Breaking the Jobsian Quadrant: Why Apple finally unleashed the iMac Pro beast

“Earlier this week Apple likely surprised many with its half-dozen announcements at its 2017 WWDC,” Anthony Frausto-Robledo writes for Architosh. “It was really a phenomenal display of new gear. Of all the new items, to Architosh readers the new iMac Pro and the new support for both AR and VR in Apple devices surely delights.”

“In our original 2014 article, titled, ‘Breaking the Jobsian Quadrant: Should Apple Make an iMac Pro,’ we answered the question about why Apple needed to break Steve Jobs’ neat four-quadrant product matrix by making an iMac Pro by saying this: ‘The short answer is because it needed to. The long answer is because putting computers and devices into neat little quadrants with absolute “user-type” boundaries creates arbitrary usability barriers which are simply not practical,'” Frausto-Robledo writes. “That statement was backed up by our Mac Pro workstation survey research, but Apple eventually realized this too and in its recent confessional press discussions about the new Mac Pro—the one coming up in 2018—the company admitted that the iMac was an extremely popular machine with a certain segment of professional users.”

Apple's all new iMac Pro staring at $4999, available in December 2017
Apple’s all new iMac Pro staring at $4999, available in December 2017

Frausto-Robledo writes, “Apple’s users today demand a continuous and overlapping spectrum of compute options that span device thinking categories from ‘appliance’ to ‘configurable tool’ … The Pro definition needs to be liberated from the notion of seeing the ‘pro’ user as this mechanically inclined person who wants to hot-rod out his machine with add-ons and gear. This is not 1978 anymore.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s forthcoming iMac Pro will cover at least 75% of Mac-using professionals. The Mac Pro will be for the rest of the professionals who use the world’s most advanced operating system.

Apple squelches Mac commitment critics with new ‘beast’ workstation – June 7, 2017
Apple’s iMac Pro is an odd beast: Meet the ultra high-end workstation all-in-one – June 7, 2017
What does the iMac Pro tell us about the forthcoming all-new Mac Pro? – June 6, 2017
Apple’s all new iMac Pro, the most powerful Mac ever, starts at $4,999; arrives this December – June 5, 2017


    1. Although if you had any kind of skill other than regurgitating your moronic opinions, you would be able to open up the case and replace or fix components. The images with the rear case removed clearly show 4 RAM modules in slots.

      If you have $5000 to spend on this computer, you can pay someone to upgrade those things for you when it’s time to do so.

      I upgraded the WiFi and Bluetooth module in my 2009 iMac so I could have Continuity support. I removed the DVD drive and added an SSD so I could create a Fusion drive. And the only user-upgradable component on this system is the RAM.

      Anyone who thinks ANYTHING is completely non-upgradable, is probably someone who should stick to a $50 Chromebook.

      1. Just being able to upgrade RAM only is not really an upgradable computer. You need to be able to upgrade SSD, vid card, and possibly the processor, you F’N sanctimonious moron. Go piss yourself.

        1. Aww… so adorable when he’s angry. LOL

          “Pro” doesn’t have anything to do with being upgradable. It has to do with being to get your work done, whatever that may be. If this “pro” system does not meet anyone’s particular needs, then it is not the right system for them. But I’m pretty sure there are real professionals out there that would have absolutely no problem using this system.

          Based on your previous posts, you seem to equate “pro” with computer professional. That “pros” ought to be able to maintain and upgrade their systems without any help. I hate to tell you this – that’s far from the actual truth. Most pros in whatever field just want a computer (a tool) that allows them to get their work done with as little friction as possible.

          1. And speaking of “tool”… The fact that you come on this site and put down a product that you obviously have no need for and would never buy, just makes you one. I’m guessing you don’t have much of a life? Or at the very have very, very low self-esteem?

            Seriously, you won’t find me on some Microsoft-centric site spewing hatred over some dumb new Surface model.

            1. Now who’s mad, girly man? You are right though, you are definitely a pro. A Professional loser that is. If you don’t like what I have to say, then you can just ignore me, because that is exactly what I’m doing to you…Obviously you know nothing about computers or tech either if your so myopic, that Apple is all you care about..later asswipe.

  1. A $5,000 throwaway iMac that cannot be user upgraded is not the answer. It is a nice, but horribly overpriced, prosumer computer.

    Like the Trashcan, Apple is more interested in making a fashion statement than delivering a workstation. There is no good reason that Apple could not quickly ship an updated Cheesegrater. The Fanboi obsession with styling does not apply in the workstation market- tell Jony to go design a watch or something.

    The other thing is the greed factor. How exactly does iMac plus Xeon = $5k?

    1. Agreed. It’s a cool machine and feat of engineering, but that price for a closed system is insanity, and that’s likely the *entry* level model. Forget it.

  2. Maybe because even a guy like Palmer Luckey said “Apple could have VR if they ever released a real computer”, and because they’ve always ignored the gamer community, and because they haven’t released a powerful Mac since 2013. Or maybe because if they continued to not push out new products people would scratch their heads at why this pointless company with no products from this half do the decade is able to stay so rich.

  3. The New Imac Pro is an impressive design, I think the target audience of this computer will config to meet their needs for several years.. Which means they’ll get a ton of RAM to start and they’ll debate on how many cores they’ll want depending on what they may do..

    The big question is, that perhaps is out there and I have not seen it, is what is the top of the line config going to cost, what is 10 or 18 cores and 64 or 128GB of RAM going to add to the base price? $6-7-8K…. Guess time will tell.

    The other question is, now that they’ve set this price level, which is 2.5K above a Mac Pro 2013 base, (now) when the modular Mac Pro finally arrives, are you still going to wind up with a $4-5-6K Mac? Does a Pro Mac really have to be priced so high in comparison to the rest of the Mac line?

  4. The iMac pro has some impressive specs but you have to wonder if it’s classic design will spell the same problems as many other iMacs. Where design over ruled all that caused the iMac to overheat and take out the video card. Hope this thing doesn’t turn out to a great room warmer that burns itself out.

  5. MDN’s take is ansolutely correct as a freelance designer that worked in 30 to 40 studios for well over 20 years, including top design agencies and the odd TV production house including Lambie Nairn, overwhelmingly since the days of the old grey and blue towers iMacs are the predominant tools used.

    Now days I do highly detailed and complex aviation profiles in Photoshop and my late 2012 iMac is no less capable at doing that work than the previous cheese graters I used when I first started specialising in this work. I can’t believe that Apple wouldn’t have been totally aware of the iMac’s role as a pro machine, indeed it’s probably why they (foolishly) lost focus on the Mac Pro for those who need that extra dose of power and flexibility even though most of us rarely do. The MacPro once probably represented 75% back in the day but now is but a rump at that high end and specialist tasks. The importance of that segment though is as a technological marketing powerhouse well beyond its actual size, that promotes the brand massively beyond what most other users do for it and thus has massive appeal to the very people that the company needs to promote its products TV, media, journalists, celebs and actors that influence others buying decisions T no cost to Apple. At last Apple seems to be remembering that fact.

    1. MDN is an echo chamber for a very peculiar (and very narrow) segment of the market. The people who come here are, first and foremost, fans of Apple, more precisely, the Mac (hence Mac Daily News); second, majority seem to fall into the ‘computer geek’ category, as in they are on the IT side of things, if not completely, then at least for the most part. Some are “creative professionals” (design/publishing/audio/video, etc), but even among those, many have in-depth IT knowledge (which is why they are here).

      This market segment is most certainly NOT representative of your average professional Mac user with high-end needs.

      We here are obsessed by a user-serviceable Mac, having lamented its disappearance with the cheese grater. Most professional shops have long ago migrated to iMacs, wich have plenty of muscle for what they need. And those for whom the iMac muscle was insufficient are fine with the current, rather stale, trashcan MP.

      The argument about stale performance in current Mac lineup may hold water to a point (although in head-to-head performance, the trashcan holds rather well against current Windows boxes of similar price range). However, the most significant point here is that, outside of our tiny little circle of MDN fans (and like-minded folk), nobody is really clamoring for user-servicable Macs. All people want is a fast Mac they can buy and hold onto for the next five years. Even with the cheese grater, a very minuscule percentage of its owners ever opened the side panel, other than to admire the immaculate industrial design inside.

      When they buy an Mac, people simply don’t have the need to upgrade anything for years. By making Macs user-serviceable, Apple would be essentially only selling them the idea of an accessible device, which, if history is any guide, has no real, practical value for the vast majority of Mac buyers.

      1. I’ve worked from several “cheese graters” and own two myself. Regardless of environment, they needed dusting twice a year or more. Removing the side panel on that model is a snap.

        Earlier models got just as dirty but were a hassle to clean. The same holds true for boxes running Windows.

        But the cylinder Mac Pro obviates the Cinderella act. It sits high on the desk and disgorges heat and airborne particles rather then collecting them. – I haven’t had to clean mine since I got it in 2014.

  6. “We went back to business school 101. I couldn’t get anyone to tell me the definitive market share for Apple but it was around seven percent from all I could gather. We said, “what do people want?” Well they wanted two kinds of products, they wanted consumer products, consumers want them in general, and education wanted for the most part consumer products. And we needed pro products because our design and publishing market wanted pro products. Apple was the dominant player in what I call creative content, publishing, design, prepress, etc. It was creative professionals using computers. What was interesting was that Apple was still the dominant market leader for creative professionals by far. It was like 80 percent of the computers used in advertising, graphic arts, design, prepress, all Macintoshes. In each of these categories we needed desktop and portable models. What this told us was, if we had four great products, that’s all we needed. As a matter fact, if we only had four we could put an A-Team on every single one of them instead of having a B or a C team on any. And if we only had four, we could turn them all over every nine months instead of every 18 months. And if we only had four, we could be working on the next generation or two of each one, as we were introducing the first generation. That’s what we decided to do, to focus on four great products.”

    Excerpt from: “Steve Jobs: The Unauthorized Autobiography”

  7. “the company admitted that the iMac was an extremely popular machine with a certain segment of professional users.”

    THAT segment would be your small independent “professional”, operating on a constrained budget, but with self-important delusions of grandeur.

    The reality is this: if the above described “professional” billed 2080 hours per year at $100, then a new computer that increases productivity by a mere 5% would generate an additional $10,400 in revenue. That equates to $31,200 over a three year period.

    Comparing the increase in revenue to the cost of a new computer makes the buy decision a no-brainer. Its those “professionals” that don’t have 2080 hours of work per year that scream the loudest over the cost of a new computer. Apple prices its products to what the market can bare. That is what it is supposed to do. If your “business” can’t justify a new computer, it is a hobby that pays, not a real business.

    1. LOL

      But if you operated from a fixed client list, wouldn’t a 5% increase in productivity imply a reduction in hours and thus revenue? You’d feel justified in padding your timesheet.

  8. Just more hardware disrespect from Tim “iPad Pro” Cook. There was no good engineering reason to drop the cheese grater Mac Pro design, just corporate vanity and condescension run amuck.

  9. “a new computer that increases productivity by a mere 5% would generate an additional $10,400 in revenue. ”

    Maybe that user does exist. But there are probably a dozen “hobby that pays” people for every such person above. And nobody gets 2080@ $100/hr their first year! If those guys have to go to Windows to get what they want, they won’t come back if they succeed.

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