Dare we hold out hope for the Mac Pro?

“What about the Mac and Apple’s commitment to catering to professional users?” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “This has been a serious question in light of the apparent cutback in product updates during 2016.”

“When it comes to the Mac Pro, I think Apple blew it, although perhaps I’ll be proven wrong,” Steinberg writes. “The long-awaited 2013 upgrade was sexy, small and light, compared to its heavy cheesegrater predecessor. It also limited most expansion to external ports, meaning a well-equipped system would end up with a wiring nightmare. Worse, there was only one product release. Apple said nothing about its future. You can still buy the same Mac Pro, with three-year-old parts, for pretty much the same price. Well, it does seem that 1TB SSD upgrades are $200 less, but that’s the size of it.”

MacDailyNews Take: In virtual fit of tone deafness, Apple still refers to it as the “new Mac Pro” on their website. Do your job at least, Phil. Jabbing a stick into the eyes of professional Mac users, whether through laziness or ignorance, is the opposite of smart, effective marketing.

“Well, there may be hope,” Steinberg writes. “Speaking at Apple’s shareholder meeting in Cupertino on Tuesday morning, Cook is quoted as delivering some more detailed promises. He said: ‘You will see us do more in the pro area. The pro area is very important to us. The creative area is very important to us in particular. Don’t think that [because] something we’ve done or something we’re doing that isn’t visible yet is a signal that our priorities are elsewhere. It’s very, very important to us.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If there’s a new or even updated Mac Pro, it couldn’t be any later.

It’s been an eternity in tech time — 3 years, 2 months, and 11 days to be precise — since the Mac Pro was last updated (also, conveniently, its launch date) and, for that, there really is no legitimate excuse. It’s just plain mismanagement.

We don’t care if you’re selling two units per week. Upgrade it at least annually for the sake of perception and customer retention, at the very least. That’s just Business 101.

SEE ALSO:
Apple CEO Cook pledges support to pro users, says ‘we don’t like politics’ at Apple’s annual shareholders meeting – February 28, 2017
Yes, I just bought a ‘new’ Mac Pro (released on December 19, 2013 and never updated) – January 4, 2017
Attention, Tim Cook! Apple isn’t firing on all cylinders and you need to fix it – January 4, 2017
No, Apple, do not simplify, get better – December 23, 2016
Rare video shows Steve Jobs warning Apple to focus less on profits and more on great products – December 23, 2016
Marco Arment: Apple’s Mac Pro is ‘very likely dead’ – December 20, 2016
How Tim Cook’s Apple alienated Mac loyalists – December 20, 2016
Apple’s not very good, really quite poor 2016 – December 19, 2016
Apple’s software has been anything but ‘magical’ lately – December 19, 2016
Lazy Apple. It’s not hard to imagine Steve Jobs asking, ‘What have you been doing for the last four years?’ – December 9, 2016
Rush Limbaugh: Is Apple losing their edge? – December 9, 2016
AirPods: MIA for the holidays; delayed product damages Apple’s credibility, stokes customer frustration – December 9, 2016
Apple may have finally gotten too big for its unusual corporate structure – November 28, 2016
Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing – November 3, 2016
Apple’s disgracefully outdated, utterly mismanaged Mac lineup is killing sales – October 13, 2016
Apple takes its eye off the ball: Why users are complaining about Apple’s software – February 9, 2016
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015

29 Comments

  1. There’s a few things at work here. Either:
    A) apple felt it didn’t need to update it because of the negligible performance benefits of all but the newest Xeon processors and professional video cards until this year. And since the upgrade cycle is so long with Mac Pro/PowerMac computers, they’re taking their time until real tangible benefits can be produced…
    Or
    B) they realized that the design was too far ahead, ie they didn’t wait for thunderbolt 3, and have been working to revamp it, similar to the G4 Cube problem. Also throw in manufacturing challenges with this as well.

    It’s probably a combination of both of things, but I know we remain happy with the trash cans. They have been a large performance upgrade, but if you rely on adobe (e.g. Cuda acceleration) they’re not for you. I still maintain that a whole desktop Mac refresh is coming and since they don’t release things until they’re fully baked, we will get it when it’s ready. I’d look for new desktop Macs to jettison most if not all legacy ports in favor of TB3, and include 10Gb networking since the internal drives are now fast enough to actually write that data. With all new Vega AMD graphics.

    1. “I’d look for new desktop Macs to jettison most if not all legacy ports in favor of TB3”

      Trouble is, for many of us they’re not legacy ports – they’re current ports and will be for years. TB3 is still a future port for many things, and it’s complete overkill for, for example, USB MIDI keyboards, synthesizers and interfaces.

      1. Thunderbolt 3 is overkill for USB Midi, but the same port will work with any USB device (with a tiny end-of-cable USB to USB-C adapter if you need that).

        USB adapters have become so small and cheap, they are not much of a hardship in exchange for having every port support Thunderbolt + Displayport + USB + power.

        1. Yeah but but but but…

          Adapters may be cheap (though hubs often aren’t) but they’re not always reliable and IMHO they’re ALWAYS inconvenient and messy, especially with laptops; the convenience of a laptop is largely removed by adapters.

        2. I should add, though, that one way USB-C ports are excellent is their ability to connect a laptop with a whole (musical) equipment rack using just one cable. That IS convenient!

          1. That setup you’re describing is more of what I think is being envisioned. Since TB3 has enough bandwidth to effectively have 8 5gb USB 3.0 devices transferring data simultaneously at full speed over one cable, the other, say, 3 TB ports could be used for all other manner of things, even the network interface. I don’t really see Apple including USB-A ports on new desktops, but Ethernet, An audio jack, and possibly an hdmi connector would still remain in theory. But going all TB3 would certainly push it forward in a big way.

    2. Statements like “didn’t need … (negligible benefits)” certainly do make logical sense, but they don’t pass muster on mindshare.

      As such, if absolutely nothing else was to be done, then Apple should have been bumping easy stuff like RAM & CPU’s … drop-in the slightly faster clockspeed variant, or more RAM, or replace a 4/6 core with a 6/8 core, etc.

      All of this while holding the line on prices (or dare even LOWER them), which can be done even while maintaining margins because their component prices were dropping over time.

      If nothing else, this sends the ‘mindshare’ signal of “This product isn’t dead” and slows customer defection rates (due to despair) to Windows/Linux/Hackintosh towers.

      Similarly, if the plan is as was suggested below by {philtag} that they’re waiting for the big “Apple Park” frisbee to be completed, they could simply say (or leak) that.

      But in any event, even if this is their “plan”, since this also means that **ALL* of the requisite hardware pieces were ready first, I’d expect to see, literally on stage, PALLETS & PALLETS of “Ready to Ship” Mac Pro’s.

      Meaning that there’s no “we’ll dribble a dozen units out to customers in six months” BS excuse like there was with the Trash Can.

  2. Good points all. I also wonder if they have been waiting till Apple Park is fully ready and can make the Mac line the first major event in the Steve Jobs theater which would be entirely appropriate.

    1. That actually makes a ton of sense, and could very well be the reason. Sort of like “this is the future, and as Steve looks down on us we would like to show you something of which he would be very proud”. That would be incredible marketing, and they wouldn’t be able to make enough Macs after something like that.

  3. Now that Apple has just about lost any number of Pro markets?

    How many of this year’s Academy Award Nominated Films were done with FCPX?
    How about in 2010?

    How about Grammys and Logic?

    What happened with Aperture other than neglect?

    What about the toy marketed as OSX server?

    Exactly what do all those tens of thousands of employees do all day to earn their pay? Surely it does not all of them to make a cell phone and run a rental music outfit. When Apple had 1/10th the employees they had a hell of a lot more to show for it. Not all that headcount is in retail.

    1. Integrated non-user serviceable designs don’t belong in the same league as “Pro” machines. That is why the late 2016 MacBook Pros are such a disappointment. It’s a disposable fashion product. Pros deserve better value for their money.

  4. You can dare all you want. The way Apple is mismanaging its pro products, Tim’s stupidity may have have already lost professional Mac desktop customers for the next decade. Only insanely great focus on new hardware and software immediately will swing the tide back, but Tim just gives lip service to his formerly most loyal and profitable customers.

    1. Yeah, and even if they bring out a batch of updated desktops no-one knows what the hell they’re thinking or whether there will ever be any more. They simply can’t be trusted! That makes it pretty risky to invest in any Apple Pro stuff – they could (and do) just drop it with no notice for no apparent reason.

  5. my iMac is 3.5 yrs old. It needs to be replaced and I’m not about to buy a “new” iMac that is 1.5 yrs old. I held off on buying a TrashPro until Apple updated their monitors, but that never happened, now it won’t happen, and now that machine is old tech. I’ve just priced out the components for a Hackintosh and am ready to endure that route, for the power, the control over components, and productivity-wise, what I fear my be the need to eventually suffer the inelegance of Windows. 30 years of continual Mac ownership draws to an end.

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