A Macintosh tragedy, or why it's time to leave the fold
I’m just about to refresh my computer gear, and my wife’s. And I think it’ll be from Lenovo.
I’ve been a Mac Man since 1985 and the beautiful 512K. (Pedantically, I was only a tiny Mac Boy back then.) I’ve since owned a Plus, a II, a IIcx, an SE/30, a Centris 610, a Powerbook 520, a Power Macintosh 8600, two PowerBook G4s and a MacBook Pro. I grew up with Apple gear guiding me.
I read the first edition of Inside Macintosh. I learned 68K assembly language and the art of beautiful Mac programming on my Plus. I learned C on my IIcx. My Macs gave me typography, desktop publishing and digital art. They helped me craft two theses. I even lost my virginity with one of these things on the table beside me. (I won’t say which.) I’m a freaking Mac tragic.
So why am I going to buy a ThinkPad and leave Apple behind?
I believe the Apple I love is gone. The Apple I love made computers that were neat, quirky and different from the lockstep competition. It bundled tight, amazing and inspirational software like HyperCard with its computers and threw in lovely spiral-bound manuals telling me how to use it. The Apple I love fired on all cylinders between 1984 and 1992: the Plus, the SE/30, the IIfx, the Quadra 900. In each of these computers, I sensed the *love* the engineers put into them. The attention to detail. (They even used to sign the inside of the cases.) I don’t sense that anymore.
Apple makes Intel PCs now. They’re nice. But they’re PCs. And they’re a sideshow to the main game: iOS devices.
In a way, the company now making billions is the Stepford Apple. It’s cold, hard and clinically perfect, utterly bereft of warmth and love. I used to feel like I was communicating with the designers when I used Apple gear. Figuring out a new aspect of the system was like receiving a secret message, one nerd to another. That’s gone. I get more of that sense from *Microsoft* of all companies; the team designing PowerShell, for instance, crafts that product with passion.
In short, I’ve passed through heartbreak and am left with emptiness. I see my next choice as being between PCs, except one of them can run Mac OS X. I know a ThinkPad won’t give me what I used to have, but so far I like Windows 8 and its functional minimalism, and ThinkPads are built for Windows and seem pretty nice. I can’t think of a compelling reason to stay with the hard simulacrum of my former beloved.
So I submit to you, Apple fans of the Verge, an entreaty to convince me to stay in the fold. If you still feel the love, can you tell me how or where I might find it again? Because truly leaving Apple behind seems altogether too final: I can only foresee the door cemented closed behind me.