Apple has 'great desktops' on Mac roadmap, CEO Tim Cook says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2016
Allaying fears that Apple is scaling back Mac desktop development efforts as it concentrates on portables, CEO Tim Cook told employees on Monday that there are exciting products in store for the recently neglected segment.




Pulled from a thread on Apple's internal message board Apple Web, Cook's statement deflates rumors of an impending desktop Mac demise, reports TechCrunch.

Desktop machines are very much a different beast from portables like MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, Cook says. Whereas laptop specs are confined by form factor restrictions, desktops are defined by high performance processors, large screens, ample storage and "a greater variety of I/O." The last feature appears to be a sly nod to recent grumbles about the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar lineup, which maxes out with four Thunderbolt 3 ports on 15-inch model.

With regular MacBook refreshes far outpacing those of iMac, Mac mini and the Mac Pro, the latter of which turns three years old today, some analysts believe Apple is slowly killing off its desktop offerings. Further, the various MacBook iterations generate more revenue for the company than desktop alternatives.

"Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we're committed to desktops. If there's any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap," Cook writes. "Nobody should worry about that."

In addition to the Mac desktop promise, Cook also took time to answer another employee question: What do you consider to be Apple's biggest differentiator, and what can employees do to foster and advance those efforts?

As stated and reiterated on many separate occasions, Cook said company culture and people are both keys to Apple's success. In particular, Apple pushes employees to think beyond expectations, and the ilk of worker that comprises the company's core is more than happy to oblige.

"I think it's that 'change the world' attitude and boldness that's deeply embedded in our culture, that 'good isn't good enough.' All of this is the fuel for everything else that we do," Cook says. "From a strategic point of view, we also focus on things where software, hardware and services all come together and bring out the magic that only Apple can. That's our secret sauce. It shows up in a lot of different places, and it's something that we look for in new employees."

Cook's response to the second question is reproduced below:
Our greatest differentiator is our culture and our people. They are the foundation by which everything else comes about. Without great people and a great environment that people can live in, we wouldn't have intellectual property. We wouldn't have the best products. We wouldn't have the inventions or features I mentioned earlier.

I think it's that "change the world" attitude and boldness that's deeply embedded in our culture, that "good isn't good enough." All of this is the fuel for everything else that we do.

From a strategic point of view, we also focus on things where software, hardware and services all come together and bring out the magic that only Apple can. That's our secret sauce. It shows up in a lot of different places, and it's something that we look for in new employees.

You can rarely see precisely where you want to go from the beginning. In retrospect, it's always written like that. But it's rarely like that. The fantastic thing about Apple employees is they get excited about something, and they want to know how it works. What it will do. What its capabilities are. If they want to know about something in an entirely different industry, they start pulling the string and see where it takes them. They're focused more on the journey, which enables so many great things to happen.

Just in the past couple years, pulling that string on Watch and fitness led to ResearchKit, and ResearchKit led to CareKit. We've got a ton of things on our roadmap that I can't talk about, but that I'm incredibly excited about, that are the result of pulling that string and not being bound by the box that so many people in life get bound by.

With so many things that we've done, we don't do it because there's an return on investment. We don't do it because we know exactly how we're going to use it. We do it because it's clear it's interesting and it might lead somewhere. A lot of the time it doesn't, but many times it leads us somewhere where we had no idea in the beginning.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 217
    That's been a pretty long road map for the Mac Pro...
    wozwozdysamoriafrankie
  • Reply 2 of 217
    That's been a pretty long road map for the Mac Pro...
    Intel's roadmap has been quite long as well...which doesn't help things. I still want to see Apple go back to a mini tower for the Mac Pro. It doesn't have to be as large as the old Mac Pro, but maybe the size of the PowerMac G4. Put a couple of PCIe slots, couple of flash storage slots, etc. It would also be cool I think to keep it the same black aluminum.
    edited December 2016 jSnivelyelijahgmdriftmeyermacseekerpalominewatto_cobramobiusdysamoriavulpinejony0
  • Reply 3 of 217
    Whereas laptop specs are confined by form factor restrictions, desktops are defined by high performance processors, large screens, ample storage and "a greater variety of I/O."

    Show us you meant what you said, Tim. The iMac is a bunch of mobile components glued behind a big screen. The Mac Mini is un-upgradable box of mobile hardware. The "trashcan" Mac Pro looks neat until you need to connect external accessories typically required of their workloads. You need breakout boxes, cables, external everything. In a senses, the dongle mess that is the 2016 MBP starts with the trashcan.

    Give Jony a challenge to design computers that: (1) upgradable, (2) has wide selection of replacement parts, (3) has ports that people actually need, (4) have regular updates and (5) look good, in that order. He only cares about thinness these days.


    edited December 2016 macpluspluspscooter63zoetmbelijahgejilkruppbaconstang1983larsimanRayz2016
  • Reply 4 of 217
    "Great desktops"? I'm getting very skeptical about that. Apple is flirting with losing professional and creative users whose influence goes far beyond direct sales to them. The Pro and its "can't innovate, my ass" intro has been a complete letdown. If that's the kind of thing Cook has in mind, Apple might just as well cede this market to others and move desktop employees to the car.

    My wife's iMac from 2010 needed replacement. I waited and waited for an Xmas update. When I gave up and bought the latest and greatest last month it was shown to be an October 2015 model in the About This Mac menu. Pathetic. Apple, the new Phone Company. 
    macxpressmacpluspluselijahgavon b7ai46dysamoria
  • Reply 5 of 217
    The fact that Mr. Cook has to assure people that Mac desktops will continue is, to me, an indication of how bad the Mac development situation has become. Can anyone imagine him having to reassure people that there are new iPhones coming after three years with no updates?
    elijahgpscooter63ejirobin hubergoodbyeranchpalomineravnorodomwozwozSpamSandwichai46
  • Reply 6 of 217
    "Great desktops"? I'm getting very skeptical about that. Apple is flirting with losing professional and creative users whose influence goes far beyond direct sales to them. The Pro and its "can't innovate, my ass" intro has been a complete letdown. If that's the kind of thing Cook has in mind, Apple might just as well cede this market to others and move desktop employees to the car.

    My wife's iMac from 2010 needed replacement. I waited and waited for an Xmas update. When I gave up and bought the latest and greatest last month it was shown to be an October 2015 model in the About This Mac menu. Pathetic. Apple, the new Phone Company. 
    You do realize thats the latest hardware intel can offer, right?

    More "modern" hardware won't be on the market until 2017.
    macxpressmwhiterevenantbaconstangwatto_cobra1983patchythepiratetycho24
  • Reply 7 of 217

    "Great desktops"? I'm getting very skeptical about that. Apple is flirting with losing professional and creative users whose influence goes far beyond direct sales to them. The Pro and its "can't innovate, my ass" intro has been a complete letdown. If that's the kind of thing Cook has in mind, Apple might just as well cede this market to others and move desktop employees to the car.

    My wife's iMac from 2010 needed replacement. I waited and waited for an Xmas update. When I gave up and bought the latest and greatest last month it was shown to be an October 2015 model in the About This Mac menu. Pathetic. Apple, the new Phone Company. 
    Go and find me a computer with "newer" hardware.
    baconstangpatchythepiratetycho24
  • Reply 8 of 217
    The fact that Mr. Cook has to assure people that Mac desktops will continue is, to me, an indication of how bad the Mac development situation has become. Can anyone imagine him having to reassure people that there are new iPhones coming after three years with no updates?
    Heck, I don't even care for an "incredible" redesign. Update the Mac Pro with the latest processor from Intel whenever these come out. In fact, shut up, take my money and ship a cheese grater with the latest Xeon and GPUs. 3 years without an update is pathetic.
    1983kamiltonravnorodomai46dysamoria
  • Reply 9 of 217
    "Great desktops"? I'm getting very skeptical about that. Apple is flirting with losing professional and creative users whose influence goes far beyond direct sales to them. The Pro and its "can't innovate, my ass" intro has been a complete letdown. If that's the kind of thing Cook has in mind, Apple might just as well cede this market to others and move desktop employees to the car.

    My wife's iMac from 2010 needed replacement. I waited and waited for an Xmas update. When I gave up and bought the latest and greatest last month it was shown to be an October 2015 model in the About This Mac menu. Pathetic. Apple, the new Phone Company. 
    You do realize thats the latest hardware intel can offer, right?

    More "modern" hardware won't be on the market until 2017.
    I don't think people realize that Apple is kinda held back by Intel in some aspects. They were already kinda screwed with the MacBook Pro release. I don't believe there's a real upgrade in CPU for the iMac as it stands right now. I am hoping that in the mean time while they were waiting on Intel they were redesigning all of their desktops. If they know whats coming down the pipeline they can design around that. I'd really like to see a brand new iMac. 
    palominewatto_cobraanome1983albegarcpatchythepirate
  • Reply 10 of 217
    scottw2 said:
    Whereas laptop specs are confined by form factor restrictions, desktops are defined by high performance processors, large screens, ample storage and "a greater variety of I/O."

    Show us you meant what you said, Tim. The iMac is a bunch of mobile components glued behind a big screen. The Mac Mini is un-upgradable box of mobile hardware. The "trashcan" Mac Pro looks neat until you need to connect external accessories typically required of their workloads. You need breakout boxes, cables, external everything. In a senses, the dongle mess that is the 2016 MBP starts with the trashcan.

    Give Jony a challenge to design computers that: (1) upgradable, (2) has wide selection of replacement parts, (3) has ports that people actually need, (4) have regular updates and (5) look good, in that order. He only cares about thinness these days.


    How do you figure Ive only cares about thinness (ignoring for the moment that there's an entire team who designs these things)? Especially since he's gone on record many times to state that design is not just about how a thing looks, but how it works...
    watto_cobrawilliamlondonpatchythepirateai46dysamoria
  • Reply 11 of 217
    Robin nailed it above. Buying a "new" iMac 21.5 gets you 2015 hardware, and slow notebook hard drive. For Fusion offerings a SSD "hybrid" HD where there is less than 1/5th the SSD portion of the faster 2013 models. You have to buy the middle model and upgrade it for another $100 to get the speed of a base 2013 model. Its frustrating to help my customers with these options. All this while my PC compresses video 3.5 times faster than an iMac and cost $900.
    edited December 2016 macplusplusrobin huberpalominezimmermannravnorodom
  • Reply 12 of 217
    As others have said, it does seem Apple's only able to concentrate on one product these days. Back in the mid 90's they had heaps of products which was really their downfall - though at least they did frequently bring out new models - and they do seem to be going that way again lately (watch straps, anyone?). They should have discontinued the 2015 MBP and replaced it with the touch bar model at the same (bumped) price the 2015 MBP is at.

    As far as the Mac is concerned generally, this "great pipeline" that Cook keeps going on about is either incredibly long, or needs Dyno-Rod. Over and over he has said "we have some great products in the pipeline", then he eventually comes out with the touch bar MBP. That's not particularly "great", Tim. Ive's OCD over thinness is partly the reason, you can't fit powerful CPUs and GPUs into a thin machine. I don't care about thin, I want the computer to be an actual computer I can install drives in, upgrade RAM etc, not a fashion icon.
    baconstangravnorodomdysamoria
  • Reply 13 of 217

    "Great desktops"? I'm getting very skeptical about that. Apple is flirting with losing professional and creative users whose influence goes far beyond direct sales to them. The Pro and its "can't innovate, my ass" intro has been a complete letdown. If that's the kind of thing Cook has in mind, Apple might just as well cede this market to others and move desktop employees to the car.

    My wife's iMac from 2010 needed replacement. I waited and waited for an Xmas update. When I gave up and bought the latest and greatest last month it was shown to be an October 2015 model in the About This Mac menu. Pathetic. Apple, the new Phone Company. 
    The 5k imac is the finest imac i've ever used. What exactly about it won't be sufficient for your wife, especially considering she's using a 2010?

    My desktop is a 2011, maxed our ram and SSD, and it's still zippy. I use it for software development, running virtual machines, etc. The 5k is even better and faster, I'm curious how you could find if disappointing in performance?
    edited December 2016 davenbaconstangwatto_cobrawilliamlondonravnorodommacxpressbrucemcpatchythepirate
  • Reply 14 of 217
    Those who keep on blaming Intel for Apple's excuses, I have two words for you: Surface Studio
    elijahgbaconstangsingularitymobius
  • Reply 15 of 217
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,832moderator
    macxpress said:
    That's been a pretty long road map for the Mac Pro...
    Intel's roadmap has been quite long as well...which doesn't help things. I still want to see Apple go back to a mini tower for the Mac Pro. It doesn't have to be as large as the old Mac Pro, but maybe the size of the PowerMac G4. Put a couple of PCIe slots, couple of flash storage slots, etc. It would also be cool I think to keep it the same black aluminum.
    An honest question:

    Because they make both the hardware and the software, couldn't Apple mitigate the long Intel roadmap by including A10X chips to offload some of the work from the Intel and 3rd-party graphic chips?

    edited December 2016 dysamoria
  • Reply 16 of 217
    OK so for months people have been complaining about how tight-lipped Apple was, that they wouldn't comment on their desktop plans and worries they would be shutting it down. Now, Apple comments on this, and what do people do? Complain. 

    Very perplexing. 
    pscooter63davenbaconstangwatto_cobraanomeRayz2016williamlondonravnorodombrucemcpatchythepirate
  • Reply 17 of 217
    elijahg said:
    As others have said, it does seem Apple's only able to concentrate on one product these days. Back in the mid 90's they had heaps of products which was really their downfall - though at least they did frequently bring out new models - and they do seem to be going that way again lately (watch straps, anyone?). They should have discontinued the 2015 MBP and replaced it with the touch bar model at the same (bumped) price the 2015 MBP is at.

    As far as the Mac is concerned generally, this "great pipeline" that Cook keeps going on about is either incredibly long, or needs Dyno-Rod. Over and over he has said "we have some great products in the pipeline", then he eventually comes out with the touch bar MBP. That's not particularly "great", Tim. Ive's OCD over thinness is partly the reason, you can't fit powerful CPUs and GPUs into a thin machine. I don't care about thin, I want the computer to be an actual computer I can install drives in, upgrade RAM etc, not a fashion icon.
    When buying a portable notebook, I definitely want thinness -- thinner is less mass which is less weight. That makes carrying it much more convenient. I want a fast SSD, the faster the better. I certainly don't want removable drives since they're bigger and slower than chips. 

    The MBP with TouchBar and TouchID is a great machine. The reviews and user reviews have been very positive. I love my 2014 rMBP because it still flies, but I'd love to have one of these. So why do you think it's not a great portable?
    edited December 2016 watto_cobraanomewilliamlondonbrucemcpatchythepirateai46
  • Reply 18 of 217
    macxpress said:
    That's been a pretty long road map for the Mac Pro...
    Intel's roadmap has been quite long as well...which doesn't help things. I still want to see Apple go back to a mini tower for the Mac Pro. It doesn't have to be as large as the old Mac Pro, but maybe the size of the PowerMac G4. Put a couple of PCIe slots, couple of flash storage slots, etc. It would also be cool I think to keep it the same black aluminum.
    An honest question:

    Because they make both the hardware and the software, couldn't Apple mitigate the long Intel roadmap by including A10X chips to offload some of the work from the Intel and 3rd-party graphic chips?

    They could, but they'd do better upgrading other things in the Macs such as the ridiculous spinning HDD they still use in the iMacs, or adding an extra couple of x86 cores. but that'd require better cooling, and the thin design won't allow that so thats a no. The other hardware in the computers (GPU for example) is progressing much faster than Intel CPUs.

    OK so for months people have been complaining about how tight-lipped Apple was, that they wouldn't comment on their desktop plans and worries they would be shutting it down. Now, Apple comments on this, and what do people do? Complain. 

    Very perplexing. 
    They've not really commented on their plans other than to say "we don't consider the Mac dead, yet"
    dysamoria
  • Reply 19 of 217
    elijahg said:
    As others have said, it does seem Apple's only able to concentrate on one product these days. Back in the mid 90's they had heaps of products which was really their downfall - though at least they did frequently bring out new models - and they do seem to be going that way again lately (watch straps, anyone?). They should have discontinued the 2015 MBP and replaced it with the touch bar model at the same (bumped) price the 2015 MBP is at.

    As far as the Mac is concerned generally, this "great pipeline" that Cook keeps going on about is either incredibly long, or needs Dyno-Rod. Over and over he has said "we have some great products in the pipeline", then he eventually comes out with the touch bar MBP. That's not particularly "great", Tim. Ive's OCD over thinness is partly the reason, you can't fit powerful CPUs and GPUs into a thin machine. I don't care about thin, I want the computer to be an actual computer I can install drives in, upgrade RAM etc, not a fashion icon.
    "you can't fit powerful CPUs and GPUs into a thin machine"

    Apple can if their roadmap eventually entails replacing Intel with Apple's own custom ARM SoC. (aka ARM-based Mac)
    watto_cobradysamoria
  • Reply 20 of 217

    Those who keep on blaming Intel for Apple's excuses, I have two words for you: Surface Studio
    What are the sales figures of the Studio? That's the real indicator of success, is it not? 
    baconstangwatto_cobrawilliamlondonbrucemcMetriacanthosauruspatchythepirateai46
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