On June 14th Rogue Amoeba published a post on their website named “On The Sad State of Macintosh Hardware“. In it the author mentions how none of the current Mac models have seen meaningful updates in a long time, the MacBook Pro keyboard sucks and the 2013 Mac Pro is a flop. Sure, we know all that. The post ends with the, by now, beaten dead horse; “Apple needs to publicly show their commitment to the full Macintosh hardware line, and they need to do it now.”.
This is said by, well, everyone that at some point is unhappy with Apple’s line-up and lack of modern spec options. They should renew their commitment! They should show the Mac customers they are not forgotten! and all that stuff. I’ve read it 100 times before and basing an article/post on that these days mostly just shows you ran out of meaningful stuff to write about.
The focus should be Apple product’s lack of upgradeability. Because that’s ultimately what has many people so pissed off. Screaming that new specs bumps should be introduced and how this CPU is not fast enough and that GPU is not good enough, that happens pretty much every year. This is different though because in the past if you wanted more RAM, you just added it yourself. If you wanted a better CPU or GPU, you added it yourself (Mac Pro). If you were not happy with your storage you just added more or replaced what you had for faster/bigger/better. You’d still complain that Apple was behind on the rest of the market but you installed your upgrades and were happy with your Mac once again. By the time those upgrades because not good enough, a whole new Mac line-up was available to choose from and they could all be upgraded over time. A Mac simply used to last A LOT longer than it does these days. And that is the problem.
I have no problem buying a year old machine if I can upgrade it myself but let’s look at the worst example (for dramatic effect):
MacBook, 12″, 1.4GHz, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD… 2 Grand (USD)!! Two thousand dollars and you can upgrade exactly none of those specs.
8 years ago you could spend $1000 on a 13″ MacBook with upgradeable hard drive, RAM and optical drive. You could even replace the optical drive with a second hard drive or SSD if you wanted. I’d have no problem buying a machine that hasn’t been updated in a year when I can perform upgrades like that myself.
I don’t have to tell you about the lack of upgradeability in the Mac mini, iMac, Mac Pro and MacBook Pro. The 2013 Mac Pro? I’d buy one even though it has not been updated in years if I could upgrade it myself to become current. While you can swap the CPU and cram 128GB of RAM in there (64GB according to Apple), you’re stuck with the graphics cards that suck and/or melt down and with only one storage slot your SSD upgrades are limited as well. Not only can’t I upgrade it in ways I’d want to, the freaking price for that old heap of shit is still almost 6 Grand!!!! $5,800 for a Mac that has not had any meaningful updates since *drum roll* 2013!! That is balls-to-the-wall abso-freaking-lutely insane! By now that thing should be $1000 max. If the price, just like it’s value, would have gone down over the years as it should have, sure I’d buy one.
You don’t have to hear any more of my rant on the lack of upgradeability. You’re most likely a Mac user that knows all of this already so before I really digress, I’ll stop here.
Apple doesn’t need to be pressured to “show their commitment”. New Macs are coming, of this there is no doubt. Why design a new OS that can do all these amazing things if no new hardware is coming to properly make use of all those features? Come on. Apple should be pressured into letting go of this thinner/lighter/simpler bullshit however. Guess what, if Apple re-introduces the 2012 13″ MacBook Pro exactly the way it was with a better CPU and GPU, that thing would sell like crazy. Same goes for the 15″ and even the 17″. Because by now the thinner/lighter/simpler hype has imploded and people realize it has gone at the cost of functionality too much. A thin phone that easily flexes causing board failures VS an perhaps more proven design like the iPhone SE uses? I know far more people that would go for the thicker phone than I do people that want the prettier phone. Maybe I just surround myself with people that choose quality, functionality and reliability over how pretty something looks. I am after all not a teenager.
Stop buying Apple’s latest crap and at some point it will hurt their wallet enough to start sending out customer surveys and do market research. If then an overwhelming amount of feedback would tell them “give us our ports back”, “give us our upgradeability back and not with dongles and external enclosures”, Apple would bring those things back. Because at the end of the day, no matter how full of kool-aid you are, Apple is just another for-profit company. Hurt their wallet and you will force them to listen or as I’d like to say; Vote with your wallet.
Buy used and upgrade. Companies like SellYourMac sell plenty of older Macs that can be made awesome with the right upgrades. At the time of writing you can pick up a 2009 Mac Pro there for as low as $379. Pick the upgrades you want or need and create a machine that is ONLY rivaled currently by the iMac Pro! Almost a decade later and only one machine in Apple’s current line-up can match it’s performance, if that doesn’t show you how much can be done with upgrades I don’t know what will. A 13″ 2012 MacBook Pro can be had for as little as $550 (the highest end CPU option) and with one or two SSD’s and 16GB RAM will knock the socks off of much newer Macs. Here’s their eBay store. Sell some of your old Apple stuff back to them and it might even fund your new old Mac purchase entirely! To do that go here. Don’t see what you’re looking for, just call or email them and maybe they can keep an eye out for you. It’s worth a shot, money MUCH better spent and sends Apple a clear message.