How Apple could have avoided much of the controversy – by Chuq Von Rospach
An excellent retort to all the negative hype surrounding the new (Late 2016) MacBook Pro’s announced last week. Read it.
Additionally, this passage really struck me as one of the more astute comments about the forgotten Mac Pro in awhile:
Speaking of clusters, let’s talk Mac Pro for a minute. I’ve come to the belief that the trash can Mac pro, the “Can’t Innovate my Ass” machine, is a product mistake of the “20th Century Anniversary Macintosh” caliber. It was a technological marvel, it was a stunning design, and it was a terrible piece of hardware for it’s primary audiences because of limited upgradability and component flexibility — and then Apple compounded that by not having good upgrade plans in place to refresh it since the design it created wouldn’t let its users do it for themselves.
I’m convinced we’ll see not just an updated Mac Pro, but a new design, one that I hope backs away from some of the issues this design has. What I’m hoping for is in fact a new desktop product line which merges the Mini and the Mac Pro where, like the MacBooks, you have the options of 2-3 models each with 2-3 configuration upgrades which cover the pricing and processing needs from a basic Mac Mini to today’s Mac Pro supercomputer capabilities.
First, I love the comparison with the 20th anniversary Mac.
That said, I’d slightly disagree with this. The Mac Pro only had terrible upgrade paths because it was way, way ahead of its time. Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2, while fast when released, weren’t really fast enough for external PCI-E accessories. They also seemed intrinsically limited by using the mini displayport interface. However, now that Thunderbolt-3 exists as a unified standard with USB, it seems like all of these major deficiencies shouldn’t matter. Additionally, with Thunderbolt 3 making a more prominent appearance on PCs and peripherals like the Razer Core are coming to fruition, a product like the Mac Pro (and MacBook Pro! – computers that act as “CPUs” that plug into and scale with external accessories as needed) becomes a lot more viable in my mind.
And about the Mac Mini – would TB-3 tech make it easier to scale the Mac desktop line? The Mac Mini could exist as something analagous to the Intel Skull Canyon NUC – a mini computer running a higher end mobile chipset and expandable via Thunderbolt-3. The iMac then slips in as the standard desktop in the Mac lineup, defined entirely by its display (another perplexing discussion for another time), and the Mac Pro then sits above both of them in a modified form of how it exists now: a core with a Xeon CPU, ECC ram, and a built in workstation class graphics card – but loaded with Thunderbolt-3 ports and ready for expansion via external PCI-E accessories. A Mac line like this would seem ideal to me, and not leave us lacking for a Mac for literally any application.
Of course, the problem is getting Apple to care about executing on products like this at all.