The Computer Blog

Friday, November 14, 2008

Is Apple Abandoning Its "Pro's"?

For the last few years, it’s been apparent that Apple has been making several shifts. The most obvious one was to expand both its marketing and technological base by shifting to Intel processors. There has also been a shift away from the “prosumer” and toward a very differentiated “consumer” and “professional” class of customer (as evidenced in the ever widening capabilities and costs of the iLife and Final Cut Pro software suites). As I look at Apple’s latest offerings of machines and the features that the company is choosing to keep in and leave out, I have to wonder if Apple has already made a decision to abandon the professional market and target its great expertise more and more on becoming a consumer one.

Take a look at the design changes Apple has made to its notebook lines. The matte display screen and Firewire are two essential features most professionals insist on in their machines, yet they are both missing from Apple’s current MacBook line and one of them is missing on the MacBook Pro. The 23 inch Apple Cinema Display, squarely aimed at professionals using the Mac Pro, has now been discontinued and its replacement, if we read anything into the timing of the 23 incher’s discontinuance and the 24 incher’s emergence, houses a glossy screen and an integrated iSight, the latter a convenience consumers will love and corporations may eagerly ban. There is only one basic design for the Mac Pro, though it may be outfitted with several options that still allow one to expand its capabilities beyond the basic machine; but the iMac has taken the place of the single processor Mac Pro, making the high-end iMac, originally designed as a consumer’s machine, as the low end “pro” set up.

Some folks will say there really isn’t any differentiation between Apple’s consumer and professional products. They might be right. I’ll just sit back and watch where Apple goes over the next several years. I think I’m seeing the company slide into Consumerland.

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