Apple Executives Explain Why MacBook Pro Refresh Took So Long

In an exclusive interview with CNET, Apple executives Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi and Jony Ive, sat down with the publication prior to today’s event to explain more about the new MacBook Pro line up.

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MacBook Pro Refresh Gap

When asked why the refresh took so many years, Schiller said “The calendar isn’t what drives any of the decisions,” adding “We challenge the teams to do great work and sometimes that great work can be done in one year, sometimes it takes three years… What we really care about is creating new innovations in the Mac and continuing the story that has really defined Apple for so many years.”

Touch Bar

Apple’s head designer, Jony Ive, said his team worked on the Touch Bar for at least two years, calling the new feature “the beginning of a very interesting direction” that marries “touch and display-based inputs with a mechanical keyboard.”

Federighi touted how Touch Bar is throughout macOS, saying “What’s amazing is, it is just throughout the system,” adding “No app went untouched,” echoing what was said on stage toady at the company’s Mac event.

Touchscreen Mac? Don’t Even Think About It  

Apple insisted it could make a touchscreen Mac, but decided against it, because it would not be “particularly useful,” says Ive. As for touchscreen capabilities on the MacBook Pro, it would be “a burden,” he added.

The design guru continued to say “Doing something that’s different is actually relatively easy and relatively fast, and that’s tempting,” adding Apple decided against touchscreen Macs “many, many” years ago.

Ive explained “You can become fairly comfortable that you have a design direction that’s compelling. But if you can’t work out how you can refine that” without compromising the final product, “you can still undermine a big idea.”

Apple believes having two models (iOS and macOS) to achieve the same goal allows the company to keep exploring, versus forcing customers into one.

Schiller said “We did spend a great deal of time looking at this a number of years ago and came to the conclusion that to make the best personal computer, you can’t try to turn MacOS into an iPhone,” and vice-versa, he explains.

New MacBook Pro Pricing

When asked about pricing versus competitors, Schiller said affordability is “absolutely something we care about,” further adding “But we don’t design for price, we design for the experience and the quality people expect from Mac. Sometimes that means we end up at the higher end of the range, but not on purpose, just because that’s what it costs.”

Microsoft Slams Apple for Taking Their Time

Microsoft took time to also slam Apple, with Brian Hall, corporate vice president of marketing for Microsoft devices, saying “just following right now,” adding “Apple has definitely left their customers behind in the last four years in not having updated over that period.” Yesterday, Microsoft announced new products to challenge Apple in the pro market.

CNET even got a quote from musician T-Pain (!), who said “There’s so much I can do with the old one,” referring to his existing MacBook.

Schiller, again at the end of the interview, further emphasizes why it took Apple so long to refresh the MacBook Pro.

“We didn’t want to just create a speed bump on the MacBook Pro,” said Schiller. “In our view this is a big, big step forward. It is a new system architecture, and it allows us to then create many things to come, things that we can’t envision yet.”

As for Ive on the new Touch Bar and its innovation? He says “We unanimously were very compelled by [the Touch Bar] as a direction, based on, one, using it, and also having the sense this is the beginning of a very interesting direction,” concluding with “But [it] still just marks a beginning.”

What do you think? Did Apple answer your question on why the MacBook Pro refresh took so long, and its latest pricing?