Apple not expecting new Mac Pro to be available in-store until at least March

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Production of Apple's new professional desktop is said to be heavily constrained, with representatives indicating that the company's retail stores will not stock the machine until at least March.

Mac Pro


Business sales staff at Apple Australia have been instructed to point customers looking to order a new Mac Pro toward Apple's online store, according to a report from Electronista. Default configurations purchased today would not be scheduled to ship until February, while customized units could take even longer, depending on the components chosen.

The all-new Mac Pro, featuring a sleek cylindrical design and next-generation architecture, was announced in October for a December launch. Apple began accepting preorders on Dec. 18, and shipping commenced one week later.

Some customers who ordered base-model Mac Pro units received their machines as early as Christmas Eve, while many others --?including those who opted for one of the Mac Pro's 200 custom configurations --?are still waiting.

Journalists given review units from Apple have been effusive in their praise of the tower's industrial design and processing power, despite a dearth of software designed to take advantage of the new Mac Pro's dual-GPU design. Anandtech's well-regarded Anand Lal Shimpi, for instance, found the machine to be "the first desktop in a very long time that I want very close to me."

Apple has chosen to manufacture the updated Mac Pro in a new Austin, Texas facility, a return to the company's roots whose ramp-up may be contributing to the supply constraints. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company made Macs in the U.S. until 2004, when its last stateside manufacturing plant closed its doors.

For now, while Apple's own online store doesn't advertise availability of the Mac Pro until February, major resellers such as Best Buy are advertising their own stock. The entry-level $2,999.999 model is listed to ship in just one day, while store pickup is available in five to seven days.

The same goes for the 6-core $3,999.99 model at Best Buy, which is also advertised to ship from the resellers warehouse in one business day, or arrive at the nearest retail store for pickup in less than a week.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    It could be because yields are so low but I'd think 420 units (one per Apple Store) isn't a big deal for Apple. I wonder if the primary issue not having any to sell in stores until March so it not being worth advertising until such time they will have units on hands. I can't image many of their Mac Pros buyers being on the fence until such time is they can see one in a store. Could there also be a need to have 4K displays setup so they can showcase just how good it looks?
  • Reply 2 of 29
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,108member
    Apple should pull the old MacPros from their stores.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    I was at an Apple store last week and they had one on display. I didn't ask if they had any to sell (I doubt it), but you could play with the one they had. It was hooked up to a Thunderbolt Display.
  • Reply 4 of 29
    I would expect that Apple would stock at least 30 units per store. That would be over 12,000 machines to stock their stores. In high volume stores which Apple has quite a few of, the total could come to 50 machines per store. One other problem that is not mentioned here, but having space to securely store 30 machines may be a pretty big problem in some of these stores. It would not be politic for Apple to start stocking their own stores before any of the Authorized dealerships get stock as well. The dealer network is probably at least 3 times as large as the store network. That would bring the total to closer to 48,000 to fill the retail channel. On line retailers, schools, and government are other channels to fill with stock.

    The final issue is many specialized software partners need to add support for the machine's dual video cards and the 6, 8 or 12 core processors. The pro users for this machine may be really tired of waiting, but it takes time for volumes of users to match the cost of new development.

    This business really does qualify as a hobby for Apple, but it will grow with time and a rejuvenated workstation ecosystem. I would be surprised if Apple sold more than half a million Mac Pros a year. With an average selling price of $5000, that would equate to $2.5 B which wouldn't add much more than 1% to Apple's top line in sales. Apple could sell 1 Million Mac Pros in 2015 and still not break 3% of Gross sales. Profits might be a different story. High end machines like these could easily put 35% on the bottom line. A fully upgraded $11,000 machine might not cost more than $5500 to make in volume.

    The real bright spot for this will be how it will benefit from the reduced power demands of Intel's, AMD, and nVidia's next couple of generation of machines. Silicon simply cannot add more speed(frequency) without melting down. 2.5 GHZ is a frequency wall for Silicon beyond which leakage is the real killer problem. I find it particularly interesting that the storage is connected directly to the Video cards. Apple seems to be positioning themselves to take advantage of a new computing model over the next 10 years.
  • Reply 5 of 29
    Sadly, this probably means that we won't get any sales numbers on the Mac Pro at the next earnings call (AIR, February)...

    I read somewhere that Thunderbolt 2 chips are in short supply.

    It is also possible that Apple was overwhelmed with orders for these machines.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    At the same time I was reading this article email from my bank alerted me that my card was just charged by Apple for my customized Mac Pro which I ordered 45 minutes after Mac Pros were first made available online. On the Apple site it now shows as "processing". So it appears that online retail at least is beginning to release custom Mac Pros now to regular retail customers (not just reviewers, influencers, etc.).

    FYI the non-standard configuration I ordered was:

    3.0GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon E5
    32GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC - 4X8GB
    1TB PCIe-based Flash Storage
    Dual AMD FirePro D700-6GB VRAM
  • Reply 7 of 29
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Sadly, this probably means that we won't get any sales numbers on the Mac Pro at the next earnings call (AIR, February)...

    I read somewhere that Thunderbolt 2 chips are in short supply.

    It is also possible that Apple was overwhelmed with orders for these machines.

    Only one component has to be in short supply for their sales to be hindered but I have a problem wrapping my head around the number of TB2 chips needed fore the Mac Pro market and it not being possible to make them.
  • Reply 8 of 29
    The real bright spot for this will be how it will benefit from the reduced power demands of Intel's, AMD, and nVidia's next couple of generation of machines. Silicon simply cannot add more speed(frequency) without melting down. 2.5 GHZ is a frequency wall for Silicon beyond which leakage is the real killer problem. I find it particularly interesting that the storage is connected directly to the Video cards. Apple seems to be positioning themselves to take advantage of a new computing model over the next 10 years.

    Possibly GPU Computing:

    Discussed here:

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/what-is-gpu-computing.html

    10001000



    Best iIllustrated here:


    [VIDEO]
  • Reply 9 of 29
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Possibly GPU Computing:

    Discussed here:

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/what-is-gpu-computing.html

    10001000



    Best iIllustrated here:


    [VIDEO]

    After I saw your first image title "How GPU Acceleration Works" I immediately thought of the Mythbuster's demo. Good to see you're on the same page.
  • Reply 10 of 29
    solipsismx wrote: »

    Discussed here:

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/what-is-gpu-computing.html

    After I saw your first image title "How GPU Acceleration Works" I immediately thought of the Mythbuster's demo. Good to see you're on the same page.

    Yeah...

    Some interesting possibilities here:
    • use a [relatively to the Xeon] inexpensive Intel CPU to handle the [legacy] serial processing
    • use standard GPUs to handle the parallel processing
    • alternately use multiple ARM CPU/GPUs [like today's A7] to handle the parallel processing
    • alternately develop custom ARM CPU/GPUs with more GPUs to handle the parallel processing

    I can envision that the state of the art could evolve to where ARM Class chips are the dominant CPU architecture with GPUs included in the same SOC.

    An x86 class chip would be included, when needed (almost as an accessory) to run any remaining legacy code.

    I am no hardware designer (though I play one on TV) -- but a critical question appears to be: "Where does the RAM live?"


    An interesting question, to me: What kind of ARM CPU/GPU RAM setup would be required to run an app like Final Cut Pro?
  • Reply 11 of 29
    I am really excited with the potential of the Mac Pro Form factor.

    Apple appears to have over-built the basic machine (power supply, cooling, I/O). This should be able to handle the next few generations of current-architecture components (CPU, GPU, SSD, RAM, Externals). As technology advances, we should see these components re-architected to provide more for less...

    What I am trying to say is that the Mac Pro can handle any hardware we can throw at, or into it through 2016 -- then easily handle any newer hardware components having less impact. As such, the Mac Pro is defining a high-water mark of what is required in a desktop or workstation computer?

    I can hardly wait for the Mac Pro Mini!
  • Reply 12 of 29
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    After I saw your first image title "How GPU Acceleration Works" I immediately thought of the Mythbuster's demo. Good to see you're on the same page.

    That is the first time I've seen that video. An interesting way to get a point across. My first thought was that must have cost a lot to build.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    I am really excited with the potential of the Mac Pro Form factor.
    I see it as a winning platform. It is certainly about the future not the past.

    Apple appears to have over-built the basic machine (power supply, cooling, I/O). This should be able to handle the next few generations of current-architecture components (CPU, GPU, SSD, RAM, Externals). As technology advances, we should see these components re-architected to provide more for less...
    Overbuilt probably isn't the right word. In the high end model the machine runs right at its capacity limit.

    What I am trying to say is that the Mac Pro can handle any hardware we can throw at, or into it through 2016 -- then easily handle any newer hardware components having less impact. As such, the Mac Pro is defining a high-water mark of what is required in a desktop or workstation computer?
    This machine is probably just a start. Depending upon where they go in the next couple of years the machine could end up rather radical!!!!

    I can hardly wait for the Mac Pro Mini!
  • Reply 14 of 29
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I can hardly wait for the Mac Pro Mini!
    wizard69 wrote: »
    This machine is probably just a start. Depending upon where they go in the next couple of years the machine could end up rather radical!!!!

    Can we expect the HDDs in the Mac Mini to be reduced to a single PCIe SSD, perhaps with an addition TB port?
  • Reply 15 of 29
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    ... I wonder if the primary issue not having any to sell in stores until March so it not being worth advertising until such time they will have units on hands. ...

     

    I think the real issue is that Phil Schiller said that the Mac Pro would ship in 2013 when he introduced it during the WWDC keynote.   Then at the "iPad Air event" in October, he promised that it would be available for purchase by the end of December.  So Apple was forced to build just a few pre-production models for sale to customers (in addition to media review units) long before production is ramped up enough for volume sales.

     

    It's just tough timing.  If the new Mac Pro had been kept secret until Apple built a stock of 300K units, then announced it with no warning in March, the updated MacBook Pro would have been the biggest hardware announcement at WWDC13.  That would have been disappointing.  Or, if Phil had promised  the new Mac Pro "some time in early 2014" at WWDC, there would have been confusion and even more disappointment.  As in "We have to wait until *next year*?  2013 is barely half over!"

  • Reply 16 of 29
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    sockrolid wrote: »
    I think the real issue is that Phil Schiller said that the Mac Pro would ship in 2013 when he introduced it during the WWDC keynote.   Then at the "iPad Air event" in October, he promised that it would be available for purchase by the end of December.  So Apple was forced to build just a few pre-production models for sale to customers (in addition to media review units) long before production is ramped up enough for volume sales.

    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">It's just tough timing.  If the new Mac Pro had been kept secret until Apple built a stock of 300K units, then announced it with no warning in March, the updated MacBook Pro would have been the biggest hardware announcement at WWDC13.  That would have been disappointing.  Or, if Phil had promised  the new Mac Pro "some time in early 2014" at WWDC, there would have been</span>
    <span style="line-height:1.4em;"> confusion and even more disappointment.  As in "We </span>
    have<span style="line-height:1.4em;"> to wait until *next year*?  2013 is barely half over!"</span>

    I don't disagree with any of your points about Apple saving face but I still wonder what is the hold up to keeping these machines from being produced en mass.
  • Reply 17 of 29

    The timing is going to work out just about right for us.

     

    I want to see The Foundry Modo optimized for this beast, for one thing. Optimized Adobe apps would also be great.

     

    And since we'll need new displays, I'd much rather see whatever follows the current Apple Thunderbolt displays which resemble too much the older aluminum iMacs. And perhaps Apple will make displays to match the finish of the new Pro.

  • Reply 18 of 29
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    danielsw wrote: »
    And since we'll need new displays, I'd much rather see whatever follows the current Apple Thunderbolt displays which resemble too much the older aluminum iMacs. And perhaps Apple will make displays to match the finish of the new Pro.

    It seems like a natural fit especially with the iMacs looking so much more modern than their Apple TB Display but not updating their displays quickly is common for Apple and they are clearly keeping that trend going.
  • Reply 19 of 29

    If Apple Stores will only start having stocks from March, I wonder how long it will take for the Authorised Resellers to get them?

     

    But the delay is really very good. One less thing to get tempted by. Lead us not into temptation Apple, we'll find it ourselves.

     

    Sometimes I think no company is as aptly named as Apple. The first forbidden fruit that is still the most desirable...

  • Reply 20 of 29
    There are only 144 possible combinations, not 200. 4 levels of processors x 4 levels of memory x 3 levels of storage x 3 levels of graphic cards.
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