A funny thing happened along the Mac’s roadway to mediocrity. Reality set in. Sure, Mac sales have increased in recent years to record levels, but Apple has missed the boat at both ends of the product spectrum.
The Mac Pro was a loser device that captured the imagination of designers but not customers. And, Apple showed a lack of imagination and daring by leaving the aging MacBook Air as the notebook line’s price leader. It’s time for change.
Entry Level Pro
Over the course of 2015 to 2016 Apple received an outsized amount of criticism from the so-called professional Mac user base; small and vocal, yes, but highly influential. In essence, the professionals disdained the Mac Pro, thought little of the underpowered MacBook Pro (more of a MacBook than a Pro) and complained to high heaven about Apple’s languishing Mac line to the point of seeking alternative Hackintosh options, but complaining loudly all over the interwebs.
As a company, Apple often behaves more as a privileged class of designers and engineers who know what is best for their customers; even more than customers.
A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them… We built [the Mac] for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research.
Sound familiar? Apple seems to operate the same way today, but that was then and this is now. Today, customers have feedback that can become highly public and it pays to pay attention to customers.
The Mac has a broad product line; from diminutive Mac mini to monstrous iMac Pro; 80-percent of all Macs sold each year are notebooks. That’s where the money is and Apple has paid little attention to the power and premium end of the line, and just as little effort has gone to the other end of the scale, entry-level Macs.
iMac Pro is a monstrous machine; so good that Apple seeded a few of them to critical users, and the reviews are positive. The new high end Mac is powerful, priced competitively, and in true Apple colors, looks fabulous. Apple has promised a new modular Mac Pro in 2018.
What about the entry-level Macs?
Again, Apple hasn’t been paying attention, floating on record Mac sales in the mid-range MacBook and MacBook Pro line and mostly ignoring the beginner Mac. The Mac mini still uses a 4th generation Intel Inside CPU while 8th generation chips are shipping now. The seemingly ageless MacBook Air gets a refresh every few years but does not contain new CPUS or even have a Retina display.
If the iMac Pro represents a beginning of the rebirth of the Mac line then we’re still less than halfway to a full changeover. 2018 will need to see changes in the entry-level Mac models and then, all others. Apple’s hardware has fallen behind Windows competitors, and while a new and sexy and expensive iMac Pro might be a combination of lust-worthy and drool-worthy, the rest of the Mac lineup seems to have been ignored for years, and that needs to change.