Tim Cook says Apple is 'investing aggressively' in the future of the Mac

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
In Tuesday's Apple earnings conference call, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook declared that the company was "investing aggressively" in the Mac, signaling that meaningful refreshes are in the pike for years to come.




"Revenue grew 14 percent to a new March quarter record and gained market share thanks to strong demand for our new MacBook Pros," Cook said early in the call. "Our Mac business has generated over $25 billion in revenue over the past four quarters. We're investing aggressively in its future and we are very excited about the innovation we can bring to the platform."

Apple noted that it sold 4.2 million Macs, up 4 percent from the year-ago quarter, in a market that isn't growing. Specifically, the MacBook Pro sales grew the company's portable growth by 10 percent, more than twice the expansion of the category industry-wide.

Apple's Mac growth isn't limited to the U.S. While Apple may be not reaching its lofty peaks it hit shortly after arriving in country with the iPhone, Mac revenue growth is up 20 percent in China.

A new line of pro hardware is coming




Presumably, Cook and company is referring at least in part to the renaissance of the Mac Pro, and associated ecosystem. In early April, the company revealed that the Mac Pro will be resurrected with an entirely new design, and that Apple-branded professional displays are also in the product pipeline.

Coupled with that, Apple has promised the iMac will be refreshed later this year. The rumored "server-grade" iMac reportedly sports the Xeon E3-1285 processor, between 16 and 64 gigabytes of ECC RAM, up to 2TB of NVMe SSE storage, and the "latest" discrete GPU.

The MacBook Pro is the most recent Mac model to be refreshed. It isn't clear when it will see an update again -- Apple may wait until Intel's Cannon Lake processor for an update, with its support of LPDDR4 RAM allowing for 32 gigabytes of RAM without resorting to power-hungry desktop RAM.

Consumer-oriented Macs have a less clear path




Also labeled as important by Apple exectives is the Mac mini. The diminutive Mac is an "important" product and won't be cancelled anytime soon, according to Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller.

That said, the Mac mini hasn't been updated since October 2014, and that model has been criticized as being less powerful than the 2012 model.

Apple's 12-inch MacBook with Retina display debuted in 2015. It was last updated in April 2016 with a new family of Intel processors based on the Skylake architecture.

The MacBook Air remains in the product line -- but perhaps only for now. It had a minor shuffling during the launch of the new MacBook Pro in 2016. It hasn't been notably upgraded since 2015, and it appears that the 12-inch MacBook and Touch Bar-less MacBook Pro are the heirs apparent to the market segment occupied by the MacBook Air.

Sometimes, you still need a truck




Apple's market is flush will all manners of users up and down the scale, from people who use the device just to get email, all the way to Hollywood video editors, architects, and other users with computational demanding needs. It can be argued that the former is a larger class than the latter, as perhaps evidenced by the lack of attention to the Mac Pro, and sporadic updates to the MacBook Pro, in recent years.

However, beyond just production needs, the Mac is still needed for iOS coding. The iOS App Store doesn't exist without the Mac, at least for now. The only sign that Apple is even considering porting Xcode to iOS is Swift Playgrounds -- and that's not much of a move in the direction.

It's not clear why Apple waited on the MacBook Pro. Perhaps Intel's only minor generational improvements between generations of the Core processor weren't compelling enough, and perhaps Cook and company had other reasons -- which will never be told.

Perhaps Cook's commitments about the Mac in the latest conference call, and Apple's latest statements on the matter, may encourage the Mac faithful.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 112
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,929member
    Glad to hear this, and I'm beginning to think he means it. 

    I suspect that Apple miscalculated when they saw the iPad initially skyrocket in sales, and underestimated (and underinvested in) the future of the Mac.

    Hopefully now they genuinely appreciate the importance of the Mac and we can put the unpleasantness of the last few years behind us. 
    king editor the gratedacharbigpicsapplecoredhmurchison1983argonautwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 112
    goodbyeranchgoodbyeranch Posts: 101member

    The state of the mac went from stale to dusty to long silence to emergency catch-up mode. Ugly.

    blastdoorbdkennedy1002king editor the gratekernapsteravon b7bloggerblogSpamSandwichhodarbigpicsravnorodom
  • Reply 3 of 112
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,929member

    The state of the mac went from stale to dusty to long silence to emergency catch-up mode. Ugly.

    Agreed, but emergency catch up mode is way better than funeral mode! 
    macxpressbigpicsminicoffee1983cornchipNameo_Macsplosionargonaut[Deleted User]watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 112
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,018member
    This was actually bound to happen. As long as the iPhone kept growing, Macs didn't matter that much. Now that growth may stall on the phone side they need to find new revenue somewhere. They have been touting Services for a while and it is growing, but they need more than that to cover the difference. Macs have been doing well in spite of how little attention they get from Apple. If they put more focus on Macs, they can see an increase in revenue as a result. It won't be iPhone numbers, but adding to Services and Other will go a long way to keep the numbers going up.
  • Reply 5 of 112
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,994member

    The state of the mac went from stale to dusty to long silence to emergency catch-up mode. Ugly.

    Are you kidding? Get yourself a 5k iMac -- who else is doing something like that? And my MBP is an amazing notebook, the best I've ever used. 

    Just because the MP, which composes only a single-digit of all Mac sales, is outdated due to reasons they've explained doesnt mean Macs suck, yada yada. I'm a professional enterprise software dev and I don't even need the desktop Pro. The problem with it makes for great hand-wringing, but doesn't affect nearly as many people as the hand-wringers pretend it does.
    brucemcjony0pscooter63MicDorseyiqatedocornchipbaconstangargonautwatto_cobraadaeon
  • Reply 6 of 112
    Add a chunk of optane between the RAM and the SSD, toss in some red-hot custom math/graphics coprocessors, sprinkle with USB-C & Thunderbolt 3 ports and serve with a TouchBar keyboard and (perhaps eventually) an 8K screen?  Yum yum yum! 
    hmurchison1983watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 112
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,303member
    Let's not forget the macOS advantage in all this talk of the Mac's status.  What has any so called competitor got, Linus flavors and Windows!  Sheesh.
    edited May 2017 iqatedocornchipargonautwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 112
    battiato1981battiato1981 Posts: 224member
    Hoping they announce the revised iMacs at WWDC and offer for sale soon after. My legacy Cheese Grater Pro (c. 2009), is showing some graphics card oddness and needs to be put out to pasture, soonly!
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 112
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,975member
    blastdoor said:
    Glad to hear this, and I'm beginning to think he means it. 

    I suspect that Apple miscalculated when they saw the iPad initially skyrocket in sales, and underestimated (and underinvested in) the future of the Mac.

    Hopefully now they genuinely appreciate the importance of the Mac and we can put the unpleasantness of the last few years behind us. 
    I think you have that backwards. People saw the iPad's skyrocketing popularity and assuming that the Mac was going to fade away, like the iPod did soon after the iPhone arrived. That's been Sog's mantra—at least until this thread where he states that Mac sales are beautiful.

    When I look at the Macs that were selling in 2010 v today all I see a major innovations that have pushed the Mac far beyond what I could've imagined back when the iPad launched. How can you look at the MacBook and think that Apple has underinvested in all those parts that go into it? They built an entire chip and forked watchOS so they could put a second copy of OS X into their notebook to securely run Touch ID and Apple Pay. What other PC vendor has done anything like that? They pushed companies specifically to create their own controllers to make their PCIe SSDs the fastest on the market when no one was complaining about SSD speeds and I don't think those controllers are used in an iDevice today. Even their displays are getting better color quality which I don't think any normal user will be able to tell the color quality simply by looking at the screen, unless they do a comparison to another MBP or use a color accuracy sensor. 

    And do you remember the 5K iMac announcement? Not 4K, but 5K!, and they did it by inventing a new timid controller to support 67% more pixels than a 4K display.

    The notion that Macs were going to disappear was only tabled by the shortsighted and conspiracy theorists, not Apple.


    edit: 


    edited May 2017 brucemcjony0propodStrangeDaysfastasleepfastasleeppscooter63iqatedobaconstangargonaut
  • Reply 10 of 112
    Well, imagine that. Updating the Mac's that turned Apple into a company in the first place and are needed to create the apps that run on them and iOS.
    adaeon
  • Reply 11 of 112
    NB2017NB2017 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Has anyone seen that picture above of Steve Jobs near what looks like a prototype iMac? I've never seen such a machine before. Did he actually have that on stage with him??
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 112
    cassherncasshern Posts: 10member
    What I'm worried is I need a new macbook but I don't want to buy one with a ridiculous and doomed to lose support touchbar.
    adaeon
  • Reply 13 of 112
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,975member
    NB2017 said:
    Has anyone seen that picture above of Steve Jobs near what looks like a prototype iMac? I've never seen such a machine before. Did he actually have that on stage with him??
    It's a Power Mac G4

    Go to about 56 minutes into the video.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 112
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,105member
    Doesn't Tim say this every quarter about every product?
  • Reply 15 of 112
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,603member
    blastdoor said:
    Glad to hear this, and I'm beginning to think he means it. 

    I suspect that Apple miscalculated when they saw the iPad initially skyrocket in sales, and underestimated (and underinvested in) the future of the Mac.

    Hopefully now they genuinely appreciate the importance of the Mac and we can put the unpleasantness of the last few years behind us. 
    I am glad, too. As the iPad has matured a viable computer / device its limitations have become more apparent, in the sense that it is not a be all and end all of computing. I am definitely not an iPad guy! In fact, I am considering not getting a mbp but instead the 12" mb. For the last few years processor speed has not been an issue for me. I use Photoshop only to crop and optimize images, and I use iMovie only to top and tail footage. The maxed out MB comes in at more or less the same price as a low end 13" mbp. 8gb RAM i fine and so is single port. Anybody living with a 12" mb and separate 24" or so monitor? Views?
    edited May 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 112
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,975member
    casshern said:
    What I'm worried is I need a new macbook but I don't want to buy one with a ridiculous and doomed to lose support touchbar.
    1) The MacBook doesn't come with a Touch Bar. There's even a 13" MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar.

    2) There's absolutely no reason to expect Apple is going to stop supporting the Touch Bar. You might as well say they'd disable function keys on your current machine or that the Home Button will stop working on an iPhone when Apple drops supports for Touch ID and Apple Pay… because you think those are DOOMED™.
    StrangeDaysfastasleeppscooter63argonaut
  • Reply 17 of 112
    Soli said:
    NB2017 said:
    Has anyone seen that picture above of Steve Jobs near what looks like a prototype iMac? I've never seen such a machine before. Did he actually have that on stage with him??
    It's a Power Mac G4

    Go to about 56 minutes into the video.


    No. This.


  • Reply 18 of 112
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    AppleInsider said:
    The rumored "server-grade" iMac reportedly sports the Xeon E3-1285 processor, between 16 and 64 gigabytes of ECC RAM, up to 2TB of NVMe SSE storage, and the "latest" discrete GPU.
    I don't get the title "server-grade" iMac. I suppose it would work as a server if you only needed one, although it certainly would not be my first choice. An in-office server doesn't have to be that powerful. One of our main servers is running on an Atom processor which is totally fine for the job. That is one of the trends these days - multiple machines with very low power consumption. The other trend is very powerful computers with lots of virtual machines. This iMac does not fall into either of those categories. Servers rarely, if ever, need a screen which is why it seems odd to me that someone would use an iMac as a server.

    This iMac sounds more like a powerful graphics workstation to me. Right now I'm using an iMac 5K and love it.
    bigpicsfastasleepbaconstangjdunysargonautadaeon
  • Reply 19 of 112
    charlesatlascharlesatlas Posts: 198member

    The old Power Computing poster says it all.
    loquitur
  • Reply 20 of 112
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,975member
    bdkennedy said:
    Soli said:
    NB2017 said:
    Has anyone seen that picture above of Steve Jobs near what looks like a prototype iMac? I've never seen such a machine before. Did he actually have that on stage with him??
    It's a Power Mac G4

    Go to about 56 minutes into the video.


    No. This.


    Ah. I believe that's an Apple Studio Display 15-inch from 1998.

    edit:




    edited May 2017 propod
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