Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that desktop computers remain core to the firm's future, in response to a question from a staff member wondering where the products sit in the company's portfolio.
Cook wrote: "The desktop is very strategic for us. It's unique compared to the notebook because you can pack a lot more performance in a desktop — the largest screens, the most memory and storage, a greater variety of I/O [input/output], and [the] fastest performance. So there are many different reasons why desktops are really important, and in some cases critical, to people...
"Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we're committed to desktops. If there's any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that."
The lack of refreshed desktop PC hardware is, no doubt, because the company is waiting on suppliers to start shipping their latest products in sufficient volume. The company is, in particular, reliant upon Intel and AMD, Apple's core suppliers of microprocessors and graphics technology, respectively.
However, Apple's desktop products have looked increasingly out-of-date during 2016 compared to standard PCs, which are able to develop and run virtual reality applications following the launch of Nvidia's 10-series Pascal-based GPUs.
Apple, in contrast, is reliant upon AMD for its graphics technology, which has been caught flat-footed by Nvidia's launches this year.
Historically strong in animation and graphics, Apple has been stuck in the slow lane as it waits for AMD to catch up. While users of Apple desktop computers have to wait for the company to introduce entirely new models, desktop PC users can simply rip-out their old graphics cards and put in a new one.
Cook's comments suggest that as soon as both Intel starts shipping its 14nm Kaby Lake microprocessors and AMD finally starts producing Vega-based GPUs in sufficient volume then the company will launch its next-generation iMac and Mac Mini products.
Apple should, therefore, be sending out cryptic invitations to selected, non-critical members of the press in and around San Francisco, California any time from March 2017.
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