Apple’s ‘Hello Again’ Event Wasn’t About the Mac After All

2 minute read
| Editorial

During Apple’s “Hello Again” event, Apple spent an hour and 25 minutes talking about several cool things. The new MacBook Pros are very nice—but they were the only major Mac announcement.  In contrast, the event tagline suggested that Apple would say something important about the “Mac” as a product. Instead, the vacuum persisted and Apple elected to take a stand on how it sees the MacBook Pro catering to the pro market with the Touch Bar.

2016 MacBook Pro

The context sensitive OLED Touch Bar was the highlight of the event. Image credit: Apple

The first thing I noted during this event was the apparent filler as Tim Cook updated us on the success of the iPhone 7. It seemed like something that was inserted to fill the time. That’s wasn’t exactly the way to wake up an audience, onsite and via streaming, who knew all that already.

The next thing I noticed was that the new “TV” app from Apple, while terrific and long awaited didn’t seem to fit in with Apple’s tagline either. The first part of the event felt like a kitchen sink approach. Finally, I started feeling hardware starved. It’s beginning to look like we won’t be getting a 4K/UHD/HDR Apple TV for the holidays. Sigh…

Good-Bye Again

My colleague Bryan Chaffin brilliantly commented that this event felt more like a “Good-bye” event. By that I mean–and I’m doing my own take on his observation–that a boatload of questions were left unanswered.

  • Why was there no mention of the iMac line? The 21.5-inch iMac could use an update to Skylake and Thunderbolt 3.
  • What’s the fate of the Mac mini?
  • What’s the fate of the Mac Pro?

By discussing the MacBook Pro only, Apple seemed to be saying, “We never intended, nor do we need, to talk about anything else.” Unsatisfying.

Evidently, we are to take Apple’s silence on other Mac matters as a statement of steadfast indifference.

Walls Closing In

Conversely, Apple seemed to focus almost to exclusion on the new Touch Bar. While very cool and a technical line in the sand that Apple customers just don’t want to reach out and touch their notebook display, did it merit such extensive coverage? Again, I felt hardware starved, especially since Apple insists on making 16 GB of RAM the maximum available in its MBPs.

Another way I felt hardware starved is that a “pro” machine has to have lots of connections to peripheral equipment. True, the USB-C hub market has developed thanks to the 12-inch MacBook, but the a 15-inch quad-core MacBook Pro is more likely to be connected to a large external display. Apple discontinued its own 27-inch Thunderbolt display, and Phil Schiller left us to ponder the idea of just the LG display with USB-C connectors. What if that’s not the display a user wants? Again, hardware starvation and technical closed doors seems to be the theme.

2016 MacBook Pro with LG displays.

Phil Schiller shows your new pro workspace. Image credit: Apple

Finally, the feeling we all at TMO got during this presentation is that Apple just doesn’t see a future in powerful desktop Macs. If you are a technical or creative professional, a MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar is going to be your thing. If that doesn’t do the trick, there’s little recourse available in the rest of the product line. You’ll need to turn elsewhere.

This event didn’t seem calibrated to address a “Hello again” audience who, I think, expected a broad range of solutions from a brilliant hardware company.

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colinddarby

Apple said in an internal iPhone memo, “Consumers want what we don’t have”.

Sadly, you can now apply this to the notebook line.

Let’s hope that they don’t expand this line of thought to the iMac, Mac Mini and the poor old MacPro.

These are sad times to be a power Mac user and that Surface Studio sure does look nice.

Chazaska
Member
Chazaska

As others have said, it seemed to me that the usual near cult-like fervor was missing from all the presenters, as if they clearly knew that they would not be meeting the expectations of the faithful.

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

I suspect that there were things that they want to present, but were not quite ready.

Old UNIX Guy
Member
Old UNIX Guy

As others have noted, even Phil Schiller gave a very unusually poor presentation (for him) yesterday. He even forgot to say the one thing he *should* have said:

“Can’t innovate – that’s RIGHT!”

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

Good news friends, there is a support group. See today’s Joy of Tech comic

http://www.geekculture.com/joyoftech/joyarchives/2347.html

geoduck
Member
geoduck

I had planned to order. I was ready to order. but I haven’t ordered. For what they are, they are just not worth the price. The specs, the limitations, the cost just aren’t adding up. the system that I had braced myself to get is significantly more expensive than I had, based on the old prices, expected. The system priced at a level I had expected to pay is not going to be up to the task of what I want to do with it. Most telling though, after 30 years of using a Mac, and only Macs, at home… Read more »

furbies
Member
furbies

Apple must be planing to make a “pile of cash” selling USB-C -> everything else adapters ?

brilor
Member
brilor

Spot on comments John; thank you. I don’t envision professionals with demanding computing needs looking at a machine with maximum of 16 GB of RAM; even 32 GB is unacceptable and maybe 64 GB approaches minimum RAM. 128/256 GB workstations would be acceptable. Being able to connect a 5k monitor to a new MBP is great but for my own use the laptop screen would interfere with my work ( if connected to a external monitor ). Brian

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

Death knell 😀

remoran@digcns.com
Member
remoran@digcns.com

Go to http://beyondrealtime.blogspot.com/2016/10/where-are-you-steve.html to see the post regarding MS and the hardware Apple should have. Cook is NOT Jobs and neither is Ivy. This is meh to the max and, as a creative person, Apple is beginning to lose it big time,

geoduck
Member
geoduck

Strip-Bar. I think this is a name that will stick.

bjeast
Member
bjeast

Well, this was a disappointment for me, as well. So we got thinner. We knew that was coming. And a better display. That’s good! But with the 15, we get a middle of the road, discrete GPU, at a premium price. We get four Thunderbolt 3/USB ports. That means if I replace my current MacBook Pro I potentially need 3 new adaptors. One to use older USB devices, of which I own plenty, including an iPhone 7Plus (if want to be able to charge it.from the laptop); One to connect an HDMI connector (to use projectors at one of my… Read more »

CudaBoy
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CudaBoy

A Strip-Bar, the Air was left out to dry as was we Pro users. But hey, you guys were great at the Hangout – Zeppo was kind of understated but Hey, it was nice to see your ‘sausage’ I mean – see the sausage being made….

xmattingly
Member
xmattingly

16gb of maximum RAM was a brutal disappointment; especially since Apple has stagnated on that spec for at least the last four years and these are supposed to be “pro” machines. It would stand to reason that if they’re (quite obviously) neglecting their pro desktops, they’d be beefing up their mobile computers to fill in the gap. Sorry Apple, I need a gee-whiz virtual toolbar far less than I need a pro machine that can multitask in several memory hungry apps and get things done. And we’re expected to cough up a minimum of $2200 for the maximum available RAM?… Read more »

d'monder
Member
d'monder

Apple just doesn’t see a future in powerful desktop Macs.

What does Apple use in-house for release-level development and graphic design?

Apple, if you have a need for horsepower in-house, your customers do as well. 🙂

archimedes
Member
archimedes

“the feeling we all at TMO got during this presentation is that Apple just doesn’t see a future in powerful desktop Macs…
This event didn’t seem calibrated to address a “Hello again” audience who, I think, expected a broad range of solutions from a brilliant hardware company.” 🙁

archimedes
Member
archimedes

I do think contextual keyboards are likely to be a big thing – Apple’s rumored acquisition of e-ink keyboard company Sonder Design certainly points to this.

MonkeyT
Member
MonkeyT

I have no doubt that this wasn’t hyped as “A NEW BEGINNING FOR MACS” because they want to know that the TouchBar will be accepted (From early hands-on feedback by fairly skeptical reviewers, I looks like it will.) It’s really obvious that the next iMacs will support a TouchBar on their keyboards, as will Mac Minis and Mac Pros (if they survive). This was a dry run – the merging of contextual keyboards and full screen workspace displays in applications is about to take over the macOS world. This is how iOS and MacOS are going to become more closely… Read more »

archimedes
Member
archimedes

I agree it was an extreme waste of the “hello again” tag, which implied something as significant as the original Mac (“hello.”) or the iMac (“hello (again)” – very disappointing marketing, Apple!

Of course I like the new MacBook Pro (though still stuck at 16GB unfortunately 🙁 ) but I agree completely that this wasn’t a “hello”-worthy Mac event.

Member
Rick Allen

Normally I would have paid already for a new MacBook pro, and be waiting on delivery. I was hoping for a more revolutionary product (see Surface Studio) vs evolutionary product. Sadly I think I am taking a pass at this time on a new MacBook pro. My portable work device (surface pro 4) has had sixth gen i7 processor all this year and the same max ram as the new pro. The loss of MagSafe is horrible, as it has saved me from “Laptop death” more than once. Also this new machine is adapter-holic! I need adapters for everything so… Read more »