Medium: "The Inside Story of Apple’s New iMacs" or: "Why Apple is Still Sweating the Details on iMac"

An exclusive interview with some of Apple's product engineers from Steven Levy of Medium:

Schiller, in fact, has a grand philosophical theory of the Apple product line that puts all products on a continuum. Ideally, you should be using the smallest possible gadget to do as much as possible before going to the next largest gizmo in line.

This is a massive statement. I don't think i've ever seen Apple describe their approach to their product lineup so succinctly before. This is why Apple has never seemed scared of canabilisation within their range of products. They aren't scared of it, because it's what they aim for.

“They are all computers,” he says. “Each one is offering computers something unique and each is made with a simple form that is pretty eternal. The job of the watch is to do more and more things on your wrist so that you don’t need to pick up your phone as often. The job of the phone is to do more and more things such that maybe you don’t need your iPad, and it should be always trying and striving to do that. The job of the iPad should be to be so powerful and capable that you never need a notebook. Like, Why do I need a notebook? I can add a keyboard! I can do all these things! The job of the notebook is to make it so you never need a desktop, right? It’s been doing this for a decade. So that leaves the poor desktop at the end of the line, What’s its job? Its job is to challenge what we think a computer can do and do things that no computer has ever done before, be more and more powerful and capable so that we need a desktop because of its capabilities,” says Schiller. “Because if all it’s doing is competing with the notebook and being thinner and lighter, then it doesn’t need to be.”

The first Mac I ever used was a desktop. I remember sitting in front of my Dad's black Power Macintosh 5500, typing up assignments for school, and waiting hours for Star Wars fan films to load over a dial-up modem, only to have to start all over again when Mum needed to make a phone call. As someone who has moved from using a desktop to a laptop as my primary computing platform, I can definitely follow Schiller's narrative of the smallest possible gadget.

But it makes me ponder: why I did make the move from a desktop to a laptop? Because I knew I could. Somewhere along the line, I became convinced that a MacBook Pro would do everything I needed to do.

It's the hidden half of Schiller's philosophy that I think is the most intriguing: the convincing. Tim Cook's Apple is definitely more willing to share about it's process than Steve Job's, and I hope over the next few years we learn more about Apple's marketing department; the people that teach millions of people about using the smallest possible gadget.


PS. I prefer Medium's original title to this piece, so decided to include it in my post title. 'Why Apple is Still Sweating the Details on iMac' highlights the way Apple is bucking the trend of branding the desktop antiquated and in a fast-paced, mobile-focused industry. "Nobody puts iMac in a corner" also could of worked nicely.

Jack Alexander