At the end of yesterday’s media event in San Jose, Calif., Apple CEO Tim Cook recapped all of the products his company had unveiled and released in 2012.
“We shipped Mountain Lion and iOS 6, the latest versions of our desktop and mobile operating systems with hundreds of new features, including great new features that help Macs and iOS devices work seamlessly together,” Cook told a packed audience in San Jose's California Theatre on Tuesday.
“We launched two new incredible iPods, a completely redesigned Nano, and an amazingly thin fifth-generation iPod Touch. We launched the unbelievable new iPhone with an incredibly thin and light design with a beautiful 4-inch Retina Display. We refreshed our entire line-up of notebooks and reinvented the pro notebook with the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Displays. And we announced today the unbelievably thin and unbelievably gorgeous new iMac. Earlier this year, we announced the third-generation iPad with the Retina Display, and today we replaced it with the faster fourth-generation iPad, and added the iPad Mini to the iPad family.”
If you read Cook’s words closely, you’d notice that Apple’s CEO made no mention of the Mac Pro, his company’s biggest and most powerful desktop computer, and iTunes 11, which was unveiled at the company’s September event but has not been mentioned since.
We’re still expecting an official announcement about iTunes 11 within the next seven days, given how Apple pegged the release date for the new music platform in October. That said, Apple had a golden opportunity to announce the release date for iTunes 11 at Tuesday’s event, but completely neglected to discuss the next version of the company’s most popular music hub.
“The new iTunes will be available in late October,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of software, at the company’s iPhone 5 event in September. “We think you’re going to love it, and we can’t wait for you to get your hands on it.”
Apple has completely redesigned the new iTunes to really focus more on the music: For instance, album artwork will fill the screen, and when you click an album, it expands in place as iTunes automatically analyzes the album cover to show off the tracklist, providing a beautifully-themed experience for music lovers.
The new edge-to-edge redesign makes album artwork more beautiful and navigation substantially easier and more seamless, thanks to newly added features like “Up Next,” which allows users to create and alter music playlists as they go, allowing users to choose which songs they want to hear next and placing them in the order accordingly. Furthermore, with easier playlist manipulation and an all-new mini player with built-in search and playlists, the new iTunes is designed to resemble the iOS experience on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
While an iTunes 11 announcement was expected at Tuesday’s event, any updates to the Mac Pro desktop computer were a longshot; nevertheless, Apple’s pro user base held out hope for some kind of news about Apple’s “fastest, most powerful Mac ever.”
Even though Apple’s senior VP of marketing Phil Schiller called yesterday’s event “A big day for the Mac,” unfortunately, that day completely excluded the Mac Pro.
It’s been a rough year for fans of the Mac Pro, especially after many expected an upgrade at WWDC in June and didn’t get it, and then never got any news at the next two Apple media events in September and October. In fact, every Mac was either updated or redesigned in 2012, including the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, and iMac. But amid all of those exciting releases, the Mac Pro was completely forgotten.
Apple reportedly gave the Mac Pro a minor update, upgrading the $2,499 base model to a 3.2 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon processor with an upgradable 3.33 GHz processor for an extra $500. For $3,799, the Mac Pro features two 2.4 GHz six-core Intel Xeon processors; however, the processors were the only difference. The Mac Pro did not get any new ports like USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt, or any redesign. Apparently, the only reason Apple bumped the specs at all was because Intel stopped making the older processors.
Ignoring the Mac Pro made some professional Apple users, including former Apple employee and current Google engineer Andy Hertzfeld, very, very upset.
“The Mac Pro is Apple's top of the line, expandable Macintosh, aimed at users who need lots of computing power and disk storage, like programmers or other professionals,” Hertzfeld wrote on his Google+ page. “It seems like it's stuck in time in 2010. The only thing that's still high-end about it is the bloated price. Even though I'm well aware that Apple's future lies increasingly with mobile iOS-based devices, it still makes no sense to drop the ball on your high-end desktop Mac so thoroughly, and to utterly disappoint your most loyal customers like yours truly. Why do an update at all if you hardly change anything? What's going on here?”
Luckily, there is some hope for fans of the Mac Pro: Back in June, the New York Times' David Pogue received an explanation from Apple as to why the highest-end Mac was completely neglected:
“Many Apple observers also wonder if Apple thinks that desktop computers are dead, since not a word was said about the iMac and Mac Pro,” Pogue said. “An executive did assure me, however, that new models and new designs are under way, probably for release in 2013.”
It would’ve been kind of Apple to address both iTunes and the Mac Pro at its Tuesday event, but the fact that it didn’t doesn’t mean neither of those products will be released. Apple’s website still says iTunes 11 will be released in October, and as far as the Mac Pro goes, Tim Cook had some words for one troubled fan asking about that very desktop computer.
“Our pro customers are really important to us … don’t worry, as we’re working on something really great for later next year,” Cook wrote.
Just because Apple didn’t update all of its products on Tuesday doesn’t mean they’re dead – even though Mac Pro fans will certainly feel that way. If anything, Apple needs to spend its time to flesh these products out, but the iPad Mini and other holiday-oriented products simply took priority. These products were snubbed by Apple, but they aren’t dead. Not by a long shot.
2013 is a new year, after all.