inessential by Brent Simmons

Surface Studio Notes

I’ve long thought that a desktop OS can’t be unified with a touchscreen OS. A desktop OS needs all kinds of things that touchscreen OSes don’t tend to provide.

In the Mac world that’s menus, AppleScript, multiple windows, drag and drop, and so on — all these things you need to be able to comfortably work eight hours and get a bunch of things actually done. Boring stuff, maybe, compared to the fun of iOS, but important stuff.

And especially you don’t need to be holding your arms up all day long to touch a screen.

Then Microsoft shows this video of the Surface Studio, and now I’m wondering.

* * *

What if — and it’s a big if — Microsoft made Swift a peer with C# and provided some good app frameworks?

Two things come to mind:

iOS developers are loosely tied to Apple. (I’m speaking generally, of course.) They love iPhones, but many of them came here from some other platform. They’ll go to whatever platform looks like fun and has some business opportunities. These developers tend to love Swift, and would be delighted to be able to preserve that investment in the language.

Mac developers, on the other hand, tend to be more closely tied to Apple. They’ve been doing development on Apple platforms since long before iOS. They’re more likely to stay put.

Except — and this part shouldn’t be underestimated — many of these Mac developers are here because Macs are the computer for creative professionals and artists. That’s what attracted us to Macs in the first place.

It’s more than a niche. It’s our identity as Mac developers: we write apps for people who make things. But what if the Surface Studio takes over as the computer for people who make things? And what if we could bring over some of our investment (such as learning Swift) with us?

I never thought to even consider that as a possible future.

* * *

Tomorrow’s going to be a weird day, as new Macs will inevitably be compared to the Surface Studio, on the Surface Studio’s terms.

Dogs and cats. The apocalypse. Zombie date night. It‘s all happening.