On Managing Expectations (Macbook Pro follow up)

One of the counter points to criticism of the Macbook Pro event is that expectations are too high. Users are expecting that a laptop should be just as powerful as a desktop, and that’s unreasonable. Generally, I agree. The Macbook Pro has not really been a good desktop replacement since almost the Powerbook G3.

But the problem is Apple themselves is marketing the Macbook Pro as a desktop replacement.

I mentioned in the previous post that a lot of the angst from pro users probably would have been avoided if desktop Macs were mentioned or updated. I still think that’s true. If you don’t think the Mac Pro is going to be updated, and that the Macbook Pro is what Apple is pitching as a replacement, you’re going to compare it to desktop workstations. Even if you think the Mac Pro is going to be updated, Apple’s lack of a mention of it (or the iMac) implies that Apple is still misjudging the expectations of the pro community. When you’re a Pro, you don’t like uncertainty around the tools you need to earn a living. Would you risk your business on a vendor that doesn’t have a clear plan on continuing to support your workflow?

I think it’s fair to criticize Apple on not clearing up all this uncertainty with the different Mac lines during the event. After not getting any serious updates for three years, the 2013 Mac Pro was announced six months before it shipped. When I worked in IT we were apprehensive about ordering PowerPC machines after the Intel transition was announced. Apple responded by letting us pre-order the original Macbooks before they were announced to the public. It’s easy to say that Apple operates in complete secrecy and we just all need to deal with it, but Apple selectively keeps secrets only when it benefits them. Even a “we’re working on” for the Mac Pro would have gone a long way towards re-assuring a community that depends on Apple’s roadmap for a living.

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