I like John Gruber a lot, but his reactions to the new MacBook Pro have been wildly off the mark.

When Tim says "P-C" you say, "Now also inclu-udes MacBooks"!

From Daring Fireball: Translation From Apple Lingo to English of Tim Cook's Year-Ago 'Why Would You Buy a PC Anymore?' Comment:

People are pointing to this as proof that Tim Cook doesn’t care about the Mac, because he thinks everybody should just switch to an iPad Pro. But here’s the thing, in Apple lingo, the Mac is not a “PC”. A “PC” is a personal computer that runs Windows or Linux or whatever. I’m not splitting hairs here — this is how people inside Apple talk. It’s right there in the opening lines of the years-long “Get a Mac” ad campaign (66 ads!) — “I’m a Mac…”, “… and I’m a PC.”

No, Gruber's just plain wrong. I thought I remembered Cook using "PC" to mean Mac and WinPC, and, after a little Googling, found I was right:

Here it is in context (this is a transcript of Cook talking to Goldman Sachs):

If we had a meeting today in this hotel and we invited everybody that’s working on the coolest PC apps to come to the meeting–you might not find anybody in the meeting! But if you did that same thing for iOS or that other operating system, and said everybody that’s working on this come, you couldn’t get everybody in [this?] hotel. You’d have somebody covering every square inch here. That’s where the innovation [is;?] here. That doesn’t mean the PC is going to die; I love the Mac! And the Mac is still growing, and I think it can still grow.

Sorry, man. Tim Cook uses "PC" to mean "anyone's PC".

I know Jobs didn't. Cook always has. Used to sound incongruous when he did it, but now that Windows is sort of a lesser beast, it makes some sense to stop with the Mac/PC dichotomy. Macs sell like mad [in the limited market which is Cook's PC]. Macs & other PCs makers are equals at worst. Calling them all PC manufacturers allows Apple to be one of the best of the breed.

Slow your horses, DF

Anyhow, just plain wrong on this one. What worries me is that we're skirting fanboy territory in Daring Fireball recently. Gruber is usually pretty measured in his comments about Apple. Don't get me wrong; his aesthetic so closely parallels Apple's that you do have to wonder how much is "his" and how much has been internalized from watching Apple so closely all these years. But wherever the aesthetic comes from (and I think it's predominantly his own), I think John does a great job letting Apple know when they've missed their own mark, so to speak. That's what keeps you from becoming a fanboy.

But here, well, there's a segment of traditional Mac users that weren't served by the light at the end of the MacBook Pro upgrade tunnel. After waiting years to buy a new Mac, we get overpriced, underpowered, underspecced boxes. I tried to explain why we're disappointed, using expectations set by Steve Jobs. These aren't the trucks we were looking for.

And it's not because the only way to deliver was to make ugly boxes. That is, "nice" vs "well spec'd" isn't a zero sum game, which is nearly what Gruber argued yesterday when stumbling over a comparison of MBPs to System76 Linux laptops:

(I will add that the Oryx is ugly as sin, and doesn’t have a retina-resolution display. Here I am slamming it.)

But the price you pay for the MacBook Pro isn’t about the sum of the components. It’s about getting them into that sleek, lightweight form factor, too. In a word, Apple is optimizing the MacBook lineup for niceness. That’s frustrating — in some cases, downright angering — for people who want a notebook optimized for performance.

Perfect rebuttal? Look to this post, quoted on Michael Tsai's excellent roundup, New MacBook Pros and the State of the Mac:*

David Owens II:

To me, Thursday’s event signaled one thing for me, and maybe I’m completely wrong, but the Mac is officially over.


Apple, the MacBook Pro is not a pro-level computer. It’s simply not.

You want to see what a pro-level laptop looks like? Look at the Razer lineup. They are crushing it on terms of performance and style in hardware design.

You can shoot down System76 for making chunky Linux boxes. You can't say this about Razer. Small, "nice", fast, and fairly well priced. Maybe my Lenovo truck is ugly (it largely is), but the Razer isn't.

And, as David Owens rightly says, the MBP "is not a pro-level computer". The MBP isn't a "Pro" computer to the point that Schiller himself during the laptop roll-out suggested that the "professional" but entry level MBP was a replacement for the consumer MacBook Air. As I emailed Gruber this morning, "When you slot a MBP into the consumer half of the product grid, we've got a problem [with meeting past expectations, at least]." (Note: I just added "meeting".)

* Speaking of Tsai's roundup, it also included my earlier post -- wow. Lots of clicks from Tsai, but then another HUGE bump once Daring Fireball linked to him. So 4x Tsai clicks just from being grand-fireballed!

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