Apple has no trouble updating the iPhone every year, but every other product in the company’s lineup except the new Watch seems to have fallen into a state of, well, lost interest. Who’s to blame? Has Apple lost interest in the Mac?
Maybe the entire PC industry suffers from a state of lost interest by the customer base. After all, Mac and Windows PC sales continue to slide. Chip giant Intel seems to be slower than ever at releasing new CPUs, and when they arrive they’re hardly faster than the previous models. In fact, the entire industry has become moribund with only two segments that see some real action.
Sad Macs And Microsoft
The state of the Mac is a sad state, indeed. The new MacBook received its first upgrade about five months ago. It’s been almost a year since the iMac was upgraded. The Retina MacBook Pro hasn’t seen new anything for almost 18 months. Both the MacBook Air and Mac mini are pushing two years since the last update and the Mac Pro has never been upgraded.
What’s going on? Neglect? Lost interest? Wait. It’s worse. The non-Retina MacBook Pro has not been updated in more than 1,550 days. My math tells me that’s over 51 months, or, put another way, more than four years.
Let’s blame it on Intel and the moribund Windows PC industry where the only innovations seem to be touchscreen and detachable keyboards. Microsoft has had some success with the latest versions of the Surface devices, particularly the touchscreen models which are easily compared to Macs which don’t have a built-in touchscreen. Duh. Of course, Surface is marketed as a tablet notebook, but no one uses it as a tablet. It’s a notebook with an attachable keyboard.
Intel used to churn out new CPUs with more transistors and lower power requirements and do so with the regularity of Swiss trains. Those days are gone as Intel’s new CPUs keep falling behind schedule and when new versions finally get to PC manufacturers they don’t offer much more pizzaz than the last versions from a few years ago.
The perfect example is the ancient MacBook Air which goes up to an i7 multi-core CPU while the far newer MacBook has the Intel Core-M CPU which doesn’t differentiate itself well from aging technology in far older devices. The whole traditional PC industry is bored to death. Maybe that’s why it’s slowly dying.
Pragmatism rules at Apple. The MacBook Air, by most accounts, is the company’s big seller. Price matters. The non-Retina MacBook Pro sticks around because the price is right. Sales of the iMac with Retina 5k display run rings around the aging Mac Pro which can’t do a 5k display. Yet.
Perhaps the real problem with the Mac and the entire PC industry is the state of advancement. There isn’t any. Retina displays have been around for years already but new CPUs don’t run rings around older CPUs so there’s really nothing new under the sun. Apple invented the slim line design that permeates most PC notebooks, but what have you done for me lately?
Apple’s executives keep promising that there’s a future in the Mac, but sales keep dropping and customers keep using iPhones for ever more functionality once reserved for PCs. In fact, the real engineering feats show up in Apple’s A-Series, ARM-based, in-house chip designs which have massively improved performance each year.
How long before Intel Inside becomes Apple Inside every new Mac?