inessential by Brent Simmons

On Today’s Apple Event

I’ve been at home and injured — with lower-back spasms, which are excruciating but getting better today — which explains my string of snarky tweets during the Apple event today. (Also the pain medication might have something to do with it.)

But there was one tweet I wanted to explain:

Apple events always give me the near-overwhelming urge to go outside and roll around in the dirt.

That’s the lyrical version of “I find Apple events to be more precious than I’d like.”

By precious I mean, as an old version of Webster’s has it: “Particular; fastidious; overnice; overrefined.” Think of precious as high-end, high-emotion kitsch.

Apple events are sugar pills with a sugar coating. Me, I prefer a sugar pill with a bitter coating (as in the British version of The Office), or a bitter pill with a sugar coating (any Kurt Vonnegut novel). (Note: I stole this metaphor from Vonnegut.)

Which is to say: I’m as cheap and sentimental as the next person, but I think my sweets taste better with some peppers.

However — and this is important — the way Apple does these events is utterly appropriate. For me to criticize it from a personal taste perspective is ridiculous, given that my personal tastes would work against Apple’s success.

So I was just being a jerk, in other words.

My back hurts.

* * *

Apple announced some great things today. Of particular interest to me is the iPad Pro.

I’m a Mac developer — I’ve done my time with iOS, and don’t have any wish to return to it. Except… except that the iPad Pro is sneaking up on being a Mac. Or on being the thing that replaces Macs in the long term. (Or on being the thing Macs turn into, or something.)

I love writing productivity apps. Not games, not diversions, but apps where you get work done. And the iPad Pro looks like the first iOS device designed for productivity apps.

I keep thinking, though, that if I could plug in my old Apple Extended Keyboard II, my Magic Mouse, and a 27" display, then I could get real work done on it. Well, if I could run Terminal and BBEdit and Xcode. And if there was something like AppleScript.

All right, so it’s not a Mac, and isn’t supposed to be — but it’s some steps closer.

And that’s intriguing. I don’t expect to go back to writing iOS apps again (unless, of course, at Omni I’m asked to) — but, gosh, it would be fun to write for iPad Pro.

I wonder if it’s possible to write apps that run only on iPad Pro. That might tempt me more. Obviously, in that case, I wouldn’t be writing for money but for love.

* * *

I don’t have plans or interest in writing for Apple Watch or Apple TV. It’s nice, for once, to enjoy platforms where I’m just a user. I like my TV and my watch, and it’s fun to use them without knowing anything about their respective SDKs. Like a regular person.

(That said, it’s always possible that at Omni I could end up working on anything, which is fine, but so far I’ve been on Mac apps and I’m happiest that way.)

* * *

This event shows, again, that the Mac is at the back of the bus. But I like that — we can horse around a bit back there.

P.S. Looks like the El Capitan ship date is September 30. I’ve been happily using the betas.