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Scathing words from one of the original Mac brains for the barely-tweaked Mac Pro: "The only thing that's still high-end about it is the bloated price." However, I'm sure there's a new model in the works. Apple is a consumer company now, but it's not about to abandon its pro customers, especially the Final Cut Pro X market. It's just doing a lousy job of communicating that, but hey, welcome to Apple's faith-based customer communications 101: trust us, we know best.
 
The next generation MacBook Pro announced today at WWDC looks fantastic.  I ordered one immediately and can't wait to start using it.  Unfortunately, the euphoria was negated by my deep disappointment with the meagre, lame update that was silently bequeathed to the Mac Pro today.

The Mac Pro is Apple's top of the line, expandable Macintosh, aimed at users who need lots of computing power and disk storage, like programmers or other professionals.  I have an 8-core Mac Pro with 16 GB of RAM in my home office that was an amazing machine when I acquired it in 2008, but it's not so hot by today's standards.   I've been looking to get a new one for a while now, but Apple hadn't updated the hardware for two years, so I was looking forward to finally seeing a new one announced today, with essential features like Thunderbolt and USB 3.0.

When they didn't mention the Mac Pro during the keynote presentation, I got worried but figured they'd update it anyway, it just wasn't worthy of mention from the high pulpit of the consumer-oriented keynote.  And sure enough, when I visited store.apple.com, there was a little "new" icon above the Mac Pro.   But I was in for a shock when I clicked on the link to check it out.

The specs for the "new" Mac Pro had hardly changed, except for a tiny, inconsequential processor clock bump.   Still no Thunderbolt, still no USB 3.0, no SATA III or RAM speed improvements  - it seems like it's stuck in time in 2010.  The only thing that's still high-end about it is the bloated price.

Even though I'm well aware that Apple's future lies increasingly with mobile iOS-based devices, it still makes no sense to drop the ball on your high end desktop Mac so thoroughly, and to utterly disappoint your most loyal customers like yours truly.  Why do an update at all if you hardly change anything?  What's going on here?
 
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Bruno Jennrich's profile photoChris McDonald's profile photoStephen Shankland's profile photoJonathan Strickland's profile photo
8 comments
 
i dunno. i will upgrade my mac pro to a topline mac mini next year. i am fed up with paying a premium for a mediocre machine.
 
This is what Apple has been doing in the mobile space for a few years. They introduce a few small updates to the new generation and people buy it because it's a new product from Apple.
Look at the new iPad. All that separates it from the last generation is the retina display and a small bump in the graphics, yet they sold millions.
 
+Chris McDonald +Bruno Jennrich I think you overlook the fact that most people don't have tablets. If you're going to buy one, which one do you buy? The latest iPad is a pretty reasonable choice. Even if it's not paradigm-shiftingly stupendous compared to the last model, it's better, and its apps are better than the Android ones. And sure, there's the iSheep thing too, but it's not a coincidence that these things are selling by the millions. I don't think the majority of buyers are gushing Steve Jobs fanboys, they're just consumers interested in having a tablet.

Incremental advances are the way of the computing industry. It's actually pretty hard to change the industry. I think Apple deserves credit with the iPhone and iPad and MacBook Air. But you can't have that level of disruption every product cycle.

Also the third-gen iPad also had 4G, which is notable. Re. moving to Retina display I think it a pretty important move in the long run. Personally I would have preferred more computing power and then Retina with fourth-gen products, but I'm guessing Apple looked pretty carefully at software compatibility, battery life, and other issues before deciding what to change and what to hold constant.
 
ehm--- i am an ipad developer :-) and your right in regard to new customers. but compared to ipad2 the ipad3 isnt THAT big.
 
Getting back to the topic of the desktop towers, I find it curious that Apple hasn't spent more time recently beefing up the line. If Apple were making a bigger leap to the so-called "post-PC market," I would expect to see fewer examples of innovation in the notebook space. But Apple didn't just push for incremental improvements, the company also introduced a new flagship notebook. Pushing both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 tells me that Apple is determined to compete against Ultrabooks and other high-end notebooks. I have no doubt the desktop market is on the decline. Perhaps that's the main reason Apple hasn't spent as much time, effort and money getting towers to a comparable level with their notebooks. In the end, it looks like we're not really in a post-PC era -- we're just in a post-desktop era.
 
+Stephen Shankland I agree.  If someone is going out to buy a tablet why wouldn't they buy the new iPad?

My issue comes from the media and the internet claiming that every incremental change is the best thing since sliced bread.  I enjoy reading the articles that tell people that if they have the current generation then its probably not worth upgrading.  The problem is, there's not enough of those type of articles.  Apple makes an announcement and it is front page news, (literally, I just finished reading my local paper), regardless how groundbreaking it is.

Apple is currently making the majority of its money on the perception of their greatness.    
 
+Aladdin Omar And yet somehow the Windows world struggles to match Apple's notebook designs and the Android world does likewise with the iPad. The Mac Pro is serious weaksauce, but there's more than mere hype to Apple.
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