think we Mac users are right. I think we are correct in feeling slighted. I wish that Apple would bring the Mac back to the forefront of their business so the faithful can once again experience why we still refuse to consider anything else.