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Apple's Renewed Focus on iPad Left the Mac Behind This Year

When looking at the current state of the Mac lineup, the new MacBook Pro is the only model Apple has updated over the past seven-plus months. Even the latest MacBook Pro models required a 527-day wait, which was considerably longer than the average of 320 days between previous MacBook Pro refreshes.

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A glance at our own MacRumors Buyer's Guide shows the new MacBook Pro is the only Mac currently listed with a "Buy Now" status, as all other models beyond the 12-inch MacBook have not been refreshed for significant periods of time. The longest overdue is the Mac Pro, last updated 1,084 days ago.

iMac — 420 days ago
MacBook Air — 638 days ago
Mac mini — 782 days ago
• Mac Pro — 1,084 days ago

The lack of updates can be at least partially attributed to Apple having to wait on chipmakers and suppliers such as Intel, AMD, and Nvidia, each of which follow their own product roadmaps, although that cannot be the only reason given Skylake processors are now readily available for update-deprived Macs.

A lack of meaningful updates to several Macs this year impacted Apple's bottom line, as Mac revenue has declined for four consecutive quarters year-over-year. The declines have worsened each quarter, starting with a 3% drop in Q4 2015 and progressing to a 17% drop in Q3 2016, according to Strategy Analytics.

Apple investors now await the company's first quarter earnings results to see if the new MacBook Pro models will be able to reverse that trend.

Conversely, after several down quarters, the iPad has experienced a mostly upward trajectory over the past year, thanks largely in part to the iPad Pro's higher average selling price. Apple's tablet revenue is now stable on a year-over-year basis, after dipping as low as -21% one year ago.

ipad-mac-yoy-revenue
Strategy Analytics senior analyst Eric Smith attributes the stabilizing effect to Apple's renewed focus on iPads. He said Apple entered the 2-in-1 tablet market with the iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard right in time to renew growth and capitalize on growing enterprise demand in the future.

Recognizing that Microsoft was changing the computing device market, Smith said Apple "pretty much forgot about Mac" in order to attack the 2-in-1 tablet segment with the release of iPad Pro models over the past year.
"Apple has been a master of cannibalizing its own business before other companies do so in a major way," Smith told MacRumors. "Apple let iPad slide until it became clear that Microsoft was changing the computing device market. It refocused on iPad with the Pro series and pretty much forgot about Mac to attack the 2-in-1 segment."
Apple's move was rather effective, as iPad market share has stabilized at 22% over the past two years after declining for the previous four years. But it would seem it took a change in stance to get there as, in the past, Apple essentially dismissed the idea of releasing a tablet-notebook hybrid.

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During a 2012 earnings call, when asked to comment on why the MacBook Air and iPad would not eventually converge, Apple CEO Tim Cook argued that combining the products would result in compromises. "You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator but those won't be pleasing to the user," he said.

By contrast, earlier this year Apple released a TV ad called "What's a Computer?" that positions the iPad Pro as a computer. "Imagine what your computer could do if your computer was an iPad Pro," the tagline concludes.


Likewise, Cook said the iPad Pro is a notebook or desktop computer replacement for many people. "They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones," he added. "I think if you're looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?"

In the post-PC era, it is perhaps unsurprising that Apple's attention has shifted more towards the iPhone—and by extension, the iPad. But many faithful customers are hoping Apple will eventually turn its sights back to the Mac, following what some critics believe was a disappointing MacBook Pro update amid an aging lineup of Macs.

Rumors suggest Apple will launch new iMacs in the first six months of 2017, and at least one model is said to include an option for new AMD graphics chips. The roadmap for other Macs remains less clear.



Top Rated Comments

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20 weeks ago
Too bad they are a small company and cannot focus on more than one product line.
Rating: 200 Votes
20 weeks ago
Better Headline - Tim Cook Left Apple Behind This Year.

1. Removed 3.5mm headphone jack from iPhone
2. Made the Macbook Pro less pro
3. Neglected iMac
4. Ditched Display Business
5. Has made a loyal Apple customer not find any interest in any product in the Apple store

Get that man out of there. Please. Seriously.

-Signed Mac Pro Tower 2012 / 15 inch Macbook Pro 2011 / iPhone 6 user
Rating: 109 Votes
20 weeks ago
If Apple abandons the Mac then I will abandon Apple.
Rating: 103 Votes
20 weeks ago
Absolutely disgusting and a true shame to Steve's legacy. And for what exactly?

The iPad Pro is just an oversized version of the original iPad Air design (which came out in 2013) and iOS 10 is terribly designed for it. Don't even get me started with that keyboard accessory? And charging the Apple Pen? Everything feels so flimsy and awkward, even Microsoft has it all figured out pretty well. And I'm really getting sick of those thick bezels & chamfered-edge design...

I mean we complain a lot on these forums, you can go back 15 years ago here and find complaints regarding the first iPod, however this truly is a continuous disaster and I hope to god this will reflect on their sales in the future, otherwise nothing will change. Just to think that employees and executives may read this and regard this as meaningless noise.

The Mac has been the backbone to this company for decades, don't strive for high profits, market share & low margins, strive for perfection... because that's what made them special in the first place.
Rating: 86 Votes
20 weeks ago
Hey macrumors, you made a mistake on the buyers guide for the MacBook Pro, it states "buy now", where it should read "don't buy" :D

Here is what appears to be an honest review from an Apple fan - [MEDIA=youtube]s1QKW7gzTIs[/MEDIA] he is returning his.
Rating: 74 Votes
20 weeks ago
Apple probably would have updated the Mac but with 200B in the bank,things are kinda tight
Rating: 55 Votes
20 weeks ago
The Mac Pro still sells at a disgusting $2,999 base price and hasn't been updated at all. Even when it was new, the D300 GPU was already dated crap as its basically a FirePro W5000 card, which is essentially an AMD 7950 (or something close to it)... a card from 2012.

Apple DOES NOT a) care and b) respect it's consumers which is obviously seen with the garbage they've released with the MacBook Pro and that pathetic attempt to sell more licensed 3rd party devices by removing the headphone jack.
Rating: 50 Votes
20 weeks ago
It's been moving towards this situation a long time now - this isn't anything new.. I all ready smelled it coming half a year ago, suspecting apple pretty much has abandoned the Mac line. I had the iMac 5K Maxed out BTO, but it was throttling and struggling to do all I wanted - despite being the top of the line one. So I started thinking: There's actually not a single product in Apples arsenal I can buy that gives me a more powerful machine and I have NO clue if they will ever release one. So the choice was, sit on the fence and try to accept the limitations from Apple or just sell my iMac and get a PC with the exact internals I want and complete freedom to make my own choices...The decision became pretty clear.
If you are a professional and need more than a limited machine, then leave apple while your wallet is still intact. THe price<->value ratio has gone down the drain on Apple products imho - they are upping the prices and lowering the performance, as if to test how far they can push their customers before they start cathing their hoax (emperors new clothes).
I haven't regret going to windows for a second. You don't need to be all in or not. I will still enjoy my iphone and iPads, my Mac mini and all my other consumer entertaining devices apple make, and Ill still buy new ones as long as Apple manage to innovate (though it seems they are a bit lost on that department as well these days). But Apple as a hardware company for demanding "pro" users are simply gone, in my eyes!
Rating: 44 Votes
20 weeks ago


Cook said the iPad Pro is a notebook or desktop computer replacement ('//www.macrumors.com/2015/11/09/tim-cook-ipad-pro-can-replace-notebooks-desktops/') for many people. "They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones," he added. "I think if you're looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?"


Oh you know. To have a real OS?
Rating: 36 Votes
20 weeks ago
That Microsoft Surface Studio is looking pretty good right now, don't you think guys. OSX be damned.
...
I've said it from day one, and got blasted for it. Tim Cook is an awful CEO. His ass should have been canned by now. Better yet, never hired for the position.
Rating: 31 Votes

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