Has Apple lost interest in the Mac?

“It’s been a long time since Apple upgraded many of their Macs,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Kirkville. “The MacBook and the iMac were upgraded most recently. With the iMac’s last upgrade a year ago, it’s possible that we’ll see something soon, in time for the Christmas season. Or will we? I have a 2014 27″ 5K iMac. I used to renew my hardware every 18-24 months so I could have the newest features, and because it did make a difference in terms of speed and other hardware elements. I can’t imagine needing to upgrade my current iMac, and I can’t imagine what Apple could add to this computer to make it tempting, even for me, a tech journalist who tends to like to have the newest features in my computers. Once they added the retina display, they provided everything that I needed in my work.”

“In a way, it’s not surprising that Apple hasn’t updated Macs for a while,” McElhearn writes. “I don’t think the company has lost interest in the Mac, but they’ve simply made it less of a priority… Apple obviously needs to update Macs, and even if they’re not making a lot of money from them, I think they need to keep the product lines refreshed, if only for appearances. (And it’s not like they’re losing money on Macs anyway.)”

“Soon, perhaps?” McElhearn writes. “When macOS Sierra is released on September 20? Or sometime in October, which is often when they introduce new Macs and iPads?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s no breaking of Betteridge’s law here. A little birdy tels us that Mac users need be patient only a little while longer; they’ll soon be nicely rewarded.

Just a bit more patience, Padawans!

Tim Cook: Apple is ‘very committed’ to the Mac, ‘stay tuned’ – September 9, 2016
Apple preps massive Mac overhaul – August 31, 2016
Apple hardware pipeline includes new iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air models and 5K monitor – August 29, 2016


  1. I just love it when “tech” journalists think they speak for all of us [s]. So he doesn’t need to update HIS macs but what about the rest of us? I type this from a 2010 27″ iMac that has antiquated graphics, USB2, 512 SSD (post purchase) and 16 Gig of ram. My laptop is a 2011 Macbook Air with 4Gig of ram. Lightroom has slowed to a crawl and I’m getting weird “graphic artifacts” as my video card is starting to flake out. I do NOT want to buy two year old tech by buying a new iMac that does not have USB 3.1 nor Thunderbolt 3 also I like to get the most current graphic capabilities when I spend over $3,000 (USD) for my computer with the hope I’ll get 5+ years of use again. For Jobs sake  release some new Macs!

      1. I don’t see any crank. I just see a logical argument that overly long times between bumping specs results in poor value for customers who cannot synchronize their computing needs with Apple’s strangely infrequent upgrades.

        I see a customer describing a problem Apple is creating for them – and lots of others, including myself.

        Mac Pro is the worst offender here. WTF is a 2013 Pro machine in 2016? Not Pro that is for sure.

      2. Apple has gotten itself into this situation.

        Skylake processors for all but the Mac Pro have been shipping for many months. Broadwell E & Xeon processors have been shipping for many months. Apple could have updated the ENTIRE Mac line (and associated other technologies that have been available for several months). Apple did NOT update except for the MacBook.

        Kaby Lake processors are here for the low end mobility Macs (think MacBook and low end MacBook Air). Kaby Lake processors suitable for all but the Mac Pro will by shipping in quantity in the first calendar quarter of 2017. There are even predictions that the -E variants of Skylake will be available at that time.

        So does Apple ship Macs with old Skylake technology just 3-4 months before Kaby Lake is available and promptly be labeled as having old technology — or does Apple wait for another 3-4 months and roll out Macs with then current technology.

        Either way, the people who have been putting off buying new Macs waiting for a significant upgrade are going to be very, very upset.

    1. Exactly. I have been advising back-to-school friends that Apple is likely to upgrade MacBook Air/Pro soon, but they are still forced to get bad value versions out now because school is in.

      (Most are technical majors where the MacBook is not enough power.)

      Apple is doing purchasing customers a huge disservice by not bumping specs more frequently. Big redesigns every few years is fine, but selling underpowered CPUs and GPUs is a terrible signal to send, and a break in trust in my opinion.

      It doesn’t matter how great of value a Mac is when released. It matters how great the value is when purchased.

  2. We always want something new. If Apple had released new Macs half way between now and when they were last updated, it would have been very small incremental changes. If you already had the Mac prior, would you really have upgraded?

    Now that we have waited so long, this will be a great upgrade from almost any Mac, and it should hopefully be much more than the tiny incremental changes we often second guess upgrading to.

    I’m glad that I will upgrade, without a doubt, and finally get something much more capable than my current Macs.

    1. That is a really stupid analysis. The best thing would be for the Macs to remain current and up-to-date rather than visibly falling behind nearly everything else on sale in its class.

    2. I don’r expect Apple to just update a Mac. I expect some innovation too. And I expect them to be on par with the market in terms of performance to get the best hardware every year on top models running OSX.

      Apple has sacrificed top graphic performance to favor battery performance, but why should top desktop or mobile parts suffer from this criteria?

      Did you know the GPU inside the top 27 iMac is a mobile part not capable to offer acceptable 5K performance on 3D demanding applications or on desktop games? Most games on those machines run at half 1440p resolution (2560 x 1440), and not with every feature at top level. So why bother to offer a magnificent 5K display if it will never be taken to it best level using the machine it is built for. Forget Virtual Reality on a Mac.

      So Apple doesn’t need minor hardware updates right now but significan updates just there where it counts. Inside top MacBooks, inside top iMacs and inside top Mac Pros. Even on a top Mac Mini where Apple inexplicably eliminated the i7 quad core option.

      Finally if Apple care that much to keep their Macs under certain power envelope it would be reasonable to expect an external device designed by Apple capable to offer today’s top graphic technologies.

      1. “forget Virtual Reality on a Mac.”

        Good point and one I’ve made on these forums before.

        If VR and AR take hold on Windows and become part ôf the UI, then Apple have nothing, NOTHING to offer and nothing in the pipeline.

        Think that’s far fetched? Imagine if Apple were łate to the mouse UI, they wouldn’t have been able to catch up.

    1. As soon as they get the iPhone 8 out the door, select new wristband colors for the watch, and organize the next LGBTXYZ event, then two engineers will be assigned to the Mac upgrade.

      It’s all a matter of (low) priority.

    2. “Define soon.”

      Golly, you noticed that one too?

      Unfortunately, the handwriting is already on the wall, as Apple has already been EOL’ing the software parts of the OS X Ecosystem that allowed it to be successfully differentiated from Windows … Aperture for photographers, for example (as was also the Photos downgrade from iPhoto: it too has been a stinking pile of Fail – – must have been the same VP who thought that FCP X was ready for prime time.

      And beyond the pro/prosumer Mac customer, there’s also EDU, where the word is that Chromebooks are eating Apple’s lunch. Well done!

        1. A rMBP running any variant of iOS (even as a screen skin) is an idiotic idea. We’re close enough to that with what we have already.

          The issue is NOT the interface. Sierra will be a great OS and interface.

          The issue is the hardware. Very likely we won’t see volume shipments of new Pro hardware until calendar year Q1 2017. Apple put themselves into this predicament. There is no good way out.

  3. It’s easy.

    If you are solely a digital consumer, you don’t need an upgrade.

    But if you do anything else with your computer, you’re already considering a Hackintosh or going over to Windows.

    1. I’ve already decided I’m building a Hackintosh as soon as the Kaby Lake processors are released. I’m tired of waiting for Apple to bring out a proper headless Mac that can be expanded as I see fit.

    2. Actually, a lot of us don’t want to hang out at Fry’s discussing which video card works best with which motherboard. That’s why we choose Mac. That’s why we choose Apple.

      On the other hand, I’d rather pluck out my own eye than try to switch to Windows.

  4. Right you are!

    I think Cook and his executive board are now doing long-term damage to Apple. By not continuing to support the Mac with consistent releases of world-class hardware and software, they have already lost the mindshare of the pros and some of the prosumers. Apparently Apple thinks only about consumers and fashion now. If Cook doesn’t whip the Mac lineup in to shape, then he should be replaced with someone who knows a thing or two about high performance CREATIVE computing.

  5. “A little birdy tels us that Mac users need be patient only a little while longer; they’ll soon be nicely rewarded.”

    With 5400rpm drives, 6 new sparkly colours, soldered on, non upgradeable RAM, and non upgradeable GPUs that were red hot, 3 years ago.

    Real artists ship, and they ship slightly more frequently than every 4 years.

  6. “Has Apple lost interest in the Mac?”
    “it’s possible that we’ll see something soon, in time for the Christmas season. Or will we?”
    “I don’t think the company has lost interest in the Mac”
    “even if they’re not making a lot of money from them,”

    Quick, somebody make McElhearn sit down and drink some fluids, I think he’s suffering from hypothermia!

  7. don’t have time or energy this time around to really argue with idiot tech journalist.
    but i just can’t leave this…
    “even if they’re not making a lot of money from them”

    Last quarter Macs made 5.2 Billion in revenue, iPads 4.9 billion.
    (Macs also beat iPad revenues in April)
    Mac revenues is over TWICE the other products category (2.2b) that includes Apple Watch.

    so maybe Apple should ALSO stop caring about iPads, Apple Watches, Apple Music etc because they they all make about or less than Macs?

    If macs were a separate business it’s size by profit would be one of the larges in the USA. By profit it’s larger than Dell and foreign firms like Lenovo, Acer.

    Journalists always say Apple products are doing badly profit wise because they (probably) compare it to iPhone which is silly as iPhone is the most profitable product in the world, by itself iPhone is larger by profit than Microsoft or all the cars sold by Ford combined. EVERY product in the world , every car, radio, microwave etc is a failure if you rule is that ‘it should match iPhone revenues’.

    besides pleasing loyal customers with great Macs, it should also be apparent by how aapl stock goes that EVERY cent counts, a small drop in revenues the stock tanks, so Macs are important.

    note Mac sales would be EVEN BETTER if Apple upgraded more regularly, give users what the want (like upgradable components like GPUs in Pro machines) and actually MARKETED macs (practically no mac advertising, not even cheap Web ads for years).

    1. Did you intentionally quote revenue rather than profits? The journalist reasoned only that Apple might not make as much money off Macs as they do iOS devices. Given economies of scale the iOS lines should make more money than the smaller quantity Macs do.
      [Written on my 2011 27″ iMac that really could do with a GPU upgrade!]

      1. I don’t know what exactly you are getting at.. ?

        profits is roughly revenues minus costs.
        (the revenue numbers I quoted for iPad are the total for all iPads sold)

        so if macs make more in revenues and margins are about the same than Macs will still make more profits than iPads

        (note I was talking iPads in the first comparison not ‘iOS devices’ as you are stating which includes iPhones which is the second part my argument)

        the only way that macs will make less than iPads is that if their profit margins are way smaller but I doubt it.

        I used ‘profits’ in comparison with Dell etc because PC makers are notorious for large revenues but low profits , their margins are very small.

        1. Hey Davewrite, no animosity, just discourse. You quoted the article “even if they’re not making a lot of money from them” and then gave a revenue comparison. I was just inquiring whether you meant to compare revenue across product lines versus profits. In your reply you say “if…margins are about the same…” but there is really almost no way they can be the same because of the economies of scale, the purchasing power Apple gets ordering at quantities needed for iOS devices (shared parts across iOS lines further make the iPad to Mac cost model comparisons difficult. So I was just trying to check it out with you, not trying to create a big drama.

  8. “I can’t imagine what Apple could add to this computer to make it tempting, even for me, a tech journalist who tends to like to have the newest features in my computers.”

    Knowing Apple’s recent track record, they’re more likely to take away features than add them. While I hope they have something interesting up their sleeves, all I need is a new non-display desktop Mac that exceeds the usefulness of my old 2010 Mac Pro. There’s been no upgrade path for me for 6 years, and counting, and I used to upgrade every 3-5 years.

    1. No. You update a windows/linux/everything else machine WHEN YOU WANT TO.. not when YOU ARE FORCED TO by the manufacturer.

      Best part about a Hackintosh. I can update things when I want, how I want, and as often or little as I want, all for a fraction of what apple would charge if/when they replace the entire widget to match the specs I’d need. OSX doesn’t care what its on (to a point, kexts do need to exist). Its a magical myth that only the shiny disposable shit boxes that apple makes are the only and best thing that OSX can run on. You all forget that since they went intel there is NO difference internally. It all off the shelf parts (except apple spray paints them black in some over the top cinematic paint bath probably) all purchased from all the same part supplies.

  9. I don’t think Apple has given up on desktops, I speculate that Apple has been long to upgrade as they can’t yet get the processors they want.

    The forthcoming AMD chips that can run like an Intel chip AND emulate ARM would be the be the perfect thing for Apple as they continue to merge OSX & iOS.

  10. Yes. If Apple cared about the Mac as much as it cared about fashion and consumer services, it would maintain the platform. Every single Mac on the market today is out of date and overpriced. Also, Jony Ive’s flat white/grey interface with non-conforming GUI standards sucks. The standard software, especially iTunes, is unintuitive. Programs like Mail and Calendar are less powerful than any number of competitive 3rd party programs.

    Would an interested leader let things get this bad?

    No, the problem is that executives at Apple only use iPads, and so they have no clue how good the competition for the Mac has become.

    Cook: if you don’t update your Macs with serious updates more than every 5 or 6 years, you are a dinosaur. If you can’t lead, then get out of the way.

    1. They have plenty of people working on Watch Bands and rising away money on a me too rental music service and a car project that cannot get out of the garage but no love for the product that has sustained the company for decades and funded all that followed.

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