Apple’s Mac lineup will receive incremental updates in 2017 amidst some complaints that the Mac platform has been on the back burner at Cupertino.
Among the changes will be the addition of USB-C ports and more powerful graphics processors on the iMac, courtesy of AMD. Next year’s MacBook and MacBook Pro are also expected to receive boosts in processing power. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo — who has an excellent track record of forecasting Apple’s moves — expects the new iMacs to launch sometime in the first half of 2017, according to MacRumors.
Additionally, Apple’s engineers are reportedly exploring adding Touch Bar and Touch ID to an upcoming standalone keyboard — whose current Magic Keyboard predecessor was released in October 2015. Some are theorizing that Cupertino is waiting to see how well-received these features are on the company’s new MacBook Pro lineup, TechnoBuffalo reported.
Reports of these modest updates come at a time when many might feel that Apple is slowly abandoning its flagship computer. The Mac lineup is reportedly getting less attention than it once did, and is less of a priority to Apple’s design and software teams, as well as its senior management, according to Apple sources cited by Bloomberg. Those sources describe “a lack of clear direction from senior management, departures of key people working on Mac hardware and technical challenges that have delayed the roll-out of new computers.”
The iMac lineup, for example, has not seen an update in around 430 days. The Mac Pro was last refreshed in 2013 — the Mac mini last updated in 2014. Before this year’s MacBook Pro was unveiled, that lineup went more than 500 days without a refresh, Bloomberg reported.
And it’s not just the hardware and design side that might not be getting attention at Apple. There is reportedly no longer a dedicated macOS team at Cupertino — that job has been rolled into a larger, combined iOS and macOS division. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it makes sense considering how important iOS is to Apple’s revenues, according to Engadget.
The Mac only makes up around 10 percent of Apple’s total sales. But the professionals who use the platform are largely responsible for fueling Apple’s turnaround in the ‘90s — and it’s worth questioning whether Cupertino can afford to alienate that core Mac demographic.
Still, it’s apparently not all doom and gloom for Mac users or the team at Apple. Employees reportedly asked CEO Tim Cook at an internal Q&A forum whether the Mac is still important to the Apple ecosystem. Cook, for his part, restated the Mac’s importance to Cupertino — and his comments may offer hope to Mac enthusiasts that the company’s flagship computer isn’t dead.
“Let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap,” Cook said. “Nobody should worry about that.”