Why is Apple’s next-gen Mac Pro taking so long?

“So if you take Apple at its word, the next Mac Pro is being developed as we speak, but it won’t arrive this year. That said, there has been some speculation it might not arrive next year either, but it’s not as if Apple would offer too many specifics,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “I will take Apple at its word that an all-new Mac Pro is forthcoming, but there are loads of unanswered questions, and plenty of room to speculate about what’s will come.”

“My feeling is that the new box will be sized somewhere between the 2013 model and the previous model, still compact but allowing for some level of internal expansion,” Steinberg writes. “So you could add multiple drives, more RAM than you can now, and perhaps expansion cards. How many is an open question mark, but Apple ought to consider what a typical user would require, while leaving plenty of external expansion ports for the edge cases.”

“That said, is there something Apple is doing that takes more than the usual time to design such a computer?” Steinberg writes. “Some tech pundits suggest that Apple really didn’t come to a conclusion about what direction to take with the Mac Pro until very recently, and that’s why it will take another year or longer to get the work done. Is it at all possible Apple is waiting for a new CPU family from Intel and perhaps a new graphics processor to flesh out the package? I suppose, but the graphics are more intriguing in light of a recent development.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Not just iPhones and iPads, but will future Macs utilize Apple in-house GPUs, too?

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27 Comments

    1. Why is Apple’s next-gen Mac Pro taking so long?

      Because Pipeline Timmy spends more time getting his asshole waxed than thinking about the Mac, that’s why.

    2. I want to like a sleek black Mac, but it just doesn’t work for me as a pro workstation. This concept might have been good as a mainstream Mac consumer desktop model, that’s about it.

      Pascal Eggert might be great at pretty design, but this concept appears pretty limited from a thermal analysis standpoint, just as constrained as the current Apple trashcan. If you’re truly a pro and running hard, you need more airflow.

      There are other things wrong with the concept as a Pro machine too. Apple themselves admitted that they were wrong about the direction graphics processing would go. Forcing everyone to buy two modest GPUs and offering no way to increase the future thermal footprint as later chipsets came along was stupid. Few hardcore number crunchers need two GPUs. Most of them either want massive CPU capacity with one modest GPU for a single monitor;, others want the most kickass single GPU for a huge 4K or greater resolution color accurate monitor for video or photo work. Those who do use 2+ 4K monitors obviously are a significant subset too, but not a majority. So bottom line, Apple needs to give up nesting small GPUs in a skinny cylinder and provide a proper row of PCI slots that is ready for the future.

      8 Thunderbolt 3 ports is a waste of time, internal PCI is faster and having an octopus with cables all snaked to one end is bad design. Like the Apple trashcan, forcing the device to be positioned on a desktop in the vertical position is just silly. Make it a cube or rectangle so people can shelf it in other ways or rack mount it.

      Also it should be abundantly clear that any Mac Pro needs to have more internal hard drive expansion options too. No matter what Apple seems to believe, Fusion is the worst of both worlds and SSD is not appropriate for all needs. Give the users options. Without that, all you are doing is continuing the mistakes of the 2013 Mac Pro. Bigger is better, so don’t stop with a middle of the road solution if you want to serve all the pros.

      One may be able to shrink down the cheese grater design by 10% and put a radius on its sharp edges, but fundamentally that’s about it. If slim design is what Apple wants to sell, theere is nothing stopping them from adding the Jony Ive signature Edition models in pink. But for the rest of us, please offer 3 or 4 different size standalone Macs for desktop and UNDER desk towers: the market needs a bigger dual drive Mini, updated current can or this dual can as a mainstream Core i5 & i7 Mac desktop, proper fully capable Mac Pro tower, and a proper rack mountable server that Apple could use to run its own business.

      Apple is only about 5 years behind in delivering a complete range of Macs that addresses all the needs of the diverse Mac community. Now we finally know that they got the message we’ve been sending, let’s see if Apple actually follows through with proper products that keep up with the competition. A 17″ portable MacBook Pro workstation is long overdue as well.

  1. I will never understand why Apple did not simply take the 2010 Mac Pro tower case and puts in the new stuff – new mainboard, newer Xeon processor, new Thunderbolt 3. That should not take too long, and there are still plenty of pro users who do need bays for hard drives, Tim!

    In my own company I am stilling running 12 (!) MacPros of 2010, updated with 1 TB SSD plus 4 x 4 TB hard drives. Even I truly love my new 15″ MacBook Pro late 2016 when I travel and for office work, the old Mac Pro is a beast, especially with a lot of RAM and a new graphic card.

      1. Everything you mentioned is pretty much a pro anathema and high incentive for a hasty platform workstation switch. Apple’s record now on giving pros what they want is officially suspect so waiting another year could be excruciating folly, if your need is now.

        New 2018-19 Mac Pro = The new Homer?

  2. That’s a nice design, too bad Apple will never use it. Once somebody posts these concepts that almost guarantees the company who owns the product will never use it. Legal issues.

    The 2013 MacPro shows the direction Apple want go with further optimizing the hardware to their ecosystem. The dual GPUs work great with FCPX and Motion and not so well with third party applications where the developers decide not to explore the additional programming it requires. Apple is probably looking at a repeat of the proprietary GPUs found in the MacPro while opening up an avenue for GPU upgrades in the form of PCI16 card slots or GPU boxes with a direct PCI connection to the MacPro.

    1. ” Apple is probably looking at a repeat of the proprietary GPUs ”

      eh?

      At the Apple Mac Pro Meeting :

      Federighi:
      ” I think we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will. We designed a system that we thought with the kind of GPUs that at the time we thought we needed, and that we thought we could well serve with a two GPU architecture… that that was the thermal limit we needed, or the thermal capacity we needed. But workloads didn’t materialize to fit that as broadly as we hoped.
      Being able to put larger single GPUs required a different system architecture and more thermal capacity than that system was designed to accommodate. And so it became fairly difficult to adjust”

      TECHCRUNCH (Panzarino who was at meeting) :

      “Ternus says that the team didn’t fully come to grips with the limitations of this architecture until much later than they’d hoped ….

      Specifically, as mentioned a bit above, 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.”

      ——–

      The SVPs tried mightily to spin it but the gist was that they made a massive mistake with the ‘twin GPU’ design as the trend today is single powerful GPU and they admitted they caught it very slowly ( Federighi ” There were periods of denial and acceptance. We all went on that arc”) and that’s why they are having such a long delay to fix the issues because they have to rethink their entire ‘Cylinder’s 2 weak GPU thermal ‘ mess.

      Of course if they just made a Tower with enough cooling and slots that are powerful enough they could pop in two or more powerful GPUs – instead of two weak GPUs as the Cylinder now (and with right software enable their tandem capabilities like Crossfire or SLI. )

      ((btw: the 980ti I have in one of my Cheese Graters has 3 times the GPU speed of the high end D700 and the new MBP for certain tasks. Typing this on another upgraded Cheese Grater).

  3. Classic case of the boy who cried Wolf. That is the Apple of today. Arrogant, doesn’t really care about their users (they won’t admit it, but actions speak louder than words), and BEHIND THE CURVE.

  4. What would be bice would be some continuity of design and features between a Mac mini and a new Mac Pro. A modular system that stripped down to the basics would be a Mac mini, but that could be built with various higher spec components so that ultimately you ended up with a top-notch machine. I guess there might have to be a basic case and a bigger case, so there might not be a full continuity between the two systems. But it would be really nice to be able to more easily add more power and options to a Mac mini as well.

  5. *IF* they are waiting on some new CPU architecture (which I seriously doubt), I wish they would make the jump to AMD. The new Zen processors are off the hook efficient and cost effective. Intel is making lame promises for a future that it is currently unable to keep, and Zen still has that future beat today.

    GPUs are a different matter, at least for today. But I suspect that when Vega has had a few months to work out the kinks, AMD graphics won’t get the heat is does today. I get that many will still want NVidia add ons, but AMD will be a contender enough that Apple won’t be given crap over including it in a Pro box.

    Put the two together in a single box, and the whole “it just works, because it was made to work together” thing reaches new heights.

    1. Anyone using Adobe’s apps (especially Premiere pro) finds anything other than Nvidia and their support for CUDA acceptable. It’s not up to Apple to decide for Pros what they need. The option should ALWAYS be given. That’s what people wearing big boy pants do.

      Pro gear and components should always be thought of as user-designated out of necessity and need. It’s called “choice” and the realization one size does not fit all.

  6. 1. Apple never planed to update the Mac Pro but replace it. They were to use the iMac Pro to ween people off the Mac Pro. That’s why the iMac Pro will be released this year. But something happened and Apple had to say a new Mac Pro would be out, but in 2018 or something.

    2. Apple has their heads up their but.

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