Apple recently convened a small group of journalists at its headquarters to inform them that the Mac Pro, Apple’s powerful trashcan-shaped desktop computer will live.
The $3,000-and-up computer, used around the world by videographers and other creative professionals, was first launched as a giant, metallic desktop machine about a decade ago. Its current design was unveiled in 2013 and has not received many significant updates since then. Apple has overhauled its laptop computers in the last year, but didn’t acknowledge its desktop lines, leading to some consternation that they were being neglected, or perhaps even abandoned. But a group of Apple’s top brass, including the head of software Craig Federighi, told reporters (and programmer John Gruber) that a new version of the desktop is in the works.
But Apple won’t rush the update. The company is working on an entirely new design for its desktops, as well a new Apple-designed monitor to use with them. (Which may well be welcome news for customers who purchased the LG monitor Apple touted at its last press conference that had to be recalled because they didn’t work near wifi routers.)
“You won’t see any of these products this year,” Apple’s marketing director Phil Schiller told Axios. (If you want to read Apple’s intricate plans for these products you won’t be able to buy for quite a while, there’s Mashable.)
In the meantime, Apple is introducing more powerful versions of its existing Mac Pro and iMac models today, to tide consumers who can’t wait until at least 2018 to get a new desktop computer.
By previewing its plans in this way, Apple apparently chose, for the first time, not to “suffer in silence” any critical reactions it might receive for not updating its Macs over the course of the year. Axios’ Ina Fried characterized Apple executives’ inability to offer substantial updates to its most powerful machine over the last few years—leaving some of its most dedicated users in the lurch for so long—as a “rare admission of a misstep.”
Apple’s Mac sales have been surprisingly resilient in recent quarters, especially given the relatively few new models Apple has introduced in the last few years, the company’s insistence that the iPad can replace most laptops, and the global downturn in the PC market. Whether they’ll be as sturdy this year, given Apple is admitting entirely new designs will be released in the future, seems less likely.