Apple’s WWDC is just round the corner and the world is gearing up to receive the latest Apple software. However, this event might also see a surprise announcement — an upgrade to the current Mac lineup.
Apple hasn’t touched the Mac for a very long time now, not in any sensible way at least. And when Bloomberg says “Apple plans laptop upgrade to take on Microsoft”, you know things have gone spectacularly off the rails for the former.
Apple used to make great computers.
After all, that was their speciality. But then the iPhone happened, and the Macs kinda got lost in the smartphone’s limelight. You’d think when the “new toy” glow around the iPhone faded, Apple would have found time for the Mac.
Unfortunately, Apple continued to find new distractions. The iPad came, Steve Jobs went, and then Apple Watch happened. Throw in the mix Apple TV and possibly a car, and in all the ruckus, the Mac’s plea for attention fell on deaf ears.
Meanwhile, Microsoft took a leaf out of Apple’s own book
They decided to make their own hardware. But before that they needed to perfect their Windows OS, which they did with Windows 10. And most importantly, they did what Apple should have done to some extent: They ignored their phone (Lumia series) and decided that the computer was their top priority.
And thus was born the Surface series.
The Surface Studio, especially, took the world by storm. It started picking up nicknames like “The iMac Killer”, and descriptions like “Microsoft’s Surface Studio is the iMac Apple had always to build.”
Apple could no longer ignore the threat. It had to take stock of things and accept them that Microsoft was beating them at their own game.
And now, finally, Apple is promising the much delayed, much needed upgrade to the Mac lineup.
Fanboys around the world are probably shouting foul right now, saying, “Hey, but they launched the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Surely that’s an upgrade!” Unfortunately, no. That was not an upgrade by any stretch of imagination.
The Touch Bar is merely ornamental, not functional.
And even if you put aside the Touch Bar debate, the new MacBook Pro is surprisingly underpowered and lacking in features. And for all this, it comes with an incredulous increase in price.
As pointed out by CultofMac, “Previous MacBook Pros started at $1,299 (13-inch) and $1,999 (15-inch). New MacBook Pros (with the Touch Bar) start at a whopping $1,799 (13-inch) and $2,399 (15-inch).”
As if that were not enough, the new MacBooks have no SD card slot, no HDMI, no MagSafe, and “you need a dongle to connect to literally everything:
◦ SD card readers
◦ Thunderbolt 2 peripherals
◦ DisplayPort monitors”
No wonder the new MacBook drew so much slack!
The so called “upgrades” seemed more like downgrades in the larger scheme of events. The “Touch Bar” gamble didn’t pay off, the target audience wasn’t happy with the performance, and the price was too outlandish.
Forbes piled on the misery by “reporting the lowest battery life results” of any MacBook so far. AppleInsider sums up the position succinctly —
“Apple has seen an unusual amount of criticism with the launch of this year’s MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. From a lack of external ports to mediocre RAM allotments, critics say MacBook Pro fails to meet the needs of the professional demographic it targets.”
Why did Apple ignore the Mac for so long?
For one, there was no competition. Having positioned themselves as the go-to device for professionals, they captured a highly lucrative and highly disorganized market. With no threat from Microsoft, the Mac sales practically took care of themselves.
Secondly, profits matter. The iPhone quickly rose through the ranks of Apple products, becoming the most profitable device. Today, it generates nearly two-thirds of Apple’s total revenue, while the Macs barely rake in a tenth.