“The Macintosh line of personal computers will soon be 32 years old,” Jean-Louis Gassée writes for Monday Note. “It has a venerable past… but what kind of future does it have in a declining market?”

“On the surface the Mac appears to be thriving. If ‘Macintosh Inc.’ were an independent company, its $22.8B in revenue for Apple’s 2016 accounting year (which ended in September) would rank 123rd on the Fortune 500 list, not far below the likes of Time Warner, Halliburton, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon,” Gassée writes. “But there’s more to the Mac’s future than its current good numbers. After enjoying a good time in the sun, the Mac is on the same downward slope as the rest of the PC market.”

“Instead of racing to the bottom as the market plummets, Apple appears to be taking the “high road”, in a sense: They’re taking refuge at the high end of the market by introducing new, more expensive MacBook Pros, with a visible differentiating feature, the Touch Bar,” Gassée writes. “This is known, inelegantly, as milking a declining business, although you shouldn’t expect Apple to put it that way.”

“In the end, iOS numbers make the decision,” Gassée writes. “For its part, Apple will stay out of the way and let customers — and developers — decide when it’s time to buy the last Mac.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in June 2015:

What comes after the Mac is a Mac by another name – whether it be “iPad” or something else entirely or, perhaps, if iOS becomes so powerful as to negate the need for a Mac, what’s to stop Apple from not ditching a brand name they built with over three decades by simply creating an iOS-powered “Mac” (think “MacPad” or to be a bit cheeky, the “iMacBook” (the “i” denotes an iOS-powered device). (Yes, “iMac” would be problematic. We’ll leave it for Apple to sort out.)

Regardless of the actual names, the visionary Steve Jobs often clearly laid out the plan, as he did in these two quotes, fourteen years apart:

If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. — Steve Jobs, February, 1996

And so, he did just that with iPad:

When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people. I think that we’re embarked on that. Is [the next step] the iPad? Who knows? Will it happen next year or five years from now or seven years from now? Who knows? But I think we’re headed in that direction… [With iPad] you have a much more direct and intimate relationship with the Internet and media, your apps, your content. It’s like some intermediate thing has been removed and stripped away… I think we’re just scratching the surface on the kind of apps we can build for it. I think one can create a lot of content on the tablet… Your vision would have to be fairly short to say that these things can’t over time grow into tools that can do many things. — Steve Jobs, June, 2010

The power of the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, and the Apple Watch, isn’t in their names, the power is Apple software’s ease-of-use coupled with masterfully designed hardware, inside and out. Apple’s best products elicit a certain feeling – users notice a touch here, “ooh, look at that”, another touch there, “wow, that’s nice” – a coherent aura throughout that says, “This product is thoughtfully designed and carefully considered inside and out with you, the user, always foremost in mind.”

A Mac by any other name would smell as sweet.<