Apple sorry for what happened with the Mac Pro over the last 3+ years – namely, nothing

“‘If we’ve had a pause in upgrades and updates, we’re sorry for that — what happened with the Mac Pro — and we’re going to come out with something great to replace it.’ Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller is talking to a small group of reporters in a white stucco building near its headquarters in Cupertino,” Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch. “The purpose of the discussion, while somewhat unclear initially, reveals itself a few minutes in.”

MacDailyNews Take: “If,” our collective ass. No “ifs” about it, Philly.

“The news, if you want it straight: Apple is acknowledging that the Mac Pro they introduced in 2013 has run aground on the cleverness of its own design, and they’re re-thinking the entire machine,” Panzarino reports. “In addition, they’ll be releasing a new external display — something it had previously opted out of. But none of that is coming this year. Today, we’ll see a performance bump on the old design of Mac Pro, which will remain on sale for now. And later this year we’ll see improved iMacs that Apple feels will appeal to a segment of Pro users as well.”

MacDailyNews Take: Clearly, by holding such a rare roundtable with reporters, Apple is now seeing some loss of pro customers, feeling some heat from the media (even from the normally “friendly” Apple-centric media), naturally seeing a drop or pause in Mac Pro sales or some combination of said issues. Apple must now be feeling considerable pain in and from the professional Mac market as they’d normally rather remove their own fingernails with pliers than peel back the curtain to talk with reporters about future Macs while admitting to making major mistakes.

“How it got to this point with the Mac Pro is worth exploring, and in an uncharacteristically (at least on the record) open and frank manner, Schiller, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi and Vice President of Hardware Engineering John Ternus do just that,” Panzarino reports. “The context, of course, is that Apple’s dedication to the Mac has taken a bit of a philosophical beating lately among its core professional customers. The narrative is that Apple has not put the resources needed into making the Mac work for pros, has neglected updates…”

“It was the unique triangular design of the Mac Pro’s thermal core that proved to be the limiting factor. Because it was designed to carry roughly balanced loads of heat on all three sides, it just wasn’t equipped to take on the task of supporting the now incredibly popular single massively powerful GPU configuration. Simply put, it wasn’t built for one of the three sides of the triangle to get super hot,” Panzarino reports. “Instead, Apple had placed its bet on the future right smack in the middle of the dual GPU camp — it even designed specific frameworks for developers to handle those twin graphics processors. But that leap to parallel GPUs running in tandem simply never happened en masse.”

Tons more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: (Big) mistake made.

We were boxed by a circle. – Craig Federighi

Lesson learned (finally).

No, let’s get on with it!

On a sobering note, here’s just one recent missive of many we’ve received lately:

Our company moved from old Mac Pros to Windows boxes a year and a half ago. Got tired of waiting and having no roadmap for the future.

Apple has their work cut out trying to woo back all of the pros they stupidly drove off over the last 2-3 years due to their own silence and inaction.

Mac Pro: Why did it take Apple so long to wake up? – April 4, 2017
Apple to unveil ‘iMac Pro’ later this year; rethought, modular Mac Pro and Apple pro displays in the pipeline – April 4, 2017
Apple’s apparent antipathy towards the Mac prompts calls for macOS licensing – March 27, 2017
Why Apple’s new Mac Pro might never arrive – March 10, 2017
Dare we hold out hope for the Mac Pro? – March 1, 2017
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


    1. Our company moved from old Mac Pros to Windows boxes a year and a half ago. Got tired of waiting and having no roadmap for the future.

      Apple has their work cut out trying to woo back all of the pros they stupidly drove off over the last 2-3 years due to their own silence and inaction.


      1. Many people turned to other solutions when they saw Apple not moving on the Mac Pro for 3 years. Just as quickly people will come back if Apple produces a great Mac Pro.

        1. Not necessarily. Once you get entrenched in Windows, and there are some real advantages in non-Apple software, cost, availability, quick & less expensive upgrading and options, despite the fact it IS Windows is no guarantee of returning anytime soon to Apple.

          This admission is galling. Why are they the last to know?? They would rather wait years to fix it with some yet more self-defeating design cleverness and lose yet more pro’s than simply put out a basic tower as before, something people love in PC Workstations which would require almost no effort.

          Schiller’s “Can’t innovate anymore my ass” has sure come back to haunt. Trick is to innovate & design correctly, not cleverly and defeat your whole purpose – sales and desirable pro models.

        2. It’s hard to believe most Windows PC gamers can build more powerful desktops than Apple can even manage.

          Motherboards, RAM, CPUs and GPUs, SSDs, etc. all available from off-the-shelf parts. It’s so easy for Windows users and impossible for MacOS users. I don’t need an overclocked desktop with a couple of NVidia GTX 1080ti GPUs in SLI, but it would be nice to have a quad-core i7 desktop with at least one high-end desktop GPU. The Windows faction is leaving Apple in the dust. I know Apple doesn’t care about such things and neither do most Mac users but Apple doesn’t even seem to be trying, at all.

          I’m not angry at Apple, but I honestly don’t know what Apple’s thinking. I’m guessing it must have a lot to do with Apple’s ‘greening’ of products. Use the lowest power possible. For every watt Apple saves, the Windows PC guys will continue to use even more.

  1. The reason why no one used dual GPUs was because Apple screwed about with OpenCL, never fixed compiler bugs, the developers were already using CUDA and then to top it off Apple switched from OpenCL to Metal compute.

    Apple have pissed the developers off, users have begun switching to PC to get access to high performance nVidia GPUs and CUDA. The 3d community has been lost to Apple and in nearly 2 years time very few of us will give a sh%t about the Mac Pro. However powerful it is it’ll still be way more expensive than an equivalent PC. Those AMD Ryzen CPUs are amazing value and you can get them right NOW!

    Schiller the shill of BS.

    1. You speak an “inconvenient truth most here will fail to appreciate, even though I sympathize since I too would rather stay with Macs. Apple couldn’t have been more stupid about their pro market.

      Apparently Apple execs have been taking too many siestas and regaling each other with their great investments, travel and fine dining experiences instead of actually working for their customers who depend on them as the ONE (Mac) SOURCE for their pro livelihood. Every division at Apple is important and GODDAMMIT they have the fucking resources to get it right!!

      I have no intention of waiting any longer though, my patience at an end. My God do they appreciate how badly they have mangled this market? Did it have to get down to sales dropping to record lows for them to realize? This admission should’ve come a year ago. Major FAIL. We have come to expect better from Apple and don’t expect them to be asleep at the switch.

  2. Stick with the cheese grater, drop it to one-third the former size, offer nano-blades incorporating either ARM chips or AMD’s new chips, make daisy chaining the mini-cheese graters easy so power hungry users can create their own super computer by spending a little more cash.

  3. Do we laugh or cry in a sort of manic way at this admission. I also note that they also said ‘we have been told by Pros that a touch interface is not amongst the priorities they are looking for’. They may well be right its just the fact that SJ used to give us stuff that we didn’t know we needed till we had it, so is this the first admission that the company no longer actually knows where it is going (or wants to go) and has to ask its customers? In other words totally reactive and safe rather than innovative and proactive. It would fit all the visible signs wouldn’t it. Though if that is now the road ahead (the Microsoft of old) at least update the damn stuff we are stuck with guys.

  4. It is disturbing that it took Apple 3 full years to even think about backtracking and publicly admitting their Mac Pro mistake. And almost as disturbing that it’ll be maybe another year from this point before we see a new machine.

    Yes it takes awhile to “get it right”, and Apple ain’t a traditional PC boxmaker where they can just slap together parts. But by the same token, a pro tower is NOT that complex a deal; the G3 and G4 PowerMacs were great examples of easy expandability. So, another whole year (they’ve presumably been working on it for at least a few months already) suggests they’re overthinking it for the sake of hardware uniqueness.

  5. Yeah, they did screw up. They got too big for their britches and may still be too big for them. Why it takes them a year to come up with a box is beyond me.

    Put a small team on it and tell them to come up with something in four months that kicks butt. Burn the midnight oil. You have all the pieces APPLE, like the one fellow said, the AMD chips are available now and they are cheap.

    Think of offering several models, maybe an experimental model running ARM chips. Why not? Test the concept. It comes with a warning to buyers, “It’s the X Model.” Let the market help you work through the problems. The same way you did with AppleTV, SIRI, etc. Except maybe this time point out that it is the “X” model and anyone buying it will be to an extent working on the bleeding edge. Keep the price super low because of the ARM chips. A segment of buyers would love the challenge.

    blades – 6-12 core, 16-32gb, 1tb storage, 3x5x.5 dimension. You make ’em for ~$75 and sell ’em for ~$250. Allowing users to spend enough money so they can get their personal desktop machine into the top 500.

    1. APPLE, have making it into the top 500 as one of your goals.

      That is, configure it in such a way that if a user wants to spend enough money adding to their desktop their Mac Pro might approach that level.

      It’s a crazy notion, but what the hell?

      1. Quickest and probably sufficiently satisfying to the majority of those waiting. Custom motherboard, allow everything else to be off the shelf, user install-able.

      2. You hit on another chapter in the forgotten Pro machine saga. The loss of profits from pesky third party parts.

        I don’t understand why this is going to take a year given Apple’s scale and bottomless resources. WTF?

        PROFIT. Hey, Apple — record stock price AGAIN today — how much money is enough? …

  6. We are Apple. We told you what to buy but you did not listen to us. It was your fault people. Not ours. Now, you are forcing us to build something YOU want. Shame on you. …
    Oh brother. Bye bye Apple. You suck. I’ll stick with my MacPro (late 2008) until it dies. Then I’ll move to Windows because I can get any damn hardware I please. Assholes.

    1. Yep. Tired of the “we know what’s best for you” attitude at Apple, you just have to “wait long time” for it. The pro market has never been and will never be the consumer market.

  7. Here is my hope (against hope). When the new Mac Pro eventually comes out, it will answer all (or most) of the hopes of everyone who had been complaining for the past four years. It will be a work of art, but more importantly, it will be fast, powerful, and easily expandable inside and out.

    Now, there are businesses that migrated to Windows over the past year or two, being tired of waiting. For them, there will still be two options: migrate back, or stay with it. And my guess is, majority (if not most of them) will migrate back in a year or two. And the reason is simple. Windows had remained the bloated mess of spaghetti code that is still required to support 16-bit legacy applications (even DOS!). It remains the primary target of malware, and is by definition required to constantly run antivirus tools. It is still a mess to get consistent colour management (a critical feature for creative professionals). The total cost of ownership doesn’t show up when you first migrate; you’re thrilled that you got an amazingly powerful computer for such little money. But as time goes by, and as support issues keep adding downtime and cost to your business, you begin to realise how much more hassle Windows actually is, and you begin to miss your Mac days.

    1. Apple had better hope that any junior-level Windows IT people brought in to manage any Mac-to-Windows transition, haven’t gained power in the organization. Since more IT people are needed to manage Windows than Mac, there’s a good chance that in larger companies one or two will have been promoted high enough to make it hard for a company to go back.

    2. Unsympathy card. 4″ x 5.5″ ivory card stock, deckle edge, embossed outline of open doorway. Small red apple core lying on nondescript doormat. Inside text, Monotype Garamond 12 point, first line bolded:

      Phil, it’s high time you spoke up about this.

      You should have said something sooner, maybe arranged a series of strategic leaks, but I imagine you were muzzled by the CEO.

      He’s already been hanged in effigy, and some of us were beginning to turn on you and the rest of the boys.

      Because of the hurtful silence that accompanied this “pause” Apple has squandered good will that it won’t recover.

      I knew Apple didn’t want to retreat to the cheese grater design because Apple “doesn’t do retrograde.”

      But you should have. Because now that you have a brand spanking new home, we won’t be darkening your doorstep.

      (Space for signature)

      © 2017 Hallmark, Inc.

      1. Artful constructive criticism. 😊

        Interesting you prefer Monotype over ITC, Font Bureau, Adobe, et al. If I remember correctly, believe Apple had an exclusive modified version of Garamond for their corporate identity campaign. That said, like your card design … 🎨

        1. Thank you, kind sir. Monotype struck me as stern enough to match my icy mood.

          My first reaction to this news was a wash of sensations — shock at seeing cracks in Apple’s bland veneer, relief from chronic dread, suspicion that this could be some kind of trick, shades of anger. I marvel at the emotions embedded in our chosen platforms, within our beloved tools.

    3. For large businesses, it may take a few more years till their ‘new’ PC HW investment has depreciated fully before considering any large move (if any) back to Mac HW that hasn’t been designed yet.

  8. We need is a Mac chassis and the most important and current parts to configure. Anything more complicated and Apple risks to have another failure. A modular design appears to be ideal but implies more proprietary connections and parts to develop and a increased cost that may complicate the process.

    A compact chassis to fit standard parts will do wonders and a bigger chassis for ultimate needs.

    1. Perhaps the key to a successful ‘new’ Mac Pro design will be to just throw out the idea of internal components “must all be Apple made and soldered in”.

  9. It’s amazing that for the richest company on the planet, and they came to be that way by their products catering to the primarily publishing market, they let it come to this, an apology to a small group of tech(?) journalists. I can’t believe they don’t have a skunks work team dreaming up the future that we don’t know we need yet. They should have a pro division for the arts; photography, video, print and publications. $240 billion dollars just doing what? Design and cater to the group of professionals that do their best thinking different! iPhones for the masses, professional Macs for the innovators. Mac Pro Division!

  10. But the real story is the story of leadership, either temporary or permanent; Who had the temarity to countervene “Pipeline Tim’s” vision for Apple as an exemplar of pipeline elaboration rather than pipeline innovation. Who spoke out to convince the two others to do a public mea culpa? That very person may be the emergent philosophical leader at Apple.

    If so, what are the implications for Apple’s current hiearchical two-headed leadership structrue – Ive as producer and Tim as pusher – that Jobs set up before he died and how might this reflect on the efficacy of the internal Apple school? Might the board choose another CEO? Might it bring back mean but perhaps visionary Scott Forstall to counter Ive’s wanderlust and Tim’s machine mind weakened by diversionary social concerns?

    1. “Might it bring back mean but perhaps visionary Scott Forstall to counter Ive’s wanderlust and Tim’s machine mind weakened by diversionary social concerns?”

      Priceless thought …

  11. The internal Apple school that Jobs set up may have the core fault that assures the elaboration of Job’s vision based on what he produced before, thus assuring that elaboration of past successes rather than forecasting into the future is learned. And a school, unless led by an inspiring instructor, can’t promote vision as an academic or industrial pursuit. All an instructor can usually do is teach from a book. I say that the school Jobs set up did exactly as Jobs intended so that no successor CEO would be able to top him in his company.

  12. The Mac is why I fell in love with Apple. Now the Mac is but an afterthought. The laptops disappointed me, the desktops are being neglected, the operating system is more resource-intensive than ever.

    I haven’t bought a new Mac in six years.

    I hate Windows. I hate Linux.

    I’m constantly using my iPhone. :/

  13. Agreed. Prior to the demise and stagnation of the Mac Pro (even prior to the godawful, overpriced Trash Can), clients/customers/visitors looked with envy at the hardware and OS which Mac professionals used in our work studios. They were impressed — seriously impressed.

    No wonder all the worlds’ best creative stuff was done on Apple Macs, they thought — and it stayed in their minds to get Apple next time they’d be buying.

    With that exemplar pretty much gone, with no super-charged new Rolls Royce Mac Pro available for years, Apples’ flagship, premiere customers, deeply unhappy about the paralysis at Cuprertino and instead migrating to other hardware and platforms, are no longer the cutting-edge drivers of Mac demand. No-one is.

    The that’s the worst thing. Post-Jobs, Apple valued and pursued the mass consumer market and sadly forgot about the credibility, prestige — and knock-on sales influence — of the professional creative industries.

    Even if this lame apology from Schiller et al means much, I fear that the pro market has mostly drifted off to Hackintosh-land or, more commonly, Windows-world in search of better hardware and no amount of pandering or grovelling will get many of them back.

    Not without a serious roadmap and competitive pricing.

    Steve would never have let it come to this. 😥

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