A new iPhone and iPad are nice, but what about all of the older hardware Apple hasn’t bothered with? For big parts of its lineup, Apple is in desperate need of an update.
At this point, the MacBook Pro is looking a bit dated. It still has the light-up Apple logo around back, and feels a bit chunky. Apple has showed us it can slim down and power up, so why hasn’t it done so the the MacBook Pro yet?
Another conference. “Great.”
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The easy assumption is that Apple is leaning hard into a ground-up rethinking of the Pro based on the MacBook. While a MacBook Pro can’t necessarily incorporate its hardware onto a single card as the MacBook did, Apple will use the slimmer keyboard, battery ensemble and 3D Touch trackpad in a new Macbook Pro at some point.
Unfortunately, the last real ‘refresh’ of the MBP came in 2013 when Apple gave us a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Since, we’ve seen iterative updates, but nothing worthy of much praise.
We could see more done with the MBP later this year, but I’d much rather have it heading into WWDC.
The Mac Pro
Apple’s ‘trashcan’ Pro is feeling a bit long in the tooth, too. While I don’t think a redesign is necessary, I’d love to see it discussed with better options for CPU and GPUs.
Th design of the Pro is fine with me, even though it leans on peripherals more than many would like. For its time, the Pro was about as forward-thinking as we could have hoped for, but it’s definitely time to consider adding more to it.
I have an AirPort Time Capsule. I love it; it delivers fast Wi-Fi and the backups have saved me on more than one occasion.
Apple can do better, though.
Google’s OnHub showed us that the ‘tower’ form factor is fine, but I’d love an AirPort that had internal storage for use beyond Time Capsule. You can hook up external drives, but a unit with a built-in network drive would be great.
Apple’s router could also use new Wi-Fi technology. Again, mine does just fine, but support for new bands would be nice.
After using the iMac in 4K for a time, I’m left wanting. With many of its devices able to shoot 4K video, it seems reasonable that we’d have a 4K (or 5K) Thunderbolt display.
But we don’t. The Thunderbolt is still $1,000, and still doesn’t have 4K capabilities. It’s been years since Apple touched it, too.
Ideally, I’d like a 4K Thunderbolt at around $750. Any more, and It’s worth considering an iMac instead. There are also other options for 4K at the same (or lower) price point, and I’d like to see Apple try to be competitive here.
If you’re going to ask for a better Thunderbolt display, a refreshed Mac Mini is also in order.
Never meant to be truly competitive with the Mac Pro, the Mini nonetheless serves as a nice alternative. For those that don’t want the all-in-one iMac, a more powerful Mac Mini and 4K (or 5K) Thunderbolt display would be a stellar alternative.
Apple could likely slim the hardware down, too, but that’s of little concern. I’d much rather see it revamped with new internals.
When will we get this stuff?
If Apple is serious about these products — and it seems they are — we’ll be getting much or all of it soon enough. Some of it will come as side-notes to larger rollouts (imagine it; an Apple executive on-stage discussing the new MacBook Pro, then subtly noting the Mac Pro was also being refreshed).
There’s reason to think Apple is purposefully letting some of this wither on the vine, too. Perhaps it’s no longer interested in producing displays, and we’ll never get the 4K Thunderbolt. Maybe the performance of an AirPort is solid enough to ignore it for a bit longer.
Much of it has to be redone at some point. I believe the MacBook is a glimpse into the future of the MacBook Pro, and it will slim down quite a bit. I’m not sure what’s taking so long, but I assume Apple and Intel are working on some groundbreaking stuff for the future of desktops, and will leave us wanting until they get there.
Hopefully we’re not waiting too long.