The Apple Store employee walked me through the differences between the two laptops: the MacBook was for regular consumers and the MacBook Pro was for professionals. I ended up buying a MacBook because I was a student and didn’t need the MacBook Pro’s power and couldn’t afford to pay extra for it.
In the many years since I bought that MacBook in 2007, Apple has blurred the line between consumer and professional device. The introduction of the 13-inch MacBook Pro in 2009 seemingly turned everyone into a “professional” overnight making the “Pro” distinction lose all meaning.
However, with the new Mac Pro, the “Pro” name means business for real professionals again. It’s not a “Pro” machine just by name anymore. The Mac Pro’s for elite users who need a processor with up to 28-cores or RAM that’s configurable up to 1.5TB. If you don’t need this this kind of performance, consider the Mac mini instead.
Looking over at the rest of Apple’s product lineup, I’m seeing the same “consumer vs. professional” formula being applied. iMac vs. iMac Pro. MacBook vs. MacBook Pro. iPad vs. iPad Pro.
The only thing missing is an iPhone Pro. With iPhones sales flat, now’s the perfect time to give the iPhone a couple of professional features to justify increasing prices.
Steve Jobs would approve
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he saw chaos all around him. Apple was selling too many products. All of the device models confused customers.
As part of his plan to save Apple, Jobs famously killed many of the company’s products and drew up a simple chart illustrating where the company should focus its attention on.
Jobs believed every Apple product could be separated into two categories: consumer and professional. A product should fit into one category or the other. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t exist.
Needless to say, a consumer product wouldn’t be as powerful or expensive as a professional one.
As I already said, most of Apple’s current device lineup fits into Jobs’ chart. If you don’t need top-notch performance, you can simply choose the less expensive model without the “Pro” moniker.
Give the iPhone steroids
The iPhone is the exception, though. At the time of this writing, Apple’s sells multiple iPhone models. Ignoring the old iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, Apple’s latest offerings include the iPhone XR and XS/XS Max.
In many ways, the iPhone XR and its LCD screen, single rear camera, and lack of 3D Touch, can be considered the “consumer” product, and the the iPhone XS/XS Max and its OLED display, dual rear cameras, 3D Touch, stainless steel frame, and faster connectivity can be classified as a “Pro” device.
But I don’t think there’s enough of a difference between the two since both are powered by the same A12 Bionic chip and run iOS. And weirdly enough, the iPhone XR, has longer battery life than the iPhone XS/XS Max.
If Apple’s really recommitting to professionals again, an iPhone Pro would be the best way to show it.
Imagine an iPhone Pro with a more powerful Apple chip, more RAM, smaller notch, in-display Touch ID (along with Face ID), more rear cameras (maybe one with a 50x zoom to compete with Huawei’s P30?), Pixel 3 Night Sight-like shooting mode, secondary ultra-wide selfie camera, longer battery life, etc.
I’m letting my inner geek run wild here, but it’s not difficult to imagine a turbo-charged iPhone Pro with high-end features most people might not need, but professionals might be willing to shell out for. As someone who’s constantly jealous of some of the innovationson Android phones, I’d love to see Apple make an iPhone Pro.
Apple’s already half-way there with the iPhone XR and XS/XS Max and the company’s rumored to be adding an ultra-wide camera to their successors this year to make them even more advanced. But I want a wider gulf between iPhone models.
Apple would still be able to charge $1,000+ for an iPhone Pro and consumers would feel like they’re getting something worthy of the price.
Apple: It’s time for an iPhone Pro.