Should Apple make an iMac Pro?

“Back when Steve Jobs first announced how Apple was just going to focus on four essential products—a consumer and pro version of a desktop and a consumer and pro version of a mobile computer — that ‘quadrant vision’ of his had a zen like appeal that suddenly made Apple (and Steve) look quite smart,” Anthony Frausto-Robledo writes for Architosh. “It was the panacea Apple badly needed in the late 90s.”

“To the Wintel crowd Jobs’ vision didn’t make sense; it was counter-intuitive to say the least. How can you serve all of your customer’s various needs and constraints if you limited your product road maps’ addressable footprint? But the strategy worked. It worked beautifully,” Frausto-Robledo writes. “The new radically designed iMac energized Mac users who found the consumer-facing machine useable in lower and higher education settings, in addition to homes around the world. But it wasn’t something you found in professional settings too often, especially if it had to handle ‘pro software.'”

“Fast forward today, 15 years or more, and you have a completely different reality. Today’s modern iMac is found literally everywhere and for years even software developers making tools for ‘pros’ have been both using and displaying their ‘pro’ apps on them at conferences and trade shows serving Apple’s pro customers,” Frausto-Robledo writes. “Perhaps it’s time Apple spent some deep thinking sessions on what constitutes a hardware product for ‘pros’ and what attributes does a pro product need to have deserve that moniker?”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Yes I totally agree with you. The current line of Cinema displays look so thick and clunky they’re just out of place in the Apple stores. They need to get those things off the shelf ASAP and replace them with thin sexy 4K versions.

      1. As the owner of an LED Cinema display, I rarely look at the side profile and would not pay one red cent more for Jony Ive’s obsession with skinny products.

        If you think a thin computer monitor is sexy you should get out more often.

        1. I own a Cinema LED display too. I’m using it as I write this. It’s comically old-fashioned looking in 2014. Nothing on the market is this thick and chunky anymore.

          If all you care about is the screen itself and not the overall design of the hardware — front, sides AND back — then you should be buying Dell not Apple. You sound like a typical Dell buyer with your “meh it’s good enough who cares about the design” attitude.

  1. In 2002, an iMac Pro would have been a huge hit. But that was then. Today Apple has fallen behind in display and graphics options. There is a huge market of gamers and graphics artists who would much prefer a mid-range tower with the option to upgrade graphics cards to drive multiple super hi-res displays. The Mac Pro is not the answer, either, as it doesn’t offer the latest GPUs nor allow for inexpensive user upgrades. Apple needs to spend a lot more time listening to its users.

    1. This. Graphic designers in particular might need more storage than is available in a Mini, and don’t want to be tied to an all-in-one machine that has to visit the Apple Store for several days if a drive or the display has a problem.

      There’s been a huge gap in Apple products there for years.

    2. I am a professional graphic designer and I work all day long on my iMac. In the past I always used a Mac Pro. The the modern intel processors has gotten so powerful, I don’t need a Pro anymore and don’t miss it at all.
      My i7 iMac with SSD can easily blow away any of the Mac Pros before the current R2 unit. I do 3d visualization, Print design, extreme photoshop, and video editing.
      Really you need to be pushing the boundaries of 4k TV to need a new Mac Pro.

      1. Strange, but on the 64 bit Geekbench Mac benchmarks, the highest iMac (27″ late 2013) scored 14770. The 2010 Mac Pro scored 27,522. La difference est immense. Perhaps you don’t need additional power, but your iMac isn’t as competitive as you think it is. It never was.

        The latest & greatest 2013 cylindrical Mac Pro which includes the magic of Thunderbolt scored a grand total of 32669, which is 18.6% faster than the 2010 Mac Pro, almost twice the performance of an iMac.

        This sounds impressive, but remember, serious videographers are starting to work in 4K resolution and Apple isn’t the only game in town anymore. Even with the latest Mac Pro CPU performance increase, the we’re talking 3 years difference — now going on 4 years — and Apple really only improved its best workstation an average of 6.2% a year. That’s how much performance that a hacker typically gets out of simply overclocking his chip.

        I agree with others here — Apple has HUGE holes in its Mac lineup and it really needs to restore built-in user flexibility. The latest iMac and Mac Pros could have been better if Apple hadn’t placed form over function. The current “Mac Pro” should be reduced in price and renamed the “mini Pro”, and a new Mac Pro workstation with some internal expansion should be offered with serious GPUs and the ability to hit at least a 40k Geekbench score.

        1. I have that late 2013 model tricked-out on everything save for the RAM (It cost $2700.00 had Apple not GIVEN it to me!!!) and my scores are 3898/14354, making me wonder how high the 64 GB RAM models could go (mine has 8).

    3. Not to mention that the Mac Pro only has an HDMI 1.2 port (not 2.0), so it can only run that 4K monitor at 30hz instead of 60hz…which makes it a joke for video editing and gaming.

  2. no not at all, since stoves return he tried to streamline the product line. in fact in to four categories. The iDevices are all intended to be consumer products and should therefore not have pro levels. Having such an array of products and levels of customization becomes very confusing for buyers. If Apple wishes to remain clear on the use of computers and clear on how to operate them – keeping everything simple is most important. Having a Pro and Consumer matrix is great – and Apple has done this PRO level iMac already by offering customized hardware at ordering time.

    iMac has always been a consumer product. Leave it there no matter how powerful it gets — or stop this craziness and just offer complete configuration on any model, including idevices. I would love to have a AppleTV PRO – or customization option for a A8 M8 chipset in my AppleTV. I don’t need it to be called AppleTVPro and still require how pro I wish to order it.


  3. I would like to see an upscale Mac mini with decent (non Intel vampire video) graphics, eSata and a higher quality DA converter.

    I am not keen on the iMacs as they are basically throw away computers- lose your monitor and your computer. To each their own, but I like a computer that can be repaired, upgraded and maintained WITHOUT a microscope.

    1. Adding my voice to the chorus for the Mac mini. I love the Mac mini. I’ll never buy an iMac because I’m not going to lug a 27″ monitor through the mall parking lot and up the escalator and into the Apple Store when something goes wrong with my computer internals. That would just be embarrassing.

    2. I like the iMac for its magnificent display and its tiny and tidy footprint. Oh . .., and I wouldn’t throw it away, ever. I would resell it, or hand it down to family, or charity.

  4. Mac mini Pro:

    Slightly taller, user-servicable Mac mini with room for an internal optical drive (with a BD-R option), two 2.5″ drives, and one or two 3.5″ drives. And at least an option for a dedicated graphics processor (and maybe 2 options to choose from). The graphics still wouldn’t be upgradable, but at least you’d have a choice when configuring (like the Mac Pro). And two Thunderbolt ports for extra versatility. It’s probably safe to say that the FireWire 800 port and SD card reader could go.

  5. Update the Cinema Display to usb 3 and add a 24″ model. Update the Mac mini to this year’s processors. Offer a commercial version of the iMac where you can access the memory-graphics and ram, hard drive/ssd, and processor-CPU and GPU, with a standard “wall or desk mount”. Offer a 17″ MacBook Pro. Preload Parallels and Win 7 or 8 optionally. Do those relatively simple things and Apple would rule the enterprise.

  6. Also use iCloud to deploy software builds. Another words a big company orders 1000 Macs then Have iCloud automatically load one Mac with ALL the software that company needs (including windows). Then have that Mac go around the local network and load/configure ALL the Macs on that local network. Then time machine backup to a local NAS. All that could happen overnight in a large office building.

    1. NO WAY to iCloud. I want restore disks in the box when i buy it for our small business. If Apple forces us to use its iCloud service, then they lose us as customers. All the enterprise management software is a different animal that Apple has never done well. In any event, no company worth a damn should need to rent server space when hardware is cheap and IT professionals are a dime a dozen.

  7. I tend to agree. For many years I had the old Mac towers (G5 and now the Intel Mac Pro). Was eager to see the new Mac Pro and while it’s a beautiful piece of art, it didn’t do anything I needed – I had 4 drives in my old tower, my external drives were all Firewire, and already had the non-Thunderbolt cinema display. Sure, I could have bought a bunch of external drive boxes for those drives (Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 – expensive upgrade on top of the price of the Pro). So I’ve upgraded my old Mac Pro with USB3.0 to take advantage of a newer Drobo, and now it just keeps chugging along for the foreseeable future. A new iMac has no value because I already have a display.

    I’ve been dead-ended by the new Mac Pro when I would have otherwise been ready to upgrade a year ago just for Thunderbolt.

    Oh, and no, I don’t need one. But I can afford them. And I can’t give Apple my money, because they don’t have the right product.

    I know, first world problem. But yeah, there should still be a headless Mac with internal bays. If Apple came out with one right now it would sell well – people don’t feel like buying an iMac if they already have a nice display, and many people can’t get their heads around the mini because it doesn’t look like a computer.

  8. Great discussion.

    Recognizing that I am not at the professional level as many of the previous posters, I would add that I never considered the closed architecture of the iMac, or even the MacBook Air.

    I retired from tech support in 2003, have a Mac Pro (Early 2008), added RAM to 22 GB, a bunch of USB HDs, one extra internal HD, just recently added a 40-inch Insignia display (at the time on-sale at Best Buy for $300 including 3 year warranty: though I know that there are better out there, it has a terrific view and the updated software makes me feel I have an upgraded computer.

    Even though unlikely that Apple will have a CPU upgrade, I have flexibility/some expandability for the future.

    @ vtvita “What does R2 mean?” Answer: “R2D2” perhaps?

  9. I love the iMac for what i do. However i would like to see Apple offer the mac mini upgraded with current processors and more ram availability and maybe more ports for adding external drives and such.
    The Mac Pro is really cool looking amazing but its also very expensive.
    Apple needs something in the middle something that is headless like the pro or mini but expandable with drives allot more memory and other upgrades.

    Allot of people like Apple products but won’t buy the computers because they can build what they want or they can buy something and customize it and upgrade it as needed. The pro is just not as expandable and its way to expensive and doesn’t fit every need.

    I think the 4 line configuration was great in the day but now no its not

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.