Apple Admits it is Listening to Mac Criticisms, Which is Refreshing

BY Evan Selleck

Published 4 Apr 2017

For quite some time now, the Mac lineup has been left to roam aimlessly without much perceived guidance from the company that built it.

While the iMac family has seen updates, none of them have been all that worthwhile — aside from new displays. And for pro users, the iMac lineup hasn’t been getting nearly enough attention by any meaningful measure. While the iPhone has led Apple to remarkable new heights, and it is now being buoyed by its many services, the Mac brand has seemingly been left by the wayside.

The Mac Pro is the perfect example of this. That device was one of form-over-function, and anyone who might have considered the desktop device had to weigh those considerations before pulling the trigger on what’s a pricey set of components all crammed into an eye-catching design. While Apple was obviously happy with the Mac Pro’s design at the time, things have changed, and they’re ready to start making some necessary tweaks to make their Mac lineup more worthwhile to more people — including professionals.

Apple is traditionally a close-knit and tight-lipped company, keeping its product trajectory close to the vest until the minute of its unveiling. But that changed in a big way today.

The morning Apple news cycle was dominated by news of new Mac products, including a new Mac Pro, a pro-inclined iMacs, all of which are on the horizon. Some are closer than others. The new professional iMacs, for instance, will see the light of day later this year. Meanwhile, the changes that Apple has in store for its new Mac Pro will take a bit longer to gestate, so we will have to wait until 2018, at the earliest, to see its come to light.

The launch of the newest MacBook Pro, the lack of updates for the Mac Pro, and a noticeable lack of pro-level updates for the iMac over the years have all come together to suggest Apple has forgotten about the pro users out there. The developers, and artists, and so many other professionals that essentially made up the Apple computer market for so long. Those complaints were spot on, but this is where Apple’s biggest pivot in strategy has surfaced.

Apple has announced to the world that it is announcing new pro-level iMacs later this year. Moreover, the company has opened up about its plans more than a year from now, shining light on future changes to a revitalized Mac Pro. This just doesn’t happen, and it’s quite the change on Apple’s part. It’s a clear indicator that Apple knows it has made some mistakes in some regards, dropped the ball altogether in others, and it’s letting potential buyers of any computer that maybe they should wait a bit longer, because they’re going to launch something that’s hopefully worthwhile.

Moreover, Apple’s Phil Schiller even admitted the company made a mistake with the Mac Pro:

“As we’ve said, we made something bold that we thought would be great for the majority of our Mac Pro users. And what we discovered was that it was great for some and not others. Enough so that we need to take another path. One of the good things, hopefully, with Apple through the years has been a willingness to say when something isn’t quite what we wanted it do be, didn’t live up to expectations, to not be afraid to admit it and look for the next answer.”

If I hadn’t seen that quote myself, and someone told me that Schiller had admitted the company made a mistake, and they were making changes to fix it –while at the same time confirming an unannounced product was indeed on the way– I wouldn’t have believed it.

Perhaps the pressure from other companies, like Microsoft, have left Apple little room to do anything else at this point. Microsoft has seen some success with its pro-focused Surface Studio all-in-one PC, and the Surface Pro and Surface Book lineups have been met with generally positive feedback. Competition can do that sort of thing, but I don’t know that it necessarily forces Apple to break from tradition, admit fault, and confirm new products ahead of an official unveiling.

It was good to see Apple being so frank this morning. We’re not going to see this from the likes of the iPhone lineup, or even from new iPads or the Apple Watch, but perhaps the Mac family is more deserving of this sort of attention. This sort of pivot. The question is, will it work?

If you have been considering picking up a new desktop computer, and you’ve felt like the iMacs weren’t up to par for what you were looking for, were you looking at competing products? And if so, does today’s confirmations from Apple mean you’ll wait until later this year to see what the new iMacs have to offer?