Macs of 2017

The Mac isn't going away. Apple just spent huge resources getting the Touch Bar launched. Resources both on the software side and the hardware side. Both are massive undertakings, I'd like to especially point out the Touch Bar hardware in that it's effectively a tiny iOS computer living and working inside the Mac.

If that's not a vote of confidence for the Mac's future, then nothing is.

The retina MacBook launched in 2015 gave us a small hint at where Apple is taking their notebook line. The MacBook Pros launched late in 2016 offer a clearer look.

Touch Bar improvements:

  • Force Touch is a gimme, in fact I'd be surprised if it wasn't the first improvement rolled out.

Track Pad improvements:

  • I think the larger trackpads are a clear sign that Apple Pencil support is coming to the Mac. Depending on how good Force Touch becomes, the writing surface could become quite reactive to the Pencil input. I'm curious if there will be an adapter sold to charge the pencil from one of the MacBook's USB-C ports.

The Desktop:

  • Mac Pro: CPU improvements have stagnated, I'm not so worried about Apple keeping their Pro devices on the latest Xeons from Intel. Where the Pro needs some love (if it's to continue at all) is in steady GPU updates. If this line is sunsetted I think that would be okay, so long as the "iMac Pro" has a an option for a powerful GPU.
  • iMac: Taking my cue from the MacBook naming in 2015, it might be time to rename the iMac. The new name would be Mac, you're shocked, I can tell. Form factor would be similar to the existing iMac, with smaller bezels.
  • iMac Pro: If I'm right about the renaming, this would be just the "Mac Pro". It would be similar in form factor to the new iMac/Mac (i.e. an all-in-one with a great display). It would have a Xeon processor, ECC RAM, and a beefy GPU from AMD. If we're lucky, it will get regular GPU updates.
  • Mac Mini: Discontinued.

The Notebook:

  • MacBook: Revved with new processors, no Touch Bar.
  • MacBook Pro Escape: No updates, it is now on the MacBook Air track.
  • MacBook Pro: If it's ready, Force Touch Touch Bar.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was a small price drop on the Touch Bar Macs.

Between the Touch Bar and my predicted Apple Pencil support, it's pretty cool that the Mac is potentially about to get two new interface paradigms added to it. That's where the gains are to be made now, not just spec bumps.

These are just my predictions, my reading of the tea leaves.