Is Apple Abandoning Macs?
Apple has been selling Macintosh branded computers for 31 years, but with its emphasis shifting to smartphones, watches, music and who knows what else, the company has neglected its Mac line, leaving the Apple faithful wondering if the company is still committed to it.
The last time the non-Retina edition of the MacBook Pro received an upgrade was four years ago. The Retina MacBook Pro is more than a year into its current cycle, and the MacBook Air has gone nearly 600 days without a refresh.
The Mac Mini has gone 700 days since its last update, one that didn't sit well with customers because Apple removed quad-core CPU options and made the product harder to upgrade after purchase. The Mac Pro, the high-end desktop used by creative types, has not been upgraded in nearly three years, and the last upgrade before that was six years ago.
How bad has it gotten? The influential MacRumor's Buyer's Guide does not recommend a single Mac product right now. In fact, all but the MacBook are recommended as "Don't Buy."
MacRumors' forum isn't the only source of anguish for Apple customers. The Verge, Ars Technica, and ExtremeTech have all taken Apple to the woodshed over its neglect of the Mac line, the notebooks in particular, calling out the company for selling laptops with chips from 2012 and lacking new features like USB-C. While Lenovo and Dell lead with new designs and new technologies in their laptops, Apple's latest idea of innovation is to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone.
Notebooks accounted for 78% of total Mac sales in the second quarter of 2016, according to Gartner. Apple sold 774,000 desktops vs. 3.4 million notebooks. Overall unit sales fell 6% from the same period one year earlier. In fairness, Apple can be excused for skipping the Skylake processor generation because Skylake was made for desktops, and the bulk of Apple's PC sales business is its laptops. The brand new Kaby Lake processor was made for mobile with considerably better power efficiency than Skylake.
Finally, Apple recently sent out press invitations to an announcement on Mac upgrades. But questions remain as to whether the upgrades will be anything to write home about, and more importantly, whether Apple really has its heart into the Mac line, or whether it’s focusing its innovation muscle elsewhere.
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently responded to a MacRumors member's email expressing concern about the product line neglect by saying that he "loves the Mac" and that Apple is "very committed" to it. He told the member to "stay tuned." But some analysts aren’t so sure, predicting that Apple is slowly pivoting away from the slow-growth PC and laptop business.
And while most end users are happy with their Macs, others are expressing concern.