Apple’s desktop Macs need some innovation in 2017 – and, no, Apple, we don’t mean thinner

“As we approach the Mac’s third-of-a-century mark, the world looks a lot different from the way it did when Steve Jobs introduced the computer. But that doesn’t mean that the death of the Mac — or, at least, the imminent death of the Mac — is a foregone conclusion,” Dan Moren writes for Macworld. “Even in a world of iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and Apple Watches, there are still plenty of reasons that desktops continue to appeal. But in order to put desktops back in the spotlight, it might require Apple to push back against some of its instincts.”

“On its laptop line, the company continues to solve for weight, thinness, and battery life, and for good reason: those are what most consumers want in a laptop,” Moren writes. “But some of those design decisions have rubbed off on the desktop line, such as the impetus to make the iMac super thin, or to redesign the Mac Pro as an objet d’art.”

“As the Mac shifts more and more to a power machine, the truck to the iPad’s car, it may be time for Apple to take a step back and reconsider those design decisions,” Moren writes. “Does the iMac really have to be that thin to look good? Could some width be traded for performance?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully Jony doesn’t read this heretical blasphemy or the cardiac unit will have to be dispatched to Billionaire’s Row posthaste.


    1. I’ll keep saying it. Apple is hamstrung for innovation because they have two very distinct operating systems. This is one major reason why they will start to struggle where innovation with things like the Mac slow and customers get disinterested; competititors like Microsoft begin to eclipse them with new, fresh thinking (Surface Studio PC).

      When you combine this two operating system problem with Tim Cook, who’s spent the past five years buying headphone companies and playing around with geeky watches, along with political crusades, you are left with a company resting on its laurels and falling behind.

      The near future of computing is mobile combined with large screens, and multi-touch with other input methods as well. The Operating System as we know it today will “melt” into this new connected hardware (touchable screens on our walls, gesture controls, desks as computing surfaces…). New metaphors will come out of this and the “old” desktop operating system will be antiquated.

      Microsft is bringing the future of computing with the Surface Studio PC. I hate Windows, but Microsoft has the right strategy: they have just been poor at executing. However, if they continue doing what they’re doing, they will disrupt Apple and cause people to jump off of Apple.

      Unfortunately, Tim Cook doesn’t get it. He should have spent the past five years working 24 hours a day to bring us the next wave of the future: but that isn’t happening.

      They want to milk what they have, and time is running thin. I predict Apple will undergo major regressions to their revenues in 2017, and that the iPhone 8 will be hampered with issues.

      1. Agreed that Cook has his head in the clouds and listens more to fashionistas than computing experts. But as for the OS situation, you can keep saying it, but you’re on the wrong track.

        Apple has 4 major OSes now:
        TV OS
        Watch OS

        The latter two haven’t earned back their costs, iOS sucks up all development resources to keep the app store fed with more games and emoji than ever before, and macOS is the one that needs the most love because it casts the biggest shadow in its influence.

        There is zero reason to dumb down the Mac with iOS features. Convergence of imprecise touch screen (iOS) with powerful and precise desktop (macOS) is a fool’s errand. If you like it, then go ahead and buy your Surface. If you want the best desktop experience, you buy a Mac. if you want the best phone, you buy an iPhone.

        The real issue at Apple that is killing innovation isn’t the fact that iOS and macOS exist side by side. The real issue is that iCloud, Music, Beats, Watch, and TV are all pathetic me-too, worst in class distractions. It would be great if Apple just recognized that iOS is good for consumption only and stopped trying to patch together iCloud dependency to get it to share files with Macs. Apple should spend more resources getting the Mac to be the best it can be, making iCloud universal and cheaper for all users (even Windows users!), and making all the consumer consumption OSes lighter and faster, in support of the whole ecosystem instead of the focus that Apple keeps putting on these limited-ability show ponies.

          1. One thing the surface does great is unlocking itself with facial recognition. To unlock your Mac, you need to pony up $249 (watch). Wonder why Apple doesn’t have facial recognition? Oh, that’s right, they want more of your dinero. LOL.

  1. This article is spot on. How about innovations that appear on the Mac first? How about analyzing your designs from the end user’s needs, especially in regards to the Mac Pro, and not creating an unwanted design monster (with ill-thought out design-contradictory ramifications of cables all over the place)? How about making 8 processor iMac’s that are a bit thicker and also expandable (not having to make those designs on purchase)? Same for the Mac Mini?

    Thinness in a desktop is total BS over practical design and function, especially to the pro’s who desperately want versatility and upgradeability. Thinness in and of itself is only a mobile device concern, certainly not in desktop form at the expense of function. That’s the kind of innovation pro users want. Might not be as glamorous or win you awards but if will earn the most important thing – CUSTOMERS – and avoid the problem of the pro-desperate switching to the Dark Side or Hackintosh.

  2. Actually, I disagree. There has been innovation on the desktop Mac side. The simple fact that we now have 10 bits per color channel has allowed for much better color representation and a wider color gamut. On the Mac, Retina displays simply work (unlike other OSes). This doesn’t seem to be very sexy to the the press, which seems to prefer gimmicks over more substancial changes, but it is a significant improvement for most users.

  3. you have to wonder where the managements head is at

    how many hundreds of millions of desktop computers are there out there, still in heavy use and will still be for many, many years to come.

    that is quite “an addressable market” as the bean counters would say, and of which there seems to be no shortage in the apple organiation

    if apple would get back on the stick and start making powerful, compelling and well designed macs and software,

    …. and advertising them effectively…

    they could be reaping incredible profits.

    but nooooooo

    1. As a long, long time Mac user, I hate to agree with some of the commentary here, but… well, Apple now appears to be the epitome of a company in which planned obsolescence is central to their business operations.

      1. Disgusting, homophobic remark, jackass. Obvious, as if you care. “Man enough?”

        I think there has been enough whining for Tim and co. To realize there have been missteps. Unfortunately, the idiocracy is such that people will rave about the POS Surface and No one whines about companies other than Apple. Apple’s prices are more of a concern to most than Samsung’s exploding products or Microsoft’s continuing Windows nightmare. Or the sheer cheapness and mediocrity of other companies.

  4. Mac is quickly becoming a rounding error on Apple’s bottom line. In fact, one could argue that today, Mac has an outsized influence and significance in the Apple product hierarchy, considering the meagre profits it is generating (compared to other products and services out there). And this is only going to get worse.

    At this point, Mac OS, Mac hardware and surrounding applications (iWork, former iLife, Logic / FCP X, etc) are increasingly becoming an anchor that weighs Apple down. There are not enough buyers of these products to devote that many engineers to them. Wasting money to advertise these products at a point where the world is rapidly moving away from desktop and towards touch-screen is obviously not a way forward.

    There are only two realistic solutions for Apple for the Mac ecosystem: either port it all to iOS (and build iOS computers with desktop-grade hardware), dragging everyone over from the old and creaky MacOS to the iOS; or simply spin off Mac into a separate company and let them fend for themselves.

    MacOS needs to be put to death and iOS put in its place. There will again be plenty of old(er) users who will be kicking and screaming how the old system was better (there were plenty before, every time Apple changed OSes), but the move is by now long overdue. The only way for Apple to move forward with power computing is to kill obsolete hardware and software and move everything and everyone to the consolidated platform. Microsoft may have tried to do this first (and failed), but as always before, Apple will take the same concept and get it done right (assuming the spirit of Jobs still lives).

    1. “Microsoft may have tried to do this first (and failed), but as always before, Apple will take the same concept and get it done right (assuming the spirit of Jobs still lives).”

      You (like so many others) are operating on a 2-part assumption; 1) that MS is on the right track, but doing it wrong, and 2) that such a concept is doable.

      I don’t think it is and I think Apple thinks so too.

      I think it’s a concept like “touch” on desktop, that so many are in love with, but which really isn’t practical… primarily for ergonomic reasons that will not be overcome no matter how advanced technology becomes.

      1. I would have to disagree with “touch” on the desktop not being practical. The only reason it is ergonomically impractical is that the display is normally used at close to perpendicular orientation to the desk it rests. The closer the display reclines to match the desk orientation, the more feasible touch on a desktop computer becomes. The same ergonomic ‘problem’ would occur on tablets if you were forced to use them in the same orientation as current desktop displays.

    2. Macs make more money than iPads.
      (like in Q4 2016 Macs made 5.7 billion vs 4.2 Bilion iPad. )

      IPad sales have FALLEN even with the tremendous effort (R&D, Ads etc) put into them including the iPad Pro for 8-9 straight quarters to about HALF peak revenues a few years ago.

      Macs make more than iPads in spite of neglect, slow or no updates and PRACTICALLY NO MARKETING . count the number of Mac ads vs iPad or Watch ads in the last few years.

      Macs make a lot more than Beats, Music or Watch (Macs actually make TWICE as much revenue as the ‘Other Products’ category in Apple’s financials which includes Watch , iPod , accessories and host of other things).

      Macs make more than anything else except iPhone and the giant Services category (which includes huge earnings from Apple Care Warranties including Mac warranties and Mac app store sales).

      IPhones make more money than any other product in the world. It makes more than most corporations , it makes more than GOOGLE ! more than ALL the cars put out by Ford combined…
      i.e if we say don’t make stuff because it makes less than iPhone than Apple can STOP EVERYTHING (Watch, Beats, etc) as all apple products, all products in the world make less than iPhone.

      Macs if it was separate company makes more profit than Dell, would be Fortune 500 company (ranked 100+ on it).

      For the STOCK Macs are important as one of the biggest reasons aapl is so low (if it had the P.E of Goog/Alphabet aapl would be over 300 now) is because big investors say Apple is a dangerous ONE PRODUCT iPhone company . (samsung electronics lost 90% of its profits when it had to recall it’s Note phone). Apple needs to diversify it’s product line.

      Since Tim Cook has spent TENS OF BILLIONS on stock buybacks to boost the stock, not spending on Macs (which make money) is crazy.

      Apple does NOT lack resources to do Mac AND iOS products etc,

      Apple has ONLY ONE new major hardware platform NOT done by Jobs which is Watch (Airpods are just evolutions of Earbuds) so how can they be lack of resources?

      it’s got billions , 100,000 staff and SVPs are designing Christmas Trees, Coffee Table books, sponsoring Fashion shows like the Met Gala, mini series like the ‘sex filled romp of Dr. Dre’s Life’, has dozens of designers working on Watch bands etc etc etc.

  5. 10 bits per channel and a wide gamma has been available for years for PCs. This is only new for Macs and not a general innovation.

    The fact is the Mac is behind PCs on CPU and GPU performance, so you have a wonderful display but you can move all those pixels fast enough.

    1. “The fact is the Mac is behind PCs on CPU and GPU performance, so you have a wonderful display but you can move all those pixels fast enough.” I mean “can’t”

    1. “Desktop is so 1990s.”

      Jony Ive’s Studio late last year and Apple’s new Indian research Center filled with desktops (old Cheese Grater Mac Pros under tables of Ives studio probably because they need the GPUs ) Not an iPad in sight.


  6. Soooo I’m thinking we are going to see the end of the MacPro and they will release a PCI expansion shelf for the 5k iMac. With Thunderbolt 3 you could have a small box with 1 or two slots where you could plug in Video cards and NAS adapters. TERRIBLE idea but seems like an obvious way to go.

  7. Indeed! All Macs are poor value right now.

    Apple needs to rebrand the cylindrical MacPro as the Mac with Intel Core processors. Slot it above the iMac in performance but no more expensive (obviously, because user brings his display).

    Apple desperately needs an all new Mac Pro Workstation with all the features people have been asking for these last 3 years. Make it big, make it powerful, and make it price competitive with Windows workstations. Apple has to stop pretending that business owners are going to pay a premium price for fashion that doesn’t run the latest & best professional software natively.

    Make the next generation iMac just a little thicker for better cooling and upgrade the user options, and increase screen sizes to 24″ and 30″.

    Make the Mac Mini competitive again with convenient stackability expansion modules or something to revive that lineup. banish 5400RPM hard drives to the dust bin.

    Laptops are a marketing embarrassment. There is no entry level and there is no high end. All of Apple’s laptops are middle of the road performance with extremely high prices. Stop subsidizing the damn iCloud on the backs of Mac purchasers!!!!!!!!!

    By 2018, Apple should fix its lineup to offer:
    – 12″ MacBook – significant price cut and aim at education market. make this a loss leader and phase it out by 2019 with a cheaper but more kid friendly plastic body model.

    – 13″ MacBook (no touchbar) – take off the pro name, price cut, sell it at former Air owners and revive the Switch to a Mac using serious marketing and fun colors or whatever it takes to make the mainstream look at the Mac again. Its replacement in 2019 should be aimed at the executive / road warrior, so go ahead and leave Jony assigned to this model only.

    – 15″ MacBook SE — one last gasp at reaching the middle market with a laptop model that doesn’t force abrupt connector transitions. refresh the old 15″ MBP chassis one last time to replace old TB2 with USB-C/TB3 ports and a price cut. Offer special finish or something to garner attention – beat the Surface into submission with marketing. The model disappears by end of 2018.

    – 15″ MBP Touchbar — do whatever it takes to improve battery life. start now making the next generation thicker chassis with user replaceable RAM and SSDs, of course! simplify the 15″ MBP lineup quickly. Nobody can understand the reason for 4 different GPU options, all of them a step behind NVIDIA. kill the the middle 2 GPU options immediately and offer only two basic setups for 2017: A) existing 16GB RAM, lower end GPU, 512 GB and up SSDs and B) next generation Intel i7, top spec GPU, 32 GB RAM, and 512GB and up SSD. ZERO PRICE INCREASES. Plan for a major refresh in early spring 2018 giving people the Pro they wanted.

    – add an all new 17″ MacBook Pro by end of 2017 with full 12 hour battery life, 4 USB-C/TB3 ports, SD card slot, HDMI 2.0, ethernet, and a glare-free screen that works outdoors. Price it such that even a lowly photographer can afford one.

    What’s funny is all of that development above would only take a few dozen engineers and cost less than Ahrendt’s last bonus check to implement. But it would bring back millions in lost Mac sales, it would stave off the Surface and other competitiors, and it would reinvigorate the platform for future Mac App Store growth. Y’all remember the Mac app store, right? It’s full of cobwebs today.

  8. Relax and enjoy the fancy new Apple Headquarters building. That is far more important the how well the Mac lineup fucncions for the customers. Regardless of how much performance and how many features are sacraficed on the Mac, as long as we can see aireal views of the new HQ building, we will be continue to be happy campers. Right?

    1. The obsession with thin really annoys me! I want portables that feel solid, heft includes extra battery life and all the ports I need without paying extra for clutter wires. Worked fine for decades, but now I blame Thin Tim for drifting in the wrong direction and a course change is required. 🎁🎄⭐️

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