Some people think Apple is about to ditch the Mac entirely. Why would Apple do that? It makes for an eyeball grabber headline but nothing else about the argument even makes sense. The Mac accounts for half the entire PC industry’s profits.
Others think Apple is too focused on iPhone or too focused on mobile devices and just does not care about Mac customers at all. Yet, the Mac sells at record levels even with a product line that would cause Steve Jobs to go into a 30-day rant. What kind of Mac do you want Apple to build?
John Dvorak’s nonsense aside, the reality is this. The Mac as a platform must satisfy the needs of a wide spectrum of customers– the small but vocal professionals who demand speed, power, and features above all else; the entry-level Mac customer who has a budget but prefers Apple’s once flagship product above Windows PC counterparts, and the rest of us who fall along the spectrum.
Personally, I want Apple to build two different Macs. One to satisfy the entry-level crowd and competes with the likes of new ARM-based always-on, all-day battery, Windows 10 hybrid tablet notebooks, and the high end beyond the upcoming iMac Pro– a modular Mac powerhouse.
First, the entry-level model. Apple could build something along the lines of the new HP Envy.
Basically, the Envy is an underpowered notebook that can double up as a notebook because it has a detachable keyboard. The device is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM-based CPU. Yes, it’s anemic relative to Mac standards, and likely not even as powerful as an iPad Pro.
But it comes with 4G LTE built-in, up to 256GB of SSD storage, up to 20-hours of battery life, but up to 700-hours of connected standby using only LTE. Yes, it’s Windows 10s. The display is beyond HD. Price? HP won’t say, but a similar ASUS model starts at $599. Apple’s entry-level Mac offering is the aging MacBook Air at $999.
Hey, Apple. How about an entry-level, Apple designed, A-series, ARM-based Mac for $899?
The other end of the scale is where the iMac Pro starts. For less than $5,000 you get an all-in-one device that is packed to the roof with power user options. USB, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 connectors. Intel Inside to the tune of 8 Xeon cores with options to 18. That’s right. 18 cores. The display is still world class 5K Retina, but the Radio Pro Vega GPU is more than three times faster than the previously fastest iMac.
Need more? Up to 128GB of RAM. Up to 4TB of SSD storage with 3GBs throughput. And, 10GB Ethernet. This is the backside view of the internals but doesn’t that just say Space Gray beast?
What’s missing? I mean, other than availability?
The iMac Pro is an all-in-one. That means you build to order and there just isn’t much room for customization after delivery. It’s a professional level machine, yes, and likely to satisfy many members of the chorus of nattering nabobs of negativism that populate the Mac customer base. I don’t know any Mac user who needs more power than the iMac Pro will provide out of the box.
But it ain’t the Mac Pro and we have no idea when it will arrive, what it will do, how it can be configured and upgraded, or how much it will cost. All we know is it will be a more modular Mac.
Good for Apple.
Notice how Apple’s needs are two-fold? Entry level, and professional level. As of today, Apple does not satisfy either one.
Apple is the master of radical pivots. It killed the floppy drive, the CD drive, and the headphone jack in iPhones, while Macintosh systems went from the Motorola 68000 to the PowerPC chip to the Intel X86 line of chips.
And, of course, Apple announced Apple II Forever just before it killed the Apple II. But note that those components above are, well, components– not an entire line of computers that can morph into the future.
What I’m sensing is that like the old Apple II (forever), the Mac will be phased out and the whole line will be replaced by iPads.
A 27inch 5K Retina iPad would be cool, amirite? What about running Windows inside? Let’s wait until Windows dies.
I’ve made this assertion before and received a good amount of hate mail, and I’m prepared for more.
Dvorak’s thinking is based upon Apple’s recent iPad Pro television commercial where the girl asks, “What’s a computer?” An iPad, you little know-it-all.
If she does not know what a computer is by the age of 10, then our school systems are worse than I thought. Maybe she’s just being rude or mean to her mom.
Hell has frozen over. I agree with John.
Do not get me wrong. The Mac is not dead tomorrow. But I’ve seen this exact scenario before and it does not bode well. If Apple rolls out some odd and out-of-place extravaganza for the Mac, you can be sure the end is near.
For now, the Mac as a product line languishes, neither satisfying the needs of power hungry professional users, nor inviting new customers into the fold with a true blue entry-level Mac to compete with the growing numbers of Windows 10 users with hybrid notebook tablets.
The iPad ain’t the future, folks. It’s part of the future.