Apple’s conference call drops hints on the future of Macintosh, iPad Pro, and Apple Watch

“Apple’s quarterly financial conference calls are always an opportunity to peer into the minds of a company that is famously tight-lipped about its intentions,” Dan Moren writes for Macworld. “And while most attempts to suss out future plans from the Cupertino-based company are met with an weary sigh and a polite dismissal, Apple is not above letting details of its own choosing slip out.”

“Plenty of folks have already taken notice of Apple throwing its longtime processor partner Intel under the bus. Twice during the call, Apple executives mentioned that the biggest challenge facing the Mac product line in the March quarter was a constraint on processors. Worth noting there is the singularity of that information… and to call it “thinly veiled” would overstate its opacity: only one company makes processors for Macs,” Moren writes. “Currently, anyway. Rumors of an ARM-powered Mac have been floating around for some time, and its eventual appearance seems less a matter of ‘if’ than ‘when.'”

“Fully three-quarters of the people buying Apple Watches are new to the Apple Watch,” Moren writes. “Apple has managed to evolve the Watch’s appeal from a device that seemed like a luxury to something that your average person might pick up, even without the excuse of a holiday purchase. That bodes well for the device as it barrels on towards its fifth birthday.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’d sure like to see the iPad, or at least the iPad Pro, get supercharged on the software front with iOS 13’s reveal at WWDC in June!

Such a move on Apple’s part would go a long way toward further revving up iPad sales and getting the future of personal computing into many more of Joe and Jane Public’s hands who are currently still doing the overkill thing with MacBooks and crappy Windows PC laptops. Car drivers should be driving cars, not trucks.

14 Comments

  1. We’re not quite there yet. I picked up a refurb 2017 iMac 5K from Apple for $1529 (8GB/256GB SSD). An iPad Pro 12.9 256GB would be close to that price and I’d still need an external keyboard and screen, which are few and far between for 5K resolution.

    For the money, I can do so much more with the iMac, except for the portability factor.

  2. As AMD chips can emulate ARM processing, it’s been postulated for a while that Apple could switch to AMD processors so that MacOS and iOS could be ported together for some devices.

  3. MDN and others (including Apple) keeps trying to convince people that iPads can be laptop replacements. I can think of SO many reasons this isn’t the case. It starts with the simple construct that iOS apps keep their data in the app, MacOS keeps it separately. I have an iPad and barely use it for anything except a bit of content consumption. It’s crap to type on (notice iPad Pros are pitched with keyboards). The “big fix” that was supposed to make it all better was the introduction of the Files app; folks living outside Silicon Valley need to understand that cloud-based services can SUCK (sure can’t rely on the ‘net where I live). iPads have shit connectivity (one piss ant port through which you can add power and not much else?) I could care less what processor is in my laptop. I care about what it can do, and my iPad sure can’t do what my MacBook Pro can do. To use MDN’s analogy, iPads are the Dinky Toys of the car world, and my Pro ain’t no truck.

    1. My iPad Air 1 was a refurb and is now five years old. Like you, I have to think of reasons to use it over my iPhone or MBP. I have a keyboard case for it so I can write with it. But, if I want to be completely portable I’d rather just take the MBP and be able to do everything, not just some things.

      I wanted a new setup for a separate writing station (anywhere from 1000 – 5000 words of fiction per day). I could get by with my iPad and Ulysses, but for the price of the gorgeous 27″ screen on the refurb iMac 5K, I got a free computer thrown in along with the Bluetooth keyboard and Magic Mouse.

    2. “trying to convince people”
      They don’t have to try to convince people. MOST people, the VAST MAJORITY (as seen by the enormous number of folks on Facebook) use computers for very very…. very… I mean childishly simple activities. So, there is a very good chance that if you walk up to some rando on the street (under 40) and offer them to use a cellular iPad for a week instead of a computer, they’ll find that
      a. All they need to do, they can do with an iPad and
      b. They can be online ALL OF THE TIME and not just at wifi hotspots.

      There are millions out there that need something more than an iPad, yes. But for EACH ONE of those millions, there’s tens to hundreds of thousands that don’t.

  4. As I’ve said many, many times on this site, it is extremely rare that Intel’s processors are the constraint on Apple moving the Mac product line forward. No other manufacturer of laptops or desktops is complaining about constraints from Intel. Is Apple, as one of Intel’s biggest customers, trying to tell us that those small companies get higher priority on getting chips than Apple does? Truly, such a statement would just not be credible.

    When in the last five years (or more) has Apple come out with a Mac (desktop or laptop) within a week or so of Intel shipping new chips? Never that I can think of. In fact, Apple has sometimes come out with new Macs as much as 10+ months after Intel has started shipping certain chips. In past posts on this site I’ve given many specific examples of Apple shipping Macs months (in some cases almost a year) after Intel starts shipping the relevant chips and chip sets.

    Other manufacturers can come out with new desktops and laptops within weeks (sometimes days) of Intel announcing new chips shipping in commercial quantities. Why can’t Apple? The reason? It has absolutely nothing to do with Intel’s chip supply. It has to do with Apple’s management and their lack of support for moving the Mac line of products forward.

      1. John Dingler refuses to piddle out more art because he waits for the art shop to have brushes and paint in the amount he needs…

    1. “it is extremely rare that Intel’s processors are the constraint”
      Seeing that roughly 80% of the Macs Apple sells are mobile, that means, 8 out of 10 times, the fact that Cannon Lake hasn’t shipped yet is affecting what Apple can offer to most of their customers.

      The MacBook Air in particular, it’s a hot seller BUT Apple couldn’t update it for years waiting for Cannon Lake (MacBook Pro customers might accept a heavier laptop, Air users won’t). They FINALLY got an appropriate chip from Intel, BUT it’s only one speed variant, Intel couldn’t even offer a range of performance.

      This is not excusing Apple. If Intel hit their targets, Apple may still not have used their processors BUT, seeing how Intel made a chip available to Apple for the MacBook Air even BEFORE it was listed on their website as a part, it infers that, where mobile is concerned… Apple’s primary business… if they can get something suitable from Intel, they’ll use it.

      I don’t believe this applies to Apple’s desktop computers as Intel has been good at making variants available there. In that case, Apple is woefully behind and I don’t think they’ll ever give their desktop systems the same focus as their mobiles.

      “When in the last five years (or more) has Apple come out with a Mac (desktop or laptop) within a week or so of Intel shipping new chips?”
      The CPU in the MacBook Air was announced by Intel after the laptop was released last year. At the time, no one else was shipping a system with that particular CPU. But, again, this is primarily because Apple focuses a lot on mobile.

  5. Apple hasn’t revealed anything about the future of the Mac.

    All the speculation just boils down to Cookie making absolutely minimal investment into what should be Apple’s flagship and highest margin business. But no, Apple can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. It’s painfully obvious that rather than making timely updates to the Mac desktop lineup, or fixing shitty laptop keyboards as soon as it was known what a bad design it was, Timmy instead put all his resources into media distribution and stock buybacks. Designers and engineers must feel like unused resources sitting in the basement.

    Next year at this time, if Apple doesn’t have the fastest and best value workstation with Intel x86-64 chipset and the most stable OS with least amount of bloat, then Apple will have signaled that it does not intend to ever increase its personal computer market share or be a class leader in any category. Let’s just hope future Macs don’t come in pink.

    1. I fear that ship sailed, never to return. Just read MDN’s take to see the future, as unwelcome as it is.

      In a semi-related note, my wife doesn’t keep up with tech but saw a headline this morning and was surprised to see something like Google Glass attempting a comeback. She doesn’t wear glasses and doesn’t WANT to wear glasses. I wear contacts for that same reason.

      Some of us are going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the future whether we like it or not.

    2. “Apple will have signaled that it does not intend to ever increase its personal computer market share or be a class leader in any category.”
      Apple signaled that a LOOOOONG time ago. There are a lot of folks that don’t want to see the signs, but if not touching the Mac Pro for 7 years didn’t send a clue, then nothing will.

      And next year at this time, when Apple doesn’t have the fastest and best value workstation with Intel x86-64 chipset blah blah, folks still won’t get the message!

  6. Until iPads have a mouse and can run page layout software, multiple windows, and manage fonts, they will always be basically content consumption devices. Almost everything on the web and in print is made on a desktop system, or a laptop sitting on a desktop. It’s that way for a reason — it’s the best way to work. I have even gotten to reading in my Macbook in the evenings while in my easy chair. It’s easier to take notes and move stuff around. IPad are great tech, but very crippled.

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