Editorial: What will Apple do with the Macintosh?

1356710

Comments

  • Reply 41 of 198


    There are still many things that one cannot do well or at all with anything less than a Mac Pro and a huge monitor.  I like the idea of stacked Mac Minis (NeXT could be expanded with up to 4 motherboards) but that doesn't address the expansion slot and other issues easily addressed in a tower config.  MacOS X hard/software may not be the biggest wage earner in the family anymore but they are essential in keeping the family together.

  • Reply 42 of 198
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Aside from that, I'm not saying Apple will re-adopt the old Cube's internal layout (everything coming off of a single main-board), just the Cube's much smaller size volume. It's entirely possible (though not likely) that the next Mac Pro will be fully modular, where users can swap out CPU, GPU, and storage boards at will.

    My guess is that won't be the case. I think it will be smaller because they can remove the space for the two ODDs, reduce the PSU size and several other components, but I think it'll still be a tower and one that will offer expansion options.
  • Reply 43 of 198
    There are still many things that one cannot do well or at all with anything less than a Mac Pro and a huge monitor. I like the idea of stacked Mac Minis (NeXT could be expanded with up to 4 motherboards) but that doesn't address the expansion slot and other issues easily addressed in a tower config. MacOS X hard/software may not be the biggest wage earner in the family anymore but they are essential in keeping the family together.
  • Reply 44 of 198


    What is it that requires a Mac Pro other than movie editing? I see that Dell and HP sell monster machines with Xenon processors. There are movie editing programs that work on Windows and Linux.



    Just this month Red Shark released its Lightworks movie editing program for Linux. It is a program that seems to be on par with anything from Avid or Adobe.  It's even set up to create 3D movies, AND IT'S FREE!



    Can't real scientific work be accomplished by racks of servers linked together? Since other manufactures fill the gap in the high end market maybe Apple can just forsake it once and for all instead of slapping together something every three years. Let the movie editing and design work go to other brands. Apple can stick to its iOS world and expand it enough to just dump the laptops in a year or so.



    It seems that Apple is mostly concerned with cutting edge performance only on consumer devices. Even so, they're not always out in front.



    Why haven't they taken Keynote and all of the iWorks programs to much higher levels of performance? So many people here admit that the Microsoft Office suite is better than iWorks that it must be true. It seems that Apple really isn't interested in making the iWork "experience" better. They just want it good enough to get people to buy an Apple device. With all of their talent you would think that by now they would have created an office suite that would blow away Office or at least equal it. I bet it is easier to innovate in software than it is in hardware. When will Apple ever get off its butt and create a cohesive office suite that will put the last nail in the coffin of Microsoft? I don't think they have it in them or they would have done it years ago.  



    LibreOffice will eventually be as good as Microsoft Office and the iWork suite will be a second runner up.



    Apple makes great entertainment devices. That is why they will enter the TV market. The Mac Pro will have one last hurrah and then it will be gone. The only reason we know this is because Tim Cook said that a new Mac Pro was coming this year. It will be the last one.

     

  • Reply 45 of 198
    solipsismx wrote: »
    My guess is that won't be the case. I think it will be smaller because they can remove the space for the two ODDs, reduce the PSU size and several other components, but I think it'll still be a tower and one that will offer expansion options.
    Maybe so, but remember, even the Cube had impressive expand-ability for its time. Though I suspect it's rarer now, I have no doubt there are still Cubes out there rockin' Dual-core CPUs, SSDs or mSATA drives, and DirectX 11 graphics. (I want one! :D)
  • Reply 46 of 198
    isaidsoisaidso Posts: 750member

    deleted

  • Reply 47 of 198
    rrobrrrobr Posts: 28member





     


    Quote:



    What is wrong with the iMac display?





     








     





     









     








    For professionals in photography, the iMac monitors are not as accurate and don't have the color range we need to do the highest quality work. Neither do Cinema Displays, for that matter.

  • Reply 48 of 198
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,252member
    I have thought (and suggested on this site, only to be roundly criticized) that the future Pro would be an evolution of the Mini. Some Lego-like modular computer that could stacked or otherwise snapped together using appropriate electromechanical links, Thunderbolt or proprietary and device specific. Modules could supply the features, power, and flexibility required for each power-user's needs.
  • Reply 49 of 198
    rrobrrrobr Posts: 28member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    What is wrong with the iMac display?


    For photography professionals, the iMac is not accurate enough and does not have a great enough color range. Neither do the Cinema Displays. Glossy screens are not a benefit for us-they don't improve either of these needed qualities.

  • Reply 50 of 198
    isaidsoisaidso Posts: 750member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Frank Lowney View Post



    There are still many things that one cannot do well or at all with anything less than a Mac Pro and a huge monitor. I like the idea of stacked Mac Minis (NeXT could be expanded with up to 4 motherboards) but that doesn't address the expansion slot and other issues easily addressed in a tower config. MacOS X hard/software may not be the biggest wage earner in the family anymore but they are essential in keeping the family together.


    Of course it does. Thunderbolt expansion chassis are great now, and will get better as the technology grows.

  • Reply 51 of 198
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post


    What is it that requires a Mac Pro other than movie editing? I see that Dell and HP sell monster machines with Xenon processors. There are movie editing programs that work on Windows and Linux.

     



    We use primarily CS on our Mac Pros. That is several high end publishing, editing  and programming tools in one package. We copy and paste from one application to the other. We reuse assets such as logos and photography in movies. There is no other platform that has ALL the high end publishing, animation and movie editing in one package. I often do all three of those things along with a little CAD and programming every single day.There is a lot of overlap and that is where the Mac Pro shines. I can switch gears in a heartbeat. The single task environment is not the primary target market for a new Mac Pro. We do a lot of multitasking with our Mac Pros and I can't wait to get my hands on the new version. Hoping it will be soon.


     


    I really don't give a hoot about using the Mac Pro as a server. That is what Linux is for.

  • Reply 52 of 198
    isaidsoisaidso Posts: 750member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bsenka View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tribalogical View Post



    iMac Pro?




    With a built-n screen? I hope that's not the answer, not unless they partner with NEC or Eizo.


    My 2011 iMac can drive 2 (thats "two") additional 30" monitors, Leaving the beautiful 27" built in monitor for nothing but email and Angry Birds, if I want. I don't even know  what the 2013 models can do.

  • Reply 53 of 198
    sessamoidsessamoid Posts: 182member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post


     


    Florida. In progress. Been noticed.



    Link?

  • Reply 54 of 198
    isaidsoisaidso Posts: 750member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rrobr View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    What is wrong with the iMac display?


    For photography professionals, the iMac is not accurate enough and does not have a great enough color range. Neither do the Cinema Displays. Glossy screens are not a benefit for us-they don't improve either of these needed qualities.



    I don't think you're really familiar with the technology built into the new iMac displays (calibration system etc). Regardless, very few pros are using Eizos these days. Those that need 'em, buy 'em. Some need a CRT. But the Apple displays are pro grade. That's a fact.

  • Reply 55 of 198
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,213moderator
    Despite sharing lots of technology and features between the Mac and iOS, Apple hasn't pursued Microsoft's strategy of melding its desktop and mobile device platforms with a common, hybrid user interface. Instead, the Mac has remained a conventional computer without a touchscreen. How long can Apple afford to devote significant resources to maintaining the Mac when there's so much more opportunity for growth and revenues on the iOS side?

    Tim said the people at Apple don't see a convergence between iOS and OS X. It's clear to see why because floating windows don't work with touch and split panes don't work well with iOS apps. A split view needs a UI rethink. Vertical splits would work ok, even for use with a mouse as long as they are done better than how Microsoft did them.

    This effectively gets rid of the title bar in every app, no maximize/minimize etc. You'd have a horizontal carousel of vertically split panes. These could minimize into slim panes and you'd be able to put active ones side by side. Apps like the calculator and even Quicktime will still be an issue but you can imagine those centered in a panel like the notification pane. You'd be able to open multiple panels for one app but no more stacking of windows, no more drop shadows. This would work with touch if the Dock was done like the NextStep one (or I suppose the iOS one).

    The menu bar would have to change to a different style of menu that has a single activation button on the app window and it can have a gesture to activate. It would take a fair amount of work but I don't think it's impossible and I think it would improve on what we have now rather than degrade it to a simpler instance of it.
    Apple can't afford not to maintain a presence at the top of the PC performance hill, if for no other reason that there's a lot of technology that trickles downhill.

    I think those days of technology trickling down are over and a lot of technology has been pushed forward by a need to save power and space for mobile form factors. Thunderbolt wasn't developed because of the Mac Pro, same with USB 3. The tower form factor would have held a lot of technology back and you can see this from the technology in workstation chipsets. This is because there's been too much reliance on PCI slots, which don't really fit on anything other than a tower.

    For technology to be adopted, it has to hit the mass audience. The mass audience has migrated to laptops and small/slim form factors so ~70% of all devices have an AIO/mobile form factor and it's growing the more that PC manufacturers adopt AIOs and HTPCs. This means peripherals made for the PCI slot form factor are not designed for 70% of the computing world.

    The only need for the Mac Pro is raw power and for large scale computing, it's more cost-effective for that to sit in the cloud with server blade form factors. Everything else is going real-time with GPUs and given that Apple was demoing native 4K editing on an iMac at NAB, the technology really has become powerful enough that the Mac Pro is far less relevant than it was.

    You can plug Eizo or NEC displays into an iMac too and it comes with pretty much the fastest consumer parts now. Brand new Mac Pro hardware will still be able to scale up to 3x the highest iMac because the Mac Pro can dissipate 1kW of heat, an iMac can only do 1/3 of that but that's for the most expensive model, which is 3x the price. There aren't enough people willing to drop $6k+ on a computer when the productivity gains aren't that high now.
    A more modern technology, Thunderbolt, has never made it to the Mac Pro. Because Thunderbolt is essentially PCIe via a cable, Apple could conceptually use Thunderbolt rather than large open slots in a big enclosure to retain the Mac Pro's expansion potential. Imagine a smaller unit with the ability to interface with an external box housing expansion cards, including video adapters. The majority of PC users never make any use of the PCI slots in their systems. Apple recognized this with the Mac mini and iMac, which connect to peripherals via USB. Thunderbolt makes the same thing possible for the Mac Pro.

    If Apple could radically rethink the desktop computer into a more modular, flexible form, it could deliver a compact box that scales from a serious game machine to stackable cluster nodes to a high end workstation, potentially expanding its allure to eat up multiple segments of the valuable remains of the vast PC market.

    There's not much left to eat up. Any future Mac Pro will still come with a premium price tag because of Intel so it's a potential audience of 1 million units per quarter. A smaller form factor like an 8" Cube could potentially work for the server market which is 2 million units per quarter but the bulk audience for desktop PCs is around the $500 average selling price, which Apple even struggles to win over with the Mini because they don't sell affordable displays. Apple's cheapest display is nearly double the cheapest mini and both together are more expensive than the cheapest iMac.

    It is a high profit segment in spite of the low volume and I think it deserves one more model before the segment isn't needed. When CPUs and GPUs get to 10x faster than now in a few years, it's not worth bothering about.

    While Apple hasn't technically confirmed a Mac Pro, there was a model identifier separate from the iMac. They obviously could just make an iMac Pro with a 4K display, possibly a 6-core i7 processor, up to 64GB RAM, 4x Thunderbolt ports with maybe a dual controller etc. but it does prevent them being used in headless setups.

    What I'd like to see them do with the Mac going forward is make the laptops more affordable, make a lower priced display, make the iMacs all 27" and shrink the Mac Pro down to a Cube for its last iteration to last up to 10 years. The mini will be fast enough in a few years for headless scenarios and they can discontinue it. It depends a lot on what Intel's plans are too. I think they want to go SoC top to bottom. I actually think every company is thinking that way, the component market isn't going to hold up. Somewhere in there, I'd like to be able to use OS X with a touch UI.
  • Reply 56 of 198
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member


    The one thing that annoys me with this article is the assumed premise that they are designing something new, when there's no way to confirm that. Even with the Mac being outpaced, it's still important for the foreseeable future. Just look at the criticism over the lack of an imac for several months. It's not really marginalized to the point of where any company would kill it. It's just unlikely that they would continue to expand the line. At least the macbook pros will eventually collapse back into one design per size.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rrobr View Post


    For photography professionals, the iMac is not accurate enough and does not have a great enough color range. Neither do the Cinema Displays. Glossy screens are not a benefit for us-they don't improve either of these needed qualities.



    When they were still heavily catering to that market, they did get SWOP certification with whatever software + hardware solution. I didn't like the old Cinema displays though. Their uniformity was an issue.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post





    I don't think Apple cares so much about Windows capability anymore. It served its purpose in giving people a fall-back position for the computer in case they don't like Mac OS, it doesn't mean as much now that the brand is so much more widely known. And I say this as a person that uses virtualization to run Windows on a Mac. I just think my use is a minority use. If Apple ever actually deprecates the Intel architecture then I'll buy the newest Intel and use that until I can transition.

    Really, absolutely nothing, except maybe the cost.



    The new iMac finally has an incredibly high degree of anti-reflection coating that there's no reason to prefer the washed out blacks of a matte surface except to be a wanker.


    They can still be somewhat distracting on a rMBP under typical lighting, but really if it's anything visual, I find no display really fares perfectly in a brightly lit room. I haven't tested one of the new imacs in subdued lighting, so I can't comment there. Compared to some other displays, it's not just an issue of coatings. Most offer what is kind of a turnkey display solution via oemed software and either adapted or built in colorimeters combined with internal LUT systems. Just hooking a generic one up and generating a typical matrix profile is often less consistent. I tried Basiccolor a bit back with the display I was using, as some people claimed better shadow detail, but the results clipped green and blue, so absolute black was fairly neutral while the lower shadow values just above it came out very red. Apple usually goes for good enough for the majority of users, so I'm sure they will be popular. The old ones were really annoying in terms of reflections. It made it difficult to see anything subtle as surface reflections do not exactly obey the same rules as display gamma.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post



    I have thought (and suggested on this site, only to be roundly criticized) that the future Pro would be an evolution of the Mini. Some Lego-like modular computer that could stacked or otherwise snapped together using appropriate electromechanical links, Thunderbolt or proprietary and device specific. Modules could supply the features, power, and flexibility required for each power-user's needs.




    Even if they started from something like the mini, they don't have an interconnect that would allow for these things to work like a heterogeneous grid. Thunderbolt isn't something like infiniband. If you just wanted something along the lines of a render farm, that should be possible with what is already available. It's just I don't think there's anything available that would be suitable for multiple boxes accessing the same memory address space. In terms of product design right now, Apple reuses a lot of parts throughout the mac pro line. Much of this seems to come up because it sounds cool, but I suspect that Apple would still maintain their minimum sale. The mac pro sits at its current price to ensure that it doesn't crowd the imac. There's really nothing in the base model that forces it to its current price point just to maintain comparable margins to the rest of the line. The really expensive parts are restricted to the dual models.

  • Reply 57 of 198
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member


    I don't know what is happening, but I know I'm getting sick of not knowing what is happening. My Mac Pro at work is 5 years old and I've been waiting to have it upgraded for over a year.

  • Reply 58 of 198

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bloodshotrollin'red View Post



     Apple can't have it all.


    Oh contrare.

  • Reply 59 of 198
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Even if they started from something like the mini, they don't have an interconnect that would allow for these things to work like a heterogeneous grid. Thunderbolt isn't something like infiniband. If you just wanted something along the lines of a render farm, that should be possible with what is already available. It's just I don't think there's anything available that would be suitable for multiple boxes accessing the same memory address space. In terms of product design right now, Apple reuses a lot of parts throughout the mac pro line. Much of this seems to come up because it sounds cool, but I suspect that Apple would still maintain their minimum sale. The mac pro sits at its current price to ensure that it doesn't crowd the imac. There's really nothing in the base model that forces it to its current price point just to maintain comparable margins to the rest of the line. The really expensive parts are restricted to the dual models.



    Well said especially about access to the memory. In the old days we had CPU cards and RAM cards on the Sun mainframe boxes but with the cpu/bus speeds of today that type of modular tiering is not possible. All CPU and memory needs to be directly on the mobo.

  • Reply 60 of 198
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member


    Several things are happening. Apple sales in terms of market share for what gets shipped in the US has tripled in the last 6 years and that trend line is linear. However, IPad sales are increasing at a faster rate because MOST people are finding out they are using a tablet for most of their needs rather than a full blown desktop/laptop. Will this trend continue at that the rate it's done over the past 6 years? With all product sales, there are always time periods when things slow down and speed up.  Obviously, the tablet craze is taking over and people are less likely to upgrade their computers as often because as long as they get the funcionality out of it and it runs a later version OS, most Mac users will keep what they have until they feel they NEED to update.  Pros are more likely going to update their equipment more often because they see the benefits since they are more power hungry in what they do, so they'll use every amount of power they can get and since its a bigger part of their income, they will upgrade more often than the average consumer.  Times are also tough on a lot of people and they just can't afford a new computer and tablet and smartphone so they'll more likely opt to get newer mobile devices before the desktop/laptop because they are less expensive and they probably get more use if they are average users.


     


    In addition, there are a lot of people looking at the current technology and what's around the corner.


     


    Obviously, Intel plays a BIG part of this, if they only update their processor family once a year, then people have to figure out when to dump what they have to go to the next level.  For most Mac users, a 3 year computer does pretty much everything they need and there isn't that big of a speed difference in the most current versions, so they might wait until there is a big enough speed advantage or some other factor.


     


    What the next major change is going to be is also 802.11 since ac is around the corner and that's going to impact ALL devices including routers, anything that goes on someone's home WiFi.  I think that will definitely spurt sales once the 802.11ac standard emerges in desktops and laptops.




    For the high end Pros, they are waiting for the MacPro with Thunderbolt technology since that's what is replacing Firewire and the current MacPro doesn't have it.   I guess we can nod our heads to Intel on that one.


     


    Either way, I think Apple, like everyone else, is going through weird times right now and if things pick up towards the end of the year, Apple might get some more Mac sales.  But as indicated, the average consumer doesn't see the need in desktops/laptops like they used to, so many are using smartphones and tablets instead.


     


    I think technology for now has hit a ceiling and there has to be some major breakthrough for the desktop/laptop market to convince higher numbers of people to replace what they have.  What that is I don't know.

Sign In or Register to comment.