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Mac Pro: Fooled You (mondaynote.com)
96 points by evo_9 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 209 comments

They deserve all the mockery they got for the $999 stand (and more).

However, my complaint about the new Pro and Display are not that they are overpriced (they're perfectly priced for what they are). But that there is no lower end option.

Even if they took the display in the 5k iMac and just made that a standalone thunderbolt display, charged $1,500 for it (even though I would've slightly grumbled), I would've ordered it on day one. But $5k for a display is just something I won't spend.

Same with the desktop. If they had reasonable defaults for $6k, then yes I absolutely would buy it (because of the amazing expandability, and I'm truly tired of laptops).

But the display is to me truly disappointing that they solved problems only a very very small sliver of pros asked for (pro photographers and film people), rather than a secondary class of pros (developers, etc). I don't need true reference-grade color for viewing webpages and code all day. But I would generally like a 5k or 6k display for more screen real estate.

So if they sold a display like the one in the iMac that is actually manufactured by LG, you’d buy it....

So why not just by the LG display?

Not OP but I presume a major reason is that the LG display (5k Ultrafine) only has a TB3 video input which means virtually all GPU cards can't drive it. I ended up with a HP Z27Q 5K display for my setup but would have much preferred the LG if it had more input options.

He said he wished Apple would sell a stand-alone display. If Apple sold one, what are the chances that it wouldn’t also be TB3 only?

BTW, as far as I can tell, HP no longer sells the model you bought.

Forgive my ignorance, but what's stopping you from buying a third-party screen and attaching that? Right now, I'm using a MBP with a Dell monitor. It would seem insane if the Mac Pro had a priority monitor interface.

I do have a Dell 4k monitor (P2715Q), and it works really well and I have no complaints about its compatibility or picture quality. But I just like the Thunderbolt hub + monitor + charger solution, plus the webcam, and would've been great if these monitors came with Face ID.

The LG monitor sort of does this. But it's just ugly.

I had the Dell at my old job. Great picture quality! But 4K on 27“ is however still a compromise, since everything will show up too big when using 2x scaling. And when going for 1.5x or 2x things will get blurry. I now use 2x with smalller fonts in editors and browser zoomed out by default as a compromise.

But I’m really looking forward to have a real >200dpi desktop display for 2x scaling.

There are a lot of native size requirements that third party monitors don't meet as well. If you want 5K, which is the ideal for 2x 2560x1440 at 27", you're in a very different market. A 4k display running at 1x is easy to find, but a good 5K is a very different story.

This is why Apple sells the LG 5K display and why their iMacs have 5K displays when possible. Third party displays do work, but when you want to get into crazy town resolutions it's much harder to find them with high quality.

> A 4k display running at 1x is easy to find, but a good 5K is a very different story.

I have to ask - what's the value of 5k over 4k? 4k is already 'retina' quality (speaking of my 32" 4k as reference), what does another 1024 horizontal lines bring to the party?


My 13" MacBook Pro is 13.3" at 2560x1600 or 227 PPI.

My 24" 4K monitor is 24" at 3840x2160 or 184 PPI.

Your 32" 4K monitor is 138 PPI, so only 60% of the density of MacBook displays.

That doesn’t mean that it’s not at a sufficient pixel density; I can’t discern them in normal operation (display an arm’s length from my eyes).

For one if you're doing 4k video editing you can view the video in its native resolution and see UI elements simultaneously.

Random super low quality image of this. http://noamkroll.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Screen-Shot-...

That makes the most sense to me; I suspected something like that might be the answer. Thanks!

At 27-inch, 5K gets you 2× the pre-retina resolution.

I have a 31" 4K display and it's nowhere near retina dpi. I run it at 1x

Two Dell 4k monitors here, they are too skinny.

I'd like a 16:10 or even 4:3 monitor at 200+dpi, but they don't exist. (Maybe that IBM beast from ~2000.)

There are very few third-party 5K monitors and they're flaky.

I have to believe a new monitor is coming between 1,500 and 2,000.

The 6K Mac Pro is very much low end. It's not even high end by consumer standards.

The problem with the base model of the new Mac Pro is that all the non-upgradable components are extremely high end, but the CPU, RAM, GPU and SSD capacity are low-end. You can max out a consumer-grade desktop platform and end up with a much better system for a third of the price. But that system would have no headroom for further upgrades. The Mac Pro gives you six DRAM channels instead of two, several times the IO bandwidth, supports several times as many CPU cores, and a power supply that delivers more than twice the wattage any consumer desktop ever needs. But the base model doesn't use any of that functionality.

Apple can't do anything about the underlying technological reality that there's a big difference between current consumer desktop platforms and current workstation/server platforms. They're also being hurt by the fact that the base configuration Mac Pro is quite different from the typical configuration Mac Pro. For consumer PCs, it's common for the base model to be one of the most popular configurations, but for the Mac Pro the base model is a niche product that relatively few customers will opt for. This defies the expectations of people who approach the Mac Pro as if it is a consumer product.

> The Mac Pro gives you six DRAM channels instead of two, several times the IO bandwidth, supports several times as many CPU cores

That's not true. Threadripper has more cores, supports more memory, has 6-channel memory, more PCIe-lanes and so on.

Even the AM4 socket will soon have 16-core CPUs and PCIe4, so it will probably have more bandwidth than any Mac Pro, for a few hundred USD. The world is moving fast, that's for sure.

Threadripper obviously is not a consumer desktop class platform; it's one of the workstation/server platforms that is substantially more expensive than consumer desktop platforms. It's not quite as overpriced as Intel's workstation and server platforms, but it's in the same general category. (It also has only four DRAM channels, which contributes to its lower prices than Intel's 6-channel platforms.)

And yes, AMD's consumer desktop platform is getting a substantial update next month that will put it well ahead of Intel's current consumer desktop platform. But PCIe 4 is also driving up the cost of that platform quite a bit, at least in the near term.

Threadripper is expensive by consumer standards but you can still buy a 32 core 2990WX workstation with 64GB quad channel RAM, 1TB NVMe SSD, etc. for less money than a base model Mac Pro.

Presumably the next gen Threadripper platform with PCIe 4 will launch not too far off the time the new Mac Pro does.

> for less money than a base model Mac Pro.

As has already been pointed out, the base model is pretty much irrelevant and that Threadripper system would probably be maxed out. Also that systems wouldn't run Mac software.

Everything you say is entirely true, but most people buying these new Mac pros simply won't care because it's not relevant to their actual requirements.

>Take an iMac Pro, break it down, put its screen in a box (that’ll revive the Cinema Display we miss), add slots to the motherboard, put it in a vintage Mac Pro cheese grater case...

I think a lot of Mac faithful talked around this line like it would be an acceptable minimum, but they really wanted more than that, like "Oh, it'd be fine if they just made a tower, but what we really want is that trademark Apple Innovation!" But what they really wanted was just white-box parts in a PC case that they could swap out, not this insanely powerful, beautiful, kick-ass machine on wheels that costs more than your car. They just wanted a blessed hackintosh.

(edit - just speaking from personal experience and the people I've talked to. I don't know anyone who actually needs this new Mac Pro, but I know a few who want it.)

I think what people wanted was the pre-2013 Mac Pro. Where the base model cost half of this new one, and it was expandable enough that people are still using it.

> insanely powerful

I remain amazed at Apple's marketing. There's literally nothing "powerful" in this box that you couldn't plug into a Supermicro motherboard almost two years ago. You can make integration arguments or dither about Apple-specific devices or software all day. But as for "powerful"... this is a 14nm Xeon workstation board.

It's got a lot extra proprietary components in it that make it attractive for those that want those capabilities, and it runs MacOS. Often MacOS is the extra $500 or so of any Apple machine you buy. If you don't care for MacOS or the security coprocessor or the extra Apple-specific expansion stuff, you can definitely build a cheaper PC that's more powerful.

> extra proprietary components

Exactly. So not "insanely powerful" by any objective measure as used by other folks in the industry. It's just secret magic applesauce[1]. Yet you feel free to throw adjective around anyway because it just "feels" like it must be "powerful" based on the language you're reading about it. To wit, I remain amazed at Apple's marketing.

[1] Which, fine. Maybe you really need that applesauce and the 2017 Supermicro board wouldn't have ever worked for you. Great! Still not an argument about "power".

In what world is a 28-core xeon with 1.5 TB of RAM and 2 dual GPUs (effectively 4 GPUs) not a powerful spec for a desktop? Aren't we still in the era of most desktops having 4 cores and a single GPU? I don't bear any love for Apple, but this computer is still pretty cool.

Steam hardware survey shows most popular spec these days is 4 cores, 8GB RAM, and a mid-range GPU. I'd argue that most machines running steam are more powerful than average given that they're generally gaming rigs. https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

Firefox gets a larger swath of the population. 2 cores is by far the most popular with them. https://data.firefox.com/dashboard/hardware

For the people who wanted the Mac Pro that I know of (primarily Apple nerds who were waiting for this new updated machine) they wanted to use it ask a desktop computer. For a desktop computer, this thing is pretty insane in every regard - Xeon CPU, ECC RAM, crazy amounts of GPU capabilities, and yes, price too.

> In what world is a 28-core xeon with 1.5 TB of RAM and 2 dual GPUs (effectively 4 GPUs) not a powerful spec for a desktop? ... I don't bear any love for Apple, but this computer is still pretty cool.

Dell's Precision workstations and HP's Z8 workstations could already be configured to match or exceed that, well before Apple's announcement. What's so special about a configuration that is the same as existing workstations and is shaped pretty much the same as existing workstations? It's the same Intel CPU as everyone else uses, it's the same RAM as everyone else uses, etc.

If you’ve ever used similarly-specced Dell and Apple machines, you should know where the difference is: noise, build quality, long-term support, predictability in OS interaction.

Dollar for dollar, this MacPro is not particularly egregious, imho, once you factor in those elements. Maybe it could have done with a slightly cheaper entry-level option, but they don’t want to risk cannibalizing their laptop market. MacPro prices start exactly where MBP prices end: that’s not a coincidence, and I’m surprised pundits have not picked up on this. The real message from Apple is: “if you can get by with laptop specs, buy a laptop (because we make more money on that form-factor, due to higher numbers).“

The monitor is a different discussion altogether. Apple gets in and out of that market every few years, probably depending on whether they think there is some technological improvement available that allows them to claim “best in class” at reasonable price points.

> If you’ve ever used similarly-specced Dell and Apple machines, you should know where the difference is: noise, build quality, long-term support, predictability in OS interaction.

I have used both Dell and HP workstations and corresponding Apple products to a lesser extent and, to be honest, I really don't find that much difference between them in terms of noise, build quality, or long-term support. As for quality of OS interaction, I've seen the gray screen of death far more often than I've seen BSODs or kernel panics the past couple of years; so much for that.

> Dollar for dollar, this MacPro is not particularly egregious.

Oh, I agree; I know all too well that fully kitted out workstations are quite expensive and would concur that the Mac Pro is not too far out of line in this. But then again, nothing in my earlier post concerned price so I don't know why you bring it up.

It comes with a stylish case and a side order of courage.

They could be configured with double the specs. Here’s an article from Sept. 2017: https://petapixel.com/2017/09/13/hp-z8-pc-can-upgraded-insan...

3TB RAM 56 cores 48TB

No word on cost, but the entry level goes down to below $3k.

Z8s can be configured >$100k. Also those have fewer usable PCIe slots. Dollar for dollar I'm not sure the HP or Dell workstations are much cheaper than the Mac Pro if at all. They seem like just a different spin on some standard Intel configurations, with build quality good but not like Apple's.

Did you try to configure it to the same specs as the base Mac Pro? I tried and it is 9000usd vs 6000usd

Apple reality-distortion.

Put OK tech in a nice box, add a bit of amazing, and Apple's done it again! $6000 please!

> In what world is a 28-core xeon with 1.5 TB of RAM and 2 dual GPUs (effectively 4 GPUs) not a powerful spec for a desktop?

Your standard was "insanely powerful", which implies some kind of notability. In fact 28 core 14nm Xeons broadly similar to the ones Apple is using were shipping by Q3 of 2017. You could even buy boards at the time with TWO sockets: TWICE as "powerful" a desktop as Apple's "insane" one from the summer of 2019.

Again, this just isn't notable hardware from a "power" perspective. It's the same stuff everyone else has been shipping for two years, just with applesauce.

I think steam is unlikely to be used on common workstations and digital signage.

Most machines running steam are run at home, and if you can afford a computer, you can play free games on Steam.

>Naming a car Nova can cause trouble in Spanish-speaking locales (“no go”)

That's an urban legend: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/chevrolet-nova-name-spanis...

I agree with Snopes. Pronunciation is everything in Spanish. The word nova is not at all pronounced the same as no va, and a native Spanish speaker would not confuse the two. My personal experience after having lived in Central America with locals, not ex-Pats, is that accent and pronunciation are the key to speaking Spanish, not grammar.

It's "Philosophically True": It's true to the extent people need it to be to make a point or prove their philosophy valid, like the idea of the "tabula rasa"; we know, scientifically, that humans aren't blank slates at birth, but some people have a need for it to be true so their philosophy isn't disproven by mere positivism.

So, a lie you find useful?

More like a lie which gets spread because it is apparently morally wrong for some ideas to be disproven.

Apple makes a consumer “Pro” laptop: We want real pro machines!

Apple makes an actual Pro tower with pro features: It’s too expensive!

Where's the gotcha? The device is for studios, not home gamers—so what?

I keep hearing this argument over and over and it's frustrating. Yes, it does seem clear that Apple is targeting media studios with this Mac Pro, but that entirely misses the point about why so many people like me are upset.

Apple used to make what I considered just about the perfect machine for me. It was the cheese grater Mac Pro, and one sat under my desk until a few months ago when I gave up on Apple every refreshing that machine in a way that works for me, and I got a Mac mini instead. It's a fine machine, but there is not really an upgrade path for the internal components, the graphics processor is weak, and now I have a bunch of cables all over my desk for expansion.

The cheese grater Mac Pro used to be a little bit pricey for the actual performance you were getting, but it was worth it to spend a little more to get that thoughtfully designed machine that ran Mac OS. Now it just feels like anything in Apples product line that "is for me" just feels like a giant compromise. Sure Apple can do whatever they want with their product line, but that fact doesn't make the current situation any less frustrating for me and people like me.

Maybe you should consider switching OS? Apple will always be behind on performance, upgrade paths, compatability and pricing. So if you want a high performance computer that you can upgrade then Apple isn't for you.

I can't directly refute any of your points, but I also think you are still talking around the problem a bit. The point I was making is that in the cheese grater era all the items you point out where Apply is behind were also true, but the delta between Mac and PC on each of those points seemed much smaller. It was worth the tradeoff to be able to use Mac OS. This is not the case with the latest Mac Pro. The world changes over time, I get it, but I think given that at one time Apple was able to hit that sweet spot, the hope is that maybe they one day will be able to again.

The author doesn’t mention gaming in the article at all and I don’t think any person with decent knowledge of Mac products would assume the new Mac Pro would be a gaming machine.

What the author and many others are trying to convey is that Apple again has pushed out a premium product with mid to semi-high level components for a luxurious price — often out of reach for the lay consumer. If we take the common criticism of Apple and their products, especially the Mac Pro, it again comes down to them catering to a base but doing so by itemizing their product list. They know people in studios will use these products and pay what they must, so it’s simple: Studio A has old Mac Pro’s and just needs a new monitor, so they’ll buy the new 32-inch and put out some more pocket change for the stand that’s sold separately. But studio B has monitors and needs a new desktop, hence they’ll purchase a new Mac Pro w/o a screen.

In the end, these products will sell, not because of their future proof parts, but more so because it’s a new machine for that niche base who most likely are too deep into the Apple ecosystem to use a PC equivalent.

Ah, my bad. I meant "home gamer" as a colloquial term to mean something like "prosumer" or "enthusiast", not an actual gamer.

Because historically the old mac pro was a more than a 6000 dollar toy that only the rich and studios purchase. Apple is basically pissing on all of their old mac pro fans who are getting priced out by this update.

I think the "this is for studios" argument is just an excuse to make up for the fact that Apple completely missed the mark with this new refresh's price point. If Apple _really_ wanted to create a flagship desktop to appeal to studios, they would have not used the mac pro's name, they would have created a new brand for the SKU to reflect that its target audience is different from that of the mac pro.

I disagree with this. This viewpoint is the side-effect of Apple's lifestyle brand marketing. Apple releases a machine you can't afford and they're "pissing on you"? No, they're diversifying their product towards the high-end market they want to re/capture. If your favorite car company releases a nice premium product are they also "pissing on you"?

Steve's 2x2 matrix with portable vs desktop on one axis, and consumer vs pro(sumer) on the other axis, was announced and filled around 1998.

It was populated initially with: iBook, iMac; PowerBook, Power Mac.

Later: MacBook (Air), iMac; MacBook Pro, Mac Pro.

The "pro" version had always been accessible to consumers. It was a bit more expensive, but if you wanted more power and expandability than the consumer model you could get the low-end "pro" model easily. And, yeah, the "real" professionals could spec it out and get a high-end pro machine.

Now, this latest Mac Pro is a machine that's out of range of your average prosumer and even pro, even in the lowest configuration. That's what upsets people.

> This viewpoint is the side-effect of Apple's lifestyle brand marketing.

No, the anger is born from an expectation (namely, that prosumers can get the low-end pro model) that well predates the whole life-style brand marketing (iPod 2001, iPhone 2007).

No, the anger is born from an expectation (namely, that prosumers can get the low-end pro model) that well predates the whole life-style brand marketing (iPod 2001, iPhone 2007).

I believe this is also incorrect. Apple has consistently had a lifestyle brand marketing tactic when Jobs was at the helm. The clone years were a different animal, for sure, but pre and post Apple was most definitely marketed as a lifestyle brand and "experience". The difference is that it worked better the second time, with the addition of the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Steve's 2x2 matrix was obviated almost immediately upon his passing. The product teams at Apple may from time to time use it as a reference to bolster a point in their favor but those days have long since vanished. People are 'angry' because they want a desktop PC like experience within the Apple eco-system and they don't have anywhere to turn. Personally, I think it is unjustified, as there are more than enough product spans to fill that gap BEFORE the introduction of the Mac Pro. All of this silly 'anger' to me is just another iteration of people being upset at Apple because they didn't fulfill their personal 'peeve'. Honestly, if you don't like the stuff or it's not what you want, then use something else. If you CAN'T then I submit that you're a victim of the aforementioned lifestyle marketing.

I believe that selling a branded product that targets audience X, then in a refresh raising your pricing so much that a large subset of X can no longer afford the product is pissing on their target audience, yes.

If Apple wanted to sell a more expensive SKU to that wealthier subset of X, then it should have been a new brand instead of using the Mac Pro's brand.

I don't own any apple desktops, so there's no personal animosity on my part.

The Mac Pro brand was basically dead for years. Your complaint would be reasonable if they made such a large change between generations for a product on a yearly cadence, but this is more like when a car company brings back a model they discontinued 15 years ago.

Don't car manufactures use different brand names for luxury and mainstream to indicate who the product is for? Customers would be confused if Toyota took a new mid-range Lexus, kept the pricing, but branded it as a Toyota Avalon (the highest end Toyota sedan model in US).

> Customers would be confused if Toyota took a new mid-range Lexus, kept the pricing, but branded it as a Toyota Avalon (the highest end Toyota sedan model in US).

I'm confused. I can't tell what point you're trying to make here. The Lexus ES and Toyota Avalon already are basically the same car, modulo some styling changes and about a 10% difference in base price. This clearly isn't causing Toyota much trouble, because they've been doing this for a long time.

> If your favorite car company releases a nice premium product are they also "pissing on you"?

If Toyota re-releases the Corolla as a 60K car, then yes.

Apple is not "diversifying" their product. They are straight pushing it upmarket leaving current Mac Pro customers, the ones paying until today $3000 for a trash can Apple swore was the future, out in the cold.

Who believes what Apple says? Most things Apple says are completely bullshit.

From the Mac Pro trash can product page(norwegian): "Enough performance to realize all your biggest ideas"

"You will never want more speed"

And let's not forget why Apple is sticking to 3.5" screens. It is the perfect size, and that's why Apple won't make phones bigger. It's definetly not because Apple is lagging behind. Oh, wait...

Never belive Apple's marketing. It's misleading and often false.

I'm not saying you should believe Apple. What I'm saying is that it is completely fair to criticize them based on what they say and do.

Apple promised a Mac Pro replacement for pro customers but delivered a new Mac Pro only for the high end of those customers. That is why they are being criticized.

The old Mac Pro wasn't exactly pro, no matter how much Apple says it is.

The new Mac Pro is an actual pro product, at least the higher specced ones. So they did make a replacement.

Is Apple terrible at naming? Yes. Do they throw Pro into the product name for no reason? Yes. Is it better this way? Who knows. They still have the MacBook "pro".

The article stopped right before it made any analysis of the facts presented. There wasn’t an argument for us to talk about. Yours sounds like what should have come next though.

Right, I was kind of wondering what the point was. I'm surprised that the author got stuck on a $1,000 monitor stand.

That's how I felt watching the presentation. It very quickly became apparent this was not a machine for me. I don't work with multiple 4K video streams let alone any instrument mixing or 8K video.

He’s been fooled again. The $1000 stand is nothing more than an obvious distraction; everyone is talking about the great Mac Pro and the outrageously expensive stand, but not the very expensive Mac Pro and display.

Is the display expensive for what it is? Everyone's saying it's in the same league as reference displays?

It's not at all expensive for what it is. It's just far higher specs than most here would find useful, which is the real disconnect. Others in this thread are wondering what the realistic difference between 4K and 5K is or talking about simple stuff like pixel scaling - this is definitely not the crowd to understand or appreciate the new display.

It’s probably not expensive for what it is, but it definitely is very expensive. Just as the stand might not be expensive for what it is but still is really expensive.

On the one hand, this cat knows how to screw up marketing hardware/software ( Be, Inc! ). On the other hand, he's literally talking nonsense about a compute platform that is targeted at studios.

Can we get some vfx or game studio heads in here commenting? From what I've experienced in my career is many studios are run at a very low margin. Doubling the price of the Mac Pro would most likely have an effect.

There is no software that is macOS-only used by VFX artists, and except for a few 2D tools (cough Photoshop cough), everything runs on Linux. (Typically Red Hat/CentOS with nVidia cards.)

The farm basically always just runs Linux. Many studios run Linux on the desktop, sometimes Windows, and sometimes macOS.

I'm only adjacent to the VFX and game studio worlds, but there's a meme: "Our movie/game did great! Time to announce layoffs."

I thought that had more to do with the “seasonality” of a business closer to movies than enterprise software, i.e. once a project is over, everyone is fired.

The angst usually centers around management being paid enough to hold on to the laid off people so they can develop their skills and work on 20% type projects. As things are, they leave the industry after a few rounds of it.

It's shortsighted. They let many of the people responsible for that wealth float off to more stable industries so a few people can get rich far beyond their contribution.

I remember installing BeOS on my Performa 6400. It was a cool little piece of kit.


Upvoted you to help with the downvotes you got for asking a question.

I had this opinion too, before visiting the bay area for an interview in 2011. I was stunned at how every single person (or so it seemed) had a mac out on the caltrain. And to answer your question, two out of the three companies I've worked at have been almost all macs (some devs like linux/windows laptops).

throwayEngineer isn't really asking a question:


Ah, I guess I'm the stupid one here.

Not sure where you're getting this idea, but maybe your view is being shaped based on what industry you're in?

Everywhere I've worked in the SF Bay Area and the valley (tech companies) are 100% Apple shops for at minimum their tech employees. Many of them are all Apple for sales / sales eng as well as execs (airs, usually).

Some of the big ones are all-laptops (MBPs for tech, Airs or standard macbooks for other functions) with desks that have 1-3 4k monitors plugged in when working at the desk. Other companies had a ton of trash cans deployed at desks in addition to the MBPs.

I have less work experience on the east coast, but in major east coast city offices I've seen similar.

I have a feeling they might be outside the US, where Macs are less common.

Less common is an understatement. In Europe, where software development has always been a cost centre and margins are always thin, Macs have been downright rare until the late 2000s. They were “the computer for people who don’t want to know about computers”, with a very small and dedicated niche of developers that never intersected with the enterprise world.

I’ve never been to a company that does not have a mix of pc/mac. From Fortune 500 to startups.

I've never worked for a company that has ever had a Mac anything.

I think this depends on the industry. Software houses usually are agnostic/diverse unless they're chained to Microsoft.

I've only ever worked as a developer (in offices)

> Btw, are there actually companies that use Apple desktop/laptops?

Yes? Lots of them use apple laptops. More than windows from my experience.

haven't seen an engineering shop in a while that didn't offer macbooks to engineers. At least 8 years. Internally at Google for instance almost everyone is on a macbook.

There's a certain context here that may not be obvious. Gassée is generally seen as the person responsible for the Macintosh II https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_II , the original PC-like (or indeed Apple II-like or S-100-like) modular Macintosh with a separate monitor and slots. From introduction of the original Macintosh II in 1987 through the rest of the '80s the whole Mac line was basically bifurcated between modular Macs in the Macintosh II line which were aimed at graphics and publishing professionals and were brutally expensive even compared to contemporary MS-DOS boxes, and all-in-one Macs with black-and-white (and that didn't mean greyscale) displays for everyone else who was willing to stick around. The squeeze didn't really even begin to ease up until the early '90s, AFAICT. I'm not sure to what extent Gassée was responsible for or fully supportive of those pricing decisions, but if that situation sounds pretty familiar right now, that's probably the reason that Gassée is purring about it here.

In case you were wondering, Jobs apparently hated those pricing decisions, and blamed them for the Mac's failure to win market share against the PC (and compatibles). In fairness to Apple's current management, the window of opportunity to do that is probably now long closed. OTOH the number of companies employing professionals who will feel they have to stick around for these kind of prices probably isn't nearly as large either nowadays. You certainly don't need Macs to run a Photoshop or desktop-publishing shop anymore.

I remember some years ago (2012?) we looked into using Macs instead of Windows machines and back then the Macs (Macbook and Mac Mini) were quite competitive price wise when you compared specs. I can accept some premium since the hardware is better quality but recently they seem to have jacked up prices a lot. The machines were also very practical with the connectors and upgrades they offered. This also seems to have gone away

Has anybody else observed this and when did the trend start?

Even until fairly recently many Mac models were price competitive with other premium models right at release. The problem was/is that Apple does not lower prices on a model over time, and the more recent problem where Apple let models languish for a long period of time.

Apple points to Intel and says they haven't released many huge changes in awhile, and that is true but Apple should have been lowering prices over time.

Apple probably thinks they have most users covered. Since the cheese grater, there has been a huge shift to laptops. If a user really wants a desktop there is the mini, iMac, iMacPro, and now MacPro. The MP is so far out in the pro realm though that Apple may have inadvertently opened a gap in their lineup between the iMacPro and MP. If they do something to fill that gap remains to be seen.

In that gap you have a well-specced MBP. With USB-C/TB3, laptop expandability has basically been solved, and Apple makes more money if it can crank out more MBP bodies (parts that are already built in much higher volumes than a desktop will ever be, hence costing less). So they were very careful to only chisel outside of MBP price ranges.

IMacs are nice-looking terminals and playback-media stations, that’s your entry-level. If you want real power, you get a MBP. Only if you want huge power that the MBP really cannot deliver, you get a MP.

October 5, 2011

Thank you. I like precise answers!

Whoa, what a clickbait!

Apple called "Pro Users" bluff. The "pro user" that used to be served by the old Mac Pro was the same dope who gets the M-Sport BMW 3 Series, or the DSLR with the Kit Lens, etc. It's the rich dad "I want the best of X, but not the actual professional product, because I don't need it."

Other examples include Arc'Teryx clothing that is worn by VC's in Silicon Valley for wealth projection that will never see the austere environments that the clothing was designed for.

Apple made a true pro machine, and now the pro-poseurs are pissed.

BTW I am a pro-poseur, concerned with pro-image vs actual pro features. I desperately want an Apple monitor with speakers that docks to my MBP for around $1799.

>Apple made a true pro machine, and now the pro-poseurs are pissed.

Well, there are also tons of people working professionally with video, audio, etc, that don't have the money to fork for a $6K starting price machine, but would like to work on a fast, extensible, desktop machine and a good external monitor by Apple.

The iMac comes with lackluster extensibility and a monitor that can't work as an external display 4-6 years later when you upgrade machines. The Mac Mini is a mini-PC with even less extensibility.

Those people are still very much professionals. In that, they have clients, make a living from working on their computers, and could very much use faster e.g. rendering time, or the ability to run more VST plugins, or more complex 3D scenes, etc, to make their work easier.

They are very pro, and very many. They just aren't high-end Hollywood studios, or the art department of Nike level pro.

And they still could very much use something more pro than an iMac/MBPr but less high end than a $6K starting price workstation.

Not only are these people not "the same dope who gets the M-Sport BMW 3 Series, or the DSLR with the Kit Lens" posers, but many of us have started building $3K-$4K dollar PC based workstations, where we run Premiere, Cubase, Creative Suite, etc, because Apple won't cater to our market.

Or will only sell us a $4K iMac machine with no capability to upgrade internal SSDs, glued RAM, a built-in not-reusable screen, and no ability to use our own pick of e.g. a high end Nvidia video card.

So there's that.

Is it ok that they are now shunned? The traditional Mac Pro of yore, catered to those exact people.

The pro posers can absolutely afford a $6k bauble. Actual creative pros (outside the SF/LA bubble)? Not so much. The $2k price difference between the base-spec Mac Pro and a fully-loaded PC workstation is a new (used) DSLR body to replace your beaten-up old 5dMkII, it's a couple of nice microphones, it's a set of LED softboxes, it's three months rent, it's a new engine for your van.

Some of those struggling creatives in the early stages of their career will go on to be the next Rankin, the next Steven Soderbergh, the next Rick Rubin. Apple are already losing those people due to the dismal price-performance ratio of their hardware. The opportunity cost of buying a new mac is just far too great when you're a creative on a budget. They're keeping the wannabe DJs, but they're losing the kid running a record label out of his mom's garage. They're keeping the Instagram influencers, but they're losing the kid who's scraping together the cash to make her first short film.

The lack of expandability on the iMac and Mac Mini is a really big deal for this demographic, who tend to buy used and tend to eke out the last few viable years from a product. In the short-term, closing off the used market makes perfect economic sense; in the long-term, you're also closing off a key route into your platform for users who would potentially be extremely loyal and go on to buy many generations of high-end machines.

In the long run, that could become an existential threat to Apple's computer brand. If they lose the next generation of creatives at a pivotal moment in their career, the whole house of cards could come tumbling down. If you've grown up seeing all the genuine creatives using PCs and all the clueless posers using Macs, is that $3000 MBP a status symbol you really want to be seen with?

I would argue that for the vast majority of use cases you are describing, even the non-pro iMac would perfectly fit the bill. Any iMac from the last few years that has TB3 for eGPU and fast external storage even.

Name one professional use case that would put a reasonably specced (i7+) iMac with eGPU to its knees, to the extent it really disqualifies it. In other words, a use case that doesn't involve editing raw 8K footage or rendering 3D feature films? A professional use case for someone who could afford $4K for a PC workstation that would fit the bill, but not $5K for an iMac Pro or $8K for a Mac Pro.

>Name one professional use case that would put a reasonably specced (i7+) iMac with eGPU to its knees, to the extent it really disqualifies it.

First, try to edit a large project with 4K video and you'll soon find out. Unless you transcode for hours, the machine will be on its knees, especially with multicam stuff.

Second, computing power is not a binary "down to its knees" / "manages to do it".

I always could use a faster machine (I can afford and upgrade eventually) as a pro, even when my current machine is not "to its knees"

If it does its rendering in, say, 4 hours, it's always welcome to be able to do it in 3 hours or 2 hours. Those are hours off of my time.

If PC-using pros can do it with their GPUs/memory/etc, why shouldn't Mac using pros be able to keep up? We do compete for the same jobs, you know.

Now add video FX rendering (e.g. after effects) with many nodes and layers, 3D rendering (which already can take days for a large project), and so on.

And lastly, the iMac with eGPU is still a hassle (no upgrade internal GPU, extra costs for the eGPU cage and cables, occasional eGPU-related glitches, etc). And it's still non memory upgradable, non CPU upgradable, non SSDs upgradable, and with a screen that can't be used as a standalone screen when you get past that machine.

So, no an "$5K for an iMac Pro" is not a replacement for an upgradable rig, that can take non-Apple-marked-up upgrades, and doesn't have to come with its own monitor.

What's the point in recommending that people buy an All-In-One-PC like the iMac when they'll have to litter their desk with a pile of cabled hardware that is known to live quite well inside of PC cases?

eGPU seems silly to me for a desktop. The graphics card works very well inside of the case, the monitor works better outside of it.

The assertion was that Apple does not have any computers for professionals that need a powerful machine, but not as powerful as a Mac Pro. This is obviously assuming they need or prefer macOS over Windows or Linux for whatever reason, otherwise they might as well just buy a regular PC.

The 'pile of cabled hardware' argument seems a little far-fetched by the way, since when do 'pro users' make a big deal out of having one or two external devices on their desk somewhere? Never heard anyone complain about that in real life.

I have this setup with a Mac Mini, the eGPU just sits behind the screen where I don't see it, and it's attached with a single TB cable + power that goes straight down into a socket. A nice benefit of this solution is that I can also use the GPU with my laptop if I would need to, by just plugging it in.

For external storage, if it doesn't get moved around you can e.g. attach it to the back of the screen, the screen I use has 4 USB-C ports at the back so I don't see why this would be worse than having the drive in a box under your desk. Or you could use a NAS with 10Gb ethernet. Plenty of options. There will always be someone who can't live with the fact that there isn't a box that has all the hardware under the desk, but that's hardly saying you cannot buy a decently powerful Mac at a small fraction of the cost of a Mac Pro.

>The assertion was that Apple does not have any computers for professionals that need a powerful machine, but not as powerful as a Mac Pro.

No, my assertion is that Apple does not offer a competitively priced mid-to-high end machine suitable for professional use.

The iMac will be acceptable for some users, but not for others, because it's one-size-fits-all. In most pro audio applications, the fan noise under load is simply intolerable - you can't trick it out with Noctua fans, you can't hide the hot bits behind an acoustic partition, you're just stuck with a couple of noisy blower fans in the middle of your working environment. Lots of other pro users have similar niche needs.

The lack of maintainability is a serious issue for pro users. If something goes wrong in your iMac, you can't just order a replacement part and get back in business by tomorrow morning. A repair that would take ten minutes on a commodity box is often a lengthy process requiring specialist tools on an iMac. That's tolerable if you can afford to have a spare machine on standby, it's tolerable if you can afford to just run down to the Apple store and buy a new one, but it's a dealbreaker if (like most creative professionals) you're struggling to keep the lights on. By contrast, the last mixing console I bought was supplied with a full set of schematics; it can be completely torn down with nothing more than a PH2 screwdriver and all the PCBs and internal connectors are clearly labelled.

Apple are presenting their users with the choice between an extremely expensive and blatantly over-engineered "pro" machine, or an all-in-one that wasn't really designed for professional use in any meaningful way. There's a gaping hole in the middle of their product lineup that ignores a very large proportion of actual creative professionals.

Spot on. They've really dropped the ball on providing useful options to the production market.

To be honest, a comparably loaded workstation from HP is 5000$ with a massive discount for preorder. The difference is that you can get a lowered specced one if so you want.

By the way : high end photo light cost a lot - like the new XDR monitor, they too need to give the user confidence is the final result (color correctness is a bug one).

A mac mini plus egpu would cost less then and iMac and have roughly similar performance. And if you go with VII, or a couple VIIs would get you better performance then a specced out iMac Pro for half the money. It would requires dongele-ing things off the machine but it gets you what you want.

Edit: Apple should offer a more elegent solution, but long term this is probably where most of the market is going. Most people don’t need as big a machine any more, and egpus offer 85% of the performance. I expect we’ll end up with people increasingly buying cpu units,gpu units, hard drive units.

>A mac mini plus egpu would cost less then and iMac and have roughly similar performance.

And you'd have the bother of the external cables for the egpu, the extra cost of the adapter cage, slightly less performance, and no SSD/memory/etc upgradability still. And a stifled box with worse cooling than a tower could offer (and thus more throttling).

I agree.

A Mac Mini with an eGpu and external drives is the closest thing to a normal desktop machine in the Apple universe, but it still is a very inelegant solution compared to if Apple offered a desktop machine between the Mini and the Pro. Also, while the Mini got a nice upgrade, for a real desktop, the processor isn't ample - the iMac at least offers an 8-core i9.

I just have a thought. What about building a case for Mac Mini. Like you could put there Mac Mini, your drives, your GPU and then connect all that stuff via thunderbolt, all in a single enclosure. Also few fans to cool everything. Did someone make something similar?

Hehe, I was thinking the same. First of all, I am surprised that none of the eGPU housings do have some space for storage drives, either 2.5" SATA or for NVMe cards. But when one is at it, make a bay for the Mini too :). Which also shows why it is so annoying that Apple doesn't just basically offer the Mini motherboard in a larger box.

You could probably build an eGPU box with the same footprint as the 2018 Mini for stacking above it: it should be just possible to fit a small-form-factor GPU in that space. It would be a lot less unwieldy and weird-looking than plunking a normal full-sized eGPU next to the Mini.

The Sonnet Puck pretty much has that form factor (just not a matched case material) but tops out with an RX570 and uses MXM form factor cards so a bit less than ideal.

especially, if the card would be in vertical, there should be place for a full-sized gpu.

I wish OWC made an updated ministack (https://www.owcdigital.com/products/ministack) that supported Thunderbolt and had a built in PSU.

All true, but let's not accept the false premise going around that the Pro is a kind of humanitarian exception being generously administered by Apple for those who truly need it, a system that you're abusing if you expect PCI slots without being able to prove that they're strictly necessary for your work. "Admit it, you could probably get by with a performance-choked video card in an expensive eGPU bay squatting next to your $2000 Mac Mini if you really wanted to. You just aren't trying hard enough. If you really loved Apple you'd just do it and you wouldn't complain."

The problem is that 'extensible' is often used as code for "able to immediately upgrade to the spec I actually want while paying the least possible to Apple". Put me in that category, I always buy desktop macs with the minimum RAM and upgrade immediately.

The thing is, if you want an iMAC Pro with a top of the line CPU, card and hard drive you'll just have to buy it from Apple that way. There's no point complaining about it, that's just the way it is. You just have to make sure the spec you buy is the spec you will actually need and for very many creative professionals a well specced Mac Pro will be absolutely fine.

> The problem is that 'extensible' is often used as code for "able to immediately upgrade to the spec I actually want while paying the least possible to Apple".

Although on one hand that was a valid market segmentation strategy. Enthusiasts can afford the base spec model and upgrade it, and "Pros" (as defined by this new model - people with unlimited corporate expense accounts) will spec their machine with Apple so that it's warrantied and supported.

The total addressable market for the niche you described would generate less revenue for Apple than Lightening cables.

Also, I think you're wrong about the iMac Pro. And the fact that you're complaining about a FOUR to SIX year lifespan? I don't even expect a car to last 6 years in any meaningful shape.

>The total addressable market for the niche you described would generate less revenue for Apple than Lightening cables.

The total addressable market for that will be much larger, and with higher margins, than the current "Mac Pro". In fact, when they did their publicity thing in 2017, the paid lip service of catering to that very crowd.

Heck, they bothered to engineer a $999 stand that doesn't even fit the high end market for their new Mac Pro, and you consider the market of Pros looking for an extensible $3K-$5K tower Mac lacking?


>And the fact that you're complaining about a FOUR to SIX year lifespan? I don't even expect a car to last 6 years in any meaningful shape.

That's so wrong, I don't even know where to start.

1) Tons of pros use a 4 to 6 years old computer (or more). Even more so when the computer is extensible, and can be upgraded in e.g. 3 years with faster/larger SSDs/GPUs more memory and so on.

2) Not all pros are super-rich. Someone in the $100K+ bubble might not understand how the other half lives, but among pro users, creatives are the canonical struggling group, and the one that could really use a powerful and extensible mid-range (sub $6K) Mac Pro.

3) Tons of people would be fine to use a 4 to 6 year old monitor, or more, if it's a screen of the iMac quality. The fact that they paid good money for the iMac and can't use the screen as a screen, or that Apple doesn't serve one, is not just crappy for that crowd, but also a very bad move for the environment.

Apple Engineers Explain $999 Mac Pro Stand


I don't doubt the stand is good, or the engineering and few units / no economies of scale makes it expensive.

I doubt it matters to anyone. Pro high end studios will use VESA mounts (and perhaps multiple monitors), and spare $899 per monitor (of which they'll get multiple).

And struggling small studios who just need one such monitor, will definitely skip the stand.

It's more for the rich high end guy, wanting to have a nice looking desk.

Some one said one of the uses of the entry level mac pro will be use to stage homes for sale by Relators

If you can’t scrape together a few grand to buy a new tool for your job in five years the shiny thing probably isn’t for you

If you have no touch with how million live and work, then you probably should refrain from social commenting.

And you don't seem to have a clue how businesses work. I do not live in the Silicon Valley bubble, I don't even live in the US, but am self-employed.

Whatever I buy for my professional use, price only has to be justifiable from a business perspective over the period of the planned depreciation. I replace my Macbook Pro every 3 years and I pick the maxed out 13" model because for my use-case - that's the most convenient form-factor. 4k for that laptop is not an issue, but even if that would be considerably more, I doubt I'd think twice about it.

If the Mac Pro would be something that I could use in my line of work and improve my comfort and workflow, so there's no value for me there, but if there was, I would not hesitate at all. Certainly if there's also the commercial added business value of being able to work on and deliver 4k and 8k HDR footage and considering the negative impact of not being able to deliver that. 8k is probably debatable, 4k HDR these days would be an absolute must I imagine? Any rig able to handle that will require an investment, as long as that investment can pay itself off - it won't be a problem.

Now if you are in some profession and need these tools but can't afford them - then business-wise, you're not in a healthy situation.

If someone can't afford to put aside $20 per week for a business expense 5 years from now then their business is in deep trouble.

> I don't even expect a car to last 6 years in any meaningful shape.

My last car was 20 years old when I sold it. It's probably still rolling somewhere in Africa.

I would never buy a car if I expected it to last for only 6 years..

lol what world do you live in that cars don't last more than 6 years

>I desperately want an Apple monitor

I continue to not understand why people want this. There is nothing of value that Apple provide over other brand assuming same QA. You are only buying it for the brand. And you will be paying double the price for it.

This is unlike a router where Apple said they don't provide any value, well they do, not just the ease of use but the Security and Software update, privacy stand of not selling out its users. There is little software or differentiation in Monitor.

I am not against the idea, I just doubt there are many on the market willing to spend $1000 on a monitor when it could be had for less than $600.

I disagree.

Each time I have replaced my development laptop, I have on occasion attempted to spec a fully equivalent machine from other vendors. I have not been able to do that.

I factor in the quality of the keyboard and monitor, and durability of the hardware. I also factor in spec-for-spec identical hardware – equally fast RAM, SSDs, CPUs (including equivalent cache and e.g. virtualization features).

Even without assigning a price to the ability to run my preferred working environment macOS, the Apple hardware has come out ahead price-wise.

This is given that I make efficient use of the hardware.

When comparing Apple’s new pro monitor, it should be compared fully. The color space, contrast, and color resolution on it are top-class. I wouldn’t need it for programming so it would be a waste. For those who do need it - for, say, film editing - I understand that it’s a pretty good deal.

>When comparing Apple’s new pro monitor,

This is not about the new Pro XDR Monitor. Which is a pretty damn good price if you ask me, there isn't a single monitor out there that can compete with its spec and price.

But the parent were asking for a normal 5K, Apple Branded Monitor. Or more like a LG 5K Monitor with Apple's logo. The 5K Monitor sold by LG were $1200, and it was exactly the same as the panel being used in iMac 5K. Why would you want one that has Apple logo on it, likely costing $2K, that was my question. I don't mind Apple made one, please do. But I don't see any business reason or value proposition other than "I want it".


I can imagine an $1800 Apple monitor that would compare favorably on price. Say 43”?, 6K 60Hz?, big and good color space, flawless panel, near-Homepod quality speakers, good USB-C charging.

I searched for a good monitor. I ended up buying the $900 LG 32UD99. It’s a 32” 4K IPS 10-bit HDR monitor with USB-C charging and FreeSync support. It’s pretty great! However it’s not as good as it would be if Apple had designed and made it. It’s somewhat flimsy, the panel has patchy light, and the UI is quite poor. I might in some cases pay x hundred dollars for the level of quality I’d expect in an Apple version of that niche of monitor.

HOWEVER! There are those people who pay extra for Apple just for the surface value. People who don’t actually benefit from the spec they’re paying for. I don’t disagree with that per se :) It’s just not always the case.

> assuming same QA.

There is a good amount of evidence that this is a poor assumption in general. If you wanted to compare a specific brand/model then it could be true but I suspect the double the price metric given will stop holding.

But Apple internal/external monitors have had a great track record to date so it follows that they have superior QA.

I retired my thunderbolt display and my new one doesn’t even come close. Something is always broken and I have to fiddle with it. I get no video on cold boots and type in my WDE password to a blank screen.

I wouldn't be surprised if that would be the next step - monitor content analysis for ad targeting.

There are already mouse and keyboard drivers (logitech iirc) that report back to the mothership, and smart TVs (vizio iirc) that analyze the content on screen for the same reason. All hidden in a long EULA with barely positives as selling points to get the user to enable/install/use it. (sure, I use the smarts of my tv, mostly for streaming youtube on it, so it's not always entirely doubtful)

Not far fetched to see this in a computer monitor either.

The god honest truth is that what many users really want for desktops is the incredibly range, freedom and customization of the PC enthusiast hardware ecosystem and MacOS. Not specifically high-end power.

"Professionals" spend thousands of hours with their tools and the tools need to fit their personal quirks as that allows them to feel the most productive. A handful of hardware offerings that Apple prefers won't allow for it and the market is too small and too long tail for Apple to even care.

The custom hardware market lets pros assemble specifically the things they need to be productive and to rebuild at will whenever their work needs it.

The Mac Pro is a good shot in the kind of direction that pros need, but it really will only intersect with a percentage of users.

Your 3-series buyer who spent $3k on a 2013 Mac Pro to occasionally open Lightroom is a market segment that will gladly spend $6k on a 2019 to do the same.

This is the market segment that buys a RED camera for home movies and then sells it on eBay because it turned out to be too complicated to use. But a Hollywood-caliber Mac is no more complicated to use than a consumer Mac, and will likely do well in this market.

The people upset over the 2019 Mac Pro are the ones who just wanted a modular Mac like the PowerMacs of 15-20 years ago. The image-conscious buyers likely aren’t nearly as price-sensitive as you imagine them to be.

I'm not a "Pro User" but I really want a not too shabby Mac which is not Hackintosh at a reasonable price, for years. I have to switch to PC from Mac when I want to play video games, or working with Scala, etc. Even with high-end MBP.

I still like macOS most, although it freezes often because of the scheduler. Compare to Linux the rendering is far better and it's less time consuming to make everything work. Compare to Windows it's still a POSIX system. And the consistent behavior like Emacs/Bash style shortcut in Cocoa is really neat.

I actually don't need Xeon and ECC memory, but I do need i9 and GTX2080, with memory and SSD pluggable so I won't throw it away 2 yrs later.

Why do you need to switch to a PC to work with Scala?

Intellij with Scala is pretty resource consuming. It's not freezing slow but on my MBP it's a little bit laggy and noticeable. It's distracting when I keep noticing the latency so I switch to PC to have a smoother experience.

This is an absurd argument to make on this website of all websites. I sit at a desk all day and write code. Am I not a professional? How many tech companies are going to be buying $6000+ computers for their software engineering professionals? (Once you add upgrades it will be more like $10-20k)

What this professional wants is a 9900K (I'm not cheeky enough to ask for AMD), 64GB-128GB memory, support for M.2 SSDs and my choice of nvidia graphics card.

Actual pros would probably prefer a 28 core W-3275 or even the M version in a suitably tricked out full size case.

The entry level mac pro is using the slowest Cascade Lake Xeon to hit that price point as well as very limited memory and disk.

If Apple successfully called the pro-poseurs' bluffs, wouldn't that mean that they met (and surpassed) their expectations instead of going over their heads and missing them altogether?

They did not meet pro-poseurs expectations. They met actual professionals expectations.

Well, some professionals. Others, no.

What they want is a expandable pro machine like the iMac Pro without the screen. They want a taller Mac mini. They want something that you can build on. They aren't any less professional. They just have a different use case. The best Apple has to offer is a Mac Mini.

Let's make that clear. The next step up from Mac Mini is the Mac Pro. There is NO in between. That's a pretty big gap.

From Apple's perspective, it seems clear that the in-between is the iMac Pro. It might not meet your needs for whatever reason, of course.

Maybe Apple could make something in between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro. How about—and I'm just spitballing here—they call it a "Mac"?

I’m not so sure. Real professional computers start at $30k plus for the base model.

Please take a look at the SGI workstations of old.

A $6k computer does not deserve the ‘Pro’ moniker.


SGI Indy started at $4995 back in 1994. Very minimal config though, just like Mac Pro at starting price.


1994. Not sure we can compare that with 2019?

Inflation adjusted it's just under $9000

Thanks. I wasn't thinking about currency only but also the very different situation. UNIX hegemony was still alive back then. Wintel was about to take off. Internet existed but was different. Universities had different needs and budgets.

(I actually owned various SGI machines. They are very nice.)

I don't want a "Pro" machine. I do want a desktop machine. That is, a top of the line desktop processor, a full sized desktop graphics card and the ability to access the memory and storage. My only interest in a Mac Pro was, that up to 2013 it was the one Apple machine offering the feature set. Looking back I really regret not buying into the old cheese grater. While the old Mac Pros were expensive for the feature set I listed, they were still somewhat affordable at a $2-3k starting price. Doubling the starting price to $6k completely moves it out of the prosumer space. Also out of the reach of all professionals who barely can keep their business alive. (There are few photographers left who make real money for example).

Interesting, I was not aware I was not a "pro user" Thankfully, the 6.000 price tag educate me!

-- P.D: Pro is NOT a price.

There are still iMac Pros and MacBook Pros available for much less than $6k.

I already have a Mac mini that I bought because the Mac Pro was no yet available when my old iMac die.

But is a good option for Pros?? No.

My brother, at my right at 3 meters from me, laugh in how pathetic and anemic is the Graphic card in the mini. Also, it have 20GB Ram for what I must pay (sorry, I recheck: for much less) upgrade the anemic start at the mini to at least 16GB that is already low for me (I need to integrate ERP software and run Mysql, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, firebird, windows, docker and more).

I also need to buy an external drive to put at least 1TB SSD. I already pay to upgrade to 512 SSD internal.

I already constrained in hard drive space. I buy an extra Synology.

The mini no the iMac (I have one before) is a sufficient alternative. Is what I can afford and makeshift extra cables and enclosure to match what my brother have (it work on 3d and photography).

And then, what extra magical thing for Pros this machines do? Apart of raw power, OSX are just decent Unixes, but have null of the extra capabilities of Amiga or BeOS, just to name ones...

I, like a lot of HN readers, am, in fact, a professional computer user. But many pros have different requirements. For example, I have no use whatsoever for a fancy GPU — I want something barebones that works well on Linux. Anything from Intel fits the bill. A good chunk of memory and lots of CPUs are important, though.

Pros’ needs vary.

I think you are onto something but got it all backwards, apple went full in on the rich dad crowd, they will shell out the 6k for a machine they don't need and isn't worth that price anyway gladly because the more it costs the better display of wealth it is.

> M-Sport BMW 3 Series

are you saying that the M-Sport 3 series is close enough in price to almost always justify upgrading to the actual M3, and that this Mac Monitor is expensive, but not the best money can buy on the market?

I’m not very interested in a Pro machine but I want an enthusiast machine and a most-performance-for-the-buck machine and an expandable machine.

Basically an iMac with a discrete screen and desktop hardware in a reasonably large box. Something that can run the Intel CPU:s that are actually sensibly priced such as the 8700K.

So many hoped the bottom line Mac Pro would be cheaper bevause is no Mac ProSumer.

Apple appear to have decided that the best (in terms of enthusiast performance per dollar) segment of desktop computer simply doesn’t have high enough margins and would cannibalize on iMac and MacPro sales where margins are much higher. And who can blame them?

If Apple made a 2019 tower with 8700K/32GB/GTX1560 and sold it at $2k it would sell a lot but every sale would cost one MacBook Pro, iMac or MacPro sale.

I’m not very interested in a Pro machine but I want an enthusiast machine and a most-performance-for-the-buck machine and an expandable machine.

You want the most-performance-for-the-buck from Apple?

You haven’t been paying attention for the last four decades...

If I were to buy an apple desktop (I'm not) I'd be happy to pay an apple tax. But I can't buy an $6k machine when what I need is a machine that is $2k ($1.5k plus apple tax, say)

>If Apple made a 2019 tower with 8700K/32GB/GTX1560 and sold it at $2k it would sell a lot but every sale would cost one MacBook Pro, iMac or MacPro sale.

Leaving the Apple prison is also an option.

Not for a lot of apple devs it isn't (To develop for Apple you need a mac). And remember this was presented to a room full fo apple developers at WWDC. Basically saying "you aren't getting a machine this time, we made one for creative professionals. Of which there are none here". That explains the gasps at the prices.

>Of which there are none here

Haha, that's hilarious.

Not really a prison then.

That's precisely my point, that it wasn't even listed as an option.

tbf arcteryx is worn by lots of people in uni/college too

I don't know about uni/college in USA or America but in The Netherlands brand clothing starts at high school. And nearly all brand clothing is bullshit because you pay to advertise a brand, and wear it. It is a silly status symbol. You might argue that Apple is the same. Personally, I'd say that the popular alternative (Android/Windows) is just you paying with your privacy.


Brands work on a number of levels. For fashion you would have the designer stuff, then the expensive mall stuff then a cheaper garment but which only features a huge logo. It's aspirational for many. The brand becomes more important than the quality. Thus it's about the spectacle rather than reality, hence why people may label all of it as bull.

Its why there are so many counterfeit stuff for fashion and accessories. My analysis doesn't work for IT or electron ics on the whole though. Except perhaps headphones?

Addendum - I'm a marketer so I always see things through the lens of the expression of self.

I totally sympathize with wanting a pro-lite Mac tower... but it won't happen. Try a Mac mini with an eGPU.

I currently use a Mac Pro with eGPU for mobile development, it is super fast and near silent (Unless the GPU is being pushed.)

Even still, I'd much prefer a $2-3k Mac Pro-lite tower with i7/i9 CPU options, a few RAM slots and half the PCIe lanes of the $6k mac pro. But that is never going to happen.

Yeah, those eGPU's that are all dead because Apple refuses to allow Nvidia to ship new drivers... That'll solve it.

What I'm talking about is Apple flat out refusing to update their Nvidia drivers, so Nvidia powered eGPU's won't work with Mojave


It's been a stalemate for months and months now

1) Apple definitely should get on those Nvidia drivers. Nvidia hardware has a lot to offer and is very ahead in a lot of areas. Also, sooner or later supplier-constraining themselves is going to hurt Apple and their users.

2) Obviously there will be specific cases that call for Nvidia (or the advanced asics that Nvidia are putting out), but for most of the actual set of professional users that would do their work on a Mac, there's not really anything wrong with AMD's current GPU lineup. Their Vega cards generally do pretty decently on media production benchmarks.

> Apple flat out refusing to update their Nvidia drivers

It’s a little more nuanced than that. The link you provide goes into a little of the politics. In short, Nvidia have messed Apple around in the past, providing them with a batches of faulty processors that Nvidia refuses to acknowledge and suing them over mobile gpu design. Would you want to do business with a supplier that had done that?

Those past events were over a decade ago. Somehow, apple managed to be ok with signing NVIDIA’s drivers until now.

In general having your PC platform provider refuse to sign drivers because they have a grudge from a decade ago is concerning - what’s the next important tool they might pick a fight with and ban? Imagine if Microsoft refused to sign NVIDIA or ATI’s drivers because they had some dispute over a part in the MS Surface product line?


Apple is now a movie studio. ... And they’re now building computers for movie studios.

The real announcements were the proress fpga, and dual chip mpx cards which most people don’t need and won’t buy.

Do we shame Apple for misleading users? Or is this the users responsibility to know what they are purchasing?

I'm starting to side with the big evil coporations, it's 2019 and these Marketing stunts are nothing new.

I forgive people for making 1 mistake, but repeating it, blame the human.

It's still important to criticize them for doing this.

The whole idea of "reference monitors" seems incredibly fishy to me. I've never heard of this and I highly doubt that studios are paying $42000 for monitors as was claimed at WWDC. Can anyone confirm that this is real and not just a framing tactic?

I handled tech for 'Hollywood' companies for years.

In a broadcast operations center, or a less-than-handful number of transfer houses, would monitors costing 10K+ be found.

Average cost of ingest bays would be minimal with 12" or less screens for doing a little QC on intake. Edit bays would be dual screens costing 1-2K a piece from 1999-2010, then gradually less as LCDs matured. Color calibration was taken seriously, but not to a science level. 500 for a calibration device and run it 2x a year.

Money went to chairs/couches/desks, then other room aesthetics. Never spent more than 5K on a single workstation, and at that price point were nearly fully loaded.

Storage is where it gets steep now. Apple used to offer solutions, but they were baaaaad.

I still say, good for Apple releasing this gear. They employee a lot of bright people so this really can't be a fail. It sure looks pretty too.

Broadcast is completely the opposite end of the pipeline from where you'd find reference monitors. They'd be used during production and editing, particularly by colour specialists.

It is true. Here [0] is a representative example, the only one I could find with a price. Correct color matters tremendously in film production, and getting accurate representation of that is quite expensive.

[0] https://pro.sony/ue_US/products/broadcastpromonitors/pvm-x55...

A friend of mine once owned a small film company, and I visited them a few times.

They had a guy called a 'colourist' - a specialist in color grading' [1] - and he had a screen which (subjectively) seemed to have an extremely good picture. I was assured it was very expensive.

Of course, there's still good cause for skepticism: Manufacturers will gladly co-opt any term to make their products sound better, as the wealth of 'studio monitor' speakers and headphones shows.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_grading

I think its just like 'reference' or 'studio' headphones. Ideally you wouldn't want the output device to 'colour' the reproduction of the underlying media, but in practice you'll see a variety of studios where products across all price points were used. Of course if you netflix the movie on an uncalibrated monitor that has poor color accuracy, then its all a wash anyway.

FWIW, the target audience for the Apple monitor will absolutely know what reference monitors are: https://www.newsshooter.com/2018/09/15/sony-bvm-hx310-refere...

Reference monitors (video monitors, and audio monitor reference speakers) are expensive due to tight QC specs and accuracy tolerances.

Examples: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?setNs=p_PRICE_2%7c1&Ns...

Don't know how true it is but when I was researching before buying a new TV, there were people who supposedly worked at movie studios that claimed to be using LG OLEDs as reference monitors.

I think there'd be very few places that could justify the cost of a 42000 monitor when current 4k TVs are measurably accurate after calibration.

Not as expensive, but not cheap either: https://www.omegabroadcast.com/sales/sales-catalog/monitors-...

This is such a great comment. I don't know why you are getting downvoted or at least its grey. You said it, I was thinking it, but too afraid to ask / felt stupid for not knowing. But all of the responses to this question are examples of $20,000-$30,000 not the $42,000 that you specifically reference. And there are people here claiming to be professionals saying that they indeed DO NOT use $42,000 highly specialized displays or even $20,000. Good point and BS meter.

It's real, and it's an awful workflow editing via "proxy" - imagine cleaning your apartment through grease-smeared glasses and you're only able to take them off and see your work when your guests are already knocking at your front door.

What pisses me off about Apple is that, if their marketing is to be believed, I should be directly in their target market.

I'm a techie with a lot of discretionary income who has creative ambitions. Also I'm still on way-out-of-date Windows 7 because I won't accept the spying that goes on in the newer versions. I love Linux but I'm unhappily tied to Windows at the moment only because one of my hobbies is playing music in Ableton, which is literally the only program keeping me on Windows.

So MacOS which I imagine to be a more polished Linux that supports Ableton could be great.

But then they release stuff like this and I realize that even though I'd dearly like to jump ship on Microsoft, I won't ever let myself be gouged like this and to be trapped in the kind of ecosystem where a product like this, at this price point, might be my only option. Call me a cheapskate but I do know how much the hardware costs, and won't pay that much of a premium for a shiny box that will be unsupported in a few short years when they're trying to shovel the latest hotness.

Instead I'm likely to investigate options of running Ableton in Virtual machines with GPU passthrough, a bunch of hassle and clutter with extra devices and audio mixers, etc, and spend the few thousand dollars I've saved on other stuff.

They clearly don't know how to satisfy a customer like me.

> So MacOS which I imagine to be a more polished Linux

That is... an understatement.

Well that's a double-edged sword.

With the polish comes a lack of customization, which is my favorite thing about Linux. So that's probably my biggest reservation about a potential move to MacOS.

But at least audio would work properly. :-)

But: with the polish also comes less need for customisation.

Unless you love customisation for the customisation sake :)

Only if you're happy with the defaults, that is...

I couldn't handle having 15% of my monitor space taken up by that taskbar. I'd rather a tiling window manager.

Is it possible to use a different window manager on MacOS?

> won't accept the spying that goes on in the newer versions

Sorry to disappoint, but Windows 10's telemetry is backported to Windows 7[0]. I guess you could have done something to remove these updates, though.

0: https://www.extremetech.com/computing/213183-once-more-with-...

I did.

But who knows what shenanigans they're up to.

Like I said, I'm dying to leave Windows and exploring other options.

Well you are clearly not in the target audience. Are you using any of the software they are mentioning in their announcement presentation? This thing is meant for people that don’t pay for their Computer out of their own pocket. We have way more expensive servers installed for running EDA tools. Hell a single FPGA card by Xilinx can be more expensive than the base price. Same goes for the display, people spent 20k+ on such displays without flinching.

No, I'm not using those apps.

I'm just lamenting the lack of Apple options for the enthusiast segment - with more power/expandability than the imac/mac mini.

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