As he was wrapping up his Macworld 2007 keynote--you know, the one with the iPhone--Steve Jobs quoted Wayne Gretzky, comparing his playing philosophy to Apple's: "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been." It was a testament to Apple's innovation, its ability to see three steps ahead of its competitors.
The Mac. The iMac. OS X. The iPod. The iPhone. The iPad.
Critics like to point to this track record as proof that Apple is no longer innovating, no longer skating to where the puck is headed. There's a certain perverse logic this line of thinking: if tens of millions of people will rush out to buy a new iPhone just because it has a better camera or a fingerprint sensor, then Apple could conceivably rest on its laurels, failing to realizing the tide is turning before it's too late.
The iPad just doesn't feel like an iOS device anymore.
There was a time when it did — mostly during those few weeks in 2010 when pixel-doubled iPhone apps still outnumbered their native counterparts — but these days it feels far closer to a Mac than an iPhone. There are some things I still need my MacBook for, but more often than not I'm reaching for my iPad when there's work to be done.
But while the apps I use for writing and researching are rich and powerful, the system they run on is seeming more and more like an enlarged version of something built for a phone. And iOS 7 hasn't helped.
Mavericks is nearly upon us — the developer version was updated to the telltale Golden Master late last week — and soon we'll all be able to download the first non-feline release of OS X. But if you're looking for an iOS 7-style redesign, Mavericks might be a bit of a letdown. While there are some fantastic features — Finder tabs, Power Nap, and iCloud Keychain are worth the price of admission alone — Mavericks doesn't really push OS X in any new directions. But there are definitely changes in store, and it might come sooner than you think.
A few days after its public release, Miley Cyrus summed it all up with a terse tweet to her 14 million followers: I hate the iPhone update. Now, she could be talking about the lack of a natural language engine in Calendar or the less-defined back buttons, but I have to assume her complaints are mainly related to the new color palette Jony Ive used to paint the icons.
We may never know what the "C" actually stands for. There are any number of words that fit the description of the newest member of the iPhone line — the most obvious being "colorful," as used in its tagline — but Apple has been somewhat coy about its true meaning.
I have my own theory. I don't think the "C" stands for any of the words that have been bandied about. I think it's more abstract than an simple adjective, a word or words that speak to the iPhone 5c's importance and what it represents to Apple, something far more personal to its namers than appearance or price.
There may have been a handful of people still holding out hope that Apple was going to shock the world with an all-new iPhone 6, but for the vast majority of us, the 5s is exactly what we expected. As much as we'd like to see a redesigned iPhone every 12 months, it's an unrealistic timetable for a company that pays such tremendous attention to every detail.
No matter how great its fingerprint sensor is or how elegant the new gold color looks when the iPhone 5S is unveiled next week, there's going to be an inevitable sense of disappointment when the lights come back on after Tim Cook's wrap-up.
But it won't be because the iPhone 5S is underwhelming or the iPhone 5C is too expensive. It'll be because we know too much.
Believe it or not, there isn't all that much that separates iOS and Android.
For all the vociferous fighting between the two camps, they all essentially use their devices to do the same basic things that Steve Jobs touted when he unveiled the iPhone in 2007: web, email, entertainment. There's an elegance and fluidity to iOS that Android can't match, and Apple users will never enjoy the level of customization that Samsung and HTC handsets can provide, but for the most part, they're really very similar.
Or they would be, if it weren't for all those apps.
Something tells me Larry Ellison didn't rush out to see "Jobs" this weekend. But maybe he should have.
Last week, the Oracle CEO praised his longtime friend in a candid interview with Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning," and painted a dreary picture of Apple in the process.
"They will not be nearly so successful because he's gone. He was brilliant. I mean, our Edison. He was our Picasso. He was an incredible inventor. ... We saw Apple with Steve Jobs (raises a finger high into the air). We saw Apple without Steve Jobs (lowers the finger). We saw Apple with Steve Jobs (raises his finger again). Now, we're gonna see Apple without Steve Jobs (holds the finger in the air for a moment before dropping it again)."
It may be true that Apple flourished when Steve Jobs came back and floundered during the decade he was gone, but to say Apple won't survive without him is to trivialize his impact on the design, direction and dogma of the company he founded.
I figure it started around the time I first laid eyes on the Nexus 4. For hours, I would gaze at its screen and pore over its tech specs, trying to convince myself that I needed a second phone. I similarly lusted over the Google Play editions of the HTC One and (to a somewhat lesser extent) Samsung Galaxy S4, but the financial commitment was always enough to scare me off.
But when Google took the wraps off its new Nexus 7 a few weeks back, I finally pulled the trigger. Running a brand-new version of Jelly Bean and packing 323 pixels per inch, the Asus-built tablet seemed like my perfect match. I ordered one as soon as it was available, and I could hardly wait for it to arrive.