“We’re going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device.”
This sentence is what any respectable geek wasn’t expecting to hear from Steve Jobs in the WWDC. This is the sentence that finally corners Apple completely in the no computer world. Apple is making itself irrelevant in the computer business by insulting its heritage and its history. Apple is now just a gadget company with manufacturing in china not different from any gadget company. Although they have announced amazing growths in the number of Mac sold, the fact is that this sentence points Apple into a future of Macs as terminals of services and not as machines capable of allowing its owner of producing computation according to their needs.
Obviously that what they are selling is very well packaged, is full of chromed bevels and 3D glamour. It has animation, movement, bling! But in the most fundamental basis it is forgetting all that Computer Science is all about. The ability to create exciting algorithms and programs that are able to compute things unimaginable for the time. WWDC as become a consumer show and not a developers conference. Apple announced services for the general public, and worse, it announced APIs for developers. Apple didn’t present any new innovation to help developers compute. The new APIs that developers can use are just services on top of which developers mash up. It’s programming as a service and not as something really intrinsic to computers. That’s why apple is “demoting the PC and the Mac to be just a device”, dumb terminals where users will use endpoints of APIs centrally controlled. For apple, computers are two dangerous if their owners can run things on their own without any central monitoring and control. It is symptomatic that the climax of their Keynote ends with a new data centre and not with “one more thing” for users or developers. That’s their vision of computing: Control.
6 June 2011, a very sad day for computing.