Tim Cook says 'great desktops' are on the way for Apple

Amid rumors that Apple was phasing out its Mac desktop line, Cook recently told employees that new desktops are 'in our roadmap.' Here's what you need to know.


The 27-inch 5K iMac model, released in 2014.

Image: CNET

Professional iMac users, rejoice: On Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees that new desktops are finally on the way.

"Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we're committed to desktops," Cook wrote in a post on an employee message board, obtained by TechCrunch. "If there's any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that."

Apple has let its desktop line lag in recent years, focusing instead on its iPhones and MacBooks that might not be a good fit for power users. For graphic designers, video editors, game developers, and those in any profession that requires 3D rendering, a desktop is an essential workplace tool.

Cook wrote that the desktop is "very strategic" for the company. "It's unique compared to the notebook because you can pack a lot more performance in a desktop--the largest screens, the most memory and storage, a greater variety of I/O, and fastest performance," Cook wrote.

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The current generation iMac's Retina 5K display remains the best display in the world, he added. However, the fact remains that a new iMac has not been introduced since October 2015. The most recent Mac mini was released in October 2014, and the Mac Pro was first shipped in December 2013.

Apple needs a new desktop for two main reasons, said JP Gownder, a principal analyst at Forrester. One is competition from Microsoft.

"The Surface Studio device usurped Apple's design leadership with its innovative form factor and sheer beauty," Gownder said. "I would have to think Apple would be working on a new all-in-one that might transform like the Studio, or have some other metaphor for matching or exceeding the Surface Studio's functionality."

Further, Apple does not offer a VR-capable Mac at this point, Gownder said. "They need to amp up the graphics processing by including a gamer-quality GPU," he said.

"In both areas, Apple is playing catch-up," Gownder said. "They are falling behind in fundamental PC hardware at this point, so they need innovative, new models to compete."

Cook concluded his post with a message to employees about the company's future in general. "With so many things that we've done, we don't do it because there's a return on investment. We don't do it because we know exactly how we're going to use it. We do it because it's clear it's interesting and it might lead somewhere," he wrote. "A lot of the time it doesn't, but many times it leads us somewhere where we had no idea in the beginning."

For those of you following the Apple rumor mill, a new report claims that the next iPhone will have a curved plastic screen.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. On Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a post on an employee message board stating that new desktops are on the company's roadmap.

2. Apple has forgone updates to its desktop line in recent years while focusing more on the iPhone and MacBooks: The most recent iMac was released in October 2015.

3. Apple needs to release a new desktop in order to remain competitive in the enterprise, experts said.

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