Color me jaded after years of no new product category killers and nothing in sight, but either Apple is resting on the laurels Steve Jobs left behind, or we’re about to get the mother of all Mac upgrades for the 21st century.
Apple hasn’t done anything insanely great and wholly unexpected in many years. The iMac has been around longer than any current Apple product. While notebooks make up about 70-percent of all Mac sales, what better time to reinvent the product line that once was synonymous with Apple. It’s time to kill the iMac.
Just The Mac
Maybe I’ve grown somewhat numb due to the craziness coming out of Washington, DC in recent years. Maybe I’m skeptical because Apple hasn’t done much that’s new in recent years other than a couple of expensive accessories for iPhone users. Maybe Apple is at the peak of success and the edge of the precipice of future failure (they’re the same place). Whatever it is, either something great is about to come, or Apple will slowly ride off into the technology sunset now inhabited by the likes of Nokia, Motorola, BlackBerry, Dell and HP.
I’ve long advocated that Apple could still do some damage on the PC industry that refuses to die by embracing the touchscreen on the Mac, by moving macOS onto ARM-based CPUs– like the ones in the crazy powerful iPhone; Apple designed, of course– and add iPhone apps as macOS accessories and priced under $1,000. No Intel Inside. No Windows. Just plain vanilla Mac with a touchscreen.
So far, Apple CEO Tim Cook has yet to respond to my request, but just maybe– maybe– something else is brewing in Cupertino, CA. If ever there was a Mac that needed a makeover, it’s the iMac, as long in the tooth as an Apple product can get; first introduced in 1998, so it’s nearing a 20 year anniversary of sorts.
First, Apple could just kill the name ‘iMac.’ iEverything is so 1999. iPhotos is just Photos. iWatch is really just Watch. iWork doesn’t exist anymore. Everyone knows iTunes is on its last legs. That leaves the iMac and iMovie. The latter can be changed with ease. iMovie becomes Movies. What about the iMac? Goodbye iDevices. Good iRiddance.
Second, what would Apple do? Desktops are the dinosaurs of PCs; a relic or maybe even a fossil from the last century. Apple could so re-invent the Mac’s future with one move. Kill the iMac. Instead, replace the iMac with an Apple branded display in varying sizes that works with MacBook and MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, iPhone, even iPad. You want a big screen? Here it is, in all its Retina 4k and 5k glory; shareable, even. No iMac. Just an Apple display. 21-inches. 27-inches. 32-inches. Whatever. Apple’s Mac, iPhone, and iPad could power the displays via Thunderbolt or AirPlay. Oh, and let’s make it a touchscreen, too.
To counter the loss of a rather powerful iMac with an i7 Quad-core Intel Inside CPU, Apple would introduce a truly powerful MacBook Pro, but all future Macs would have the ability to drive various Apple displays, sans the Mac inside.
Good idea, no?
Why Not, Apple?
Why won’t Apple do what I think they should? Apple is all about money. Apple sells hardware. An iMac, even though sales may not be what they once were, is hardware. Also, Tim Cook is an engineer by education and trade. Engineers are notoriously risk averse, and killing off an entire line of Macs and simply replacing it with a line of displays in the hopes that Mac notebook customers would buy them is a big risk.
It should be apparent after more than five years of Tim Cook’s regime, that Apple has become risk averse at every level. Apple Watch? It’s an iPhone accessory. AirPods? Yet another iPhone accessory. Apple, once fully synonymous with the Mac, has been transformed into the iPhone company, and every engineer knows which side of the engineering bread gets the butter.
Apple, circa 2017, is the iPhone company.