Apple has been rubbish at updating the MacPro for years now. Before 2009 it had not been updated for two years. In 2010 it introduced SSDs and 12 core options but sat on its hands since.
Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that the MacPro will probably get a refresh in June, but the question is how long Apple can continue to pretend it, or its clients, are really that interested.
According to Macworld UK, resellers would be relieved if Apple pulled the plug and just concentrated on what it does best – peddling consumer gear. At the moment they are faced with trying to sell a machine which is not a consumer desktop but lacks the grunt to be a workstation.
The MacPro has historically made headway into the publishing and education industries, but the problem there is that the machines are no longer the power house they once were. Those who actually need a workstation want one with a particularly high spec and Apple has been shuffling away from that market for some time – just like it did from the server market when its Xserve failed to make an impact.
Macworld said that the Mac Pro removal won’t be a huge problem, it was a very small seller in the APR channel, so much so that it was removed along with the Mac mini off the store displays. Those who wanted to have an Apple PC switched over to the iMac a long time ago, mostly because it was a better all-round machine and still has upgrade options.
Apple’s difficulty is that it is competing against much better machines from Dell and HP in an area where its marketing magic does not work. While a designer might want their computer to look pretty, that is less important than its abilities in power and graphics. While Apple used to be good at graphics, this has not been the case for many years. Most users really don’t need that sort of power, and those that want it need it in spades.
Most of the resellers we spoke to said that they can’t flog high end Apple workstations any more. Their high-end customers have to make too many compromises to keep an entirely Apple shop.
A source at one European reseller said that he did not lose any sleep because he could still kit out some types of businesses with iMacs, or even, in one case, Mac Minis. It was worth having a side deal with HP or Dell for the higher end workstations to cover that side of any IT refurbishment project.
“If there were no MacPros, I would not have to show my clients hardware which is frankly not up to par,” the source said. “I could simply say Apple got out of that market, how about this HP model instead”.
In the long term, however, our source believes Apple will get out of the PC market altogether and solely become a consumer device maker.
“Apple has too much invested in being a consumer operation and its business arm is suffering. In the long term it is not really sustainable,” the source said.
If that is the case, then Apple will stop selling the MacPro and then phase out the iMac in favour of something more portable.