What to expect from Apple’s new Mac 'hello'

Next week we'll find out what our next PC is going to be

Apple, iOS, Mac, IBM, PC, Macintosh, Touch Strip, User INterface, TouchID, Hello, ARM
Credit: Apple

The word “hello” means something in the Apple universe. It was the first word on the first Mac, the first word on the iMac, and was part of the company’s WWDC invitation, where it announced adoption of the name “macOS” to replace OS X. Now it is the buzz word on its invitation to the latest news from the company.

Hello to what?

That Apple is saying “Hello” must be significant, especially with some Mac models having seen no upgrade for almost three years (1,000 days).

We won’t know how significant until next week, but with claims it plans to enhance touch in Macs with is new ‘Magic Keyboard’ and ‘Magic Touchbar’ and reports claiming the A10 series processor used inside current iPhones is equally as powerful as a low end MacBook (and the A10X easily competes), there are plenty of tongues turning speculation of all types.

There is even renewed speculation about what kind of processor the company wants to adopt and whether it will dump the audio jack from Macs. “Star of the show looks set to be a major revamp of the MacBook Pro line-up, with an OLED touch-bar replacing physical function keys,” writes 9-5Mac. “Also rumored to see a refresh is the 13-inch MacBook Air,” says AppleInsider.

ABOVE: Does anyone remember Apple's big iPhone hello in 2007?

Inflection point

We’ve reached a critical point. IBM this week told us all that Macs are a much better deal for enterprise deployments than Windows PCs, and while some enterprise users may delay upgrading to Apple’s superior technology for a while, the move to standards-compliant, platform-agnostic cloud services is mandatory and means the technology lock-ins that once blocked Mac adoption are rapidly disappearing among those enterprises that hope to remain in business in five years time. (Though some resistance will emerge from incumbents in the tech support teams). The time is now and Apple knows it has a huge opportunity and is trying to embrace it.

The impact of mobile on its market is also clear. The move to adopt iOS among enterprise users could become a stalking horse for Mac sales in the sector. What can Apple do to its platforms to entice enterprise purchasers to climb aboard the Mac? One thing that makes a lot of sense is to make it as easy to manage Macs in the enterprise as it is to manage an iPhone, and solutions to achieve this are now available from Jamf.

Coming soon

Apple is not about to give the rest of the PC industry an easy ride. The three-year wait to launch new Macs will turn out not to have been based on any lack of interest in a platform. Think about it: has Apple not updated the OS each year? Has its move to adopt modern languages and to strip the OS (again) of legacy code escaped your notice? Does its determination to adopt a new filing system in the next 12-months mean nothing? Think a little and it seems highly probable the wait has been by design, presumably while the Mac manufacturer developed a range of new technologies – such as the Magic Touchstrip – that it can then safely manufacture in the kind of quantities it takes to bring these to the mass-market.

If this is true (and I think it is) then speculation of all kinds is completely reasonable and some or all of the most way out rumors may turn out top be a little truer than we originally thought. That could mean new processors, new iPad/Mac hybrids and radical redesigns (is it time the Mac Pro became the hideously powerful A10X Cube, for example?) Might Apple choose to retire the hardware completely in favor of macOS support on mobile devices? (No). I'm not expecting changes as big as these -- yet -- but never say never with Cupertino. Whatever the company does it will do in full knowledge that:

The future is now

Following a long break Apple is going to be eager to tell Mac users and the wider PC industry what it sees as the future of the ailing PC market. I do think some of the new Macs it tells us about won’t ship until next year. I also expect the critics to continue their sad and lonely existences inside their tiny reality distortion field bubbles, peddling pusillanimous and predictable criticism of whatever it is the company does announce. All the same, I do not expect Apple’s news will be trivial. The company will webcast its announcement starting at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET) on October 27. I’ll keep you posted during the event.

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