At the risk of invoking the term “cheese grater 2.0” (everyone else will), Apple has unleashed a powerful new Mac Pro that looks to have fully acknowledged the need of pros and appears to have done everything right.
First, Apple chose the right venue for this announcement. As I said last Friday,
Whether Apple likes it or not, services don’t convince us of Apple’s ability to innovate. It’s the hardware we look to, and hardware is the realm where WWDC, magic and our dreams meet.
This is indeed the machine of dreams. With new Xeon W CPUs, up to 28 cores, a new graphics system called the MPX module, a 1.4 kilowatt power supply, and up to 1.5 TB of RAM, it needn’t feel inferior to any HP Z workstation. It’s going to delight technical and creative professionals. What’s more, Apple didn’t hold back or compromise, and it allowed the price to reflect the power of the hardware.
I surmise it requires macOS 10.15 Catalina which is one reason it’ll ship in the fall. [UPDATE: The tech specs state that it’ll run Mojave.]
Next, the use of Xeon CPUs suggests strongly that it was premature to go with a suite of A-series CPUs even though many observers, including myself, believe that Apple will go that route eventually.
Wisely, Apple’s SVP of Product Marketing, Phil Schiller, did not introduce this new Mac Pro. Doing so would have raised the specter of the 2013 hoopla which turned out to be unjustified—in hindsight. John Turnus did a great job of delivering a technically exciting but sober approach and revealed the thought that went into the design and engineering. He let the hardware speak for itself, and we felt it. Clearly, there’s a part of the customer base that Apple wants back badly and for keeps.
It’s just a shame that Apple took so long to realize that this is the kind of Mac the pros have been hungry for.
Some may complain that it’s too expensive, but we’ve beeen down that road with the iMac Pro. Those who need the power of this Mac Pro are those whose business case justifies its cost. The rest of us can, with ongoing joy, fantasize about winning our state’s lottery.
Finally, in my own case, when the time comes that my 2013 Mac Pro will no longer run the latest version of macOS, the new (thank goodness) Mac mini, properly configured will do the job for me as a writer and podcaster. This is a new feeling, that is, not being able to afford a new Mac Pro. But my thanks goes out to Apple for planning ahead and shipping the 2018 Mac mini—in recognition of this precise customer dilemma.
Sometimes, Apple’s product release cycle seems opaque. But now we understand.
Back in April, 2017, Apple invited a few selected journalist to Cupertino to discuss tha state of the Mac Pro. At TechCrunch, Matthew Panzarino, recounted Phil Schiller’s approach.
We’ve certainly been getting feedback from a specific group of users in particular, desktop Mac Pro users. We’ve been listening to that. We’ve been talking to them! We’ve actually been going out, meeting with a lot of pro customers to understand how they use our products, what their workflow is like, things they might need. So we certainly understand a lot about them; there’s always more to learn but we understand a lot about them.
Apple looks to have delivered on its promise to deliver what the pros wanted. I, for one, am very, very pleased. It turns out, we needn’t have worried.