Gassée: Apple’s Mac Pro finally removed the Mac jinx… almost

Jean-Louis Gassée for Monday Note:

The only hardware demonstrated at Apple’s Software Developers Conference was the long awaited and spectacular Mac Pro and its companion display. It far exceeded the expectations of a quick fix to replace the failed 2013 Pro, finally removing the Mac jinx… almost.

…Instead of a quick fix to quiet the just complaints of Mac devotees, we have a production workstation for actual professionals who use sound, music, video, and augmented reality applications.
Past sins forgiven, is the Mac Jinx finally lifted? Not quite.

The gods who render mad those they want to destroy have struck again. They’ve caused a marketing exec — we hope not the same one who bragged about innovation in 2013 — to price the new XDR monitor stand at a baffling $999. Listen to the guffaws in the audience at 1hr 40 mins into the keynote video. Why not $399 instead and increase the MacPro base price by a barely visible $600?

The $999 stand was widely mocked in the media, Apple was labeled as greedy and tone-deaf — the latter definitely deserved. Why mar what turned out to one of the best WWDC keynotes in memory with such a brain flatulence? Why attract so much ink to a mere display stand, to the detriment of more substantial announcements?

MacDailyNews Take: Real professionals spend more than that on handles for their cameras.

Apple may have been tone deaf towards non-professionals because they were announcing a machine and components designed for professionals who won’t bat an eye at a $999 monitor stand as they order them in multiple units.

(Most professionals, by the way, will be mounting their Apple Pro Display XDR units on arms with Apple’s $199 VESA mounts anyway).


  1. Oh MDN, this “Take” is crap. I’ve used Macs longer than anyone at MDN, and I can tell you that yes, it was the best WWDC in years, and I like the new Pro – we want we want – queue bitching and moaning over prices..
    But to say the stand ISN’T a joke is a joke. I’ve been with Apple since 1985 and this is just insulting..

      1. @ disposable:

        Looks like you cherry picked the retail price of the most expensive store in town.

        There are numerous Manfrotto accessory arms that start at about $30, increasing to over $200 for some more elaborate structural ones. The 357 PLV you linked to costs about $35 elsewhere.

        Also, in case you haven’t noticed, the Manfrotto components are designed for a lifetime of assembly and disassembly, adjustments, beatings on the road, etc, using MOVING PARTS and fasteners. Quick releases that lock & unlock easily in all conditions for a lifetime are not as easy to come by as you might think. Indoor only VESA mounts for monitors? That is, and should be, a built in feature designed from day one to work with what’s already in the field. Apple instead charges $200 for the privelege.Literally the only thing Apple needed to do was put 4 threaded holes on the back of its new Alyoooominyum monitor in a standard VESA pattern. Cost to Apple: pennies. Delight to consumer: infinite. Instead, Apple found an excuse to gouge the customer.

        1. Mike, the product in which you linked is just the Manfrotto 357 rapid connector plate. disposableidentity linked the Manfrotto 357 LONG Quick Release Plate.

          Did you mean to be dishonest? Or were you just ignorant?

          1. Mike’s link worked for the long connector plate. It’s there. Shall we quibble over shipping and handling costs too?

            Manfrotto’s OPTION doesn’t cost more than 1/3 what Apple wants for its MANDATORY Vesa adapter or 1/10 what the goddamned stand is priced. Mike is absolutely correct, and you are merely haggling over retail pricing. Are you being needlessly argumentative or are you ignorant?

  2. The internet is primarily for clickbait and outrage… and clickbait outrage 🙂 Everyone’s interested in obtaining new followers or just being noticed. Right now, the “cool” thing to do (and, even if you don’t really feel like it, to stay ‘relevant’ you HAVE to, your followers demand it!) is to compare the Mac Pro to a grater AND to feign outrage about a thing they’ll never buy!

    It’s like everything Apple’s been doing recently. The higher volume it is, the lower the price. The lower the volume, the higher the price. The monitor stand will be one of the lowest volume things Apple makes (even though they don’t need to make it) BUT, they’re going to make a profit on each and every one that gets sold.

    1. So, the likely most popular of the latest iPhone XS will sell many millions, but it’s still $1149 for the midrange model. How’s that, “The higher the volume is, the lower the price.”, working out for you?

      It’s beyond crazy that with the announcements last week virtually no one is talking about the features and capabilities of the Mac Pro. Virtually no one is talking about the effectively reference quality monitor itself.

      What are they talking about? A damn, way over priced monitor stand. Apple’s marketing team (and pricing team) clearly blew it on this one. There is no other way to put it. I’d put it right up there in the stupidity level with the trashcan Mac itself.

  3. Gassée is totally correct about Apple/Cook’s tone deafness (& pricing insensitivity) and ability to anticipate disaster such as the long intervals between Mac Pros, the MBP butterfly keyboard, Maps and now this blatant pricing gaffe for a monitor stand that failed to anticipate cost vs perceived worth. I was thinking $299 or $399 at most too. I looked up other makers of monitor stands and most were a hundred bucks or less. $999 is an enormous markup! Even is Apple’s stand is an “engineering marvel.”

    Leave it to Apple now to torpedo a great product announcement leaving everyone relieved and excited RIGHT AT THE END and then leave a bad taste in people’s mouth no matter how you justify the pricing. Pros will spend the money for top shelf computers but they also don’t want to feel they’re being unnecessarily ripped off.

      1. It’s a crime? Are you serious? Apple creates a superb pro monitor for a fraction of the price of currently available products and with superior specs, and you want to gripe about the stand and call Apple “arrogant”?

        Seriously, you aren’t going to buy a Mac Pro or the XDR anyway. So why do you give a rat’s ass about the cost of the stand for a monitor that you will never own?!

        Sure, Apple should have priced the monitor $500 more and reduced the price of the stand. But does it really matter in the end? No.

        1. “Apple creates a superb pro monitor for a fraction of the price of currently available products and with superior specs, and you want to gripe about the stand and call Apple “arrogant”?”

          Agree, superlative monitor.

          That said, I cannot believe you don’t recognize the greed and arrogance of vastly overpricing a simple stand and soaking customers.

          Hard core Apple Fanboy.

          Nuff said…

    1. It would have made a lot of sense if Apple sold the XDR Display with The Stand as a package, but still think there are a lot of idiots out there who are focusing on the cost of the stand and ignoring how good that XDR Display is for the price. Although it’s kind of hazy, but when I bought my Mac IIcx with the Apple 8.24 grey-scale graphics card and 2-page Grey-Scale Monitor, that graphics/display package cost about $4000 and I wasn’t going around whining about how Apple was ripping me off. That graphics/display package lasted me for about five years for word processing and page layout using MS Word, Pagemaker, and Ready,Set,Go!

      I understand people being upset with Apple for charging more than any other consumer company, but no one is being forced to buy The Stand. There are plenty of other VESA mount alternatives out there. However, as near as I can tell that XDR Display is a bargain and there doesn’t seem to be any other reference monitor like that anywhere near that $5,000 to $6,000 price range. Why aren’t people focusing on that? The XDR Display and The Stand are not for consumers, so why are consumers crying about the price. A true professional could make the cost of The Stand back in a few weeks time with a new high-end Mac Pro. That thing really should save a lot of time with RAW video files using Afterburner. All I know is when we submitted computer hardware requisitions, items were either approved or not. I’m not sure if The Stand would be approved on its own, but if we requisitioned it and the XDR Display as one item, it would likely be approved. We would make up all sorts of reasons to get new computer equipment and being creative goes a long way.

      People who are not going to buy the XDR Display should not be whining about the price of The Stand. Everyone knows Apple also chases profits by nickel-and-diming customers, so they might as well accept it or go elsewhere. I really don’t understand how The Stand became an internet meme. That’s just ridiculous. Is it that people have nothing better to talk about in their boring lives?

      1. “as near as I can tell that XDR Display is a bargain and there doesn’t seem to be any other reference monitor like that anywhere near that $5,000 to $6,000 price range. Why aren’t people focusing on that?”

        Because they wouldn’t get any personal satisfaction griping about a product they’ll never buy.

        Just like the original iPod, iPhone, iPad, AirPods and Apple Watches (each going on to sell in huge numbers, and in doing so, destroyed industry leaders), there will always be those that complain about Apple’s pricing. Mostly these are people that will never buy the products they complain about, but get a tremendous amount of pleasure bashing Apple. It’s a syndrome closely associated with having a little dick.

      2. “People who are not going to buy the XDR Display should not be whining about the price of The Stand.”

        That is exactly the people who are complaining and rightly so!

        You don’t see it that Apple shot themselves in the foot, once again, with the overpriced greedy Apple tax?

        Guess not…

      1. “Which is the mature, intelligent response to a product a person feels is over priced. All this angst is childish in the extreme.”

        I’m still mulling over the “mature, intelligent response” to a BLIND Apple fanboy…

  4. If the display use an industry stand wall connection wait for a clever company or two to develop generic stands for a much lower price. Might not be aluminum – plastic works almost as well. And tilt might be all you need – just like on the iMac. But you can save some cash and still have the display you want.

      1. YA example of Apple choosing to not follow established industry standards, again, just so that they can try to extract additional cash.

        And my observation is that a bolt pattern on a fixed radius is not innovative, nor capable of any credible amount of IP protection, so any old machine shop is very much free to go to make and sell an adapter plate.

  5. This is not a crazy price because it is for a piece of industrial product. It is a well engineered stand that supports a precision monitor. Picking on this is just a way of generating fake outrage.

    1. check the specs, you will see a world of difference, or, maybe not you, but pro’s will see the difference literally!
      1,000,000:1 contrast ratio? i think not the dell
      1600 nits of peak brightness? not close
      1000 nits of sustained brightness? highly doubt
      incredible veiwing angles? probably not

      You get what you pay for, and this is definitely worth every penny to someone who appreciates the quality

      1. Agree.
        Dell has only 400nit brightnes vs 1000/1600 for XDR Display
        Dell has no Thunderbolt, only 2 x mini display and USB 3.0 – bandwidth and multiple display issues with that? I don’t know enough about it.
        Dell contrast ratio is only 1300:1 vs 1,000,000:1 for XDR
        Dell is claiming the same viewing angles

  6. MDN: we will leave it yo you to explain why Apple today offers the only “professional reference” monitor that doesn’t come with a VESA compatible stand built in. No user can buy the display and immediately use it. All Pro Display XDR mounting hardware is a forced extra purchase, only from Apple.

    Look at the XDR page on Apple’s website. Apple went out of their way to put a proprietary round mount interface on the back of the display so that users are FORCED to buy Apple’s insanely overpriced $200 VESA adapter. Apple could have simply pre-drilled its fancy aluminum backplate for VESA mounts, but no, that would have been user friendly. They actually thought people would be impressed with a $1k stand no different in function than what is included as basic equipment with every other computer monitor on the planet. Let’s not pretend that the Apple stand is anything attractive or special. It costs $50 to reproduce the functionality of something you don’t ever look at behind the screen. For one example:

    So, MDN, if you’re all happy with the price tag Apple charges for nothing you can’t get elsewhere for 1/10 the price or less, explain Apple’s logic there. There is only one: price gouging. Such crass treatment of customers undermines the goodwill that Apple could have earned by simply delivering a better product at a fair price. It seems Apple has no desire to simply delight users — their goal is to bleed them dry too. And the fanboys like you see nothing amiss. You will repeat endlessly, it’s okay, pros can afford it, anything with a “Pro” label from any company means that the purchaser should take it through the shorts. Price gouging is totally okay if you are aiming it at large production companies. Surely they won’t notice Apple’s rampant greed. Well BS. If Apple had explained that this was handmade in the USA, or somehow performed innovative new things, great, you’d get respect. Railroading customers into a custom monitor mount at jacked up prices, that’s pathetic.

    It does make one wonder how much Apple with gouge customers for RAM.

  7. Everyone is talking about the new mac pro, the XDR display and the stand !
    I think it is a pretty good marketing coup from Apple …
    Even my cleaning lady had heard about it and was curious.

  8. Real professionals spend more than that on handles for their cameras.

    If there was a market for monitor stands this expensive, there wouldn’t have been audible gasps from the audience. However, there’s not.

    The market either has not been convinced of, or has been convinced to reject, ultra premium monitor stands.

  9. Again, there is a place for a new SGI, and Sun Microsystems.
    But there’s a false equivalence brewing here. Pro does not necessarily mean niche. It’s broader than that.

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