Apple just took a beating in the tech press. Here’s the company’s new line.
Apple PR (by email)
We recognize that many users, especially pros, rely on legacy connectors to get work done today and they face a transition. We want to help them move to the latest technology and peripherals, as well as accelerate the growth of this new ecosystem. Through the end of the year, we are reducing prices on all USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 peripherals we sell, as well as the prices on Apple’s USB-C adapters and cables.
Phil Schiller in The Independent
Q: Are you surprised by how vocal the critics have been?
A: To be fair it has been a bit of a surprise to me. But then, it shouldn’t be. I have never seen a great new Apple product that didn’t have its share of early criticism and debate — and that’s cool. We took a bold risk, and of course with every step forward there is also some change to deal with. Our customers are so passionate, which is amazing.
We care about what they love and what they are worried about. And it’s our job to help people through these changes. We know we made good decisions about what to build into the new MacBook Pro and that the result is the best notebook ever made, but it might not be right for everyone on day one. That’s okay, some people felt that way about the first iMac and that turned out pretty good.
Rene Richie in iMore
Based on the interview and, now, the discount, it feels like Apple was genuinely shocked by the reaction to the new MacBook Pro. When they don’t make major changes, they’re called boring and lacking in innovation. When they make major changes, they’re causing unnecessary pain to their customers and screwing professionals…
According to Phil Schiller, this is the best pro notebook launch Apple Online has ever seen, so either there’s a segment that’s genuinely just as excited by these new machines, or pent up demand is such that lack of legacy ports simply aren’t a deal-breaker.
Either way, it’s obvious Apple firmly believes this is the future of the Mac laptop, and the price drops are a olive branch and bridge to those still bound to present-day accessories.
Horace Dediu in Wherefore art thou Macintosh
The iPhone’s capacitive touch brought about the direct input method, a third pivot in input methods (first was mouse, second trackpad/scroll wheel). Each pivot launched a new set of platforms and the Mac is the legacy of the second.
It’s not obsolete but it is a decreasing share of engagement. Alternate ways of doing the jobs it does well with direct input are emerging on the third pivot but they are not yet good enough. The children are still adolescent and making lots of stupid mistakes. There’s still life in the parents.
The management thus has to focus on how to make the keyboard/trackpad interface better while still saying and believing that the future is touch.
In this context the newest MacBooks Pro are a logical extension of the second wave of computing while avoiding cramming them into the third wave. They are defined by their constraints. Seen thusly, the move from keyboard/trackpad to keyboard/touchbar/trackpad is pure genius.
See also Dediu in The Critical Path podcast #191: Bitch’n ain’t Switch’n