Well, it was as close as you’re going to get to Apple admitting they made a mistake. There’s still a lot of equivocation and defensiveness in their statements
on the matter. But the very fact that they called the meeting says all you need to know.
This is an Apple mea culpa.
The only thing I can recall that was similar was around the “Antennagate” situation several years ago. Apple also summoned a small group of reporters to talk about that – I was one of them at the time
– and also held it in a Apple building meant to showcase all the work they do behind the scenes on their devices. But that was a very different event. That was Apple defiantly showing off their advanced testing machinery to prove that nothing could possibly be wrong
with the iPhone. This was… a chat.
And it seems pretty clear why they did it. Apple was on the verge of rolling out some updates to the Mac Pro. But they’re so ridiculously minor
that the blogosphere would have thrown an absolute shit fit if Apple didn’t try to get ahead of the news cycle by previewing what is to come – something Apple never
It’s: pay no attention to these Mac Pros. The real ones are coming! Also professional iMacs! And stand-alone retina displays! Oh my!
Of course, those “real ones” are coming… in 2018. Which is presumably why Apple bothered with the current Mac Pro spec bump at all. We’re a ways away.
So weird. No, Apple isn’t doomed. But this is very, very weird. Why did it take them so long to realize and make the moves to correct this mistake? And I’m still not convinced the correct move here wasn’t to just kill off the Mac Pro line entirely, as painful as it may have been for a small but vocal contingent. They’ve basically already taken that hit. And it would presumably help maintain focus within the company. As John Gruber notes
What struck me about this is that Apple was framing a discussion in which the big news — the whole point, really — was their pre-announcing a “completely rethought” next-generation Mac Pro by emphasizing that most of their pro users use MacBooks and most of the rest use iMacs — and that they have big plans in store for the pro segment of both of those product lines. It’s exactly what I would have expected Apple to say if they were breaking the news that the Mac Pro was going away: We’re dropping the Mac Pro because its time has come and gone — all but a small percentage of our pro users have their needs met by MacBook Pros and high-end iMacs.
Multiple times, Apple went out of their way to note that many of the would-be “pro” users are now using iMacs instead of the Mac Pro. And then pre-announced they would be releasing an iMac to better serve those users in the future. It will stand alongside this vaporware
Mac Pro. Because of course that makes sense.
Having the cake and eating it too. Not very Apple-like.