Apple Finds Itself With Its Back Against The Wall

Posted on April 4, 2017 by Brad Sams in Hardware with 48 Comments

Apple has found itself in a precarious position, the company is on its heels doing damage control over slow Mac updates. This is an unusual position for the company and they are asking for more time to update their high-end hardware and for the Apple faithful, this may be a hard pill to swallow.

For professional users of the Cupertino hardware, it has been a rough road for the past few years. The Mac Pro, which up until today was hilariously antiquated and overpriced (it was not updated for more than 1000 days and still retained its original release price point), is getting a minor refresh today but more importantly, it is being completely overhauled and that new machine won’t arrive until next year at the earliest.

The spec-bumped older iteration of the Mac Pro that is being released today costs $2,999 and this will get you a 6-core Intel Xeon processor, dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs and 16GB of memory, and for $3,999, you will now get an 8-core processor and dual D700 GPUs.

During a private press event this week, guessing my invite was lost in the mail, company executives explained what went wrong with the Mac Pro; the short story is that their cylinder-based design is a flop. The current Mac Pro is designed for a two-GPU setup and the market has primarily moved to a one-GPU based hardware arrangement. Because of this, the internal cooling of the Mac Pro does not work well in this arrangement and long story short, they have to scrap the design.

A truly new Mac Pro will arrive next year at the earliest with an Apple branded displays and a modular design; so for the Pro user, you can buy a slightly updated Mac Pro today or wait 12 months or more for an all new Mac Pro. Also, later this year the company will be releasing new iMacs as well; no further details about the iMac were announced.

Apple did provide a few new statistics, which you can find in an in-depth post by TechCrunch, that Apple has nearly 100 million Mac users. We know that Windows 10 has at least 400 million active users, likely much higher as that figure is from September, which means Windows 10 is 4-5x the install base of MacOS.

What’s odd about the event that Apple held is that this session was used to push back against the negative press they have received after moving too slowly to update their desktop hardware. After the launch of the Surface Studio, which catered heavily to Apple’s creative base, the feeling that Apple had given up on its desktop hardware had amplified and possibly played a part in the decision to host the out-of-band press event.

Apple has clearly found itself back on its heels and it’s trying to control the damage done to its image by its lack of updates and slow revision process for desktop hardware. If any good did come out of this, it’s that they did provide a small roadmap for what to expect for the months ahead; new iMacs this year and a completely redesigned Mac Pro sometime next year at the earliest.

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