21st century Macintosh

People are throwing tantrums to Apple’s new lineup of iPhones. They copied Nokia, the new case is meant for grating cucumbers, gold was for the China market, and the biggest of all, zero surprise.

Instead of crying out for “innovations,” we can take a reality check. Do we really need a completely new device? Enough of “What’s missing.” The collection of frustrated voices are akin to 4-year olds crying that this year’s Christmas presents weren’t more surprising than last year.

Apple does one thing that no other company does. They make sure everything they do simply works, from day one. Even when Steve Jobs were releasing revolutionary products year after year, those devices, software or hardware, just worked from day one. When that unspoken rule was broken (a new version of Map application was completely useless), it ended up (indirectly) to an executive, rumored to be the next CEO, gone.

The iPhone just works on every aspect. Even the most disgruntled reviewers admit that point. In fact, the reason they can complain is because they feel completely safe in doing so. They know that no matter how seriously they bad-mouth Apple, the company will remain solid. It is another gesture of dependency.

For me, the “nothing new” complain is a seal of approval. It means that everything now works for us, not the other way around. It means that technology is blending into our life and we can just take it for granted. “Nothing new” complaint is probably one of the biggest compliments a company can receive.

Personally, I believe Apple does not need to pay any more effort than they are paying toward iPhone at this moment. Why tweak things that are already working? We have already seen another tech giant falling from the summit into abyss for doing so (Windows Vista).

Apple does not need a new product or source of revenue: they have enough cash and sales to sustain themselves for the next ten years. It does not need to listen to our whining either: instead of listening to what we said, they paid attention to what we did, and that was one difference which separated them from the rest.

Nevertheless, the collected frustration of us users is real, and I don’t think it is about any product. Rather, it is about a category: a category that doesn’t exist yet. What they truly need to do is to create a new category, a whole new world we, or even they, have never imagined. They need it—or should I say owe it—to give hope for the loyal and hard-working employees and Mac cult members around the globe who honestly believe in changing the world into a better place.

When iPad came into life, everybody (including myself) laughed and was convinced that Jobs’ cancer had reached his brain. Now I carry my iPad mini everywhere. We are looking for that, maybe. But I also feel that the challenge is bigger than the Jobs era, because we don’t need more “products,” so to say.

Our life has already been fragmented—I don’t think we need “more” products to fill our niched. But we do need something that changes our life for the better. Our frustration that the current world we live in isn’t providing us with what we need is just growing, despite the onslaught of smaller chips and higher resolutions and longer batteries. We want change, not more.

I know, it might be going beyond Apple’s range. But if they stay true to their mantra, change the world for better, then they must be struggling with this collected frustration toward the world we live in: What Now? I believe they also want to create the 21st century’s Macintosh effect, not smaller and thinner on a linear scale. We want something that liberates us, not a shiny gadget that confines un in its tiny enclosure.

I guess I am still hoping for that magical solution.