I am officially tired of writing about Apple but I couldn't let this one go. This week Steve Jobs announced a few things that will be new to the Apple universe and the Interwebz have gone nuts. First, the new MacBook Air (the netbook that Steve Jobs said was too expensive and a useless piece of technology a little while back) will not come with a Mac OSX restore DVD. Instead it will come with a flash drive containing the restore software.
That was not the biggest deal, however. The one that the blogs have been all a-Twitter about was the Mac App Store. Now you will be able to download software titles to your Mac the same way you do to your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Completing the package will be automatic updates. Somehow this has all been considered revolutionary by the Apple-loving tech media and I can't quite figure out why.
To hear why I am confused, hit the break.
Let's run through these announcements and I will explain my confusion. First, another MacBook Air? Really? Wasn't the first one bad enough? Too expensive and too underpowered. But, leaving that aside, why is the inclusion of a flash drive backup impressive? I have a flash drive backup for each of my computers. In fact, I have used flash drives as backups for years now. PCs have been able to boot to USB and access all essential hardware since, say, early Windows XP and that is when PC users started abandoning DVDs and CDs for flash.
Second, the Mac App Store is nothing new. It's Steam, or Direct2Drive or the Microsoft Store. Digitally distributed software is nothing new. In fact, I dare you to try and buy a REAL software title on a disc. Even CompUSA, who has the word Comp in their name, doesn't sell software anymore. They know people get their software online now. No need to waste your time going to a store to buy it. What bothers me the most is the way the tech media has been treating these announcements as if they're some big paradigm shift for the industry instead of just a niche company finally catching up with the times. Tech Crunch who, up until their recent buyout by AOL, has always been truly objective had this to say,
Up until now, the vast majority of software (at least the legal variety) has been distributed by way of CD or DVD. The Mac App Store could very well change that. Every app found on that store, undoubtedly including the big ones we all know and love and use on our computers today, will be distributed over the Internet. This is long overdue.
Had this article been written in late 2002 I could have gotten behind all of those statements but it just isn't true anymore and hasn't been for a long time. Granted, this is a new way of doing business for Apple who, up until now had no real software to speak of on their platform, but it isn't something that is going to change the industry or the way business is done for regular computer users. Again, this is just a niche computer company finally joining the modern times.
What do you think? Has Apple actually innovated something here or is Jobs making an old technology look new by making it white and shiny? Let us know in the comments section.