“Apple has received its share of attacks this year, and some of it appears to be deserved. But I won’t dwell on the possibilities except for the device that used to be its most important product — the Mac,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “Up until the past year, you could usually depend on annual product refreshes.”

“In recent years, it appeared as if the annual improvements were so modest as to represent only a few percentage points on a benchmark. When it came to real work, most users — Macs and PCs — would probably not notice the difference,” Steinberg writes. “What happened was that even the lower-end machines delivered perfectly acceptable performance for most people, and only the power users cared about every percentage point improvement. So you could hang onto your computer for several years and depend on acceptable performance before it was ready to pass down to another member of the family, or retire.”

“The Mac Pro is another breed of cat. Three years in, improvements in Intel Xeons and graphics processors should have been significant enough to fuel a decent upgrade. As it is, you are basically paying the same money for a three-year-old computer, and it’s understandable customers are upset. Just what is Apple up to and why wasn’t anything done in 2016?” Steinberg writes. “Leaving it alone for three years doesn’t seem to indicate much interest, and there’s that published report about Apple’s 2017 plans that do not mention the two ‘headless’ Macs.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: One thing’s for sure: This is the year when Apple’s future plans for the Mac, or lack thereof, will come sharply into focus.