Steve Jobs reportedly mulled axing Apple's pro productsIn a blog post on Friday, former Apple ad consultant Ken Segall reveals Steve Jobs once considered killing off the company's professional product offerings, including the Mac Pro and software like Final Cut Pro.
Apple's forthcoming Mac Pro. | Source: Apple
Apple has long been known as one of the few computer makers to cater to both consumers and professional users, but Segall says that at one point, Jobs had reservations about continuing the company's pro lineup.
"His rationale was as you might expect: consumer products have an unlimited upside, while pro products are aimed at a niche market that eats up major resources," Segall says.
Jobs weighed the options before airing his idea at an ad agency meeting. This was apparently during a time when Apple's iMac had just become a global bestseller.
"Obviously, the pro market has value for Apple, even if its numbers are relatively small," Segall notes. "Pros are opinion leaders, influencers and evangelists. Their love of Apple shows up in the purchase decisions of friends, family and colleagues."
In the end, Jobs obviously decided to stick with the program, though Segall suggests Apple's philosophy on what it considers "pro" may have changed over the years. For example, the latest Final Cut X has been streamlined with an easy-to-use interface moving toward the look of iMovie. Professional users were vocal about the changes Apple made to the vaunted program, but the decisions, as well as the lower price of entry, brought in a wider audience.
A similar change is coming in hardware as the Mac Pro finally gets a redesign after years of being passed over. The new sleek black cylinder boasts a user-friendly design with easy expansion via six Thunderbolt 2 ports, four USB 3.0 ports and two Gigabit Ethernet ports.
Unlike the previous Mac Pro, the next-generation model has little to upgrade internally, but it does offer a consumer-minded design. Some professional users may be turned off by the changes, but the tweaks could bring renewed consumer interest in standalone towers, a segment of the industry moving toward extinction.
Segall ends with a provoking thought. Of all the pro products, Apple has killed off only one major hardware design: the 17-inch MacBook Pro.
"Unless you believe that in the future pros will suddenly prefer working on smaller screens, its hard to see this as a positive development," Segall writes. "Of course all will be forgiven if that little baby were to come back, all nice and Retina-ized "