With Mac Pro, Apple will soon have a Mac for almost everyone – except for these users

William Gallagher for AppleInsider:

It’s a relief that we’ve got the new Mac Pro and so can finally stop talking about how Apple is ignoring a key market segment… While we didn’t and still don’t buy into the idea that Apple is doomed because it chooses to not make a Mac for a certain market, we also don’t think the range is complete yet. And when you look at the current lineup with that Mac Pro at the high end, the gap is startling.

Right now you can make a good case that Apple provides a clear Mac line. You can always lament the prices, but there is now a Mac for you whether you’re a casual, occasional user or your job pushes technology to its limits ten times a day.

It’s just that there is this big gap in the middle for users who need a little more power, a little expandability and no display. And it’s a gap that would be filled by a tower or mini-tower Mac that sits between the iMac and the iMac Pro in price and performance… There are no desktop Macs or MacBooks with a base entry price between $1,300 and $4,998.

MacDailyNews Take: While the mythical “Mac mini tower” is certainly a worthy dream, if it existed it might make decision-making even more difficult than it already is for many users. Right now, Apple’s build-to-order options fill in that enormous price gap between base Mac entry prices very well.


  1. This is completely false, because we get stuck with the initial purchase or a high price, we are loosing our right to UPGRADE which is really BAD. IF apple made Memory and Drives Upgradable, the need for mini tower would be really cut.
    1-Slotted ram on MACS
    2-Standard SSD Upgrades, even if needed to be certified by apple.
    3-SD card slot even if MicroSD. which serves at least as Expansion Drive

    1. Absolutely true! There is NO reason for the Mac Pro to cost what it seems will be the price. Apple builds product with a specific price point in mind not based on what’s realistic given the components being used.

      1. Really? Absolutely no reason? I assume that you have the full Mac Pro BOM and R&D budget and anticipated unit sales figures to back up your assertion…? No, I thought not.

        I admit that it is disappointing that the new Mac Pro start at about twice the price of the old cheese grater Mac Pro from around 2012. But relatively few pros are going to buy the base model Mac Pro just like few people buy the base model of most cars or trucks. They are structured to funnel people towards the midrange or higher (from DX to LX or EX for instance). The bang-for-the-buck tends to increase in the mid-range models and then drop off again at the high end due to increasing component costs. That is the way it is. The base model doesn’t pay for the development – it is all in the options.

        So, when you buy a Mac Pro, you are basically paying for its potential above the base model given the 1.4kW power supply and thermal zones and slots for 1.5TB of RAM and rack mountable frame and all of the rest. Given the development costs and what I would anticipate to be relatively low unit sales (relative to other Apple products), it stand to reason that it costs a good bit just to get into the game. Is the base Mac Pro overpriced relative to its combined development costs and components? Possibly. Could Apple subsidize the cost (reduce or eliminate profits) to give the Mac Pro a sales boost? Sure. Apple has the money to spare to do that, if they choose.

        But Apple has finally, after five or six years, produced a Mac Pro and XDR display that appears to exceed pro requirements and even some wild dreams. Are pros willing to pay for that? Or was all of the pro griping just hot air?

      2. The components in the MacPro are industrial grade, not consumer grade. Xeon processors, ECC RAM, and multi-Gbps storage are not cheap. The MacPro also comes with a 1.4KW power supply.

        Try to configure a Dell or HP Box with the same components as the base MacPro and see how much it costs. You’ll find that the Mac Pro is actually cheaper.

          1. You don’t even know what the 2019 Mac Pro costs yet, what’s the point of attempting to compare last year’s Dell and HP workstations to next year’s Mac Pro????

            At some point the usual fanboys are going to have to admit that the fashion finishes Apple offers don’t come for free. Machined aluminum cases do absolutely nothing for performance or value. Without question the competition will easily undercut Apple’s pricing across the board. Usually competitors will leapfrog each other in value in a competitive market.

            But if you insist on playing pricing games with incomplete Apple information, go ahead. The Falcon Mac V starts at about $4200.


            1. Five words about Falcon: Gaming. Rig. Not. Pro. Gear.

              Wanna try again with real professional hardware? Xeon processors, ECC RAM, Industrial grade SSDs?

            2. None of those meets the definition of a workstation grade computer. They don’t support Error Correcting Code (ECC) RAM nor do they support workstation class processors with larger caches.

              The Intel i9 caches are 16MB caches while the Xeon in the low end Mac Pro has a 24.5MB cache. In addition, the i9 has only 16 memory lanes while the low end Xeon has four times as many at 64. Much more data can be processed and moved through a late model Xeon than through any i9, even at slower clock speeds. ECC RAM assures that accidental write errors in memory don’t cascade through data catastrophically, ruining a project. High speed SSD drives, fast reliable I/O, and high end storage complete the picture.

              That’s what makes a workstation superior to a fast gaming machine.

          2. HP and DELL aren’t currently offering nor have they indicated they plan to offer, a system that covers the specs that the Mac Pro is planning to provide. Now that Apple has announced, they MAY try to spec something up. At that point, we’ll be able to do cost comparisons.

            1. Well now that Apple is shipping the Mac Pro, have you done your pricing comparison?

              Why don’t you spec out a nice HP Z8 workstation running Linux and tell us all what you find.

              I’ll help you out: you will find that Apple doesn’t even attempt to offer one tenth the user options that the competition like HP does. Apple bundles a bunch of stuff and picks discrete configurations that, yes, price relatively well if you tried to custom build the exact same Linux/Windows PC or Hackintosh config. However without much effort you can dial in the perfect balanced performing machine FOR YOUR SPECIFIC NEEDS than Apple will offer, and save a bundle of money doing it, because the steps between the Apple configs are enormous.

              For example:

              Apple Mac Pro offers 5 processor options, one processor max

              In the Z8 G4 workstation, HP offers 38 different processor options IN SINGLE OR DUAL PROCESSOR CONFIGURATIONS. So if you get wild, you can have a 56 core workstation running a pair of Intel Xeon 8280 processors.

              For graphics, Apple offers only AMD choices, the antiquated Radeon Pro 580X with 8 GB GDDR5 to start or multiples of the Radeon Pro Vega II (32 GB HBM2 VRAM per card).

              The HP offers 14 different graphics cards options, AMD and NVIDIA, with up to 48 GB GDDR6 VRAM per card.

              Then there are the differences in storage options, optical drive bays, networking options, SD card reader, etc. You can easily pour more money into a custom PC workstation than you can a Mac Pro. Or you can choose just what you need for a bargain starting point and add new capability later. Not that much different than Apple has done for the Intel era, actually.

              Apple doesn’t even try to serve a wide segment of the market. They offer a few choices and the user has to adjust himself to the limitations that Apple imposes. Then the Apple marketing team wonders why they can never gain more than 10% market share.

              Wrong Again will say that the solution to get a more capable machine at a better price is to simply drop in ARM processors, so that Apple’s personal computing market share can drop to 0%. Because it if is anything at all like iOS or iPad OS, then an ARM device is not at all personal, and absolutely inadequate to be in any desktop. Let alone a Pro workstation.

  2. You have no right to upgrade. You are not forced into buying any Apple product, you have no right to upgrade. That propaganda is from ifixit in order to gain more profits for themselves.

    1. I am an updater since 1989 when I did buy a Classic without a harddisk. My last one, a Macbook-pro mid 2012, is still going strong with her expanded 16GB memory and new SSD drive.

  3. Someone who Neds to push the “tech logical limits” 10 times a day will not be buying the base model. At that level they will be doing the research and end up with a pretty maxed out Mac and that is where the 28 core option comes into play.

    Maybe those complaining should dig deep enough to learn just how powerful a maxed out Mac Pro really is.

  4. I agree and have often thought an upgradeable Mini-Tower would serve a certain market. It also might cannibalize Mac Pro sales. If the Mac Mini is too little and Mac Pro too much for your needs where do you go for a monitorless Mac?

    1. The Mac mini, I suppose, although it is a bit pricier than I would like given its modest power and lack of expandability. But I think that is where I might head with my next Mac purchase. I have a 2007 iMac that is getting long in the tooth and I want to be able to stay current with the macOS and software.

      1. The current generation non-pro iMacs are very powerful and come with a fantastic monitor. If you’ve been happy with a 2007 iMac, a new 5K 27” machine will blow your mind…

    2. I should have added that I would certainly appreciate the option of purchasing a minitower Mac if it had reasonable specs and expansion options and started at ~$1600 or so. When I say reasonable, I mean four RAM slots, several PCI-E slots (maybe one of those half-length), and two drive bays.

      1. … Just a tall Mac Mini but with modern chip options, proper cooling, proper user-replaceable RAM, a proper user-replaceable GPU card, multiple user-accessible non-proprietary internal storage bays, with ports that natively connect to other stuff besides USB-C peripherals.

        A well designed headless Mac would blow the doors off any current iMac. For one, the sustained performance of an iMac takes the hit from highly compromised cooling, made worse by Jony Ive and compounded by having a display dumping heat into the same box as the processors.

        There are many good reasons that all the top hifi manufacturers use separate boxes for the different components.

  5. Look at the Mac, don’t look. Apple, it seems, is putting the Mac out of reach of most users and gently directing customers to iPadOS and iOS. This is the future of computing. Mac will linger, it’s awesome but further getting out of touch.

    1. “out of reach of most users”
      Apple’s global market share is in the low double digits. -Out of reach of most users- is what they’ve always been.

    1. Don’t intermingle iMacs with headless desktop Macs. The iMac does not fill the enormous gap between the Mini and the Mac Pro. for many reasons. Foremost is the inability to have the display one wants. iMacs are NOT versatile computers for large format graphics work or large dataset work. Apple doesn’t even make matching monitors if you want a second display.

      It’s years overdue for Apple to deliver an affordable mid range headless desktop. Reuse the old cylinder if necessary, just remove the Pro label. Stuff in an i9 chipset; upgrade connections; make the SSD, GPUs, and RAM user replaceable. Offer dual drive instead of dual GPU. and keep up with chip releases annually!!!! Why is that too hard, Apple?!?!?!?!?!

  6. In 2010 I bought my current Mac Pro. I paid about $ 2800 for the entry model and upgraded from 3 to 16 GB RAM which I paid about $600 for. Now the entry model costs $6000. I’m one of the people mentioned in the article. I don’t need a top-speed machine but I want a Mac that I can upgrade with RAM, SSD/HDD and some other add-ons. This is why my Mac has lasted almost 9 years. I replaced my hard drives about three times during those years and added extra ports. I would have loved to buy a new Mac Pro for these reasons but $6000 + more for extra RAM and other stuff is definitely too much for me. – OK, I’m not really a Pro user. – So I decided to by a MacBook Pro instead and overpaid for upgrading to 32 GB RAM. Now I need to have an external drive to store my media content because I cannot afford to have 4 GB SSD installed. I hope I will be happy with this solution. On the plus side: Now I can walk around with my Mac.

    1. On Apple’s website, there are instructions for upgrading the memory and disks in upgradable Mac models, complete with specs and diagrams. I ordered a better 2017 iMac than I had initially planned with the minimum amount of memory, and before I even turned it on for the first time, I upgraded it to 64GB. The net cost was $600 cheaper than the iMac I had initially planned on buying.

      My theory is that Apple believes that people who truly need more memory are smart enough to buy the right model and upgrade it themselves. Less hassle for Apple, less cost for customers.

  7. When the first MacMini came out, I thought it would be a great entry into the Apple world for me in addition to my Windows PC. However, since the Mac Mini is headless like the hypothetical mini tower, it needs a mouse, monitor, and keyboard, which could come from any source. I priced it out to make a valid comparison, and even with inexpensive equipment from other manufacturers, the iMac was less expensive with better specs. I think the MacMini was originally designed to be an enticement to new customers and that they had no intention of continuing it until clever people found innovative ways of using it.

    Every time I read these complaints about Apple not having a mini tower, three things come to mind: 1) Apple cannot be ignorant of the people who claim to be a potential market, 2) Sometime over the last 13 years, Apple must have considered the idea and rejected it, and 3) No one who does a table-top cost-benefit analysis would buy one, just to get what amounts to a tall MacMini.

    There is no particular need to have a tall MacMini in the product line, hence it doesn’t exist.

    1. “I think the MacMini was originally designed to be an enticement to new customers”
      You don’t even have to think, that’s exactly what it was. People coming from a PC could keep their peripherals in the same place on their desks and just plug into the Mini.

      That’s not a use case Apple was going to continue indefinitely. I was surprised they updated it, BUT not surprised by the price. Apple doesn’t need a low end “dip my toe in the Mac world” anymore as many already know what they are AND have an Apple Store nearby to go see for themselves.

  8. I configured an HP Workstation a couple of days ago with XEON processor they offered, not the newest 24.5 cache one Apple puts in its base model, but last generation’s Xeon, and added everything you get with a Mac Pro, including a 1.4 KW power supply upgrade, and deleted things you don’t. It totaled to over $9,700. . . and you still hadn’t added a lick of software to match what comes with a Mac.

    1. Give it 6 months. By the time Apple actually publishes its prices and starts shipping in quantity, both Dell and HP will have matching performance and functions. Apple fanboys themselves say it, Apple never even tries to compete on price anymore. They just designed a chrome and machined aluminum Mac Pro chassis that costs double or more what a simple effective case would need to do the job. Add to that unnecessary BS like Apples proprietary internal connectors and Apple’s T2 chip which is basically just used to prevent user upgrading— of course the Mac Pro is the expensive choice. The competition will easily undercut Apple’s product pricing. Apple makes it easy for them to do so.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.