Apple had a big year – but how big will first become apparent in 2021…
By now, it is not unexpected for the latest iteration of the iPhone, iPhone 12 in this case, to do well and even best the competition across the board in any given year. While it is nearly an automatic ritual that doubt will be cast, and the demise or at least diminution of the iPhone and Apple are predicted, nearly every year the opposite in the case.
This year was different. There was plenty of doubt – but the surprise announcement of the M series of chips for mac and the even more surprising benchmarks and performance improvements pretty much obliterated the doubters.
Not only that, but a layer beneath that headline news was a secondary layer of innovation and areas where long planned improvements came to fruition.
The first steps into a massive multi-year system software transition, one that will eventually merge the mobile operating systems of the iPhone, iPad, Apple watch, etc with the mac, moved seemingly ahead of schedule, with the huge improvements in iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur.
And all the various services such as Apple TV+ and many other offerings made huge strides as well.
As a matter of fact, a list of all the upgrades, added features and new services and products would be so long and varied that the transcription is beyond the reach of a simple article such as this one.
However, that alone is not where some of the biggest changes and most surprising evolutions have occurred. The real “action” so to speak is in the integration and unexpected by-products of the merging and deepening of all the new features and settings.
Take for example the macs that feature the M1 chip. It is not the chip itself, not even the new operating system that has the most impact on the performance or usability of the machines.
It is the integrated functionality of the various elements of the chips – Apple M1, the first ARM-based system on a chip – composed of several different components including the CPU, GPU, unified memory architecture (RAM), Neural Engine, Secure Enclave, SSD controller, image signal processor, encode/decode engines, Thunderbolt controller with USB 4 support, all of which are made more powerful by the continuously upgraded software system.
This – a kind of invisible interactive and synergistic ecosystem – not only has at it’s heart the “whole widget” philosophy legacy of Steve Jobs, but also a new and insanely futuristic definition of “whole” which now includes these proprietary Apple chips (CPU, GPU, NE), plus A.I. / machine learning and system core operating as one continuously evolving and reinforcing “unit”.
The future is already here, we just don’t see it like fish, maybe, never heard of a thing called water…
This new concept of the constantly increasing potential advancement in efficiency and power is not only the new standard basis for what constitutes computing technology at Apple, but will emerge as the ultimate re-definition of what “power” in computing means at all.
Similar to the internet – where the evolution and development is at stone age levels compared to where it will (and must) eventually reach in decades and even centuries, computing (or “personal” computing as it was dubbed in the last century) is also in very early and very primitive stages of evolution and this next step represents an early beginning, not a destination or accomplishment of a goal.
Even Apple has stated that the initial transition of a unified operating system shared by mobile and desktop / laptop devices, iOS / macOS, will be years still in development and implementation.
Meaning, in 2024 we may see the first real life trails and dissemination of a new kind of computing system, and, more importantly, computer assisted communicating, made possible by the complete integration of these hardware, software and A.I. advances.
Just in time, because the threats of global warming, pandemics, political upheaval and economic disaster need, more than anything, enhanced learning and communication that can be aided, we must fervently hope, by improved digital tools. A better bicycle, so to speak.
Fortunately, Apple has our back on this. And in 2021 more, much more will be revealed, if 2020 was any hint, of an exciting future not just for technology, but for the creative uses of it for the betterment of humankind.
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