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Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi and John Ternus on the State of Apple’s Pro Macs (techcrunch.com)
99 points by rbanffy on Apr 7, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 116 comments

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I'm surprised and glad that Apple has broken their vow of silence on ever talking about future products or plans. On the other hand, it's pretty clear from their talk that they are just now starting development on a new Mac Pro, and they're saying "not coming this year" makes it seem like they don't even want to commit to 2018.

They let the Mac Pro sit there for over 1200 days without a single update or price drop. It's hard to think that they weren't planning on just killing it. And they're apparently surprised that developers are buying non touch bar macbooks, which considering how many developers use vim just seems weird. It seems like it took a big outcry and actual sales numbers to make them realize their pro segment isn't happy, and considering you can't develop for iOS or in many cases macOS unless you own a mac, I just don't feel reassured.

Throughout the article they kept trying to distinguish a certain subset of pro users without clearly defining how they see it. Final Cut Pro & Logic were mentioned, but there are definitely more applications that would benefit from more beefy pro machines. It's almost like Apple is using the wrong yard stick to measure their Pro market because they're asking the wrong questions.

"Do you use Final Cut Pro?" No, I use scikit-learn! No, I use vagrant & virtualbox to run 4 VMs No, I use Unity ...

> It's almost like Apple is using the wrong yard stick to measure their Pro market because they're asking the wrong questions.

I think we at HN are succumbing to a bit too much Omphaloskepsis[0], in that we [developers] feel that we are the 'Pro' users almost exclusively. This simply isn't the case. I do, however agree partly with your claim in that Apple is not using enough yardsticks. Apple have always defined their 'Pro' market by their pro-apps (as you and they mentioned, FCP, LCP, etc). There are a huge amount of creative professionals that need 'beefy' machines to do media-development work, and wouldn't be so bothered about losing their F-keys.

It's funny how Apple have always acknowledged their developers (in a big way) out-of-sight, but never really put them on the public pedestal that their 'artistic' users get. This is predominantly a fault of Marketing than anything else. Such thinking has clearly infiltrated top management, and I do hope they start getting their ideas inline with a more wholesome and comprehensive view of who their professional users really are.


I bought a 2015 mbp a couple weeks after the 2016 mbps were announced. Apparently I was one of many! Apple increased the price $500 (dongles, the stupid touch bar) while stripping out stuff I use every day (magnetic charger, usb-A, good battery life) and giving me nothing in return (32g ram?). Also, they force a dedicated gpu, which I've had die; for both battery life and reliability, you're better off without. Meanwhile we had smarmy folks like Gruber carrying Apple's water and doing the "nobody really needs more than 16g ram" nonsense. (This from a man who, um, writes a blog. Yeah, those kilobytes of text must really push a computer to the limit.)

Until this announcement, I assumed, based on the neglect of the mac pro and mac os, that Apple was basically going to just run out the mac business. I had started trying to figure out what my next computer was going to be after a decade of macs, and was pretty bummed by the options.

Hopefully they're serious about this.

If they're looking for other things they could do, may I suggest doubling down on fixing mac os quality issues. And hey, maybe even hire the homebrew folks.

They did hire the Homebrew folks. Max Howell, Homebrew's creator, was famously rejected by Google and then hired by Apple.

It's pretty presumptuous to assume you know what John Gruber does with his Mac. I suspect he might sometimes open an app other than BBEdit.

It wasn't presumptuous for Gruber to tell me what I need in a computer? OK then.

And I know mxcl works for Apple, but not on homebrew. The lead maintainer works, I think, at GitHub?

Edit: in fact, from the commit logs, mxcl doesn't seem to have been much involved in homebrew in years. It's a poor show for github to seemingly be more interested in helping make macs work well for developers rather than Apple, imo...


mxcl hasn't worked at Apple in quite a while.

I'm not sure Apple would ever give him marching orders on an open source project that he wasn't "much involved in...in years", including years before his Apple employment.

I am totally in the same boat, and totally agree with you though I haven’t bothered to even think about getting a new MBP in the last year, just going to use this 2013 model until it dies.

And I need a new workstation for more intensive workloads than any MacBook Pro can handle, and have been holding off on what to get.

Why do people even need Apple to produce Mac Pro? If this is for developers, they can build their own, and probably do a better job for less money: it's just a PC with components that OSX has drivers for [1].

I also don't quite get what are they going to be spending all this time on, what kind of "designing" is going into it? Picking components on NewEgg and figuring out the shape of their Apple-branded case? :)

Seriously, unlike mobile/laptops, Apple has no competitive advantage in traditional desktop computing. They don't make CPUs, chipsets, GPUs, etc. And there's no battery to fiddle with, or a case to make thinner or a keyboard to mutilate.

[1] https://www.tonymacx86.com/buyersguide/april/2017#CustoMac_P...

I've been doing the hackintosh thing for a few years now. It sucks. Every now and then an update completely breaks it, and it's a crapshoot of disabling different kernel extensions, picking the right nvidia driver, or finding the revision of Clover that works for whatever reason. iMessage has been finicky since ever. My bootloader fails every other reboot for no reason I can figure out. The nvivia driver won't load unless I unplug one of my three monitors while it's booting.

I make my living off of iOS development, and I don't even want to think about the amount of time I've lost over the past few years because I had to debug my machine rather than work. Apple seems to be quietly tolerating the hackintosh community, but they need to provide real options for their developers. I'm tired of this unholy monstrosity of a computer that isn't supposed to exist. I'm not going to do it forever.

Sounds like your problem is OSX, not the computer itself.

The whole point of a Hackintosh is OSX.

I would wager that about a quarter of Mac Pro sales go to developers, at most. They sell tons more to 3D and CAD designers, scientists (the old NeXT was a favorite of theirs, you might recall), even musicians (who love the "trash can" because it's portable and quiet).

P.S. I'm one of those folks like you who spent his teens and twenties building gaming rigs, and around the time I turned 30 I realized this stuff wasn't fun for me anymore. I just wanted to plunk down some money and make "the computer problem" go away. I became more interested in what I was doing with computers than monkeying around with them in the garage. Don't dismiss developers who just want to buy a box and forget about it.

I recently built a custom uber-PC for music and machine learning.

10 cores, 64GB of fast RAM, 2TB superfast SSD, a 1080Ti graphics card, and it still costs less than a trashcan Mac with a much lower spec.

I hate Windows with a passion. Given the choice I would rather stay with macOS. And I would rather just buy something than stress about whether I'm wearing enough static protection bracelets not to nuke a £1500 processor.

But when the product I need literally doesn't exist - and apparently won't exist for at least another 12 to 18 months - it was a forced decision.

Did you use ECC RAM?

1) Apple makes (or at least used to make) good hardware -- I'm typing this on a 2008 Mac Pro that is still going great for me.

2) I don't want to bother with these kinds of issues every time Apple puts out a point release:


I don't "need" Apple to produce a Mac Pro, but I'd certainly like them to, if it's a good box.

Sorry I wasn't being clear. I did not want to imply that Hackintosh situation should remain the same, I was thinking more along the lines of Apple publishing and maintaining a list of compatible devices with guaranteed long-term OSX support and call it a day.

There are plenty of fantastic motherboards, GPUs, power supplies and quiet and good looking cases to choose from, I only need a guarantee of future OSX support.

Ah, yeah, good question: why does Apple need to be the one to produce Mac Pro? I could only speculate. Wouldn't it cut significantly into their iMac and MacBook sales if they opened things up like that?

Typically it introduces a support and development burden, product fragmentation and a weaker brand. They tried it before (I had one of the Mac clones, it was just ok).

It would eat into their sales but the other side effects are worse, and they would have to look into creating a channel for being able to make money from MacOS.

There is a reason for a number of these boutique Windows workstation manufacturers as there value add is to provide a supported product out of known good tested configurations, because for someone that just wants a machine that works it’s still some effort and Microsoft still gets money for the Windows license.

Yes, it would. Apple experiemented with this in the mid 90s: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_clone it didn't really work out.

If you need a Unix system that runs adobe software you need a mac.

And lets face it building a hackintosh is 10x the risk of building a Linux desktop for very little benefit, especially if adobe pulls a valve and decide to support Linux for all of their platforms.

The problem for Apple is that they need to be in the officials of high profile professionals if they need to keep their brand as valuable as they are and that means they need to offer a high power Unix workstation with a high level of compatibility with the Linux and Java environments that exists on servers, render farms and HPC clusters. At the same time when their consumer vision is to try and kill cross platform compatibility and move away from their Unix legacy.

If apple stays on their current path there will be a day within a decade when someone goes to a science or web dev conventions and shows images of laptop uses without a single macbook in it and thats why the "pro" market matter to apple.

It's a lot like asking why people want a laptop that was "designed for Linux" rather than one that's just compatible with Linux. It's mostly a matter of vendor support—if it's the hardware vendor's responsibility to fix incompatibilities between OS $FOO and their hardware $BAR, then $BAR is going to run $FOO a lot better—especially whenever $FOO is updated—than it would if it was entirely just community support.

Hell, I would be satisfied with a short list of laptops that are known to be good with Linux, with all features working.

The Ubuntu list is so long and has so many caveats.

I've been using Dells for a long time now and haven't seen one that didn't run Linux flawlessly. Legend says one should avoid discrete GPUs.

Because when one does business it helps to stay within the law.

> And they're apparently surprised that developers are buying non touch bar macbooks, which considering how many developers use vim just seems weird.

I've never quite figured out the continued popularity of the ESC key for vim using developers. For a touch typing vim user on most modern keyboard layouts generating an ESC by hitting the ESC key is more movement than generating an ESC by hitting CTRL-[. This is especially so if you have a keyboard that puts the CTRL key where God intended it to be (immediately to the left of the 'A' key). With CTRL in that location, hitting CTRL-[ is just a small pinky movement on each hand away from home position.

In earlier times, ESC made a lot of sense. On the ADM-3A, for instance, CTRL was in the proper location next to 'A', and ESC was immediately above CTRL, and '[' was at the far right side of the top row (near where BACKSPACE/DELETE is on most current keyboards). On that layout ESC was way more efficient than CTRL-[.

And you can reach ESC just fine on the touchbar anyway, it just isn't tactile. It's not like its in the middle of the function row or something.

I use an HHKB2, which has CTRL in the correct location, and the ESC key is one row lower, being next to the 1 key. It's still too far to reach and CTRL-[ is absolutely the best way to go. Reaching even further on a standard keyboard is just awful.

> which considering how many developers use vim just seems weird

I am pretty sure it's still a very very small percent out of all the MacBook Pro buyers, and a lot of the vim users are quite happy with just remapping the each key and were doing that even before they got the touchbar. I think this whole buzz about missing esc key and fn row is just non relevant anymore and the vast majority of MacBook users myself included don't really care and enjoy a new great screen along with a better trackpad and battery life.

It's not that your majority likes the touch bar and doesn't use VI. It's that the influential developers who can work on whatever they want, or are trusted to pick platforms, will switch away from Macs. And that will be trouble in the long term.

Small segment, maybe. Influential folks making product decisions that impact popularity of Apple products though. Many of us don't want to remap keys on different machines. Esc is rote memory and easy for touch typists - why we ignore the tMB. Apple made a bad brand call that is symptomatic of bigger management problems.

>> has broken their vow of silence

I never understood how this silence helps any company (except in cynical way - we won't tell them when they'll get new model and how good it will be so they will clear our stock of soon to be 'old' models).

I'm not a Mac user, so I am not sure if there's something fundamental I am not appreciating, but I do not understand why releasing a high-specification desktop computer requires a year or more of design and planning. I do recognize that Apple has a reputation for making uniquely-designed cases, and I suppose there is some merit in that, but ultimately, a desktop computer gives a great deal of flexibility to design.

On the easiest side of the spectrum, Apple could take the previous-generation desktop case (I believe Mac users lovingly call it the "cheese grater") and install a modern motherboard, CPU, memory, disks, and GPUs. There's virtually no design effort needed. Maybe a SuperMicro Xeon workstation board, a couple Xeon E5s, 64 or 128 GB of memory, a bunch of SSD and disk options, whatever GPUs work well with macOS. (These parts are roughly what I've used in my personal workstation with great success; but I don't run macOS.)

Hackers do this every day that a Hackintosh is booted for its first time; but such hackers don't have the luxury of battle-testing device drivers for their grab-bag hardware. So they nervously worry about operating system updates. Obviously Apple would spend a month or two ensuring the drivers are bulletproof and boom, there's a new high-specification Mac Pro.

If reusing an old design is simply too uncouth to contemplate, they could design a new nice, minimalist case sized for industry-standard components. Dozens of PC case designs would pass muster. I suspect most people who actually want a Mac Pro don't care if it's ultra compact or a mid-tower that sits on the floor. Why invest so much engineering effort in making it compact? Take away the size constraint and the required engineering effort essentially evaporates.

>but I do not understand why releasing a high-specification desktop computer requires a year or more of design and planning.

You are VASTLY underestimating the planning/engineering/marketing/design/fabrication/logistics/etc. that a multi-billion dollar company undertakes to bring a new product to market, especially one whose brand is built (in large part) on design. Just rolling out something we've seen before isn't going to happen and even then it's not something that could happen quickly.

It's really just that simple.

Apple throwing together a "Mac" in a bog standard PC case with Mac compatible hardware is something that Apple could do and would make most Pro users happy.

Apple has in fact shipped "Macs" in standard PC cases and slapped OS X on them. They did it for the first developer x86 Mac machines. How long do you think it takes Dell to create a new case and slap hardware in it?

I understand that it can take a year to design and build a desktop computer (and the accompanying production line, parts procurement, etc), but what I don't understand is why it's taking a year from now. This is the company that famously had two teams building competing iPhone prototypes. One of the most valuable companies in the world, with a massive cash reserve and a skyrocketing R&D budget.

Apple pundits are always talking about how Apple has prototypes of everything imaginable under the hood that they won't release if they don't think it's just right. And yet they were so blindsided on the Mac Pro that they didn't start developing a modular one until now?

It's an example of Apple's designers having more power/authority/influence over their engineers.

Apple's earlier iphone & ipod cables are a more common example of this. They broke regularly because they were built to a design spec, not an engineering spec.

> I suspect most people who actually want a Mac Pro don't care if it's ultra compact or a mid-tower that sits on the floor.

I think you're making the oversimplification they raise in the article about grouping all of the different pro users archetypes into the idea of "the pro user". (Some) developers might not care, but other pro types especially that make heavy use of peripherals certainly do.

> I think you're making the oversimplification they raise in the article about grouping all of the different pro users archetypes into the idea of "the pro user". (Some) developers might not care, but other pro types especially that make heavy use of peripherals certainly do.

Be that as it may, the fact remains they could satisfy a contingent of the Mac Pro consumers in very short order if they delivered a traditional mid-tower case with modern-day commodity hardware components. Basically a Hackintosh that sits in an unremarkable but cleanly-designed case with internal components that Apple stands behind with tested drivers.

A mid-tower Mac Pro is not some daring untested platform. It's what they had prior to 2013.

If a segment wants a Mac Pro Mini, then maybe that is something to sink a year or more into.

Flipped around, the unnecessary grouping they are doing is insisting that all Mac Pro consumers wait equally long for features that are (apparently) time-consuming to design and engineer. Yet we know from evidence directly in front of us that a segment of "pros" would immediately purchase a refreshed cheese-grater Mac Pro.

The distance between a working prototype and a shippable mass market product is huge.

Of course you can go and hack together a high-spec Hackintosh in an afternoon.

But that's the easy part. The hard part is setting up the parts sourcing at scale, organising the build channel, setting up the distribution/shipping channel, preparing the documentation and support, and designing the marketing message.

You also need to deal with consumer regulations, safety testing, and EM compatibility in every territory you sell to.

All of the above takes an impressive amount of time and money.

If you're Apple, you also need to make sure the product fits with your future plans. And - probably - has some magic secret sauce you can tout to make it stand out more.

Even a "simple" refreshed cheese grater is still a huge project. And I'm unconvinced a refreshed cheese grater would solve the real problem - which is now lack of trust in the brand, and lack of marketing momentum.

Other than the appearance, a great deal of the design goes into cooling and noise reduction. Many Macs can do quite a bit without spinning up a fan, and the more powerful machines usually have more complicated mechanisms to make this possible.

Yes, it's easier to do all of this with a bigger footprint, but Apple has a hard time pleasing people with the Mac Pro regardless of which direction they go, and at this point I don't think they would win over many fans by pushing out a standard tower.

No current Mac, with the possible exception of the trashcan, can do the "quite a bit" that a pro user needs without spinning up a fan. Keep any of them at 100% CPU for 5+ minutes and see for yourself.

I am a Mac user, and I wholeheartedly agree: the cheese grater case is just fine. It doesn't take a standard motherboard, though. Still I can't imagine it would take them all that long to just update the boards they were using before.

Apple sells their computers at a premium and to do so they need to provide premium features and quality.

Lets say it takes 6 months to design and test a new system at peak design efficiency using current parts. If you want a cutting edge system at launch though you need to design and test it to take advantage of the CPUs, GPUs, chipsets, connector technologies etc that will be cutting edge then, not now. That’s a lot more complex and takes much longer. Also the launch schedule is not just driven by your own product development, it also has to be synchronised with the component manufacturer’s product development. That can easily push out the schedule even further because you’re not working with current known, well understood parts. You’re working with pre-production specs and early prototype samples.

Most manufacturers don’t get privileged acces to these, but you can bet your bottom dollar Apple does. Apple also have a history of collaborating with parts manufacturers to specify custom variants of parts or even designing entirely new parts, such as the custom timing controller chip in the original 5K iMac. Working at that level takes even more time.

Even with the billions of dollars Apple has in the bank the absolute quickest they could turn around what you are describing would be 9 months at a guess.

ATP guess around 200,000 Mac Pros are sold a year - the first year of a new version after so long could easily be 1 million units. Getting that production and logistics line set up is a big undertaking even if using old cases etc. For the extra 6-9 months that a new design would take it's totally worth it for them as will hopefully give them a modern design that is good for 5-10 years that meets the needs of the 2017+ pro market, using a chassis that was designed for the 2008+ needs would be a step back for Apple and pros in general. Apple like to push the envelope and while they certainly do make mistakes (I count the trash can as a mistake but not the Touch Bar) there's no point in them going ultra conservative.

An expandable Mac is probably the least unique design Apple can do: its shape is dictated by the PCIe slots and the connections on the back. Airflow and noise management are issues, since Apple has little control over the fans people put on expansion boards, but, again, it's a compromise: you wanted a "pro" machine, it'll not be quiet.

Having said that, it'd be fun to see a Cray-like thing that wraps the PCIe boards around a flex-PCB bus going around a central core (CPUs, memory, heat management) while keeping the mass storage between the empty wedges created that way.

Not a defense, but I am guessing they are waiting for the next set of Xeon processors on Intel's roadmap. I understand Intel has announced 2018 Q1 for a group of processors.

Not only that, but I think that Apple is feeling the Pro user backlash and are really trying hard to say "sorry, but there is something awesome in the pipeline" where the pipeline is a few months old at most.

It takes a while to get a product to market and this would seem to answer most of the criticism the pro market has had with the mac pro so far, the macbook pro is a different beast.

Apple has weathered, and thrived during, much worse "backlashes" than the current one, which is itself lacking any evidence of being a real thing in terms of Apple's bottom line. AAPL is up over 50% since I bought it last year when everyone was claiming the iPhone was over.

Also I imagine graphic card makers - it was a shame to see microsoft products with Nvidia 9xx series when 10xx is huge step up in performance/energy effectiveness. Plus something with storage - new intel optane would be nice for pro machine and so on.

If they were really committed to the pro market, they'd just release a new Mac based on the cheese grater Mac Pro from 2012.

Instead they have to spend 2 years making it beautiful. Some kind of unique design. As if the reason I want a high end desktop is so it can look good.

By all means, go work on something spectacularly beautiful. Take all the time you want. While you're doing that, how about a basic tower with some fast chips, fast graphics, a boatload of memory and a some ports and a big fan. You know, a computer as opposed to a fashion statement.

What a bunch of buffoons.

> You know, a computer as opposed to a fashion statement. What a bunch of buffoons.

The fashion statement as you put it is their biggest differentiator. You are being unfair or shortsighted from their perspective.

For the pro though? I get that it is for all their other stuff. But the Mac Pro is a very specific market segment, and they probably mostly care about performance, peripherals, and being able to seamlessly use OS X rather than configuring a hackintosh.

For the Mac Pro market, their biggest differentiator is that an Apple-branded desktop computer comes with a legal macOS license. That's it.

They could just keep selling the "cheese grater" design with updated Intel + NVIDIA guts, and users would be happy.

This design conundrum is entirely Apple's own doing.

I would be happy if they reverted to the previous Mac Pro design. It was expandable and looked IMO better than the dustbin.

The fashion statement is what they did with the last Mac Pro, which they've clearly (finally) realized was a big mistake. I'm sure the next one will look nice enough, but I'll bet it also prioritizes function over form.

Most users are in the target market that I come across, primarily in the video & music market would be happiest with a rackable solution.

It's not all just about beauty. It depends what they're working on. They have a track record of actually designing or collaborating on customization of the chips and chip sets of their systems to do things other manufacturers cannot do, like the in-house design for the timing controller chip in the 5K iMac. It's this sort of bespoke engineering that enables them to charge the premiums that they do. Bear in mind these are the buffoons that have been earning more profits from their Mac line than the whole of the rest of the PC industry put together for most of the last 15 years. Seems to work well for them in Phones too.

Designing a computer is a lot more complicated than that.

1 year is pretty amazing.

But they don't have to design a computer. It's all commodity x86 parts. They could rebadge a fast enough machine from off-the-shelf parts in a case that looks Apple-ish. They're not doing that, and you can go with all the reasons they may not want to, but there is probably a market for doing just that.

Maybe the reason for wait is that there's few fresh technologies upcoming that need these 2 year to mature to be viable - remember, they wanted Pro to be future-proof to some extend.

One can argue that current iphone/ipad is not future proof due to non-usb-c port, for example.

Ina Fried (Axios): [...] What have you learned from what pros are saying about the new MacBook Pros?

Phil Schiller: [...] Generally there’s certainly been feedback about I/O. I think the I/O has been for some great because of the performance it delivers and the flexibility it delivers. Others would like some legacy connectors, but there are adapters for that. We’re not done gathering feedback, but generally things are going really well with it.

The reality distortion field on this guy is impressive.

> The reality distortion field on this guy is impressive.

Why exactly? Sure there are some people who want legacy connectors, but majority don't really care, in the last 3-4 years the only time I used non type c USB connector is when I was charging my phone. When I got a new Mac I just got a type c cable for 10$ - problem solved.

Since they call it a Pro, I assume professionals use it to connect devices they already own. Audio/Video professionals need to connect several audio interfaces, external HDDs, SD Card readers, external monitors/projectors, headphones, maybe ethernet if the wifi in a hotel is spotty, etc. Asking someone to spend hundreds of dollars on adapters on TOP of the already expensive hardware and calling all these usecases "legacy" is insulting.

> Why exactly? Sure there are some people who want legacy connectors

That's the reality distortion field. USB 3.1 Type A and HDMI 2.0 are not "legacy connectors" in any way.

If I were to choose between you and him who is better informed on the subject, I'd choose him any time :)

Edit: it is amusing to see that some think that random guy on the internet is better informed than the executive who sells the product and has all the data.

How have you established that this "executive that has all the data" is actually telling it straight?

This is PR triage, its good they are doing it, but why in earth did it take them so long. Apple made a wrong turn when they tried to be a lifestyle company first and technology company second, hopefully they get it turned around. I still think Tim Cook is out in 2.5 years.

You can't blame Tim Cook for that. In my eyes, Apple started being a lifestyle company with the release of the original iMac. I remember how much people complained about the lack of upgradability and the lack of a floppy drive. Deja vu...

I think the transition was complete with the release of the iPod and iTunes and the way they advertised it.

The first iPod even.

"It doesn't even have a memory card."

Not really. Memory cards were what back then? 128 MB at best? The iPod had 5GB storage build in.

Not my comment, just referencing the common sentiment that people, especially non-Apple users, made wrt it being a closed box without expandable storage.

I understand, but I can't remember that anybody - esp. outside the very small Apple bubble - cared about the product itself or extensibility in particular. I would completely dispute that extensibility was a common concern.

At the time PowerMacs came with 40 GB of storage so 5 GB was a lot. Absolute size wasn't a hot topic. And practically nobody else had an Mp3-player so swapping with friends wasn't a thing either.

Thanks for adding your thoughts. I don't have more time to dedicate to this thread today, but the information I mentioned is accessible in Google by filtering back to that time period should you feel inclined. I'm surprised that you insist otherwise, as it was mentioned often especially when the drive size didn't change much with the first few generations.

> The first iPod even.

I was specifically talking about that device. Taking later years into account the situation may of course be somewhat different.

Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Apple has pretty much always been a lifestyle company as well as a technology company. Technology + Liberal Arts. For a long time that seemed to pigeonhole them in a precarious niche in the industry. How times change.

Important to note that applications and processes follow a trajectory from stationary workstation to portable over time. The applications and processes that you can afford to run on your portable today are the ones that you could afford to run on your stationary workstation before.

When new laptops come out, the software people run on them is often the software that they previously could not run on laptops.

If they cut off the flow of new desktop applications, there will be nothing impressive to run on the laptops on launch day.

I'm going to say that that is a fairly minor point. Most people who really _need_ pro level stuff known what they're going to use it for.

CFD guys are still using software from the 80s and 90s. Same for finite element guys. Video producers already know whether they prefer Adobe premiere or final cut etc.

Flashy new release titles matter much less than specs, I'd say. That, and upgradeability.

You are forgetting that it’s really only yesterday's pro workloads that can run on todays laptops. Willbe going to NAB at the end of the month and no doubt everyone will be talking about VR creation, 8K video editing and compositing and the workloads keep getting more intense every year.

Points to Ulanoff for referencing the "courage" meme to Phil Schiller's face.

Let's see if he's invited to the next exclusive blogger sitdown...

I belong to the pro market, but I love video games. I am eager to hear some details around how they view Macs in the gaming world.

The limited gaming available on a 5k iMac was great while I had one. Civilization, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft... Jaw dropping, but barely scratching the surface of what Apple could do if they gave some love to the market.

Safari is probably the best bet Mac has for Gaming at the moment. As someone who has to update games which Apple breaks with every Mac release... it's the most brutal platform. If you thought linux audio was tough... try delivering games on a Mac that you don't want to break with the next update.

"But can't everyone just implement our Metal API? It's been so successful, it's the best, you'll love it" No. No we don't love it. Please just implement WebGL2. Thanks.

"But we neglected OpenGL for years, even though our pro users have been begging for updates, and we think Metal is the best, you'll love it".

No. We want OpenGL updates. We are pros, and you promised us for years OpenGL updates. This is why there are almost 0.0% of our apps released on Macos with Metal.

"But we released the new macbook pro with an AMD card. We haven't really been working on OpenCL, but use that. You'll love it".

No, we want CUDA. We are pros, and we told you we wanted CUDA. It's what we use, because you stopped caring about OpenCL.

"I know we said we were serious about pro models, and that there would be a new mac pro, but here is the same one with a minor update. You'll love it. It's the best."


"But we're listening."

No, you're bloody not.

Metal and OpenCL frankly feel like something Microsoft would do. Advertise a custom whiz bang API and then quietly drop it after 3-5 years due to churn in middle management fiefdoms.

You are comparing apples with oranges here. Metal and OpenCL are different technologies. OpenCL is cross platform and an open specification while Metal is used only on macOS and iOS.

What makes you think Metal has been dropped?

Ideas that dumb can only last so long. I hope.

Apple has no market dominance in the graphics/compute domain and they want people to spend time and energy porting to a locked-in proprietary API when they haven't even had success getting people to use cross-platform open APIs like OpenGL/CL? Madness.

Are you kidding? Metal isn't just on macOS, it's on all of Apple's platforms. With the iPhone alone they have all the market power they need.

I have OpenGL code running on FreeBSD, Linux, MacOS X and Windows. I'm not going to write a second implementation for Apple systems. Vendor-specific graphics APIs are a throwback to the '90s. I am categorically not going to support Apple's Metal API; they need to bear in mind that much software using OpenGL is not Mac-specific, and given the poor state of Mac graphics Macs are decreasingly a second class platform for serious graphics use. Even FreeBSD has better OpenGL support(!)

"Market power" is fairly meaningless when you support multiple platforms. Most games ported to Apple platforms use OpenGL; using Metal would restrict their market significantly. And expensive high-end software has better support on platforms where you can use expensive high-end GPUs and compute, and that's not today's Apple hardware. Metal is a non-starter for a very large number of people, and they need to get their OpenGL and Vulkan support up to par or many of us will cease supporting Apple platforms entirely.

This is shortsighted attitude that, in the long run, will be toxic for Apple. It's one thing to not give developers what they want because you can't ( doesn't fit the technology or the product, don't have the resources or whatever). It is quite another to do that simply because you won't (e.g. for strategic lock-in reasons).

Yes, the iPhone gives them all the market power they need with some developers, even many devlopers. But others don't care about the iPhone for various reasons. Those developers, grumble, moan and eventually buy computers that aren't Macs. And when those developers make great things they're outside of Apple's ecosystem, encouraging other developers and customers to leave it as well...

They've already lost a lot of high end UI, video, and game developers. Pretty sure they're going to lose the mass market audio developers on this android release. I guess audio latency is good enough now for many audio apps... and that's where all the users are (well, in a year after upgrades they will be). A lot of the existing apps have updated to use the new low latency APIs.

Im on a 2015 5K iMac, one thing that does annoy is the very slow release of Apple sanctioned drivers for Bootcamp. You have to use http://www.bootcampdrivers.com/ to have any chance of playing BF1 for example. Most games are playable on medium gfx settings.

I have felt this way for my entire life. You let go, eventually.

I can envision a new Mac Pro machine that has lots of next generation ports (Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, etc.) but also includes a giant dongle block full of SDCard slots, USB-A, Lightning, and maybe even DB-9 or MIDI. As one of the interviewers pointed out, a lot of Pro users have a lot of existing equipment (cameras, keyboards, etc.) that they use every day. I think it would be outstanding to give those users a easy, Apple approved way to upgrade to the new standards. Apple could even turn it into a marketing idea - "We heard you, and the latest Mac Pro comes with everything you need, right in the box!" Hell, they could even sell it separately to all us '16 MacBook Pro users. :)

I am mostly self-patting on the back from these guys. And a very careful language. And a subtle dismissal of competition.

I've read the whole thing very carefully and the only meaningful thing I was able to parse was that they somehow got the hint that their new Macbook Pros aren't universally loved, which is a big surprise. /s

Maybe a second thing -- that they plan to make 3 new Pros targeted at 3 different Pro user segments.

We'll see. But I am kind of baffled by that interview. It almost seems pointless. Looks like it's done mostly to put their foot at the door.

Given Apple's track record of updating the current Mac Pro, why would anyone think that whatever is released in 2018 would be any different?

If they release a board and case with upgradable everything, what's the advantage over hackintosh?

An Apple strength is tight integration of hard and software within a personal context (stated that way because multi-user/services mostly stink--shared photo and music libraries etc). I think this strength and focus plays against the orientation needed to produce a generalized computing device platform designed for longevity/upgradability.

‘There are over 600 million PCs in use today that are over five years old. This is really sad, it really is.” Phil Schiller

As Microsoft says eat your own dog food

It's sad for Apple's profitability; Not sad for the world. #sustainability and #environment matter.

So, it seems that they have to ramp up a team to design the next Mac Pro? Oh dear.

People don't take their Pro's to cafes. Spend less effort making the physical design look unique, and more time making the functionality uniquely suitable AND sustainable/upgradeable.

I wonder if the Mac would have touch if Microsoft didn't have it.

Is there any news on a Pro MacBook Pro (ironically named)

I insist they're missing a huge market segment between a $10 raspberry and a $500 mac mini. A billion units of a $99 Apple-TV sized computer.

The Mac Nano.

I would have like to have seen a video of this. What a missed opportunity.

I actually don't support this behind closed door meeting with reporters. Steve always ran things incredibly tight lipped, no need for transparency that's part of the Apple experience. This is a leadership error in my eyes and seems like a decision made by community.

> behind closed door meeting with reporters

...the link is to a full transcript of the meeting. Sure, you weren't personally invited, but hardly a secretive off the record briefing.

> Steve always ran things incredibly tight lipped, no need for transparency that's part of the Apple experience

After the controversy about the iPhone 4's antennas he did a very similar briefing to this with a number of reporters, and Apple pre-announced the Intel transition many months before it actually happened. Jobs would happily tell you what was coming down the line when it suited him to do so.

> After the controversy about the iPhone 4's antennas he did a very similar briefing to this with a number of reporters

And yet to this day there are people who will insist that there was no controversy and it was just a bunch of troublemakers who were anti Apple and that Apple was just being generous to appease them.

Apple is no longer a cult, so it is natural that its leaders act more like normal business people than like prophets who come down from the mountain heights, once or twice a year, to enlighten the world with product revelations. Apple is the market leader, and its pro customers are losing faith. Giving some assurance about the future is the least its management could have done. In my opinion, it should have happened even much earlier.

If the iPhone 4 design was as bad as people made it out to be, how did the GSM iphone 4 sell for over 4 years without any modifications to the design?

Probably this was not something Apple wanted to do, but felt they had to do. While the pro segment is small, it is very vocal. Without this expectation management maneuver, we would have been waiting for something to happen on the Mac Pro side at each of the following launch events - and then the feeling disappointed when they did not deliver.

Exactly and with thoughts from the vocal pro side compounding over the next 1-2 years... better to address it now and make it clear that they're listening.

You make a good point, and can appreciate the strategy if this was the case.

Except in controlled leaks and antennaegate.

This reads like Donald Trump propaganda. "The mac is doing really well. We're proud of..."

I guess this is the only USA made Apple product. Not really surprised they can't execute.

"One of the interesting things through all this has been the feedback on MacOS. It’s been so positive. "

There is no propaganda like his propaganda. We won't know until the three government investigations are complete

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