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Re-designed Mac Pro coming in 2018 with focus on upgradability


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#1 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 09:13 AM

Quote from Phil:

Quote

With regards to the Mac Pro, we are in the process of what we call "completely rethinking the Mac Pro." We're working on it. We have a team working hard on it right now, and we want to architect it so that we can keep it fresh with regular improvements, and we're committed to making it our highest-end, high-throughput desktop system, designed for our demanding pro customers.

As part of doing a new Mac Pro -- it is, by definition, a modular system -- we will be doing a pro display as well. Now you won't see any of those products this year; we're in the process of that. We think it's really important to create something great for our pro customers who want a Mac Pro modular system, and that'll take longer than this year to do.

MacRumors post

It's a long way out, but boy am I happy to see what they said and finally have some news about the Mac Pro.
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#2 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 09:16 AM

Very, interesting.

This provides more insight. I was actually discussing this with a friend the other day and of all of my scenarios "they've abandoned the can and are retreating to a tower" was my "most likely". Still don't know that that's exactly how it's going to pan out but it sounds it given Schiller and Federici's emphasis on GPU's

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#3 mattw

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 11:27 AM

Guess I'm hanging in there for another year with my 09...

Lets hope the new one or the iMac Pro solves the most of the issues so many of us had with the last one that made it even more of a niche machine that many only made sense to FCP video editors.
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#4 Cougar

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 11:44 AM

View PostAussieMacGamer, on 04 April 2017 - 09:16 AM, said:

Very, interesting.

This provides more insight. I was actually discussing this with a friend the other day and of all of my scenarios "they've abandoned the can and are retreating to a tower" was my "most likely". Still don't know that that's exactly how it's going to pan out but it sounds it given Schiller and Federici's emphasis on GPU's

Yeah, the only reason I could rationalize the fact that there were no new Mac Pros, yet they were still selling the thing, was that they were starting from scratch.

The price drop today is weird, though. Why couldn't have they done one earlier? Perhaps the new MP was supposed to come out this year, but was delayed. Anyway, it'll be interesting to learn in ten year or so's time what exactly happened. They must have known not long after the MP was released that the design was a mistake, so what is taking them so long?

Also interesting is that the release will be accompanied with new monitors. I feel sorry for everyone who bought the ugly LG. Apple should have said something in October.

#5 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 01:42 PM

Apple said that the new iMac will be tempting for pro users. I wonder if they are going to be sticking the Ryzen R7 1700 in there. That would give the iMac a huge jump in processing power over a 4 core i7, and even put the iMac ahead of the 6 and 8 core Mac Pro in terms of CPU performance (Ryzen CPUs have better IPC than the old ass Xeon's currently in the Mac Pro). For comparison, the current 7700K is a 91W TDP CPU, so the R7 1700 would have almost 30% lower TDP (65W TDP), while doubling the cores and threads. Pair that with a RX 480 (or hopefully a GTX 1080) and you'll have an amazing performing iMac, that has roughly the same thermals as the current one.
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#6 MichalM.Mac

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 04:00 PM

I'll borrow a quote from my favorite Ars Technica reviews.

Quote

Like Mac users everywhere, I want to believe


#7 Frost

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 06:37 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 04 April 2017 - 09:13 AM, said:

Quote from Phil:


MacRumors post

It's a long way out, but boy am I happy to see what they said and finally have some news about the Mac Pro.

Frakking hell yes. This was all I wanted from Apple all this time. I'm not interested in an iMac. They update the Pro or I use a PC, it's that simple.

It also didn't help that the 2013 Mac Pro killed most of the Mac Pro side of my business dead. That and the Mac mini having its power cut in half, RAM changed to soldered-on, and two drive capacity cut down to one also killed off literally about 95% of demand for the turnkey Mac minis I had going up through 2014 as well.
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#8 Matt Diamond

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 08:31 PM

This is unexpectedly good news.

Reading between the lines, I think it's safe to say there will be no mid-range tower in the near future. Pity, because that's my wheelhouse.

So after all my bellyaching maybe I'll end up getting a fancy iMac after all. We'll see. In the meantime I'll try and stick it out another year with my 2008 Mac Pro.
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#9 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 08:39 PM

View PostCougar, on 04 April 2017 - 11:44 AM, said:

Yeah, the only reason I could rationalize the fact that there were no new Mac Pros, yet they were still selling the thing, was that they were starting from scratch.

The price drop today is weird, though. Why couldn't have they done one earlier? Perhaps the new MP was supposed to come out this year, but was delayed. Anyway, it'll be interesting to learn in ten year or so's time what exactly happened. They must have known not long after the MP was released that the design was a mistake, so what is taking them so long?

Also interesting is that the release will be accompanied with new monitors. I feel sorry for everyone who bought the ugly LG. Apple should have said something in October.

Yeah this is where it gets interesting, and I have more theories lol. "Apple should have said something in October." I think that Apple had nothing to say in October. They were either going to abandon the Mac Pro (more likely), and restructure the iMac lineup (which will still happen), or slightly overhaul the current one and be done with it (not super likely). Around the timing I think it's as simple as they just had nothing to say because all of this has happened since.

There was probably a very high level tussle about what should happen, and I think several people were in favour of stepping back and re-designing a tower; they lost out. But the furore late 2016 event started a chain of events that led to a perceivable perception issue, debate was re-ignighted internally, and eventually they pulled the trigger on a re-birthing of the Mac Pro.

So they had this event with:

No new desktops and a new computer with
No traditional I/O
No new Apple Displays (probably ever)

They then went out and broke with past PR trend by having an extended discount period for accessories to respond to the I/O controversy, giving off some semblance of a notion of guilt. Something that could only have happened because Katie Cotton is no longer at Apple.

Then to make matters worse, the LG display turns out to be defective in a big way, needing a re-call and a re-design,

and they had no new iPad Pro's to show off.

IMO this created a perception popsnizzlestorm that re-ignighted my hypothetical high level debate, the LG displays were the nail in the coffin for the "kill off the professional Mac Hardware business" approach.

It doesn't take a force like Apple that long to get a tower ready.
All signs from that tight lipped interview seem to be point to it being a tower Phil Schiller: "We’re not going to get into exactly what stage we’re in, just that we told the team to take the time to do something really great. To do something that can be supported for a long time with customers with updates and upgrades throughout the years."

This is all the result of some very recent decision making at Apple. I really think starting again started this year... Apple's newer, less tight lipped approach to PR is the only thing that made this whole, almost admission of mistake possible.

All in all I don't think Apple needed to do this, they could have kept on the path they were on which was probably to streamline the iMac lineup Consumer small/Consumer Big/Pro with options aplenty; they showed in their numbers that there just isn't enough users for it to be a massive concern for them. I just really think the mounting noise from an extremely vocal minority made someone at Apple cave.

And it's the right decision. They have the money, they have the know-how, It's the spiritual mothership of a product to Apple, and in lots of ways a think it signifies a good shift in attitude to the Mac in the post-jobs era.

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#10 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 08:58 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 04 April 2017 - 01:42 PM, said:

Apple said that the new iMac will be tempting for pro users. I wonder if they are going to be sticking the Ryzen R7 1700 in there. That would give the iMac a huge jump in processing power over a 4 core i7, and even put the iMac ahead of the 6 and 8 core Mac Pro in terms of CPU performance (Ryzen CPUs have better IPC than the old ass Xeon's currently in the Mac Pro). For comparison, the current 7700K is a 91W TDP CPU, so the R7 1700 would have almost 30% lower TDP (65W TDP), while doubling the cores and threads. Pair that with a RX 480 (or hopefully a GTX 1080) and you'll have an amazing performing iMac, that has roughly the same thermals as the current one.

I think the partnership still lies with Intel on CPU's, I would be VERY surprised to see them jump ship with Ryzen. Also, for the time being it will be AMD mobile graphics, I imagine AMD give Apple better profit margins, and my understanding is that only the AMD cards gave apple the ability to support an additional 5k display through one thunderbolt port.

You could be close to the mark though, if theres ever a time for Apple to buck the trend it's now. I think the initial plan for the future of professional Mac hardware was to just streamline the iMac lineup.

Instead of tiering components in a really opaque way, make it a bit easier for consumers by offering 3 main options

small iMac
big iMac
with one non-retina model in the small one and a choice of RAM and Storage;

Then a iMac pro, with options for configurable storage, ram, GPU and CPU. This would give them the option to offer more cards in a less confusing way to consumers. It's still a very thermally limited space, and still designed by a company that really values profit margins and consumer default.



An interesting side note, In the current iMac, the difference in price between the R9 M390 and the R9 M395x 4gb (a difference btw that no one at Apple can explain past model number and amount of v-ram), costs enough for you to be able to build a significantly faster PC on the side. Profit margin is still a big factor for Apple in choosing components hahaha

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#11 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 12:41 AM

Modular Mac Pro. Yay! No mid-size tower, booh!

At least the talk about VR could mean they will also target a demographic that includes gamers - Ie. a tower who's main focus is
the GPU.
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#12 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 01:00 AM

View PostCougar, on 04 April 2017 - 11:44 AM, said:

I feel sorry for everyone who bought the ugly LG.
Only people who prefer form over function buy an Apple display: they're overpriced, have very few inputs, poor ergonomy, no pivot ability, and let's not get started about the glossy panels (though since they've made such a reversal with the future Mac Pro, hopefully they'll revert to matte panels too!).

#13 Cougar

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 01:56 AM

View PostCamper-Hunter, on 05 April 2017 - 01:00 AM, said:

Only people who prefer form over function buy an Apple display: they're overpriced, have very few inputs, poor ergonomy, no pivot ability, and let's not get started about the glossy panels (though since they've made such a reversal with the future Mac Pro, hopefully they'll revert to matte panels too!).

The LG display is just as glossy and doesn't have any other inputs, either. It's basically an ugly Apple display with some added ergonomics.

#14 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 04:08 AM

View PostCamper-Hunter, on 05 April 2017 - 01:00 AM, said:

Only people who prefer form over function buy an Apple display: they're overpriced, have very few inputs, poor ergonomy, no pivot ability, and let's not get started about the glossy panels (though since they've made such a reversal with the future Mac Pro, hopefully they'll revert to matte panels too!).

Yeah I think you're on the right track. If ever a time for Apple to start producing a pro-grade monitor again it's now. It really is an opportunity for them to double back down on the old 'we dont do it first nor cheapest; but we do it the best" approach.

I think the "it just works" mentality has gone on extended leave and it's permeated decision making down to them axing things like their display business. These things aren't big for Apple's bottom line, but the Mac's always had these kinds of crutches since the 2nd coming era (cinema display, Airport, iSight). Apple is capable of doing in so I'm hoping that they do pander to these functional niches again.

On the other end they could just put out a 5k iMac screen without the computer and be done with it. I think that'd be a shame though.


View PostThain Esh Kelch, on 05 April 2017 - 12:41 AM, said:

Modular Mac Pro. Yay! No mid-size tower, booh!

At least the talk about VR could mean they will also target a demographic that includes gamers - Ie. a tower who's main focus is
the GPU.

Yeah that was my thinking,

Quote

For examples of the type of software that the current Mac Pro isn’t well-suited for, Federighi mentioned VR: “Those can be in VR, those can be in certain kinds of high end cinema production tasks where most of the software out there that’s been written to target those doesn’t know how to balance itself well across multiple GPUs, but can scale across a single large GPU.”

felt like Federici slipped a little too much there...

The flip side of this too is that PC Gaming is now gigantic market (and growing!) , and pre-fab high end PC's make up a sizeable portion of that. At the very worst we're at least going to get some native Nvidia GPU drivers for OS X eventually.

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#15 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 12:51 AM

View PostCougar, on 05 April 2017 - 01:56 AM, said:

The LG display is just as glossy and doesn't have any other inputs, either. It's basically an ugly Apple display with some added ergonomics.

Then one can opt for another model, like the Dell. And I don't know if there are many other 5K 27" displays, but there's a plethora in 4K, and I'd be very surprised if that makes such a difference at this size.

#16 Cougar

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 12:44 PM

This is interesting, regarding rumors of the timeline for all of this. Basically, this was an incredibly recent decision, and the fact that Apple didn't explicitly say "2018" is no accident.

View PostCamper-Hunter, on 06 April 2017 - 12:51 AM, said:

Then one can opt for another model, like the Dell. And I don't know if there are many other 5K 27" displays, but there's a plethora in 4K, and I'd be very surprised if that makes such a difference at this size.

I have a Dell P2415Q. It's fine. But it's also ugly, and has no macOS integration. (it also took me three models to get a version without display issues, but that was probably incredibly bad luck.) It also makes a weird high-pitchedbuzzing sound if I attempt to plug in the USB hub.

The latest rumor is that Apple is working on an 8K. Just imagine the price tag! Dell just released one and it's $5,000.

#17 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 05:52 PM

View PostCougar, on 06 April 2017 - 12:44 PM, said:

This is interesting, regarding rumors of the timeline for all of this. Basically, this was an incredibly recent decision, and the fact that Apple didn't explicitly say "2018" is no accident.

Along the lines of my thinking, and also a good point about their wording of not til' next year. I suppose i'd wait to see what this new iMac lineup looks like before judging wether it'll be early, late 2018 or 2019.

Further on all the ideas floating around about other pro solutions in the Apple lineup.

Quote

In addition, Apple is said to be exploring additional Retina MacBook Pro models without the Touch Bar, and other pro-oriented features, such as hooking an iPad Pro up to a Mac to use it as a Cintiq-like device.

Expect Apple to double down on iPad in coming months and years, I think Apple really sees a future where lots of traditional mum/dad PC owners are spending 1k on a new iPad every 4 years rather than a PC and a cheaper iPad, but also academics, casual users, people in education. WWDC will be huge for iPad, I think this year will be the first time we see iOS really start to differentiate between iPhone and iPad.

I don't think Apple is going to change footing much on the Macbook Pro. It was naturally a shock to the system, it'll support more RAM and better GPU's as time goes on. What I would expect to see is some sort of smart features between computers via thunderbolt to help integrate them more. I'm currently using an old '09 iMac as a PC monitor through a DP cable and it works great! It'd be great if Apple found a way to Shoehorn a 5k input into their Thunderbolt 3 iMac...

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#18 Frost

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 06:50 PM

View PostAussieMacGamer, on 05 April 2017 - 04:08 AM, said:

The flip side of this too is that PC Gaming is now gigantic market (and growing!) , and pre-fab high end PC's make up a sizeable portion of that. At the very worst we're at least going to get some native Nvidia GPU drivers for OS X eventually.

Well, NVIDIA didn't waste one solitary second aiming for AMD's Mac monopoly. Titan Xp coming with Mac support for old Mac Pros, and will have Mac support going forward for upcoming Mac Pros.

https://techcrunch.c...rs-mac-support/

Great news for me, might be able to revive my Mac Pro business. Lot of science and HPC outfits wanted original Titans on their Mac Pros back in the day, and that's pretty much dried up.
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#19 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 01:17 AM

View PostFrost, on 06 April 2017 - 06:50 PM, said:

Well, NVIDIA didn't waste one solitary second aiming for AMD's Mac monopoly. Titan Xp coming with Mac support for old Mac Pros, and will have Mac support going forward for upcoming Mac Pros.

https://techcrunch.c...rs-mac-support/

Great news for me, might be able to revive my Mac Pro business. Lot of science and HPC outfits wanted original Titans on their Mac Pros back in the day, and that's pretty much dried up.

Yeah wow hahaha not a second at all! This is great news. I wonder why now? Maybe Apple have been working with them and had conditioned an embargo on this announcement? Doesn't fit in with the timeline I guess If Apple have only been at this new Mac Pro for a month.

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