The 'New' Mac Pro Is a Failure

I think the "new" Mac Pro ("trashcan Mac") is a joke; and it's not just because calling a, once again, forgotten and near abandoned 2013 model "new" in late 2015 is the kind of air-quote irony loved by techno hipsters.

While its trashcan form factor may work well for some (perhaps, as a new Mac mini pro, or maybe Mac Pro mini), it's inadequate for traditional Mac creatives/professionals. For real pros, it's a plain and simple failure.

Mac Pro, I am your father...

Posted by MacRumors' forum member zephonic:

In fact, a lot of professional Mac users are still clutching to their aluminum tower "classic" Mac Pros ("cMP"). The latest 2010 and (meaninglessly bumped) 2012 cMP models are particularly coveted in forums like Mac Rumor's Mac Pro forums and holding on to their values well if you look around eBay or Other World Computing.

And for good reason. Those machines are just better than the trashcan Mac. Right now, a cMP simply spanks the trashcan Mac's performance. For example, with regard to top end performance, processor-wise, you can get a maxed out 12-core 3.46GHz cMP model that is just as fast as the top end 12-core 2.7GHz trashcan Mac.

In most every other important way, the cMP simply trounces the trashcan Mac. For storage, you can get larger capacities (e.g., 2TB, 4TB, and up) as well as way faster SSDs (e.g., running at near 6GB/sec). Video card options for the cMP obliterate the top end options on the trashcan Mac.

And the cMP also has tons of additional storage space with room for 2 optical drives, additional power supplies, slots for multiple PCI cards (e.g., video), drive bays for four 3.5” drives, etc. All in one nice, tidy, clean box.

Poor trashcan Mac users have been forced to live like animals with rats nests of external drives, cables, PCI cages (because lots of people still need expansion cards)—all of these things are big, clunky, with noisy fans (rendering the quietness and compactness of the trashcan Mac meaningless), all while sucking up more power than the tidy integrated cMP.

Adding insult to injury, all those external connections are relatively slow connections when compared to the cMPs fast PCI slots. Trying to run a high end video card through a Rube Goldberg external PCI cage via a Thunderbolt port is like trying to stuff a hippo in a pair of skinny jeans. It's not likely to work well, and even if it does, it won't be pretty.

Trashcan Mac Pro Mess

This Mac Pro doesn't even have a PCI cage (that gets much uglier, fast). It's just a family Mac in the kitchen.
It's an ugly, noisy, power hungry rats nest compared to the clean singular cMP it replaced.

Here are a couple of more quick examples off the web.

Next: Apple Needs to Reimagine a New and Improved Mac Pro ("iMP")

Page 2 - Apple Needs to Reimagine a New and Improved Mac Pro ("iMP")


Here are my suggestions after noticing a lot of the frustrations in the Mac Pro forums, along with my own. The iMP needs to:

• Have PCI slots! One of the reasons the classic Mac Pro is still relevant and bests the trashcan Mac is that the cMP has PCI slots. PCI slots have allowed professional owners to upgrade to faster SSDs, to USB 3 and 3.1 (which the trashcan Mac still doesn't have), better video, new Bluetooth and 802.11ac wireless cards, better video capture products, and countless other features that have kept the old cMP fresher than the 'new' trashcan Mac.

The iMP should have at least 3 or 4 PCI slots so that Pro users can keep their models fresh as well. The slots will let pro users take care of themselves through the long droughts of time when Apple ignores them.

• Have New Stick-Slot Based Drive Bays. The trashcan Mac has only one slot for SSD memory sticks. As a result, one of the big complaints is that it just doesn't offer enough storage space for professional use (e.g., a max of 1TB from Apple, or a much slower 2TB drive from OWC). So everyone has a rats nest of drives hanging off their trashcan Macs. Apple should throw in a minimum of 4 SSD stick-slots to greatly increase storage options for the iMP.

• Have at least one 3.5” Hard Drive Bay. Even with 4 SSD slots, folks still need some cheap archival space. You can get an 8TB 3.5” mechanical hard drive for about $250 these days. This could even be cleverly stuffed in an enclosure in a vertical stack orientation like it is in the current Time Capsule and reduce the foot print of any conceived enclosure for the new iMP. Plus, having that space will allow 3rd parties to get creative with other more imaginative upgrade possibilities.

AirPort Extreme Teardown

This clever vertical/diagonal packaging for a 3.5” drive in a time capsule could make for a clever packaging for the iMP
Source: iFixit

So the iMP would be bigger than the trashcan Mac but could be significantly smaller than the cMP because it wouldn't need as many storage bays for 3.5” drives, nor would it need space for 5.25” optical bays.

Here is one of the latest mockups by s-hatland of Mac Rumors Mac Pro forums that has some of these principles:

Mac Pro Mockup

Source: MacRumors Mac Pro Forum

Next: Here's Why Apple Should Make the iMP

Page 3 - Here's Why Apple Should Make the iMP


In terms of bottom line, the Mac Pro is mostly meaningless to Apple. However, it is a halo product much like the Corvette and NSX for GM and Honda, respectively. Halo products don't make much money, but they are important for adding luster to the product range and creating aspirational lust.

And what makes it even more important than a mere halo product is that it's a necessary product for what has always been Apple's most loyal and longest neglected and suffering user base: the creative/professional user.

When Apple was circling the drain into bankruptcy around 1997, those core users stayed loyal and helped influence many other users. It was those users who responded to the "Think Different" ads and ethos. It was those users that Apple leaned on.

Think Different

Apple's Think Different Campaign

And it is those users Apple has ignored from 2010 until 2013, when it launched this substantial, albeit miscalculated, upgrade of the Mac Pro. And, astoundingly, it has again neglected those users since. Not only has Apple not upgraded the Mac Pro, it hasn't upgraded its displays for the Mac Pro for even longer, forcing professional users to get fugly 3rd party displays to do professional 4K/5K video and photography work.

Losing this market may be small in terms of revenue lost, but it's huge in terms of the value and influence of the users who have always been Apple's most rabidly loyal customers. Apple may have many fans, but the ones that have always been a mainstay were those creative/professional users. If Apple stops making products for this core set of users, those users will be forced to go elsewhere.

Think I'm overstating things? Check out this poll running in the Mac Rumors Mac Pro forum. As of this writing, 58 percent think the trashcan Mac Pro is a failure—which is astonishing in such a traditionally fanboy/pro-Apple forum. The thread is filled with discord and choice comments like this from user Simon R:

You are right. I know for sure that Apple are losing professional audio users. Composers mainly I believe, but possibly also ProTools users. Because many people are questioning Apple's commitment to pro computers because of the nMP... Many people are jumping from Mac/Logic to PC/Cubase these days.

I have tried converting to Cubase many times but I just prefer OS X and Logic, but sometime if Apple don't commit to providing pro solutions I might as well be forced to go PC/Cubase.

Or this, from pl595:

Then I would recommend you start investigating a migration away from the Mac soon. Making a move can be time consuming so better to start seeing what's available and what's involved before you're forced to. If I were a professional who relies on Mac products for a living I'd be doing so. Apple has signaled they don't care about professionals any longer.

It is a giant mistake for Apple to not understand it is alienating its most core group of users, a mistake which Apple may one day very much regret. Creative/professionals kept Apple alive long enough for Steve Jobs to save it. Don't forget them.