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Author Topic: Apple to discontinue Mac Pros?  (Read 12129 times)
jonathan.lipkin
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« on: October 31, 2011, 08:58:30 PM »
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MacRumors just posted an article suggesting that Apple may consider ending the Mac Pro line:

http://www.macrumors.com/2011/10/31/apple-questioning-the-future-of-its-mac-pro-line/

To summarize: it appears that interest in the workstation is lagging and Apple is making much more revenue from other products. There was some speculation in the comments on the article that people would be able to exend the functionality of other Macs - MacBooks and Minis - through Thunderbolt, though I'm not quite sure how this would happen.

My mac pro is a couple years old. Pity if there's nothing to replace it.
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Josh-H
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2011, 11:02:52 PM »
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I really hope that is not the case.

My 2009 Mac Pro has been a real workhorse. Its still blazing fast with 32 gigs of ram and internal RAID and in no need of upgrade whatsoever. But, I would like to know I can move to a new model eventually.
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K.C.
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2011, 11:41:49 PM »
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Apple dropped the floppy disc drive, moved us on from horrible beige boxes, created the one piece iMac computer, now the optical drive is becoming history, Blue Ray has been skipped all together, they've allowed us virtual PCs on our Macs and ....

I could go on, but I think I've made my point.

Apple has been creating innovative form factors with great success. I wouldn't worry about loosing the big tower. They're likely to replace it with something far more efficient and adaptable to individual needs. And it'll look better too.

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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2011, 09:23:15 AM »
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I think the death of the Pro tower is inevitable, a shame since they are far more easily configured. But then Apple doesn't encourage user configuration & customization. We either fit or do not: most do, a few do not.

The manufacturers of outboard video devices seem to agree with a switch away from PCIe to thunderbolt.

Personally, with the debacle of FCP X and the looming death of the MacPro line forcing my hand, at this moment, a switch to a Windows box within two years also seems inevitable.
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2011, 09:39:28 AM »
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Chris? Are you alright? Switch to Windows? Heresy, do you hear? Heresy!

Kidding aside, it does seem that Apple is headed towards being a consumer products company and will abandon pro markets. I hope we're wrong, but the FC-X debacle is pointing the way.

In your case, video editing, the switch is bound to happen. I can live with Final Cut X, given my more limited needs, but I know that you're likely to switch away from FC7 sooner rather than later. If Pro boxes are near end of life then it's likely to be sooner.

I think for photographers the issue isn't anywhere near as bad. We don't make as high demands when it comes to processor speeds and need for ancillary devices as does video. My newish MacBook Pro with a 2.3 Ghz Core i7 processor and 8GB of ram is enough to handle even my Phase IQ180 files comfortably, especially with its 500GB SSD drive. The only thing I need to add is a decent monitor for non-mobile editing.

The new iMacs are similarly fine for most photographer's needs. Pro video editing? Not so much.

Michael
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John.Murray
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2011, 04:16:21 PM »
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The new socket 2011 form factor is turning out to be intersting!  As Intel squeezes ever more CPU's/power on die, other constraints are beginning to show - the main being memory access.  Take a look this from EVGA:

Note the two sets of memory sockets surrounding each CPU.....

A big factor delaying release has been a nasty bug involving hardware based Virtual Machine support - it looks like Intel got this fixed starting with stepping 3.....

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2011/10/04/rumour-intel-discovers-sandy-bridge-e-bug/1

The question beginning to arise in my mind, is whether a single O/S instance will be really capable of fully utilizing a dual CPU platform moving forward?  EVGA's prototype seems to indicate otherwise......

In the server world, VM's are wonderfull!  They allow us to immediately fire up another instance of the machine on a different server, quite nice for core services such as DNS, DHCP, web hosting, etc.  Honestly, MS is light years ahead of Apple leveraging this technology, allowing mapping of VM's to individual PCIe lanes, etc....

All that said, I really like FCP-X, and am impressed with the way it works.  With design choices being made in consultation with the BBC, one has to assume there is a significant future for it.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 04:41:17 PM by John.Murray » Logged

BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2011, 07:10:14 PM »
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This is really annoying.

Once you have set up a home network on Macs including a Mac Pro as a center piece of the system, switching that machine to Win nearly forces you to switch all the machines to Win. Without my Mac mini running iTunes, the need for an iPad/iPhone running remote vanishes and moving to a more ergonomic Nokia Win phone becomes very tempting.

I hope that Apple realizes that killing the Mac Pro is likely to result in losing 3 or 4 times the business of the Mac pro alone looking just at direct sales, considering also that other Macs tend to be upgraded/replaced twice faster than Mac Pros.

This still probably is peanuts, except that many of these guys - including myself - are influencers in their communities and typically might have convinced 3 or 4 people to also move to Mac, each of them typically buying 2 or 3 devices... now you have a different picture where killing the Mac pro might impact 20 or 30 times as big a market share.

My belief is that a significant part of the renewed Mac momentum came from long terms enthusiasts who managed to spread the word out that Mac really just work(ed)s. Many of those guys are laptop owners, but many are also serious users, often Mac Pro users...

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 09:58:50 PM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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joofa
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2011, 10:15:47 PM »
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This is really annoying.  Once you have set up a home network on Macs including a Mac Pro as a center piece of the system, ...


Yeah, but this is probably where Apple wants you to move on to iCloud. Furthermore, throw in server side virtualization, thin clients access to application servers in the cloud, etc., and perhaps in their thinking you don't always need powerful desktops in your home.

Joofa
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2011, 11:23:19 PM »
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Yeah, but this is probably where Apple wants you to move on to iCloud. Furthermore, throw in server side virtualization, thin clients access to application servers in the cloud, etc., and perhaps in their thinking you don't always need powerful desktops in your home.

Sure, they may feel that may, but it usually is a better long term strategy to share feelings with your customers. Smiley

We are nowhere near a stage where application serving is a reality, the user experience is way too poor. So even if it pretty reasonable to consider that data hosting is basically here today, we will still need powerful local processing capability to ensure that our favorite applications run smoothly and quickly.

Would a 27 inch next gen iMAc cut it? For sure not if lacks a Matte screen option.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Josh-H
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2011, 11:34:04 PM »
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Sure, they may feel that may, but it usually is a better long term strategy to share feelings with your customers. Smiley

We are nowhere near a stage where application serving is a reality, the user experience is way too poor. So even if it pretty reasonable to consider that data hosting is basically here today, we will still need powerful local processing capability to ensure that our favorite applications run smoothly and quickly.

Would a 27 inch next gen iMAc cut it? For sure not if lacks a Matte screen option.

Cheers,
Bernard


+ an Imac fixes you more or less to the 'average' SRGB screen that is comes with - NO THANKS. + very limited upgrade flexibility in the iMac.

Yes, my macbook pro quad core 8 gig of ram 500 gig solid state drive machine is fast. And coupled with my external NEC2690 Adobe RGB monitor is quite good. But, its not a patch on my Mac Pro running raid with 32 gig of ram with the 2690 Adobe RGB monitor. I know which I prefer to work with.

I wouldn't abandon Apple if they killed the Mac Pro -because I can always resort to my macbook pro. But, I would be very disappointed to loose the 'headroom' that the mac pro gives me for image editing.

Hopefully Apple realises that there is a strong user base for the Mac Pro amongst imaging professionals. I don't care if they change its form factor, upgrade it or whatever.. but it needs to 'morph' into some kind of equivalent product. Thats my two bobs worth anyway.

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joofa
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2011, 12:12:11 AM »
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Hopefully Apple realises that here is a strong user base ......

"Customers don't know what they want until we have shown them" - Steve Jobs when asked if he wanted to do market research, as quoted in his biography.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 12:15:47 AM by joofa » Logged

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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2011, 03:37:20 AM »
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Hopefully Apple realises that there is a strong user base for the Mac Pro amongst imaging professionals.


Yeah but look what they did to FCPX, they knew it would lose the pro's and they just didn't care as they were moving emphasis to a more lucrative market.

This is worrying me. I'm building a studio to photography ancient books and documents. We were going to go for a MacPro (buying before January) to churn through the 800 or so 40 megapixel files we will be producing per day, process while shooting tethered at the same time and running PS actions to combine and output the files to zoomify for upload to a website. That's a lot of computer power needed and a MacPro seemed to be the answer. But not if it's going to become an orphan system.
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DeeJay
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« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2011, 08:45:51 PM »
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People have been speculating this for ages. I really don't think it will happen. I do think the Mac Pro will change guise and perhaps simplify at some stage with technology though. While the consumer market is their biggest piece of the pie, they did sustain them self for a long while based purely on the professional market.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2011, 08:47:56 PM by DeeJay » Logged
mediumcool
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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2011, 07:07:44 AM »
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I’ve been predicting the demise of the *Tower* since Thunderbolt appeared. With SSDs in laptops and iMacs (and the mini!) coupled with TB devices, very fast operations are already possible.

Saw a recent speed test (BareFeats?) where a MBP smoked the most recent Mac Pro. I’ve always found the towers brutal and big—power rather than elegance. And they rely on Xeons for updates; how is Intel going with that? Long time since the last update.
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2011, 07:47:56 AM »
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This is worrying me. I'm building a studio to photography ancient books and documents. We were going to go for a MacPro (buying before January) to churn through the 800 or so 40 megapixel files we will be producing per day, process while shooting tethered at the same time and running PS actions to combine and output the files to zoomify for upload to a website. That's a lot of computer power needed and a MacPro seemed to be the answer. But not if it's going to become an orphan system.

Off topic but have you looked at http://www.digitaltransitions.com/page/divison-of-cultural-heritage-products  ?
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2011, 01:41:20 AM »
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Saw a recent speed test (BareFeats?) where a MBP smoked the most recent Mac Pro. I’ve always found the towers brutal and big—power rather than elegance. And they rely on Xeons for updates; how is Intel going with that? Long time since the last update.

The mac pro is not only about cpu speed, it is also about expandability:
- supporting more memory,
- supporting more cores,
- being able to host some specific cards, including music cards,...
- being able to host an internal blueray drive + internal raid configurations,
- supporting natively 2 screens,
- supporting hardware raid,
- ...

Some people need those.

Cheers,
Bernard
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mediumcool
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« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2011, 02:38:00 AM »
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I hope that Apple realizes that killing the Mac Pro is likely to result in losing 3 or 4 times the business of the Mac pro alone looking just at direct sales, considering also that other Macs tend to be upgraded/replaced twice faster than Mac Pros.

Think this multiplier is exaggerated, but time will tell.

This still probably is peanuts, except that many of these guys - including myself - are influencers in their communities and typically might have convinced 3 or 4 people to also move to Mac, each of them typically buying 2 or 3 devices... now you have a different picture where killing the Mac pro might impact 20 or 30 times as big a market share.

Ditto, more so.

My belief is that a significant part of the renewed Mac momentum came from long terms enthusiasts who managed to spread the word out that Mac really just work(ed)s.

Agreed, though I think the halo effect from the iPhone and iPad has at least as much an influence. After all, people have been singing the praises of Mac advantages for many years (20 in my case). I have made very few conversions.


Many of those guys are laptop owners, but many are also serious users, often Mac Pro users...

I resemble that remark, Bernard! Grin I use a laptop much more than I used to, in part because of having to do work at clients’s offices at times. When I get a TB MBP, it will replace an iMac as my main machine. But for the next twelve months I will be getting a mini solely to run Capture One (and perhaps FCP-X); can’t decide between the upgraded middle model (2.7 Dual i7) or the server model (2.0 Quad i7)with 7200 drives/built-in RAID.

Having Thunderbolt as an option reduces the power of so many arguments about needing lots of expandability, or will, when a variety of peripherals and adapters are readily available.

0.02!
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« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2011, 03:24:06 AM »
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Hi.

Let's put it this way: I love my MacPro, but I could live with a MacMini, perhaps with extended memory capacity and external "Thunderbolt devices". But to me it seems that Thunderbolt support is rare.

Perhaps we will see truly professional devices, the old style, 19" rack mounted but with new technology?

Best regards
Erik



The mac pro is not only about cpu speed, it is also about expandability:
- supporting more memory,
- supporting more cores,
- being able to host some specific cards, including music cards,...
- being able to host an internal blueray drive + internal raid configurations,
- supporting natively 2 screens,
- supporting hardware raid,
- ...

Some people need those.

Cheers,
Bernard

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mediumcool
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« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2011, 05:25:31 AM »
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Just a thought: what if Apple took a leaf out of their own (network) book, and developed XGrid over Thunderbolt?

Apple discontinued the XServe and offered the mini Server as one alternative, which with the current Sandy Ridge chipset is quite fast (and the even faster Ivy Ridge on its way); linked to a number of dedicated minis, and perhaps other machines in the office used for more *normal* tasks rather than RAW processing, rendering/running filters, colour conversions etc., an efficient sharing protocol over Thunderbolt could be great, thought limited in number of connections. Gigabit EtherNet would scale better.

There are already a number of mini rack systems out there.

Just found this story that makes a few useful points.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2011, 05:39:45 AM by mediumcool » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2011, 07:04:55 AM »
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Timely post at Barefeats! Some interesting results.
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