Apple has reportedly been questioning the future of its professional line of Mac Pro towers in the face of decreasing sales. Citing unnamed sources, AppleInsider reported that Apple is debating whether or not to continue investing resources into the Mac Pro when technologies like Thunderbolt blur the differences in capabilities between Apple’s other Macs and the powerful Mac Pro.
The Mac Pro’s Future?
The key issue that Mac Pro sales have been steadily declining for some time. Apple’s MacBook Pros, iMacs, and even the Mac mini have all gotten powerful enough to meet the needs of many professional and Enterprise users who once would have needed to turn to the power configurability of a tower. Apple’s 27” iMac, for instance, has found a ready market in the prosumer and creative professional markets, while many other such customers want the flexibility of a MacBook Pro, or even a MacBook Air.
On top of that, Apple’s desktop sales, while growing overall, have been taking a shrinking percentage of Apple’s Mac sales, and all of that unit growth has come from the sale of iMacs. As noted above, Mac Pro sales have been decreasing.
So what’s a $120 billion per year company to do? Even though Intel has released new Sandy Bridge processors suitable for Apple’s Mac Pro line, and even though Apple supposedly has a new design all gussied up and ready to ride, the company apparently finds itself at a philosophical/profit crossroads and is considering phasing out the Mac Pro, at least as we’ve known it.
Thunderbolt allows massive data throughput, and few users actually use the PCI-Express slots in the Mac Pro, so it’s possible that Apple could introduce a beefed up Mac mini, or perhaps an iMac, that would meet all but the most demanding of Mac Pro customers.
In short, the times they are a changin’, and the Mac Pro could soon find itself relegated to the dustbins of history alongside the Xserve, the Cube, the Newton, and the Mac Portable.