I should start off with a disclaimer: we as consumers have gotten incredibly spoiled over the last 10 years. Thanks in large part to the iPhone’s annual refresh cycle, we’ve been unwittingly programmed to view any piece of hardware that’s more than a year old as old news, even ancient. We all want faster machines, improved display technologies, and battery life than can last for days on end. And whereas we used to patiently wait for exciting new hardware innovations and products, the tech world today vociferously demands it now.
Which brings us to Apple’s Mac lineup. As we highlighted earlier this month, research firm IDC anticipates that Mac sales during the June quarter will see a year over year decline of 8.3%. All the more surprising is that most PC manufacturers will enjoy a year over year increase in sales. This dynamic is highly unusual given that Apple’s Mac hardware generally outperforms its PC counterparts in terms of marketshare growth.
So what’s the problem, exactly? Well, the reality is that Apple’s Mac lineup may be getting a bit long in the tooth. Sure, Apple may have just updated its svelte MacBook, but when we look at the entirety of Apple’s Mac line, there are far too many models that have gone curiously long without an update.
Nick Heer of PixelEnvy writes:
Of the current lineup, fully half of all Macs — the Mac Pro, the Retina MacBook Pro, and the MacBook Air — are the most stale that those products have ever been. I’m not counting the non-Retina MacBook Pro as part of the Mac lineup because Apple seems to be winding down their promotion of the product. For the record, though, it would be the most stale product in Apple’s lineup by far: it hasn’t been refreshed in 1492 days, or just over four years.
Meanwhile, Apple’s Mac Pro — the product that Phil Schiller boastfully introduced with his snarky ‘Can’t innovate my ass!’ soundbite — hasn’t been refreshed in more than 945 days. By way of contrast, Apple’s Mac Pro has historically been refreshed every 449 days.
With Mac sales declining, the problem seems glaringly obvious: who really wants to upgrade to a machine that’s at least a year old at best?
Looking ahead, we can only assume that Apple has some big hardware announcements waiting in the pipeline come September. Indeed, rumors of a next-gen MacBook Pro featuring an OLED touch display above the keyboard have been steadily making the rounds over the past few weeks.
Now to be fair, the Apple of old took its sweet time between releasing various iMac models back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But the Apple today is a different animal than the Apple of nearly two decades ago. Today, the company has more money and resources than it knows what to do with and a more passionate and voluminous user base than ever before.