Editorial: Apple's WWDC 2019 was far more than just the Mac Pro and Apple Pro Display XDR

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 8
This year's WWDC keynote announcements were unusual for Apple in how broad and deep they were, amplified by sessions throughout the event that will ultimately bring a great deal to every single Mac and iOS user.




If WWDC 2019 is remembered for one thing, it will be the new Mac Pro. Only, it won't be remembered for one thing, it will be remembered for many. And which other things will be so memorable depends on you and what sort of Apple user you are. This year's WWDC was unusually adept at providing something new for everyone.

You can slice that any way you like. Apple's WWDC is always about software but it doesn't always include hardware -- yet this time, it did.

Or you can slice it by the way that people use their devices and here Apple has brought someone ething new to all of them.

And you can even dissect this year's WWDC by the length of time and depth of use of its customers. People with their careers invested in this technology got new hardware and software. People who are more casual, even fashionable users got new Watch faces and bands.

Demographics

This time, Apple even focused on a specific demographic that's rather broader than the group of people who need and can afford a 2019 Mac Pro. All of Apple's health efforts so far have been for everyone, but this time they also made specifically women's health a target.

Menstrual cycle tracking is the biggest new health feature in Apple Watch by far
Menstrual cycle tracking is the biggest new health feature in Apple Watch by far


The new menstrual cycle tracking is gigantic. Whether you see Apple as a company that has only our best interests at heart, or you think it's a cynical corporation out to get as much profit as possible, here it can be both. Unquestionably, women's health is a huge market and if Apple is doing it for the bucks, nobody else has, and it's about time.

Special interest groups

The rest of Apple's announcements were about addressing the differing needs and interests of everyone. What's unusual is both that they covered so many groups and that those groups can be small.

The number of people who will buy a Mac Pro is tiny next to how many people buy an iPhone. It's even pretty tiny next to the number of people who'll buy a Mac.

On the one hand, you have women are an enormous group, a bit over half the species, but they get comparatively little attention. If you don't believe that, imagine if men had periods and whether it still would've taken until watchOS 6 for tracking.

The Mac Pro is the opposite. Despite what you know will be very low sales figures, the Mac Pro has an unparalleled footprint and exhaustive attention.

It is the machine by which Apple is judged. Before the WWDC 2019 keynote, Apple was a failure because it wasn't addressing the needs of pro customers. It couldn't even make one that looked as good as the old Mac Pro did.

Since the keynote, Apple has been called a failure for not addressing the needs of pro customers with a cheap Mac Pro that does look like the old one.

You can't please everyone, but it seems you can make a leading-edge Mac and that's what they've done.

Close up on the thousand-buck stand
Close up on the thousand-buck stand


Well, they've also made a monitor stand that costs more than a Mac mini.

AppleInsider has been repeatedly told at WWDC that the monitor comes with some kind of stand, but all the confirmed pricing and specifications on Apple's website suggest that no, it doesn't.

Nobody is going to prop up their $4,999 Apple Pro Display XDR on the desk with a couple books and an Ikea vase. You have to have some kind of stand or some kind of mount, and Apple's got you covered. At a cost.

The regular Apple stand for this monitor is a thousand bucks and if that does nothing else, it makes the VESA mount seem a bargain at "just" $199. Currently Apple sells a VESA mount adaptor kit for the iMac Pro for just $79.

Mind you, Apple's had some problems with the quality of VESA mounts before so hopefully the higher price reflects that this one is better.

There are advantages to having a VESA mount, in how it keeps the Mac screen up above your desk instead of taking up space on it. Yet surely the extremely vast majority of customers will buy a monitor that goes on the desk.

They're easier to move around, they're easier to adjust, and you don't have to have a convenient wall behind the Mac to mount it on.

So as it appears at the moment, you are likely to have to buy one of these $999 stands. In which case, Apple should've admitted that the Mac Pro monitor is starts at $5,999 including stand.



Pro users

You don't have to be in the market for a Mac Pro to be a pro user. While there were no iPad hardware announcements, pro or serious users of that device might as well have got a new one because of all the improvements.

Right back when the iPad first launched, it got its own version of iOS. That was a timing issue, though, as the iPad came out between regular iOS releases and required certain extra features. From the next version up to this year, iOS on iPhone and iPad was the same.

Or rather, it may have been the same as far as Apple is concerned. It presumably was the same code base. Yet it was an unofficial rule that if one year the new iOS features were of most use to the iPhone, the next year they would before the iPad. Now Apple has formalized that by branching off iPadOS and making iPad users very happy.

Alongside all of the iPhone features of iOS 13, iPadOS is bringing far more productivity tools. It's making the iPad more like a MacBook, even down to mouse and trackpad support with the right settings.

Many people wanted that and they've got it. Since the day Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPad, though, we've wanted to see that home page of icons get tightened up. The same grid we like so much on the iPhone has never looked right on the larger screen of the iPad and now we can do something about that as well.

Audio and visuals

Then, too, we've wanted HomePod to please recognize that we don't all live alone or in households where we're the sole person willing to talk to Siri all the time. We've got that now, we've got multi-person support.

We've also got multi-AirPod support so that two of you can listen to the same thing outside your home. True, we lose the cuteness of each of you wearing one AirPod, but you can't argue against stereo.

Nor can you argue, convincingly anyway, that the breakup of iTunes into separate apps isn't great. There is all the fuss and nonsense about Apple ditching the iTunes and deleting all your purchases, but that's clickbait fodder.

The largest group

Maybe what's especially unexpected and different about this year's WWDC is how so much of it involved Apple giving people what they want. The new Mac Pro, the greater iPad multi-tasking, the mouse support, the break up of iTunes, it was all on more than a few wish lists and now it's done.

There were also people who have spent years calling out for a Dark Mode on iOS, and probably at least as many other people shrugging at the idea.

Now we've got it, though, you will want it. After a long time of third-party apps introducing a form of Dark Mode, you can now see why it was only a form of it. You can see how Dark Mode should be done, right at the system level, and the result is gorgeous.

We happen to be in the small but very vocal group that wanted improvements to Siri Shortcuts. And while Apple didn't mention it during the keynote, the sessions and details released afterwards make us want iOS 13 right now.

So Apple listened, which it often doesn't and never has to. And Apple delivered. This was an unusual year for WWDC and a great one.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    alexonlinealexonline Posts: 224member
    Brilliant article and absolutely spot on. Can’t wait for July to arrive during which the public betas will arrive, too - which I’m be installing immediately! :-)
    n2itivguyAppleExposedmacguillamatoysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    pixelwashpixelwash Posts: 4unconfirmed, member
    Nice article, but it needs to be subbed - the section on the stand is all over the place, and the final sentence of that section "So as it appears at the moment, you are likely to have to buy one of these $999 stands. In which case, Apple should've admitted that the Mac Pro starts at $6,999 including stand." makes no sense, nobody would ever buy just a Mac Pro and a monitor stand, they would also buy the monitor...which makes the base price of the new Mac Pro with monitor and stand $11,997, (or people might just buy the monitor and the stand for $5998, or $6998 with the matt finish.)
    n2itivguyfirelockwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 21
    "The Mac Pro is the opposite. Despite what you know will be very low sales figures, the Mac Pro has an unparalleled footprint and exhaustive attention."

    What does that mean? You're making me feel like Inigo Montoya.

    Overall lame article. It's a rehash of stuff you've already covered. It doesn't cover any of the other sessions at all. There are some huge things coming that haven't gotten much/any coverage anywhere yet. For example, people off-net (remote locations, subways, etc.) get high-end voice dictation ON DEVICE. And the root FS is read-only now! Those were just a couple of details from the session after the keynote. There's so much more...

    charlesgres
  • Reply 4 of 21
    vtvitavtvita Posts: 13member
    An Apple Pro Display XDR at $4,999, plus the $999 stand adds up to $5,998.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 21
    WgkruegerWgkrueger Posts: 77member
    Good article and I agree with all of it, especially the “make us want iOS 13 right now” part :-)
    n2itivguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 21
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,194member
    To me this was one of the best WWDCs ever. Developers love Craig Federighi. I’m glad he’s running software because we’re getting stuff we might not have before.
    regurgitatedcoproliteAppleExposedMacQcwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 21
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,538unconfirmed, member
    People who bash Memoji announcements don't get it.

    I was at a house and they had the Spanish news on their TV. It caught my eye because the Memoji announcement from WWDC was on the screen. They were talking about Apples new feature coming to iPhones and not a mention of anything else announced. Then they switched to other(non-tech) current events.

    We nerds may get excited for Sidecar or SwiftUI but the rest of the world gets excited for Memoji.

    "On the one hand, you have women are an enormous group, a bit over half the species, but they get comparatively little attention. If you don't believe that, imagine if men had periods and whether it still would've taken until watchOS 6 for tracking"

    Well it took this long for a calculator to arrive which both women and men all use.
    MacQc
  • Reply 8 of 21
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,492member
    On the subject of the mac pro, one thing that occurs to me is what happens to the trash can one. I presume Apple has stopped their production? Or will they still be offered at what might be considered a prosumer price? I'm guessing at least some refurbed ones might appear soon too. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 21
    M68000M68000 Posts: 109member
    eightzero said:
    On the subject of the mac pro, one thing that occurs to me is what happens to the trash can one. I presume Apple has stopped their production? Or will they still be offered at what might be considered a prosumer price? I'm guessing at least some refurbed ones might appear soon too. 
    Yes it would be nice to know.  Since it’s not front page on the website it is probably done.  But it shows on the clearance section of Apple’s website as a refurb at around $2800.  Why don’t they make an official statement?  The trashcan is cool looking but at 6 years old how long will it be supported on OS X?  2 years ?  Seems like a bargain now at $2800 ?  Or not?  Looking forward to seeing the new Pro in person though,  looks amazing.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 21
    techsavytechsavy Posts: 34member
    Really? A 1000 Dollar monitor stand that has two adjustable accesses? I can buy 4 ergotron monitor arms for that same price and they have full mobility. Along with that it looks like the monitor attachment looks unique to apple, what a surprise. I hope the new Macs come with a stand already because this is ridiculous.
  • Reply 11 of 21
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,883administrator
    M68000 said:
    eightzero said:
    On the subject of the mac pro, one thing that occurs to me is what happens to the trash can one. I presume Apple has stopped their production? Or will they still be offered at what might be considered a prosumer price? I'm guessing at least some refurbed ones might appear soon too. 
    Yes it would be nice to know.  Since it’s not front page on the website it is probably done.  But it shows on the clearance section of Apple’s website as a refurb at around $2800.  Why don’t they make an official statement?  The trashcan is cool looking but at 6 years old how long will it be supported on OS X?  2 years ?  Seems like a bargain now at $2800 ?  Or not?  Looking forward to seeing the new Pro in person though,  looks amazing.
    The 5,1 is supported through Mojave, so two more years at least is a safe bet.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 21
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,469member
    techsavy said:
    Really? A 1000 Dollar monitor stand that has two adjustable accesses? I can buy 4 ergotron monitor arms for that same price and they have full mobility. Along with that it looks like the monitor attachment looks unique to apple, what a surprise. I hope the new Macs come with a stand already because this is ridiculous.
    Well, to be fair, up/down, tilt, and landscape/portrait. And I'm betting the build quality is far and away much better than any Ergotron arm.

    Sure the Ergotron is cheaper. You might say cheap. I've owned two and got rid of them because the build quality wasn't what I wanted. Sure, it was good enough, if I was on a tight budget, but it was far from a precision bit of kit.

    Who needs precision in a monitor stand? Maybe nobody needs it. But if it's available and somebody is willing to pay for it, it's a choice.

    But I am wondering - does it come with any stand, a basic one? In another thread, I believe Mike W said it does. This article says or implies it doesn't.

    I agree it should come with a basic stand as do all other monitors. But Apple might be offering the VESA adapter so as to roll your own arm/stand solution. I hope that's not the case.

    Maybe TwelveSouth or somebody will make an easel for it. Apple's VESA port is probably proprietary so counterfeiting a stand for it could be problematic.
    pscooter63AppleExposedStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 21
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,020member
    I’d argue the Mac Pro had very little to do with WWDC. It was just shown off to convince developers of very high-end software that there is a Mac coming that might give them a viable market to target software development for.

    To me, this WWDC was all about cross-platform development with Catalyst and SwiftUI taking center stage. SwiftUI alone is going to be a huge game changer for developers who don’t care for messing with interfaces, especially those writing apps across two or more platforms. Directly binding modal data and states to interface elements as going to save a ton of time and kill a lot of bugs.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 21
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,451member
    macgui said:
    techsavy said:
    Really? A 1000 Dollar monitor stand that has two adjustable accesses? I can buy 4 ergotron monitor arms for that same price and they have full mobility. Along with that it looks like the monitor attachment looks unique to apple, what a surprise. I hope the new Macs come with a stand already because this is ridiculous.
    Well, to be fair, up/down, tilt, and landscape/portrait. And I'm betting the build quality is far and away much better than any Ergotron arm.

    Sure the Ergotron is cheaper. You might say cheap. I've owned two and got rid of them because the build quality wasn't what I wanted. Sure, it was good enough, if I was on a tight budget, but it was far from a precision bit of kit.

    Who needs precision in a monitor stand? Maybe nobody needs it. But if it's available and somebody is willing to pay for it, it's a choice.

    But I am wondering - does it come with any stand, a basic one? In another thread, I believe Mike W said it does. This article says or implies it doesn't.

    I agree it should come with a basic stand as do all other monitors. But Apple might be offering the VESA adapter so as to roll your own arm/stand solution. I hope that's not the case.

    Maybe TwelveSouth or somebody will make an easel for it. Apple's VESA port is probably proprietary so counterfeiting a stand for it could be problematic.
    Mac Pro and monitor is aimed at the high end professional market, even a chair costs way more than $1000  for this segment and cost isn't an issue overall; quality is though, and I expect Apple delivers in this aspect.
    AppleExposedStrangeDaysJWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 21
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,492member
    techsavy said:
    Really? A 1000 Dollar monitor stand that has two adjustable accesses? I can buy 4 ergotron monitor arms for that same price and they have full mobility. Along with that it looks like the monitor attachment looks unique to apple, what a surprise. I hope the new Macs come with a stand already because this is ridiculous.
    To you. I think it likely you're not the intended market.
    AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 21
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,584member

    Close up on the thousand-buck stand

    Well, they've also made a monitor stand that costs more than a Mac mini.

    AppleInsider has been repeatedly told at WWDC that the monitor comes with some kind of stand, but all the confirmed pricing and specifications on Apple's website suggest that no, it doesn't.

    Nobody is going to prop up their $4,999 Apple Pro Display XDR on the desk with a couple books and an Ikea vase. You have to have some kind of stand or some kind of mount, and Apple's got you covered. At a cost.

    The regular Apple stand for this monitor is a thousand bucks and if that does nothing else, it makes the VESA mount seem a bargain at "just" $199. Currently Apple sells a VESA mount adaptor kit for the iMac Pro for just $79.

    Mind you, Apple's had some problems with the quality of VESA mounts before so hopefully the higher price reflects that this one is better.

    There are advantages to having a VESA mount, in how it keeps the Mac screen up above your desk instead of taking up space on it. Yet surely the extremely vast majority of customers will buy a monitor that goes on the desk.

    They're easier to move around, they're easier to adjust, and you don't have to have a convenient wall behind the Mac to mount it on.

    So as it appears at the moment, you are likely to have to buy one of these $999 stands. In which case, Apple should've admitted that the Mac Pro starts at $6,999 including stand.

    Nonsense. Countless people use VESA mounts, the most common being a desk-mounted clamp. I have two, one holding my 27" iMac and another holding a 27" monitor. Clamped to my desk. So it's completely false to claim you "have to buy one" of the $999 stands. You flat out don't have to. You can buy the mount and use an arm off Amazon today.  

    That being said, I certainly can see the value proposition of Apple's stand. My VESA arms are not great. I've tried several and wobble, bobble, sink, require tools for spring adjustment, yada yada... In short they still kinda suck, for ~$200. If the Apple one is quality, doesnt wobble, doesnt sink, doesn't require tools, etc....it will be worth the investment.

    Sure beats Rolling Stones tickets ($1500).
    edited June 6 AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 21
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,970member
    To me this was one of the best WWDCs ever. Developers love Craig Federighi. I’m glad he’s running software because we’re getting stuff we might not have before.
    I agree.  I would go as far as to say, post-Steve Jobs, that this was the best Apple keynote ever.
    AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 21
    vtvitavtvita Posts: 13member
    Best Keynote in the modern, post His Steveness era.
    n2itivguyAppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 21
    xor99xor99 Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    You can't please everyone....so much of it involved Apple giving people what they want."

    Well, yes and no.  They certainly seem to have produced a great machine for the high-end A/V community (the issue of NVIDIA/CUDA support notwithstanding), and kudos to them for that.  

    My one criticism (and this is something I anticipated would be an issue, prior to the announcement) is that most companies that produce workstations for pro users understand that they're not a monolithic user group (i.e., there's a wide range of needs there) and thus, sensibly, produce more than one form factor (essentially, a larger box and a smaller box) to accommodate that range of requirements. Optimally, then, Apple would have offered two form factors as well. 

    Given this machine's high capabilities, an obvious second form factor would be a smaller (but still modular/upgradeable) box that accommodated a maximum of two (instead of four) high-TDP GPU's (this by itself would reduce the TDP requirement by 500W), along with sensible corresponding reductions in other max specs, at a correspondingly lower base price.  This would accommodate those prosumers who have waited years for an upgradeable stand-alone headless box roughly similar in price to the 1st gen Mac Pro.   

    And it's not as if Apple doesn't understand this concept. After all, they produce each of the MacBook Pro, iMac, and iPad Pro in two form factors, realizing that "one size doesn't fit all".  The same principle applies here.  Two boxes would have gone a lot further towards pleasing their overall power user base.

    Perhaps they'll produce a smaller form factor in the future. I suspect much of the design work (and thus design cost) done for this machine could be used to engineer a smaller box.
    edited June 6 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 21
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 820member
    I don't think we will ever find out if it blends.
    watto_cobra
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