There’s been a heavy wave of criticism lobbed against Apple and the Mac since late 2016.
Much of it has been relevant to the latest MacBook Pros, widely panned by the developer community for being overpriced, having somewhat outdated and underwhelming specs, and requiring the separate purchase of USB-C adapters (even for connecting to an iPhone or iPad).
But there’s been as much criticism toward the desktop Macs. Simply stated, they’re sorely lacking the latest PC technologies and performance capabilities, and are well-overdue for a refresh.
The problem is that Apple simply has not been keeping up. The flagship Mac Pro workstation has not been updated since 2013, and the last time we saw a new Mac Mini or iMac was 2014. Even more stunning, there was admission that the Mac Pro’s design was fundamentally flawed.
With only 10 percent of the company’s overall revenue, it’s not surprising that Apple has been slow to develop new Macs. And it seems the Mac has been somewhat deprioritized, with the macOS team folded into a group predominated by iOS engineers.
Macs still maintain a strong following by the creative, design, and developer communities, in addition to many others. And to develop apps for an iPhone or iPad, your only choice is a Mac.
But it’s also incredibly frustrating knowing that a very well-spec’d PC can smoke away any Mac out there. So what’s the solution?
Well, Apple finally fessed up to the fact that they’re way behind in updating the flagship Mac Pro. They apologized to their loyal customers, and promised a new-generation product on the way for next year that will, for the first time, allow user upgradeability more like a conventional PC.
But you still have to wait until 2018! And the price tag is likely to be a shocker.
Here’s a better long-term solution for the Mac: sell macOS itself as a software license so that anyone can use it with the PC of their choosing.
Yes, I’m referring to a Hackintosh. A legal, fully sanctioned Hackintosh. Why wait until next year when you can you select or build a screaming-fast machine today?
In case you’re not already aware, a Hackintosh is a PC running a Mac operating system. This is nothing new of course, and there are plenty of resources out there for getting a Mac operating system to run on a PC. But it’s not officially allowed or supported by Apple.
(If you already own a Mac and want to build a Hackintosh, then perhaps it’s kind of, sort of, OK to do so since you can access the Mac App Store to help yourself to a copy of the OS – and you’re already a licensed user.)
Why should Apple offer macOS for anyone to use, albeit at a cost (like Windows)?
For one, it would free Apple from the expensive, time-consuming resources and effort to develop new desktop PC hardware.
Second, this would allow them to focus on continuing to create elegant, ergonomically pleasing hardware – something Apple is truly renown, and arguably, second to none. This includes keyboards, mice, trackpads, and yes, MacBooks.
After all, the true experience of a Mac is in how you interact with it, both visually and through your fingers. Putting macOS on a PC shouldn’t change that if you’re using genuine Apple HIDs (human interaction devices).
Another rationale for going the software-only route is the fact that it takes years for Apple to completely revamp their Macs. In the PC world, technology evolves in as little as 2 months.
One challenge with selling macOS software is the substantial tech support that would be required for a vast array of PC gear, including continual device compatibility testing, and development of drivers. But over the long run, the cost of doing this should be far less than designing new hardware.
There would have to be some sort of revenue structure for a macOS-only product, whether a one-time cost in the hundreds of dollars, or a monthly recurring fee. This could allow a viable opportunity to recoup the lost revenue from not selling desktop Macs and AppleCare plans.
The writing seems to be on the wall for how Apple wants to prioritize Macs going forward, especially in light of the fact that iOS is what brings in the revenue and profit. macOS licensing may be the best path forward for sustaining the Mac well into the future.
That is, of course, unless the long-term strategy is to merge the desktop and mobile platforms.