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So what is coming in September, to cause Apple to warn investors?

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
A product transition that will impact profits for the quarter.

Anybody have any guesses.

I was thinking that maybe they will trim the iPod line up. The other possibility is a high resolution iPad but you would think that would advance sales. Unless of course Apple expects to take a hit on profits with the initial roll out.

I have a third possibility and that is that the Mac Pro gets dropped for a far cheaper machine.

It is curious that they call the move a product transition.
post #2 of 57
iPod classic'll be dropped.

Mac Pro'll be redone, not cheaper.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #3 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I have a third possibility and that is that the Mac Pro gets dropped for a far cheaper machine.

I think it's more likely that they drop the Mac Pro and not replace it with anything.

And I don't think dropping the iPod Classic would impact profits. More than half the iPods sold are iPod Touches.

WHICH MEANS....

It's the iPod Touch that's going to be dropped! In favor of an unlocked iPhone.
post #4 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phong View Post

In favor of an unlocked iPhone.

But we already have an unlocked iPhone.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #5 of 57
Companies are always "warning" investors. It really doesn't mean much.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
Reply
post #6 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

But we already have an unlocked iPhone.

I mean a new kind. I'm trying to avoid the word "paradigm."
post #7 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phong View Post

I mean a new kind. I'm trying to avoid the word "paradigm."

There won't be an iPhone nano. No need to use the word paradigm at all.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #8 of 57
I think it has to do with the new iPhone, and perhaps a lower priced model
You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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post #9 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phong View Post

I think it's more likely that they drop the Mac Pro and not replace it with anything.

I actually could see that happening. Mac Pro sales have to be fairly pathetic right now.
Quote:
And I don't think dropping the iPod Classic would impact profits. More than half the iPods sold are iPod Touches.

WHICH MEANS....

It's the iPod Touch that's going to be dropped! In favor of an unlocked iPhone.

Err I have to think that would never happen. The Touches biggest strength is the lack of a cell radio.
post #10 of 57
How about NO iPhone 5 at all due to the earthquake?
post #11 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeshipping View Post

How about NO iPhone 5 at all due to the earthquake?

Uh. No.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

iPod classic'll be dropped.

Mac Pro'll be redone, not cheaper.

I thought this was a great seller for Apple?
post #13 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvfox View Post

I thought this was a great seller for Apple?

Neither are.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #14 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phong View Post

It's the iPod Touch that's going to be dropped! In favor of an unlocked iPhone.

That's what I think they should do in the sense that they move the radio components into a bumper case and just sell iPod Touches and leave the carriers to deal with your phone parts. This way, you can buy an iPod Touch in the US, travel to China and buy a cheap bumper and avoid any roaming charges. You can use CDMA/GSM/4G bumpers, whatever suits.

As I've said in the past, a move like this would almost wipe Android out and I think it's time to do this.

The fact they are talking about a product transition around September hints that it's iPhone related and not Mac Pro related. The new Xeon chips don't arrive until Q4 and I don't think they sell enough of these to warrant any warning over investment. If they dropped the Mac Pro entirely, it would wipe 5% off their earnings at best.

If the following graph is accurate, it paints a clear picture:



http://www.businessinsider.com/chart...product-2011-7

It shows that iPod sales have been steady but gradually shrinking. The following article has some more very interesting information:

http://www.cloudfour.com/ditching-th...-discontinued/

The vast majority of iPod Touch owners are under 17. The 12-17 market is going to bleed away to cheap smartphones and if Apple doesn't have something for them, Google will be there to welcome them.

I do think the Mac Pro needs to be redesigned too though and step one would be removal of internal expansion. They'd design it like the following:



Sure people will complain that they can no longer run PCI cards and have to make do with slower Thunderbolt instead but remember when we all switched from SCSI to SATA? Mac Pro owners are getting by just fine with SATA and it will ramp up to an optical connection in due time.

As for GPUs, you only ever get the option to buy a handful of cards anyway and you can only fit one in so clearly MXM GPUs like the iMac has are the way to go. Then they can put on 4 x Thunderbolt to drive up to 8 displays from one machine.
post #15 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Sure people will complain...

Because this thing would obsolete MY Mac Pro's ability to do any upgrades to the graphics.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #16 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Because this thing would obsolete MY Mac Pro's ability to do any upgrades to the graphics.

Initially, although there may be an option for MXM upgrades after buying a redesigned one. The advantage that impeding upgrades has for Apple is that instead of you prolonging the life of your machine by buying parts that Apple has to support, you have to do the whole machine upgrade, which stops the Mac Pro line stagnating. It pushes manufacturers away from PCI into Thunderbolt products and Mac Pro owners get sleeker and probably cheaper machines. I could see a Mac Pro like this starting at $1999.

The alternative is that they do nothing to it except bump specs and over time, it becomes an insignificant product if it hasn't already.
post #17 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

That's what I think they should do in the sense that they move the radio components into a bumper case and just sell iPod Touches and leave the carriers to deal with your phone parts. This way, you can buy an iPod Touch in the US, travel to China and buy a cheap bumper and avoid any roaming charges. You can use CDMA/GSM/4G bumpers, whatever suits.

An interesting concept. The only problem I have here is that the bumper or module if you will can not obstruct access to the iPod port.
Quote:
As I've said in the past, a move like this would almost wipe Android out and I think it's time to do this.

I'm certain that they need a low cost iPhone, as you note to address the younger crowd. The exact configuration is harder to get a handle on.
Quote:
The fact they are talking about a product transition around September hints that it's iPhone related and not Mac Pro related.

OK but I don't see where a new iPhone would have a negative impact on profits. Rather you would expect sales to be heavily stimulated. Unless of course Apple intends to get real aggressive with pricing.
Quote:
The new Xeon chips don't arrive until Q4 and I don't think they sell enough of these to warrant any warning over investment. If they dropped the Mac Pro entirely, it would wipe 5% off their earnings at best.

At best. I suspect Apple realizes it has a problem with the Mac Pro. I doubt it has been profitable for the last several years. They really need to rethink the whole concept.
Quote:
If the following graph is accurate, it paints a clear picture:



http://www.businessinsider.com/chart...product-2011-7

It shows that iPod sales have been steady but gradually shrinking. The following article has some more very interesting information:

http://www.cloudfour.com/ditching-th...-discontinued/

The vast majority of iPod Touch owners are under 17. The 12-17 market is going to bleed away to cheap smartphones and if Apple doesn't have something for them, Google will be there to welcome them.

Actually I think you mis one group. I see a lot of iPod Touches in business, usually personally owned. If for whatever reason a person doesn't want an iPhone the Touch gives them everything else they need.
Quote:
I do think the Mac Pro needs to be redesigned too though and step one would be removal of internal expansion. They'd design it like the following:

NO NO No no! We very much need internal expansion. Especially if we wish to see Apple become more successful in the corporate world.
Quote:


Sure people will complain that they can no longer run PCI cards and have to make do with slower Thunderbolt instead but remember when we all switched from SCSI to SATA? Mac Pro owners are getting by just fine with SATA and it will ramp up to an optical connection in due time.

Well yeah because SCSI was a dead horse going no where. It however has nothing to do with PCI Express slots and the need for them.
Quote:
As for GPUs, you only ever get the option to buy a handful of cards anyway and you can only fit one in so clearly MXM GPUs like the iMac has are the way to go. Then they can put on 4 x Thunderbolt to drive up to 8 displays from one machine.

For the people using GPU cards in a Mac Pro neither MXM nor TB are suitable substitutes. Not even close actually.
post #18 of 57
Thread Starter 
One big reason to buy a Mac Pro is to get a high performance graphics card. Be that to support 3D or OpenCL usage. Neither MXM nor TB can support a high performance GPU in this regard.

Actually I'd like to see Apple attempt to more tightly integrate a GPU with a CPU on the mother board. The idea being to bypass the slow PCI bus. AMD fusion is nice as a low end solution but the high end needs a separate GPU and likely will for at least half a decade.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Initially, although there may be an option for MXM upgrades after buying a redesigned one. The advantage that impeding upgrades has for Apple is that instead of you prolonging the life of your machine by buying parts that Apple has to support, you have to do the whole machine upgrade, which stops the Mac Pro line stagnating.

The pro stagnates due to the kack of sales. Pull out one of the reasons to buy a Pro and the stagnation will get worst. Look at it this way, even the Mini gets more respect than the Oro simply because of strong sales.
Quote:
It pushes manufacturers away from PCI into Thunderbolt products and Mac Pro owners get sleeker and probably cheaper machines. I could see a Mac Pro like this starting at $1999.

TB is not capable of supporting the performance that PCI can offer a card. Not to mention the high cost of external devices.
Quote:
The alternative is that they do nothing to it except bump specs and over time, it becomes an insignificant product if it hasn't already.

It is insignificant now. There is no doubt in my mind. Part of that is due to the cost. I find it humorous that you think a base Mac Pro replacement should start at $1999. That is an absurdly high price for a entry level expandable desktop machine.

What Apple needs is a base Mac Pro built foprom desktop parts starting at $1200. Save the $2000 offering for a Xeon based machine with ECC memory and the like. Actually even. $1200 might seem high in some circles but I'm expecting that a good GPU will be offered up.
post #19 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

An interesting concept. The only problem I have here is that the bumper or module if you will can not obstruct access to the iPod port.

I agree, unless they include micro-USB for charging - sync can happen over wifi. It should be trivial to leave the port free though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The exact configuration is harder to get a handle on.

I'd say if it matches the iPod Touch line, it's fine. They can put better cameras in more expensive models.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

OK but I don't see where a new iPhone would have a negative impact on profits. Rather you would expect sales to be heavily stimulated. Unless of course Apple intends to get real aggressive with pricing.

It seems like they aren't hinting at a negative impact:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20...-analyst-call/

They included iOS 5 and iCloud in the group of things that would have an impact so I'd say it's positive. An aggressively priced iPhone would have a positive impact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

NO NO No no! We very much need internal expansion. Especially if we wish to see Apple become more successful in the corporate world.

Thunderbolt covers anything you'd need from a PCI card and can even house PCI cards in an external box with the exception of high-end GPUs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

For the people using GPU cards in a Mac Pro neither MXM nor TB are suitable substitutes. Not even close actually.

Full desktop cards are faster but the 6970M in the iMac matches the 5770 in the Pro and you get options for Quadro cards or FirePro if you need double precision. The 5770 doesn't support DP either but the 5870 does.

It boils down to what people are using the cards for. It's unlikely for gaming and when it comes to compute tasks, it's best to get as much as possible e.g 4 cards but you can only put two at best in a Mac Pro because of the power supply limit. The only way to make the Mac Pro smaller is to go with MXM cards due to lower power consumption and lower heat output.

If Apple launched a new Mac Pro with the entry model having a quad Xeon along with a Radeon 6970M starting at $1999 and in a 2U-3U size, I doubt there would be too many complaints from new buyers.
post #20 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I agree, unless they include micro-USB for charging - sync can happen over wifi. It should be trivial to leave the port free though.

Actually my wish here is a bit different as you got the ideal mill a churning. How about an iPad/iPod expansion port/module in a more generic sense. I think the idea is similar to yours, what I'm thinking of is a snap on "back" that can interface to a number of modules including cell phone modules. IOS devices have a great interface for things besides cell phones, here are a few to stimulat the mind:

1. DVM module. It would likely be a bit bulky due to safety requirements but the power of an iOS device could be put to work very effectively.
2. Oscilloscope module. Again the goal here is to put the iOS device features to work to provide an interesting capability that fits in your pocket.
3. In a general sense the iOS could provide a very suitable interface to a number of instrumentation products.
4. Radio interfaces. While I never understood Apples reluctance to add FM support I'm think something more interesting here like a shortwave module.
5. A blood glucose monitoring module.
6. A bulk storage module.

The list could go on and on. The point is there are many ways a portable device like the Touch could provide for the computational, storage and interface needs of a portable device. The need is for a robust and reliable way to connect to these sleds or backpacks. Interestingly Apple should have learned something from their POS iPods. The big problem to over come is the overhanging iPod adapter port which negatively impacts these ideas. Get rid of that and all sorts of devices could be enhanced with an iPod Touch.
Quote:
I'd say if it matches the iPod Touch line, it's fine. They can put better cameras in more expensive models.

This whole obsession with cameras is bothersome. I have an iPhone 4 and hardly use the cameras. The big problem as I see it is if they set a standard for these modules they will then have to be compatible with that interface for a long time.
Quote:


It seems like they aren't hinting at a negative impact:

That isn't how I took it.
Quote:
They included iOS 5 and iCloud in the group of things that would have an impact so I'd say it's positive. An aggressively priced iPhone would have a positive impact.

Maybe I misinterpeted things but I understood the warning to be about an impact to profitability.
Quote:
Thunderbolt covers anything you'd need from a PCI card and can even house PCI cards in an external box with the exception of high-end GPUs.

I keep hearing this and frankly I don't know where these ideas come from. People need to realize that PCI Express is not frozen in time, it continues to evolve. Beyond that there are all sorts of cards that benefit from multiple PCI-E lanes.

In any event if you take functionality out of the card slot into a second enclosure you immediately add expense. The cost coming from the enclosure, power supply and cabling.
Quote:


Full desktop cards are faster but the 6970M in the iMac matches the 5770 in the Pro and you get options for Quadro cards or FirePro if you need double precision. The 5770 doesn't support DP either but the 5870 does.

All the mumble jumble about cards aside you still have to realize that the slow TB port will be a factor in acceptable use.
Quote:
It boils down to what people are using the cards for. It's unlikely for gaming and when it comes to compute tasks, it's best to get as much as possible e.g 4 cards but you can only put two at best in a Mac Pro because of the power supply limit. The only way to make the Mac Pro smaller is to go with MXM cards due to lower power consumption and lower heat output.

The Mac Pro is a monster, huge and outsized. It can be shrunk significantly and still support a high end graphics card.
Quote:

If Apple launched a new Mac Pro with the entry model having a quad Xeon along with a Radeon 6970M starting at $1999 and in a 2U-3U size, I doubt there would be too many complaints from new buyers.

Well it depends. It depends upon what that XEON board is offering up and what series XEON it is. Depending upon what is in that base model you could have a bargain or a ripoff. We live in a world now where a serviceable 2U server can be had for $1200 so that Mac Pro better have some really impressive features. Certainly a good GPU card adds some cost to the machine but otherwise Apple hardware is sort of spartan.

Time will tell but the big problem with the Mac Pro is that it is to damn expensive when compared against other desktop hardware. The fact that you have no other choice from Apple is an issue that frustrates people too. Especially when a machine capable of doing the same work can be had for $1000 cheaper.


As a side note one only has to look at the Minis to see how much Apple can stuff into a little box. I'm actually fairly impressed with the Mini that now comes with a GPU. All Apple needs to do is put the same development energy into a Mac Pro replacement. Of course the chip companies have to help a bit, I'd love to see an AMD GPU that sits in the second socket of a dual processor system working in a tightly integrated fashion with the CPU. The problem is such a solution does no exist yet. I just want to see Apple move away from past thinking about how to build a Pro machine.
post #21 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

How about an iPad/iPod expansion port/module in a more generic sense.

The only issue with making it for multiple purposes is that it limits future form factors or people have to buy all new sleds when a new one comes out. It would be nice to have a lot of adaptors like card payment sleds and things but I think it would create a lot of headaches unless they decided the iPod Touch form factor was as thin as they wanted to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Maybe I misinterpeted things but I understood the warning to be about an impact to profitability.

It could do, the statement was quite vague:

"As we announced at WWDC, we have a lot going on in the fall with the introduction of iOS 5 and iCloud. We also have a future product transition that we're not going to talk about today, and these things will impact our September quarter," Oppenheimer said.

The statement was made in response to a question about "soft" projections for the 4th quarter though and I guess iOS 5 and iCloud are not really going to be profit-generating as they are free so this would suggest negative impact. A new iPhone should make short work of that though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I keep hearing this and frankly I don't know where these ideas come from. People need to realize that PCI Express is not frozen in time, it continues to evolve. Beyond that there are all sorts of cards that benefit from multiple PCI-E lanes.

Sure but how many uses and does Apple need to cater for them? The Mac Pro segment is already close to dead comprising much less than 10% of total Mac shipments. People won't give up easily on OS X so transitioning to Thunderbolt-only for expansion helps push manufacturers into supporting those products so all models can use them.

A simple series of questions can reach this conclusion:

Is the future mobile? Yes.
Can you put a PCI slot on a mobile device? No
Can you put a Thunderbolt port on a mobile device? Yes.
post #22 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The only issue with making it for multiple purposes is that it limits future form factors or people have to buy all new sleds when a new one comes out. It would be nice to have a lot of adaptors like card payment sleds and things but I think it would create a lot of headaches unless they decided the iPod Touch form factor was as thin as they wanted to go.

Maybe Apple needs to lol at expanding the Touch line. A commercial model with such expansion would be very interesting.
Quote:


It could do, the statement was quite vague:

"As we announced at WWDC, we have a lot going on in the fall with the introduction of iOS 5 and iCloud. We also have a future product transition that we're not going to talk about today, and these things will impact our September quarter," Oppenheimer said.

The statement was made in response to a question about "soft" projections for the 4th quarter though and I guess iOS 5 and iCloud are not really going to be profit-generating as they are free so this would suggest negative impact. A new iPhone should make short work of that though.



Sure but how many uses and does Apple need to cater for them? The Mac Pro segment is already close to dead comprising much less than 10% of total Mac shipments. People won't give up easily on OS X so transitioning to Thunderbolt-only for expansion helps push manufacturers into supporting those products so all models can use them.

The problem is, the lack of a low cost slot equipped Mac takes the platform out of the running for many uses. Apple will only push a small segment of the potential market in that direction.

As an aside their does seem to be interest on Thunderbolt in the instrumentation community. The trouble is this market can easily ignore Apple and the cost of TB.
Quote:
A simple series of questions can reach this conclusion:

Is the future mobile? Yes.

Well if all you have is a hammer I gues all problems look like a nail.

Seriously if your none mobile needs don't fit Apples line up you are screwed.

Quote:
Can you put a PCI slot on a mobile device? No

I'm not sure what this has to do with the discussion. The obvious response is of course you can't fit a PCI card from a PC in a mobile device. That does not however preclude the use of PCI-Express as a bus standard in a mobile device.

For example a good arguement could be made for using PCI-Express for those sleds you talked about.
Quote:
Can you put a Thunderbolt port on a mobile device? Yes.

Which first requires a PCI-Express facility.
post #23 of 57
Drop the Macbook Pro? What? So what laptops would they have left to sell? Im confused.
post #24 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3rc Nate View Post

Drop the Macbook Pro? What? So what laptops would they have left to sell? Im confused.

The conversation revolved around the very low sales of the Mac Pro.
post #25 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The conversation revolved around the very low sales of the Mac Pro.

Oh ok, the MAC Pro...makes sense. Srry
post #26 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The Mac Pro segment is already close to dead comprising much less than 10% of total Mac shipments.

The Mac Pro segment includes graphic design, motion graphics, industrial design, film editing, post-production, music/sound engineering, print (yes it's still around), publishing, academic research/scientific visualization and many more. Due to high demand in the past few years, AutoDesk just recently re-introduced AutoCAD for Mac, so architecture is a huge new growth area. Not to mention Apple's own overhaul of Final Cut. I run Maya on OS X, as do many other 3D modelers/animators. I'm rendering as I write this.

WE NEED POWERFUL WORKSTATIONS! We need RAID and fibre channel and huge amounts of RAM for visualization and 2K textures. We need powerful graphics cards! And we need all this in an enclosure that allows us to swap out these components as needed.

I just can't believe that the heavy duty engineering/design work being done in Cupertino is being done on iMacs and minis. It's probably safe to say that Jony Ive and his crew are running powerful industrial design software on fully upgraded Mac Pro workstations.

If we do only comprise 10% of Mac sales, I hope they find a more creative solution than to drop us completely.
post #27 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2GIGS1CUP View Post

We need RAID and fibre channel and huge amounts of RAM for visualization and 2K textures. We need powerful graphics cards! And we need all this in an enclosure that allows us to swap out these components as needed.

You need something with one dual-height PCIe slot for swappable graphics and something with at least eight RAM slots for RAM.

Everything else can be taken care of with Thunderbolt.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #28 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2GIGS1CUP View Post

WE NEED POWERFUL WORKSTATIONS! We need RAID and fibre channel and huge amounts of RAM for visualization and 2K textures. We need powerful graphics cards! And we need all this in an enclosure that allows us to swap out these components as needed.

Initially, I'd expect a redesign that maintains the powerful dual-processor Xeon setup but this doesn't need a large enclosure. The Boxx rendering machines are much smaller than a workstation with just the Xeon chips:

http://www.boxxtech.com/products/ren...o_overview.asp

This still allows a large amount of RAM. As for RAID storage and fibre channel, Thunderbolt takes care of both but it is more compact to have drives internally and they don't add a great deal of space.

As for the graphics card, the mobile graphics cards are powerful. The 6970M is as powerful as a 5770 and takes up a fraction of the space and uses less power.

Graphics cards double in performance every year or two and over the past 10 years, we've seen GPUs increase in performance by a factor of 30. Not only that, they are getting better features like advanced shaders, tessellation etc. How far away are we really from not even having to put something in the background to render? It's not just a transistor count issue - they can put the right algorithms in hardware and get them real-time.

There can be MXM upgrades for cards or you upgrade the whole machine. Mac Pros are not impervious to obsolescence over short periods of time. Apple's low-end will now outperform some Mac Pros that have valid warranties.
post #29 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

As for the graphics card, the mobile graphics cards are powerful. The 6970M is as powerful as a 5770 and takes up a fraction of the space and uses less power.

This may be true for gaming or general graphics, but workstation class GPUs are a completely different class. Though they use the same hardware as consumer cards, Quadro and FirePro use different drivers and algorithms that supersede frame rate speed for image precision, quality, and accuracy. If you've ever done any CAD/3D modeling work, you'd know the difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

How far away are we really from not even having to put something in the background to render? It's not just a transistor count issue - they can put the right algorithms in hardware and get them real-time.

Rendering is processed by the CPUs and not the GPUs. Pixar's render farm is a cluster of hundreds of Linux servers. My 8-core Mac at home sometimes takes 48 hours to render 720 frames (30 seconds of animation). We are far far away from real-time rendering. (Are you referring to Octane?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Initially, I'd expect a redesign that maintains the powerful dual-processor Xeon setup but this doesn't need a large enclosure.

I'd love to see a smaller more energy efficient Mac Pro-- but not at the expense of expandability or versatility. The pro segment should be able to configure components based on specific purposes-- Radeon 6870 for graphic design or FCP, a pair of 6770's for scientific visualization, Quadro for CAD, or a Pro Tools card for audio engineering. This is what separates the consumer from the pro lines. Thunderbolt may be the answer for the future, but even medium-sized studios or firms can't make that transition overnight. The financial investment and effort takes more than upgrading your rigs-- there's also the replacement of the existing infrastructure (fibre channel lines and Xsan hardware).

Until the day Thunderbolt transitions to optical and replaces all existing PCIe peripherals or the mac mini is a 16-core monster with 32G of RAM and upgradable graphics, the Mac Pro remains the workhorse for many professionals and I'm looking forward to Apple's solution and redesign.
post #30 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2GIGS1CUP View Post

Though they use the same hardware as consumer cards, Quadro and FirePro use different drivers and algorithms that supersede frame rate speed for image precision, quality, and accuracy. If you've ever done any CAD/3D modeling work, you'd know the difference.

You're right: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_Quadro#Video_cards, but this difference in quality and performance is only due to optimizations made for certain applications/games. If you are creating a new app/game that uses the graphic card, there's no difference between those 2 types of cards, except for ECC VRAM and double precision floats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2GIGS1CUP View Post

Rendering is processed by the CPUs and not the GPUs. Pixar's render farm is a cluster of hundreds of Linux servers. My 8-core Mac at home sometimes takes 48 hours to render 720 frames (30 seconds of animation). We are far far away from real-time rendering. (Are you referring to Octane?)

We are far away from real-time, but OpenCL and CUDA accelerates A LOT those algorithms (check LuxRender vs SmallLuxGPU).The render farm you are mentioning probably use more the graphic cards than the CPUs.

I think Apple should divide the Mac Pro into 2 versions, one with a i5/i7 and the other with Xeon/dual-Xeon. The rest of the hardware could be the same as the previous Mac Pro's. The reason for those 2 versions is quite obvious: the gamers and the artists (image/video/3D) don't really need a ECC RAM, and the dual CPU doesn't really make sense because the GPU is more efficient for the algorithms used by their applications. On the other hand, CAD modelers, mathematicians, scientists and server admins need more precision, reliability and CPU parallelism (for virtualization for example), so ECC RAM and dual CPU do make sense.

For those who think that the i5 and i7 don't have enough CPU parallelism for artists in general....think again. The i5 is a 4 core CPU with no HyperThreading (meaning 4 threads maximun), while the i7 is a 4 core CPU (the Extreme version is 6 core) with HyperThreading (meaning 8/12 threads maximum). The i7 is more than enough for heavy workloads, since most algorithms run on the graphic card.
post #31 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2GIGS1CUP View Post

This may be true for gaming or general graphics, but workstation class GPUs are a completely different class. Though they use the same hardware as consumer cards, Quadro and FirePro use different drivers and algorithms that supersede frame rate speed for image precision, quality, and accuracy. If you've ever done any CAD/3D modeling work, you'd know the difference.

There are mobile Quadro and FirePro cards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2GIGS1CUP View Post

Rendering is processed by the CPUs and not the GPUs. Pixar's render farm is a cluster of hundreds of Linux servers. My 8-core Mac at home sometimes takes 48 hours to render 720 frames (30 seconds of animation). We are far far away from real-time rendering. (Are you referring to Octane?)

In that example, you are talking about 4 minutes per frame so would require a 7200x speedup to become real-time. 2^13 = 8192. If CPUs and GPUs double every 2 years and they are used together, we can get real-time in 13 years (edit: this calculation isn't entirely accurate as it would be 2 x 2^6 or something but high-end GPUs outperform CPUs in graphics rendering - http://www.luxrender.net/wiki/LuxMark_Results).

It also doesn't need to be real-time exactly. Even 1/4 real-time would be good enough and you can visualise a draft quality render real-time and we'll get there in under 10 years.

Renderers like Octane and Luxrender aren't particularly good as they are unbiased, which makes them way slower than engines like VRay or Mental Ray, which already experiment with hardware acceleration. The NVidia Gelato team had Larry Gritz working there who helped build Renderman. NVidia have acquired Mental Ray so I think you can see where that's going:

http://blogs.nvidia.com/2011/05/nvid...tware-efforts/

Another area to watch is voxel rendering. John Carmack has been mentioning voxel octrees for id tech 6 (after Rage), which are more efficient than polygon rendering for texture storage. You can see some of the benefits here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-ATtrImCx4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnboAnQjMKE

I imagine one day not too far away where you use a file-based workflow and stream data to/from storage in a mudbox/zbrush app, running OpenCL shaders.

Pixar's thousands of computers still have some advantages like massive amounts of RAM and storage but if you process a single frame quickly enough, it should be fine. It would be interesting to find out how a modern personal computer compares to the render farm they used for their early films.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2GIGS1CUP View Post

The pro segment should be able to configure components based on specific purposes-- Radeon 6870 for graphic design or FCP, a pair of 6770's for scientific visualization, Quadro for CAD, or a Pro Tools card for audio engineering.

there's also the replacement of the existing infrastructure (fibre channel lines and Xsan hardware).

The current Mac Pro doesn't give you that much flexibility though. The PCI slots get 300W total so realistically, you're only going to get a single high-end card in there. If you only use the other ports for audio or fibre-channel, there will be Thunderbolt solutions. There's even a Thunderbolt PCI slot product should all else fail.
post #32 of 57
Thread Starter 
I've always have seen the Mac Pro as a bit of a boondoggle if you will. It is a big box that never was at the right price point to sell in large quantities. In the last couple of years Apple tired to offer up a low end Mac Pro that was configured in such a way to interest no one.

With a bit of engineering effort I can see Apple building a box that serves a wider array of users thus leading to more units shipped. The key to the Mac Pros survival is to have a chassis that can support both low end and high end needs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2GIGS1CUP View Post

This may be true for gaming or general graphics, but workstation class GPUs are a completely different class. Though they use the same hardware as consumer cards, Quadro and FirePro use different drivers and algorithms that supersede frame rate speed for image precision, quality, and accuracy. If you've ever done any CAD/3D modeling work, you'd know the difference.

Actually that is true in the PC world but in the Mac world I'm not convinced there is much difference in driver quality. Lets face it Apple hasn't exactly set the OpenGL world on fire.
Quote:
Rendering is processed by the CPUs and not the GPUs. Pixar's render farm is a cluster of hundreds of Linux servers. My 8-core Mac at home sometimes takes 48 hours to render 720 frames (30 seconds of animation). We are far far away from real-time rendering. (Are you referring to Octane?)

Economics dictate that you will move away from Macs to do the actual rendering.

As to the CPU / GPU thing that will slowly change over time as they bring more capability to the GPU. Remember GPGPU computations where originally forced onto GPU's not really designed for that sort of work. AMD and NVidia have a long way to go before the GPU's can be leveraged in the way many would like.

Even so I don't see Apple playing in the Cluster world anytime soon. So if you are seriously interested in Rendering your only choice is to look at rendering hardware running Linux.
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I'd love to see a smaller more energy efficient Mac Pro-- but not at the expense of expandability or versatility.

I believe this is very doable.
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The pro segment should be able to configure components based on specific purposes-- Radeon 6870 for graphic design or FCP, a pair of 6770's for scientific visualization, Quadro for CAD, or a Pro Tools card for audio engineering. This is what separates the consumer from the pro lines.

Well that is nice but then we are left with this reality. As general purpose hardware becomes faster and more capable, the need for the special purpose hardware slowly diminishes. Either that or the special purpose hardware ends up being sold into the high end niche markets. CAD is a perfect example here, many engineers are fine with their laptops these days, something that would have been unheard of a few years ago.
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Thunderbolt may be the answer for the future, but even medium-sized studios or firms can't make that transition overnight. The financial investment and effort takes more than upgrading your rigs-- there's also the replacement of the existing infrastructure (fibre channel lines and Xsan hardware).

I don't think Thunderbolt will be replacing stuff as fast as some suggest. Some have vision of sugar plums in their eyes when discussing TB, it is not an be all end all port that some imagine.
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Until the day Thunderbolt transitions to optical and replaces all existing PCIe peripherals or the mac mini is a 16-core monster with 32G of RAM and upgradable graphics, the Mac Pro remains the workhorse for many professionals and I'm looking forward to Apple's solution and redesign.

Though I would never buy one, at least not at this point, I also look forward to a redesigned PRO. I'm hoping they can come up with a chassis that solves a wide array of needs. It really shouldn't be all that difficult.
post #33 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ludovic.silvestre View Post

You're right: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_Quadro#Video_cards, but this difference in quality and performance is only due to optimizations made for certain applications/games. If you are creating a new app/game that uses the graphic card, there's no difference between those 2 types of cards, except for ECC VRAM and double precision floats.

Note that this is biased towards PC's not Macs.
Quote:

We are far away from real-time, but OpenCL and CUDA accelerates A LOT those algorithms (check LuxRender vs SmallLuxGPU).The render farm you are mentioning probably use more the graphic cards than the CPUs.

While it is true a lot of effort is going into GPU assist for Rendering applications it isn't as wide spread as one would like. Much of the work is still done on the CPU.
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I think Apple should divide the Mac Pro into 2 versions, one with a i5/i7 and the other with Xeon/dual-Xeon.

Yep one chassis but two distinct performance and capability profiles.
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The rest of the hardware could be the same as the previous Mac Pro's. The reason for those 2 versions is quite obvious: the gamers and the artists (image/video/3D) don't really need a ECC RAM, and the dual CPU doesn't really make sense because the GPU is more efficient for the algorithms used by their applications.

Your point is right but this isn't the evidence that supports it in my mind. The big advantage of an i5/i7 based desktop Mac is simply the access to the internals. That is storage and the ability to plug in a PCI-Express card or two. The new Mini covers the bottom end of the performance part of the equation but it still sucks as a platform that can be reasonably expanded. Especially as we move into the future (next year) when the Mini will be upgraded yet again to Ivy Bridge which will put a lot of power in the box that has no internal expansion capability to speak of.
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On the other hand, CAD modelers, mathematicians, scientists and server admins need more precision, reliability and CPU parallelism (for virtualization for example), so ECC RAM and dual CPU do make sense.

Yep a mother board swap out would give one a rather impressive reconfiguration of the chassis. The focus would be on high reliability and high speed computation.
Quote:
For those who think that the i5 and i7 don't have enough CPU parallelism for artists in general....think again. The i5 is a 4 core CPU with no HyperThreading (meaning 4 threads maximun), while the i7 is a 4 core CPU (the Extreme version is 6 core) with HyperThreading (meaning 8/12 threads maximum). The i7 is more than enough for heavy workloads, since most algorithms run on the graphic card.

Well we won't get to deep into that argument. I will simply say that a single socket general purpose motherboard would allow them a low cost avenue to an internally expandable desktop machine.
post #34 of 57
Thread Starter 
I'm a bit like a fish out of water here as I little interest in rendering. However what I do keep an eye on is what is happening in GPU land. I see AMD making great strides here as they try to integrate the GPU with the CPU. Further they are looking at making the ALU's and other engines in a GPU far more flexible and capable. So the question is how soon can they get these ideas into silicon.

The current Fusion products aren't there incase anybody is wondering but they do show potential. We could see some rather impressive hardware in less than four years. The big problem here is that software will have to catch up. Frankly I suspect Apple is pushing Intel hard in this direction also, that is where the GPU become equal to the CPU. Intels announced desire to make the Ivy Bridge GPU OpenCL capable is certainly a start.

In any event with a surplus of transistors more an more capability will be rolled into the
GPU's coming soon. However does this really solve anything? Think about it, if we get faster hardware will people still be rendering at 2K? As much as this future hardware will help the run of the mill user those on the bleeding edge will still be complaining in the future. It kinda relates to CAD users mentioned in another response, these days engineers and designers are often happy with a laptop with a half decent GPU, it is only the guys on the bleeding edge that hunger for faster and faster hardware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

There are mobile Quadro and FirePro cards.



In that example, you are talking about 4 minutes per frame so would require a 7200x speedup to become real-time. 2^13 = 8192. If CPUs and GPUs double every 2 years and they are used together, we can get real-time in 13 years (edit: this calculation isn't entirely accurate as it would be 2 x 2^6 or something but high-end GPUs outperform CPUs in graphics rendering - http://www.luxrender.net/wiki/LuxMark_Results).

It also doesn't need to be real-time exactly. Even 1/4 real-time would be good enough and you can visualise a draft quality render real-time and we'll get there in under 10 years.

Renderers like Octane and Luxrender aren't particularly good as they are unbiased, which makes them way slower than engines like VRay or Mental Ray, which already experiment with hardware acceleration. The NVidia Gelato team had Larry Gritz working there who helped build Renderman. NVidia have acquired Mental Ray so I think you can see where that's going:

http://blogs.nvidia.com/2011/05/nvid...tware-efforts/

Another area to watch is voxel rendering. John Carmack has been mentioning voxel octrees for id tech 6 (after Rage), which are more efficient than polygon rendering for texture storage. You can see some of the benefits here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-ATtrImCx4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnboAnQjMKE

I imagine one day not too far away where you use a file-based workflow and stream data to/from storage in a mudbox/zbrush app, running OpenCL shaders.

Pixar's thousands of computers still have some advantages like massive amounts of RAM and storage but if you process a single frame quickly enough, it should be fine. It would be interesting to find out how a modern personal computer compares to the render farm they used for their early films.



The current Mac Pro doesn't give you that much flexibility though. The PCI slots get 300W total so realistically, you're only going to get a single high-end card in there. If you only use the other ports for audio or fibre-channel, there will be Thunderbolt solutions. There's even a Thunderbolt PCI slot product should all else fail.
post #35 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I see AMD making great strides here as they try to integrate the GPU with the CPU. Further they are looking at making the ALU's and other engines in a GPU far more flexible and capable. So the question is how soon can they get these ideas into silicon.

The "HD7000" series will appear by the end of this year, and from the latest news, their new GPU architecture (called GCN) might appear in 2013.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The current Fusion products aren't there incase anybody is wondering but they do show potential. We could see some rather impressive hardware in less than four years. The big problem here is that software will have to catch up.

If Apple continues to deliver frameworks that use that power, then the software might catch up really soon. And impressive hardware might appear next year, when AMD will launch their new APU's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Frankly I suspect Apple is pushing Intel hard in this direction also, that is where the GPU become equal to the CPU. Intels announced desire to make the Ivy Bridge GPU OpenCL capable is certainly a start.

Yes they are, but I think Intel will fail in the GPU part. They don't have as much know-how compared to AMD (since they bought Ati).

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

It kinda relates to CAD users mentioned in another response, these days engineers and designers are often happy with a laptop with a half decent GPU, it is only the guys on the bleeding edge that hunger for faster and faster hardware.

I mostly agree with you, but CAD engineer and designers would definitely prefer a low end Mac Pro (with a i5/i7 like I mentioned above) than a laptop. They generally needs a lot of RAM (8Gb minimum), a quad core CPU at least and a decent GPU (AMD HD6750M or equivalent, with 512Mb). The high-end laptops have everything above, but you'll need to go to a Mac Pro if you want more RAM or you want to update your GPU.
post #36 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ludovic.silvestre View Post

The "HD7000" series will appear by the end of this year, and from the latest news, their new GPU architecture (called GCN) might appear in 2013.

I've been following AMD and their GPU and APU technology in general but don't bother with specifics. What I'm interested in seeing is the APU chips that end up with the GPU part being a full partner on the memory bus. That is when they implement memory management and cache control and provide the GPU with a 64 bit address space.

Let's face it the current LLano APUs are fairly impressive already. I would not shy away from them unless I knew for sure that I needed high performance out of my CPU. As good as the current APUs are though moving to a completely heterogeneous computing platform is very enticing. I'm actually sure prized that Apple hasn't embraced Fusion as it seems to map directly onto where they are going with Mac OS.
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If Apple continues to deliver frameworks that use that power, then the software might catch up really soon. And impressive hardware might appear next year, when AMD will launch their new APU's.

You are talking the Bulldozer based APUs right? They certainly have the potential to be very nice but I don't think they completely realize AMDs long term vision for heterogeneous computing. Even so I wouldn't likely reject a machine with such hardware. As long as they have a significant GPU performance advantage over Intel they are a good choice for many users.
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Yes they are, but I think Intel will fail in the GPU part. They don't have as much know-how compared to AMD (since they bought Ati).

There is always that issue of Intel just being good enough. I would think though that people will notice a significant difference in GPU performance on AMD powered hardware before they notice the difference in CPU performance. AMD just needs to more aggressively market their positives.

In any event I'm thankful Apple recognized the Intel GPU issue in the Mini. So we are half way there to an all AMD machine from Apple.
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I mostly agree with you, but CAD engineer and designers would definitely prefer a low end Mac Pro (with a i5/i7 like I mentioned above) than a laptop. They generally needs a lot of RAM (8Gb minimum), a quad core CPU at least and a decent GPU (AMD HD6750M or equivalent, with 512Mb). The high-end laptops have everything above, but you'll need to go to a Mac Pro if you want more RAM or you want to update your GPU.

This is the part I find distressing and have to disagree with. There is a wide range of engineering taking place on laptops these days. The advantages that a laptop offers over a desktop is significant for field work. While everybody likes faster hardware it is possible to be very productive on a laptop with a real GPU. Even if that GPU isn't top of the line.

So I tend to see more and more engineers with laptops. Can they handle high end CAD - nope but they don't have to.
post #37 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ludovic.silvestre View Post

I mostly agree with you, but CAD engineer and designers would definitely prefer a low end Mac Pro (with a i5/i7 like I mentioned above) than a laptop. They generally needs a lot of RAM (8Gb minimum), a quad core CPU at least and a decent GPU (AMD HD6750M or equivalent, with 512Mb). The high-end laptops have everything above, but you'll need to go to a Mac Pro if you want more RAM or you want to update your GPU.

That would be a nice machine. Since I do CAD and don't do it in the field this is the type of Mac I wish Apple would get a clue about.
post #38 of 57
Apple discontinues its popular Steve Jobs 2.0 application and introduces a radical different Tim Cook 2.0 as a replacement. Can the new interface win the hearts and minds of Steve Jobs' famously loyal users?

Anyone think this wasn't the "transition" Cook had in mind in his warning? He had to fib a little in order to not give it away.
post #39 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ludovic.silvestre View Post

The "HD7000" series will appear by the end of this year, and from the latest news, their new GPU architecture (called GCN) might appear in 2013.

I've seen some of AMDs news releases, mostly with respect to the Fusion APUs. Here's hoping they can keep it together long enough realize what they are projecting for the future. I'm most interested in APUs as I see that as the way of the future.
Quote:

If Apple continues to deliver frameworks that use that power, then the software might catch up really soon. And impressive hardware might appear next year, when AMD will launch their new APU's.

I believe you are talking about the Bulldozer based chip. If so I tend to agree it should provide for a very nice APU, especially considering that the GPU gets upgraded again.

However a key point here is that the current APUs aren't that bad. They stress good performance where a lot of people want to see it.
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Yes they are, but I think Intel will fail in the GPU part. They don't have as much know-how compared to AMD (since they bought Ati).

I don't think it is that simple. Look at how many machines where sold with Intel only graphics in the past.
Quote:

I mostly agree with you, but CAD engineer and designers would definitely prefer a low end Mac Pro (with a i5/i7 like I mentioned above) than a laptop. They generally needs a lot of RAM (8Gb minimum), a quad core CPU at least and a decent GPU (AMD HD6750M or equivalent, with 512Mb). The high-end laptops have everything above, but you'll need to go to a Mac Pro if you want more RAM or you want to update your GPU.

When you say "CAD Engineer" I would have to agree. However the vast majority of CAD packages are not sold "CAD Engineers". Rather they go to a wide array of technical individuals involved in a wide array of projects. These days most of those people use laptops extensively. No you won't be doing top end mechanical design at Ford with a laptop, however that is a relatively small world these days. For many a laptop is fine for mechanical design.
post #40 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Apple discontinues its popular Steve Jobs 2.0 application and introduces a radical different Tim Cook 2.0 as a replacement. Can the new interface win the hearts and minds of Steve Jobs' famously loyal users?

If an XMac shows up the answer is a resounding YES!
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