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.
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…
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.
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.