Apple once again takes the lead in computer innovation

No doubt a few fanboys were upset that Apple did not announce the iPhone 6 at this week's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) as some expected. However, what Apple did announce was incredibly significant and shows that the company remains dedicated to its computer business, even if it is eclipsed by iPad and iPhone.

First was the Swift programming language that looks like it will supplant Objective-C. Then came the Metal demo, which showed the iPad producing graphics that could match the newest consoles. Finally, hell froze over as Apple fully embraced the enterprise and announced its enterprise support strategy.

But one really caught my attention: MacOS is adopting telephone features. You will be able to make and receive phone calls on your Mac, send and receive text messages on your Mac, and text messages sent to your iPhone will stream onto the computer. This last feature is an iOS feature.

This sort of news would make me a lot happier if I was a Mac devote. But I'm not. I like my MacBook but my PC remains my main machine. And the PC is stuck in a design from 1980 that has not progressed much.

Oh sure, we've added new storage means. We graduated from MFM to IDE to SATA. I've seen optical drives come and fall out of favor. The multitude of interfaces have given way to USB. And motherboards have added a few new components in recent decades, like Ethernet ports and sound. But even that is behind the times. On-board audio still uses the AC97 codec, and that 97 stands for 1997, when it was developed.

Beyond that, PC vendors have been lazy and uninspired. It's the same old stew; CPU, memory, storage, GPU, ports, and maybe multi-format readers. PCs do the same thing they have always done and added nothing new.

I have a 2012 Toyota. When I fired it up, the Bluetooth system connects to my phone, downloads all the contacts, and lets me make and receive calls while driving without taking my hands off the wheel. It's a pretty clumsy interface, too, since I have a low-end Camry. I would imagine the Lexus would have a better interface.

Why can't my PC do this? With the Microsoft LifeCam and Skype, phone calls work just fine. As it is, I can't even sync or swap images, videos or music files between the PC and phone without a cable, and it's a Windows Phone device.

Why? Because nobody is trying. Microsoft isn't writing software to support making and receiving phone calls via the phone with a Bluetooth connection, nor is any third party developer. Many PCs don't even have Bluetooth native. My wireless keyboard requires a USB Bluetooth connector. Hardware makers aren't adding Bluetooth to the motherboard.

We can beat up Windows 8 all we want and blame it all for the lack of PC sales, but the lack of any real innovation in the PC ecosystem is as much to blame. Think about it: When was the last time a PC excited you? When was the last time you saw a new, must-have feature in a PC? It's been nothing but speeds and feeds for the last 20 years and it needs to change.

Well, now that Apple has done it, maybe someone will copy it. That's how it always goes, right Apple fans?

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