Jackass of the Week: Christopher Mims

Glenn Fleishman on Christopher Mims’s asinine “Why Apple Should Kill Off the Mac” column for the WSJ:

And it’s why it has its own computer platform: 100 percent of software development for the iPhone, iPad, and Watch (and Mac apps) occurs on Macs. There’s no other way to assemble software for those devices. Even with the highest-end Mac hardware currently available, developers strain against the amount of time it can take to compile and test builds, whether in Mac-based emulators or when cross-loaded onto a developers’ test devices.

The Mac, at some level, is a highly profitable developer-platform division that happens to also serve consumers and businesses.

Mims’s whole argument is nonsensical, but the heart of what makes it so dumb is what Glenn alludes to above. If Apple “killed off” the Mac, what would Apple’s own employees use? PCs running Windows? That’s not going to happen. Beefed up iPads that enable all the power and complexity of the Mac? That’s a terrible idea.

From a column I wrote for Macworld all the way back in December 2010:

The existence and continuing growth of the Mac allows iOS to get away with doing less. The central conceit of the iPad is that it’s a portable computer that does less — and because it does less, what it does do, it does better, more simply, and more elegantly. Apple can only begin phasing out the Mac if and when iOS expands to allow us to do everything we can do on the Mac. It’s the heaviness of the Mac that allows iOS to remain light.

When I say that iOS has no baggage, that’s not because there is no baggage. It’s because the Mac is there to carry it. Long term — say, ten years out — well, all good things must come to an end. But in the short term, Mac OS X has an essential role in an iOS world: serving as the platform for complex, resource-intensive tasks.

Five years later, it sure doesn’t look to me like the Mac is anywhere near running out of baggage to carry. The end of the Mac is not in sight.

Monday, 15 June 2015