The Software Slump

Riccardo Mori writing in an essay Raw power alone is not enough

Without innovation in software, all we’re doing with these new powerful machines is essentially the same we were doing 20 years ago on PowerPC G4 and G5 computers, but faster and more conveniently. Granted, it is progress, especially in those fields involving CPU- and GPU-intensive tasks and greatly benefitting by having lots and lots of calculations made in the shortest possible time.

I agree. Where is the modern software to take advantage of the extraordinary amount of power that computers, especially Macs have these days? Just look at this chart:

The MacBook Air multicore performance over time (source Geekbench)

Take a brand new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro out of the box in 2022 and despite it having more than double the raw compute power compared to 5 years ago, the included software is basically the same.

  • iMovie is designed for an age when people shared home movies imported from their camcorder. Where is the video creation software that is designed creating modern YouTube oriented productions, but without the steep learning curve of Final Cut Pro? Something as “simple” as blurring out someone’s face or making text move with an object on the screen is extraordinarily time consuming in iMovie.
  • There is an app for listening to podcasts, but not one for creating them. Apple makes GarageBand, FaceTime and runs the iTunes Podcast directory. It should also make a product that leverages these technologies to make it even easier to record either remote (via FaceTime) or in-person podcasts, edit them, add chapter-art and show-notes and easily distribute them to the Apple Podcast directory. Spotify will get there first otherwise.
  • Bring back iWeb! The web is full of siloed platforms and while it’s never been easier to create a blog or get your thoughts out there – usually via the likes of WordPress or other hosted platforms, these often hit limits unless you start stump up a lot of cash or invest time in learning the technical skills required. The barrier to entry for creating a custom web site is innumerably higher than it was in the early days of the web. I would love to see Mac that came with software for visually creating high quality, standards compliant web sites that can be hosted anywhere (even on the Mac itself) but don’t require knowledge of HTML, CSS, databases, Node or PHP etc.

There are doubtless plenty of other examples, let’s not even start on how stagnated Windows has become over the last decade.

* Yes, the title of this post is a play on one of my favourite albums by Grandaddy.

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