The MacBook Pro according to Apple CEO Tim Cook

“MacBook Pro with the Touch Pad is the most expensive laptop in the Apple PC lineup right now,” Matt Dayo writes for STGIST.com. “The Air is far weaker than the latest and greatest Pro model. But in this age of power smartphones, what does it mean to have a Pro and not an Air?”

“Last month in a shareholder meeting, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook iterated that the Pro category is ‘important to the company,’ thus people will see more action in the said product,” Dayo writes. “‘The pro area is very important to us,’ he said, as noted by CNET. ‘The creative area is very important to us in particular.'”

Dayo writes, “Forbes [Ewan Spence] said that Cook’s statement fails to answer the question of what the company considers Pro, and what does it stands for in 2017 which is plagued by super smartphones and advanced mobile operating systems that can replace certain Pro laptop features.”

Read more in the full article here.

“I want Apple to genuinely answer the question of what a ‘pro’ machine stands for in 2017 and then deliver on that vision,” Ewan Spence writes for Forbes. “I’m not satisfied with Cook’s Emperor’s New Clothes approach of stating that the area is important without actually saying what the area is.”

“For me a Pro machine should represent the apex of a company’s vision. It should be bold, it should be distinctive, and it should be clearly communicated,” Spence writes. “Those of us looking to live on Apple’s bleeding edge can see higher specifications and a cute Touch Bar, but no desire or fire to define a new era of pro machines.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The MacBook Pro is a “pro” machine, but, that said, we’d wait for the next iteration if you want/need more capabilities than are currently offered (primarily the ability to max the RAM to 32GB which only a small slice of pro users actually need in a laptop given macOS’ efficiency with RAM).

35 Comments

  1. Oh yeah the current MBP model is essentially a placeholder.

    It would have taken so little for Tim to say “All the various pro models are important to us and future delightful models are coming” instead of having to still guess about his vague and broad intentions for pros. (I suppose so sales of Mac Pro’s won’t completely tank he has to be ambiguous.)

    1. The current crop of “Pro” laptop machines would have been great in May of 2016. As it was it was late to the party. As of now, in many subsystems it is a generation behind the state of the art.

      I don’t need Tim to say (yet again), “We’ve got great things in the pipeline.” I need him to ship ASAP with the current leading edge (if not bleeding edge) subsystems.

      Remember the days when Apple introduced the 30″ monitor? No one else was shipping them in quantity for over six months. Remember when Apple’s Airport did 801.11n months before the standard was official — and Apple did a small firmware patch when it was official to make all those bleeding edge 100% standards compatible. I’m not asking for Apple to go back to those bleeding edge days, but is it really too much to ask for in just asking that Apple stay up with the state-of-the-art?

      What do I want in a Pro laptop to replace the 2015 15″ Pro I have?
      1) Higher resolution built in display.
      2) Four USB Type-C connectors that support the full array of standard and optional USB Type-C connector supported protocols (in ALL four, not 2 or 3 of four and the rest supporting a subset)
      3) True MagSafe (or at least an Apple approved *TINY* [nearly disappearing when inserted] dongle that gives MagSafe functionality
      4) Ability to drive the onboard screen as well as *concurrently* drive two separate UHD (often improperly called “4K”) screens with at least 60 Hz on each of the three, preferably 120 Hz — each of the three screens with different information on them
      5) A minimum of 32 GB of RAM (with the option to upgrade to 64 GB of RAM in the future) (I have simulations that are over 16 GB in and of themselves not including the application and OS. And no kind of SSD is as fast as RAM. Maybe XPoint will change that in 2018 or 2019, but RAM is much, much faster than any SSD today. And, NO, Apple’s RAM/Disk swapping is not that great once you get into very large, complex simulations — never heard of disk thrashing?)
      6) A minimum of two hours battery life under very heavy workload likely equivalent to 12+ hours of battery life under light workloads (like you’d do on a trans ocean flight).

      There are more things I’d like to see, but those are probably the top six.

      1. Sounds good to me. But my 2014 MBP fills a need with it’s current ports. My next desire is an upgradeable Mac Pro pros will truly love. I think we can expect options in a machine costing $5-10,000! Don’t you? I wait until WWDC and if nothing from Apple then I will buy a PC Workstation and not look back. I can’t wait forever. I upgraded a friends 3-4 year old tower PC with an Nvidia GTTX1080 video card and internal RAID and he raves over it’s 4K video performance, and general performance increase. And said he’s had zero problems with it.

      2. You’re at the very extreme of “Notebook” functionality. You’re really looking for something that is a Desktop in a foldable format. Apple is not going to build an alienware machine. Simulations that large should be running on dedicated servers. They actually have the memory controllers and ECC memory to support 64GB to 2048GB of memory.

        1. “Don’t you have anything better to do, like make some great products?”

          That was Steve’s Job! I wonder the state of Apple were he still alive? Would we still have the trash can Mac Pro with it’s years old tech being advertised & priced as it is now? What about Apple TV? Oh, the speculation and wonderment… Damn you cancer.

  2. It is just internally political fluff from Cook. Of course he is going to say the ‘Pro’ market is important, he has to say something to placate everybody. But we all really know the iPhone is the most important thing to Apple right now. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Jeez.

  3. I am the owner of a Mac Pro (Tower), a MacBook Pro Retina, an iPad Pro & Overpriced Stylus, an iPod Touch, an iPhone, an Apple TV (Current Generation) and an Airport Extreme Base. And as a shareholder and customer since before the Macintosh, who learned to code in BASIC on TRS-80s, Commodore PETS and Apple Its with Cassette Drives, let me state this:
    Nothing Apple currently sells is Pro or state of the art. High priced yes- Pro Spec, No. Pro equipment is not sealed up and unable to be internally upgraded. Pro equipment does not have Vampire Video (Intel Integrated Graphics). And no, a laptop is no replacement for a workstation grade desktop.

    Not only has Apple abandoned the Pro market, it has let it’s greed run wild. The most recent laptop iterations sport a higher price, fewer ports and do not include the power brick extension cord ($19). The iPad Pro is shipped without the Stylus (Apple Pencil ($99)) or with the appropriate power adapter. The cheap (12 Watt) adapter shipped with the iPad Pro is barely able to charge the thing, so users must buy the overpriced USB-C to Lightning Cable ($29) and the 29 Watt Power Brick ($49) for the MacBook to get decent charging.

    Then there is the whole Dongle thing as Apple eliminates ports- lowering their cost- while raising the price.

    The Apple Store is getting to be more and more like a Casino- extracting the most money for the least product possible.

  4. “given macOS’ efficiency with RAM”…. uh, I have 24GB RAM in my iMac and I consistently push 20GB in use with only using iMovie and Pixelmator and a couple other things like Mail and Safari open. I’m very much on the low end of a ‘Pro’ user if you can even call me that and 16GB isn’t enough.

    1. Well, Apple’s RAM hogging in macOS isn’t exactly a problem. With 16 GB of RAM on my 2013 MBP I often hit the RAM ceiling. But there is no speed penalty. Typically the OS makes room for whatever else I boot up and it runs fine.

      I’d like to know more about Apple’s current memory management. All I can say is that it’s working remarkably well, after recent years of seriously crap memory management. My sense is that macOS is throwing everything it can into RAM, including the kitchen sync (metaphor) and as little as possible into drive virtual memory. Thus the RAM gets ‘hogged’. I know full well that macOS is stuffing massive cache into RAM in expectation that recently run processes will be run again soon.

      But all of the fluff get’s tossed aside when serious RAM requirements appear, including booting up massive applications that themselves eat a lot of RAM. It didn’t used to be that way. So, much as I reflexively freak when my available RAM is close to banging on zero, macOS adjusts and I experience no penalty. This isn’t my computer newbie childhood’s memory management. That’s fine with me!

      1. I must note, however, that Apple’s disallowing of 32 GB of RAM in the new MBP seems a really dopey move. For that cost, they should have bit the bullet and invested in the capability. I think of it as both cheap and lazy, two adjectives that make me cringe, especially when associated with Apple.

  5. The “only a small slice of pro users” need X is just MDN being apologists when one of Apple’s poor decisions doesn’t affect them personally.

    Funny enough, MDN harps on Apple for not having a 4K-capable AppleTV when “only a small slice of AppleTV owners” have 4K TVs.

    (For the record, I think Apple is wrong in BOTH cases, so at least I’m not being a hypocrite about it).

    I do dev work with virtual machines and cannot run the same number of VMs that my colleagues with 32GB Windows laptops can, so instead of being able to test against 2+ environments at the same time, I’m hobbled to testing against just one, and have to shut down one set in order to run a different set of VMs, so my efficiency is sometimes halved if not worse.

    1. My colleague used to have an MBP before getting his Win laptop, and I can assure you running multiple VM sets brought his MBP to its knees far too often. The entire system would lock up for a whole minute or more, no response other than cursor tracking. Even the clock would pause. Then when RAM got sufficiently freed (it would still be solid red in the Activity Monitor’s “memory pressure” chart though) everything would start catching up.

        1. VirtualBox. Probably the worst-performing option since it’s free, but I imagine any hypervisor running almost a dozen VMs (yes, each environment needs 4-6 “machines” by design) totalling 24+ GB of memory on a 16 GB machine is going to choke when OSX does its memory compression algorithms on it.

  6. Apple is the company leaving the workstation market, also leaving top demanding professionals looking else where. And to be honest the workstation market is not counting on Apple today but also in the last years. So is up to Apple to invest and produce enough in this area. If Apple produce a machine capable to run a demanding application and becomes useful in a production environment then developers notice this an may include a Mac as long as they see an opportunity. If the Mac or Apple disappears from production environments then developers keep their development work dedicated to Windows or Linux.

    Also the workstation market never intended to move to tablets or to depend on mobile computers. I have never seen in the last years the workstation market promoting tablets or a mobile revolution.

    I don’t know how many MBP users care so much about the Touch Bar. I guess I could also say “only a small slice of pro users”. But Apple decided to include an expensive and new experimental “Pro” feature that wont add much productivity to must Pro users.

    If Apple is able to pack 90-95% of the performance of a desktop replacement laptop on a small frame that is a notable achievement, and maybe most demanding users will sacrifice the last 10% in favor of the convenient size and weight. But optimize Pro resources adding the Touch Bar, limiting most connectivity to adapters or cables, shut the door to user upgradable hardware and making the chassis unnecessarily smaller is not Pro.

  7. The MacBook Pro is the only Apple laptop I would consider. I need the 32GB and have not seen much improvement in free memory with macOS. I also want a 17″ screen. I have not upgraded since they dumped the 17″ screen. That would be a commitment to the Pro market.

  8. Cook is clueless.

    I realize that market share is considered a meaningless metric here on MDN, but when you have a company that designs a product that out of the box meets the needs of <50% of the market at a price that 5% of the market can afford, you have a losing product. When you need a breakout box or a pile of adapters to integrate the new MBP into an existing business, then the value equation is poor.

    A well run technology company would offer customer choice. It would offer a range of products to address multiple points of the market at prices that are competitive. To Apple's credit, it did run a sale on its overpriced adapters and cables. But still the dollar per performance sucks.

    Instead of smashing iOS technologies into the Mac and forcing everything to be thin, Apple needs to ask leading Mac users what features and improvements are needed. It's painfully obvious that Cook's pipeline is failing.

  9. While Cook fiddles, this is what the Vandals are doing:

    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/03/dells-new-xps-15-isnt-the-best-at-everything-but-its-not-bad-at-anything/

    Full family with many options are on tap, with top spec options that blow the MacBook Pro out of the water:

    – 15.6″ 4K screen with Adobe RGB color spectrum
    – Intel Core i7-7700HQ (Kaby Lake)
    – NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050
    – 512GB SSD upgradeable to 1TB
    – 16GB RAM upgradeable to 32GB
    – option of light 56 or extended 97 watt-hour battery
    – option of fingerprint sensor
    – full ports including TB3, USB3, HDMI1.4, SD card, headphone, lock slot

    summary: “the XPS feels greater than the sum of its parts. It offers excellent CPU performance, and its GPU is more than beefy enough for workstation tasks and 1080p-ish gaming. PCI Express SSDs are a must in any modern high-end system, and both the port selection and support for 32GB of RAM should please power users exasperated by the more common 16GB cap in other laptops (including Apple’s latest MacBook Pros). Its battery will last you through most domestic flights and the bulk of an eight-hour workday. The 4K screen is stunning. And all of this fits into a package that will, with some effort, squeeze into many 13-inch messenger bags.”

    ARS’s customary objective review lists plenty of pros and cons, but the hardware speaks for itself. Once again Apple falls behind. And with the 3+ year product update schedule that Cook has chosen for all non-iOS products, the MBP could be a dinosaur by the time we see a serious update. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this. Somebody needs to lock Cook in a room with actual professional Mac users so he gets it.

    1. It shows Apple is not only competing with one top company in only one segment and with only one line of products. But Apple is competing with all other PC companies and their more diversified and specialized product lines.

      With only one line of product addressing every important professional and high end user base Apple will always run into troubles because the market diversified and specialized more and more in the last 10 years and what is important in one segment may not be so relevant in another.

      1. Except Apple can’t even compete with Apple of just a few years ago. IE Cheese grader MacPro Can be upgraded to surpass current non upgradeable MacPro that is already 4 years behind the curve.

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