Nearly everything except the dying iPod looked good. While the iPad took another dip, iTunes, iPhone, and the Mac hit record numbers. Again. In fact, the Mac’s sales were a record. Again. All is coming up roses for Apple, right? Not so fast. Despite record sales, the Mac has a few issues.
It’s The New And The Old
Apple sold over 5.5-million Macs in the quarter, but maybe we shouldn’t celebrate just yet. Why not? Apple’s newest Macs are suffering the symptoms of old age and a bad diet.
Here’s the perfect example. The new Mac mini. It’s $100 less than the last model, but about $200 cheaper.
RAM can’t be replaced thanks to the soldered-on RAM which increases the price of more memory. The previous Mac mini had two SATA ports and could be configured with dual disk drives.
The Mac mini’s CPU is dual core, not the quad-core CPU from 2012, so you’ll have to spend more– much more– to get more. Apple has received rave reviews for the year-old Mac Pro, and the new iMac with Retina 5K display; an industry first in an all-in-one.
Here’s the problem in the Mac Pro and iMac lineup. Old CPUs. Intel has delayed the upcoming Broadwell CPUs which promise more power in a smaller, more energy efficient design. That delay affects Apple’s ability to update the MacBook notebook line, too.
It’s In The Chips
Worse, Intel’s Skylake CPU line remains on schedule for a release date later in 2015, which means that if Apple switches to the Broadwell-based CPU, the lifespan may be short-lived. Another issue is outlined by Marco Arment who pits the new iMac against a Mac Pro (still using much older Ivy Bridge CPUs). Apple’s two high end Macs are comparable in performance, despite a huge price gap.
A similar problem exits in the MacBook line with many owners complaining that OS X Yosemite has made their machines run slower. More speed isn’t on the way, either, as Apple failed to update the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro line in the recent new product event. Why? Because Intel’s new CPUs are delayed.
Joel Hruska does a nice comparison of new 5K iMac vs. Mac Pro.
Would I run out and buy a new iMac over a Mac Pro today? No — for several reasons. First, I recommend waiting to see how the new screen shakes out as far as quality is concerned — problems with first-run products are not uncommon and Apple is no exception.
There’s much to like about both new high end Macs, and clearly Apple is on a roll with the line, but price vs. performance problems haven’t been erased.