..the ability of the rest of the Mac lineup to be more aggressive, minimalist, and forward-looking depends on the Mac Pro to cover everyone whose needs don’t fit into them. The Mac Pro must be the catch-all at the high end: anytime someone says the iMac or MacBook Pro isn’t something enough for them, the solution should be the Mac Pro.
This line of thinking by Marco Arment (marco.org) is exactly right. The Mac Pro has to be the most versatile of all Macs. This is what lets each successive product offering, iMac, Macbook, iPad, etc. provide a more focused role.
Above Avalon characterizes this progression as the Grand Unified Theory of Apple Products. And while this theory didn't originally include the Mac Pro, we can slot it in accordingly:
- Mac Pro: The catch-all at the high end: anytime someone says the iMac or MacBook Pro isn’t something enough for them, the solution should be the Mac Pro.
- iMac: The job of the iMac is to push the boundaries of a computer so you never need a Mac Pro.
- MacBook: The job of the notebook is to make it so you never need a desktop.
- iPad: The job of the iPad should be to be so powerful and capable that you never need a notebook.
- iPhone: The job of the phone is to do more and more things such that maybe you don't need your iPad.
- Apple Watch: The job of the watch is to do more and more things on your wrist so that you don't need to pick up your phone as often.
For most of us, we don't need the power and versatility of the Mac Pro, so the Grand Unified Theory can stop at the iMac. But as noted previously, there's a small, but extremely important part Apple's user base that can't settle for anything less than the most versatile of Macs.
Disclaimer: At the time of this writing, I own Apple stock.