The new Mac Pro: the cube comes of age

fxguide by John Montgomery

Apple’s Phil Schiller previewed the new Mac Pro at the keynote of the World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco on June 10th. Sure to annoy as many users as delighting them, the new hardware marks a significant departure from the currently shipping Mac Pro tower. The key discussion concerns seem to be around expandability and graphics card support. Actually, discussion isn’t the right word. I’ll call it what it is: the latest internet shitstorm to hit our industry since the previous darkest day in recent history: May 6, 2013 – the Adobe Creative Cloud announcement.

What Apple didn’t do with the new Mac Pro — and what seems to be the source of the greatest outcry among editors and artists — is create a traditional, slot-filled PC with plenty of expansion and user exchangeable parts. If you’re a user who needs to load up a machine with multiple cards or likes to add or remove your own internal hardware, you’re not going to be happy with the new machine.

Instead of making a computer that could be easily upgraded to work well for everyone, it is clear they are attempting to re-invent the PC with a tightly integrated package that will work *really* well for *most* everyone. Some argue that is Apple telling us what the user needs and forcing it upon them. They’re not forcing anything on anyone, but there are certainly situations where the new hardware will not be an effective solution. And there are alternatives for those users.

Some users who have reacted to the announcement have said Apple doesn’t know anything about the PC market. I think this hardware, as well as Apple’s business success says exactly the opposite. The fact that Apple generates more profit from PC sales than the top five PC makers combined says Apple knows a bit about what they’re doing outside of iPhones and iPads.

A followup argument to this is that Apple should license the OS to external hardware manufacturers in order to provide users what they need. They tried this in the dark days of Apple and it failed miserably. Having been the owner of a PowerPC clone, I know this first-hand. It didn’t work well. There are some who will disagree, but there are significant benefits to controlling both the hardware and software OS as Apple does. read more...

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