Monday, April 16, 2012

Hating to be Right

Well, the third major bit of malware in just a few weeks has turned up for Macs, and I'm philosophical about it.  It wasn't that it was necessarily hubristic of Apple to use the lack of viruses and virus-like things on the Mac to sell them, but in typical Apple fashion, the selling went beyond the obvious point and tried to make some universal, unchanging truth out about it.  "Mac's don't get viruses, and never will!", went the ad.  Okay.  I didn't believe it then, and kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, presumably brought by the chickens when they came home to roost.

Oh, and the 'obvious point' being that the primary reason Windows machines were targeted while Macs weren't was that Macs only represented about 5% of the worldwide market at the time, and Microsoft was the big evil giant.  Now, even though Mac hasn't really gained much PC market share, Apple has become such a dominant tech leader and done enough of the other kind of stuff that pisses off hackers that we are a target.  Yay?

It's certain to drop off as Apple moves away from making computers to being a manufacturer of consumer mobile devices and similar things.  It's not a big surprise - they've created the market so they could dominate it, and it will be the close of a long game they were playing, starting with their release of iTunes in January of 2001.  In many ways, Apple was leveraging their hardcore supporters to bring in new ones, but what's the point of a business if it can't grow?  I'm largely unmoved by the as-yet realized potential of their iPhone/iPad things, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the complete brilliance of the decade-long set-up and pitch salesmanship that Jobs and Co. ran.  It's not the long con, since they delivered the future they promised.

Presumably the endgame features something close to a completely curated web experience, one that minimizes time spent outside of services and entertainment provided by the App Store and iTunes and iBooks and whatever else there is.  I think that's the part of the plan that won't really ever be realized, especially with Jobs out of the picture, and it also means that the mobile devices will be prime targets for hackers.

Sure, they'll still keep making computers, but their market will be focused on the core users that kept them going all those years, high-end creative professionals.  I actually maintain hope that they'll start breaking the iPads out into class, much like their current computers, with a consumer-friendly model and a maxed-out professional version.  An iPad will only be of use to me if I can create on it with the same tools and same ease as the current five-year-old laptop I'm writing this on, but I suspect it's going to be awhile.

In the meantime, I'll play malware dodge'em, and try not to click 'okay' on weird popups.


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