Originally Posted by Marvin
That gets said about pretty much everything they do though. The original iPhone was a very highly priced smartphone with few features - no apps besides webapps - and people complained and excuses were given that it was meant for business users. Then they dropped the price so consumers could get one and they've had the biggest success with it out of anything they've done.
So what lesson can we get from this? Don't underestimate volume. Maybe they can't see a way to build the machine the way they do to reach a big enough audience but it doesn't mean they want to purposely exclude people from being able to get one because they've decided their market beforehand.
Once they get 32-core or 64-core mobile chips (probably take at least another 10 years), those Mac Pros will ship in so few numbers that they'll just kill them off, which leads to an interesting question. If that happens, how has the scenario changed? Will 'industrial customers' stop buying them because they can't be part of the target audience?
Phrases like 'industrial customers' or 'professionals' are thrown about casually to justify what Apple do without any real meaning. Apple sell to whoever will buy their product regardless of working status. Machines are their to fill a need. If a student is learning 3D/compositing/motion graphics/Film editing or a freelancer does this work, they need a high performance machine on a budget and those people could well be the precursors to the 'pros' who are the target audience. Apple would do well to cater to them so they don't just stick with the competition who supported them from the start and whose software they've learned inside and out over the course of decades.
Given that Apple are selling a $300 processor in a $2500 machine, it would seem they are pushing it out of reach artificially but I don't think it's that they don't want people buying the Mac Pros, just that they'd rather people bought iMacs.
I don't remember Apple ever saying that the iPhone was for business users, and that was why there were no apps to buy. Indeed, businesses were saying that the phone wasn't suitable for them in that first incarnation, partly because there were no apps they could write, or get.
But, Jobs made a remark a couple of times very early after the phone first came out, stating that there would be apps, and that everyone would be happy with the way it would work. I stated that I didn't think that was web apps which they had announced shortly, because almost no one was happy with that, and it didn't seem as though Jobs would make such a sure claim and then fall so short of it.
All of us who have a Mac Pro, and who have also had the earlier G5 have seen just how expensively these machines are built. They are not even close to consumer machines as the older lines Apple always had. They are way more industrial than the older B/W or graphite G4's. They are also built much better than my older Macs. Those were all PC level machines with refinements. These are NASA quality machines.
Are they purposefully EXCLUDING anyone from buying one? Of course not! Anyone who wants one can buy it. But that doesn't mean it's aimed at just anyone. It's like anything else on the professional/commercial/industrial level, if you want it, have the space for it, and are willing to pay for it, then you can buy it.
I don't think that Apple has an interest in making a model with less. It just doesn't fit within this quality group. The individuals and companies who are buying these want what they have, and would like even more, not less.
You're making an assumption that you can't make. You don't know what Apple plans for these, and it's not likely they will put mobile chips inside unless that's all that's being produced at that time. And if that's the case, then every manufacturer of industrial workstations and servers will be forced into the same boat. Apple has had the chance to use i5 and i7 chips in these, and has declined. That shows their intentions. ECC memory is a requirement for most of their customers, as is reliability. That's one reason they're still fixing the leaks in the old G5s, or giving new Mac Pros as replacements.
The price of the cpu is just a small part of the overall cost to produce these machines. I'm very familiar with industrial construction, as that was what my company produced. These are some of the best machines I've ever seen. Even workstations by other PC companies aren't built as well as these, even if their prices are noticeably higher. The base cost to produce a MacPro remains the same whether it uses a single "low end" Xeon, or two high end chips. The only difference is the chip mobo, and a slight difference in the power supply. That's why the "cheap" model costs so much .