Apple's Mac team is shedding engineers, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported last 20 December, amid growing pressure from President-elect Donald Trump to move production stateside.
Some engineers are pushing to move production of the Mac Pro back to Asia, after the company started assembling it in the U.S. in 2013 to "score political points," according to Bloomberg. U.S. assembly slowed production and the Mac Pro failed to meet demand, Bloomberg added.
Meanwhile, managers are forcing engineers to work on two or more competing prototypes of Apple computers, creating time crunches, according to Bloomberg. Plus, meetings with Apple's design guru are less frequent, as the Mac's look is increasingly influenced by the iPhone.
The uncertain future of the Mac Pro desktop comes as the company's new laptop has elicited grumbles from its core user base. The new model was late, expensive and lacked the power, keys and ports needed for creative workers, critics said.
Apple had to revert the new MacBook Pro to an older design, after the new battery failed a key test. The news outlet reports that most planned updates for 2017 Macs are "modest."
"We have great desktops in our road map. Nobody should worry about that," CEO Tim Cook said, according to a transcript of the discussion obtained by Bloomberg News. Apple declined to comment further to CNBC, citing policy against commenting on rumor and speculation.
In the Mac's heyday, people working on new models could expect a lot of attention from John Ive's team. Once a week his people would meet with Mac engineers to discuss ongoing projects. Mac engineers brought prototypes to Ive's studio for review, while his lieutenants would visit the Mac labs to look at early concepts. Those visits have become less frequent since the company began focusing more on more-valuable products like the iPhone and iPad, and the change became even more obvious after the design team's leadership was shuffled last year, according to a person familiar with the situation.
In another sign that the company has prioritized the iPhone, Apple re-organized its software engineering department so there's no longer a dedicated Mac operating system team. There is now just one team, and most of the engineers are iOS first, giving the people working on the iPhone and iPad more power.
That's part of a broader shift toward making Macs more like iPhones. Apple prioritizes features, like thinness and minimal ports, that sell its iPhones and iPads, which generated about 75 percent of revenue this year. Those are contrary to professional needs, like maximum computing power.
Early prototypes of the 12-inch MacBook used the iPhone's Lightning connector, although this was ditched for a more standard USB-C port. There was even a gold MacBook Pro planned, but this was shelved because the color didn’t look good on such a large product.