It’s been a few weeks since Apple has announced the new MacBook Pro, and by now you’ve heard all the reviews and complaints about how these new devices don’t live up to the “Pro” name. This backlash was no doubt amplified by the fact that there hasn’t been a proper MacBook Pro update for the past three years, and many pro users (such as myself) were salivating at the thought of what Apple might unveil. What they did unveil left many of us feeling like we’ve been waiting for nothing. These new MacBook Pro’s are not the powerhouse machines we’ve been waiting for, and it has even made me love my mid-2009 MacBook Pro more than I already did.
I’ve been an Apple user and supporter for more than 10 years now, and I know all too well that they have never been at the forefront of cutting edge specs for any of their devices. That’s fine – there is absolutely nothing wrong with that because what their products lack in power often make up for in user experience. Apple products have been so well designed and engineered over the years that many people didn’t really mind the fact that they could purchase Windows and Android devices with better specs for far less money.
With the 2016 MacBook Pro, I believe we’ve reached the end where consumers will be happy to pay higher prices for Apple products. These new machines are so crippled (four USB-C ports? That’s it?) and so expensive that I would be surprised if they outsell the previous generation. It could happen though – the pent up demand from many Apple loyalists may make this MacBook Pro a huge success, but I believe the damage is done. For the first time since I’ve been closely following Apple, I’m seeing many pro users declare that they have been pushed too far and that they are switching to Windows or Linux. Just hang out on the macrumors.com forums for 5 minutes – you’ll be wading up to your eyeballs in complaints.
This is Sony all over again
I graduated from college in 1996, and back then, Sony was the “it” brand. I remember it very clearly: my roommate and I (both hardcore tech nerds) would fight over the latest issue of Sony Style magazine, spending hours oogling over their latest products. Sony really did have style back in those days, and the amount of effort they put into industrial design was like no other company was doing at that time. I also remember those products to be very expensive, and I was never able to afford many of those cool tech gadgets.
But then Apple came along, fueled by Steve Jobs and his rabid desire to create really great products that “just work”. And he did it. The first iMac, iPod, and iPhone were complete game changers that turned the tech industry on it’s heels. Suddenly it was Apple on top, while Sony lost it’s edge and fell to the dark depths of poor sales, corporate shakeups, and bankruptsy protection.
The momentum of the Apple train continued for several years after Steve’s death in 2011, but I believe we are just now seeing the consequences of what happens when a company rests too much on it’s laurels and stops innovating. They are putting out crippled products that are becoming inconvenient to many consumers at costs that aren’t sustainable. They’ve also shown little interest in keeping their pro users happy, which is even scarier. Their flagship product, the Mac Pro, hasn’t been updated in three years and yet it still costs then same as it did back in 2013. That just blows my mind, especially since there must be a need for designers and engineers within Apple headquarters that need pro-level workstations with serious processing power. Are they all working on Windows PC’s now?
It’s only going to get worse from here
I’ve never seen more complaints thrown at Apple (and people defecting to Windows) more than I have with the launch of the 2016 MacBook Pro. While I have no doubt that sales are still very strong and that this company will be healthy for the time being, I fully believe we are seeing cracks in the hull forming that may be unrepairable going forward. Add to this the massive costs for their huge new circular campus they are putting the final touches on and…well…I have a sinking feeling that we are going to see Apple’s income not being enough to support it’s expenses within 5 years.
A bold statement, yes, but having watched Sony suffer the same fate I believe anything is possible in the tech world.