Federighi Mac

Marking the 30th anniversary since Apple gave us the Mac, Macworld spoke with Apple’s Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and Bud Tribble to discuss the Mac in an era dominated by the iPhone and iPad.

The execs looked back at the Mac’s impact on the PC market and its historical significance for the company, and while they acknowledged the success of iOS, insisted the Mac has a permanent place in the hardware lineup. Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, even dared to promise the Mac is forever:

“There’s a role for the Mac as far as our eye can see. A role in conjunction with smartphones and tablets, that allows you to make the choice of what you want to use. Our view is, the Mac keeps going forever, because the differences it brings are really valuable.”

Federighi, who leads Apple’s software platforms including both OS X and iOS, discussed the importance of keeping the platforms separate:

“The reason OS X has a different interface than iOS isn’t because one came after the other or because this one’s old and this one’s new,” Federighi said. Instead, it’s because using a mouse and keyboard just isn’t the same as tapping with your finger. “This device,” Federighi said, pointing at a MacBook Air screen, “has been honed over 30 years to be optimal” for keyboards and mice.

Federighi went on to dispel any hopes for a touchscreen-based MacBook or iMac in the near future:

“It’s obvious and easy enough to slap a touchscreen on a piece of hardware, but is that a good experience?” Federighi said. “We believe, no.”

And Schiller emphasized the necessity for tablets, smartphones, and yes, Macs, coexisting (not to mention iCloud’s role in the big picture):

“It’s not an either/or,” Schiller said. “It’s a world where you’re going to have a phone, a tablet, a computer, you don’t have to choose. And so what’s more important is how you seamlessly move between them all … it’s not like this is a laptop person and that’s a tablet person. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

Discussing just how different or similar OS X and iOS should be, Federighi described his approach to balancing unification and distinction:

“You don’t want to say the Mac became less good at being a Mac because someone tried to turn it into iOS. At the same time, you don’t want to feel like iOS was designed by [one] company and Mac was designed by [a different] company, and they’re different for reasons of lack of common vision. We have a common sense of aesthetics, a common set of principles that drive us, and we’re building the best products we can for their unique purposes. So you’ll see them be the same where that makes sense, and you’ll see them be different in those things that are critical to their essence.”

Tribble, a VP of Software Technology who served on the original Mac project, described a presence of common principals behind the first Mac and today’s products while Schiller cited the success of the iPhone and iPad as empowering Apple to take the Mac even further.

When Schiller, Federighi, and Tribble talk about the Mac, they’re referring to an important part of Apple’s strategy. In fact, as Schiller pointed out, in some ways the success of the iPhone and iPad takes some of the pressure off and “gives us the freedom to go even further on the Mac.”

Read the full interview at Macworld.

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8 Responses to “Apple execs discuss 30 years of the Mac, the Surface-style touchscreen approach, and the coexistence of OS X & iOS”

  1. Tallest Skil says:

    >>Instead, it’s because using a mouse and keyboard just isn’t the same as tapping with your finger.

    >>“It’s obvious and easy enough to slap a touchscreen on a piece of hardware, but is that a good experience?” Federighi said. “We believe, no.”

    HOLY CRAP WHAT A CONCEPT. Why is it so difficult for some Apple users to comprehend this? Federighi is freaking awesome.


    • Because panicking is easier…

      Seriously though, I wouldn’t mind a bridge device that when docked acted like a Mac, and when removed from the dock switched into an iOS device. As an idea the device when docked becomes the giant trackpad/command centre for a Mac that has bigger storage, bigger screen, keyboard, and access to peripherals, but when picked up it has all your documents and apps but now in an iOS design.

      Light, touchable, and portable when held, powerful and configurable when docked.

      I realize it’s a bit of a pipe dream.

      Also I’d like to see iCloud do a local pull of documents, as well as keeping the most up-to-date version in the cloud (similar to what dropbox does). If the iPad, iPhone, and Mac are all on the same network, pull the file from the originating device instead of pulling it down from the cloud for each one. (I make some pretty big Keynote files and it can be slow on updating my MacBook, iPad, and iPhone when I’m at work.)


      • in theory one could have different images for both purposes…. would I want to sacrifice disk space to be able to do that? Also have a sleeping A7 chip waiting for the switching? The Intel and the A7 have different instruction sets. There is a reason why the woshuretto doesn’t wipe and I don’t think is the cost of it… perhaps usability. You can blow water and wind in your arse but why would one say “the toilet does not wipe in the end and by now with all the technology out there, I expect it to”? to me, MS came with the wiping woshuretto in the end… and are having a hard time selling them


    • “Why is it so difficult for some Apple users to comprehend this? …”

      …or even Microsoft for that matter.

      I love the idea of iOS and OS X apps working in sync on both platforms but I don’t ever want a merging of the two operating systems.


  2. J.latham says:

    I get where they’re coming from on this one but I feel like this kind of thinking is what will kill the Mac in the long run. They don’t need to run the same software ala Windows 8, but they should have the same design language. Icons should be the same for things like share. Personally, things like the menu bar should be dissolved into the Toolbar like iCloud.com. They shouldn’t cease to exist or be watered down to act like an iPad but the visual difference between the two should be much less than it is now.
    Yet again not ridding the device of power functions but smoothing the transition better.


  3. I am so glad to read these statements. It’s nice to hear execs who understand the tablet’s relationship to the laptop and desktop computers. This reaffirms my decision last year to switch from Windows to Mac.


  4. History could have been different had original Mac OS based on Unix at its core, but they choose to adopt Lisa OS, which was partly xerox stuff. NeXT OS changed the game all together. All the best to Mac.


  5. bIg HilL says:

    Long live the Mac. At some point in the future, when brain tumours and related cancerous tumours resulting form so-called handheld devices proliferate and their cause is publicly accepted as the microwave radio technology in those devices, and people start dropping them like flies – including iPhones, etc. – at least we will be safe with our Macs. :D