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Apple nearly killed off its Pro product line

The company once contemplated killing off its line of products geared toward professionals, a new report claims.

Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller showing off the company's new Mac Pro back in June.
Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller (right), showing off the company's new Mac Pro back in June.

Apple once strongly contemplated pulling out of the professional computer market following early success with the iMac, according to the company's former go-to advertiser.

In a post, former Apple advertising executive Ken Segall says the tidbit came during a meeting with then-CEO Steve Jobs, who had acquired a taste for success with the iMac -- the first of what would become many consumer product hits for the company:

This was back in the days when iMac had established itself as a global bestseller. During one of the agency's regular meetings with Steve, he shared that he was considering killing the pro products.

His rationale was as you might expect: Consumer products have an unlimited upside, while pro products are aimed at a niche market that eats up major resources.

The company kept on offering those products instead. As it stands today, Apple's "Pro" line consists of a line of hardware and software that is typically the top of line in price and features. That includes the MacBook Pro and upcoming Mac Pro mini-tower (if you can call it that -- it's more of a "mini tube"), along with Aperture, Final Cut Pro, and Logic -- its professional software for photography, video editing, and audio design, respectively.

At the same time, several of those products -- short of the MacBook Pro -- have languished between releases, something Segall points to as emblematic in Aperture, which had its last major release in February 2010.

There's little arguing Jobs was correct about the growth of the consumer market though. The iPhone and iPad made up around 72 percent of the company's $35 billion in sales in the last quarter while the Mac came in at 14 percent. The same could hold true of other rumored devices the company's working on, like a watch and a souped-up TV set-top box.