Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

What if Apple is actually phasing out the pro-level Mac?

Michael Simon | Aug. 3, 2016
As the days between updates pile up, people are starting to wonder whether Apple cares about the Mac at all.

As if the 80 or so minutes he spent showing off the iPhone weren’t enough, Steve Jobs concluded his 2007 Macworld Expo keynote in San Francisco with one final bombshell unveiling. It wasn’t a piece of hardware or an OS update, but it was just as significant: As he was summing up Apple’s increasingly diverse product line, Jobs announced a change that signaled a new direction for the company, one perhaps even more telling than the revolutionary mobile phone unveiled moments earlier.

“The Mac, iPod, Apple TV, and iPhone. Only one of those is a computer. So we’re changing the name,” said Jobs. Apple Computer became Apple Inc. And thus began the post-PC revolution, a conscious cultural shift that demoted the Mac to a device and gradually pushed it into the background. Over the years since, Apple’s innovations have been largely relegated to the mobile space, only appearing on the Mac after they’ve emerged as established, dependent technologies.

It’s not just that Apple is more than a computer company anymore. The Mac is comprising consistently smaller streets on Apple’s roadmap, and you’d have to go back several years to find an event that gave it top billing. As the days between updates pile up, in fact, people are starting to wonder whether Apple cares about the Mac at all.

Diminishing refreshes

It’s a valid concern. In the first six months of 2016 we’ve seen new models of both the iPhone and iPad Pro, but the lone Mac to get any love is the newest member of the family. In April, the year-old MacBook received the kind of update MacBook Pro users have been waiting some 14 months for, with improved specs across the board: Speedier Skylake processors and graphics, an extra hour of battery life, faster SSD drives, and a new Rose Gold color option.

new macbook primary
Jason Snell

The only Mac that’s seen any love recently is Apple’s newest and shinest. 

It’s worse on the desktop. While the iMac was refreshed in October 2015 to bring more pixels and processing power, the lowly Mac mini hasn’t had an upgrade since October 2014. And the Mac Pro has never been updated. The models on sale today have the exact same specs as the very first ones that rolled off the Texas assembly line back in December 2013. And if you’re looking for a display to go with it, good luck finding one made by Apple. 

No one knows for sure what Apple’s long-term plans are for the Mac, but it’s pretty clear that there isn’t a whole lot of attention being devoted to its longest running product. There have been droughts before, but never one that has affected so many models at once. These days the once mighty professional Mac is more flagging than flagship, and while there are some rumors that point to a MacBook Pro redesign for the fall, the post-PC revolution is showing no signs of relenting.

 

1  2  3  Next Page 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.