Open Letter to Tim Cook


Dear Mr Cook,

Why do some car and motorcycle companies have the courage to devote significant resources to racing?

Currently, MacBook and the MacBook Pro lines share almost all design goals: weight, thinness, battery life, beauty. As such, they are differentiated only by screen sizes, connectivity and minor performance alterations.

Why not provide creative professionals with a line of more powerful computers? In other words, why not have the courage to provide true differentiation between these product lines and produce a ‘Pro’ line that eschew some of the lightness and thinness, but gain true professional-level performance?

The reason Apple should spend money on creating and marketing true professional hardware is the very same reason for which car and motorcycle companies devote significant resources to racing; because it provides them with credibility. When motor companies race, they are affirming their ability to create the very best possible product, the one that no other group can challenge.

Whether Apple likes it or not, creative professionals have always provided it with its ‘street cred’. Sadly, Apple keeps abandoning them (need i bring up the now 3 year-old Mac Pro!?) by producing ‘Pro’ hardware that is merely consumer-level and explicitly ignoring trends in professional-level hardware design.

I have been an Apple user since my first Apple//; i care about this company and its products.

Sincerely, Peter

PS: There is such a thing as too small:

Remember this?

Old Mac Product Grid

14 thoughts on “Open Letter to Tim Cook

  1. Julio León

    Do you use a MacPro? I use a MacPro everyday with no problems at all. VFX compositing for film/commercials.

    • petersphilo

      I have an old 2010 MacPro with a GTX 980 Ti… I’m afraid it might be faster (at least in C4D) than the newest MacPro from Apple, and that’s partly why i wrote this..
      Come on, if you use the new MacPro, don’t you wish you could use both of those beautiful GPUs at the same time like you can under Windows?
      Don’t you wish you could choose your video cards?
      Again, i love the Mac, and i will probably never leave it (i’m too old anyway), but don’t you wish Apple made better stuff for you?!

  2. Erik

    It’s starting to *click* for me with the observation that a lot of the current angst is based around the premise that Apple is growing old alongside you.

    We’ve been eager and loyal Apple fans since the IIe (at least me), and have grown up in years and in career alongside Apple.

    What if this is no longer their goal?

    It’s quite possible we are / have outgrown the company.

    • petersphilo

      That’s a frightening thought, my friend, and i really hope that they realize that this is not the case..

      I’ve had so may responses to this post saying that Apple never made true ‘Pro’ hardware; that’s why i posted that product matrix from the Jobs return early days.. I also try to remind them that the following machines kicked serious butt: PowerMac 7500, PowerMac 9500, PowerMac G3 (B&W), PowerMac G4, PowerBook G3 (gen2+), PowerBook G4 (i once had a 17-inch PowerBook G4 whose GPU -ATI Radeon 9700-you could overclock with hack software), the XServe, and, of course, the Mac Pro >2010 (still upgraded and used today by yours truly)..

  3. > Why do some car and motorcycle companies have the courage to devote significant resources to racing?

    In a sense, this is exactly what Apple did with the Mac Pro – its closer to a limited edition/concept car. I am in the group that wishes they would revise it on a regular schedule, rather than (I assume) waiting until the next redesign is ready

    > In other words, why not have the courage to provide true differentiation between these product lines and produce a ‘Pro’ line …

    There seems to be a misconception on what Schiller meant for courage – he meant the courage to make a choice that will be unpopular, because they think it is the right design. This is why Apple removed serial/parallel ports from their computers a decade before most of their competitors.

    “Portable Workstation” pro notebooks would not be an unpopular product. But for whatever reason, its not a product Apple seems to want to sell.

    • petersphilo

      ADB and SCSI ports, but point taken…
      Note that i wasn’t making an equivalent with Concept Cars, though that is certainly there – 20th Anniversary Mac, Mac Cube (oooooh, soooo pretty!!).
      My analogy was with racing; an entirely different beast from concept cars!
      Concept Cars are usually aesthetic demonstrators first, and tech demonstrators second; they appeal to the etherial..
      Racing, on the other hand, requires performance, performance, performance, an just enough brand identity to get your machine recognized by all; it also requires a minimum of mass-production (Only F1 requires no mass-production, all other forms of racing require that you, as a racing brand, sell your racing machine)..

      i think i may have taken this analogy too far.. (or did i?)

  4. Alby

    When people get addicted to something, they can’t see anything bad about it, same happens with apple fans, no matter how bad Apple screw them, make their life “less better”, they keep defending their obsessions , like a huge fan of a shitty baseball team, I agree 100% with you. Maybe one day those Apple boys and girls will find out that all this time have been just kids in love with a candy….. Apple without doubts have great products, but aren’t as great as years ago. If that ” Courage ” is something like: “No matter what i do , you keep buying my products, coz you are an idiot”, oh yeah!!! you are full of courage…..

  5. FDominicus

    I never understood why there is no 17” max book any more. I bought mines uses to a time I could get it. I do not understand what the nice thing about tiny screens really is. But I’s quite easy because Apple does not offer anything in that any more I won’t by no Apple notebook any more.

    Problem solved.

    • petersphilo

      My main computer is still a trusty 17-inch 2011 MacBook Pro!
      There’s just nothing quite like that kind of screen realestate

  6. Paul M

    I completely agree with this sentiment.

    I feel that apple has abandoned their developer market and turned their focus onto the luxury market instead.

    As a developer, it makes my teeth grind a little bit with the loss of the function keys. I’ll probably adapt with the toolbar. However, touchID on the laptop? I know why they did this. ApplePay. Of which Safari trails 3rd for me. Chrome, Firefox, Safari then IE (for windows testing only). I have no desire to use Apple Pay either!

    Continuing on the developer track, not having 32GB RAM? What’s the deal here? It’s meant to be a PRO line. My thinking here, is that perhaps apple wants me to be seated with an iMAC? What about those developers who frequently travel?

    Finally, one thing that really irritated me and squashed any sort of automatic purchase. The loss of magsafe. Really? This has literally saved my laptop many times. It was an actual welcome feature. Why not keep the Pro at the current thinkness? Surely they could have met in the middle and bundled in an adaptor to emulate the same feature? I know there is breaksafe, but it’s not PRO rated yet and I’d rather have a first class product than a 3rd party one.

    I’ve worked on Windows machines, worked on Ubuntu for 3 years. I am so used to the Mac for development, it’s really the only option for me. As a user of a mid-2012 MBPr. I’m going to continue on with this laptop. I’ll probably have the cash sitting in the account waiting for the next refresh!

    My requirements for a PRO laptop.

    – Latest CPU.
    – Latest Mobo.
    – Higher resolution screen.
    – Latest Nvidia.
    – 32GB Ram DDR4.
    – 2TB Fast SSD.
    – Magsafe USB-C Power adapator

    Remember, this is a Pro laptop. The current weight and thinkness of the 2012-mid MBPr was just fine. I didn’t need it to be lighter and thinner!

    Oh well, waiting for the next 5 years!

    Clearly Tim Cook is NO Steve Jobs.

  7. Paul

    Face it. The job of the creative class is to create value for companies to attract non-creatives by making them feel like they’re part of the creative class. It happens in inner city neighborhoods. Look at real-estate in San Francisco. Why shouldn’t it happen with computers? It’s time for professionals and creatives to take advantage of the proliferation of passable quality, high performance Chinese hardware and open source software. I’ve been working on Linux off and on for 7 years now and part of that time I was doing professional work on a netbook. Macs are really a cool tax. Don’t pay it.

    • petersphilo

      If you’re happy and productive working on Linux, that’s great, i mean it.
      The thing is that many of us love the macOS (MacOS) experience, the workflow, etc, and we are either satisfied with the hardware, or we try to find alternatives via hackintosh (but that is usually disappointing)..
      I, for one, am not ready to give up on the macOS just yet..

  8. Dale-Kurt Murray

    I’m disappointed with Apple’s underwhelming announcement of the new MacBook Pro and I share your sentiments in the article. I’m on my second MacBook Pro (mid-2012) of 8 years having had my first. I purchase the Mid-2012 model mainly for its ability to upgrade memory and storage, which was done within budget at the time.

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