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Apple TV shaping up to be big focus on March 21, but Mac Pro update, where art thou?

Could Apple shock us with something to say about the new Mac Pro that has failed to delight in the market? It never hurts to imagine and dream, right?


Lending further credence to the rumor that Apple may update its newest operating system—Apple tvOS—Apple today announced a new App for the latest generation of AppleTV devices called “Apple Event” app.

The Apple Event App will allow AppleTV users to watch the live event on 21 March 2016, where Tim Cook and team are expected to release a smaller version of the iPad Pro, new Apple Watch bands, and updates to its market-leading iOS mobile operating system.

In addition to the new “Events” app, the company apparently has an app for older-generation set-top boxes so users can also watch the March event live.

Other Possibilities for March Event

Other possible product introductions for next week’s event could be Apple’s rumored iPhone SE model, a 4 inch iPhone that would be based on the iPhone 5 form-factor. AppleInsider has a story on a reported packaging leak that confirms the SE name. If packaging companies are that far along, could the actual iPhone SE unit be that far off?

Mac Pro Update?

Some folks are curious if Apple will announce any Mac updates. What makes better sense to be on tap for an update if not the Mac Pro? It is in long need of an update like no other.

Apple actually introduced the new Mac Pro in October of 2013, but it was in the early summer time-frame at WWDC 2013 that the company showed off the new machine for the first time in what Phil Schiller called a “sneak peak.”

In that presentation (which you can watch above) Schiller said the design and engineering team asked what could be the new form factor for a pro desktop for another 10 years? So the so called “grand introduction” got lots of cheers at first, especially when Phil touted under his breath—”can’t innovate anymore, my ass!—referring to critical comments of the company made in the press. But since that time the new Mac Pro hasn’t lived up to its hype (or sales expectations), leaving many in the pro Mac community wondering when an update may happen to remedy the situation.

Team Killed Off?

At last summer’s (2015) SIGGRAPH computer graphics show, Architosh heard on the show floor a reported rumor that Apple had disbanded the Mac Pro engineering team. From a source that we cannot quote, it appears that Apple may have produced a very disappointing new professional Mac that its pro customers ultimately have failed to embrace. It is reported that the new (2013) Mac Pro makes up less than 1 percent of all Mac computer sales, a good sized drop from the glory days of the older generation Mac Pros. Even those machines sold far less than their consumer-oriented iMac siblings, but that was okay because Apple is loyal to its pro customers and they sold well enough.

Architosh has been tracking the lack of progress with the new Mac Pro and broke a story that pointed out that Apple had left the new Mac Pro out of its Mac Family portrait on its own website. Yet Apple has them available for order and in stock in nearly all Apple Stores.

The company invested in an entire US-based factory plant to produce the newest form-factor Mac. It is more than upsetting to some in this industry that this failed Mac line—one quarter of the Jobsian Quadrant—seems to have vanished in importance to Apple’s top brass.

The Steve Jobs Legacy of Failed Monument Computers

If the new Mac Pro has truly failed then it joins the ranks of Steve Jobs’ other monument computers—like the Mac Cube, and Steve Jobs’ NeXT Cube. Except, it is not clear if Steve Jobs ever had anything to do with the new Mac Pro. Jobs died in October of 2011, less than two years before Schiller showed off the new pro desktop to the WWDC 2013 crowd.

But it doesn’t matter if he was or was not. The new Mac Pro has been anything but the next pro desktop form factor to carry Apple’s pro customers for the next 10 years.

Is it possible Mac users may see a substantial update to the machine, often called the Darth Mac, due to its shiny blackness, next week? It’s possible. Is it possible Apple may shock us next week and introduce an all new form factor pro desktop? That is extremely unlikely, but it would be an awesome act of incredible devotion to its oldest core fans. The ones who stuck with the company in its darkest days.

MORE: Breaking the Jobsian Quadrant: Should Apple Make an iMac Pro?

If Apple ever does come out with a new Mac Pro, or a machine named for the “pro” market, it is more likely it will be a member of a whole new Mac product line direction. Or, it may simply be the iMac Pro we first discussed back in October of 2014. (see, Architosh, “Is the new Retina iMac the “iMac Pro” the market seems to be screaming for?”, 18 October 2014)

Whatever happens next week at the March event, chances are we will not hear any news about the forgotten-but-still-for-sale new Mac Pro. Sad, really…because the Mac has never been as “popular” in professional markets like it is today.

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