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Pro meaning in the tech world

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What does Pro mean in Apple?

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Apple has a line of products with the word "Pro" at the end of the name. Examples include Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, and iPad Pro. They are the most powerful and expensive in their category. The term has also become a way to designate a type of Apple user. Perhaps it is more generic, a tech user. But, what exactly is a Pro?

The origins

When Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997, the line of products was confusing. Jobs simplified the offer and proposed a four quadrant line up:

Laptop - Desktop
General consumer - Professional.

In those days the high-end products had the name PowerBook and Power Mac.

The differences were evident. The consumer line was cheaper and had bright colors. The professional models were matte black, faster and more expensive.

Now, the name Pro distinguishes the high-end products. The differences in appearance and performance are not evident.

Mac Pro users

It all began with the Mac. Programmers, tech specialists, professionals that have Macs as the primary tool. Many of us have an emotional connection with our computers. It is the most valuable object in our lives. It helps us in our job.

Many of us came from the dark ages. The times before the advent of the iPhone. In those days, to be an Apple consumer was to be part of a community. They were products for a minority of specialized professionals. As an ad said in those days, "the rebels, the misfit..." in the tech world.

With the iPhone, Apple became a product for a more general consumer. Now, we are losing that feeling of belonging.

We still have the Pro line. Most of those products are Macs, and there is also an iPad. Some people have mixed feelings about that. There is the debate on whether the Pro line correctly represents its community.

There is a tension between the core members and the new adopters. Apple is a public company and has an enormous pressure to grow. They need to embrace new consumers without losing their early adopters. They cannot have the Pro line only for the super specialists. They are widening the target audience. The Pro line seems dangerously close to the general public.

In another post I explain why some companies have presure to grow

Pro, marketing, and brand

Pro is an Apple brand. A way to designate a line of products. In a popular way, it has also become a way to define a particular kind of users. I think in many cases, it goes beyond Apple consumers.

What is a pro

A Pro is a professional.

Some tasks need fast graphics, processors, and storage. A good amount of RAM is also important. It is true in many different professions. The most significant are video, photo, audio editing, and 3D graphics. The programmers that make apps also need Pro machines. Or at least, it's hard to survive with a non-Pro computer if you work with XCode.

But, many professionals do not need a Pro laptop. Liberal professions like lawyers, doctors, writers are an example. Even many programmers can work well with a non-Pro Mac

So, to be precise, a pro is a professional in an area that requires a powerful computer.

Something more than PROfessional

There is something more. Something beyond processors, RAM, and features. The term has taken another meaning. Pro has become a badge of honor. I think Pro means "expert, techy.” That is why many people buy Pro products from Apple even when they do not need the performance.

Many Apple users that love technology consider themselves a Pro. They feel identified with that name. That goes beyond technology and features. That is marketing and brand.

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