Apple’s 2013 Mac Pro, five years later

“On June 10, it will have been five years since Apple first showed off the iteration of the Mac Pro that has come to be known as The Trashcan,” Stephen Hackett writes for 512 Pixels. “To put that in a little context, it was the same WWDC keynote where iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks were introduced.”

“After playing a very exciting video showing off the product, Phil Schiller quipped, ‘Can’t innovate anymore, my ass,’ as he walked across the stage to applause,” Hackett writes. “It was a push back against critics who were saying Apple had gotten lazy and its products stale.”

MacDailyNews Take: We pause to retrieve a knife with which to cut the irony.

“2014 came and went without a revision to the machine, then 2015 did the same,” Hackett writes. “As this was going on, Mac Pro customers started complaining of GPU failures. In February 2016, Apple opened a Repair Program for the machine… ‘Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will repair eligible Mac Pro models affected by the video issues free of charge until May 30, 2018. Apple lists a turnaround time of about 3-5 days.’ Ironically, that date just passed. Even with the GPU issues, Apple failed to revise the computer in any way.”

Apple's Mac Pro (aka The Misplaced Priorities Trophy) was released on December 19, 2013
Apple’s Mac Pro (aka The Misplaced Priorities Trophy) was released on December 19, 2013
“We now know that the new Mac Pro is a product destined for release in 2019, thanks to a report by Matthew Panzarino,” Hackett writes. “While I appreciate Apple’s honesty about the process of building the next Mac Pro, there is a frustration around why designing what may essentially be a tower PC is taking so long.”

“As I write this, the Mac Pro is still on Apple’s website, and can still be purchased. That blows my mind a little,” Hackett writes. “I have to imagine Apple is bleeding money on building this computer today. It has to be on sale still to meet the needs of corporate customers who have standardized on the machine. Maybe there are still customers who workflows are built around the OpenCL power that still resides under its black aluminum skin. Maybe the Apple.com team lost the password needed to edit that part of the company’s website.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In the annals of Glorious Apple Failures, the Mac Pro is doing its damnedest to earn top billing.

There is simply no excuse for a company swimming in a lake of cash atop a mountain range of money to not have every single product they offer, including their top-of-the-line flagship Mac, up-to-date and state-of-the-art at all times. If even Dell et al. can manage it, why the hell can’t Apple?

A team of interns with petty cash could come up with a Mac tower in 6 months or less that Mac professionals would line up to buy in droves.

We’re going to operate on the idea that Apple was so consumed by The Colossal Distraction (Apple Park) that even such obvious issues fell through the cracks because the alternative, that Apple’s management team has become so fat and lazy without Steve Jobs to drive them that they’ll let even their flagship Mac languish for half a decade, is too horrifying to contemplate.

SEE ALSO:
3 things to expect from Apple’s 2019 Mac Pro – April 11, 2018
Why can’t Apple keep their products up-to-date? – April 10, 2018
Why is it taking Apple so long to update the Mac Pro? – April 10, 2018
Apple’s latest announcements about the modular Mac Pro really ramp up expectations – April 6, 2018
Apple needs to stop promising new products and start delivering them – April 6, 2018
Apple: No new Mac Pro until 2019 – April 5, 2018
Apple reiterates they’re working on an all-new modular, upgradeable Mac Pro and a high-end pro display – December 14, 2017
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

72 Comments

  1. My Apple Innovation Report Card

    iPhone: A+
    iPad: A-
    AppleTV hardware: B-
    AppleTV content: C-
    HomePod: C+
    MacBook: B
    MacBookPro: A (you may not like the product, but at least Apple was trying to innovate with new screen tech, new battery tech, touchbar, new Keyboard tech, and fingerprint reader)
    MacMini: C-
    MacPro: D
    Apple Education: C

    I agree with MDN’s take, with their kind of money and talent, nothing in Apple’s lineup should score less than a B, except maybe briefly, between product transitions.

    What’s your take?

    1. the iMac is darn good too.

      if they would make an iMac with 3 doors on the back to update the ram, to update the HD, and one to update the ssd and a slot on the side for an SD card it would be perfect.

      I really honestly believe that today with most CPUs and GPUs, a memory and storage upgrade is all you need for a 5 to 8 lifespan of a computer for most people. I also think that an iMac with a 1tb m.2 ssd with a 3-4 TB hdd is more storage than most need. Video professionals may need a different set up but even today a “tricked out” iMac (not even the iMac pro) is one heck of a video machine. Unless you are full time, all day into video production, that machine will do just fine.

      1. The iMac as a consumer system, if it had the “doors” you suggest would be a great system. Without them it is barely an OK system — at least for the currently shipping version.

        The “iMac Pro” being similarly closed is a joke. At the top of the line it is a beast, but it is a beast of a joke for true pros.

      2. iMac is without a doubt the most bang for the buck Mac.

        But no desktop Mac should prevent you from swapping out the HD or the RAM. The fact that the iMac Pro does not allow that is beyond stupid.

        Size, weight, & power consumption should not be the primary concerns in designing any desktop machine! Mini or not.

      1. I just checked Newegg and a 1tb m.2 ssd costs less than $300 and a 4tb hdd costs below $150. That’s nothing to a professional. OWC’s prices are a little bit higher. 32gb of ram at crucial is expensive right now at $450 but still, that’s not a whole lot if it helps you.

    2. I agree with most of your grades except the MacBook Pro…the battery life sucks. Don’t tell me I get 10 hours of battery life on a pro device and I end up getting about 3 when I’m running Logic Pro X. That right there brings me down to a low B range.

      And honestly the touch bar is something I could definitely live without. I would never pay a higher price for something that I hardly use.

      1. I recently purchased a 2016 MBP 15″ and have no complaints about the battery life, it has been excellent. Replaced a 2008 cheese grater and 2012 MBP, got tired of messing with 2 systems.
        Touch Bar is meh, but at least Apple was trying something new, versus the MacMini and MacPro where they aren’t trying anything at all.
        Also think Apple should offer entry level MacBooks with the option of standard Fusion HDs, their SSDs drive the laptop prices to exorbitant heights. Could never afford one on my personal budget.

        Also AppleWatch should get an “A” IMHO.

      1. I up voted your post.

        but to give the original poster a benefit of a doubt, he could mean that the MP was a ‘D’ ‘at LAUNCH’. But it was a already an ‘F’ two years ago.

        the real sad thing that the MP and the Mini etc are EASY things to solve as compared to things like the self driving car. (Hackintosh folks have made powerful towers for years)

        Hey we can CONSOLE ourselves with the Wonderful Apple COFFEE TABLE BOOK :

        the Verge : ” tightly bound pages are edged in silver; the paper is Apple-specific Heaven 42 Scheufelen from Germany — as is the Bamberger Kaliko linen with bespoke dye. ”

        I end with reminder of the one and half years they spent on the CAMPUS door handles, the ‘specially milled Maple’ furniture and as Wired asked Ive about all the fancy stuff on the Campus:

        WIRED:
        Ive raises an eyebrow. “Well,” he says. “It depends how you define need, doesn’t it?””

        ———–

    3. Synth, I’d drop every one of your grades by at least a half a grade. I’d drop the HomePod, AppleTV hardware, Mac mini, and Mac Pro by at least a full grade or more. (And yes, I know that would put the Mac Pro at a lower grade than an “F”.)

    4. Good idea, Synth. My marks for Apple today are significantly lower than they were a decade ago on all fronts. But of course that won’t change as long as Cook is pleasing wall street. In terms of product innovation, Apple is regressing badly.

      – iPhone: B+ due to 4″ models being treated like stepchildren, inconsistency in display ratios, iOS limitations, poor I/O, no way to wire it to a MacBook or an external display without a mess of adapters, and zero progress in iOS store discovery and filtering. Memory is wildly overpriced.

      – iPad: B- for same issues as above, and aging models, mini being treated like a dog, lack of consistent feature set across the board. Apple Pencil remains an awkward extra with poor charging and storage forethought, Apple spent zero effort on making it work as input device or accessory display for the Mac.

      – Apple TV: C- while 4k hardware is finally here, interface remains poor. remote is the worst in the industry. No local storage, no Tivo-like functionality, poor integration with legacy equipment (no audio output, for example). Too limited, app management is not a good way to serve up video.

      – Homepod: C- audio management software may be new and great but usability and interoperability stink. Does not replace a real sound system or home theater

      – MacBook: C- one port Mac with horrid keyboard. enough said.

      – MacBook Pro: B- since the keyboard sucks, there is no 17″ model, performance by all objective measures is significantly behind Wintel boxes, repairability is atrocious, no ethernet or legacy USB port to be found. No points added or detracted for the gimmick bar which has not found widespread support — even Apple hasn’t put any effort into putting that feature into its newest iMac Pro keyboard, what does that tell you?

      – MacMini: D because the high price, antiquated specs, and feature degradation since 2012 is an insult to users.

      – MacPro: D because this is the new MacMini, obsolete when introduced and still an embarrassment to power computing in these 5 years of Apple managerial incompetence.

      – iMac: B it’s very good for those who can accept an all-in-one and don’t every want to repair or upgrade anything. Could be an A if it was user upgradeable, was height adjustable, and had option of matching second display, ports in front where they are visible, and other minor obvious tweaks that the kids in Cupertino can’t seem to realize.

      – Apple Education: E there is no such thing. iPads don’t cut it.

      – iPods: C- stale and overdue for updates across the board.

      – Apple Watch: B- very limited usability but now the 3rd generation does work as advertised

      – iCloud: C slow, more limited and costly than the competition, no guarantee of security or privacy, only vague promises.

      – software: between B and D – it is no longer leaps and bounds ahead of Microsoft apps. Seriously, could Apple make iTunes any less elegant and intuitive if it tried?

      – Accessories: F Apple has gone from making top notch displays and routers and backup storage to making watch bands and overpriced iPhone cases and ugly white adapters. Not cool.

    5. Since you asked for an Apple Innovation Report Card…

      iPhone: C+
      iPad: C-
      AppleTV hardware: C-
      AppleTV content: D
      HomePod: C-
      MacBook: B-
      MacBookPro: D
      MacMini: F
      MacPro: F-
      Apple Education: F

      …and FYI, my grades are based on both being a longtime customer as well as a stockholder: I’m watching for the Apple Stock price to do a ‘melt-up’ (yes, its a Market term; look it up) and then sell before it craps into the dumpster as Apple pulls a Sony.

      ———–

      In an ironic coincidence, I happened to walk by one of my guys yesterday who was talking with one of our gaming developer contractors – he had just mentioning that he was looking at bringing his personal development PC into work to copy some stuff over to solve one of the problems we were having in development; what I heard of the tail end of their hardware conversation was that his PC included:

      i9 CPU
      dual 1TB M.2 SSDs
      dual 4K monitors

      Reportedly $10K and compiles his Unreal stuff in ~15 minutes while his prior (and work-issued) PC took 80+ minutes. He did note that the R/W cycles on the compiles are rough on the SSDs and that he burns through the provisioning on them, so he replaces them every 12 months.

      And of course, when I mentioned Apple, he literally just laughed.

      Yes, laughed.
      And he’s 100% right for doing so.

  2. June 10, 2013 was the day I knew that Apple’s management team had lost its way.

    – iOS7 was an ugly unusable mess
    – FatAss Schiller presented a Mac Pro that solved no problems and introduced many
    – Mavericks was a GUI iOSification – a major step back, with zero usability or efficiency improvements, at a time when the Apple file system architecture had fallen years behind Windows 7. To this day the Mac is a flat gray screen with unintuitive features hidden or pushed back into the Terminal.

    Well it’s nice you finally agree with me how bad Apple has mismanaged the Mac.

    1. Spot on from the very beginning, Mike. Take a bow.

      What did it for me are the same two items that top your list. Visually flat and navigation confusing iOS7. And the artsy fartsy non-innovation locked down expensive MacPro. That’s why you don’t promote the industrial design chief to head all aspects of design. Different professions, different disciplines, different needs.

      Breaking news to cocky Phil SHILLer: innovation in design is only part of the equation and skin deep. Performance, upgradability are far more important and I will take that over looks ANY DAY of the week.

      Prime example was the Pontiac Fiero that won Time magazine “car of the year” in 1984. What a hot looking head turner body of a car — but it failed miserably because of what was inferior under the exterior.

      As the author said, even Dell does a better job upgrading computers year after year.

      WTF, Apple ?!?!? 🤬

      1. Apple management relegates Mac techs to an inferior status and prestige, favoring everything iPhone. That attitude permeates the rank and file’s development crew and disincentivises innovation on Mac.

        1. Courtesy of Clueless Cook, no doubt. For as large as the company is related to the world’s finest office digs in history, manpower and largest cash pile in the world — simply, NO EXCUSE …

  3. I think Apple wanted to knife the Desktop Mac excepting the iMac and still will if they can get away with it.

    Other than the use of EFI, there is really nothing that separates a Mac from a generic white box PC. Any gamer PC is fully capable of running Apple’s Desktop /Laptop OS. Had Apple assigned any priority to the market they could have shipped something in very short order.

    I believe that Apple released the Black iMac hoping it would shut up the calls for a new Mac desktop with no intention of ever again building a Mac Pro.

    1. Yes, perhaps management felt that MacPro reached the end of any significant level of innovation since pros. were demanding that it be almost like a Dell pro.

      1. For five years I have always advocated here the new MacPro should be the baddest and fastest PC the world has ever seen. And why or why they cannot attract gamers is a mystery to me. They only care about gaming APPS on portable devices? …

        1. That would be nice, of course, but its clientele is likely an ever shrinking segment of the pro market which – spiritually if you will – Apple is not motivated to cater. I suspect that it regards the MacPro as a millstone round its neck but it has to drag it along for the few.

          1. “clientele is likely an ever shrinking segment of the pro market”

            Have any hard numbers?

            I suspect the pro market is shrinking, if it is, for three reasons:

            1. They have not upgraded the pro computer for five friggin’ years, so Pros were forced to Hackintosh and PCs.
            2. Tim Cook doesn’t care because he only uses pads, watch and phone and more concerned about Wall Street and the iPhone cash cow.
            3. See number 1 and 2.

            “Apple is not motivated to cater.”

            See number 2.

            “I suspect that it regards the MacPro as a millstone round its neck but it has to drag it along for the few.”

            During the early years all Apple made were pro computers somewhat. Then they diversified the computer line and it did not trouble Cook until Steve passed and the trashcan was not well received — even more so today …

  4. There were many demands on Apple employees over those five years. Countless gay pride parades with the need to spend time putting costumes together. Then the next wave of Trans Pride parades and the need for more innovative costumes. These things are priorities. So why does a Trashcan need to be updated, anyway, when we have gerbils to feed and rubber to convert into fashion statements.

    1. Kent, could you send us a link to a cultural event formally sanctioned by Apple for the employees to leave work to attend? Any one will do. If you cannot, then stfu. What Apple employees do in their personal time is their freedom.

      Your casual discrimination tells everyone more about you than it does in pinpointing the Apple management problem. A real libertarian would live and let live.

      1. Kent is simply pointing out Apple’s liberal direction under Cook. Only a Libtard would bog down in semantic details and also accuse him of discrimination where NONE EXISTS. Too easy, CX. New screen name reply in 3…2…1…

        1. Stop, just stop.

          If you cannot detect the crass derogatory judgment in kent’s discriminatory post, then you owe it to yourself to think through it more. Would kent be so critical of Apple employees if they actually did take off work to attend NRA rallies, or spent significant time at work blogging pro-Trump propaganda? No, those time wasters would be honky dory with you and kent.

          Meanwhile the entire Mac lineup is an underperforming joke thanks to BAD MANAGEMENT. Don’t talk shit about the employees, they are doing what they are told to do.

          1. “If you cannot detect the crass derogatory judgment in kent’s discriminatory post, then you owe it to yourself to think through it more.”

            I can assure you, I can detect most things. And absolutely not Sarah, calling it like it is NOT “discriminatory.” That is the first or second word used by the PC police. The other being racist.

            I was simply explaining it in more genteel terms. Could he have put it more tactfully, absolutely. But that’s not up to you or I to decide.

            “Would kent be so critical of Apple employees if they actually did take off work to attend NRA rallies, or spent significant time at work blogging pro-Trump propaganda?”

            Can’t speak for Kent, I can only speak for myself. I am just as critical of Apple whether it is supporting the NRA or NOW. Jobs stayed clear of politics because it pisses off one tribe or another. BAD for business.

            “Meanwhile the entire Mac lineup is an underperforming joke thanks to BAD MANAGEMENT.”

            Now we AGREE 100%!

            “Don’t talk shit about the employees, they are doing what they are told to do.”

            I have no problem with the employees, where did that come from? Bad management is my number one problem with Apple and agree employees are paid to do what their bosses tell them.

            Now, relax … 😊

  5. “Maybe the Apple.com team lost the password needed to edit that part of the company’s website.”

    LMAO!!! When it comes to the Mac Pro, Apple is profoundly embarrassing. What a truly pathetic effort from Tim Cook, Phil Shiller, and the entire executive team.

  6. Since the height of Apple’s credibility in the professional space back almost 17 years ago (back when Oracle was telling people to buy Xserve rather than any other system and people used Apple systems to create the third fastest super computer on the planet, etc.) respect for Apple’s products is nearly at an all time low. The only thing really saving Apple in the true pro space is the MacBook Pro and that’s not doing that well. (And, don’t even try to convince anyone that the iMac Pro has enhanced Apple’s reputation with the high end pro community.)

    There is absolutely NO excuse for Apple to be working on a new Mac Pro for more than two years before it ships in quantity (definitely Q1 2019 or later, maybe as late as Q4 2019). What is Apple waiting on? PCIe 4.0 support in Xeon chips? Optaine DC support? Thunderbolt 4? Ethernet at 100 Gbps? An optical variant of 801.11ad? Holographic displays? In brain implants?

    Apple, what is it keeping you moving so insanely slowly in your “upcoming” Mac Pro?

    1. It seems to me that Apple is in profound internal turmoil over direction. And it seems to be waiting for some still unavailable component, as you speculate, that will have to be top notch that it deems essential to produce a super duper MacPro for the big reveal; Anything short of that will produce punishing comments on MDN and in general media making Apple look like a laughing stock. So maybe that’s where the bottleneck is: Fear of failure to produce a satisfying product that will delight pros and semi-pros.

      1. Don’t ascribe to “turmoil” what can be explained by mere incompetence and apathy.

        A new MacPro should have been here at least a year ago.
        And the iMac Pro should have frickin’ replaceable RAM and HDs.
        And a port or two on the front or side which show some regard for usability!

  7. The quotes in this article are spot on and absolutely priceless:

    “While I appreciate Apple’s honesty about the process of building the next Mac Pro, there is a frustration around why designing what may essentially be a tower PC is taking so long.”

    PC guys do this EVERY year, hello Apple hello?

    “There is simply no excuse for a company swimming in a lake of cash atop a mountain range of money to not have every single product they offer, including their top-of-the-line flagship Mac, up-to-date and state-of-the-art at all times. If even Dell et al. can manage it, why the hell can’t Apple?”

    Absolutely NO rational excuse citing resource reasons. The only excuse I’ll accept is irrational bad management. And possibly some posters are right about letting the pro line computer die a slow death. We saw it with the quick deaths of Apple pro software, monitors, printers, routers, etc. over the years.

    “A team of interns with petty cash could come up with a Mac tower in 6 months or less that Mac professionals would line up to buy in droves.”

    Not hard to believe if PC makers already figured it out with much less resources and name recognition.

    “We’re going to operate on the idea that Apple was so consumed by The Colossal Distraction (Apple Park) that even such obvious issues fell through the cracks because the alternative, that Apple’s management team has become so fat and lazy without Steve Jobs to drive them that they’ll let even their flagship Mac languish for half a decade, is too horrifying.”

    I’ll buy the Steve Jobs angle because I doubt the touchy feely SJW Timid Tim does not have the same moxie. He would rather form a focus group instead and order vegetables for lunch. Also agree the spaceship was somewhat of a distraction, like pride parades, watch bands, music, television that are not of A quality.

    I’ll give you another year, Apple. If the MacPro disappoints or is delayed again — my trip to the dark side will be COMPLETE.

    Apple owner since my Lisa …

      1. Apple has become Microsoft.. I used to think statements like that were harsh and cynical, but now I think they’re self-evidently true. But is that a bad thing? Rare geniuses ought to be appreciated while they thrive, and lamented when they are gone, but such star-crossed events happen once in a lifetime. Tesla, Edison, and Steinmetz could not be replaced. Regression to the mean happens whether we wish it or not. I hardly expect a run-of-the-mill board of directors to keenly discern the next Steve Jobs and recruit him (or her). Instead, they would dully, and dutifully, ratify a dying Steve Jobs’s recommendation to promote Tim Cook to permanent CEO. And, BODs being what they are — representatives of their shareholders’ best interests — thereafter they look only at the numbers. When they do that, Tim Cook receives their vote of confidence; complaints from niche users are confidently brushed off. The voice of the pro user, who wants to keep using Macs, is a voice in the wilderness, shouting to be heard despite a flood of sales to millenial consumers of mobile devices. It’s an ugly world and the Lord knows it’s unfair, but we made our own bed and we are fain laith to lay in’t.

        1. I never thought after my Lisa and a Pro user since Day One in the 1980s I would be kicked to curb as one of “niche users.”

          If Apple has become Microsoft as you say, then Microsoft can take my Pro money for a BETTER computer. Gawd, it really hurts to say that. But I’m waiting on Apple until 2019 to pull the trigger.

          I agree with you, as long as the money is green selling gazillion gadgets the BOD will not move on the money train caretaker CEO who is about as creative as wet particle board.

          At the moment, they are all fixated on the Trillion Dollar company moniker thing and that’s fine.

          But I need to get work done, now …

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