With the announcement of the new MacBook Pros (somewhat) recently, there’s been a lot said about Apple’s apparent neglect of the Mac lineup. As a Mac user myself, I wanted to see if I could find any hard evidence of this neglect. To do this, I gathered data on every model of Mac released, when it was introduced, and when it was discontinued from everymac.com. You can use this to calculate how many different Mac models were sold each year.
While there are certainly fewer Mac models than at its peak, it’s still in line with the 2002-2008 period. The problem with this measure is that it doesn’t take into account how much effort Apple puts into the computers it does sell. The poster child for this is the Mac Pro, which got a major update in 2013 and hasn’t been updated since. To measure this, I calculated the average age of the Mac lineup for each year.
You can see there’s been a slow upward trend through 2014, but over the past 2 years the product line has gotten dramatically older on average. This appears to be mostly driven by the fact that half of the Mac product lines (MacBook Air, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini) haven’t been touched since 2014, and the iMac wasn’t updated in 2016. Since I use a MacBook Pro, which has been consistently updated, this doesn’t affect me directly, and Apple deciding to stop making new computers also won’t make the computer I’ve already bought run any better or worse. Despite all that, I think there’s still a bit of angst that comes from the fact that using a particular operating system is a big investment in time and money that pays off over the life of many computers. This apparent neglect at least got me to think whether I should keep doubling-down on my investment or try to diversify my risks. Realistically, as long as Apple keeps making laptops I’ll probably keep using them, but if they ever decide to stop I hope they can give it to me straight instead of silently letting it go.