Apple’s massive MacBook Pro failure

Updated January 5: Article originally published January 2.

You may have missed a breathtaking moment in Apple history. For the first time in the 21st century, Apple didn’t release a new Mac during the holiday quarter. What’s happening now?

Update: Tuesday 3rd January. One of the biggest missing machines is the Mac Pro. Not only is the Mac Pro absent from the portfolio, the ultimate Mac Pro may never appear.

Just as the Intel-powered Mac Pro had a variety of options in terms of chip specification, the Mac Pro is expected to offer a range of Apple Silicon options. Similar to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, which feature both the M1 Pro and M1 Max as user configurations, the Mac Pro choices could include the putative M2 Pro and M2 Max chips as well include an M2 Ultra based on the M1 Ultra found at Mac Studio.

There was also talk of an M2 Extreme chipset that would form the heart of the Mac Pro. The latter would certainly be the ultimate expression of both the Mac platform and Apple’s ambitions with Apple Silicon. While the Mac Pro platform as a whole missed the 2022 deadline, there are reports that Apple has canceled the fastest, most powerful Mac ever. as Tom Sykes reminds us:

“The machine, said to have been canceled in part due to challenges in manufacturing the new high-end chip, could have cost ‘at least $10,000,’ according to Gurman, who says the product probably wouldn’t be worth the development cost , engineering resources and manufacturing bandwidth that would be required for production.”

Once again, Apple’s plans are dictated by the production of the chipset. Now it’s Apple that’s stopping Apple, rather than one of its oldest partners.

Update: Thursday, January 5th. Apple will also lose one of its great assets over the course of 2023. When it launched, it had a notable advantage in terms of performance and battery life. At CES this week AMD has introduced its new Ryzen 7040 chipsets that will overtake the current Apple Silicon offering.

How much advantage? AMD cites “30 percent faster than the M1 Pro that sits in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models…the same models that many expected to see refreshed last year.”

Of course, any CES launch will maximize a company’s portfolio, and the real testing begins when these AMD-powered laptops launch in early April 2023. Expect plenty of benchmarks and comparisons to the Apple equivalent laptops. And expect even more comparisons when Apple finally launches the M2 Pro-powered MacBook Pro models.

For the past two decades, Apple has been largely committed to its chipmakers’ production cycles, with Intel’s evolution of its Core chipsets marking the new interactions of the Mac – particularly the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines – more reliably than Apple. One of Apple Silicon’s advantages has been to align the platform’s hardware and software in the way the iPhone and iPad platforms managed to do.

Even with its Intel millstone, Apple managed a regular October event, typical of the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, with a quiet late November moment for the desktop Mac family – achieved. These changed the conversation not just around the Mac platform, but across the entire PC industry, even as the changes caught up with other innovations on the Windows platform.

Not this year. Apple’s portfolio has included a total of zero Macs over the critical past three months.

It’s not like you didn’t expect anything; Everything indicated that the professional 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models would be updated. Following the release of the Apple Silicon M2 in June, along with the popular M2 MacBook Air and the cumbersome 13-inch MacBook Pro, the larger MacBook Pro models with the chipsets putatively dubbed the M2 Pro and M2 Max were fourth for launch quarter planned. Those waiting for the upgrade will have to keep waiting or buy the less powerful m1 variants.

An Apple Silicon Mac Pro did not turn up either. This is perhaps even more troubling considering that Apple announced at WWDC 2020 that it would be transitioning its entire product line to Apple Silicon by the end of 2022. While Apple shouldn’t be calling a press conference to announce a non-event, management has done enough interviews over the past year that were logged and could have convinced Mac audiences of the changed plans.

The question is now twofold. How long will we have to wait for these delayed products, and what technological leap will they make? If you compare the M1 MacBook Air with the M2 MacBook Air, you get around a twenty percent increase in performance for a price premium of around twenty percent.

The expectation is that upcoming MacBook Pro laptops won’t see any major technological leaps, just iterative bumps in processor speed, more memory bandwidth, and faster I/O ports. Apple has advanced the history of the Mac platform every year for more than twenty years.

is that still true

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