Apple’s embarrassing Mac Pro mea culpa

“It’s just embarrassing at this point,” Evan Niu writes for The Motley Fool. “For a company that famously demarcated the consumer and professional markets decades ago and worked hard to cater to each of those markets, Apple has rightfully received an incredible amount of criticism that it is seemingly neglecting the professional market (at least when it comes to desktop users).”

“The Mac Pro, redesigned and launched in 2013, has continued to gather dust over the years with no updates whatsoever — until now,” Niu writes. “The big news today is that Apple invited a handful of journalists to its campus to deliver the message that a newly redesigned Mac Pro is coming. Not this year, but hopefully next. In the meantime, Apple will be bumping the specs of the Mac Pro, for the first time in nearly four years.”

MacDailyNews Take: Actually, all Apple did was drop the entry-level models and move entry-level price to the next model up.

“Apple doesn’t apologize often,” Niu writes. “For the Mac Pro, Apple is implicitly admitting that its design — the sleek black jet engine — was flawed. Apple designed the system with dual GPUs, while creative professionals have been shifting toward a single, larger and more powerful GPU. The problem was that the current design had thermal limitations that couldn’t accommodate a more powerful GPU.”

“Apple pre-announcing a product is almost unheard of, as it’s often aiming to avoid the infamous Osborne effect that led to Osborne Computer’s failure in the 1980s,” Niu writes. “It will be a rather long wait for a new product in a mature category. Apple probably feels like it has no choice, though, as it’s been backed into a corner with criticisms from professional customers that feel like they’re being abandoned. Remaining silent for another year or more would be untenable, as it would risk that those users would defect to another platform.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The current Mac Pro’s internal code name ought to be “Clusterfsck.”

We’d be far more amenable to cutting Apple a break on this had they owned up to and begun to fix their screw-up years ago when the rest of us had already long since recognized it.

At this point, 3 years, 3 months, and 17 days since the Mac Pro was released, “wait ’til next year” (at the earliest) just doesn’t cut it.

Some might say something about Apple brass being fat and happy after gorging on RSUs. Others might say that Apple has outgrown a management system from a time when they were much smaller with fewer product lines. Or that the company is distracted with moving into their spaceship or other issues that are, at best, exceedingly peripheral to where Apple’s focus should be: Delighting their customers and shipping high quality, dependable products.

Whatever the reason(s) for Apple’s seeming malaise, we’ve said it before, so we’ll say it again: From the outside, Apple, you look lazy and/or somewhat lost. Is that how you want to look to the world, Apple, much less to us “rabid fanboys?”MacDailyNews, December 9, 2016

Sometimes Apple, the world’s most profitable and most valuable company, still operates as if they only have five guys from NeXT working around the clock trying to do all the work on a shoestring budget.

Can’t manage to have a compatible Remote app or Apple Music-capable Siri for the Apple TV launch… Can’t have enough Pencils and Keyboards for the iPad Pro launch. Seriously? Can’t have any stock on hand for two months after the so-called the Apple Watch launch date. Can’t update their professional Mac for nearly two years and counting?

Why are these amateurish mistakes and lapses happening with startling regularity? You know, besides mismanagement?

Oh, you say, but Apple is making tons of money! Why, yes, they certainly are!

Listen, let’s be honest, Steve Ballmer could’ve generated the same kind of money “running” Apple Inc. given the massive momentum Steve Jobs handed over at his death. Sometimes, in fact, it looks like Steve Ballmer is running Apple. Although, no, it doesn’t really, because even Ballmer would have updated the Mac Pro by now, made sure he had enough Apple Watches ready so as not to pretty much totally kill launch momentum, and also had enough Pencils and Keyboards on hand for the iPad Pro launch. Of course, Ballmer would have never had the handle on the big picture that Tim Cook has – our issues with launches under Cook have to do solely with launch supplies and software polish.

We’re coming up on two years now (this December 19th) since the Mac Pro debuted with no updates which, along with the rest of the string of snafus (going back to John Browett, Apple Maps, no iMacs for Christmas 2012, no iPad 2 units for launch, etc.), is what understandably prompts this sort of “joke” and “failure” talk and the feeling that Apple is a bit sloppy in recent years.

We hold Apple to a high standard and we expect the company to execute better than they have of late. (read more) — MacDailyNews, November 27, 2015

SEE ALSO:
Who’s going to buy a Mac Pro now? – April 4, 2017
Mac Pro: Why did it take Apple so long to wake up? – April 4, 2017
Apple sorry for what happened with the Mac Pro over the last 3+ years – namely, nothing – 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

43 Comments

  1. Oh silly me. If the Mac Pro was “thermally constrained” stopping more powerful GPUs why not do this: make the cylinder bigger allowing bigger heat sinks and fans and also isolating the 3 legs of the internal “triangle” from differential rates of heat expansion.

    Just sayin’

    1. Or, just go back to the”cheesegrater” design of the 2009-2010 Mac Pros. They just worked, and in my case still does!

      I think the 2013 design shows Jony Ives “form over function” does not work in the long run.

  2. BOTH MDN takes right on the money. Been using Apple since 1988, investing since 2001, and told many people to use Apple products over the years.
    Still use mostly Apple, stopped investing in Apple few years ago, and don’t currently promote Apple products.

    I feel Apple has lost its way recently. It’s just not the same.

  3. What Apple should do to pay penance for this MP debacle that everyone saw coming but them, is to have a deal where those who buy Mac Pro’s today will receive the new Mac Pro next in exchange for turning in their old ones in some fashion. So you aren’t “punished” for needing a new (rethought) Mac Pro this year when they should have had available.

    And please Apple “Let us choose which GPU cards, etc. we need, not you” said pros everywhere. With ample slots and cooling provided and the latest speed enhancements.

  4. This review by Casey Neistat on his fully maxed-out Mac Pro with 64GB ram really says it all:

    In the end he uses his old 2008 MacBook Pro because the “garbage can” won’t work reliably.

    1. The problem at Apple is that senior management has not a clue about it’s users. To Phil a power user has Tweet Deck and Facebook running on a split screen with Apple Music streaming in the background.

      1. What scares me most is that to release the “Garbage Can”, the current Apple team displayed they are sadly arrogant and completely beyond reality as far as the Pro user is concerned. At least Jobs knew not to position the Cube as a Pro device and let it compete with full size towers. They just blew off Final Cut users by refusing to grandfather older versions while FCX matured, and they gave us an ashtray for a Mac Pro. None of what I’ve seen lately gives me faith anything useful will follow, and the later it goes the worse it will be because that means they’re scheming on a new fashion device to tickle their Burberry dreams. A new Mac Pro Tower ain’t that hard.

        1. As someone who paid full retail for Final Cut Studio, Logic Pro and Aperture running on a Mac Pro Workstation, I was and am pissed. They did not even give us a discount to migrate and those who had Final Cut Studio know full well what it cost- as much as a damn iMac.

    2. Great vid/review. Words about MS pursuit of interacting with on-screen info vs Apple’s is right on. That, and the dongles make me think Apple is thinking more about glam at the great expense to the “worker.”

      1. I thought so too. Odd that it had to come from a Skateboarder Vlogger, but he did a better job of showing the pros and cons than any tech site review. As far as the dongles go … oh, don’t get me started. They can be worn as jewllery!! LOL!

  5. The “new” Mac Pro is the old Mac Pro. The upcoming new product will replace the current Mac Pro. It never sold much, because most professional users use the iMac. Our Mac Pro runs our medical practice software and has worked flawlessly for the last 2 and one half years. As a graphic designer professional, it takes everything I throw at it including complex video and animation work in Final Cut, Motion, Pixelmator, Keynote and Pages. I have many applications open and running at the same time. It is the six core unit. It is the most trouble free computer I have ever owned. (I currently own over 10 mod them). I will say that the iMac also can take whatever I’ve thrown at it and we ran our practice with one of these 3 years ago, when our computers were stolen. We used it for a few months and saw no decrease in productivity. I know there are faster computers out there and if you think Windows and Mac OS are interchangeable and need the latest and greatest, you would best be served by a Windows machine. Face it, this is a tiny part of the Mac ecosystem (Pro users demanding a new machine). People who cannot wait, should not wait.

    1. Michael you can’t define universally a machine from your own experience because there will be millions of definitions. And from the software you mention (Final Cut, Motion, Pixelmator, Keynote and Pages) it is obvious you don’t need top hardware, but a solid machine.

      But there are many professionals who really need top hardware, specific options, the stability and flexibility in a combination the 2013 Mac Pro never offered. These machines offer performance, stability and reliability if any of the available options suit your needs for 3-5 years.

      The iMac has been a workaround for many professionals but the iMac has never been designed to offer the sustained abuse a workstation provides even if its CPU works faster. It is not a contradiction, workstations prioritizes long term reliability instead of the ultimate GHz in a specific shorter period.

      So again, not being a bad or unreliable hardware the 2013 Mac Pro ended up being inadequate for too many users.

      Also, the demanding professional marked has never been big it never shrunk because of tablets or mobile computers, but the 2013 Mac Pro produced a departure to Windows, Hackintosh and even to older Mac Pros. And it may have produced the illusion on the Mac side the demand for top hardware reduced.

      1. I agree with most of what you point out and it is not my intention to say that because it works for me it will work for anyone. My point was and is that the old Mac Pro has been enough for many professionals and those that need more out of the GPU are better off with a windows machine that has that. My other point is that for many, they can use the work around of an iMac to wait for next year’s machine. I really just wanted people to know, who have not tried the current Mac Pro, that it has worked for me. I mentioned Motion and Final cut because they are complex professional programs. I use Keynote to make video’s, which I also edit in Final Cut and I use Pixelmator, rather than Photoshop, which serves my purpose, but certainly not everyone else’s. I also use Photoshop, etc. I am not coding and that may bring up other issues that outstrip the MacPro. Same may be true for 3 D rendering, but I have not tried that either.

        Having said this, I also feel Apple just dropped the ball on this and should refocus on its professional consumers.

        1. Michael most demanding professionals never ignored the 2013 Mac Pro. But it was obvious to them the format could not support their businesses.

          The 2013 Mac Pro became a medium size workstation, but it replaced a top workstation machine far more solid and capable. I think the 2013 MP should not die at all but be destined for those who are happy with it. Apple just need a true high-end machine so we “hardware torturers” don’t have to go elsewhere.

          The iMac case is even worst for top demanding jobs. I have2 and burned one.

  6. Sounds exciting to me. Very happy that they finally admitted to making a mistake and promising a new design. This is the kind of thing that makes people understand that even management makes mistakes but they plan to fix it. Could not be happier. I’mm loving my Mac Pro, bought two years ago, but about the time the new ones are ready I will also be ready. Thak you Apple for opening the shade. That was all we were asking.

    1. I’m also glad that they have said something and have a plan in place.
      So many pros were worried that they have abandoned high end users completely and the Mac Pro would be discontinued.

      I realize it’s too late for some who have already moved to Windows etc. Bizarrely enough I had my table set up to install a GTX 980 T into a Cheese Grater Pro (typing this on another upgraded Cheese G. ) when I got the news.
      I was complaining a lot in forums about Apple’s treatment of high end, especially GPU needing, users.

      Bad news it’s still a wait for the completely new machines. But if you are earning a lot you can get one of the (slightly) revamped cylinders now at the (slightly) lower price knowing there is a UPGRADE PATH (i.e you can keep your software, files etc) to new macs in a year or so. If you are constrained by price, Cheese Graters 6 core Xeon with a 980 T is probably less than 1500 (later models are Sierra compatible).

      GOOD NEWS is that Apple realizes it’s design mistake and the new Mac is supposed to be designed to be UPGRADED EASILY by Apple (so it won’t be abandoned — costs would be low to continue supporting it for years)

      From Gruber (one of the reporters at the meeting):

      “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”

  7. I got sick of waiting and I built my own PC in January with a Kaby Lake processor and a GTX 1070. I haven’t looked back since and I spent about half of what I would have spent on a Mac. So many people I know already switched to PC and they ain’t coming back. Apple should just port MacOS to PC and be done with it. I would honestly pay $200-$300 for the OS on PC. It’s that much better than Windows 10.

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