After Pro surge, Apple’s consumer Macs could use a little love, too

Apple's venerable 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac models
Apple’s venerable 21.5-inch 4K and 27-inch 5K iMac models

Dan Moren, Macworld:

At long last, some two and a half years after Apple declared itself serious about enticing professionals back to the Mac, the Mac Pro is finally here. It joins the iMac Pro and the new 16-inch MacBook Pro as a triptych of attractive options for professional Mac users. That’s great.

But while Apple was focused on the professional market, its consumer-facing options have languished a bit. It’s not that the MacBook Air, the iMac, and Mac mini aren’t perfectly serviceable machines, but they could all use a little bit of love—especially after all the attention that’s recently been lavished on their pro-level counterparts.

MacDailyNews Take: Job No.1: Get the new scissor mechanism Magic Keyboard that’s in the new 16-inch MacBook Pro into the MacBook Air (and 13-inch MBP). And, while, you’re at it, we’d like to see the MacBook revived, with a Magic Keyboard, and powered by Apple-designed ARM-based silicon!

As for the desktop, we’d love to see what Apple’s design team could do with the still-gorgeous, but long-in-the-tooth iMac as well as — hey, we can dream! — a Mac minitower for those who’d like to add video cards, RAM, internal drives and for whom the iMac and Mac mini don’t work as well as would an affordable Mac minitower.


  1. The MacBook is definitely coming back, and I bet it will be ARM-based. It won’t have the scissor or the butterfly keyboard, however. It will have a touch-based input display where the keyboard is normally found.

    That’s the whole purpose of the Touch Bar. It’s there to normalize and scale the technology, so we and they are ready for the next step.

      1. I think it would be just about the purest expression of a “Mac” “Book”

        Now that the butterfly keyboard has been rejected (not just for reliability reasons, but also for performance), that may have interrupted the transition from mechanical to virtual input. So who knows, maybe the MacBook will stay a “truck”. There’s certainly newfound appreciation for trucks at Apple. But my guess is mobile devices will inevitably continue their slow evolution into cars.

        1. Not really what a MacBook (as opposed to a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro) is for. They will always make “trucks” but consumers want “cars”. (Something to watch Netflix, browse Facebook, and curate photos on.)

          1. They already have bigger screened iPads to do all that stuff on.

            And splendidly at that. With plenty of input options, KBs, touch, pencil.

            Anything in some kind of PC-like form factor needs to maintain a little “truckishness.”

  2. What particular niche are you hoping to fill between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro? There isn’t much of a market between those two for a “MacBook” to fill. Maybe just rename all the MacBook Pro models with less than an i7 chip?
    Yes, it might be nice to have a modest “card-tower” to add various ‘stuff’ to a Mac mini, MacBook* or iMac – or even a Mac Pro. A few extra ports for those in need, perhaps. But a Mac minitower as a unique line of computers? Might cannibalize the Pro line, no?

    1. Many people have requested a Mac minitower over the years as a bridge between the Mac mini and the Mac Pro. The redesign of the Mac mini several years ago rendered it less user accessible and upgradable. making the lack of a prosumer-grade Mac minitower even more apparent.

      If I were leading Apple Mac design, then I would attempt to take advantage of economies of scale by leveraging many of the design aspects of the new Mac Pro. For instance, use the same basic tubular frame and slide-on-chassis design, but chop it shorter and reduce the number of internal bays, size of the power supply, etc. Make some smart compromises on the logic board design and internal storage options, and you have a capable, but reasonably priced Mac minitower.

      If history is any indicator, this remains just a pipe dream. Apple has shown no inclination to offer a Mac minitower over the past couple of decades. But Apple fans love to hope for the next insanely great thing.

    2. Well, if a customer is buying a $1500 Mini configuration, were they really in the market for a Mac Pro in the first place? I think a market would exist for a $2500 base price small tower with GPU options and a couple of slots. Something that could expand to 128gb ram and non-soldered SSDs.

  3. a mac pro with an i7, a lower graphics card. You can make up a hackintosh for $1500 with an i7 and a decent vid card. Apple can easily source the parts at cost for less than $1500 and sell it for $3k. You’d sell more desktops to people who want it and not the stupid imac/mini that overheats. a 50% profit while also taking possible pc sales too. Will they? no.They can reach more creators with a lower class machine. I’m disappointed in Apple with this decision.

    1. “You’d sell more desktops to people who want it”
      No you wouldn’t sell MORE desktops, you’d just sell a different mixture. A few less mini’s and iMacs and a few more whatever-new-thingy.

      “while also taking possible pc sales too.”
      No, iOS is taking PC sales… folks that realize they want their data WITH them and not at home on a desk, AND always on access via a cell network.

      “ can reach more creators with a lower class machine”
      They HAVE lower class machines, they’re just not upgradable which is REALLY what minitower proponents want. Most creatives are happily using laptops (over 80%) or iMacs and minis, they don’t need PCI cards or to upgrade memory because the machine they have has more power than they’ll ever make full use of.

  4. Bring on the new Magic Keyboard for the entire MacBook lineup! Give us a true pro level 14” MacBook Pro with optional discrete graphics and give us a more powerful MacBook Air.

    Then, give us an iBook running iPad OS!

    Lastly, build a Mac Mini Pro with prosumer level expand ability, modularity, and cheese grater cooling vents!

  5. A door with an replaceable NVMe slot would be nice for an iMac.

    What I’d really like to see is more powerful fan configurations for iMacs, so that even running for hours under full load wouldn’t cause their highest-tier processor to thermal throttle.

    These aren’t necessities for me, but I think they would be nice to have on a wish list.

  6. Mac is still recovering from the final “thinner is always better’ Jony Ive and the ‘lost in iOS wonder’ Tim “Who Needs a PC” Cook years

    Jony is gone and Cook finally realizes 7 billion or so every three months (in spite of no advertising , slow updates, not listening to customers and bad keyboards ) is nothing to sneeze at.

    imagine if they actually corrected themselves ! “$$$$ !” Timmy thinks.

    So I’ll give them a bit more time to fully fix their mistakes.

    that said I’m one of those who have been clamouring for years for a mid tower . (I still have three usable upgraded old cheese graters).

  7. Very much agreed. Both the base Mac Pro and the top tier iMac Pro are an absurdity when it comes to value. I know that Apple wants us all to be using iPads (they seem to have abandoned their ‘why would you buy a PC? crap at long last, thankfully), but come one. That the Power Computing of yore is philosophically putting them to shame again is unacceptable in the 21st century.

  8. I am a developer and I love what they did with the Mac Pro it is beyond what I can afford but it is incredible. I wish Apple made a Mac that was somewhere in between the Mac Pro and the Mac mini. iMacs are nice but if you already have displays it really isn’t needed. Oh well just a pipe dream.

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