Stockouts: Mac Pro refresh imminent or will this not be a reliable indicator this time?

  • Posted: 12 January 2012 12:19 AM

    Don’t want to alarm anyone, but I searched up Mac Pro on Amazon and a few other e-tailers and noticed VERY constrained stock.  We’ve seen stockouts of the Pro lately but Amazon has consistently had plenty (or enough not to have an “N left, order soon!” message in place—all other Macs appear to be in plentiful stock).  In general this has been the signal that we were a week or two out from a refresh.  This time around, we’re not entirely sure the Mac Pro will continue, though.  Any thoughts on which outcome this portends?

  • Posted: 13 January 2012 09:50 AM #1

    Very unlikely since the last refresh has been in october and I believe there have not been any new intel chips released since then.

    I always check this buyersguide , together with the news stories you will get an pretty good idea if there is a refresh imminent

  • Posted: 13 January 2012 01:31 PM #2

    kobeD - 13 January 2012 01:50 PM

    Very unlikely since the last refresh has been in october

    Uh, the last refresh of the Mac Pro was in August 2010.  Almost a year and a half ago.  Unless I missed something significant???

  • Posted: 17 January 2012 06:40 PM #3

    People are just to used to saying MacPro = MacBook Pro just as people think of the iPod Touch as the iTouch. Very often I have to say MacPro (the tower) to not confuse these people. Happens most often when I’m chatting about gaming stuff with Windows users.

    I wouldn’t use Amazon’s stock as the teller. It’s when Apple stops taking orders that a refresh is likely on the horizon. It all comes down to the correct Intel motherboards being available, which as far as I know won’t be until later this year. Not imminent but not far off. IMO the tower has at least another go in it before they go exclusivly Thunderbolt based stackable boxes. We need to see the price come down on Thunderbolt externals first and see “professionals” stacking up “pro” rigs to use with MacBook Airs or the equivalent before we see Apple finally nix the tower.

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    Posted: 19 January 2012 06:59 PM #4

    I don’t think the Mac Pro will die, but rather evolve. Sure Apple doesn’t make much money on these - at least in comparison to their other enormous cash cows. But they are still profitable, and honestly, what is the alternative machine for content creators either in an office setting or a studio? Apple’s other machines aren’t nearly as extensible or flexible, which they know… they also know better than alienate a long-standing customer base.

    At the very least, the next revision of the Mac Pro will sport Thunderbolt connections, and likely upgraded processors. Somewhere down the line though, I really believe the venerable tower will not die off but rather evolve. Thunderbolt will gradually reduce the dependency on PCI adapters, and as SSD drives gain a larger foothold in the market, hard drive slots will shrink one way or another. So long term I expect that the box will shrink, but the power and flexibility that is not available in other Macs will remain.

  • Posted: 20 January 2012 06:26 AM #5

    I agree with xmattingly. The Mac Pro will evolve, as designs and miniaturization is pusher further and further, it will eventually get a new design, new hardware and better specs. It’s a special tools, used by many professionals. I just don’t see it waltzing off the big stage.

  • Posted: 20 January 2012 12:31 PM #6

    Well, it’s been “a week or two” since my post and still no refresh (yet).  Amazon still reports low stock or stockouts on most Mac Pro configs.  I’m with you guys in that I don’t see how Apple would drop their top-end machine—just OFFERING machines like that is part of the branding critical to driving consumer adoption of mid- and lower-end machines—but I’d be lying if I didn’t say this is worrisome. 

    Sandy Bridge E Xeons are available (to Apple and other OEMs).  Intel has completed that fab run and is now making Ivy Bridge CPUs for shipment over the next couple of months at their primary fabs (and we already know where those are headed).  At least, that’s as much as we can tell using public information.  Apple doesn’t have to wait until retail boxed CPUs are released to start offering Macs with those processors; Intel would lose money hand over fist by storing freshly fabbed product instead of shipping it, so you know they’ve shipped it or are in the process of doing so now.  (And this is consistent with the rest of the industry.) 

    So, unless there’s some other hold-up, if Apple had planned to refresh the Mac Pro with SBE CPUs, they’d be doing it right now, and they haven’t.  That leaves two main possibilities:

    1. The Mac Pro refresh won’t be out until the end of the year with Ivy Bridge Xeons (The agony of that wait being sufficient, perhaps, to kill even more of Apple’s high-end market); or

    2. The Mac Pro is done.  Long live a rat’s nest of parallel Mac Minis and overpriced Thunderbolt RAID boxes.  Oh, and upgraded GPUs?  Go buy a PC. :(

  • Posted: 23 January 2012 03:19 AM #7

    What? The Mac Pro done? Sorry, it’s a hard one to swallow. I believe they will come out eventually with the new Ivy Bridge processor, Thunderbolt and some other new technology that will truly make them ground breaking. Maybe a complete overhaul of the package?(thinking about a large touch panel, just think about that gorgeous screen and a touch panel)

    As for the current Sandy Bridge E, they are not that much over the i7 2600K, so this is another reason why, maybe, Apple isn’t rushing with updating their line.

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    Posted: 26 March 2012 02:16 PM #8

    Well, Intel just released the Sandy Bridge Xeons this month (the Xeon E5), so we might see something.

    At least I hope we see something. Pro users are really hampered on Apple’s systems right now. Only the MacBook Pro is a competitive creative system: Both the i7 options Apple has for the desktop use fixed mobile graphics systems, and the top-end Mac Pro is damn near 2 years old, and costs exactly as much as it used to 2 years ago.

    The i7 iMac is “good enough” but can be EASILY out-classed and out-priced by a decent i7 Desktop PC.

    Honestly, at this point I just wish Apple would release an ATX compatible 1155 board (or socket 2011 board for Xeon) for $200-500 or so, give a small booklet of recommended components, and let the pro community build their own desktop Macs. That would let apple keep their laptop, Mini, and AIO market, while allowing others a whack at the desktop box market.


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