The Psychology of Our Lust for the New Mac Pro

2 minute read
| Columns & Opinions

I want a new Mac Pro when it ships this fall.

You probably want a new Mac Pro.

Lots of Apple customers want a new Mac Pro when it ships this fall.

But most of us can’t afford one. Let the whining begin.

Be the First on Your Block

Let’s be honest. There is constant marketing pressure on us, by every conceivable company, to have the latest and greatest (fill in the blank.) Moreover, several generations of Mac enthusiasts have grown accustomed to being able to afford the most powerful Mac in the lineup. It’s the male equivalent of the “mine’s bigger” syndrome.

But there’s also the aesthetics of a finely crafted tool that’s gawdawful fast. It’s why many of us admire and covet a McLaren. Or Lamborghini. Or Ferrari. There is sheer joy in owning one of these  cars.

But most of us can’t afford one of those supercars either. And therein lies the problem with the 2019 Mac Pro.

With some extreme heating of one’s credit card (and perhaps spousal blessing), a base model of the 2013 Mac Pro was possible for many who have previously paid $3,000 for a maxed out MacBook Pro. If the Mac Pro suited one’s needs.

But a base model 2019 Mac Pro starts at US$6,000. This is where one-upmanship breaks the bank, and we’re pissed. By golly, we’ve been loyal customers, indeed enthusiasts, for decades.

We darn well deserve a new Mac Pro that we can afford. Perhaps Apple could tweak the base model and get the price down to $3,000.

Riiiiight.

Just reduce the base RAM from 32 GB to 16 GB. Done. Half the sticker price.

Computational Power

The fact is, the power of the 2019 Mac Pro comes into play with special software designed to exploit the hardware. That’s how the many teraflop numbers are arrived at. And the cost of the hardware to achieve 50+ teraflops is great.

For the rest of us, we’ll never use or write LINPACK class code. Or code that exploits more than eight cores. We’re technical landlubbers gazing at a sea of computational power we’ll never need.

But we want our yacht. It’s so beautiful.

Apple’s Responsibility

Apple consulted with creative and technical pro users. Apple designed a system with few limitations. No more geting painted into a thermal corner. The new Mac Pro is simply the most powerful Mac possible within reason. Those pros, in government and enterprise, with a need for it will amortize its cost quickly.

More to the point, given the design point pro customers asked for, Apple is under absolutely no obligation to deliver a watered down version that meets some arbitrary price point that some vocal customers insist on with heaping spoonfuls of self-entitlement. McLaren doesn’t build at $50,000 version of the 720S. It wouldn’t be a McLaren if that were done.

We wanted the best possible Mac Pro and we got it. If it’s unaffordable by the masses by previous standards, that just punctuates the fact the previous Mac Pros were not really, fully pro class.

Becoming accustomed to the computational facts and overcoming our own tremors of lust are just part of our own maturing viewpoint.

And Apple’s.

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jameskatt

The Mac Pro is a Professional Tool meant for Professionals. For a film creator, an ARRI Camera with Lens will set you back $152,000 For a fine arts photographer, a Hasselblad Medium format DSLR camera with one lens will cost $44,000. Additional lenses are $3,000 to $6,000. For an audio engineer, a Midas Pro Digital Mixer will cost $40,000. So for them, a Mac Pro – even a fully loaded $50,000 model – is lower in cost than their other equipment. If you aren’t a pro, the easiest rule is that if you cannot afford a Tesla S, you cannot… Read more »

John Kheit
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John Kheit

Disagree. They could go with a 6 core. 8GB of ram. They could go with a previous gen 8core Xeon. They could skip their worthless useless 256GB SSD that many will simply toss and/or not bother to use. They could have gotten it to 3500. Further it’s not about entitlement. Screw the pros. They dont care. It’s about enthusiasts. It was the enthusiasts that saved apple in 96. This is just telling them to go elsewhere. It’s ignoring their core users. Core users are enthusiasts that want the ability to use slots, and you and others telling them how they… Read more »

geoduck
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geoduck

You want a 6 Core, go with the Mac Mini with all the options. That’s the $3500 computer you’re talking about. If you want an 8 core Xeon go with the iMac Pro. This is not “The Computer For The Rest Of Us”. This is a top line workstation, for those that need top line workstation horsepower, and it’s priced accordingly. The machine that most in the industry were starting to doubt that Apple could or would produce any more. It was the enthusiasts that saved Apple in 96. This is just telling them to go elsewhere. It’s ignoring their… Read more »

John Kheit
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John Kheit

Lots of people repeat things that are wrong. Look at all the supporters of the trashcan mac.

Member
komputergod

I’ll just wait and buy a used one when they start showing up at pawn shops. That’s how I bought my first MacBook…

Member
Phil Grant

I remember paying >$1,700 for an Apple ][+, and over $2,400 for a Mac 128. The new Mac Pro is a relative bargain.

The new Mac Pro costs less than an Apple Lisa or a Mac IIfx.

I am comparing starting prices in then dollars. I don’t want to think about inflation.

CudaBoy
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CudaBoy

Not really. In effect we all are “leasing” technology as hardware gets rendered obsolete quickly; add up ALL those inflated prices from Mac S.E.X’s thru PowerMacs (6100A was $3100) thru B/W G3s thru G5s and compared to equivalent “leasing” of PCs we Mac guys got and get BONED. Here in Hollywood it remains to be seen if this new Mac Pro can be fitted into the work flow for Avid movie production and Pro Tools music production (using their proprietary breakout boxes etc) – a LOT of Hollywood didn’t update to the Ash Can Mac Pro because it just didn’t… Read more »

archimedes
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archimedes

With the slowing of Moore’s law, hardware isn’t becoming obsolete as fast. A 2012 retina MacBook Pro is still pretty usable – arguably better in some ways than the current model because it had a superior keyboard and trackpad palm rejection that worked.

Macsee
Member
Macsee

Not really. All Macs become obsolete in seven years, when Apple stops supporting them with new macOS releases.

geoduck
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geoduck

tl.dr: If you NEED it you will find a way to afford it. True of Peterbilt trucks, Caterpillar earth movers, Gulfstream jets, or the new Mac Pro. A few do NEED it and will get one, or several in the case of a big production house. The rest of us can look on longingly, but we don’t really NEED one. We aren’t the target customer. This isn’t 2000 and the PowerMac G4 that a lot of us got even though all we did was play with it. This is a true professional machine, a workstation class professional machine and it… Read more »

archimedes
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archimedes

I think a lot of people still want semi-affordable midrange modular macs, but Apple hasn’t made one since the cheese grater Mac Pro, which was $2499 in 2006.

geoduck
Member
geoduck

You’ve just described the Mac Mini. Top end 6 core i7. Able to use external rendering boxes and high speed storage. It may not look as cool as the Mac Pro but if you want affordable, upgradeable, and modular, there it is.

John Kheit
Member
John Kheit

Um no. The mac mini is less modular than the trashcan mac pro that apple admitted was a giant mistake and was most certainly not modular.

What he described was exactly right. The Mac Pro started at 2499, and was modular. And this is precisely a segment of the market occupied by enthusiasts that Apple is ignoring.