Apple's uncharacteristic apology set the stage for a Mac revival

Five years ago, Apple's Mac product line was in bad shape. It's been more than three years since Apple redesigned the Mac Pro's sleek but restrictive "trash can" enclosure, and the iMac, MacBook Air, and Mac mini haven't been updated in years.

At the time, some users began to question whether Apple was still committed to the Mac, especially in the Pro premium segment.

That criticism eventually led Apple to hold a meeting with a small group of journalists, where it apologized to professional Mac users and ensured the company remained committed to the Mac. In this rare and surprising move, Apple also pre-announced that it was working on a "completely rethought" Mac Pro with a modular design, a new Pro iMac, and a new Pro Pro monitor.

The meeting, which was revealed to the public five years ago today, was attended by former Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, software engineering chief Craig Federighi, and then vice president, now vice president of hardware engineering, John Ternus. One of the reporters present was John Gruber, and the quote below is from his Daring Fireball report.

Phil Schiller's apology to Mac Pro users:

"The current Mac Pro, as we've said several times, is limited in terms of heat transfer, which limits our ability to upgrade. For this reason, we're sorry to disappoint customers who wished to do so, and we've asked the team to re-engineer architecture, and design something great for Mac Pro customers who want more scalability, more upgradeability in the future. It will meet more of those needs.”

Federighi admits that Apple designed itself into a "baked corner."

"I think we designed ourselves to be a 'burning corner.' We designed a system with GPUs that we thought we needed at the time, and we thought we could meet that need with a two-GPU architecture. That's the thermal limit we needed Or the thermal capacity we need. However, workloads are not adapting as broadly as we would like.”

Phil Schiller makes sure Apple remains committed to the Mac:

"We're committed to the Mac, we have great people on the Mac, both hardware and software, we have great product plans for the future, and in our vision, the Mac is a core part of what Apple offers, including for our Professional client."

To say that Apple has delivered on its promises is an understatement. Not only did Apple release the modular Mac Pro and the now-discontinued iMac Pro, but it also finally ditched the problematic butterfly keyboard on the MacBook, announcing a game-changing "transition to Apple Silicon" in the latest MacBook Pro models A large number of ports have been restored on Mac Studio, new options for customers in Mac Studio, and more.

Apple's roundtable discussion with reporters will forever be a turning point in Mac history.

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