Making Stuff, Tech

Mac futures

So what is the future of the Mac ? A lot of discussion has resurfaced again.

Dan Benjamin tweeted recently:

John Dvorak devoted another article to the Mac being phased out.

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.

I would take Dan’s tweet with a hint of humour (because I know I’d lose in a fight with him) but John is serious.

The iMac Pro landed to much fanfare just before Christmas. In time for a lot of good press and general reviews. It looks like a solid workstation for users needing a machine that can multitask heavily.

Apple have struggled with the Mac line. The problem seems to be the resources needed to maintain it when they’re focused chiefly on the main money maker, iOS and its devices.

When a rumour that Apple was going to drop the Mac Pro, professional users raised a clamour. It was enough to cause a usually quiet Apple to respond by having Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller do press. They re-confirmed Apple’s commitment to the Mac.

Initial discussion was around a pro version of the Imac. However further feedback caused Apple to say that they would deliver a revised “modular” Mac Pro.

In the meantime, that pro iMac has arrived. The specifications and performance are solid. However Apple’s definition of pro is very specific. The iMac Pro is very much an iMac. It is completely non user upgradeable. Some upgrades can be done by service centres.

So far I could see this machine being one that Apple worked on all along. Based on the initial discussions and expectations that Apple were hoping to set.

My issue here is, are Apple gauging the professional market with this iMac and the proposed Mac Pro ? The iMac Pro is very much an all in one with a finite life span. The only solid evidence we have is that Apple are firmly committed to AR and VR. Developers in this area will need workstation machines capable of handling demanding tasks.

The problem will be if sales aren’t to Apple’s expectations. Is this the end of the line ? Apple themselves have said that the desktop market is a small percentage of the overall Mac market. The Mac Pro an even smaller percentage of that small desktop percentage.

It’d be understandable if the amount of work and time to deliver a pro desktop is a tough ask. Its hard not to take the current Mac Pro’s state as an indicator of what they’ve been thinking. Sure I can understand that they might have made some bad design decisions but it saw no major revisions since its release.

Granted some of the fault rests with Intel’s workstation processors lagging badly on their roadmaps.

I do hope that we’ll get workstation Macs. I look forward to seeing what the future holds. Possibly even buying one. Because my use cases better fit the Mac Pro then the iMac Pro. I’m leaning towards having a workstation again one way or the other.

At the prices Apple is asking, its an investment that needs to last more then four to five years though.