I wrote this over a year ago, but for some reason I never posted it. Since writing this, Creative Suite has been released for Intel Macs along with the Multi-Touch trackpad for the MacBooks.
As I work on my four year old G4 I can’t help but imagine that graphic designers are becoming useless to the likes of Apple and to a certain extent Adobe. I can think of very few software or hardware upgrades that were made in the last couple of years that have made our job significantly faster, better or easier. Sure we will be able to work faster when Adobe comes out with software that is ported for Intel machines, but do we really need anything much faster? When it seems that iTunes takes up about as much processor speed as Photoshop, I realize that it is not designers that are driving the technology anymore. So what industry is driving the market for faster computers? The obvious answer is video.
I have to admit that I love new technology and software just as much or more than the next guy. But many times I agree with those nay-sayers that argue that we don’t need software beyond Photoshop 7 and InDesign CS. Unless you are in the market for more filters and better drop shadows, what have we really gained from the last several Adobe upgrades?
So what can these companies do to generate a little more need (as opposed to sheer want)? As you might have gathered from the above graphic, I am hoping for iPhone multi-touch technology in the next generation of iMacs. If Apple takes away the mouse and keyboard and truly connects the designer to their computer, then the designer demand will be unstoppable. Then we will all be closer to feeling what the early twentieth century typesetters felt when they physically locked up that type in the chase. I know Apple wouldn’t be the first to have touch screen computers, but as they have proven with the iPod, you don’t have to be the first … just the best. Wasn’t it Malcolm Gladwell that pointed out that the originators and extreme innovators usually fail? Sometimes the market isn’t ready and primed for a certain innovation. For example, the Newton.
Since Apple appears to have mastered the multi-touch technology, when will we see it in their computer line? Jobs did make a special effort to note that this technology was heavily patented. Is it time that Apple starts paying a little more attention to the loyal designer base and work with Adobe and others to deliver a truly innovative product? Here’s to “pinching” instead of (command) + (+) or grabbing that antiquated old magnifying glass.