New iMac Pro Launches a New Wave of Macs

5 minute read
| Particle Debris

There’s been some fuss about the new iMac Pro not being upgradable, but I think that misses the point. It is, after all, an iMac in essence. Albeit a fast one. And so the real question is not, why isn’t it upgradable for the pro? Rather, the question is, who is this kind of Mac aimed at and what signal does it send about Macs of the future?

iMac Pro delivers on December 27th

iMac Pro available now with delivery on December 27th

The first thing to know about this new Mac is that it’s designed for users who require great performance out of the box. It’s not aimed at engineering users who, at first glance, want to go after it with a screw driver. Those institutional and small business users are likely to appreciate the convenience and sheer power and will likely buy it in the configuration they need. After all, how many consumers on a budget are going to anguish between a $5K and a $7K decision?

While many observers lament that this Mac can’t be tinkered with, because of its “pro” moniker, it’s important to remember those users who appreciate this kind of equipment. Over at TechCrunch, Matthew Panzarino properly and smartly points out in this great article:

The [Apple] messaging was interesting to me. It was absolutely, clearly, a love letter to developers. Most of the Mac and iOS developers I know use iMacs or MacBook Pro machines – especially given the limited nature of the Mac Pro as it exists now.

It certainly feels to me that the criticism about the iMac Pro’s lack of upgradability is a conceit that overlooks the focus of a powerful Mac, the promise that it presents and the assuredness that the coming Mac Pro will be the machine directed towards the tinkerers. “Apple Continues to Work on All-New Mac Pro With Upgradeable Design.

Another conceit that’s easy to float is that Apple doesn’t understand it’s customers and uses marketing hype to make up for defects in the design of a new Mac. Nonsense. Again, the Matthew Panzarino article (above) clearly lays out the case that Apple knows exactly the kind of customer who needs and will love a machine like this.

The Giant is Awake

This Mac suggests that the sleeping giant is awake. The strides made by Apple’s competitors during the Dark Mac Years (2015-16) suggest that Apple is just getting started with a new era of Mac thinking. The Mac Pro, which is likely to appear in 2018, is probably not the end of the story. Most assuredly, the 2018 Mac Pro will be expensive. However, the Mac revolution won’t end there.

The bigger story is that Apple now feels that the role of the Mac can’t be fulfilled without a focus on sheer computational power. Enterprise, government and military users got tired of cute Macs without a lot of power. Given that an iPad Pro or even an iPhone has enormous computational power, it only makes sense to reinvigorate the Mac line as a family of very, very fast and capable machines that just can’t be duplicated any place else, by any other platform.  And can do things no iPad Pro can do.

And so I expect this thinking to extend to the MacBook Pros as well. Following this logic that a headless Mac Pro will be a virtual supercomputer, what might be in store for the next Mac mini could also be a pleasant surprise.

It’s going to be an exciting next few years with the Mac. Some Macs will remain aspirational for the average consumer, but Apple is also smart enough to present us with an invigorated line of Macs that traditional customers can afford. The jazz of the best, most powerful Macs will inspire us all to upgrade to the best possible place in a spectrum of new, very fast Macs with amazing capabilities inherited from the top of the line.

The iMac Pro isn’t the end; it’s the beginning of the new Mac thinking. I can’t wait.

Next Page: The News Debris For The Week of December 11th. Net Neutrality is Dead – Not So Fast

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Jamie
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Jamie

Hmm. I have to disagree. The new iMac is very, very expensive for something that might be obsolete in just a couple of years, and if the new Mac Pro is even more expensive, I would say that smacks more of hubris than understanding. I don’t know too many individual pro users that can or are willing to drop upward of $13,000 on a computer (or upward of $1,000 on a phone), not when the competition is a fraction of that. For the first time, the ‘Apple tax’ feels real. I don’t have the same faith in Apple, I think… Read more »

bweels
Member
bweels

Jamie – such negativity! I work in a small architecture firm and am in need of a new computer. There are 7 of us and I’m the only Mac guy. The owner is a PC guy who I know won’t put up with an “Apple Tax” since he’s the one popping the cash for it. So, I’m forced to show him other similarly spec’d PCs and the cost is not far off at all. A Dell 27″ all-in-one spec’d as similar as possible comes out at $3,700. But wait – its got a 4-core processor (instead of 8) with a… Read more »

JustCause
Member
JustCause

All tech is obsolete after it ships.

JustCause
Member
JustCause

With the iMac Pro having such power, I really wonder what Apple has coming in the form of Mac Pro.

I just hope Apple starts to grow the TB3 use cases:
– CPU expansion cases
– more robust GPU expansion

PSMacintosh
Member
PSMacintosh

John, On this one (article), you sound like you’ve been drinking too much Apple cool-aid. You’re being quite the gushing optimist. Only a very select audience is going to buy this machine (and not a big enough audience to make a dent in market share). Even just imagine how many more people would have bought this machine if it had some open architecture. (50% more?) If Apple doesn’t make an open architecture in their next Mac Pro, it’s over for high end users. Apple has put it’s power users off for too long. (And with Ivy back it’s unlikely that… Read more »

andrewj050790
Member
andrewj050790

Grumpy pants… goodness. 🙂 note this article from Macworld. Apple says the new Mac Pro will be modular and upgradeable https://www.macworld.com/article/3243025/macs/apple-putting-the-pro-back-in-promise.html So they’ve committed themselves to that in no uncertain terms. I know it’s hard to accept that when John doesn’t reflect the off the charts negativity that’s been the cool thing to do around here lately, that he’s right, but, well, he’s right. Many have fallen into the trap that used to be preached about at MO all the time (Thanks, John Kheit). Just because a product Apple makes isn’t for you, doesn’t mean it’s for nobody, and shouldn’t… Read more »

geoduck
Member
geoduck

I still think the iMac Pro is the quick and dirty “what can we get out with Pro specs the soonest while we work on the real pro machine” system. I have a feeling this will be joining the iPhone 5C, and lamp iMac in cool-systems-that-were-not-produced-very-long pile.

wab95
Member
wab95

John: A busy work schedule has kept me from one of my favourite pastimes of late, namely reading and commenting on posts at TMO. There have been several posts I would like to have addressed, and I still owe geoduck a reply on AI. A few brief observations. Your take on the iMac Pro is a sober and practical one, a device which has suffered from no shortage of opinion. There are two key concepts that emerge from this discussion; one is about the user and the other is about the product and its configurability. Regarding the user, specifically, the… Read more »

pjs_boston
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pjs_boston

It’s not accurate to suggest that the new iMac Pro is not upgradable.

Both the RAM and the SSD can be upgraded, it simply requires a trip to an authorized service center to remove and reinstall the screen to do so. From my understanding, this is not a big deal for a properly equipped service facility.

In my town we have a small independent Apple service company that would be ideal for such upgrades.

Macsee
Member
Macsee

Apple should release more headless Macs, including low, middle and high products, from Mac mini to Mac Pro, and also a new mini tower. CPU may last seven years (then you cannot install new macOS releases but displays last more than 20 years. Fight programmed obsolescence, protect the environment and fight climate change and global warming.