What’s happening with Apple’s Macintosh?

“Apple’s overall Macintosh sales are in decline, for how long we don’t know,” John Martellaro writes for The Mac Observer. “The MacBook Pro is long over due for a refresh. Apple’s Mac Pro has languished. The Mac mini, last updated in 2014, was less than intoxicating. What’s happening?”

Martellaro writes, “If I were to guess, I’d say that there will now be a joint hardware event in September that announces both new MacBook Pros and the new iPhone 7.”

“It’s reasonable to speculate, based on recent history of Apple’s OS designs, that there will be a closer technical relationship between all the product lines,” Martellaro writes. “The delay in the MBP’s would allow Apple to achieve that in one fell swoop. Then we’ll be delighted and all will be forgiven.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, if history is any guide, our patience will be rewarded this autumn!

SEE ALSO:
Sales suffer as Apple neglects the Mac – July 12, 2016
Apple’s Mac sales fall, economies shudder – July 12, 2016
IDC, Gartner: Apple’s Mac no longer bucking PC industry’s sales slide – July 12, 2016

43 Comments

        1. My first Apple was an Apple 2 with 48K and it cost $1350 in 1982 money. That’s more than I paid for an iMac in 2012. We keep getting more for less, not the other way round.

          1. True, thanks to commoditisation, all computers today represent higher relative values than decades old hardware. But that’s not relevant to the new computer buyer.

            Your 1982 Apple II compared to the competition was miles ahead and worth the premium price, anyone could see that.

            How much more capable is your iMac compared to the competition today?

            Sad to say, but on purely economic and logistical terms, the competition has caught up. The competitiors are hitting all the niches that Apple refuses to offer. They are upping their quality and refinement and in a some cases surpassing Apple’s standards. They are offering more power and more user-friendly features for less money. In some products, horrid Apple pricing makes it a tough sell, especially for non-emotional purchases that companies and institutions have to make. And then the big issue: these days, you never really know if Apple will update, dramatically change, or axe the software that you relied on. Just ask any former XServe, tower Mac Pro, 17″ MacBook Pro, or Aperture user how they feel about Apple’s user focus. The users didn’t go away, Apple pushed them away and refuses to serve them at any price.

  1. Oh, goody! A new monster Mac Pro with one side that opens to reveal all the internals so additional drives and CPUs can be added and subtracted as desired.

    While the base model will be reasonably priced, the box will become one more cash cow for Apple and upgrade suppliers since owners will be adding components to it for years to come. And, the box will mate perfectly with Apple’s new high end monitor to be introduced at the same time.

      1. Just before the Cube, i had the honor to receive a warning from Apple’s lawyers because of a little 3D animation i did with the concept of plugging Macintosh cubes in a pile to get an automatic cluster. Alas, I fear that never occurs while Apple runs into producing more and more lucrative “gadgets” to please its shareholders. The time of “Think different” is gone and lost and replaced by “Think business”!

        1. Almux, I would agree, except for a key market change. People are keep their computers and Macs included, for 6-8 years in many cases.

          Once Apple sells a “Modular Mac” it gives people a chance to buy additional modules every year or two to upgrade whatever function they need. They keep spending money and spending it sooner than they otherwise would.

          Yup, I am speculating, but PC sales are hitting reverse. People are getting smarter. Modular won’t make sense for laptops. The desktop/workstation market is a different world. Once a workstation is running right, I’ve seen product & web designers keep it going for 5 & 6 years.

      2. All Macs are practically legos now. Since Apple refuses to offer internal expansion, many of us have been forced to cover our desks with breakout boxes and hubs and a mess of cables. Just as bad as it ever was, just much more expensive and the money goes to 3rd parties instead of Apple.

        1. You are right on the money, especially about upgradeability, except for the mess part. That’s where the user comes into the design equation, exploiting new degrees of freedom in component layout. An interior decorator may need to be consulted in some cases, but if clutter is already a hallmark of the user’s lifestyle that shouldn’t be necessary. 😶

          Granted, office design decisions were few when everything was crammed into a perforated aluminum box the entirety of which was essentially a giant heat sink. 🔥 I still think that vintage Mac Pro design has much to recommend it and I hope they bring it back. But the new design (the cylinder) is a thermodynamic marvel. Yes there were tradeoffs unacceptable to pro users, and the design may end up abandoned, in which case I own a valuable museum piece. It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened to an early adopter.

  2. Officially support Hackintosh-like computer build? I don’t know what else Apple would do with MacOS if they are no longer taking Mac computers seriously.

    1. Patience is a virtue. But it (and loyalty) shouldn’t be taken advantage of, either.

      That’s exactly what Apple did to pro users with the Mac Pro. No updates to the 2010 model except a minor CPU bump in 2012, then a machine that was more form than function in late 2013.

      Mac users who wanted properly expandable Pro machines have effectively been waiting 6 years.

      That’s not Apple rewarding patience or loyalty, that’s Apple telling them they aren’t worth the company’s time and effort.

      1. Wifey was oh so close to getting a new MacBook but decided against it in the end.
        It was a nice little machine but had too many downsides. Paltry storage, barely adequate processor, ONE port and a rubbish keyboard.
        The price: $1700.

        The Mac Pro was overkill for anyone but power users, who value speed over all else, including form factor, and now it’s hopelessly out of date.

        The iMac has not had a good design overhaul in years and the mini is just sad.

        Why is anyone asking what is causing Apple’s sales slowdown?

    1. Autonomous cars answer questions that the vast majority of people aren’t asking. Just because Apple has money to burn doesn’t mean that a bonfire makes sense. Apple has tons of headroom to grow the Mac business if they tried. Cars, not so much.

      Look at the numbers:
      Apple 2016 Q2 Mac shipments = 4,559,000 (Gartner, July 2016)
      Apple’s overhead costs are miniscule since it outsources almost everything, and development of new Mac hardware doesn’t take more than 2-3 years. Thus, profit margins on Macs are >>30%.

      Tesla produced 18,345 cars in 2016 Q2 but was only able to deliver 14,370 to customers. It’s overhead costs are high and growing, and the legal/safety issues of ill-implemented autonomous driving aids are rearing an ugly head. Profit margin: <5% with risks of dropping. Tesla also faces the unenviable task of convincing people that their cars are as good a value as other premium makes. Maybe if you're sitting in congestion going 25 mph in LA a pure electric autonomous vehicle and recharging with Solar City electric panels, the high cost of a Tesla makes sense. In the rest of the world, a conventional or hybrid car is just as efficient on a total energy & ecological imprint lifetime analysis.

      Apple on the other hand has long been considered the premier PC maker and with enormous resources should have more ability to produce the newest, best, most innovative technologies. It seems Timid Tim just doesn't have it in him to keep the Mac viable.

      I propose that the reason that new Mac & PC sales are in decline is due to many factors, first being bad software that people are actively resisting updating because they don't want to be forced into subscriptions. Buying a new machine in many cases means abandoning standalone software that still works great. Hate to tell you, but Windows 7, pre-CC Adobe products, etc remain the mainstream standards that people like and use. Mac users have been slapped in the face with new software and hardware that costs a lot, looks flat and gray, but doesn't do anything fundamentally better and for pros actually is too constraining. So new PC sales look soft but people are upgrading hardware and internals at a healthy rate, and Mac users are gritting their teeth waiting for Apple to shit or get off the pot.

      Also, computer companies have been offering the wrong configuration computers. PC makers attempting to sell touchscreen machines to people who don't want them, and Macs having overpriced stale sealed hardware that is several years out of date.

      Many people here have stated their needs and desires, and Apple is tone deaf to them all. Fresh hardware would reinvigorate Mac sales, but it takes sustained effort that Apple seems never able to offer. Competing against Tesla in a market with poor margins, enormous overhead and legal risks, and huge industrial inertia seems like a waste of time and money.

      1. Jon Rubenstein, former leader of the iPod hardware group, offered these 3 critical criteria at the WWDC for what Apple uses to isolate opportunities.

        The existing market has no absolute dominant leader.

        Apple has a dominant financial position to the existing market participants.

        Apple possesses intellectual property that will provide a minimum of 5 years of control of a meaningful share of the most profitable segments of the market.

        My gut says Apple’s car IP will be centered around fuel cell energy rather than autonomous driving. We’ll see.

        So Apple sells about 1.5 million computers a month at an average retail of what, maybe $1,200-$1,500. Jean Louis Gasse offered at the launch of the watch he believes it takes a minimum of a $10 billion market to interest Apple at this point. $10 billion is 100,000 cars at $100,000. Or it means trying to double the computer business in a market that is half the size it was. We’ll see.

  3. I hope that this is true. My mid-2010 17″ MBP is in dire need of replacement. I need a 15″ Skylake w/ Retina Display. Anything more would be bonus.

    If/when it’s available, I’ll be first in line.

  4. No more Intel integrated anything on the professional or iMac line, FTLOG, just… stop, Apple. Intel integrated graphics is garbage, and you know it.

    16GB of RAM, 512GB storage SSD or better, and just get rid of hard drives altogether. There’s no reason for you to be charging as much as you do for shitty 5400RPM drives.

  5. Intel has happened and is happening to Apple’s Macintosh. Meanwhile, their own CPU’s are seeing significant improvements every year.

    If it appears that Apple is focusing on mobile, it’s because they control their destiny there. They can decide they want some new killer mobile feature year after next and have it baked in the silicon and ready to go. With Intel, they have to wait until they can get to the “shipping” part of their business. We should FINALLY get mobile processors worthy of a three year wait this year… maybe… Still, really depends on if Intel hit their revised revised revised schedule

      1. Apple hardware IS 1 or 2 generations behind for the largest sector of the market, which is portables. The main reason why is because Intel couldn’t make a 4 core processor with the latest tech. They’ve been putting out also-ran minor tweak technology (with a minor speed bump) for years now.

        As a result, what we’re getting from Apple is… Guess what? Minor Tweak technology with a minor speed bump for years now. If Apple doesn’t release a 4 core Skylake portable system this year, then I’d say they’re dropping the ball. However, they can’t make a system around a CPU that doesn’t exist. 🙂

        Regarding the MacPro, when they said they were making it in the US, that said to me that they never expect to reach mass market volumes with them. They probably ran the factory full tilt for 6 months and are still selling out the inventory of the few they produced. I wouldn’t expect to see any new MacPro’s, but I’m prepared to be surprised if needed.

        1. I’m sorry, even if Intel Skylake chips were slow to ship in quantity, there are a million things Apple could have done to improve its Macs. Apple has no excuse.

          Customers would appreciate improvements in price, RAM, GPU options, battery type/capacity, additional USB-C ports, TouchID, improved Bluetooth and wireless performance, matte displays, optional chassis colors, …. revival of the 17″ MacBook Pro, new displays that link to either USB-C or MiniDisplayPort,

          None of this is being slowed down by anybody other than Apple’s weak leadership. No wonder Mac sales plummeted faster than the broader market. The other guys consistently improve their hardware, Apple doesn’t.

    1. On Target! [What dummy *DING*ed you down?]

      Moore’s Law is over and done, at least for now. Intel is at least a year and a half behind schedule. Apple gets to suffer for it? Not exactly fair.

      But then there’s the Mac Pro. Apple has NO excuse there for its stagnation.

      1. Nothing makes sense to me about the Mac Pro unless it’s some sort of Jony Ive personal project. I could understand if Apple created its own graphic processors for the cylindrical Mac Pro but to expect any other company to support such a small number of devices with new graphics processors makes no sense at all. Why must Apple Mac Pro users be stuck with 3 year-old graphics processors you can’t even upgrade if you wanted to?

        If Apple wants to keep building the current Mac Pro, then fine but how would it hurt them to build a traditional pro computer that uses industry standard, easily upgraded cards. It’s as though they only want to build green devices or they’re deliberately building products that can’t be upgraded and can only replaced with a newer Apple product. Apple is a real head-scratcher.

        1. The Mac Pro is fantastic in concept and execution, but it fails miserably because Apple misunderstood its audience.

          Only Jobs knew what customers wanted before they did, Cook is lost.

  6. The reasons why there sales are falling behind is because the mac line up is outdated. Too many laptop model that overlap each other and too big of a gap between the desktop models. Every single mac hardware is overdue for an update of some form. Is Apple working on a complete new line of computer using a complete new series of Apple CPU for computers ?

  7. The Apple line up is ridiculously outdated. I expect a grudging incremental update in the fall. I suspect no one who does anything with their electronic devices other than surf the web, read emails, text, make phone calls, and play Pokeman has any influence at Apple. It’s run by consumers, so why should they make devices for anyone other than consumers? People that actually use technology to CREATE are going to have to buy from someone else and either live with Windows or run a hackintosh. (or linux, but really, come on…) Way to go, Apple.

  8. Build a REAL Mac Pro and I will gladly buy one. Update the Mac mini with better graphics and a return to upgrade ability and I’ll buy a couple.
    Have no interest in an iMac and my MacBook Pro is just fine.

    P.S.
    Tim, how about a 4K Apple LED Cinema that takes both Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt and HDMI?

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