What we really learned from Apple yesterday and what happens when design hubris overrides engineering

The Apple fan base was buzzing all day yesterday over what some called “unprecedented preview of Mac hardware.” Except, there was no such preview. Instead, Apple executives rounded up their favorite writers/bloggers to inform them Apple was “in the process of what we call ‘completely rethinking’ the Mac Pro”. This stirred up a palpable excitement about Apple finally tipping its hand about its future products.

In reality, no hardware was previewed, shown or even described. Here is what we really learned:

  • Mac Pro users make up less than 10% of the whole Mac customer base. Apple is a master at titillating with numbers as a distraction tactic.
  • Apple is now admitting that the round design of the 2013 Mac Pro painted the company into a “thermal corner”. This cylindrical monolith now joins its cubic ancestor in Apple’s hall of shame and reminds us (and Apple) of the pitfalls when design overrides engineering.
  • The reality distortion game remains strong at Cupertino. This has been a refined version of how Apple handled Antenna Gate (another instance of design hubris; however, Apple fixed that one well). Apple marched out 4 senior executives to smooth-talk 5 prominent Apple bloggers into spreading their Mac Pro spin job for them, creating optimism without giving any meaningful details about design or timeline. Jobs would be proud.