All-new Mac Pro with modular design, Apple-branded pro displays coming in 2018

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  • Reply 121 of 210
    abneroneabnerone Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    mobius said:
    This is unprecedented. I mean, seriously...has this ever happened before that they would announce something this far out from release?

    I'm very happy with this news. I'll take the minor speed bumps. However, I think they could have also dropped the prices of the current crop a little.
    They did do a $1,000 price drop today on the Mac Pro line.  They dropped the prices of the middle config by $1000, and so it is now the low config.  A custom 8-core config is now the upper standard config, but at $1000 lower than before.  
    ration alwatto_cobra
  • Reply 122 of 210
    lmaclmac Posts: 85member
    The Cylinder has turned out to be another Cube. Overpriced and underpowered. I'd really like them to keep the Cylinder in the lineup as a mid-range option. Then the mini can be the bic lighter of Macs, with no expansion. The Cylinder can be the somewhat expandable middle of the road machine, and the new box can be the true Pro machine, with the greatest expandability.
    edited April 4 watto_cobrawozwozdysamoria
  • Reply 123 of 210
    abneroneabnerone Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Error in the article:  The upper model is getting a video card with D700's, not D800s
    watto_cobradysamoria
  • Reply 124 of 210
    Wow, the announcement of Apple coming back into the standalone monitor business is a real slap in the face to LG. I wonder if LG didn't make a piece of junk in their 5K display if Apple would be coming back.
    watto_cobradysamoria
  • Reply 125 of 210
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,911member
    True. I misread that. Mea Culpa. However, as Sog pointed out. 500,000 mac Pros is a product worth dropping when you're a company who sells millions of other Macs and ios devices, so my point is the same.
    Honest questions:
    • if Apple sells 500,000 Mac Pros, that's a $1.5-3.5 Billion business -- is that a business worth dropping?
    • Apple would still need to develop and maintain macOS and Mac peripherals -- would dropping the Mac Pro really save any costs?
    • what do Apple employees use internally for their high-performance needs?
    • what computer hardware does Apple use for R&D to design and develop Apple products? 
    • Federighi said: "I think if you use Xcode downloads as a metric, it’s possible software developers are actually our largest pro audience. It’s growing very quickly, it’s been fantastic.” -- isn't software development important to Apple and Apple's customers? *
    • doesn't Apple need to have some skin in the game for maintain their ability to do high performance Mac and iDevice development?

    * As to software development, try generating some of the IBM/Swift packages using CLI or Xcode -- requires a bit of time on a loaded iMac 5K

    My point wasn't that apple SHOULD drop Mac Pro. I don't think they should. There was a business argument to be made that they should, however because of the niche market. My point was that today's announcement proves that the hand wringing was incorrect (specifically regarding Tim Cook placing profits above all else) and they ARE making the arguments you just made (that I agree with) internally, and those arguments carried the day. 
    Sorry, My bad!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 126 of 210
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 26,173member
    A version of the Mac Pro I imagine would be basically look like a stack of Mac minis that are connected in the back to each other. This would allow easy removal and upgrades of critical components to take advantage of improvements. Make each component sleek black finish or chrome, or whatever, but modularity would be visible and the whole thing could be assembled by a child.
    edited April 4 watto_cobra
  • Reply 127 of 210
    I didn't know that online forums were comprised of only the 1%.

    Funny that the Mac Pro is an extremely small seller, yet everyone and their dog seems to be using one (and therefore, have the "right" to complain incessantly about it).

    Sounds kind of similar to the people who always preface their $hit posts with "I own several Apple products but...."
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 128 of 210
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 26,173member
    I didn't know that online forums were comprised of only the 1%.

    Funny that the Mac Pro is an extremely small seller, yet everyone and their dog seems to be using one (and therefore, have the "right" to complain incessantly about it).

    Sounds kind of similar to the people who always preface their $hit posts with "I own several Apple products but...."

    Don't start with that "1%" nonsense, please.

    I USED to buy a Mac Pro almost like clockwork every 3-4 years, but I switched to the iMac in 2010-ish and never looked back. Never been happier with any of the Mac line of computers.
    edited April 4 tallest skilwatto_cobra
  • Reply 129 of 210
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 877member
    avon b7 said:
    Two things to applaud. Communication and admitting they got the design wrong.
    Read it again. They bet on parallel processing in the GPUs, but the industry didn't move there. It's not so much as the "design" being wrong, as it the prediction of industry computing trends.
    Yes. They backed themselves into a thermal corner. They couldn't go anywhere with it. At least that's the official line. They got the design decision wrong as it left them with nowhere to manoeuvre without a complete redesign. Yes. On top of that they read the industry tealeaves incorrectly and effectively put all their eggs in one basket. But is it reasonable to actually believe that Apple had no idea where the industry was moving over the following two or three years? Really? They had no idea? I want to believe but I find that notion hard to swallow. If they weren't sure they shouldn't have designed it like they did.

    If they had simply scaled the design up in size to thermally accomodate whatever they needed it might have worked too, but then someone's pride might have taken a bruising.

    Do you think the new design will follow in the footsteps of the current design and try to keep the unit mega compact or will we see a return to a more traditional design stance, even it is modular?

    I hope these thermal lessons have been learned.
    edited April 4
  • Reply 130 of 210
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,247member
    A version of the Mac Pro I imagine would be basically look like a stack of Mac minis that are connected in the back to each other. This would allow easy removal and upgrades of critical components to take advantage of improvements. Make each component sleek black finish or chrome, or whatever, but modularity would be visible and the whole thing could be assembled by a child.
    No offense intended, but that is literally the most ridiculous idea for a pro workstation that I have ever heard of. If they did something like that it would be a fail of epic proportions. Perhaps a child could assemble it since they are so familiar with Lego blocks, but it is a terrible design for a pro computer. There is a reason that all of the most powerful computers have a very similar design. The components are all mounted near one another on a giant motherboard mounted in an aluminum case with large fans and lots interior volume. That is the optimum way to achieve high transfer speeds and maximum cooling, not to mention allowing for the most flexible custom PCIe and storage configurations.
    edited April 4
  • Reply 131 of 210
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,247member
    SpamSandwich said:

    I USED to buy a Mac Pro almost like clockwork every 3-4 years, but I switched to the iMac in 2010-ish and never looked back. Never been happier with a Mac.
    Your dates don't add up. The Mac Pro came out in August of 2006, so buying one almost like clockwork every 3-4 years does not make sense. There were only 4 years between when the original Mac Pro was released until 2010 when you switched to iMac.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 132 of 210
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,902moderator
    A version of the Mac Pro I imagine would be basically look like a stack of Mac minis that are connected in the back to each other. This would allow easy removal and upgrades of critical components to take advantage of improvements. Make each component sleek black finish or chrome, or whatever, but modularity would be visible and the whole thing could be assembled by a child.
    It would be easy for people to build the machine they want but there's not a fast enough interconnect for this and each part would need a power supply (3 wall plugs plus 3 other cables minimum). The parts would also have to be very different in size. The cooling fans would have to blow backwards so the circular fans would make each part very tall and still noisy. It would need a custom interconnect per stack to avoid the power issue but it would mean that if someone wanted all CPUs, they just buy a bunch of CPU stacks, if they wanted GPUs, they get GPU stacks and get a larger or smaller power supply at the bottom.
    Macxpress said:
    I will add that I think its safe to say the MacPro is a very niche product for Apple. Apple knows it, they pretty much admitted it. So it makes absolutely ZERO sense to put a ton of effort into something that about 1 or 2% of Mac customers buy. Like I think it was Phil who said a lot of "Pros" just get high end iMacs and I think Apple sees this and will design a new iMac to accommodate this customer base. 

    It sounded like they were talking more about an iMac Pro. These workstation machines are low volume for every seller. The likes of Boxx and Puget only make a few million in revenue so they are selling thousands of units. HP is the biggest workstation seller and they made $1.8b in 2016, 6% of their overall revenue:

    http://h30261.www3.hp.com/~/media/Files/H/HP-IR/documents/reports/2016/hpq-form-10-k-fy2016-v2.PDF

    If Apple made $1.8b, they'd have sold 600k units vs 18m Macs but they aren't close to the biggest workstation seller by a long way. Their Mac revenue was $22.8b. The following suggests Apple sells under 100k Mac Pro units per year:

    http://jonpeddie.com/publications/workstation_report

    When it comes to expansion and upgradability, the 2012 Mac Pro they brought out the year before the refreshed 2013 model had this design and people weren't buying that either, that's why they redesigned it. For GPU expansion, people were hooking Cubix expander boxes in to get 4 GPUs.

    There are fundamental problems in building a dream machine that suits every user from the entry Mac Pro user to the highest level. Higher performance components need more power and space and that power produces heat. If you design for the highest level like the 2012 model then everybody ends up with a large, noisy, heavy box that most won't upgrade at all. But the advantage is that people can upgrade the GPUs and that's mostly what people want to be upgrading, especially to NVidia GPUs. Storage upgrades are sometimes needed but you get single hard drives that are 10TB now and you get 4TB SSDs ($1400) so even a single storage connector would be enough.

    The nMP design isn't limiting them in overall power, the NVidia 1080 GPUs are 150W/180W for notebook/desktop version and notebooks have them in SLI. These are 8/9TFLOP so 2x would fit into the Mac Pro to make a ~14TFLOP machine, double what they have now. However, in practical cases, a single more powerful GPU typically shows better results. The low volume of buyers doesn't warrant building a custom GPU either.

    The iMac is actually really well suited for this because of the size. They could fit dual 1080 notebook GPUs into an iMac at 300W in slots and have the machine split in half to upgrade the parts, including the storage and it can have a high-end display without worrying about connection bandwidth supporting 5K/8K. They can have the display on a hinge and opening it up would give access to the dual GPUs, RAM, storage and GPUs could be upgraded every year. The following could have fit into the Mac Pro too:

    http://www.eurocom.com/ec/release(350)ec

    The fact is, if they come out with another $3k+ headless box for workstation use, it'll still sell < 100k units per year because that's the size of the market at those price points. If it has upgradeable GPUs, it breaks Thunderbolt compatibility and people will just buy the entry models and get NVidia GPUs. It also still won't support more than 2 GPUs because it would need a larger power supply and I doubt they'll support dual CPUs again because then they need to stock two motherboard types. An enthusiast-level iMac will at least capture some of the enthusiast PC market because the price point will be much more viable when it has the display included.

    If they are going to build another headless box and support standard GPUs in slots, the size would be at least 12" in one dimension, maybe a bigger/taller cylinder or a long box like the external GPU boxes:


    Whatever it is, people won't be happy with it because it will always be 'overpriced and underpowered'.

    It is an important product category though, the volume of sales is low but it's for the highest-end creative work, which is worth supporting. Maybe they should just keep redesigning the Mac Pro to keep people interested in it. Have another design in 2021.

    edited April 4
  • Reply 133 of 210
    anomeanome Posts: 622member
    macxpress said:
    Maybe everyone will stop bitching about the damn MacPro now. 

    Not a chance. We haven't seen it, yet.


    IMO, the operative word in the announcement is modular.

    That opens up many possibilities... Spanning all Apple products/services -- both current and future...

    GPU, GPU, Who's got the GPU???

    The last design should have been modular, but no modules seemed to ever come out for it. It was a tad hamstrung by the poor support for external GPUs in TB2, but I think the basic idea was that you had your processor box, then your really fast external storage (really, what professional worth a damn is still using internal storage?), and your other external specialist components. The basic premise of Thunderbolt is that it's an external PCIe bus, so your components that used to have to be connected internally can be connected externally, and replaced even more easily than having to crack open the box. Or moved from workstation to workstation as needed.

    Apple basically misjudged the market, not just in the parallel GPU space, but also in the external vs internal component argument. Personally, I think having all the specialist components external is an advantage, the problem in the past has been bus speed, but Thunderbolt is getting us past that. So making the central unit as minimal as possible makes upgrading easier, just remove the old component (including the actual computer) and replace it in the chain. That's what modular means, and that's what I think the idea was with the current Mac Pro.

    tenthousandthingsdysamoria
  • Reply 134 of 210
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,247member
    anome said:
    The basic premise of Thunderbolt is that it's an external PCIe bus, so your components that used to have to be connected internally can be connected externally, and replaced even more easily than having to crack open the box. 

    I think the overall design premise of the current Mac Pro was to hide all the wires, maybe just one TB cable to a Raid box and another to a monitor. Trouble is, having all the I/O connections in the rear is a major pain in the ass so you end up with even more cables to breakout boxes. I love the front facing USB for quickly loading camera memory cards.

    Also if you do want to upgrade something housed in a breakout box, you still have to crack open a box, or replace the entire thing including the housing, power supply, fans as well as the card itself, so it ends up being even more expensive and time consuming to upgrade. Personally, I don't really care about wires. I have wires all over the place to charge my phone, Apple Watch, iPad, MBP, wired headphones, land line, power strips, UPS, cables to my computer and monitor. Hiding the I/O ports just for a sleek look is self defeating in my opinion.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 135 of 210
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 26,173member
    Interesting comments here:
    So Apple’s path will not lead them down the direction of touch Mac screens, as they’ve stated. Instead, Federighi suggests that making the iPad Pro, which they feel has a better drawing experience, work better with the Mac is the answer.

    “We recognize customers often [use both] — we all certainly use both — so we’re really focused on making them work well together,” he says.
    “Because we think in many tasks, that’s actually the best solution. So all of our customers should feel free to buy multiple products,” he jokes, laughing. “We encourage that.”

    Perhaps the use of iPad and/or iPhone as external surfaces to compliment the Mac experience is forthcoming after all.

    Source:  https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/04/apple-pushes-the-reset-button-on-the-mac-pro/

    tenthousandthings
  • Reply 136 of 210
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 1,584member
    Here's what Federighi says:

    Federighi is careful to note that, while Apple set out do so something new and different with the Mac Pro, “we didn’t start with a shape and say, ‘well, here’s the fastest machine we can put in that box.’ We actually started with a target for performance and came up with what I think was a very clever design of that thermal core and thermal architecture to accommodate what we thought was the right power architecture.” 

    “What I think we didn’t appreciate completely at the time was how we had so tailor designed that specific vision at the time that in the future we would find ourselves a bit boxed in to a circular shape,” he says.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/04/apple-pushes-the-reset-button-on-the-mac-pro/
  • Reply 137 of 210
    So Apple is incapable of walking and chewing gun at the same time? How long does it take to design a tower that serves the market- we do not give a crap about styling. Take the Pre-Trashcan form factor and update it for the current market- that should take a small team little time.

    A company as big and well heeled as Apple should be able to serve a select small market and waste gobs of money on crap like Animated Balloons on Text Messages and Facebook integration. Serving specialty markets is common in business all the time- you do not have to make a killing on every product line. The line should have been kept up to date all along and the Black Trashcan was a tragic mistake.

    In Medicine, Hospitals and Clinics commonly offer necessary services that are break even at best because it is in the best interest of the customers. Mammography is a prime example- unless you do huge volume you will never make a dime providing the service, but it is done anyhow. Apple makes truckloads on iPhones and should be able to subsidize the high end pro market.
    Actually in business there is a concept called the "majority fallacy" which suggests going after niche markets can be highly lucrative.
    tenthousandthingsdysamoria
  • Reply 138 of 210
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 448member
    We’re not going to get into exactly what stage we’re in, just that we told the team to take the time to do something really great. To do something that can be supported for a long time with customers with updates and upgrades throughout the years. We’ll take the time it takes to do that. The current Mac Pro, as we’ve said a few times, was constrained thermally and it restricted our ability to upgrade it. And for that, we’re sorry to disappoint customers who wanted that, and we’ve asked the team to go and re-architect and design something great for the future that those Mac Pro customers who want more expandability, more upgradability in the future. It’ll meet more of those needs.

    - Schiller, Apple
    Okay, that took gut. Thank you. (And the reason why I can't see any other companies like Microsoft or Samsung to do AND why I love Apple as a company.)

    On the side note, I have MacPRO and to call the design a trashcan is something that an ignorant person who never used it will say. It packs with so many understated innovative deigns inside such as the perfect thermal core that no other PC has.
    edited April 4 watto_cobradysamoria
  • Reply 139 of 210
    Hopefully the Mac division will fly the pirate flag again.
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 140 of 210
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 26,173member
    Hopefully the Mac division will fly the pirate flag again.
    Yep. You're never too old to think like a startup!
    tallest skil
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