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What’s coming down the Apple pipeline?

With so much rumoured for this year, lets look at Apple’s marketing plan

Apple

This year will be one of the busiest yet for the Apple in general and Mac in particular. Every tweeter, blogger, and reporter out there is saying so. Still expected this year, is the final part of the transition to Apple Silicon with the Mac Pro, and then we will start on the next chip, which, we assume, will be called M2. But, you and me, the consumers are actually at the core of some decisions that are being made, as you’ll find out.

Apple killed the iMac

Well, sort of. When Apple withdrew the 21.5 – inch iMac last year, the immediate successor to the crown was born in the form of the 24 – inch iMac with M1 inside. Wind it on one year, though, and things were a little different this time around. The 27 – inch iMac was, quickly and simply, unceremoniously removed from the Apple website. After all the years of loyal service, and legion of fans, it was not even given the good grace of one last hurrah. Nope – in the blink of an eye, it was gone. This time around, though, with no obviousreplacement. So, what is Apple’s plan. I think if we look carefully, we may be able to plot the path ahead.

Will they, won’t they?

I have written fairly recently about the future of the large iMac, and this blog is by no means a repeat of that, rather looking at the overall marketing picture. There was a deafening silence at Peak Performance about iMac. Indeed, the only future Mac spoken of was Mac Pro. It was the only machine singled out as the next in line. The culture of the company, historically, has always been a measured and focused one, with consumers telling them through sales and of course platforms such as this and Twitter what they want. Numbers matter to Apple, and they are a very well-oiled machine when it comes to maximising profit.

The fact that the 27 – inch iMac vanished so quickly almost flies in the face of their normal approach. Indeed, many times in the past, the company has hung on too long to models that are no longer working. Routers such as AirPort and HomePods come to mind. They flogged them to death, until it was embarrassingly obvious they were not going to work.

The chatter about a large iMac successor will not go away. Ross Young from Supply Chain Consultants has changed his view a few times. Last year, he reported on the new mini LED 27 – inch iMac. Then, early this year, he changed his stance to that now being a mini LED display and presently is back to saying the iMac will have a comeback, but not until next year. Ming-Chi Kuo thinks we will also see one in 2023. But Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and 9-5 Mac’s Filipe Espósito both think the advent of a new dawn of large iMacs is a distant vision.

Why the confusion?

Because Apple is testing us. It is there for us to see. The iMac went away, but we were given an iMac display with the brand new Studio Monitor and the heart of the new ‘iMac replacement’ was Mac Studio with either the M1 Pro or Ultra chip. The base configurations of those two items comes to £3498 which was about the price of a decent, mid-tier iMac Pro.

What we are seeing is clever and canny. We are being tested. If the lower end Mac Studio sells well, that lends credence to the release of a high end, consumer Mac mini, of course with Apple Silicon M2. That model is sitting there waiting to happen. It barely needs prototyping. Getting that model to market could happen in the blink of an eye. If simultaneous sales of Mac Studio/Studio Displays go well, then guess what, a large iMac can be with us quickly too.

They have covered every base in their marketing approach. Lower end, consumer users have Mac mini, iMac 24 – inch and MacBook Air. Mid-level users have Mac Studio with the M1 Pro and Studio Display. And, as if that was not enough, we are expecting a budget 13 – inch MacBook Pro this year too for those users – an entry-level MacBook as it were. Higher end users have MacBook Pro 14 and 16 – inch or Mac Studio with the Ultra chip tucked inside. The ultra-premium, professional users will soon have the highest specification Mac Studio’s or the yet to be unveiled Mac Pro.

We are in control

All the future decisions will be led by data created by….us! Apple will look at the sales of all the products they currently have on offer, and then steer the ship in the direction of the dollar signs. Apple really doesn’t care what you buy, with two important caveats. One, it is not Microsoft and two, that it’s an Apple. How you spend your Apple dollar or pound is not relevant, so long as they have created a machine with which to tempt you.

With them now being back in the display market, and by back I mean affordable, they have bought us in to the ecosystem even further and extended our spend. Why? Well, now when they release their next modular desktop that you feel you need, you’ll already have a lovely monitor sitting on your desk just yearning for a new Apple input. It will almost appear as if it is a bargain!

The M2 will, I am convinced, be ever wonderful. It will be quicker in both single and multicore functionality, and derivatives of that will follow as they have from the basic release of the M1 last year.

Lucky, we are lucky

For whatever reason you happen to have become an Apple user, fan or slave, this is a memorable time to be within the grasp of the aluminium clad beauties. We are seeing a dawn of great new machines, and without even knowing it, we are the ones in control. Apple requires our numbers, and I am not only meaning the dollars. The direction of our spend footprint is just as important.

The future, our future is bright. Very bright. What do you think? Let me know.

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Originally published at https://www.talkingtechandaudio.com/blog on March 24, 2022.

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