Apple’s Mac Lineup: Judge, Jury and Execution


Two camps have emerged from the aftermath of Apple’s “hello again” event. on October 27. There are those who have tried to explain and rationalize the gaping holes in Apple’s presentation. Part of Apple’s structuring of the event may have been driven by Intel’s CPU/GPU roadmap. Part of it may have been that Apple executives have been sidetracked by the Apple Car, Campus 2 construction and EU/Ireland affairs. Part of it may have been that they were taken by surprise by both the Microsoft’s Surface Studio design and the warm reaction to it. This might be constructed as some of the case for the defense.

The prosecution claims that Apple took too long update all of its Mac lineup. There should have been more periodic updates along the way for each kind of Mac. Leading up to the event, the often cited MacRumors Mac Buying Guide showed that all of the Macs, except the MacBook, have been painfully neglected. The addition of a Touch Pad to the Skylake-based 2016 MacBook Pros wasn’t enough of a broad corporate affirmation to both the mobile and desktop lines. The tagline, “hello again” suggested that Apple would reignite the Mac. It didn’t happen. Neglect and indifference to consumers as well as to technical and creative professionals were cited.

Below, I have a list of notable articles for each side of the argument. Then my verdict.

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Apple’s MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

Apple’s Defense

1. Jason Snell presented: “Why 2016 is such a terrible year for the Mac.” He lays out the best defense for Apple by explaining Apple’s situation and the elements of the huge pushback. He’s critical of Apple in parts, but also explains some of Apple’s plight. With respect to Intel’s roadmap:

In this case, Apple’s timing appears to have been bad. There’s no way to know for sure, but it seems like Apple decided to dance to its own rhythm, skip an Intel chip generation, and then wait for the good stuff, only to get bitten by slippage in Intel’s schedule. If that’s what happened, it’s hard to blame it on Intel. After all, it was Apple’s gamble.

2. Horace Dediu, in his quintessential analytical style, lays out the business and market forces related to desktop and mobile computing. “Wherefore Art Thou Macintosh.”

If the market, the tendencies, the future and all the money are on mobile, it’s going to be hard for Apple not to place all of its attention there. This is a great article. An excerpt:

The Mac is thus not treated disparagingly. It deserves and gets respect. It is preserved but with limited responsibilities….

It’s [the Mac] not obsolete but it is a decreasing share of engagement. Alternate ways of doing the jobs it does well with direct input are emerging on the third pivot but they are not yet good enough. The children are still adolescent and making lots of stupid mistakes. There’s still life in the parents….

The Mac is what it is because it’s not alone. It’s part of a family. It is a parent. It strives to be better but will not take the future from its child.

3. Finally, belatedly, the defendant takes the stand. The Independent was later given an interview by Apple SVP Phil Schiller. “Apple’s Philip Schiller talks computers, touchscreens and voice on the new MacBook Pro.” SVP Schiller responds to all the negative outcry about Apple’s deafening silence regarding other Macs.

I hope everyone gets a chance to try it for themselves and see how great the MacBook Pro is. It is a really big step forward and an example of how much we continue to invest in the Mac. We love the Mac and are as committed to it, in both desktops and notebooks, as we ever have been.

[Source:-Mac Observer]