Almost 34 years to the day since Apple was formed by the two Steves in Cupertino, and around three years since the company dropped the word “Computer” from its name, Apple has made the astonishing announcement that it is discontinuing its Mac business, following the success of the iPad.
This will undoubtedly come as a huge surprise to Mac fans around the globe, given that the iPad is yet to be released in America, let alone globally. A press release from Apple this morning has announced that due to the huge demand for their upcoming tablet, they will cease all production of the MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Mini, iMac and Mac Pro ranges, along with all Mac peripherals – except for the Bluetooth Keyboard, which works with the iPad. All iPod models, the iPhone and Apple TV will continue, with hints that the Apple TV will see a major update once Apple can keep up with iPad demand.
“The demand for iPad has been huge. Nothing short of phenomenal,” says Steve Jobs. “We knew iPad was going to be big, but even we didn’t expect this. We’ve already pre-sold two million units, and barely have the stock to cover half of that for launch,” he adds.
“The Mac has been a core part of Apple’s business model since its introduction in 1984,” continues Jobs. While the Macintosh brand is still strong, with 3.3 million Macs sold last quarter, “we simply cannot ignore the fact that iPhone showed 100 percent growth with 8.7 million sold”, he says. Add to that the 21 million iPods sold in the same quarter, and the enormity of the non-Mac portion of Apple’s business becomes clear. “By cutting the Mac, our production of iPhones, iPods and iPads will increase by over 100 percent.”
Not averse to the occasional hyperbole, Jobs adds: “Like 1984, 2010 will become the year Apple changed the face of computing forever. Touch is the future, and we’re already there with the best line-up we could imagine.”
As usual, the secrecy around this announcement has been a priority for Apple. In fact, this is the first big announcement in recent history that hasn’t been picked up by the rumour sites. It’s likely not coincidental that Apple decided to announce this just before the iPad release – with such enormous coverage of this weekend’s events, the rumour radars have been full.
Mac products will be supported by Apple for the next two years, though all further development will cease immediately. The decision to drop Macs from the line-up will be accompanied by the cessation of work on OS X (which just celebrated its tenth birthday) and a range of other Mac software – though many titles will be re-developed for the iPad. Instead, the iPhone OS that is currently at version 3.2 will be renamed OS Xi (or eleven) to carry elements of the Mac tradition through to the mobile ‘iPlatform’.
Apple Australia also published a press release this morning: “Following the enormous success of the iPad launch in the US, the global release has been pushed back. This includes the local Australian release, which will now occur sometime in the next 3-4 months,” says the release. Rumours from our own forum are pointing to a release as late as 3 August.
Of course, Australian Macworld is as shocked by this news as anyone, and will provide updates throughout the day as they come to hand. While we see the potential the iPad has, we felt the Mac still had a long life left in it. We’re also disappointed that Apple has again overlooked us with the first round of iPad releases.
In case anyone didn’t notice the date, Happy April Fools’ Day from Australian Macworld!