Mac Pro: Apple has good news and bad

From a note by John Gruber posted on Daring Fireball Tuesday morning:

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 this year”…

Gruber usually gets his scoops direct from Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller. For more MacPro vaporware news, read The Mac Pro Lives.

UPDATE: Four other reporters were in on this briefing. See also these first-hand accounts:

Below: Schiller introducing the 2013 Mac Pro.

10 Comments

  1. Gianfranco Pedron said:
    “… “completely rethought” Mac Pro, with a modular design …”

    Here’s one for the rumor mill … LEGO® by Jony Ive.

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    April 4, 2017
  2. Tom Wyrick said:
    Not so long ago, the demand was for an announcement from Apple that it is committed to Macintosh for the long-run, and has specific plans to update the Pro line for those who consider themselves power users. Now that the outlines of a plan have been revealed, that is not good enough. Critics want to be in charge of setting the launch date.

    Good news from today’s AppleInsider: “Apple is still aiming to target professional users looking for new Macs, and has revealed plans to release new iMacs this year with new configuration options that could be attractive to prosumer and creative users.”

    2
    April 4, 2017
  3. Fred Stein said:
    Just read Gruber’s piece, covering dialog with Apple execs and his observations. It’s now finally making nonsense – pun intended.
    Apple designed this really neat Pro that was so cool (not using lots of watts) and so quiet, whisper fan, that they could not be upgraded with hotter and faster chips. Per Gruber, many pro users are sw engineers who love their MacBooks which get more frequent updates and are useful everywhere. Hence, with some constraints on budget, and the use-it-everywhere factor, the Mac Pro loses sales to MacBooks
    Then, I guess, a year or two ago, the Mac Pro fell into limbo. Upgrade? But how given the thermal issue? Redesign and go back to modular, admitting the can’t-innovate-anymore triumph was a goof? Hope for Intel or AMD to fit the thermal constraints? Or defer, focusing on bigger revenue opportunities. The last doesn’t sound glorious, especially given the negative press from their biggest fans.
    Is there a silver lining?. Maybe the 2018 Mac Pro will have amazing GPUs that Apple is apparently designing, for amazing game creation, Deep Learning, AR, and ? Apple may also bring new faster storage technology and interfaces which can dramatically improve performance for Pro applications.

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    April 4, 2017
  4. George Ewonus said:
    I guess I have a different take than some. I have been a “Pro” user from the very first. I have really enjoyed my ‘trash can’ Mac Pro. Maxed it out with massive raid arrays. Has run flawlessly. I am looking forward to the new version which will obviously have the latest CPUs and GPUs and Thunderbolt 3. Would I have appreciated this announcement earlier – yep – but my current Mac Pro still is an amazing machine. I love the design – first Pro I could ever put on my desk. I view today’s announcement as good news from Apple.

    1
    April 4, 2017
  5. Richard Wanderman said:
    I’m delighted with this news. Frankly, I care less about the specifics than I do about the fact that Apple has essentially said that they heard the outcry over the MacBook Pro and the fact that the Mac Pro hasn’t been updated and are going to do something about it. Even if they’re just starting now and it won’t happen for a year, this is better news than if they’d said they were dropping the Mac Pro and dropping support for pro users. The pushback over this is very short sighted: what are they going to do, switch to Windows over this? If so, I’d say that would be extremely short sighted.

    I’ll buy a new iMac when they come out for sure and no doubt a new MacBook Pro as well.

    Now, if they’d just stay in the router business I’d be really happy.

    1
    April 4, 2017
    • Fred Stein said:
      Great points Richard. I’d also like to see a router. It’s another piece of prime real estate in our digital lives. A router whose security and privacy I can trust, would be so nice. And consider other functions could they add. The wifi could connect to smart home devices and be remotely accessible. I’ve heard of technology whereby Wifi can passively detect intrusion, sort of like radar.

      1
      April 4, 2017
      • Richard Wanderman said:
        I agree Fred, the router business, while a commodity business at this point doesn’t have to be that way for Apple: they have the very best software (AirPort Admin and Time Machine) and they could add lots of functionality to keep people in the ecosystem.

        Personally, I’d like to be able to back up my iOS devices locally without using my computer and it would be nice if a Time Capsule could handle that.

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        April 4, 2017
  6. Martin Beutling said:
    In Grubers post, Craigh Federighi mentioned a very interesting point.

    Looking back to the first iMac and what it was designed for, the actual iMac, though a few months out of date, is comfortably able to handle a lot of things today’s pro users wants or need.
    In 1998 a pro-User was a Graphics or a photo Editor….today’s is consumer who is handling pro stuff like 4k videos shot on a phone.

    So the consumer mac has to be able to handle pro stuff and so both lines are merging into another.

    0
    April 5, 2017

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