Apple has a problem with so-called ‘professional‘ Mac users. If you don’t know what a professional Mac user really is, then you’re in good company because the term has different definitions for different people.
Way back when, back to the last century when Steve Jobs returned to Apple he redefined the company’s product line to a simple graph of quadrants. The so-called professional group got a notebook and a desktop in their respective corners, and average consumer folk got a lesser powered notebook and a desktop in their corners.
Today’s Mac lineup might be the largest ever because Mac sales since the turn of the century have more than doubled. Apple is no longer synonymous with the Mac, but the computer division rakes in half the entire PC industry’s profits so if you think the Mac remains very important to Apple you’re probably wrong.
Apple has long had two groups of Mac customers. The average everyday Mac user and the professional user who required more power; especially those in multimedia and graphic design. Apple even had a powerful server system called the Xserve which was available from 2002 to early 2011 before being discontinued.
What happened to the Xserve? Steve Jobs:
Hardly anone was buying them
That may very well be the reason why Apple seems to be moving away from the so-called professional Mac user. Not enough customers were buying those powerful Macs so Apple stopped selling them. Likewise, the powerful and flexible Mac Pro cheese grater is no more. The current trash can inspired Mac Pro has never been upgraded in three years of life.
Last week Apple introduced the new and long overdue MacBook Pro line. While the models are fast and sleek and seemingly powerful, they’re also limited to 16GB of RAM, and as the professionals will tell you, that’s not enough; 32GB would be the minimum. 16GB is fine for most MacBook Pro customers. Just not enough RAM for the professionals and they’ve become more vocal, even as they’ve become an endangered species.
Why not an option for more RAM on the MBP?
There are plenty of reasons for the limitation; some of which range from device size to CPU to heat and battery, but one thing is clear. Not enough Mac customers want notebooks that can use that much RAM.
That’s the Xserve syndrome.
Two things should be crystal clear. First, Apple cares less about the professional customer than ever before, and not one Mac can truly be called professional level in 2016. Second, whoever those professional customers are today simply have not buying enough powerful Macs in recent years to make it worth Apple’s effort to satisfy the professional market segment.
There may be a chicken and egg issue here, but ‘build it and they will come‘ doesn’t always work. Apple, like any technology company, goes where the money goes and there’s not enough money in the Mac professional market, despite the monickers MacBook ‘Pro’ and Mac ‘Pro.’