"I don't think there was ever a question about Apple not caring about the Mac," said Bajarin, "but it didn't seem to be competing for the 'pro' community like they used to." Bajarin agreed that Apple's commentary was designed to combat the negative storyline, but compartmentalized it as primarily involving the Mac Pro.
Not everyone interpreted the turn-about in that way.
"I think they did this to keep Mac users interested [in the platform]," countered Patrick Moorhead, chief analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "Windows and Microsoft and their partners are making it very, very interesting by leaning into very creative platforms both from the hardware and software sides."
Moorhead cited Windows 10's Creators Update -- the feature upgrade slated to start landing on PCs next week -- and its emphasis on 3-D content creation, and the Surface Studio all-in-one desktop as examples. His point: Microsoft's pitch to creative professionals, long an audience devoted to Macs, was having an impact. And Apple didn't like it.
"There are some very interesting options for creative types," Moorhead continued. "And Apple felt like they had to elevate their game."
That Apple did, Bajarin argued.
"One of the subtler things [about going public about the Mac Pro] was that they are really, really listening to the customer base," Bajarin said. "That customer base for the Mac Pro is a couple of million people at best, but Apple's saying, 'We're still listening to you,' then emphasizing that it is listening to customers and will take steps in the right direction."
Dawson echoed that in commentary published to his Tech Narratives website. "These pros are no longer the core constituency of the Mac, which instead is mainstream users," Dawson wrote. "However, they are vocal, and they're important because they're disproportionately influential as a result."
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