Apple announced the new cheese grater Mac Pro over 160 days ago. Still no price list. Still no ship date.
Unfortunately, stymied by its partners, Apple built the new Mac Pro’s foundation on old tech. PCIe 3 expandable slot architecture and up to a 28 core Intel Xeon processor bound the Mac Pro’s performance.
To be fair, it’s not all Apple’s fault. PCI-SIG picked its nose and stuck to PCIe 3 for years. Also, Intel picked something else for years and was stuck on 14nm chip production.
Newer and Shinier Alternatives
Then, PCI-SIG released PCIe 4 in 2017, doubling the bandwidth of PCI 3 slots. Worse still for Mac Pro buyers wanting current specs, in June PCI-SIG ratified PCIe 5, which doubles the performance of PCIe 4 slots. We may see shipping PCIe 5 motherboards by mid 2020. Moreover, PCIe 6 is being worked on for ratification by 2021.
Making Apple’s late release timing seem even worse is that AMD is shipping a 7nm 64 core CPU, and even Intel has since released a 56 core Xeon. Today, you can build a 64 core CPU and PCIe 4 motherboard for around the same price as an entry level new Mac Pro. However, you’ll have more than double the CPU grunt and double the motherboard bandwidth.
To be sure, there are fewer slots, you’ll have to get a janky case, etc. etc. There are significant compromises. But for those looking for the most grunt, it won’t be found on the new Mac Pro.
Late Release Requires Updated Marketing
Likely, there is a fair amount of pent up demand for those sticking with the Mac waiting for an expandable pro level machine. But beyond sating the backlog demand, this may be a product that is too expensive, too little, and too late.
As such, Apple should consider dramatically cutting the price of the new Mac Pro when it announces availability. An 8 core entry level system should be priced under $3,500. Apple should also work hard to get the Mac Pro competitive and release a more current version within 12 months. If they do not cut the prices, and then release a drastically updated Mac Pro in a short time, the still loyal customers that buy this Mac Pro will likely feel very burned.
Otherwise, I’m not sure this is a group of customers that will stand much more antagonization and lack of care by Apple.