In fact, back in those days, back in the latter years of the previous century, the Mac and Apple were mostly synonymous. The Mac was Apple. And Apple’s co-founder decreed the Mac to have two lines; professional and consumer. If those days are not gone then Apple’s Mac line, that part of it professionals knew and loved, is an endangered species.
What Is A Pro?
Steadily, almost stealthily, the Mac line has been revamped in the age of portable, handheld devices. Apple sells about 10 times as many iPhones as it does Macs, so guess which of the two product lines gets the most attention? Oh, and whatever happened to the big, faster, powerful, and highly flexible Macs of yesteryear?
Let the arguments begin. First, how do we define a professional Mac user? And why doesn’t Apple seem to pay attention to that proud customer segment?
I ask such questions because it has become increasingly clear that something has changed. Either, a) the professionals of 2016 are a different breed whose needs and requirements have changed, or, b) Apple doesn’t see the need to make powerful, expandable, flexible Macs these days (possibly because of ‘a’).
Apple’s last foray into powerful servers ended with an Intel Inside Xserve in 2011. Why? Apple CEO Steve Jobs said nobody was buying them. That’s not true, but it’s obvious they were not being purchased in sufficient numbers to make it worth Apple’s effort to design, build, and sell such behemoths. What about the Mac Pro of the cheese grater variety? It was a Mac user favorite because of its unique design and almost infinite expandability. That Mac Pro personified power for multimedia pros, graphic design pros, and others who put themselves into the professional category, whatever the official definition.
Is There A Mac Pro?
Professional level Macs are capable of many things; expandable RAM, plenty of storage options, and CPUs and graphic GPUs capable of churning through television, movie, and music production in a way iMac and MacBook users never dreamed. Professional means heavy duty, fast, flexible, upgradeable, and while not capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound, certainly they can be pressed into duty and duties beyond the consumer level iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, or Mac mini.
Where are those Mac professional users? Apple seems to think they’re an endangered species not worth saving, as exhibited by the Mac Pro and the lack of upgrades since it debuted three years ago; as exhibited by the new MacBook Pro models which are fast, yes, but without user upgradable RAM now limited to 16GB. That’s a downgrade. Why the limitation? ‘It might endanger all day battery life,’ says Apple. ‘I don’t care about battery life,’ says the professional level Mac user.
Technology products are made up of a series of tradeoffs, and it appears that Apple has traded the once proud and vocal professional Mac user for a larger group of pro-level wannabes who are enticed by the eye candy in a touchscreen Function bar, unwilling to complain about the lack of real power and flexibility, but very willing to pay more for the privilege of Touch ID.
Apple seems to think the company doesn’t have a problem with professionals, but it does appear that professionals have a problem with Apple.