Under The Microscope

Renewed Hope in Mac Hardware

Following Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) back in June, we posted about the sad state of Macintosh hardware. At the time, every Mac except the iMac Pro had gone over a year without any update. Most egregiously, the Mac Mini had gone almost four years without even a speed bump or price drop. And yet, WWDC came and went without Mac hardware announcements. This was more than a little distressing for us as Mac developers, and the response our post received made it clear that we weren’t alone in our concerns.

Thankfully, there is now reason to be a bit more hopeful. A month after the conference, Apple issued a press release to announce new MacBooks Pro, which featured small but useful improvements. More recently, Apple’s late October event featured truly meaningful updates to both the MacBook Air and the Mac Mini.

The new MacBook Air with Retina display

The 13″ MacBook Air has been updated to be a quality laptop for just about anyone, and the Mac Mini is now a desktop for both average users and many different professionals, with the ability to purchase substantial upgrades in terms of computing power. Both these machines include more powerful processors and much-requested features like a Retina display (on the Air) and a large number of modern ports (on the Mini).

Ethernet, 4 USB-C, HDMI 2.0, 2 USB-A, 3.5 mm headphone jack with audio in

These updates have been very well received, in no small part due to pent-up demand caused by the long fallow period which preceded them. We’re certainly pleased to see these new machines, for both ourselves and our users. The Air and the Mini each make good entry-level Macs, and they’re very easy to recommend to almost any customer.

That said, there’s more work for Apple to do, as the Mac lineup remains slightly muddled. The updates to the Air leave the one-port MacBook especially out of place, and the Mac Pro is still awaiting its promised update. Prices have also increased, and there are reasonable concerns about just how much it costs to join the Mac ecosystem.

Still, Apple is now offering a solid lineup of truly new Macs to purchase, and that’s no small thing. The quality of these recent updates also gives us hope that the new Mac Pro will be well designed too. High-end users will undoubtedly be saving their pennies as they look forward to 2019. We certainly hope these recent updates are the beginning of a longer-term trend, and a return to regular Mac refreshes. If Apple can continue to make worthwhile updates as they did with these two products, and if they commit to more regularly updating all of their computer offerings, the future of the Mac will remain on solid ground.

Our Software