I am not a Apple Pro User on the Mac side. I probably should be. I tend to use my machines to the max but seldom have machines designed to take the max. I have an iPad Pro (9.7”) and I have a maxxed out iPhone 7+. But my iMac is a spring 2009 model, and my MacBook is a 12” 2015 model. I love both machines, and I think the 2015 MacBook is what every laptop aspires to be. (I wish it had a bigger battery, but that’s my only nitpick.)
Despite my lack of Pro Mac products, I have watched and listened in pain as Apple remained silent on the Mac Pro, as users complained about the status of the Mac Pro. I have always felt that at its core, Apple is a “Pro” company; its products are designed to reach as close to the ideal as possible for all-around usability. So more recently, as I listened for word from Apple about their ultimate Pro Mac machine, I felt that this could be a watershed moment for the company. In my humble opinion, if the company were to abandon the Mac Pro market, it would signal the end of the company as we know it.
I’m not a doomsday prophet, and I detest such predictions. My sentiment is about the company as we know it, not about the company as a viable entity. Abandoning the Mac Pro market would not necessarily reduce Apple’s profitability, but it would signal a shift in mindset—and a very important mindset shift. Apple has long been the standard bearer for industrial technology design. I believe this is because of an ideal Apple holds about the importance of underlying quality. You’re probably aware of the story of Steve Jobs painting the back of the fence, used as a kind of parable about the importance of doing the little things right, even when you think no one will ever notice. Well, the Mac Pro is, itself, one of the little things. Check out John Gruber’s market share numbers for the Mac Pro. The market for the Mac Pro is so small that the number of users may be only in the thousands, not even the tens of thousands. (I don’t have any idea what the real numbers are; maybe it’s the tens of thousands—regardless, it’s still tiny.) Shifting away from the Mac Pro would be an admission on Apple’s part that they no longer care about making the truly ultimate versions of their products even if there are only a few users for them. For me, this is such good news that I actually felt an emotional weight lift when I read the news. Maybe it won’t mean so much to you, but I feel this is an immensely important decision for the future of Apple.