It hasn't been a good start to 2023 for Apple and the Mac, it would seem. Reports claim that despite the company now selling the best Macs it has ever built, people just aren't buying them.
In fact, that report claims that Mac sales were so poor at the beginning of 2023 that Apple told its chipmaker not to actually make any more chips. They weren't needed. The M2 was on hiatus, although things are reportedly finally started to move again.
It was claimed that demand for Apple's MacBooks had "dwindled," and we have to imagine that the M2 Mac mini wasn't doing much better. The Mac Studio still has the M1-series inside, and it looks increasingly unlikely that it'll get an M2 refresh as well.
So here we are. Apple seems to be struggling to sell its latest and greatest Macs and things have gotten bad. This begs the obvious question that I'm sure plenty inside Apple are also asking. They probably know the answer, too.
Why aren't people buying Macs?
For once, perhaps the first time in a long while, we can't necessarily blame the Macs for their seemingly slow demand. That hasn't always been the case — the Mac mini had its problems because it wasn't very fast. Then we had the MacBook that ran underpowered Intel chips, and let's not forget the butterfly keyboard that befell every Apple portable for years. You'd have had to really need an Apple portable to buy one of those.
But we're in the middle of something of a Mac golden age. They're all really good machines. Which might be part of the problem.
See, everyone rushed out and bought M1 Macs. They bought M1 MacBook Airs and they bought M1 Mac minis. Then they bought M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pros not to mention the M1 Max and M1 Ultra Mac Studios. And they're all just really, really good. So good that people just don't need to upgrade. What are they going to get, more cores and better GPU performance? On top of the insane upgrade that Apple silicon already was when compared to Intel, people are already more than happy with what they have.
And then there are those buying new machines. I'm writing this on a 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro that's a few weeks old. There are some great deals to be had if you don't want or need the M2 version. And that makes that M2 version a hard sell.
The 15-inch MacBook Air
It's important not to forget the 15-inch MacBook Air, too. A Mac that has been rumored like crazy, there is now talk that the biggest-ever MacBook Air could arrive within weeks. And if you wanted something bigger than a MacBook Air but didn't want to go Pro, that's a pretty interesting proposition.
Enough to hold off buying a new Mac? Possibly, and that could well be something that's happening here. Some will at least be holding off long enough to see what Apple announced.
We don't yet know what the 15-inch MacBook Air will have to offer, unfortunately. But it'll either have an M2 or M3 chip inside. This brings us to the next potential issue.
M3 Apple silicon
It isn't likely to be all that long before M3 chips start to debut, and after a relatively small jump from the M1 to the M2, it's the M3 that's expected to be a bigger leap forward.
With that in mind, and with people perpetually worried about FOMO, some may be waiting for the next version of whatever machine they fancy before making a purchase.
The problem here is that people in that position will never make a purchase. There will always be something new on the horizon. Something better around the corner. And for those people good is never good enough. It could always be better.
To those people I'd say this — buy the Mac you need today. These Macs are pretty insane. and unless you're waiting for a new form factor like the MacBook Air, you can't really go wrong.
Choose the screen size you need. The RAM and SSD capacity that you want, and enjoy. Really, you'll love it.
You can't outrun these things. Just enjoy what you've got today instead.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.