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.
"Do you use Final Cut Pro?"
No, I use scikit-learn!
No, I use vagrant & virtualbox to run 4 VMs
No, I use Unity
I think we at HN are succumbing to a bit too much Omphaloskepsis, 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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Ubuntu list is so long and has so many caveats.
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-[.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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?
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The fashion statement as you put it is their biggest differentiator. You are being unfair or shortsighted from their perspective.
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.
1 year is pretty amazing.
One can argue that current iphone/ipad is not future proof due to non-usb-c port, for example.
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.
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.
That's the reality distortion field. USB 3.1 Type A and HDMI 2.0 are not "legacy connectors" in any way.
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.
I think the transition was complete with the release of the iPod and iTunes and the way they advertised it.
"It doesn't even have a memory card."
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.
I was specifically talking about that device. Taking later years into account the situation may of course be somewhat different.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
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...
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.
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.
As Microsoft says eat your own dog food
The Mac Nano.
...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.
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.
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. "