Metal for Mac is so huge, bye-bye Mac Pro

“Metal for OS X is huge — and it’s going to be a much bigger deal on the Mac than it is on your iPhone or iPad,” Brianna Wu reports for iMore. “”

“If you use a Mac to produce professional content, chances are, Metal is about to drastically speed up the professional apps you use like Adobe Illustrator and Autodesk Maya,” Wu reports. “It bypasses the OpenGL framework — which on OS X is notoriously slow, dragging professional Mac apps down in comparison to their Windows counterparts.”

“During Monday’s keynote, Apple showed operations in the Unreal editor that would have slowed my Retina MacBook Pro to a crawl. Using Unreal 4 on OS X is painfully slow — so slow I’ve considered buying a Mac Pro to compensate for the performance lag,” Wu reports. “But if Metal is really as fast as it seems, I’m hoping I won’t have to.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Creative pros, gamers, every Mac user, in fact, should be very excited about the promise of Metal for Mac. Big speed increases are coming to Mac users who run OS X El Capitan.


Apple announces OS X El Capitan with refined experience and improved performance – June 8, 2015


  1. Saying goodbye to Mac Pro is ridiculous. This is a giant leap, but it’s going to allow you to do a whole lot more. The goal should be “how do we innovate to push Metal for Mac to its limits on a Mac Pro”. That would be more impressive than saying “thanks for these great improvements, Apple, we’ll just use that to lazy down our approach and do the same shit we’ve done for years.”

    1. Agreed, Metal should make people even more likely to buy a Mac Pro.

      With the greater use of the GPUs in software for computational work it should mean most people could get by with 4 and 6 core versions instead of paying for Intel over priced many core versions.

      Metal also helps Apple get around Intel’s slow chip development with less and less work done by the CPU Apple can update their computers with GPUs more quickly than Intel can provide updated CPUs.

  2. El Captain is funny name (literally) , but it is not good practice to make a name of two words. This has to be simpler.

    Besides, none of Apple presenters cared to learn how to pronounce it correctly — just looking at Wikipedia would do the job. Though the name itself should have been enough for folks to have a cue that this is Spanish, so it can not be pronounced the usual way.

          1. Besides, there is difference between knowing what is right and making a misspelling, and now caring to how pronounce the word at all. All of the presentation folks pronounced it wrong all of the time.

    1. El Capitan |el ˌkapiˈtan|

      a peak in Yosemite National Park in California, known for its sheer walls that rise over 3,000 feet (1,000 m) above its base

    2. El Capitan is a mountain within Yosemite National Park. This name is a nod to the fact that 10.11 is more of a tune-up than an all our new OS.

      Think of it like the update from 10.7 to 10.8 – Lion and *Mountain* Lion

  3. The title of this piece infuriates me, and was clearly penned by someone who has never truly had to make ‘professional content’. Yes, Metal is nice, (though what this means for Apple’s neglect of OpenCL doesn’t make me particularly happy), but it is proprietary, and has a bit of work to do if it hopes to supplant the equally proprietary CUDA technology that drives many things used at the high end of 3D rendering where GPU based render engines are increasingly becoming ubiquitous.

    If anything this should mean a rebirth of the Mac Pro, with a focus on the needs of professional users. Powerful GPU’s, expandability, AND fast CPU cores (for physics, particles, hair, and other types of simulations) are absolutely required.

    What breaks my soul is that Apple appears to be moving away from that direction, and I fear the day is fast approaching in which I will be forced to clog through Windows on a daily basis to do my work in order to have access to the hardware I need… it’s enough to take a lot of joy out of the work I do.

    1. Totally agree. Blender’s upcoming 2.75 release is in beta with OpenGL support for a small subset of AMD cards. This abandonment of OpenGL will likely end hopes for a Mac version of Blender than can perform like it does on Windows.

      And don’t you love the author’s comment regarding the timeline of adoption? “…is about to drastically speed up…” Uh, no. Imagine the quality assurance testing cycle Adobe will have to put Illustrator through before they can release a reworked version?!?!! (edit: “should put Illustrator through” 😉 )

  4. “though what this means for Apple’s neglect of OpenCL doesn’t make me particularly happy”

    This. I fly the X-Plane flight simulator, which relies on OpenGL, and Apple’s OpenGL drivers and support have lagged years behind, so the sim runs much faster/smoother under Windows vs OSX on the same Mac hardware.

    For a decade they’ve resisted demands from Windows users to drop OpenGL and go with DirectX, which would’ve seen a big graphics features and performance boost on PCs. Switching to Metal would likewise break cross-platform compatibility.

    1. I hope Apple doesn’t screw up native Windows in Boot Camp for 3D solids CAD/CAM packages.

      If Apple mucks it up, it is back to Dell to run SolidWorks.

        1. At the rate Cook rolls out new hardware, you won’t see another great Mac desktop machine this decade, if ever. The man is obsessed with disposable thin consumer products.

      1. Of course not, but speed is the topic.
        Those who understand technology and let go of their old school thinking will come around on the other minor issues once they get out of their own way.

        1. The Geekbench score tells the story:

          2013 trashcan Mac Pro: 32116
          old 2012 Mac Pro: 27806
          very old 2009 Xserve: 17814
          2015 27″ i7 iMac: 16565

          11″ MacBook Air: 6849
          12″ MacBook with Intel Core M-5Y71: 5302

          In other words, a crusty old professional is 6 times as fast as hipster with a new MacBook at getting anything done, and twice as fast as the iMac user. If you’re a consumer, then enjoy your thin netbook. If you need a workstation, then you need a real Mac. Ive’s soldered and sealed potato chip designs are not real Macs.

  5. From MDN:
    “Big speed increases are coming to Mac users who run OS X El Capitan.”

    Let me fix this for you.

    Big speed increases are coming to Mac users who run OS X El Capitan AND who use apps that have been optimized for Metal.

    There… thats better.

    1. oh no… are my apps outdated… will I need to wait until my 64 bit apps – all re-purchased several times due to Apples advancement (oh the cash cow creator) — wait wait wait so my Apps get a polishing this new Metal.

    2. “Big speed increases are coming to Mac users who run OS X El Capitan on Macs whose GPU support Metal, & who use apps that have been optimized for Metal.

      Actually, that’s better.

    3. Unfortunately that’s the real case … and in all likelihood, a good 5-10% of the Mac’s power user base will die of old age before it really gets deployed through the ecosystem (which is not just hardware & OS, but most importantly the end application Apps)

    1. Your good humor aside, Metal is marketing for “The other guys were continuing to out-pace us in video graphics and we couldn’t get OpenGL to see it our way so we’re going our own way. And this time you can rest assured that our reliance on a non-DirectX answer will see development and tuning to match DirectX.”

        1. That’s really not the point. Apple, as much as we love the products and understand why we choose to use them over anything else, has smaller marketshare and so sees less attention from the graphics driver writers. And because of Apple’s history with choosing a graphics driver horse to ride is a history of switching horses, there is even less interest in the community for devoting time to tuning open source driver implementations for the platform. If you watched the keynote did you notice the near bedlam when Craig announced Swift was going to be released as open source? Why do you think the developer community was so excited by that? On it’s face it means easier porting to other platforms. Deeper, though, it means investment in improving the language will have a broader audience and is therefore a surer bet.

          So pick your graphics driver nom-de-jour and see if Apple is listed on the “Supporting Vendors” section of their website.

  6. At least 70 % of Mac users don’t give a flip about this info. As long as the MacBook works for most of what I do daily I am fine as are most. Nothing will make me want a windows machine again. Ever.

  7. The guy who wrote this article is ridiculous. It means the Mac Pro got that much more powerful, it doesn’t mean no need for a Mac Pro. Why even post this article MDN?

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