Those Mac Pro vents weren’t designed by Jony Ive, maybe

Ben Lovejoy for 9to5Mac:

Ive went off to make some calls, and André described his own routine: he tends to arrive at five or six in the morning, and often then designs geometrically complex objects that he asks the machinists to mill.

He called it a hobby, but, as Akana explained, “We’ll have a meeting about a speaker-hole pattern, or something, and Jony will say, ‘Bart, can you get your box of patterns?’

André agreed to fetch, from his desk, something that he had been using as a coaster. Made of hard white ABS plastic—the material of Legos, and of thousands of Apple studio models a year—it was a disk punctured by evenly arranged holes. Or, as André put it,

“There’s a hexagon pattern of negative shapes that are subtracted from the material from one side, and then there’s the same pattern, subtracted from the material from the other side. But it’s offset, so that the intersection between the two subtractions makes interesting shapes.”

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s designers have always collaborated. This gives us hope for the future of Apple design.

14 Comments

    1. Ive’s desire to create sculpture over performance with the last MacPro is what hobbled it. I can imagine his notes to the engineers… make it smaller, quieter, put all the connections on the back. Based on how the new MacPro looks, Ive was in the back seat design wise and the result is a powerful somewhat awkward looking machine.

  1. this is how you end up with a computer where in order to add memory or cards you have to take the whole case off… come on!

    you talk about over thinking something, that slide off slide on thing, every time you need to go inside, the case, you have to find clearance space around the case. now think how awkward it is going to be when it’s in a rack. funny too, the wheels cost extra.

    what a mess! the cost, why build something and price it such that only a very few will buy it. you can buy a car for these prices.

    1. How often do you guys go inside your Computers, all I know is that on the rare occasions I do it’s great to have total unobstructed access, after years of working through cut outs and windows, weird to see that percieved as a problem.

    2. Like a lot of people BOB, you’re complaining about the upfront sticker price of the Mac Pro rather than looking at the ROI for those that plan on purchasing it. Comparing it to a completely unrelated product (a car) doesn’t make much sense, so if you don’t plan to buy the Mac Pro, there’s really no need to complain, is there?

      1. Ok let’s look at more then ROI. This 12000 system drives up to cost for everything made on it. Let’s say movies, animations, commercials, do you think the people that buy this system will just eat the cost and figure because things are rendering faster they will hustle up the next job. No. They will raise prices to cover the cost. Guest what. That gets passed on. Higher movie cost higher ticket price. Those that are paying the higher ticket raise the fees for whatever work they do so they can go to the movies. On and on. Granted a car is not a computer but there is more steel in a car, there is more plastic or rubber, there are more wires, there are big wheels, there are and they sell less of them a year. Is it starting to dawn on you yet?

        1. Good god. Video production steps will be completed in shorter time frames. Editors will get more work done and make more money. Even charging the same per project. That’s how this works.

          1. Sure, more horsepower means shorter timeframes, but that does not necessarily mean all that you think it does.

            First, Editors will only get more work done (to make more money) if there’s more work to be had.

            Second, customers will quickly have expectations, such that this level of turn-around will become the new threshold.

            Third, customers aren’t stupid either, so given that they know that you’re taking less man-hours to produce the same output, they’ll want LOWER prices for the work…and with the increase in Editing supply capacity (its not only you who’s going to buy), you will have to cut your price. There goes your higher ROI to pay for the stuff.

            In the meantime, with ‘Enthusiast/Prosumer’ utterly priced out of this market, its going to take more than 7 years next time for Apple to get around to refreshing the 2020 Mac Pro…well, it could be made shorter, but the price will double .. again.

  2. I love the simplicity and sophistication of the grate design. It also has an element of magic in that the eye has to spend some time to detect what part is on the front and what part is behind which is somewhat reminiscent of Tony DeLap’s “finish fetish” art constructions.

    1. Sorry, but the grate design isn’t all that “simple” because its a piece of relatively complex machining that pragmatically is only halfway affordable because of CNC automation – – and it is going to be a resource Work-In-Process (WIP) time hog … and CNC machines aren’t free prizes handed out in your Crackerjack box.

      The good news is that this intersecting design looks like it can be done on only a 3-axis CNC, so you’re looking at more like $50K instead of $0.5M in an industrial application. But the operator is going to be about the same, so figure if made-in-USA $20/hr direct (plus overhead). Then count roughly how many holes there are … looks like ~632 on just the front … and how long to machine each (plus cleanup steps), to get a rough idea of the piece part cost. For example, if it only took 2 seconds to fully finish-machine each (including cleanup & burnishing), then you’re looking at 20+ minutes of just tool time for just the front of the cabinet, and easily another 10 minutes for the back. Worse, actually, since Apple also included fractional edge artifacts which are harder to machine.

      Then contrast that with the Mac Cube’s two panel ‘shadowbox’ design that was punched out in ~30 seconds per part, including the load, unload & (the step which actually takes the longest) burnish.

      Similarly, for the new display … figure around 1284 holes to be machined.

      From a very high level SWAG standpoint, I’d say that the new double sided CNC machined cheese grater hole design is costing an extra ~$100/unit to Apple’s manufacturing costs when you actually run out the fully burdened numbers.

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