Has Apple Forgotten the Mac?

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Apple announced the dates of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.We're seeing rumors that the next-generation iPhone will be announced and available at the June event. But Apple seems to be giving the cold shoulder to its longtime mainstay business: The Mac.

Apple plans to hold the annual conference June 7-11 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, according to a statement from the company. The WWDC is a big deal; in recent years, WWDC in June is when the company announced availability of the latest iPhone, although consumers couldn't actually get their hands on the devices until a few weeks later.

That could change this year. Mashable.com's Ben Parr says sources are saying the new iPhone will be announced and available at the conference, although supply chain problems could delay the launch:

We were already pretty sure that the new iPhone would be released in June -- AT&T employees have been blocked from taking vacations during the month of June, something that has only occurred during previous iPhone launches.

Last year's WWDC was the same week, but announced much earlier, March 26, says Daring Fireball's John Gruber. He adds:

The focus is heavily iPhone OS centric. There are some Mac OS X developer sessions and labs, but not many. (Translation: Mac OS X 10.7 is not going to be announced this year.) The IT track appears to be gone. Looking at the session list, one could argue that this year's WWDC is an iPhone OS developers conference, not an Apple developers conference. Look no further than this year's Apple Design Awards, which will only honor iPhone and iPad apps -- no category for Mac apps.

The changed focus of the conference is a sign of the changed focus at Apple, Gruber says:

That doesn't mean I think the Mac is going away. Apple is selling more Macs than ever; it's an extremely profitable business. You can't create iPhone apps without a Mac.

But despite the fact that Apple's Mac business has never been bigger, it's already been eclipsed by the iPhone OS business - iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads. If you pause and close your eyes, you can feel it -- the tectonic plates are shifting underfoot. The long-term trend is inevitable.

The exclusion feels like a snub to Mac developers, writes Macworld's Dan Moren.

"I think it's a mistake for Apple to miss such an easy opportunity to acknowledge Mac developers," says Red Sweater Software proprietor Daniel Jalkut. "While the iPhone and iPad are understandably hot right now, the Mac is still a huge part of Apple's business, and Mac developers are important in sustaining that."

Rogue Amoeba CEO Paul Kafasis agrees. "Ultimately, I find these moves disappointing. Having an iPhone slant at WWDC is one thing, but completely cutting the Mac out of the ADAs? That feels like a snub to plenty of Mac developers who continue to do great work on a well-established, popular platform."

Mitch Wagner is a freelance technology journalist and social media marketing consultant. Follow him on Twitter: @MitchWagner.

This story, "Has Apple Forgotten the Mac?" was originally published by Computerworld.

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