Apple will remain loyal to the Mac until Mac users die off

Yesterday, with the new MacBook Pro, Apple “refined a critical product line in a portion of its business that Apple likely understands is in a permanent decline,” Mark Rogowsky writes for Forbes. “Total PCs sold peaked at 365 million in 2011, falling to 288 million in 2015. There is no turnaround in sight, with 2016 expected to finish the year down another 5% or more.”

“It’s against that backdrop that Apple rolled out the biggest upgrades to the 4-year-old MacBook Pro. Apple, more than many, understands that computing has shifted away from traditional computers to smartphones and tablets,” Rogowsky writes. “Yet it remains loyal to the Mac, which is now approaching its 33 birthday, as do many of its oldest customers. For those reasons, it will continue to update the Mac but is unlikely to ever emphasize it again.”

“Consider what CEO Tim Cook said a year ago, soon after the launch of the iPad Pro: ‘I think if you’re looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one? [T]he iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people. They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phone,'” Rogowsky writes. “Cook is betting that Apple can keep satisfying the generation that grew up on PCs with incremental change to the Macintosh while he keeps Apple pointed at younger generations, for whom PCs are less and less important.”

“The company decided several years ago that touchscreen PCs offer a lousy user experience: Whether on a laptop or desktop, the screen is too far away to be easily pressed most of the time,” Rogowsky writes. “Notably, the iPad Pro keyboard solves that [issue] …by being shallower than a laptop, it brings the screen closer to the user, making touching it dramatically easier.”

“Apple already makes about half the PC industry’s profits selling <10% of the world’s 'computers,'" Rogowsky writes. "With the new Macbook Pros it will likely see growth in that segment in 2017 even while the segment itself continues to slowly disappear."

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iOS and iPad are not there yet for power users, but, with every iteration, they get closer, converting great swaths of traditional “personal computer” users into multi-touch users. To see an iPad being used in the hands of kids who’ve only used Multi-Touch computers is to see the future.

Jobs sent not his iPad into the world to condemn the computer; but that the computer through iPad might be saved.MacDailyNews, February 8, 2010

Ask yourself, “What does the vast majority use a computer for?” Web browsing, email, some word processing, and games. That’s about it. Really. Of course, iPad does all of that and much, much more. — MacDailyNews, June 22, 2012

Welcome to the new world of personal computing for the masses. Given what the average users do, Apple’s iPad is what “personal computing” for the average user should’ve always been, had the technology existed back when Steve Jobs first delivered personal computing to the masses.MacDailyNews, November 11, 2015

Yes, for anyone who feels that they are forcing themselves to use an iPad where they’d prefer to use their Mac, the iPad is not there, yet. For many, iPad is there already. As iOS and iOS apps continue to evolve and the hardware gets ever more powerful and sophisticated, most of us will get there eventually. — MacDailyNews, November 19, 2015

Traditional PCs (think Windows and even Macs) always were massive, massive overkill for most people. Way, way more complexity, power, and configurability than the vast majority required. The general public needed computing appliances, so that’s what Steve Jobs and his vast legion of patent- and trade dress-infringing imitators gave them. — MacDailyNews, April 12, 2016

85 Comments

  1. I just don’t buy that iOS is a substitute for the MacOS. I just really hate it when I’m trying to get work done. Maybe it’s the best we can do for an iPhone or iPad as an “internet consumption device,” but I’m on a Mac to create, not consume.

    I heard a rumor today that Apple wants to kill it’s desktop line. Hope that’s not true either!

    I’m planning on living at least another 40 years, so I hope that means I’ll have a Mac to work on till then…

    1. Mark Rogowsky is a whore.

      He calls himself a “serial entrepreneur” in his Forbes bio; this probably means he does nothing but armchair quarterbacking other peoples innovation when he’s not trying to peddle some lame assed idea to a venture capitalist.

      In other words, he creates nothing but tries to tell others what to do and how to do it.

      Take his opinions with a grain of salt.

      1. Mark Rogowsky is a whore.

        In other words, he creates nothing but tries to tell others what to do and how to do it.

        Take his opinions with a grain of salt.

        I sure hope you’re right. It’s hard to know what Apple’s thinking these days, but I really can’t imagine they’d kill the Mac. It’s just too crucial even if Apple employees just need something to work on.

        But this is one of the side effects of secrecy. Apple doesn’t need to share secrets with competitors, but it could do a better job of letting it’s customers know the future of the Mac and at least a vague idea of it’s vision for the future. I can’t say Timo has really seduced me with his…

        1. like many photographers, I’m okay with the hardware. if I were a video editor or animator things would be different—those guys need the hardware in spades. I’m a photographer so my iMac 27 5K works more than great for me—but hold on, I need software that’s not 3-4 years out of date and Lightroom gives me hives.

    2. Even in terms of purely consuming content the Mac is superior (at home, obviously mobile devices are better on-the-go) for the simple reason that moving your finger 2″ around a trackpad is superior to clumsily reaching around a 10-12″ screen. The masses will dictate the market though. I expect most purchasers of the new Macbook Pro with shiny Touch Bar to be decidedly non-professionals, at least as far as their need for such a device goes.

      1. Unsurprisingly, I agree with you completely, Nick.

        I wonder too about the “professional” use of the magic bar and whether or not pros will really want or like to use it. Maybe it will be one of those things that a year from now we all love and can’t live without, or maybe it won’t. Hard to tell, but it doesn’t do anything for me that I can see.

        In terms of Apple becoming more transparent, I appreciate Phil explaining why the 32GB RAM option was not there. This is a baby step in the right direction, explaining Apple’s thought process, but it could also push Cupertino’s R & D toward learning how to better manage battery life by (as MDN suggests) allowing some type of “turbo” setting when you could turn on all 32GB when you really needed them.

        But again, we have Apple arbitrarily deciding for us, for no apparent reason other than profits, that the 13” customer is somehow “less professional” than those who need/want a 15” Why is there no 2TB option on the 13” MBP? Do people with smaller screens store less?…

        C’mon, Apple!

        If we’re willing to pay your 500% margins on hard drives and RAM, why not let us put whatever amount or size we want to inside OUR computers. They’re not YOUR computers. They’re OUR computers once we buy them. Stop with the paternalistic B.S. and let adults configure their computers as they see fit. This is some old, corporate philosophy steeped in childhood trauma. It’s not relevant in 2016.

        I guess that’s what I’m so curious about in the end. If Timo were to sidestep and go back to supply chain management and perhaps a CEO with real vision were to step in (Elon Musk, or Richard Branson, or anyone of that type?…), what might we expect from Apple?

        It feels more and more, as I read the thoughts of others here, that we’re hitting peak post Jobs here. The company he built around his dynamic, acerbic, mostly brilliant vision and personality no longer has that driving it. We still have the talented designer Ives, but we can’t keep building shit that just looks nice. We need function to supersede form if there are compromises to be made.

        Apple without real vision will look like Sony in 5 years or so. We need vision for more than just building a giant spaceship headquarters and multibillion dollar AppleStores. If Apple had half of the vision in technology that their architecture team clearly has, we’d all be a lot more delighted than we are today.

        For Apple, the magic that we all miss, is one man’s vision.

        Shy of a Ouija board to let Jobs back in, what are we going to do about that?

        1. Great post Mick. To answer your last question, you can’t bring back the past. It doesn’t mean that a better future isn’t possible, but I don’t really see it with this team. Everything feels very corporate and safe, they’re producing the bare minimum I’d expect from a company worth $600 billion.

          At least entice consumers with an attractive price point. Unlike their standard “keeping the same prices” schtick for the iPhone each year, they’ve blown the roof off with the new Macbooks. For the heck of it I priced out a non-touch bar Pro with max processor and RAM. It’d be $2200 (CA sales tax included). Not exactly a reasonable replacement for my Air. Especially sans USB ports and SD card slot.

      1. I will make a guess here. Apple’s Macs will continue to take share from Windows because they can run Windows better than a lot of Windows machines.

        For those programs that ONLY run on Windows, the Mac will be a viable alternative to carrying two laptops. Emulation works for most and Boot Camp for native apps that have serial # issues with emulation.

        Hence, Windows won’t go away, as Apple’s Macs get closer to being the “Ultimate PC.”

    3. “Apple will remain loyal to the Mac until Mac users die off” – MDN
      Hold that thought…

      “I’m planning on living at least another 40 years” – MickG
      I hope you live 1000 more, but if you really cared about Apple (priorities friend), you wouldn’t! /s

    4. There is no longer PRO market.

      Today a spotty 15 yo neighbour kid is able to make mindblowing 4K footage on iPhone and cheap drone, editing it on iMovie/FCP on iMac to stellar quality. 10 years ago only couple of bazillion dollar studios could afford that.

      So Apple is going forward. I’m afraid too fast for some of us. So my fellow dinosaurs, there is no sense debating on soldered RAM or bateries and scratching heads on new laptops with stupid rainbow TouchBars.

      Our kids is the new market. They are on the move, they are digital nomads, they are non-stop online and they need a lot of BLING.

      Thats why Johny created rose gold iPhone, not Mac Pro 2016.

  2. Maya, Photoshop, Nuke, Pro Tools, InDesign, Z Brush, Final Cut Pro, After Effects, etc., etc. etc. Power users need these- right now on a real desktop.

    I love Apple, but does the company want us to buy Windows machines? That is the ONLY question for many of us. Period.

      1. Peter I do understand your frustration but for people like me that have straddled both Mac and Win/DOS worlds for so long, and have seen mainframes sink like the Titanic dooming us to rejigger everything: it is sad, very sad, that they don’t listen to our voices in the wilderness, not really, because they are forever enthralled by the sirens of profit; and “they” were only Punch and Judy sock puppets all along, winning our hearts whilst tricking our minds and draining our wallets.

    1. And I can add a completely different list of absolutely critical Mac apps to your list.

      The tragic thing is that the iOS consumer kiddies will not likely even heard of your list of critical apps and mine.

      Doubly tragic: our critical apps create the content they play with.

      So much for the “smartest generation”

      1. What exactly is precluding a younger generation from learning the tools you so covet? I have a 13 year old that currently uses After Effects, Photoshop and Blender. Sure, lot of people don’t use, need or are interested in creative tools, but some are, just like when you grew up. I am plaining on getting the next generation iMac. One with at least a 4GB Polaris or Pascal GPU. My sun would get my old 2008 Mac Pro, so he can keep creating.

    2. The answer is yes.

      Macs don’t make much $ for Apple, so their plan is to downplay Macs and slowly push Mac users to Windows. This is why Macs are so slow in upgrades. It’s by design and a way to kill the Mac.

      Once the bulk of Mac users have gone Windows, they can then say the Mac market is too small to develop for, so they have no choice but to stop making Macs.

      It’s part of their plan to kill the Mac.

      1. Jambro, maybe, just maybe, Apple sees that the hardware advancements for desktops are now so minimal from year to year that tooling up every year for a minor bump doesn’t offer them or consumers much advantage?

        What do you say?

    3. lol…”Apple will remain loyal to the Mac until Mac users die off”

      Apple is killing the Mac Users… they are not waiting for them to die off….
      Nowhere is this more evident than in what Apple choose to call PRO… in all their devices!

      Its a shame, its a Huge and Disaterouse Mistake.

      I hope i am proven wrong when the next iMacs and MacPros are realeased… way sooner than later….. hell its already way late….

      Wakeup Apple… you are losing your core reputation and followers…… next thing you know no one will give a shit anymore.
      Where is all that R&D money going?….. jet black? two cams? touch strip? the Igore battery case ? the pencil that never stays with its device and is missing elementary functions. ..with the most stupid charge solution?. mouse with wiered charge port?
      No Pro products?……..
      10 billion$ plus r&d and growing and growing… for fashion ? and Apple Dogma?

      Where is the Wonder ? the wonder we all loved.

      1. R&D? That is way to far!… we pro users are not even asking Apple for innovation on the Mac, we are only asking Apple not to fall behind. Actually we are asking Apple to go back to the desktop tower or we want Apple to create some user serviceable mini desktop tower, to support some high end GPU options and other PCI cards and leave us alone, will do the rest.

        There are options to build and expand your Mac today but it is getting ugly with compact and slim Macs. So a big square box with standard parts at least will hold some expansion options inside and will keep updates possibilities open for years.

      1. I do agree with you in principle, but it so happens that I was one of the folks that upgraded to the Mac Pro exactly in 2013. I am fine with it. I am sorry for the others that waited longer, or despised the cylinder design, but they are acting like angry activists. I don’t xpect Apple to be my daddy, or even my bread and butter. Microsoft has done me far worse over the years. When Ryobi or DeWalt considers freezing their industrial designs I’ll get mad at Apple, otherwise I’ll do the rational thing and adjust to time and the market. Life is short, unregulated spleen doesn’t shorten it.

        1. Glad to hear you are happy with your pro purchase.

          I can’t say this enough — Apple MUST SELL computers at every price point that BURY the competition.

          Sad it has not happened under Clueless Cook. Cool watch bands and gay parades are fine. But I NEED PRO COMPUTING POWER SECOND TO NONE.

          Damnit!!!

          Apple owner since my Lisa. 😭

  3. Content creators and developers will still need a PC to do the heavy lifting.
    “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.” – Steve Jobs, 2010

    1. be that as it may,

      ain’t no excuse for not producing the best damn trucks to be made. and it is going to be a long time down the road before portables can do the kinds of work that we need trucks for.

      get with it apple.

      1. “going to be a long time down the road before portables can do the kinds of work that we need trucks for”

        Especially since Apple currently disallows integrated development environment apps on iOS. There’s a few dev apps that let you write code, even run them locally in some cases… but they’re extremely limited.

  4. Ios is still a very personal device. Software development requires teamwork an so do a lot of other heavy lifting computing. There are still a ton of typing going on. So the truck comparison may not be that far out. I do not know how many cars there are per truck. But if that is norm we could do that math today. But predicting the death og mac and pc in any near future is like predicting the death of the mainframe and Cobol.

  5. To suggest that Apple is only selling Macs to old people whose Macs have died and need replacing is just plain dumb. There will always be a market, but it may be more stable and not grow as fast as mobile. But it will be there, no matter what the naysayers come up with for news on a Friday afternoon.

  6. Well, I need a truck for my ecosystem. And it hurts that my peers are all talking about switching to Microsoft because they are more accommodating and relevant to our needs. IOS is no substitute for me, though I couldn’t live without my iPhone. I am a fiercely loyal Apple fanboy, I’ll admit it. No shMe in that. Right now, very disappointed and frustrated, though.

  7. Ugg!

    At no point in the future will a portable device be able to compete with something that can draw 200 watts if it needs it. There will always be important things that can’t be done on a portable because they need the most powerful CPUs available. Movies are shot in 8k now. Pixar can’t use Macs to render. The latest compute-intensive science isn’t going to be done on macs any more. (Remember Virginia Tech?)

    And people won’t trust Apple’s next new ideas. Apple will have a reputation for making a big splash and then losing interest while their customers are still depending on them.

  8. I believe getting rid of the MagSafe connector is a huge step backwards. The technology solved a big issue. It was awesome. And Apple took a serious step backwards.

    The removal of the ESC key will alienate a lot of developers (especially Unix based) who finds the ESC key useful for working with the Terminal.

    Is Apple starting to alienate developers? Most of use choose the Mac because we can develop for iOS (we have no other choice), for Unix and Linux, and for Windows via virtualization or Boot Camp. As so, we need tools for all those major operating systems, and the ESC key is part of it.

    Maybe I’m overreacting and there’s a way to get in (somehow) back.

    Also, no news on desktop Macs is a bad sign. And no news about a MacPro is VERY bad.

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