What? I know what you’re thinking. “Dear Ms. Brannan, stop it with the crazy-assed comparisons already.” Fair enough. One of these things– Mac mini 2017 and iMac Pro from the same year– is not the same. Fun fact: both run macOS High Sierra.
Obviously, different strokes for different folks, amirite? This isn’t a comparison of Apple to apples; or even oranges. It’s a look at how Apple sees the Mac market, where Apple refuses to cede the premium segment to Windows PCs, and why the entry-level Mac has no value to Cupertino, CA’s highest paid bean counters.
The Mac mini starts at $499, runs macOS High Sierra, and most Mac applications (some worse than others). This Mac is the last one on Apple’s Mac website page. At the other end of the scale, and 10-times the price, is a new iMac Pro starts which starts at $4,999. See? 10X. Runs the same macOS and most of the same software. Again, this isn’t really apple to Apples.
I did the math for you.
A fully tricked out iMac Pro– with 128GB RAM, 4TB SSD storage, 18-core Intel Xeon W CPU, and the mightiest Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 64GB of memory goes for $13,199. At the other end of the premium scale is the Mac mini, fully tricked out with 16GB RAM, Intel Dual Core i7 Inside, and 1TB SSD storage for $1,999. The maxed out iMac Pro now is barely six times the price of a comparably maxed out Mac mini. 6X.
Other than a massive contrast in capabilities for specialized applications– you’re not likely to navigate through 8K video on Final Cut Pro with a diminutive Mac mini; even one that bristles with upgrade– what’s the point? Just like every other Mac, they both run macOS High Sierra and all of Apple’s applications.
Apple’s entire Mac line has languished in recent years and though that may be obvious to certified Apple watchers like yours truly– I have my little gold wings, a laminated card, and everything– it wasn’t so obvious to Apple’s executives or the Mac’s customers who have lapped up the laptops in recent years to the tune of record sales and record profits.
Meanwhile, the rest of the personal computer world has moved on with many of Apple’s once and proud Mac Pro customers moving to Adobe Creative Cloud on tricked out Windows PCs, while the entry-level computer customer has ignored Apple and the Mac altogether by adopting cheap Chromebooks and inexpensive Windows notebook-tablet hybrids; enough of them to propel the touchscreen market to become the only bright spot in the dismal PC industry.
Other than the Mac.
Why has Apple focused on Mac notebooks? That’s where the customers are and where the money is. Why put renewed focus on the high end professional level Macs; such as that monstrous iMac Pro? More reasons. That’s where vocal and influential customers are, and, priced high enough, that’s where some money is. Or, at least, might be if enough Mac customers upgrade to sheer sex appeal.
Conversely, why hasn’t Apple upgraded the Mac notebooks line and the iMac line with the latest and greatest; at least enough to keep pace with Windows PC makers? Hey, Apple can’t count all the money it gathers now via iPhone, iPad, Mac, Watch, Services, and tax breaks already. The Mac must be a rounding area afterthought.
What about the low end of the Mac line? It’s littered with the carcasses of Mac mini’s of the past and entry-level notebooks of yesteryear in the MacBook Air. It should be obvious that there just are not enough benjamins to be made at the corner of Low End Avenue and Entry Level Boulevard. Apple just doesn’t care. How do I know? Look at what Apple sells at the low end and entry level.
Come on, Tim, Jony, Phil, and folks. You guys can do better than anemia.
Customers are suffering thanks to your neglect. Embarrassment caused you to bury the canister inspired Mac Pro and replace it with a Space Gray monster. Could you be embarrassed enough to do something with the rest of the Mac line? After viewing the lust worthy specifications and eye-popping design of iMac Pro, I’m sure you can afford to do something for newcomers to the Mac line. Look around. Surely you have a few billion dollars of hardware development money under the sofa cushions.