New Mac desktops coming soon – or never?

“Where are the spring Mac refreshes?” Gene Steinberg wonders for The Tech Night Owl. “Are there going to be any?”

“More to the point, when Apple CEO Tim Cook asserts that the company loves its pro users, what are they going to do to express that feeling? Will there be new versions of Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X?” Steinberg asks. “How about the languishing Mac Pro? Does Apple really believe that the 2013 version of Apple’s workstation met the standards of the creative and professional communities? If it was a misfire, do they make some changes or give it up?”

“Since the iMac is clearly Apple’s most popular desktop machine, it will no doubt receive a modest refresh soon, possibly with the Intel Kaby Lake processors and speedier graphics. The external ports may change from Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 to USB-C/Thunderbolt 3,” Steinberg writes. “Based on Cook’s commitment, I’ll just assume there are plans afoot to upgrade the Mac Pro. I am sure lots of people would like to see a larger model, one that has a decent amount of external expansion. I don’t know what sort of feedback Apple receives for the current model, but it can’t be pretty. I’d also like to see a refresh for the Mac mini.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, along with many others, we’ve been harping on this issue for some time now. Here’s a selection of the litany:

It’s been an eternity in tech time — 3 years, 2 months, and 11 days to be precise — since the Mac Pro was last updated (also, conveniently, its launch date) and, for that, there really is no legitimate excuse. It’s just plain mismanagement.

We don’t care if you’re selling two units per week. Upgrade it at least annually for the sake of perception and customer retention, at the very least. That’s just Business 101. — MacDailyNews, March 1, 2017

Cook et al. should take note: On your present course, there will rather quickly come a day when such users will choose another company’s wares. — MacDailyNews, January 4, 2017

They’ve chopped off the edges of the bell curve — and big chunks of their key users with them. — Chuq Von Rospach, January 1, 2017

As we wrote last December:

Currently, when it comes to the Macintosh (and Apple TV, among other products and services), Apple under CEO Tim Cook is struggling.

“It’s not about charisma and personality, it’s about results and products.” — Steve Jobs

Cook, who never remotely threatened to offer either of the former attributes, is now obviously having difficulty delivering the latter.

The question is how far up the food chain does this mismanagement problem go? Is this fish rotting from the head down? Or is there a layer of incompetent upper management or an integral structural problem coming to light as Apple grows like a weed with post-Steve employees that’s gumming up the works?

Under Tim Cook, Apple has endured:

• John Browett
• Apple Maps launch debacle (tarring Maps with a bad rep to this day)
• No iMacs for Christmas 2012
• Massive undersupply of Apple Watch at launch, basically killing all momentum
• Massive undersupply of Apple Pencils and Smart Keyboards on hand for the iPad Pro launch
• No updated Mac Pro for three years
• No updated Apple TV for Christmas 2016 (A 4K-capable Apple TV would have been so easy, it’s inexplicable and unforgivable not to have this on the market right now)
• No Apple skinny bundle(s) for Apple TV while other companies ink deals and announce launches – these customers will be tough for Apple to get back once lost, if they ever get the deals signed. (Perhaps, Tim, you need to hire better negotiator(s) who can get the ink? Or make an acquisition that reshapes the industry, causing them to line up to work with you?)
• No compatible Remote app for Apple TV at launch
• No Apple Music capability in Siri on Apple TV at launch
• Apple TV remote looks to have been “designed” by Steve Ballmer himself (If Steve wasn’t already dead, the Apple TV Remote would have killed him; he would’ve had an aneurysm the second the mockup was handed to him)*
• Flagship iPhone launches without its flagship feature (Portrait mode) and is currently still only in “beta” (seriously?)
• No new iPads for Christmas 2016 (Even simply “refreshed” with current A-series processors would have created significantly more sales)
• No updated iMacs for Christmas 2016
• No updated Mac mini for 2+ years
• No AirPods in any meaningful supply for Christmas 2016

Unfortunately, that’s just a partial list of painfully obvious mistakes.

When you’re walking the halls, Tim, look at the walls once in a while. Hopefully, you’ll see these:

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have… It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” — Steve Jobs

“Real artists ship.” — Steve Jobs

In closing:

This is absolutely shameful for a company claiming to be a leader in technology.

Exactly how rich and big does Apple have to be before the company runs like it has more than five guys working 18-hour days trying to do everything? The world’s most valuable company is incapable of updating the Mac Pro for two and a half fscking years? Seriously? “Mismanagement” is not too strong a word to apply to the ongoing Mac Pro fiasco.

Just like every other human, there are things Tim Cook does very well and there are other things about which he seems painfully inept.

Hint: Make new Macs and update them with regularity while advertising them strongly. Obviously, as you might have noted by perusing iPad unit sales reports, not everyone has fallen for your “iPad is the next PC” meme, yet, Tim.

We only say that as those who were already Mac users for over 13 years at the point Cook was still over at Compaq trying to get his Windows PC to work.MacDailyNews, July 12, 2016

*With the Siri Remote, users can’t tell which end is up in a darkened room due to uniform rectangular shape. The remote is still too small, so it gets lost easily. All buttons are the same size and similarly smooth. Only the Siri button attempts to be different, but the slightness of its concavity is too subtle to matter; a raised dot on the button would have been much easier for users to feel. The tactile difference between the bottom of the remote vs. the upper Glass Touch surface is too subtle as well; this also leads to not being able to tell which end is up. A remote with a simple wedge shape (slightly thicker in depth at the bottom vs. the top), as opposed to a uniform slab, would have instantly communicated the proper orientation to the user.

SEE ALSO:
Apple’s next-gen iMac may go for power, speed (to keep Mac users from straying to Windows or something) – March 17, 2017
Apple’s desktop Macs: A showcase of old, aged tech – March 17, 2017

53 Comments

    1. Just go and build yourself a blade already.. Apple is never going to do that.. .There is a reason they use %100 HP servers in the OWN APPLE DATA CENTERS….

      1. dude..

        Yes, APPLE moved away from its own servers some years back, but given what they can now do with the ARM chip it allows them to consider other possibilities. Big players are looking at ARM chips for their data centers. I’m guessing APPLE is looking at that possibility too.

        So, I don’t think it is impossible to think they just might explore the design in their Mac Pro X model. You buy a screamer but since it is Xperimental there are compatibility issues and others downsides to employing it.

        But as you suggest, all wild speculation and very unlikely.

        1. Considering Google is already working on cpus of their own design for use in their datacenters, it wouldn’t surprise me if Apple considered doing the same for theirs.

  1. It probably isn’t ‘never’, but I also doubt it will be exactly what we want, either. If we throw out desktops prematurely, someone is just going to invent them again, because in some form, they are necessary. 😉

  2. There’s no excuse for Apple management to intentionally destroy the foundation product of the company as they are. The current computer offerings from Apple are outdated, inflexible and, despite their prices, essentially disposable.

    All of the current management should be dragged from their insulated and comfortable offices that render them deaf and blind. They should be forced to respond to the questions the users who rely on Macs every day have been shouting.

    Any one of them who offers a lame answer that includes the word “pipeline” or utters a feckless promise about their concern for Pro users should be immediately dismissed and their stock options retracted.

  3. I wish someone would be able to sit down with Tim Cook in an interview and ask him point blank, “Will there ever be a Macintosh upgrade? Don’t give me that ‘we don’t talk about future products’ line. Anything other than a resounding YES will be taken as a NO.”

  4. Dell has an 8K monitor. Spec wise, their “alienware” laptops blow MacBook pros out of the water. They even say with the larger battery, the Dell laptop will run for 10 hours.

    Apple?

    I repeat, in my best Ben Stein/Ferris imitation:

    Apple?

    Apple?

    Apple?

    Apple?

    1. Please don’t imitate Ben Stein. One of him is one too many.

      No, I’d be happy with an updated iMac- just the specs, no need to reinvent the damn things. Let people whine about “lack of vision,” just give me a new model. Yesterday!

      1. Don’t blame Ben Stein, blame ad creators who no longer value creativity, they can only imitate each other.

        Like in “mic drop” so massively overused it is just nuts.
        And males in tv ads that like like skinny 12 year old boys with beards and black frame glasses, the list could go on.

        But then as a society we are becoming a nation of followers, so why am I surprised/

  5. Upgrade for what purpose? We are in the middle of some major connectivity and technology shifts. With USBC and thunderbolt integration, underwhelming processor upgrades in the past year, people are calling for upgrades for the sake of upgrades.

    What if the refreshes were ready to go, and then connectivity changes? Then everyone screams why don’t they have the new connectivity? What if a decision to incorporate those changes pushed it back, and then there’s Kaby Lake on the horizon? Those things could delay new products. Give it time.

    1. for what purpose?
      My iMac is 5 years old. I use it every day all day. Yes, it still does very well, but as a front line business machine, it needs to be replaced. I WON’T spend 2500-3000 on two year old technology. That’s the purpose. Get it?

      Apple get with the plan and take my money.

      PS: I can’t ADD anyone to my “mac world” at my company either for the same reason. Update the Mac, I buy a new one. I give my still good 5 year old iMac to a coworker and Apple gets a new “convert”. Now do you get it?

    2. Oh, do please point me to the desktop Mac with USB-C and TB3. I have heard these are awesome and they are backward compatible. I just cannot find them on any Mac I want to buy. I also cannot seem to find a desktop Mac with a decent swappable drive bay, PCI slot, current generation CPU, or a Kaby processor.

      PCs are available with all this and more. But you conclude Apple should just wait a while longer? Apple is already 2 generations behind, wtf !?!??!??!!

    3. Upgrade? Always!

      Because when it comes to one’s tools (not TOYS), the “sharpening the saw” is the regular reassessment of workflows for constant improvement, and that often means hardware & software upgrades.

      Without moving forward, you’re falling behind.

      And Apple has fallen way, way behind. So too has MDN, because it took MDN *more* than a full year to catch up with what we were screaming last year.

      Yeah, glad to hear that MDN has finally woken up … but “we told you so”…MDN was just as tone deaf as the Apple leadership for far too long.

      In the meantime, I’m personally debating a $1000 upgrade to a 2012 Mac Pro to “hold off” a little longer, or finally just say “F**k You Apple” after 30+ years of exclusivity to their products for my business.

      Which is also why I’m contemplating my timing to dump my APPL stock too. This current “Leadership” isn’t competent for anything more than derivative work on the iPhone production.

      1. “This current “Leadership” isn’t competent for anything more than derivative work on the iPhone production.”

        And liberal politics and watch bands … sad.

    4. For what purpose?
      1) Businesses depreciate computer technology over a 5 year span, so there are tax advantages to upgrading
      2) Equipment actually does wear out. My 2011 27″ iMac is starting to show display fade in the menu bar. It’s on its third SSD. Sierra no longer supports AirDrop to iOS.
      3) Faster processors, faster connections, faster networking — all translate into more work accomplished at business rates. But we can’t get there on these old computers.

    5. unless you have been living under a rock you should know that many upgrade cycles of processors have occurred and we are still supposed to ‘Give it time’
      Professionals rely on every ounce of power to save them time and work productively. When windows machines are blisteringly faster than Macs for Pro users then its not time we are waiting for its the incompetent executives to do their job and untie other professionals from their inept restrictions. Apple is a bottle neck for all Professionals using their hardware..

  6. I’ll freely admit that I’ve sworn off of FireWire audio interfaces now. Thunderbolt? Sorry, no. USB? That seems to be the only home-pro option anymore. :/

    1. Despite clear technical superiority over USB, Apple killed off FireWire when it was clear that they would never have the mass production volumes to compete.

      So Apple worked with Intel to develop a derivative of PCI-E that would replace FireWire, cost even more, and go through Apple’s customary forced connector change every few years. Brilliant.

      The one good thing to happen in the last few years is that while Apple was sleeping, Intel and the USB consortium finalized the USB-C spec. The entire industry seems to be adopting it.

      Let us hope that Apple also settles on the USB-C connection for the foreseeable future. What is annoying is that Apple seems to be taking its sweet time upgrading its entire Mac range to include the newest I/O connectors. You can thank Apple for the sloppy connector transitions.

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