Apple only devotes a depressing 4.5% of Apple Retail Store floorspace to the Mac Pro - Macenstein

Apple only devotes a depressing 4.5% of Apple Retail Store floorspace to the Mac Pro

It’s not looking too good for the Pros…

After receiving a screen shot of the shared computers at the Cambridge Apple Store network from faithful Macenstein reader iPhelim, I was sort of taken aback by how outnumbered the Mac Pros seemed to be. Out of the 25 computers listed, only 2 were Mac Pros. That’s a measly 8% of the store’s floor space dedicated to the Mac Pro, the system designed for the graphics and editing professionals, long thought to be the core of the Apple faithful. Being a hardcore Mac Pro fan/user myself, I decided to visit my local Apple store in Awesometown, NJ (Short Hills) and see what the ratio there was. Out of the 48 computers on that network, only 3 were Mac Pros – a depressing 6.25%.

However, upon further examination, I could actually only physically see 2 of the 3 Mac Pros listed – the one labeled “Studio Panel” was likely hidden somewhere, driving the display of one of the large monitors on the wall. In looking at the network window again, I figured that the top 3 listed computers (Concierge, Creative Laptop, and Genius Room Server) likely were not out for general access either, so I decided to only count the computers listed that had “ars” abbreviations on them, and those labeled “KIDS” figuring those are likely the floor models. So that brought me down to only 2 out of 45 displayed systems being Mac Pros – or 4.44%.

Things we not looking too good for the Mac Pro, so I decided to do a test. I asked readers to send in network screenshots and manual headcounts of the machines in their local Apple Stores, both the total number of display machines on the floor (those the average consumer could walk up to and play with), and then the number of Mac Pros on the floor. Out of the 9 Apple Stores surveyed, there was a grand total of 393 machines. Of those only 18 were Mac Pros. That works out to a measly 4.5% of Apple Store floor space being devoted to Apple’s Pro machines. What was perhaps even more surprising was that Apple’s gigantic new Flagship Stores (the NYC Cube and Boylston Boston Stores) were some of the worst offenders. The 5th Ave store had 81 floor models out, and only TWO were Mac Pros, and the Boylston store had a whopping 111 CPUs out for customers to test drive, and only ONE was a Mac Pro, and it was in the back bottom corner of the store!

I suppose Apple may think that anyone who wants a $3000 Mac Pro must already be aware of them, and either will buy one or won’t, but the complete lack of marketing baffles me. Other companies like Dell, AlienWare, and BOXX all advertise their expensive Pro offerings in trade magazines and online (even $4000 laptops!), but Apple has ignored the Mac Pro completely. Even when the model is refreshed the most attention it gets is one of the lower squares on the Apple homepage for a day or two, and maybe an Apple Press release.

I realize Apple makes its money off iPods and laptops these days, but as a creative professional, I find it a little sad to see that Apple’s “pro” offerings for the graphics community (and no, sorry, the MacBook Pro is not a real Pro machine – you may now commence defending the MBP) have taken not simply a “backseat” to their consumer offerings, they have more or less been pushed out of the car entirely.

23 Responses to “Apple only devotes a depressing 4.5% of Apple Retail Store floorspace to the Mac Pro”
  1. Richard tremont says:

    My dad actually was thinking of switching to the Mac, and for some reason he wanted to buy a Mac tower. I tried to convince him he probably wanted an iMac, but he is old school, and thinks towers are what computers should look like.He managed to make his Dell last 6 years because he could add drives RAM and cards, so I guess I understand. I bet if Apple pushed them a little harder, they sell a lot more of the low end Mac Pros (or, heaven forbid they actually release a consumer tower!)

  2. Neal says:

    I don’t see why you are suprised. People who want a Mac Pro know that they want a Mac Pro when they walk into the Apple store.

  3. I don’t know Neal, I see that as a crap argument. Even Mercedes advertises…
    -The Doc

  4. Cloud says:

    I don’t think the footprint in the NYC Apple stores is too small at all. I was in the 14th street NYC Apple store last weekend and the four (or five?) Mac Pros were driving the 30 inch and 24 inch displays. (Earlier this year, I remember seeing four Mac Pros at the NYC Apple Cube and the NYC Greenwich Village branch as well BTW)

    I think the Mac Pro’s marketing is analogous to Digidesign’s Pro Tools. If you’re a musician recording, editing, and mixing music, once you reach a certain point in your career, you know you’ll need to buy what the professionals use. After a little investigation, you see that the common thread in the business is the use of Pro Tools. But waitaminnit,…Pro Tools isn’t advertised much, it always has a very small page in music catalogs and magazines (without the $8000+ price mind you) and the Pro Tools footprint in a store like The Guitar Center or Sam Ash is non-existent. However, Digidesign’s cheaper consumer-grade M-Audio gear is ALL over the place – ads everywhere, a generous representation in music stores, contests, etc. Is Digidesign shunning the professional Pro Tools for the cheaper M-Audio? No. I think Digidesign like Apple knows that gear of a professional quality and price has a small and informed user base.

    As you said “anyone who wants a $3000 Mac Pro must already be aware of them, and either will buy one or won’t.”

    The Mac pro has 8 cores. It’s serious overkill for everyone but, the professional who has the software (Maya, Logic, Final Cut, etc.) to take advantage of that power. The tech requirements of this software and the information about what one would need to make it run a peak efficiency is all the advertising Apple needs.

  5. Gary says:

    Of course, when you say “4.5% of floor space,” you’re not talking literally square-footage, so the comparison is a little unfair in a store with tiny, tiny products. But the point is taken. There was a time perhaps 2-3 years ago when Apple reduced the number of Mac Pros to one. It’s only been recently that two display models have reappeared. No doubt a direct result of sales. The stores’ on-line, real-time sales system allows the team in Cupertino to track every single purchase, and when there are only two Mac Pros a day out of each store, you have to start analyzing where to put your money. In this case, laptops are king, lately. They sell a ton of them at the stores. Seems like people want to be able to cart off their merchandise easily–and Mac Pros aren’t on their list. I’m guessing that a very high percentage of Mac Pros are sold either institutionally, or via the Web site. Just recall–when was the last time you saw someone lugging a Mac Pro out of a store? And compare that to your experience seeing someone carrying that neat laptop box to their car!

  6. Ethan says:

    I also disagree with the argument that anyone who wants a mac pro is already aware of it. The public in general is very unaware of Apple’s offerings, and I’d warrant many of those people would he interested in mac pro. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve serviced $3000 desktops that were bought simply because the richy wanted the best. Granted you can spend that much on an iMac. But some of these people would want a tower.

    Here’s what I think Apple is doing though…Apple thinks the all-in-one is the right form-factor for consumers. Apple started with all-in-ones, and has come back to them with much success. Even notebooks are aio’s. I done thunk Apple wants the Mac Pro to be a very public offering. Kind of like they are whispering to developers, “we know you need a tower, so we’ll sell you the Mac Pro, but its just between us, OK?”

    I completely agree that all-in-one is the most appropriate form-factor for consumers, and especially for other markets like kiosks and retail POS.

  7. DonLargo says:

    How about a survey of authorized Mac resellers? I betcha the Apple stores are intentionally aimed at iMac users, meaning switchers and home users. The kind of folks who hang out at malls and make impulse purchases.

    Don’t forget all the long-time Apple resellers who are still out there trying to scratch out a living. Maybe the Pro market is being left to them so that they still can have a piece of the Apple pie.

  8. Mike Bellack says:

    Probably less then 4.5% of Apples customers are even able of utilizing a MacPros power, therefore buying it would be like buying a race car (professional grade) vs a daily driving car (consumer use) I believe that 95.5% of the Mac users don’t need a MacPro, as much as the rock.

  9. SC says:

    One of the major qualities setting the Mac Pro apart from the rest of the Mac line is customization options. As a result, people generally buy them online where they can pick and choose what they want, because the retail stores only carry 2 Mac Pro configurations.

    Also, as Gary mentioned, people shopping at an Apple retail store are going to cart the product home themselves — so why not have it shipped to your door? The box is massive and heavy.

    The whole point of the Apple retail stores was to bring Apple products to a place where consumers unfamiliar with the brand already frequent, so it’s not surprising that they cater more to the consumer.

  10. balt says:

    Those who’ve mentioned that Pro buyers get them shipped direct are right on the money. Plus, many of the traditional Pro buyers aren’t buying Pros anymore. For print work, eight cores is a wee bit of overkill, and and a 24″ iMac has an enormous screen compared to the top of the line design rigs of just a few years ago.

  11. dlowe402 says:

    I agree with SC and to some degree with everyone else that has said “people that buy a Mac Pro already know what they want. Because they are so customizable, they can only show a few versions in the stores. When we got ours, we got it from the online store so we could get what we want. Also, the stores seem to be more tailored to the consumer and not the professional. Why do you think they put all the iPods, Macbooks and iMacs near the front? To catch the eye of the Curious Georges walking by and generate interest and excitement. It is important that they have a couple of Mac Pros running huge monitors because that is impressive but I rather doubt that they sell a lot of the higher end machines from the store(relatively speaking). My two cents worth…for what it’s worth.

  12. Jonro says:

    Last October I bought a 24″ iMac, but what I really wanted was a consumer tower, basically iMac power in a small but expandable box. I would have purchased 2 or 3 matching flat panels for it. It would need room for at least two drives (primary plus Time Machine backup). The iMac is a (truly) great computer and I’m very happy with it, but would have preferred the “iMac mini tower.”

  13. hello says:

    Most people buying mac pros order them online. A majority of Apples sales come from iMacs. Unfortunately the professional graphics community is small. Apple wants to sell units, not the most expensive computers. I asked a friend who works at a medium sized store and he was saying they sell about one every other day, and they are generally the easiest sales.

  14. Imagine Engine says:

    I still prefer the iMac and MacBook Pro for my SOHO though admit I wish like to have the option for either a 4 or 8 core processor in each as is available on the Mac Pro.

  15. John says:

    Actually, I believe Apple is minimizing the exposure of the Mac Pro in its stores because people are idiots.

    How often do you hear that Macs are still ultra-expensive compared to Windows POSs?

    Typical Windows Desktop user is used to towers. Very, very few Windows makers like dell and HP sell any significant quantity of All in ones.

    So due to this background, potential switcher will gravitate to towers if they see them at the store. And considering that the cheapest Mac Pro is over $2000, most of those switchers would leave, believing the myth that Macs are ultra expensive.

    With one or two towers on display, most people will see the iMac and the Mac Mini or the laptops. Those are very competitively priced compared to windows fare.

    So don’t blame Apple for minimizing the Mac Pro exposure.

  16. Ddog says:

    The majority of Apple Store customers are not there to buy a Mac Pro with multiple screens, so they don’t really need to display many. Also, they’re not easy to stock: The boxes are big and heavy, and you also need to stock screens, which also come in bulky boxes to protect them from damage.

  17. Shaunathan says:

    I bought my mac pro at the end of last year when they were closing out the dual cores. It’s not just the floor space my dear Doctor Macenstein, it’s the “geniuses” running the place. I said “I’d like to buy a Mac Pro please” The rep runs over to the MacBook Pro laptops and says “which model of MacPro did you want?” I said “I would like a Mac Pro not a MacBook Pro” He says “This is a Mac Pro” I said “you know, the tower” he says “OOOOHHHHH”


    at least I had one that night rather than waiting for shipping, something to be said for instant gratification.

  18. jbelkin says:

    All you have to do is look at the numbers – 60% of Apple sales are laptops, that obviously leaves 40% split betwewn the Mini, iMac & Pros … and sure, Apple would love for people to buy a $3k Mac and a $3k monitor but the % of people buying $5 to $6 personal computers is probably down to just about 4.5% … and nothing you can do is going to change because honestly, if time is not money, who nees a Pro? (I’m a Pro user BTW) … to the average person, if rendering takes 50% longer and they can save $1,000? Big deal. To us, it is a big deal – we want RAID, we want the latest card and we want 10 GB of RAM – anything to save us time because it’s money but to 95% of users, they want the best compromise of time and money and now, convenience (of a laptop) … all desktop sales (even iMacs and minis) are slower growth than laptops … so as long as it’s there … I’m sure they can turn 10% of the 24-inch iMac buyer who wants expandability and even more speed and of course, that 30″ monitor … but otherwise, what are the odds a Mini or 20-inch imac buyer might upgrade to a Pro? Doesn’t matter iof there are 10 displayed, they just don’t think they should spend more tahn $999 on a computer ….

  19. k daniel says:

    for everybody who thinks an iMac is a realistic computer —-
    1) how many times have you had to change a hard drive in one of your computers, and 2) can you do that personally with an iMac. It’s a stupid design. and until Steve Jobs designs a tower computer that costs less than $2500, I’ve bought my very last mac (and i’ve owned at least 12 thru the years).

  20. Ethan says:

    “So due to this background, potential switcher will gravitate to towers if they see them at the store. And considering that the cheapest Mac Pro is over $2000, most of those switchers would leave, believing the myth that Macs are ultra expensive.”

    Hey, I think this is spot on.

    “and until Steve Jobs designs a tower computer that costs less than $2500, I’ve bought my very last mac (and i’ve owned at least 12 thru the years).”

    Not buy a Mac?…you’re weird.

  21. imajoebob says:

    Typical Pro buyers are not impulse shoppers. If they go to the store they just walk up to a clerk and hand them their order. No need to educate the buyer, in fact the buyer can likely school the clerk. And since they are modified as easily as any Dell, the big boys just walk in and grab a model (or two!) off the shelf, then make changes as needed.

    I’m not familiar with any 30GB photoshop demo files to test rendering speed on any of the floor models. And how do you demonstrate that a four processor model will let you edit your digital movie or record your new CD release in just 300 man hours, not the 550 it takes with a two processor model?

    So Apple devotes as much space as possible to the consumer-level products. Not only do they have a bigger market, but I’m always astonished that at least one or two customers buy a notebook or iMac at “first sight” almost every time I spend more than 5 minutes in the store. I take longer shopping for a pair of trousers, but Apple seems to understand the customer quite well.

  22. Kowasu says:

    Mercedes advertises, but not for the S, CL, SL, ….

  23. Lane says:

    I think most people are going with the imac, a huge screen, plenty or power (usually) the kids can enjoy it and it’s not nearly expensive as the Mac Pro (which I own btw 8-core 2.8 with 4 1TB Drives and 8GB Ram_ ;-
    ), BUT I use it for work and use it well, doing video, premier etc. so MOST people cannot justify the cost, so they Mac Pros or iMacs etc. the lower end cheaper stuff does just perfect for most end users to just have on around the house for family fun and light casual business use

    My 2¢


Leave A Comment


Click here to inquire about making a fortune by advertising your game, gadget, or site on Macenstein.