Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Innovation in Desktop Macs

Dan Moren, Macworld:

On its laptop line, the company continues to solve for weight, thinness, and battery life, and for good reason: those are what most consumers want in a laptop. But some of those design decisions have rubbed off on the desktop line, such as the impetus to make the iMac super thin, or to redesign the Mac Pro as an objet d’art.

As the Mac shifts more and more to a power machine, the truck to the iPad’s car, it may be time for Apple to take a step back and reconsider those design decisions. Does the iMac really have to be that thin to look good? Could some width be traded for performance? And while hiding away all the cables on the most recent Mac Pro made good aesthetic sense, accessing them by rotating the machine — when it’s already plugged in to a bunch of cables — isn’t necessarily a usability coup.

Since it is, ostensibly, far more consumer orientated, I don’t mind the iMac getting thinner or having a more adventurous enclosure.

But the Mac Pro is, first and foremost, a professional desktop computer. It should have maximum power, frequent updates, and great flexibility, in the quietest possible package. I think a lot of professional users would have been totally fine with a refreshed version of the previous Mac Pro — the one with the hardware design that goes back to the Power Mac G5 — if it meant a more frequent update cycle.

The “new” Mac Pro has its advantages, of course: it’s basically a powerful core to which a tonne of peripherals can be attached, which means it’s adaptable to nearly any industry. Yet, it has been sold in the exact same configurations at the same price points for three years now, and its externally-focused extensibility creates a lot more clutter. Either the hardware is preventing Apple from making regular updates, or it’s simply not their focus. Whatever the case, it’s not acceptable to professionals.

Apple’s innovation in desktops for 2017 could simply be to update the products they think are valuable, and kill the ones they don’t.