Apple’s Disappointing MacBook Pro Decision
Just like that, Apple’s October moment has been and gone. The updated iPads were presented, a new 4K Apple TV was revealed, and a sweep of Apple’s online services were updated. Yet there was something conspicuously absent.
The decision to skip over the eagerly anticipated MacBook Pro is a shock. Still, it speaks to a higher purpose… the decision to push the holistic view of software and services to be the critical product rather than old-fashioned ideas about hardware being the keystone.
This week saw Apple release several long-awaited products, products that pushed specs and capabilities higher to tempt the geekerati to upgrade their current set-ups to something new, shiny, and powered by Apple Silicon. Apple TV moves to 4K, the iPad picks up a much-improved screen, and the iPad Pro introduces the desktop-class M2 chipset to the device only Apple refuses to call a tablet.
There was no event; the press releases just arrived on the Apple Newsroom webpage. A webpage with no sign of the MacBook Pro.
There were countless indications that Apple was going to launch the MacBook Pro in October, even if it the professionally focused 14- and 16-inch macOS laptops were downgraded to little more than a press release. Yet the new MacBook Pro with the upgraded M2 was nowhere to be seen. Instead, the M2 story was told instead through the iPad Pro.
It may have been as low-key as possible, but this October moment not only failed to drive the story of the Mac forward, it weakened the story. Apple has already pushed the idea of the iPad Pro as “your next computer”. Paired it up with the Apple Silicon chip that has been heavily promoted as the new ideal for desk-bound computing and you can see why MacBook fans will feel side-lined this week.
The last big Mac event is surely going to be the launch of the first Mac Pro to use Apple Silicon. That will meet the promise of Tim Cook and his team from the Worldwide Developer Conference in 2020 to transition the whole product line away from Intel and into Apple’s own ARM-based silicon. Apple doesn’t have long to get the Mac Pro launched and on sale… presumably, as long as one person buys one Apple Silicon-powered Mac Pro at 23:59 on December 31st 2022, then its “Mission Accomplished,” even if everyone else has a model on backorder?
Remember, the Mac Pro is not the endpoint for consumers. That point has already been passed.
The Apple Silicon M2 was launched at Worldwide Developer Conference 2022, building on the success of the M1 hardware and introducing the next-generation chipset on the MacBook Air and consumer-level MacBook Pro. And that feels like that. The celebration happened, the M1 era is over, and the M2 era is the ‘boring normal’ that would just tick along without any real need to promote the Mac platform as something standalone.
Instead, your Mac (be it a Mini, an Air, an i, or a Pro) is just part of the Apple ecosystem. It supports phones and tablets, with everything working through Apple Continuity, sharing documents, files, and media via the cloud. The Mac platform becomes the workhorse but not the anchor. The anchor is your login to Apple’s services, and if you want to make the best use of it then you need to buy more of your lifestyle from Apple… which brings a wonderful fluidity to your workflow as long as you are comfortable you will never need to leave the velvet lined home Cook and his team has drawn you into.
There are big-ticket items where the MacBook Pro is needed, but these aren’t key to the story told to the public. App coding, online development, and multimedia creation will all benefit from the unlocked potential of the M2 in the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro.
No doubt there will be another round of press releases later this year to tell that part of the story. We might even see a small boutique event to court the developers and designers, at which point a little bit of the MacBook Pro’s ankle could be shown off before the main event starts, but Apple has decided that the time to stop focusing on the Mac platform as a standalone entity for consumers is coming to an end.