Apple hasn’t updated the Mac Pro in three years. Is the company going to pull the plug once and for all on the Mac Pro?
Eye on Apple
By Jim Lynch, CIO
Apple’s recent Mac event shocked many people by completely omitting anything about the Mac Pro. Many people were waiting for an announcement or at least some kind of signal from Apple that an updated Mac Pro was on the way.
But not a single word was said about the Mac Pro by anyone from Apple, and that has left many people wondering if Apple is going to kill the Mac Pro off once and for all.
Marco Arment even wrote a blog post chillingly titled “A world without the Mac Pro.” Marco’s post illustrated perfectly why Apple and its customers need the Mac Pro and why a world without a Mac Pro could cost Apple some serious mindshare among certain professionals.
Here’s some of what Marco had to say:
It’s looking increasingly likely that there will never be another Mac Pro. But there are some things that only a Mac Pro can deliver.
More than 4 cores.
High-end GPU power.
The most RAM.
The freedom of thickness and AC power.
Reliability and longevity.
Apple shouldn’t use the (presumably) low sales of the current Mac Pro to justify discontinuing the line entirely. The 2013 Mac Pro was introduced with a substantial price increase, far less internal expansion, fewer and more expensive processor options, and a forced dual-workstation-GPU configuration even for buyers who would’ve been fine with a single GPU. Then it was abandoned for three years, during which 5K displays finally came to market, but without a good option for Mac Pro buyers.
The 2013 Mac Pro was a victim of limited configuration options in a market that values versatility and edge-case handling, poor timing behind the 5K transition, and years-long neglect. A 2017 Mac Pro need not suffer from the same issues, and could sell far better.
I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Apple has not updated the Mac Pro in three years nor can I understand why the company would possibly kill the Mac Pro off entirely. Having a professional level computer in the Mac lineup is something that should be a given, none of us should be wondering if the company is going to stop offering a product like the Mac Pro.
Now I know that some folks have suggested the iMac as a replacement for the Mac Pro. I have a 5K iMac, and I love it. It’s a fantastic computer and it works well for what I do. But not everybody can get by with an iMac.
Some professionals really do need the power of an updated Mac Pro, the iMac just doesn’t cut it for them. The iMac’s mobile GPU, slim form factor and other quirks means that it simply cannot provide the raw computing power that some professionals require to do their work quickly and efficiently.
So if Apple wants to keep the mindshare of professional users, it needs to offer a pro computer that runs rings around the iMac. Otherwise the company will see more and more pro users dump the Mac altogether and switch to a PC.
A $2000 PC kicks the $4000 Mac Pro’s ass
Unfortunately the current Mac Pro is a fossil in terms of computer power, yet Apple is still selling it for full price on its site. Think I’m kidding about how outdated the Mac Pro is? Then watch this video to see a $2000 custom PC kick the $4000 Mac Pro’s ass in a head to head comparison:
The Mac Pro needs regular updates
As you can tell from the video above, the Mac Pro just isn’t worth buying given its price and outdated components. It’s too expensive, and far too slow to even consider buying right now. $4000 for a top of the line Mac Pro is just flushing money down the toilet, given its outdated components.
Let’s pretend for a moment that Apple is in fact working on a new Mac Pro, and that the company will announce it in the near future. That would make a lot of professional users quite happy in the short term. But what would happen with a new Mac Pro in the long term? Would Apple then ignore it for another three years?
If Apple doesn’t kill the Mac Pro and it comes out with a new model then it had better be sure to update the machine regularly. This means that there should be a new Mac Pro at least as often as there are new MacBook Pros and iMacs. Another three year lag between releases just isn’t going to cut it given what we saw in the PC versus Mac Pro comparison in the video above.
Apple needs to release a new Mac Pro soon and then it needs to update it regularly.
I hope that Apple has a new Mac Pro on the way
As disturbing as it was that Apple didn’t mention the Mac Pro at the recent Mac event, I’m hoping that it means the company is working on a serious overhaul of the Mac Pro and that it just wasn’t ready to be announced.
Perhaps I’m grasping at straws here? Maybe, but I cannot imagine Apple walking away from the Mac Pro completely and killing it outright. It would be a symbolic defeat for the company and would signal to the world that Apple can’t compete in the professional computer market.
Killing the Mac Pro is unthinkable, and I don’t think Apple will do it.
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