Before Apple previewed its redesigned Mac Pro in June, professional Mac users were beginning to get worried that the company was considering leaving the market behind. However, does the new Mac Pro mean that the pro market can breathe a sigh of relief? A new blog from former Apple ad consultant Ken Segall casts doubt.
Segall, who, in addition to his history with Apple and NeXT, is also the author of Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success, has published a new blog post that claims Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs once considered ditching its pro products.
The blog highlights that, despite the unveiling of the new Mac Pro and a new version of Final Cut Pro that didn't manage to wow its target audience, there have been some signs that the company's love for the pro market is beginning to fade. These include the discontinuation of the 17in MacBook pro, and the lack of an update to Aperture.
See: New Mac Pro reaction
According to Segall, Jobs considered saying goodbye to the pro market when the iMac has established itself as a global bestseller. "During one of the agency's regular meetings with Steve, he shared that he was considering killing the pro products," he revealed. "His rationale was as you might expect: consumer products have an unlimited upside, while pro products are aimed at a niche market that eats up major resources."
Segall notes that, despite Jobs' thoughts about the pro market, it still has value for the company, even if it doesn’t make the most money. "Pros are opinion leaders, influencers and evangelists. Their love of Apple shows up in the purchase decisions of friends, family and colleagues," he writes.
"Steve ultimately renewed his commitment to the pros – but he never said that his commitment wouldn't evolve," Segall continues. "Clearly Apple has changes its thinking about the pro market, and how it can best serve its pro users."
Segall suggests that you can see how Apple's view of the pro market is evolving by taking a closer look at the difference between Final Cut Pro 7 and Final Cut Pro X. He notes that, with Final Cut Pro 7, users needed to put a lot of time and effort into mastering the software, whereas the newer Final Cut Pro X is "less daunting and more seductive, streamlining and automating some of its advanced capabilities."
By doing this, Segall says that Apple is inviting some high-end consumers to enjoy the application, rather than focusing purely on the professional market.
The new Mac Pro, which is expected to launch later this year, is also more user-friendly thanks to its Thunderbolt expandability and overall design.
See: Mac Pro Preview
For those that don't like the impracticalities of the shape of the new Mac Pro and the lack of internal options, it could be seen that Apple is leaving them behind. But Segall suggests that, rather than ditching its pro customers completely, Apple is taking its products to a new, high-end consumer market, and asking its pro users to follow.
Segall concludes by revisiting the question of the 17in MacBook Pro, which was discontinued in 2012, and, in a statement that makes us wonder whether he knows something we don't, says: "Of course all will be forgiven if that little baby were to come back, all nice and Retina-ized…"
What do you think about Apple's current view of the professional market? Let us know in the comments section below, or on Twitter.