Although Apple’s Mac event last month was underwhelming, the company’s new MacBook Pro is proving popular, says a top executive.
Speaking to The Independent in an interview published this week, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said that the new MacBook Pro is so far the most popular professional notebook his company has ever released.
“We are proud to tell you that so far our online store has had more orders for the new MacBook Pro than any other pro notebook before,” he said. “So there certainly are a lot of people as excited as we are about it.”
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It’s unclear from his comment what exactly constitutes a “pro notebook” at Apple, but he’s ostensibly referring to the MacBook Pro line Apple has been selling for the last several years. It’s also likely the group includes the Powerbook that the MacBook Pro replaced.
Apple unveiled the MacBook Pro at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. last month. The computer comes with a revamped design that makes it smaller than the notebooks that preceded it. The MacBook Pro also has a higher-end processor and graphics card as well as a new Touch Bar above the keyboard that acts as a touchscreen to control software. To the right of the Touch Bar is Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which facilitates Apple Pay payments and lets users unlock the device.
The MacBook Pro has been generally well-received, though some have criticized Apple for not delivering some of the technologies users already find appealing in Windows-based machines, like a touchscreen and a hinge that lets them use the notebook as a tablet.
In his interview with The Independent, Schiller said he’s heard the criticism and said it was “a bit of a surprise.” He then quickly hedged the statement, saying Apple’s new products always come with their fair share of “debate.”
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“I have never seen a great new Apple product that didn’t have its share of early criticism and debate—and that’s cool,” he said. “We took a bold risk, and of course with every step forward there is also some change to deal with. Our customers are so passionate, which is amazing.”
The question, though, is whether the MacBook Pro can keep its early success going. Early online orders are typically made by Apple fans and early adopters and might not be the best gauge for a computer’s success. Only after the MacBook Pro reaches store shelves later this month and has some time to find its way to the average consumer might its actual appeal be measured.
In addition to his discussion on the MacBook Pro, Schiller discussed several other topics with The Independent. He touted Apple’s virtual personal assistant Siri and said he believes the notebook design will hold up for the next 25 years. Finally, he turned his attention to macOS and iOS, saying the two operating systems shouldn’t be combined.
“We’re steadfast in our belief that there are fundamentally two different products to make for customers and they’re both important,” he said, adding that smartphones and tablets are ideal for iOS and computers for macOS.
“Trust me, we’ve looked at that—it’s a bad experience,” Schiller said of a touchscreen-equipped Mac.