Let’s not beat around the bush. I have great news to share:
Apple is currently hard at work on a “completely rethought” Mac Pro, with a modular design that can accommodate high-end CPUs and big honking hot-running GPUs, and which should make it easier for Apple to update with new components on a regular basis. They’re also working on Apple-branded pro displays to go with them.
I also have not-so-great news:
These next-gen Mac Pros and pro displays will not ship until next year.
I am pretty excited about this, because hopefully it means a good Mac Pro in 2018, and for at least a few years after. Why go to all the trouble if they don’t plan on maintaining it for at least a while?
Let's see if they actually deliver on that promise. This has me excited in the future for macOS again.
I really hope they deliver on these promises. The classic aluminum pro tower was one of my favorites.
i'm skeptical of what "a modular design" might mean. remember when they called the current-gen Mac Pro "our most expandable Mac yet" because it had so many Thunderbolt ports.
I'm almost certain it will be a movement back to something similar to the larger enclosure, internally swappable design of the previous Mac Pros. If they've learnt their lesson (and it seems they have), they're not going to try another experiment in rethinking 'modularity' this time around.
That’s exactly how I took the comment as well. They want a case that handles full height GPUs, higher power drain, and can push more air through it. They want a nice PC case, like the cheese grater was.
And dual GPUs are likely gone, at least on the low end option. That’s a good thing!
They will need dual GPUs to compete on the upper end of pro now.
That weird "devs don't take advantage of multiple GPUs and mostly use one large one" comment is pretty ridiculous to anyone who actually uses GPU powered computing. Felt more of a roundabout way of admitting they screwed up the GPU setup but the reason isn't actually the number it is the fact it's AMD.
e.g Many 3D pros are now moving to machines with way more than 2 GPUs http://rawandrendered.com/Octane-Render-Hepta-GPU-Build
I agree with you, but I don't think it should be the default, and if Apple wants to play in the dual-GPU world, they’d need a solution that’s better than “use Metal”. They need Vulkan. They already had Mac Pros with dual GPU, and there’s effectively zero software that uses them.
Also, that PC build is bonkers. Great stuff.
Worried that it means easier for Apple to update components, not consumers.
My big conclusion from one aspect of this (the timeline) is simply that Apple knows the market for Mac Pro is tiny even compared to the iMac.
Why we've waited so long for an update is simple: they can't justify investing a huge expensive engineering team on something that won't give them as a profitable return like the MacBook Pro. That is probably why they're hinting for a modular system. Smaller team = longer process.
And... They most likely have a very small team working on this. Once they release this new Mac Pro, it will be a new era. When they launch, they can focus on releasing new components instead of entirely new products for several years to come. That will most likely go hand in hand with other Mac-related projects, so the teams won't be as split (I'm assuming). It would be too expensive to release an entirely new closed system every other year. A modular system will save them time and money which can justify a new Mac Pro for the 1%.
I'm glad they finally realized this and I'm excited to see what's around the corner (and that display!). Yay.
“Single digit percent of users” of a $25 billion a year business is still likely $2 billion a year or more, when you consider the average unit price and margins on pro hardware vs low end Mac laptops.
Single percent is more likely closer to 1% or less not 10% (as Gruber suggested). Which probably makes it $200m - $400m turnover. So maybe $25-$75m profit or less, given specialised hardware, inventory, techs-training, support.
Keep in mind the Mac Pro ARPU is likely around or over $4000. The ARPU of the rest of the lineup is maybe half that, or less.
There’s an easy and good argument to be had for keeping the Mac Pro as PC-like as possible when it comes to hardware, but still doing it.
Oh, and that “single digit percentage” is for now, for a 1200 day old Mac Pro, not for the first 12 months of sales of a refreshed Mac Pro.
Not to mention the value of keeping people in the ecosystem.
If it was completely inconsequential to them I don't think they'd have spent all that R&D money on the trash bin Mac Pro in the first place.
Absolutely this. It's a small percentage of users, but a vitally important use case for them to support.
Apple knows the market for Mac Pro is tiny even compared to the iMac
The percentage of people who NEED a Xeon and ECC ram is probably less than 1%.
To make this system so expensive and so un-configurable it seems silly to me to argue the market is small.
If it had options to ship with faster cheaper processors with less cores, non-ECC ram and a GTX would it still be 1%? Basically if you could spend the same amount you would on an iMac and trade screen for raw power I think that number would be multiples higher.
Totally agree. What you described is exactly what I want.
Very excited! Also like the sound of an iMac Pro. Would be nice to get a real powerhouse all in one.
Apple setting the stage for AR & VR products?
Setting the stage? They're already packing that stage down ready for the next big thing. Apple missed the AR & VR stage entirely.
But Apple never runs in the front. It adopts tech later and makes it mainstream. AR/VR is very geeky right now and the only way to run the best VR(oculus) is to have an expensive PC. And portability? Nope.
Missed it entirely? Heck no. To keep this analogy going, the stage for VR is still going up, and AR is a model in someone's studio. VR is my current obsession and it's at least a few years away from being where it needs to be technology-wise.
People thought the MP3 player market was a done deal by the time the iPod arrived. As Suganth mentions, they rarely go bleeding edge but wait and clean up the experience for the mainstream.
Seems almost absurd to trust this revised product after the ludicrous joke that was the last one.
Not to mention the entire rest of the company actively trying to push people away from real computers to tablets.
Actively? They have 2x the number of Mac models to iPads.
Try watching their latest ad campaign and pay close attention to the wording.
You mean where they talk about tablets taking on laptop tasks? I think those look more to grow iPad sales at the expense of Surface sales, and to capture those who are hesitant to buy a new laptop. My point is pretty simple and requires no reading between lines: If they want to push people away from traditional computers, they wouldn't invest in having literally double the number of traditional models vs tablets.
Surface, sure, but they also have their eyes on Chromebooks these days.
Definitely agree, that's a whole stream that I often overlook.
Pushing those who can into using an iPad erodes the bottom of the Mac market, not the top. I hope Apple understands that. So, what I’m saying is that if the iPad does well, that takes away from MacBooks, not Mac Pros and iMacs. If anything, it likely means the Mac becomes more pro over time, as non-pro customers migrate away.
I’m not entirely convinced it’ll play out like that. iOS is very mature and can’t magically do new things without drastic changes that are unlikely.
Just to be clear: I agree with you. I’m just not convinced the ads will change much.
Think my main worry is Jobs understood the need for real computers, Tim Cook doesn't and almost lacks the vision to see how they are valuable.
Yeah. I hope you’re wrong, but fear you’re not.
I'll pay attention if they add "pencil" support.l like the Surfac Studio
doubtful, they're pushing the iPad Pro as the drawing interface.
It’s worth noting that, when asked about a touch display here, in the context of efforts like Microsoft’s Surface Studio, Schiller replies “No.”
Yeah, you may be right, which is why Im not buying any Apple pc for the forseeable futue. I currently have two 15 rMBPs (2015) , my next purchase will be the Surface Studio (if the beef up the specs)
yeah, if you're keen for touch-enabled screens I think your options are iPad + AstroPad + Mac or Cintiq + Mac. Can't see Apple creating a combined option anytime soon.
This is great news. I'm running one of those 2013 Darth Vader tin boxes and have been plagued with GPU issues. Unexpected force quits, that are impossible to recreate. Better yet when Apple admitted this fault with the D series and offered a free replacement, they bloody decided not to include the "D300" in the lower spec models.
My good ol Late 2008 Mac Pro "Eleanor" is not happy to hear this.
From a branding perspective, it's very important for Apple to keep the Mac Pro because weak doesn't look good on them. When you go pro, all you want is pure power. That's the same with any product really. They simply can't abandon the Mac Pro, that's not an option.
I think the key comment to everything Apple said was that there are so many different types of pro users. One size does not fit all pro users. Back then, the Darth Vader trashcan design was perfect for the video editing in final cut pro, but today the pro user wants a GPU rendering / pro gaming/ VR dev machine. You have to go PC for that because today it's all about the graphics card. The advancements in graphics cards have surpassed CPUs.
It will be great when I can get such a pro, multi-use computer like that with a Mac OS experience. It might spawn a new cult Apple audience too, the gammer.
I want a machine for gaming, streaming and design:
- A powerful mac
- +64GB ram
- 2 5k display
Less than 4500 budget.
Me too. Apple, please use a GTX1080 Ti or TITAN Xp in the new Mac Pros!
I'm about to build a Hackintosh when the new drivers are out.
This is exciting news, but curious - how many people here have a Mac Pro? I don't do video work, and think the new iMacs would suit me just fine
I have bought every single generation of Mac Pro. The iMacs are great, but if you do anything that requires heavy processing that can be parallelised, more CPU and GPU cores definitely helps a lot.
I also find that even some of the bigger design documents I work on get a bit slow (yes, in all design tools!). It’s also nice to be able to keep the display, and change out the box every couple of years.
Yeah makes sense. Now very curious - what display do you have Marc? Bet you have a pretty mean setup
An old 24-inch Thunderbolt Display! Nothing special at all. Due for an update at some point soon… I guess I’ll wait for the new Apple display in 2018. Hopefully by then there’s better support for Display P3 in design tools.
I do some After Effects work on my iMac and while it's fine, I'd struggle if I was doing it all the time. But for everything else, iMac totally suffices.
iMac totally suffices
It absolutely suffices, until you see whats possible on what is currently considered a pro machine in 2017, if you do any 3D then once you switch to GPU powered engines like Octane, Redshift you can't go back.
Oh, no doubt. I just use mine for Sketch, Photoshop, After Effects and gaming, and it's fine. I don't do 3D stuff.
Yeah, fine until you see what a $1500 PC can do, and then you’re ruined.
TBH I've only heard of someone having a Mac Pro in the wild. Never actually seen one on a desk.
I’ve only owned PowerMacs and Mac Pros. When I used to do print design work, the studios will always full of PowerMacs and Mac Pros. Maybe they use iMacs more now? Mac Pros can be pretty good value in comparison to other models, because you can buy your display(s) on a different upgrade cycle, and they typically have a longer usable lifespan (especially true, given Apple hasn’t updated them).
Mac Pros are great. :)