Apple are not only updating processors and graphics cards on the Mac Pro, they’re actually redesigning it from scratch again. And we know this because Apple have announced, for maybe the first time ever, a product they haven’t yet shipped.
The ultimate dream would be if:
The base shell model is affordable
It will allow after-market companies to create cards for it
This, from Phil Schiller, is pretty heartening:
“We’re not going to get into exactly what stage we’re in, just that we told the team to take the time to do something really great. To do something that can be supported for a long time with customers with updates and upgrades throughout the years. We’ll take the time it takes to do that. The current Mac Pro, as we’ve said a few times, was constrained thermally and it restricted our ability to upgrade it. And for that, we’re sorry to disappoint customers who wanted that, and we’ve asked the team to go and re-architect and design something great for the future that those Mac Pro customers who want more expandability, more upgradability in the future. It’ll meet more of those needs.”
And this, also from Schiller, was good to read as well:
“On that I’ll say the Mac Mini is an important product in our lineup and we weren’t bringing it up because it’s more of a mix of consumer with some pro use. … The Mac Mini remains a product in our lineup, but nothing more to say about it today.”
Very exciting news.
Hopefully it doesn’t start at $5k (if you want a keyboard/mouse!) like the current model.
Wink, wink, nudge, nudge… We ballsed it up and alienated a core market demographic by putting laptop components in a computer designed for multimedia and 3D professionals. I wish they would go back to realising function over form like they did throughout the better part of the 1990s. However, it’s not the same Apple anyymore and we’re just gonna have to get used to that.
If I really wanted something that put form over function I’d go to my nearest Bang and Olufsen store.
Good on Apple - takes courage to admit something didn’t work out and also to reveal plans which is something Apple never does.
The fact that they went out on a limb and tried in the first place is what makes Apple the company we love, with the products we love. The fact that they admit when something doesn’t go as planned and commit to doing better echoes that.
Original AppleTV (iTV)?
I’ve seen this reported a few times about this. It’s not correct - Apple have many times pre-announced products, and have even said “we’re working on … so hang tight.” But this is the only time I can think of where they’ve actually said “we got it badly wrong and are going to make it right” about a whole product line. In the past, we’ve just had to endure a bad product that doesn’t last too long, and was still regularly updated even if clearly a flawed design [lampshade iMac anyone? ;)].
Heck, if the trashcan had shipped for the same target market as the “G4 Cube” (i.e. entry level Xeon ‘cool’ workstation) with something with PCIe still above it, then it may have not been such a failure.
In light of the news this week about a new Mac Pro next year, I decided to bite the bullet and get a newer (old) Mac Pro that can run Sierra. Managed to pickup a 4,1 off Gumtree tonight for $700. Planning to do the 5,1 Firmware update and throw a 3.46Ghz 6 Core Xeon in it at some point.
Fingers crossed whatever OS is announced at WWDC this year will still run on it. My educated guess is it will, as it’s the same hardware as the 2010 model (i.e. 5,1).
They could have made it into a Mac mini Pro - the headless Mac everyone has always wanted and kept the Cheese grater for the Pros.
My memory of the headless mac desires were always around being able to throw a real GPU in there and upgrade it. Sounds like the new Mac Pro next year may be more like that!
An updated Mini gives me hope I’ll be able to stay with Macs rather than be forced to Windows simply because I can’t afford them.
Why do you think a new Mini from Apple would be affordable?
Did we not all get the memo from Tim that Apple cares not for pricing, but for getting the product “right”.
I walked past the Apple island in JBHiFi the other day and just laughed looking at the prices for Macs and the array of laptops. I know some of that comes down to our Aussie$, but that’s not the only factor.
Even an “empty shell” of this new Mac Pro, whenever it materialises, we should all safely expect will cost the same or more than the current Mac Pro. Especially if it offers extensive upgradability - ie a lot of work going in to “make it right” aka lots of development money.
Certainly though - cut the trashcan Pro down and make it your new Mac Mini…
Oh yeah - but… Indeed - well done Apple for admitting their failure. Now if they just listened to people and made the new version in 2 sizes…
Apple equipment has always carried a premium price but used to offer premium performance and functionlity but it appears that those days are now over.
Apple seem to have more of a push toward form over function (especially in the Mac area, case in point the touchbar on the new MacBooks) than many of us who have used their gear for a decade (or more) would like and hence they are losing customers in that market and will continue to do so. As a concrete example 4 schools that I support will not be spending 10’s of thosands of dollars on Mac gear this year and will instead spend it on buying 5-8 times as many ChromeBooks.
This will not worry Apple though as every iPhone they bring out will seemingly set new sales records even with the mediocre/minor improvements that they bring out and their constant need to try and catch up with technologies such as wireless charning which other major vendors have had in place for many years.
The days of buying Apple because its ‘better’ or ‘more reliable’ are over for me as I simply do not see them as either of these things any more as my experience of late (both personal and professional) is almost the exact reverse of this.
I did a calculation comparing a current generation Mac Mini with an equivalently spec’d PC running Windows 10 Pro a few days ago and the Mac was well over $1000 more expensive.
The positive side of the announcement they are addressing the issue, though too late for me, as I have stripped my old Mac Pro after it died as Case, Ram, Drives, & GPU etc… will make good spare parts to flog off & moved on.
If interested watch last Mac Break Weekly 553 a good discussion on the topic, my view is the damage has been already done.
I think the damage has been done also - especially since they’re making people wait till 2019 for this new modular Mac. I mean how bloody hard is it to put new tech into the old cheese grater design?
I know I myself have noted that Apple can’t get complacent now, despite having billions in reserves, because getting loose with money will bring anyone unstuck… But surely their profit margins on the Mac lineup is high enough to allow some reduction in RRP. I’m doing this process myself at work right now, though with items that are worth 50 times less.
Laws of economics are… If they drop the price, sales will go up. Surely with all the practice Apple have had, they can handle supply chain issues to cope with an increase in sales…?
I’ve been thinking about this more lately (mostly as I listen to ATP) and wonder what Apple’s through process when it comes to the Mac Pro.
If Mac Pro is such a small part of the market and desktops are also such a small part of the market do they need to ditch the Mac Pro entirely (or subcontract it out to one of the other vendors).
Consider for a moment we know that OSX can run in a hacintosh environment pretty easily, why not take the normal business approach, certify the Intel stable chipset, mandate Xeon CPU’s and partner with a GPU provider for certified drivers/models and let people build their own Pro machines.
For me this approach leaves a few questions.
- Can Apple limit the hardware enough so as to ensure minimal issues with OSX updates/upgrades?
- Can Apple limit the hardware enough to ensure you can’t simply build your own standard desktop machine?
- Even assuming 1&2 are possible, will this cut into their own hardware sales too much?
- Is this a perception they want in the market for “Mac Pro Compatible” machines… (which may be viewed as a very slippery slope)?
So under this concept, you couldn’t build an i7 based system and load up OSX but you could build a Xeon based machine (maybe even with a minimum number of physical CPU’s or cores) and away you go. Maybe even a special paid “OSX Pro” install if that’s what it takes.
Hopefully the consumer market would still buy the simple and easy iMac’s and the pros could build their own… although I do see 3rd party companies building the lowest spec Xeon machines that meet the spec and flogging them off as off the shelf Mac Pro machines…
Either way it’s an interesting thought.