Mac Pro: Why did it take Apple so long to wake up?

“In the nearly 35 years since the dawn of the Macintosh computer, Apple has not been what you would call open,” Lance Ulanoff reports for Mashable. “Products like the Mac, iMac, Mac Pro, iPhone, iPad, and more arrive when Apple is good and ready to deliver them and all the rumors in the world won’t make Apple talk. Unless they want to talk. Which, on this day in early April, they do — about the product that started it all and remains near and dear to Apple and millions of its customers: the Mac or, more specifically, the desktop-bound Mac Pro and iMac.”

“‘This is an unusual thing, to get together like this,’ said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing,” Ulanoff reports. “Apple summoned a tiny collection of tech journalists to Cupertino for a rare roundtable chat with Schiller, Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of software engineering, and John Ternus, Apple vice president of hardware engineering, all of whom would, over the course of a nearly two-hour conversation, reveal key pieces of Apple’s Mac roadmap and offer some surprisingly candid reflections about what’s worked and what hasn’t in recent Mac Pro history.”

“‘We’re in the process of completely rethinking the Mac Pro,’ said Schiller,” Ulanoff reports. “‘The Mac Pro, the current vintage that we introduced, we wanted to do something bold and different. In retrospect, it didn’t well suit some of the people we wanted to reach,’ admitted Federighi.”

“‘We designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner,’ joked Federighi,” Ulanoff reports. “Apple spent almost four years in that corner, saying little about the Mac Pro or plans to address that market… ‘We did not come to terms that we needed to do more,’ said Federighi. And while none of them would pinpoint when Apple realized it wasn’t properly addressing the Pro market, Federighi said that the realization came ‘later than we liked.’ … ‘With the current generation Mac Pro, which some customers love, others may not, one of the things that’s certainly clear and true about that is the team tried to do something different, something bold and we always want to encourage the Mac team that whatever products you make, that make customers happy, that we do bold work. Because the Mac’s always been about that. It’s been about not being conventional thinking, not me-too-stuff,’ said Schiller.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A potential answer to our headline:

Steve Jobs left design chief Jonathan Ive ‘more operational power’ than anyone else at Apple – October 21, 2011

Apple’s Mac Pro. Form over function.

Schiller’s statement to reporters is telling – that a new Mac Pro “will take longer than this year to do” – in that it suggests that only recently have Apple woken up and seen what’s been blatantly, screamingly obvious for years now. This suggests a myopia that should trouble Apple product users, Apple investors, and Mac users in particular. Let’s hope that Apple’s eyes have been fully opened by this fiasco.

Is anyone at Apple, including Tim Cook, really able to say “No” to Jony Ive (at least before hitting the rock bottom of the rabbit hole)?

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. – Lord Acton

What we have now for a “Mac Pro” strikes us as a Jony Ive whim – a Jony Ive without a Steve Jobs around to say “Hell no!” – and should have been (and could continue to be) the “Mac Edition” while the previous Mac Pro (which we at MacDailyNews have always loved and considered genius design) should have been iterated upon as the main Mac Pro for, you know, Mac-using professionals.

SEE ALSO:
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

30 Comments

  1. Schiller: “It’s been about not being conventional thinking, not me-too-stuff.”

    Conventional thinking can be good sometimes. The designs of most cars, for example, include wheels that are round.

    1. And at this point in time, is the best way to move a vehicle from one place to another. Until some major paradigm shift occurs we are stuck with round wheels.

    2. If Jony designed a car it would not have doors, windows, headlights or wheels- just a levitating block of pure Aluminum.

      You would not be so gauche as to expect it to have a trunk or doors- my gawd, those would disturb the flow of the lines. No fuel filler or recharge access- it must not have a sing blemish in the surface. It would have to be impossibly thin, which then makes seats and steering wheels unnecessary.

      1. “just a levitating block of pure Aluminum”

        LOL! Correction: Ives would say, Al-you-min-ee-um. Sounds much more high class with a British spelling and accent. And you are spot on. The Mac Mini is what followed the much larger Cube, and with Schiller speaking of iMac Pros and Mac Pros with expandable add-ons, we can look forward to a small featureless MacPuckPro with a clusterfsck of daisy-chainable graphic cards, SSDs, RAIDs, printers, and displays, all competing for two lightning ports, none of which will work with your iPhone without a dongle. Don’t worry, you just remove the backing, stick it to the back of your iMac or iPad and “Voila” you’re a Pro.

        Pro’s just want a basic truck with wheels bolted on? Pshaw!! Laggard.

  2. Can you believe it? Can you believe it? How the Company has changed. Do they read anything? Do do they ever listen to their customers any more. Are they just too big to care any more? Boy do I wish some of as still here.

    1. They have been obviously distracted by the more lucrative phone market, attempts to establish a tablet market, and a decade long building project. All huge undertakings. It is obvious that they concluded that Mac could survive the least attention. They may rue that decision as more and more desktop Mac users decide they cannot wait for, nor trust, Apple to be good stewards of the “truck” line of computers. And, frankly, my desktop Macs are where my Apple ecosystem begins. If I am compelled by Apple’s indifference in the desktop line of Macs to convert to a Window’s environment, my laptops are next. And when I am no longer using Apple computers, my allegiance to the iPhone is less valuable, as is my Apple TV and Apple Watch, and iPads. It’s clear that for Apple’s desktop and Pro users, they may lose many customers from the Apple ecosystem if they cannot quickly get back on track with some heavy iron for the desktop.

  3. Ive is the last person who wants a non-functional Mac. So that comment to the contrary is ridiculous. Apple bet and it didn’t pay off. Thus you move on.

    Waiting over a year could suggest functionality in the Mac OS of 2018 or 2019 that makes the new modular design functional.

  4. For some of us Apple has completely broken trust with the pro market both with attention paid and products designed.

    Is it really worth waiting yet ANOTHER year for ANOTHER expensive “rethink” that will elicit yet ANOTHER “Hell no! Why did I wait for Apple again??” Fool me once, twice, thrice.

  5. Thermally challenged, who would have guessed that was the problem, face palming.
    But seriously, when that black can came out, just about everyone with an ounce of common sense could see that heat would be its Achilles heel.

  6. When the trashcan was announced I called it the Cube Redux and I was right then and am right now. It was a huge mistake.

    The bigger mistake was letting the first one go uncorrected for years on end. That is unforgivable.

    I would like to remind people that General Motors once held over 70% of the US Car and Truck Market- not domestic, but the whole damn thing. Everyone else combined made up 30%. GM not only sold everything, they made most of what went into the cars. People thought they were invincible. Now they hold 17% of the US market- one hell of a fall from 70%.

    What brought GM to this point was a number of things:
    1- They forgot their customers. Who they were, what they wanted and how loyal they might be.
    2- They discounted their competitors both foreign and domestic. Once tiny Toyota (13.1% US share) and others are not so small anymore. Ford (15.6% US share) has proven very resilient here at home.
    3- They believed their own PR about being better than everyone else and fell behind the industry they once led.
    4- They arrogantly rejected processes and technologies invented outside the company.
    5- They thought themselves too big to fail.
    6- They wasted gobs of money and years trying to re-invent the wheel instead of fixing what was wrong internally.

    How different is that from Apple today? That is the course I see them on. GM was off track for decades before they went into a structured Bankruptcy- the seeds were planted in the 1950-60’s, the weeds ignored in the 1970’s, the weed patch fenced out in the 1980’s, the property abandoned in the 1990’s and the mortgage walked away from in the early 2000’s.

    I am not convinced Apple’s leadership has a fucking clue as to what business they are in and where they need to go as a company. Most of the money they make today is built on profits generated from development and investments made long ago by many people departed from the scene. If iPhone sales drop sharply they are graveyard dead.

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