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Apple, like its brand new campaign, is fully 'Behind the Mac'

Apple hasn't really had an overarching Mac message for a while. Not a public one anyway. They've had products, sure. But, a few MacBook Pro ads aside, those products have largely been left to speak for themselves.

Until now.

Today, Apple is debuting a new campaign called "Behind the Mac". It highlights 12 consumers, creatives, and professionals who are using the Mac to make their mark on the world. They range from entrepreneurs to musicians, photographers to accessibility advocates.

The goal is to both tell the modern story of the Mac through its current users and to show how that story remains firmly grounded in Apple's original desire to democratize computing, empower individuals, and expand the potential of creativity and productivity for everyone.

Will it resonate? That's tough to predict.

Right now the popular narrative is that, in face of the overwhelming success of iPhone and iPad, Apple has left the Mac to stagnate.

It's tough to argue that when it comes to the Mac mini, which hasn't seen an update, never mind a significant update, going on half a decade.

Other Macs, though, not so much.

In 2015, we got DCI-P3 iMacs — the first Macs with wide-color gamut. (Apple shipped the 5K iMac and its custom TCON the year before.) Also, the new MacBook, which was almost iPad-like in its portability… and single port-ed-ness, and which introduced the butterfly and dome-switch keyboard.

In 2016, we got the new MacBook Pro, with a T1 chip to enable Touch ID and Apple Pay, a Touch Bar to surface oft-forgotten shortcuts, custom storage controllers, and Thunderbolt 3 ports. Also, Skylake MacBooks and 27-inch iMac.

In 2017, we got the new iMac Pro, with workstation-class internals crammed into its classic chassis, and a T2 chip to centralize controllers and enable secure boot. That's along with Kaby Lake versions of the regular iMac, as well as MacBook Pro and MacBook.

(Even if you don't personally like any of those innovations or think they were completely wrong-headed, they remain innovations none-the-less.)

We're only halfway through 2018, but I expect we'll get this year's Mac updates soon enough.

For 2019, Apple has already, uncharacteristically tipped its Mac hat — a new Mac Pro with Pro Display developed, in part, with its new Pro Workflow team.

Apple is sometimes dinged for not consulting with outside experts. Which is often true, with one huge caveat: Apple prefers to hire those experts and make them internal. That way, Apple has access to them all the time, there are no issues with disclosure, and the experts have skin in the game: It's easy to give advice if you don't have to see it through. It's another thing when you're part of making sure that product hits the market and hard.

The Pro Workflow team has experts from the fields of 3D animation, visual effects, video editing, audio engineering, and more. They're there to hit the products Apple's making, to identify bottlenecks in hardware and software, and to make sure it's all addressed before any new product ships.

It's something Apple needs to do, especially for creative pros who've felt like Apple's mainstream success has come at the cost of its commitment to power users. And while the pro market and its needs are broader and more diverse than ever, that feeling does seem to be one Apple is taking to heart.

The 2013 Mac Pro was a dead end, not what Apple expected. Then 12-inch MacBook never came down to sub $1000, MacBook Air pricing like many consumers expected. The TouchBar and butterfly keyboards proved highly divisive, which is unusual for features in Apple's MacBook lineup.

And there's a lot still to work on, including getting that new Mac Pro out, salvaging the Mac mini from the deep, shipping the Coffee Lake updates to the iMac and MacBooks (even if Intel has hit a brick wall with its 10 nanometer process…) and addressing creative pros that now have interesting hardware from Microsoft targeted specifically at that market.

But it feels like we've turned a corner.

Both Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X have been getting significant and frequent updates. macOS Mojave, which will ship this fall, has features inspired by creative pros — even if Apple is trying to make them useful for everyone.

The new iMac Pro has proven to be a beast, especially with the eGPU support added to macOS. And then there's that upcoming Mac Pro and Pro Display.

Now, "Behind the Mac".

As someone who deeply loves and is invested in the Mac, this hits all my optimism buttons. Because I think it shows just how much Apple deeply loves and is invested in the Mac.

Let's be candid: Apple has iPhone and iPad money. It could ditch it's legacy computer line, add Xcode and the Pro Apps to iOS, and ride the cash cow into the sunset. It's been advised to do that. Many other companies would do that.

But Apple's not doing anything of the sort. It's admitting some wrong turns and working to right them, and it's continuing to do things in the personal computer space that only Apple can do, including using its industry-leading silicon team to make the Mac faster, more convenient, and more secure.

And that only happens when the company, like the campaign, are "behind the Mac".

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Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

17 Comments
  • Hoping they release a MacBook Pro that is serious and really made for pros soon, not the halfhearted version that is available now.
  • What's half-hearted about the current version?
  • Maybe the fact that it’s more reliable? /s Lol
  • I'd love to see more then lip service. Its easy for Apple to say they're fully behind the Mac, then you look at the time since the Mac Mini was updated, or the Macbook Air getting anything other then a spec bump. The MacBook Pro's keyboard is well deservedly much maligned.
  • Why would Apple be making a very big macOS update if they weren't behind the Mac? Or constantly releasing updates to their Mac applications? They haven't released a hardware update in a while, sure, but that doesn't mean they're not going to. As for the MacBook Pro keyboard, some people love it, some people hate it, it's just one of those things.
  • Its not about hating or loving the keyboard, its having a keyboard that works. Apple messed up the most stable and oldest component's and for many people its beyond disliking key travel. Apple is facing three class action lawsuits over this. The lack of updates for the Mac Mini and Mac Pro (I know they're promising a new Mac Pro next year) is rather sad and that's my point. We hear how the Mac is an integral part of Apple's line up, but their [in]action speak louder then words.
  • Huh... So no keyboard ever failed before the 2016 MBP? Actually, by the numbers collected by Apple Insider, the 2016 MBP is more reliable over a than past MBPs, but IF it fails, it’s more likely to be the keyboard. Also, ever since unibody, a key failure had a chance of requiring a top case replacement. So much “conventional wisdom” that comes from anecdotes and a bunch of vocal complainer (not invalidating their complaints, but many of them complain in a way that makes it seem that they think EVERYONE hates the keyboard just like they do), that is not necessarily based on reality.
  • andrew, those darn facts. I agree with Darth as well, but the point of vocality is super accurate. These times are just as yesteryear, but we have more platforms to be vocal, etc.
  • The Mac Mini is the most un-Apple Mac there is. Sure it's a great little computer, but how many sold when it was new? I'm sure that helps Apple prioritize which computers get updated first. And with the 180º change in the Pro lines of computers, Apple has way more at stake in getting them done and to market rather than a low-revenue comptuer not that many people buy. Still they say a new one is coming. No doubt after the new Mac Pro is out. As Renee Ritchie has said ona previous podcast, there aren't that many engineers to do what Apple does. So Apple has to use them where they best do what Apple needs. And Apple needs high-end Macs way more than the cheap ones. I suspect the Air is about to disappear. The MacBook is way better.
  • I have a 2015 5K iMac. I'm continually amazed at the powerful AND beautiful machine in front of me. People that keep complaining about Apple make me laugh.
  • "Right now the popular narrative is that, in face of the overwhelming success of iPhone and iPad, Apple has left the Mac to stagnate." Because they have Rene and no amount of your usual "Rhah rhah Apple can do no wrong" bias can change that. Apple has neglected the Mac for years now with obsolete tech, substandard & asinine "features" like the gimicky touchbar & has consistently given the middle finger to the pro community with the removal of the ports they need to get work done. It's quite sad and frankly pathetic on Apple's part.
  • If you believe all this, then basically, there is the door.
    Any professional worth his/her salt moves forward, and changes with the market to stay competitive. So, if the laptop doesn't fit your needs, move on. Right?
    However we have a bunch of old farts resisting change, like musicians that still think you can make it big playing in local pubs. That is living in the past, and this resistance, IMO, is that mentality. Things used to work that way.
    40 GBPS is excellent for transfer of 4k and 8k. I have no idea why anyone with the "time is money" mantra of pumping out videos or graphics, would be against that. SD cards Can't even top 300 mb/s. So old tech, obsolete. Bottle Neck.
    That same port can allow almost full bandwidth of a 1080Ti, allowing flexibility. With a low power GPU that is "good enough" on the go (balance for battery power), and the ability to just plug in the most powerful GPU in the business in at the office to render.... Seriously.
    I don't know what else to say: you are entitled to your opinion of them. Again, if you don't like what they are doing, keep the 2015 MacBook or move on.
  • Tracy, +1 indeed. The market will decide. Apple is acutely aware of this. This applies to everything we buy or places we shop.
  • You don’t use sad cards for speed. You use them for versatility.
  • The majority of people use SD cards for storage, which means reading and writing, both of which are incredibly slower than internal storage. So versatility is meaningless here.
  • I hope you are right. I’m dying for a new MBP, but want to see if anything changes with the keyboard, because unlike the ports issue I really couldn’t adapt to that keyboard. So much so I returned my BTO 15”, I hate the feel of the keyboard and now with issues with it surfacing with stuck keys and $500 repair costs, I can’t pull the trigger on the current line. Apple really needs to either replace the switches of at least make the repair something palatable.
  • I've no problem with the ports, USB-C is the future and the only way to really get manufacturers to start making USB-C peripherals, is by making computers with only USB-C ports