Does Apple’s simplified Mac lineup have a hole in it?

When Steve Jobs got here again to Apple, certainly one of his early strikes was to vastly simplify what had turn out to be a bloated line-up of Mac {hardware}. Jobs famously confirmed off a two-by-two product grid: professional and shopper, desktop and moveable. Filling the grid had been 4 merchandise—iMac, EnergyMac, iBook, PowerBook—every addressing a type of mixtures.

The two-by-two grid lasted for a number of years, till the debut of the category-busting Mac mini in 2005. Since then, there’s been an virtually magnetic impulse to quote the grid because the holy grail of Apple product design aspirations. Every time Apple releases one thing a new Mac, pundits strive desperately to determine methods to shove the most recent addition into the already bulging grid.

With this week’s rearrangement of its moveable lineup, Apple has gotten each nearer to and farther away from that product grid very best—if certainly it’s even a super that Apple ought to be striving for anymore. But what the brand new lineup does level out is that there’s a puzzling imbalance in the corporate’s Mac choices.

Home and away

At the tip of final yr, Apple introduced it could not report unit gross sales on its merchandise, depriving each monetary analysts and us poor tech writers of onerous information on which to base our hypothesis. But look again additional and also you’ll discover Apple truly used to interrupt out its moveable versus desktop gross sales. The final submitting to report these, in the final quarter of 2012, reveals that the corporate offered about a million desktops, in comparison with three million portables.


A overwhelming majority of Macs offered by Apple are laptops.

Since then, Apple has given occasional breakdowns on the share of desktop versus laptop computer gross sales, although even these have turn out to be fewer and farther between. But in normal, Apple’s laptop computer gross sales are understood to outpace these of its desktops.

Of course, a few of that could possibly be attributed to pent-up demand: Apple’s lackluster 2013 Mac Pro stifled gross sales for high-end desktop Macs; the identical could possibly be mentioned on the low-end for the Mac mini, which went a number of years with out a important improve. But the general development in the market has been undeniably in the direction of cell computing, pushed in half by Mac laptops, but additionally by the outstanding success of iOS gadgets.

Laptop of luxurious

Given the excessive demand for Mac laptops, it is sensible that Apple can be aggressive about its merchandise. Hence the current rejiggering of the MacE-book line-up, which noticed cheaper entry-level costs for the MacE-book Air and MacE-book Pro, in addition to the latter getting a extra streamlined number of fashions. (For the second, we’ll put aside the frustrations about Apple laptops voiced from sure corners, together with keyboard woes.)

The simultaneous discontinuation of the 12-inch MacE-book, Apple’s smallest and most light-weight providing, seemingly brings the laptop computer lineup again into the territory of that two-by-two product grid: the MacE-book Air is Apple’s shopper moveable; the MacE-book Pro its skilled mannequin.

But this additionally implies that, for…

Does Apple’s simplified Mac lineup have a hole in it? 1
Does Apple’s simplified Mac lineup have a hole in it? 2
Does Apple’s simplified Mac lineup have a hole in it? 3
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