I was an Apple Mac kid

Don was an Apple II kid, and he credits Apple with helping him dive so deep and so early into writing software.  I never had an Apple II, but I got a taste of that kind of experience with the Vic-20 at home, and the BBC computer room at school.
But then, we upgraded our home computer to the Apple Mac.  My experience on the Apple Mac was exactly opposite to Don’s on the Apple II.
The Mac was the start (well, after Lisa) of Apple’s focus on the creativity of the users of computers, rather than on the creativity of software developers.  The Mac had amazing useability and rich interactive applications, but there was no out-of-the-box development environment.  Even when years later I did get the MPW, there was a killer learning curve to create simple apps that conformed to Apple’s strict UI guidelines.  Hypercard (especially Hypertalk) was ahead of its time and did encourage bespoke coding creativity, but then Apple ditched it.
Apple’s success is due to their user and customer focus, but ever since the Apple Mac they’ve been mostly hostile to developers.

Comments 3

  • Yet they’ve also done very well out of their iPhone/iPad app store; something that is entirely dependent on the desire of people to write for their platforms. I don’t know if this is despite Apple making life difficult, or whether they’ve managed to have a real change of heart.

    • Maybe Steve did have some partial change-of-heart. Guy Kawasaki says (point 7) that initially for the iPhone, “Apps, Steve decreed, were a bad thing because you never know what they could be doing to your phone.”. Guy says Steve changed his mind on that. But i think that’s the baseline Apple attitude – protect the integrity of the platform by closely controlling what developers can do.

  • Apple’s maniacal control of the platform (and the app market) can simplify some technical and marketing problems for developers. But given the pain I’ve heard of from developers who have tried to get their apps past the gate-keepers, I think Apple has succeeded in spite of their treatment of developers!
    I think Woz was the real hero behind the Apple II – the Mac is Jobsian.