Does Apple’s simplified Mac lineup have a hole in it?

Does Apple’s simplified Mac lineup have a hole in it?

When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, one of his early moves was to vastly simplify what had become a bloated line-up of Mac hardware. Jobs famously showed off a two-by-two product grid: pro and consumer, desktop and portable. Filling the grid were four products—iMac, PowerMac, iBook, PowerBook—each addressing one of those combinations.

The two-by-two grid lasted for several years, until the debut of the category-busting Mac mini in 2005. Since then, there’s been an almost magnetic impulse to cite the grid as the holy grail of Apple product design aspirations. Every time Apple releases something a new Mac, pundits try desperately to figure out how to shove the latest addition into the already bulging grid.

With this week’s rearrangement of its portable lineup, Apple has gotten both closer to and farther away from that product grid ideal—if indeed it’s even an ideal that Apple should be striving for anymore. But what the new lineup does point out is that there’s a puzzling imbalance in the company’s Mac offerings.

Home and away

At the end of last year, Apple announced it would no longer report unit sales on its products, depriving both financial analysts and us poor tech writers of hard data on which to base our speculation. But look back further and you’ll find Apple actually used to break out its portable versus desktop sales. The last filing to report those, in the last quarter of 2012, shows that the company sold about a million desktops, compared to 3 million portables.

apple dev tools twitter macbook pro 2019 Apple

A vast majority of Macs sold by Apple are laptops.

Since then, Apple has given occasional breakdowns on the percentage of desktop versus laptop sales, though even those have become fewer and farther between. But in general, Apple’s laptop sales are understood to outpace those of its desktops.

Of course, some of that could be attributed to pent-up demand: Apple’s lackluster 2013 Mac Pro stifled sales for high-end desktop Macs; the same could be said on the low-end for the Mac mini, which went several years without a significant upgrade. But the overall trend in the market has been undeniably towards mobile computing, driven in part by Mac laptops, but also by the phenomenal success of iOS devices.

Laptop of luxury

Given the high demand for Mac laptops, it makes sense that Apple would be aggressive about its products. Hence the recent rejiggering of the MacBook line-up, which saw cheaper entry-level prices for the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, as well as the latter getting a more streamlined selection of models. (For the moment, we’ll set aside the frustrations about Apple laptops voiced from certain corners, including keyboard woes.)

The simultaneous discontinuation of the 12-inch MacBook, Apple’s smallest and most lightweight offering, seemingly brings the laptop lineup back into the territory of that two-by-two product grid: the MacBook Air is Apple’s consumer portable; the MacBook Pro its professional model.

via Macworld https://www.macworld.com/article/3408323/does-apple-s-simplified-mac-lineup-have-a-hole-in-it.html#tk.rss_all
link : https://www.macworld.com/article/3408323/does-apple-s-simplified-mac-lineup-have-a-hole-in-it.html#tk.rss_all
July 12, 2019 at 01:19PM

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