Laggard, trailing Apple needs to catch up HP’s workstation designs

“I owned an aluminum Mac Pro for years and loved it until newer systems surpassed its performance using much less power and space. It was the Pro’s upgradeability that kept me in the fold. I upgraded graphics cards, swapped in larger disks and later, an SSD, better optical drives, more RAM, USB 3.0, eSATA, specialized video interfaces, and RAIDed several of the internal drives for video performance,” Robin Harris writes for ZDNet. “Despite all that DIY hacking, and fully loaded with disks and PCIe cards, the Mac Pro remained a rock solid system that ran for months without rebooting. It was a true workstation.”

“Apple’s justly celebrated design team doesn’t always hit home runs,” Harris writes. “The one vendor who’s been doing modular and upgradeable right is HP with their Z series workstations, which include towers, all-in-ones, and laptops. With them HP is specifically targeting pro Mac users. Maybe Apple noticed!”

“Unlike Apple’s machines, all of the Z-series products are easily upgradeable, offering easy access to internals and tool less component removal,” Harris writes. “Industrial design is part art and part engineering. Sometimes Apple goes too hard on the art and loses track of the engineering – and the market. With the diminutive Z2 Mini G3, HP has managed to deliver workstation-class performance in a mini-PC form factor. But what’s more surprising is that senior execs forgot what Apple used to know about the pro market.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple not leading in professional computing. Not by a long shot.

What you see at Apple today in terms of professional Macs is what hubris, laziness, and, frankly, mismanagement look like.

Let’s hope Apple’s brass has now awoken from their years-long stupor — coffee table books, self-aggrandizing headquarters, Christmas trees (!)* and get back to doing some real work.

*All of which add up to time that could have and obviously should have been spent building a Mac Pro that Mac professionals actually want.

Why Apple’s promise of a new ‘modular’ Mac Pro matters so much – April 6, 2017
Apple’s cheese grater Mac Pro was flexible, expandable, and powerful – imagine that – April 6, 2017
More about Apple’s Mac Pro – April 6, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
Who has taken over at Apple? – April 5, 2017
Apple’s embarrassing Mac Pro mea culpa – April 4, 2017
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


  1. but Apple does lead in thinness of phones and fashionable colors and trendy hip attitudes about deviant sexual practices. So they got that going for them, which is something.

      1. Rule of thumb: when somebody like Kent, or like many GOP and congressmen senators in recent history, gets all over-the-top hateful of gay folks, you know it’s not just a disdain for a different lifestyle. These are people who were raised to believe that homosexuality is a crime against God Almighty, punishable by eternal Hell, and they are really pissed that they have had to suppress their latent ass love for years. And they are jealous that a new generation of gay teens is growing up in a world where nobody seriously believes that you go to Hell for having been endowed by the Creator with a different flavor of love. Overt homophobes like Kent just need to come out and get a little man booty.

        Kent will get all whiny and bitchy and deny it but y’all know I’m right.

  2. Apple has intentionally moved in the opposite direction, soldering memory, glueing screens, and pretty much giving the middle finger to its customers who want to self upgrade to maintain their investment as current as they desire. I have no expectations that will change. As someone who builds PCs when necessary and internally upgrades iMacs despite the roadblocks – I’m totally pessimistic we will see an ‘open’ Mac anything…

  3. Nah, Apple’s too busy out-clevering itself designing in a vacuum the next unusable Mac Pro doorstop and continued free fall from pro user’s grace and exasperation.

    Stop over-thinking this Apple! Pro users are not complacent simple-minded consumers willing to suck up any misbegotten trifle thrown our way – they’re your toughest and most demanding customers expecting pro solutions, not consumer ones. It seems too you just want to do something “different” in order to justify a huge Apple tax. And another thing why wasn’t this latest admission and Mac Pro design undertaking done last year? What were you planning to do otherwise this year? Seems to me you were planning to shitcan the Mac Pro until someone lit the fire of reality under your sorry, unfathomably neglectful asses. I don’t think you can ever be truly forgiven for that nor fully trusted to act in our interests again. Just who the hell is minding the store??

    1. It’s disgusting when you realize how much contempt Apple has apparently for developers, scientists and pro users livelihoods by mucking up MP offerings.

      How they can play with design fire instead of bullding simple desirable and upgradeable systems heavy duty users want and PC/Windows users enjoy. It’s a no-brainer and special designs aren’t necessary.

      1. Because the reason why PC users enjoy them is because Apple’s been pushing people that desire those sorts of things off its platform for years. 🙂

        Whatever they release as “Pro” you can bet will align to what someone coming from an iPod touch… to an iPad… to an iPad Pro… to an iMac would consider their next step. Because, now that they’ve gotten rid of everyone who’s still looking for a “PowerPC tower but cooler”, they are ready to tap into that huge market of current iOS users.

  4. OK, so change to HP/Conservative Politics Daily News to more accurately express where you’re all at and stop yer whining. Tired of the non-stop Apple hate, bashing, and Tim Cook homophobia. This page is becoming a depressing and aggravating exercise in masochism. I used to get this from the PC fanboys at work when I was the lone Mac Tech and Apple lover.

    1. Truth hurts, huh?

      And, by accusing “homophobia” where none is evident whatsoever, you dilute the term, just as those who scream “racist” at every turn without evidence do to that word.

      The facts bear it out: Tim Cook is a caretaker CEO and he’s not even very good at taking care of Apple’s core businesses.

      Just because you don’t like hearing the truth doesn’t make it cease to exist.

      1. Anyone who expected any different outcome clearly doesn’t understand American political discourse.

        The balance in the SCOTUS is now exactly as it was when marriage equality became the law of the land, and when Obamacare was deemed constitutional. And that was when Scalia was on the court. While Gorsuch may well have a conservative mindset, there will never be another Scalia.

        Just saying.

      2. Stolen seat by the party of heads I win, tails you lose.

        Just remember, the worm will turn and the RepubliKKKans will be the party out of power. I’m guessing that will not be a very long way off.

  5. Correct me if I am wrong, it’s been a long time and I only owned one xserve. But I think I remember it being tool-less for opening up and upgrading. I remember the spring loaded thumb screws that wouldn’t come all the way out and thinking how cool that was.

    1. thats always been pretty standard for rack mounted servers.. apples wasn’t anything special.. it just ran osx thats all.

      and looked sexy
      thats the most important part.

  6. We’ve been told that the next generation Mac Pro won’t ship this year.

    First, that’s just asinine. There really is no excuse for Apple to not have a Mac Pro design in the works for the past two plus years. Did they layoff or reassign 100% of the Mac Pro hardware team? I doubt it, but the statement that there won’t be a new Mac Pro until 2018 AT THE EARLIEST implies they did.

    Second, Tim Cook himself needs to say to the Mac Pro team that they need to ship a truly state-of-the-art Mac Pro in the first half of 2018 (and ship in in QUANTITY) or heads will roll. He and all of the VPs need to say there won’t be any second chances for members of the Mac Pro team (and that includes the VP over the Macs). They either perform or they’re history. Apple needs to give them all the resources they need to get the job done then demand (not ask) they get the job done!

    And, by state-of-the-art I don’t mean the prior generation PCIe bus, i.e., a Mac Pro running PCIe 3.0 when 4.0 is already out; I don’t mean prior generation CPUs or GPUs; I don’t mean support for UHD or Digital Cinema 4K at 30 Hz but support for Digital Cinema 8K at 60 Hz or higher; I don’t mean USB 3.0 when 3.1 (aka USB 3.1 Gen 2) is already out; I don’t mean BlueTooth 4.0 when 4.2 is already out; I don’t mean gigabit Ethernet when 10 gigabit Ethernet has been shipping for years; I don’t mean 802.11ac 2×2 when 802.11ac 4×4 (and likely 8×8 by 2018) is available and 802.11ad is available. The list goes on and on. Apple needs to ship a truly state of the art machine or have heads roll.

    Finally, Apple needs to off a machine that I can continually upgrade for 3-5 years. Yes, if Apple comes out with more enhanced machines every year I will buy those more enhanced machines every time I buy a new machine for the fleet. However, I don’t want to leave the old machines in the dust either. I want to keep the various segments of the entire fleet up to date if and when I need to do so without *always* having to buy a new machine, i.e., if a specific machine just needs larger, faster storage I need to be able to upgrade that part of the machine and not have to buy a new machine to get just that specific part upgraded.

    1. This entire post is why I’ve been helping Pro’s to move away from the Mac. They used to be very passionate… to the point of altering their emotions, about every little thing Apple did. Since moving to another platform, yeah, there was a rough transition, BUT now they could not care less what Apple does.

      For over a year, they’ve been on the cutting edge of technology (if that’s their desire) and able to modify their system as THEY see fit.

      For everyone holding out hope for next year, think about the fact that the current MacPro is “modular” if you consider Thunderbolt. The one thing you can count on is whatever they do, it will not match the “classic” desktop view of what a workstation is…. that’s not what Apple does. And if that’s what you’re waiting for, you can wait and be disappointed or just start moving now and then laugh at whatever they consider passes as “Pro”.

      There’s a non-zero chance that it MIGHT not even run Windows….

    2. FYI – PCIe 4.0 is only at Draft 0.7. There will be another draft before long (0.9) with final release of the spec probably mid-year. So one can start building HW today that complies with the current draft, but may or may not work with the finalized PCIe 4.0 spec.

  7. Such sick bombastic whining! So fuck off already and go enjoy all those other wonderful products from those wonderful companies.
    THEY ARE JUST TOOLS. If you think you can get better tools elsewhere, just go buy them. To stay here constantly puking your negativity overy YEARS is just some kind of illness.

  8. I have two points to add to the discussion here.

    First point; Apple has clearly, for the long time, been heeding Jobs’s advice to “Milk the Mac for all its worth and meanwhile move onto the next great thing”. That next great thing arrived over ten years ago, and it is iOS. Apple is, for all intents and purposes, a mobile device company now. All other products and services out there are in the service of their mobile division (iPhone, iWatch, iPad, and by extension, iPod). While Macs are capable desktop computers, competitive with other offerings in most respects (although I know people can argue this), they haven’t been the focus of the company in a very long while. The primary (and perhaps the sole) purpose for Mac line existence today is to provide a traditional development platform for the iOS. Apple is fully aware that there is a sizeable core user group of loyal customers, whose primary use has nothing to do with iOS development, and who considered their Macs a premier computing device for high-demand desktop work. That’s all fine, as far as Apple is concerned, but the Mac line is bringing in rapidly diminishing returns on investment for Apple, not just due to the neglect, but due to the breakdown of Moore’s law. Throughout the 90s and early 2000s, every 18 months, the density of transistors on a microprocessor would double. This was manifested at the time as doubling the clock speed of the processor — very visible and unambiguous metric. In 1991, Apple released Mac Quadra with a 40MHz Motorola 68k-based processor. In 1995, PowerMac 8500 had 120Mhz PPC 604. In 2001, PowerMac G4 came out with 500MHz chip; in 2003, G5 was released at 2GHz. And then the clock doubling stopped, so we started seeing doubling cores and other non-obvious and less clear processor improvements. The bottom line is, the exceptionally rapid growth of performance of processors has hit a wall and is now significantly slower.

    On the Windows side of the market, where myriad competitors are fighting it out to eek out razor thin margins and remain in business, even two extra Megahertz of clock speed will be a bullet point to differentiate the offering from the competition. In reality, the performance of a current desktop computer with the latest Intel chips isn’t nearly as significantly superior over a model from 3 years ago as was, for example, Pentium II 266 over a 486 at 50 MHz (two machines that came out three years apart). Both machines are quite capable and can run most recent versions of OS, as well as most recent versions of current software.

    And this brings me to my second point. What exactly is it that makes loyal Apple users think that the current (and woefully neglected) Mac Pro has become so significantly behind the curve? For what exact purpose is it no longer adequate. And more importantly, how large is that sliver of market share that requites absolutely the fastest computing devices ever created by man in order to be efficient enough in their work? How on earth did we do our tasks ten years ago, with 3Ghz 8-core Intel Xeon Mac Pros (“cheese grater”) with 1GB of RAM (expandable to 32) and 250GB HD? That was ten years ago! The fastest Intel machines of today (on the non-Apple side), use Intel Core i7 (4.4Ghz) with 64GB or RAM, and go for some $2k. How much faster are these PCs compared to that “cheese grater” Mac Pro from ten years ago? More importantly, how much faster (if at all) are they from the current trash can Mac Pro?

    My point is, Macs have always been considerably more expensive than the PCs with comparable hardware specs. The main argument has been that, in addition to using top-shelf components, Apple has highly optimised software running on that highly customised hardware and is able to squeeze a lot more practical performance out of it than Windows, that can only be optimised for thousands of wildly differing configurations out there.

    What I’m saying is, even at three years of age, the trashcan Mac Pro is probably still a decent value when the total math is done. Vast majority of current Mac users could buy it and get all of their work done, over the next four years (average life span of a desktop device), with ultimately spending less, over those four years, on that Mac (and the upkeep) compared to a similar PC solution (and there I mean software, workflow, etc). There may be a tiny percentage of people whose efficiency could be improved if Apple offered faster Mac Pros, but those are such a small segment of the market that Apple would be fiduciarilly irresponsible to put an effort in order to meet the demands of such a small market segment.

    Bottom line: the Mac line is still in existence primarily as the development platform for iOS, and as a legacy platform with a large fan base. We, the active, high-end Mac users, need to accept that reality and evaluate our options. For now, I have no intention on switching. Even the slowest Mac Mini is, at least for me and my computing work, infinitely better solution than ANY hardware running Windows on it. Everything still takes fewer clicks on Macs than it does on Windows, everything is still smoother, more intuitive, the OS still mostly goes out of your way when you work, things still make more sense in Mac OS than they do on Windows, and these are quite significant reasons for me to stay. It is encouraging to hear that Apple, at least nominally, still has some sort of a road map for the Mac. It is disappointing that an increasingly more vocal group of loyal fans are dissatisfied, but this is the Apple of today. Perhaps all this noise did help make Apple take notice.

    1. “The primary (and perhaps the sole) purpose for Mac line existence today is to provide a traditional development platform for the iOS.”

      It may well be the only logical conclusion to reach.

      Sad to say, hope its not true, but……………

  9. at one point iPod was making the most money at Apple. It dwarfed everything else Apple had. It was ground breaking. Pundits were saying Apple should focus on music products and forget the Mac. Jobs didn’t listen but doubled down on Macs and worked on other projects. (go count the number of Mac models Steve made after his “PC wars are over” go to the next thing comment in 1990s, it is mind boggling. He had one new Mac ad every month even AFTER iPhone launch.

    Last quarter Macs just made the SECOND MOST REVENUE in hardware at Apple next to iPhone. It made 7 billion vs 5 billion iPad and near TWICE the the other products category that contains Apple Watch, Apple TV, iPod, Beats, Airpods and other accessories. iPad sales have fallen to near half peak sales a few years ago and in spite of monstrous neglect (slow updates, practically no advertising , not even cheap web ads..) Macs revenues have been steady beating PC growth. Mac sales only slowed when Apple attention to updates etc became so absurd it was intolerable to consumers (the Mac Pro is a 2013 model).

    Neglecting stuff and then saying it ‘don’t sell’ seems silly.
    Microsoft bungling around has moved 300-400 million Win 10 licenses and says its aim is 1 billion. Mac market share has dropped to 7 % , there is PLENTY of Room to Grow Mac sales. (note apple didn’t even run marketing ads during the win 8 fiasco years !! )

    as for adequate speed, Macs aren’t even adequate for a lot of GAMERS much less high end graphics pros. A PC can have triple the frame rate of the Cylinders. Some games you have to turn to medium or low res to play even on a new MBP. The GTX 980 ti I have in my Cheese Grater has 200 plus fps vs the 60 plus fps in the high end D700 Cylinder (I’m just using fps as an indication of GPU power. GPU strength is used more than just for games).

    you say ” fiducially irresponsible” to meet the demands on the small Mac Pro market. What about ‘Ethical Responsibility’ ? Tim cook has harped so much on Apple’s ethics, just yesterday he was out again talking about helping and being responsible to minorities etc (which is a moral thing) but are OUTSIDE minorities only important while CUSTOMER minorities are not.? so when MONEY is involved ethics disappears under Tim Cook and Apple? (that would put a kibosh on Cooks’ ethics soapbox)

    A lot high end pros invested lots of money into the Apple eco system listening to apple’s marketing spiel over the years about Apple’s commitment to Mac (remember the Photoshop shootouts they use to hold , buying Aperture, FCP etc were all aimed at Pros) so is hanging out those Pros to dry ethical? Until the Mac meeting this week, pro Mac users didn’t even have a timeline, they , their staff, families, depend on their equipment for their livelihoods — do they switch to windows, retrain staff — etc. Fortunately Apple realized it’s mistake and thought that their customers are important enough to make that meeting and reassure it’s pro customers. Perhaps a bit late and slow but better than abandoning it due to ‘ fiduciary ‘ concerns.

    Apple user for over 2 decades, aapl investor. for personal use I have Mac Pros, 12.9 iPad Pro, MBP and iPhone 7 plus.
    I want Apple to Win.

    1. and I have to add as I wrote yesterday:

      “Tim Cook spent about 100 Billion (that’s with a B) on buybacks etc to boost the stock. The Number One reason the stock is so low, about half the valuation ( P.E ) of Google, Microsoft (i.e if they had their valuation aapl would be 300 now instead of 100+ ) is that big investors say Apple is a dangerous ONE PRODUCT iPhone company. DIVERSIFYING it’s product line with high earning Macs seems a great solution when you think about the billions in cost for stock buybacks.”

      1. I think Cook and the team have taken Jobs’s advice (“Milk the Macintosh for all its worth and move on to the next great thing”) too literally. As I said in my (rather long-winded) message, Apple has moved on to iOS and considers Mac a legacy platform in maintenance mode.

        You are breaking out iPod from the iPhone, even though their development overlaps by a very large percentage (shared OS, shared CPU and many other components). When we lump iOS devices together, they generate seven times more revenue than Macs. The mindset that Mac is a legacy platform in maintenance mode isn’t exactly hurt when the profit numbers are so much lower, compared to the other platform.

        It is clear that Apple doesn’t really care about increasing market share in the desktop computer space. That may have been the goal twenty years ago; even fifteen years ago (“I’m a Mac, I’m a PC”), but today, they consider that market a dead end.

  10. Oh the irony in Cook warning about the US losing its leading role unless it promoted more women. Clearly it needs to promote more innovative looking leaders period, something that Cook himself so clearly demonstrates by its absence in himself. Hell he doesn’t even have the insight to see the irony in making such a comment, does he not own a mirror?

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