Has Apple gone from brash upstart to mainstream middle age?

Once 'beleaguered' Apple is now blue-chip; beleaguered was more fun

"One man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages," wrote Shakespeare in As You Like It.

Though I probably can't (nor would I) map out specific ages to a company, Apple certainly has had its own stages, and it seems to be entering a new one now. It used to be, as recently as a year or two ago, that Mac rumors sites were flying fun and furious with clever writing and plenty to say as the company reigned at the cool kids' table. But nowadays, such buzz is rare -- there is real news from Apple, of course, but there's less froth and fury and fun. Reporting is, well, sober. Sadly, it seems that Apple is leaving a tempestuous youth and reaching, for better or worse, middle age.

Has Apple really matured? Certainly, Apple had a bit of mewling and puking in its first days, with the homebrew, caseless, do-it-yourself Apple I. "The Apple I and II were designed strictly on a hobby, for-fun basis, not to be a product for a company. They were meant to bring down to the club and put on the table during the random access period," Steve Wozniak has written. "I'd even go over to people's houses and help them build their own." When a local store placed a big order, Steve Jobs had to go to a parts supplier and wrangle a credit deal just to get the components needed to fill the order. Baby steps.

We'll skip over the schoolboy, lover, soldier and justice ages that Shakespeare outlined (though the Apple II did place the company at the forefront of educational computing for a while).

Through those various stages, Apple certainly remained the young kid on the block. Nonconformist, brash, thumbing its nose at authority, actively not being "the man" -- all those adolescent traits could describe the Apple of the 1990s and and the first half of this decade. So, by the transitive property, Apple was a young buck.

And the press treated Apple as such, with a conscious condescension and marginal tolerance. The "grownup" and sober press types that so lionized staid corporations such as Microsoft and Intel occasionally tolerated a piece about Apple -- usually using the word "beleaguered" in 1990s to make clear that soon they wouldn't have to bother anymore. Apple, with its confused and poor-quality lines such as the Performa and its piecemeal sales strategies, came close to proving them right.

But these were fine years for the Mac-centric press, which consisted of a few steadfast print magazines and early Web sites and online fanbois. It was like samizdat, passed among the faithful, full of puns and inside info. And fun.

The young-buck attitude of Apple was pushed into overdrive with the second coming of Steve Jobs. He returned to Apple under the guise of having his company, Next, be bought by Apple, which was then run by the very Dad-like Gil Amelio. (I wouldn't be the first to note the Oedipal nature of Jobs' bloodless coup.)

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags apple macbook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Turner

Computerworld
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender solutions stop attacks before they even begin! Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?