Apple and the rebirth of the spec

When Apple introduced its new wave of devices, the iPhone, the iPhone 3G, the iPad, it was so refreshingly unspectacular (no pun intended): Apple did not provide “specs”, no MHz, no CPU details, just the obvious flash size in Megabytes that they instantly translated into number of songs and length of movies you could store.

And now – today, Tuesday September 10, 2013, people are crazy about the new A7 processor, its 1 billion transistors, the iOS transition to 64 bit. And it has a co-processor! Do we see a rebirth of the spec, those things that made computing so gory for non-IT-freaks?

What has happened? For us who have made all the generational changes from the 16-bit x86 Real mode into 386/486, the Pentium, from 33MHz (remember what DX2 stood for?) the Apple makeup was indeed “refreshing” as you could buy a gadget that was cool but not nerdy and you were not forced to compare spec sheets (that’s why I still use Apple instead of Android) and the only important number was expressed in dollars and not Kilo/Mega/Giga-something.

Sad thing is: Either it just didn’t work in the long run – after all, computing speed does have an influence on fun. It doesn’t matter if your machine has to spend 99% in idle mode, waiting for the user to make the next finger-tap or keystroke. The moment you need the computer to do something, you want it to happen instantly and so “specs” become a sales argument again. Or, Apple is going back from a lifestyle gadget vendor to a “computer” (Silicon Valley) company. Either way, would be interesting to hear Steve Jobs’ opinion on this.