FORUMS: list search recent posts

What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?

COW Forums : Apple Final Cut Pro X Debates

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Walter Soyka
What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 5:13:34 pm

I've enjoyed reading the Why Apple should let HP build its workstations [link], Workstations from a Post-PC Company [link], What if there is no new Mac Pro? [link], and E5 Xeon's officially launched [link] threads.

I have a different version of the question to ask: What if Apple actually does release a new Mac Pro?

Will you buy one?

Will it indicate to you that Apple does care about providing solutions for your needs, other recent software and hardware EOLs notwithstanding?

Will you see it as evidence that Apple intends to continue development and production of powerful personal computers in the post-PC era, or will you see it as a stay of execution for the Mac Pro line, giving us one more generation before we wonder about its future with Intel's next major processor release?

What features would you want to see on the 2012 Mac Pro?

What software would you run on your 2012 Mac Pro?

Does Thunderbolt let you consider an iMac or even a MacBook Pro instead of a Mac Pro for your work?

If the current trends of the Mac Pro's relatively limited internal expansion, limited processor choice, limited GPU choice (and poor GPU performance) continue, what would make you want to buy a Mac Pro over a PC workstation like the upcoming Z820? FCPX? Mac OS X? Fear or loathing of Windows?

In short, what's the 2012 Mac Pro's value proposition?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 5:38:58 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Does Thunderbolt let you consider an iMac or even a MacBook Pro instead of a Mac Pro for your work?"

No, Thunderbolt should allow me to move devices from workstation to any other computer. In fact, as Windows (Acer, Asus, Lenovo) adopt Thunderbolt, assuming proper drivers, it would allow me to move between devices or even Bootcamp into Windows if I need to use Windows specific software.

XEON's and GPU help with rendering/compression when best implemented so there's going to be a need for that. PCIe 3.0 support would be nice as well.

I think the biggest question is how Apple's handles internal expansion. I think Apple may be moving towards a business model that pushes users into more frequent system purchases. Of course closely related is how Apple handles user GPU choice or otherwise using higher end GPU cards in BTO option.



Return to posts index

TImothy Auld
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 6:00:28 pm

I have an investment in FCP - as it is being called now - legacy. If there is a new MacPro, and it is crystal clear that all FCP 3 software and all its attendant hardware will function properly with Mountain Lion and any new MacPro for the foreseeable future, and said MacPro is even close to competitively priced, then yes I would definitely consider buying it.

The problem I see is that this company has been spoiled by making margins much higher in the recent past than they will be able to make in the immediate future in the workstation market. And my guess is that management will be unwilling to accept that. I've had a long, profitable run with Apple and I would like it to continue. But I just don't see it happening.

I hope I am wrong.

Tim


Return to posts index


Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 6:28:11 pm

I think you'll be disappointed then.

I think Apple's new business model is not about limited power but limited expandability of hardware, building in planed obsolescence. You can see that in the increasing need to upgrade older computers to maintain FCPX compatibility.

In other words it's not simply "per unit" margins but frequency of repeat unit sales. I think the MacPro replacement will be quite powerful and, like much of Apple's other hardware these days, price competitive. What will change (I think) is the internal expandability pushing one into something closer to a 2 year upgrade cycle. The days of MacPros which have remained in service from for several years (2006, 2007, 2008 and maybe even 2009) will be gone. That I was able to upgrade the GPU from my 2008 MacPro from a Radeon 2600 to a 5770 to maintain FCPX compatibility, will be gone (IMHO). In short, Apple's change to MacPro (or replacement) will be a design to force a shorter life cycle.



Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 8:12:49 pm

[Craig Seeman] "I think Apple's new business model is not about limited power but limited expandability of hardware, building in planed obsolescence."

That's antithetical to the design principles of a workstation, no?


[Craig Seeman] "You can see that in the increasing need to upgrade older computers to maintain FCPX compatibility."

You think Apple is intentionally pushing people onto new hardware, rather than optimizing the software for current hardware or rather than trying to limit their Q&A testing matrix?

If that's true, why would you buy from a vendor who intentionally limits their offerings to try to compel you to buy more?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 9:03:57 pm

[Walter Soyka] "[Craig Seeman] "I think Apple's new business model is not about limited power but limited expandability of hardware, building in planed obsolescence."

That's antithetical to the design principles of a workstation, no?"


To a "traditional" workstation. This is Apple we're talking about.


[Walter Soyka] "You think Apple is intentionally pushing people onto new hardware, rather than optimizing the software for current hardware or rather than trying to limit their Q&A testing matrix?

If that's true, why would you buy from a vendor who intentionally limits their offerings to try to compel you to buy more?"


I didn't say everyone would like it. I'm just looking at Apple's business model and thinking where they'd go with it. It really comes down to the "value proposition" they offer. Is there a competing Thunderbolt equipped workstation if you find value in Thunderbolt? If (and a BIG IF for some) FCPX and its ecosystem becomes compelling, is there another workstation replacement option?

What business/profit motive would Apple have in continuing to make a Xeon class machine? It's only worthwhile if they can increase revenue. Either they move more units or create a "compelling" situation for more frequent replacement.

Do you see another business model viable to Apple? Do they have a business motive to produce basically the same box with the addition of a couple of Thunderbolt ports? I don't mean this rhetorically, please do explain.



Return to posts index


Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 3:18:40 pm

[Craig Seeman] "What business/profit motive would Apple have in continuing to make a Xeon class machine? It's only worthwhile if they can increase revenue. Either they move more units or create a "compelling" situation for more frequent replacement. Do you see another business model viable to Apple? Do they have a business motive to produce basically the same box with the addition of a couple of Thunderbolt ports? I don't mean this rhetorically, please do explain."

I don't think that Apple's really in position to encourage workstation replacement on their own. Apple is entirely dependent on Intel's continuing microarchitecture advances for the big performance gains and new technologies that drive workstation replacement. If Apple takes away expansion, they take away a big part of the Mac Pro's value proposition.

Let's look at Thunderbolt again for a moment.

Editors used to buy workstations because PCI expansion was the only way to get video I/O and high-performance RAID systems. Those are the folks who still have 2006 or 2008 Mac Pros in service. People who bought workstations for performance are likely on a shorter replacement schedule, because even a fully-loaded 2008 Mac Pro provides poor computational performance by modern standards.

Thunderbolt means that customers who bought Mac Pros just for expansion can now buy an iMac instead. That will result in fewer Mac Pro sales. However, Thunderbolt offers little for customers who bought Mac Pros for computational performance. Even though total Mac Pro sales will likely decline, the average refresh period could get dramatically shorter as the higher proportion of remaining power users chase performance.

On the other hand, with Thunderbolt and good-enough performance for many customers coming from iMacs, cannibalized Mac Pro sales may ultimately encourage Apple to kill the line, just like they did with XServe. Further, Apple hasn't offered speed-bump updates or high-performance graphics/GPGPU cards, so Apple's interest in performance-oriented customers is questionable.

I think it's clear that Apple is not playing offense in the workstation market anymore. They are playing defense, doing the bare minimum necessary to offer machines to users like you and me who need high computational performance.

I doubt that Apple would actually enter the workstation market today if they weren't already in it. They may be hesitant to blatantly abandon the creative, development, and scientific research niches that depend on Mac Pros, but I don't seem them doing anything to stop attrition.

Look at me -- if you had asked me four years ago if I'd have a workstation provided by HP under my desk, I'd have laughed. If you'd asked me that this time last year, I might have thoughtfully nodded. Ask me about it today, and I might try to sell you one.

That's in part why I started this thread. I'm curious to figure out what's in it for Apple. I'd like to understand their business model and value proposition better. I know why I used to buy Apple workstations, and at this point, I'm not sure I have any compelling reason to continue doing so. I'd like to learn why other people are still choosing Mac Pros, and what value they see coming from Apple.

Could it just be the halo effect? My 3 Apple workstation purchases over the last 10 years have been accompanied by 2 iMacs and 9 laptops. Of course, that was before the post-PC era, and now Apple may get all the halo they need from iPhones and iPads.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Bill Davis
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 10:24:52 pm

[Walter Soyka] "You think Apple is intentionally pushing people onto new hardware, rather than optimizing the software for current hardware or rather than trying to limit their Q&A testing matrix?

If that's true, why would you buy from a vendor who intentionally limits their offerings to try to compel you to buy more?"


Perhaps because actual new functional capabilities generally follow the development curve of the hardware capabilities?

At some point, designing for the way hardware "used to be" means limiting your reach.

While introducing software that might take advantage of the foreseeable development path of hardware means you'll be more ready to leverage the hardware advances when they do ship.

More speculation for sure. But it does remind me of how flakey even DV was in the very early days of Firewire. I distinctly remember having to spec a Granite Digital chipset for my hard drive controllers to get the throughput necessary not to drop frames with a couple streams of plain old DV back in the day!) - now we're going to be producing for retina displays that can suck up visual resolution like a sponge. Shooting C-300s and REDS that toss out pixels like grinding wheel sparks - while trying to accommodate software like X that has the plumbing to display 16 out of 64 stream multi-cam.

That is not a future where just tweaking a few settings and calling it the next "version" is going to succeed - in my opinion.

I understand those who value consistency and compatibility over progress. And there are companies who cater to that need. But the story of FCP has been one of getting ahead of a curve - then building toward mastery - and being ready when the whole market wants to change with a vetted and outstanding product that's had the time to mature in the crucible of the marketplace.

I'm willing to have things be a bit shaky today - for the promise of much better tomorrow.

But that's just me.

Other's can't take the chance and just want less spice and more meat.

And I understand that.

But please don't ask me to accept a world where none of the cooks can take bold risks - because that means nobody will ever get the chance to benefit from any really new recipes.

That's not the smart path to a potentially better future, IMO.


(I know I strayed into the dreaded twin paths of simile and metaphor here - sorry : )

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 1:28:49 pm

[Bill Davis] "Perhaps because actual new functional capabilities generally follow the development curve of the hardware capabilities? At some point, designing for the way hardware "used to be" means limiting your reach."

I don't think I was very clear, Bill. We agree on this. I understand that FCPX was built on entirely new technologies. I think Craig had to upgrade his Radeon HD 2600 because it's now a very old card and doesn't support current technologies like OpenCL, not because Apple artificially limited the list of supported graphics cards to force him to buy new hardware.

That said, Craig's point about Apple refusing to qualify the 5770 as compatible with older Mac Pros -- even though it is compatible by design -- still stands.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index


Andrew Richards
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 12:53:19 am

[Craig Seeman] "I think Apple's new business model is not about limited power but limited expandability of hardware, building in planed obsolescence. "

Seems to me Moore's Law marches on and the pace of development, of hardware and software, is what creates obsolescence.

Best,
Andy


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 1:29:04 am

Apple could keep backward compatibility but that would hinder progress. Basically there is some decision to the process. Either one offers the best technology going forward or works towards maintaining compatibility with older system.

Apple has done this for some time. I remember doing a system hack to fool Leopard into installing on a Dual 800 G4. There were those who found FCPX installing on ATI 1900 systems even though it wasn't on the recommended list with FCPX 10.0.0. I believe some prevously compatible systems (maybe only "unofficial) dropped of the list as well.

There are certainly many of us with pre 2009 MacPros (myself including) running ATI 5770 or 5870 cards even though Apple doesn't officially support them on any pre 2010 MacPro.

Basically some of us have been able to do system upgrades to use FCPX on "unofficial" systems in some manor and I suspect with the next MacPro (or replacement) they're going to make that harder to execute.

Hmm, does this make me sort of a MacPro "jail breaker?"

Tangentially this is another reason why FCPX is a "Pro" app (under some definition). "Consumers" are not inclined to upgrade their computers as frequently as "Pros" who have an economic and competitive reason to do so. I suspect FCPX will push people (Pros?) into a shorter system upgrade cycle (which seems to work well for "consumers" when it comes to replacing iPhones and iPads).

Basically FCPX will have to be compelling enough to want you to make a more frequent upgrade. Whether it succeeds in that or not is another story but I do think FCPX will push technology to encourage system upgrades.

I'll add, interestingly enough, that my early 2008 15" MBP still meets FCPX spec but my 2008 MacPro did not without having to replace the GPU with an "unsupported" GPU. Of course the 2008 MBP is a bit of a slog for any serious FCPX and I did buy a late 2011 MBP . . . but did NOT buy a new (2010 as that's the last "new) MacPro. Apple's never going to allow that to happen again (IMHO) so, my guess, is that between FCPX progress and MacPro replacement, the most viable business strategy to make MacPros a bit more profitable would be to "encourage" a more expeditious upgrade.



Return to posts index

Andrew Richards
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 4:18:29 am

[Craig Seeman] "Apple has done this for some time. I remember doing a system hack to fool Leopard into installing on a Dual 800 G4. There were those who found FCPX installing on ATI 1900 systems even though it wasn't on the recommended list with FCPX 10.0.0. I believe some prevously compatible systems (maybe only "unofficial) dropped of the list as well."

So that's nothing new, like you said. I don't think Apple needs to have people throw out their Macs every two years to be successful, and they don't drop support for three year old Macs on any given rev to OS X. Lion dropped support for 2006-vintage Macs in 2011, a 5 year backfill. Mountain Lion might be a little more aggressive than that, but the supported list hasn't been finalized to say for sure.

FCPX is an outlier, since it relies so heavily on many new aspects of OS X, but most apps don't, even Apple's own. In most other cases, any given Mac will have broad software support for 4-5 years. That's a good long life for a computer.

Best,
Andy


Return to posts index


Jeremy Garchow
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 4:39:44 am

[Andrew Richards] " In most other cases, any given Mac will have broad software support for 4-5 years. That's a good long life for a computer."

Do we know the length in dog years? The shop dog needs to know.


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 4:44:04 am

But when it came to FCPX which as of its June 2011 release didn't officially support any MacPro pre 2009 without having to do an "unsupported" upgrade to the GPU.

Certainly Macs in general can remain compatible, regarding OS and various apps going back several years. When it came to FCPX it was under 3 years. To put it another way, will the new MacPro replacement you buy in 2012 be able to run FCPX in 2015. My guess (obviously just a guess) is no and it there many be no simple "unsupported" swap of the GPU (again my guess).

See this article on OWC/MacSales on iMac2011 HD upgrade difficulties.
Apple Further Restricts Upgrade Options on New iMacs
http://blog.macsales.com/10146-apple-further-restricts-upgrade-options-on-n...

I think it's possible that while you might be able to add a 2nd GPU on the new MacPro, something people have really wanted, the "in built" one may not easy to replace.

Of course I'd like to keep a system going that can run current software even as it ages past its "lead" machine life but I can't help but think if Apple is going to make the MacPro (or replacement) profitable it'll be a machine you may have to replace more frequently courtesy of design changes makes in the hardware.

Of course just as one can have the battery replaced in a MBP that doesn't have a user replaceable battery or companies like OWC finding ways to replace the iMac system drive, there may be a way to replace the GPU (or whatever "locks" the MacPro replacement) they will make it harder than a user simply swapping out a GPU to make an "unsupported" upgrade.

Of course as a user I hope this doesn't happen but I do see this as part of Apple's "awesome" beast they are about to release if there's a new case design that goes with it.



Return to posts index

Andrew Richards
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 4:37:25 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Certainly Macs in general can remain compatible, regarding OS and various apps going back several years. When it came to FCPX it was under 3 years. To put it another way, will the new MacPro replacement you buy in 2012 be able to run FCPX in 2015. My guess (obviously just a guess) is no and it there many be no simple "unsupported" swap of the GPU (again my guess)."

Maybe. I don't think it is likely though. The hardware dividing line for FCPX is OpenCL-capable GPUs, and there would need to be some all-new, low-level, hardware-dependent APIs that 2015 FCPX requires in order for your projection to come true. I think that is unlikely. Not impossible, just unlikely.

Apple chose to draw a very modern line in the sand for FCPX's starting point, and that would serve them well for the decade they see as its codebase's lifespan. If they built FCPX atop older, less featured APIs, it would not be able to do all that it does (which was/is already fairly limited in the eyes of its critics).

Since FCPX is built on APIs that scale with hardware, there will be a strong incentive for users to give it the best Mac they can to get all the performance they can, but the minimum system requirements of 2011 will probably not expand much in terms of hardware requirements in the next few years. Hardware requirements for working with third party add-ons will carry their own restrictions, but that has always been true for any NLE.

I guess my bottom line is I don't think Apple has a more aggressive duty cycle in mind as a business model for growing the Mac. Growing the Mac comes at the expense of other PCs far more than it does from forcing existing users to upgrade so they can run a new app that won't work on a 3-year-old Mac.

Best,
Andy


Return to posts index


Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 7:44:35 pm

[Andrew Richards] "Apple chose to draw a very modern line in the sand for FCPX's starting point,"

Key though is that Apple drew the line. With the OS update the Dual 800 was capable of running Leopard but obviously not to Apple's satisfaction. I don't remember where the exact line was but it was something like Dual 800 no but single 933 yes. With FCPX those with ATI 1900 were able to install but those with ATI 2600 were not.

It's basically Apple, not just the technical limitation, that is the drawer of the line. While certainly they're considering user experience, it's one thing to not have something on the "supported" list and another to try to put a hard lock on the door as they did in the above cases and some might question where that line was drawn given the systems that did and did not work.

Basically Apple may decide that whatever is in a 2012 Mac may not be their idea of good user experience with whatever resources FCPX is using in 2015.

I certainly know there'd be similar arguments in the jailbreaking community with iOS devices. One reason to jailbreak is to enable features on previous generations that Apple locked out. One example is the use of the camera to record video which was locked out of an earlier iPhone but was enabled on the then current iPhone.



Return to posts index

Andrew Richards
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 8:42:06 pm

[Craig Seeman] "It's basically Apple, not just the technical limitation, that is the drawer of the line. While certainly they're considering user experience, it's one thing to not have something on the "supported" list and another to try to put a hard lock on the door as they did in the above cases and some might question where that line was drawn given the systems that did and did not work."

In the case of FCPX, it isn't arbitrary. Apple built FPCX around OpenCL, so it needs an OpenCL-capable GPU to function. Look at Lion. It isn't unqualified to run on 32 bit Intel CPUs because Apple Marketing figured they could sell more Macs that way, it is unqualified because it no longer contains the code to run on such hardware. That is an engineering decision, not a marketing one. Same goes for FCPX requiring a GPU that supports OpenCL.

True, Apple did decide to compile Lion for 64-bit and build FCPX around OpenCL, and driving the sale of newer Macs is always the motivation for any software Apple produces, but I don't see a larger Apple trend in FCPX not supporting three year old Macs, I see a trend in OS X dropping support for Macs that are generally about 5 years old. Lion insists on a 64-bit CPU, Snow Leopard insisted on Intel CPUs, Leopard dropped the G3 and slower G4s. Each of these cutoffs were for Macs that were roughly 5 years old (though entry-level Macs had shorter tails due to their typically B-list internals).

If FCPX is Apple's platform stretcher, then you may be right that it will always need very recent hardware to run at all. We won't know for a while. But that would be a new tactic for Apple, as their MO has been to carry software support for hardware that is five years old for any given release.

Best,
Andy


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 9:55:34 pm

[Andrew Richards] "In the case of FCPX, it isn't arbitrary. Apple built FPCX around OpenCL"

The ATI 1900 supported OpenCL but the ATI 2600 did not?
Maybe I'm mistaken but . . .
http://wiki.vidblaster.com/index.php/Main_Page
Obviously the 1900 will result in no install now but that wasn't the case with 10.0.0.

Apparently the Intel HD 3000 isn't OpenCL either but ti works.
OpenCL-capable graphics card or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later
(bold emphasis added by me).

So it's apparently not "hardwired" to OpenCL.

It's one thing when code for PPC isn't code for Intel but otherwise these seem to be code based blocks based on detected hardware.

In other words in some cases they "code block" hardware they consider "unsupported" and in some cases they don't such as MacPro 2008 running ATI 5770 although in the latter case performance is certainly reasonable compared to some of the "code blocked" GPUs.

There is a difference when a piece of hardware can't run something vs a piece of hardware Apple feels no longer meets their idea of acceptable results and they, block the installation. Apple shouldn't have to "support" what they don't want to, but if something works good enough for the end user, they shouldn't block the install. I know there are are FCPX users who managed to get it on unsupported systems by copying over the install from another system (thanks to self contained apps) and they're OK with the modest performance they're getting.

Engineer may decide what's qualified but blocking the user who may be OK with working on an "unqualified" but functional system is coming from another place.



Return to posts index


Andrew Richards
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 4:32:49 pm

[Craig Seeman] "The ATI 1900 supported OpenCL but the ATI 2600 did not? "

The X1900 never supported OpenCL. My guess is in keeping with the sloppy launch of FCPX, that card was omitted from whatever plist tells the App Store what is and isn't supported hardware. That it was corrected in 10.0.1 underscores that idea.

That's the only thing that restricts App Store distribution, not the app itself and its dependencies, but a check of the host system prior to install. You can install FCP7 on a G5 if you modify the scripts in the install pkg. You'll find parts of it not working properly, same as you would with FCPX on hardware that does not support OpenCL.

[Craig Seeman] "Apparently the Intel HD 3000 isn't OpenCL either but ti works.
OpenCL-capable graphics card or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later
(bold emphasis added by me)."


OpenCL can be used in addressing both GPUs and CPUs. From what little I could find out there, OpenCL on OS X can address the CPU if it supports AVX, which debuted on Sandy Bridge, home of the HD 3000. My guess (again) is that the engineers told the marketing guys "just tell them they need an HD 3000 or Open CL GPU".

[Craig Seeman] "There is a difference when a piece of hardware can't run something vs a piece of hardware Apple feels no longer meets their idea of acceptable results and they, block the installation. Apple shouldn't have to "support" what they don't want to, but if something works good enough for the end user, they shouldn't block the install. I know there are are FCPX users who managed to get it on unsupported systems by copying over the install from another system (thanks to self contained apps) and they're OK with the modest performance they're getting. "

This is the App Store protecting users from themselves. You're saying Apple should sell software to customers who don't have the hardware to properly run he software, and then just shrug and say caveat emptor when those customers deluge them with support calls? The whole point of the App Store is to take the guesswork out of buying apps. It shouldn't sell you something you aren't equipped to run.

[Craig Seeman] "Engineer may decide what's qualified but blocking the user who may be OK with working on an "unqualified" but functional system is coming from another place."

Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

Best,
Andy


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 6:37:04 pm

[Andrew Richards] "My guess is in keeping with the sloppy launch of FCPX, that card was omitted from whatever plist tells the App Store what is and isn't supported hardware."

But the card worked. That's my point. It meant a machine was viable for a little while longer even though, while not optimal, was certainly serviceable for those who wanted to try FCPX without making a hardware commitment. Apple is trying to steer one into a purchase, ultimately, even if that purchase is a good idea, it may be forced prematurely for the end user.

[Andrew Richards] "You can install FCP7 on a G5 if you modify the scripts in the install pkg."

There are some developers who take a different course. They'll say that feature "x" wont work with such hardware but the rest will function.

Sure it's Apple's choice in how to handle it but my point is that it's Apple's choice to lock out otherwise servicable hardware.

I believe that Apple will be much quicker to "pull that trigger" (set a higher threshold) as to what is or is not "a good user experience" and lock out system earlier than they've been doing with certain systems.

I also would not be surprised that the simple "replace my GPU with an unsupported GPU in my 2008 MacPro" option I took will be much harder to execute as time goes on with Apple's hardware.

Once can certainly argue that the changes Apple made was a design improvement in recent iMacs and system drives as well as the changes in user access to batteries in laptops, and that may be true, but the end result may well be shorter usable lifespans or greater expense to upgrade the internals vs buying a new system.



Return to posts index

Herb Sevush
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:32:21 am

[Craig Seeman] "What will change (I think) is the internal expandability pushing one into something closer to a 2 year upgrade cycle."

If the new Mac Pro pushes GPU and PCIe connectivity off the main system, the main host computer becomes easier to upgrade. It's essentially like upgrading the CPU and Ram every few years. Not such a bad deal.

The idea that X is going to drive those sales, on the other hand, is too funny for words. That it might benefit from such a system is plausible, that it will drive it is not.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 4:57:21 am

[Herb Sevush] "The idea that X is going to drive those sales, on the other hand, is too funny for words."

Do you really thing FCPX won't have a noteworthy portion of the market in 2 years when people are faced with upgrades assuming they want to take advantage of FCPX's state at that point. That you are so certain that FCPX user base will be insignificant underestimates Apple's FCPX development capabilities especially given the current speed of development. It may not "replace" legacy but the market itself is changing rapidly as is FCPX itself. That market, even if it's not as big as legacy's peak, may be a very big target for Apple. If it updates MacPros (or it's replacement) faster, it may well be more valuable to Apple.

I'm grossly oversimplifying for clarification but if FCPX only has 1/2 the market share of FCP legacy had but triples the rate of Mac upgrades then Apple is actually selling more computers even though there's a smaller market share.



Return to posts index

David Lawrence
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 6:26:47 am

[Craig Seeman] "Do you really thing FCPX won't have a noteworthy portion of the market in 2 years when people are faced with upgrades assuming they want to take advantage of FCPX's state at that point. That you are so certain that FCPX user base will be insignificant underestimates Apple's FCPX development capabilities especially given the current speed of development."

Given the abysmal overall quality of FCPX to date, I wouldn't bank on the development capabilities of the current Pro Apps team. Don't forget that while FCPX was released only eight months ago, it's been under development for probably at least two years longer than that. Apple needs to get Pro Apps quality control in much better shape if this software is going have any future.

_______________________
David Lawrence
art~media~design~research
propaganda.com
publicmattersgroup.com
facebook.com/dlawrence
twitter.com/dhl


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 1:26:51 pm

[David Lawrence] "Given the abysmal overall quality of FCPX to date"

This is not given IMHO. It still have rough spots but it's quite capable these days.

[David Lawrence] "t's been under development for probably at least two years longer than that."

As would any proper professional product before it's released to the public. Some would argue it could have used another six months or so but, compared to any other software NLE I can remember, post public release updates have been frequent and significant. The expeditious updates might mean issues are slipping through but it's "damned if you , damned if you don't" at least for people in this forum.

I've had more catastrophic issues with some of the FCP legacy updates than what I've experienced with FCPX.



Return to posts index

Herb Sevush
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 1:29:35 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Do you really thing FCPX won't have a noteworthy portion of the market in 2 years when people are faced with upgrades assuming they want to take advantage of FCPX's state at that point."

Two points.

First I don't think the current X market is as large as you think. I think a large part of this audience is made up of those editors curious enough to give it a try at it's initial low cost. I don't think a large portion of them will stay with it. We'll know when the next paid version comes out, If I'm right sales numbers will go down significantly.

Second and more importantly the current editors who love and use X for their paying jobs, people like Tony West and Bill Davis, don't use a Mac Pro. Half of their argument for the wonderfulness of X is how well it performs on a MBP. I think X will have a larger market on the Ipad than it will ever have on a Mac Pro. Most of the market for workstations have been driven from the Apple camp like they were vermin. It's been 8 months now and poor Jeremy, your Mac Pro demographic incarnate, who loves the entire X concept, is sounding more and more despondent because of how unstable X is. He's being driven, unwillingly, into the arms of Adobe.

So no, while it's possible ( but I doubt it ) that FCPX sales in the future might drive Imac and MBP sales, the idea that they will drive Mac Pro sales is plain silly. PPro will sell a hell of a lot more Mac Pros for Apple than X will, which is why I have some hope that the market for MPs will be big enough to sustain itself.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:12:04 pm

I'm using a MacPro and while I did upgrade my MacBookPro, FCPX wasn't the sole or primary reason. I certainly had no motivation to replace my aging MacPro with a new (but aging by design) MacPro for FCPX. I do think things will be different two years from now though. My current intro in a MacPro replacement certainly goes beyond FCPX. I'm not limiting the issue to the current state of FCPX because after this MacPro update, which may not be driven by FCPX, may be followed by another one in a couple of years and by then Avid and Premiere users on the Mac may be in decline. Whether or not FCPX drives MacPro sales, I believe that is Apple's intent. Apple really has very little reason to be in the NLE business outside of driving computer sales.



Return to posts index

Herb Sevush
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:32:47 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Apple really has very little reason to be in the NLE business outside of driving computer sales."

Agreed; we're just disagreeing on ...

a) which computers they're trying to sell with X, and

b) the prospects of FCPX meeting those aims.

[Craig Seeman] "I'm not limiting the issue to the current state of FCPX because after this MacPro update, which may not be driven by FCPX, may be followed by another one in a couple of years and by then Avid and Premiere users on the Mac may be in decline."

I'm not looking that far down the road. My interests aren't theoretical, I'm buying something in May and the best solution would be a new MacPro that matches my criteria. If I were to venture a guess the next system I would buy after that would be running Linux, but again, I'm not trying to look around the next turn, it's all I can do to see the road in front of me.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


Return to posts index

Richard Herd
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 3:47:05 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Apple really has very little reason to be in the NLE business outside of driving computer sales."

The brand position of the digital filmmaking revolution is a big important "goodwill accounting" issue. Goodwill accounting is the name for the amount of cash greater than the physical assets (when one company buys another). From Apple Final Cut Pro's brand position, anyone can be the next Robert Rodriquez if they only buy this software. Neither Avid nor Premiere have that brand position. Bottom line is: "FCP" is literally worth more than just the potential hardware sales.


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 4:32:15 pm

[Richard Herd] "From Apple Final Cut Pro's brand position, anyone can be the next Robert Rodriquez if they only buy this software. Neither Avid nor Premiere have that brand position. Bottom line is: "FCP" is literally worth more than just the potential hardware sales."

Respectfully, I think this is how FCP users perceive the FCP brand.

Other communities have a different perception. As a counterexample, there's a considerable indy effects and finishing community gathered around After Effects that doesn't see what makes FCP so special. From their perspective, Premiere Pro works well, works on cheaper commodity PC hardware configurations, and provides better value with Photoshop, AE, and Encore in the Production Premium Suite.

That's not to say that I disagree with your point that FCP is an aspirational brand -- just that its ubiquity is not assumed in other circles.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Tim Wilson
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 4:50:38 pm

[Richard Herd] "anyone can be the next Robert Rodriquez if they only buy this software. Neither Avid nor Premiere have that brand position"

Actually, Avid has EXACTLY that brand position. At least since 2003 when I went to Avid, Robert was using Media Composer, and was very forthcoming about it. Here's a piece he did for Avid for Predators in 2010.

Robert Rodriguez: PREDATORS - From Concept To The Big Screen from Avid on Vimeo.



Avid was also one of the hosts for the debut of his most recent feature, 2011's Spy Kids 4D.

So he may have started using Final Cut Pro at some point after his 2010 and 2011 features along the way, but if you want to start where Robert did, you start with Avid. No disrespect to FCP or you intended, but I think it's possible to overstate FCP as the *only* golden city on top of a high hill.

For the record, I wouldn't be surprised if there was an FCP box in the mix somewhere. His effects company is heavily Quantel, and I wouldn't expect most people to only use products from one company.

Also for the record, I saw Macs stacked on pallets from the floor to the top of very high ceilings at Avid. They sent out fully-configured Mac Pros quite literally by the truckload. Quite inspiring to see those 18-wheel tractor trailers packed tight with Macs going to all the good little girls and boys.

I think your goodwill accounting argument is a valid one, though. I just think that the goodwill for OS and computer sales is coming from iDevices. The Hollywood halo is from the product placement of those same iDevices in Hollywood shows. You can look at the last time Apple updated their customer stories, and how prominently they're NOT featured anymore to see their current value to Apple.

I have my long list of advice for Apple just like anybody else, but based on the results, it looks to me that the product placement vs. "made with Final Cut Pro" strategy is the right one.


Return to posts index

Richard Herd
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:10:38 pm

[Tim Wilson] "No disrespect to FCP or you intended, but I think it's possible to overstate FCP as the *only* golden city on top of a high hill."

None taken. To be sure, I'm not overstating FCP's brand position. It is coming from some low-level self-appointed literati who want to make a film or documentary. And these are snobby knowitalls who think "if that cretin can do it, so can I." We tell the literati: to do THAT you need $10k and Avid. Can't do that, yet they can drop $299 on the MBP, the same machine running Final Draft!

[Tim Wilson] "I have my long list of advice for Apple just like anybody else, but based on the results, it looks to me that the product placement vs. "made with Final Cut Pro" strategy is the right one."

Yep. And this is what they see. Who sits through the credits, anyway, to see the logo bugs at the end?


[Tim Wilson] "I think your goodwill accounting argument is a valid one, though."

Who is going to buy the moniker, "Final Cut Pro"? That would cost a lot of money. Apple is fully aware of how much that name means. How many of us dropped $299 on it?


Return to posts index

Jeremy Garchow
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 7:56:29 pm

[Herb Sevush] "Second and more importantly the current editors who love and use X for their paying jobs, people like Tony West and Bill Davis, don't use a Mac Pro. Half of their argument for the wonderfulness of X is how well it performs on a MBP. I think X will have a larger market on the Ipad than it will ever have on a Mac Pro. Most of the market for workstations have been driven from the Apple camp like they were vermin. It's been 8 months now and poor Jeremy, your Mac Pro demographic incarnate, who loves the entire X concept, is sounding more and more despondent because of how unstable X is. He's being driven, unwillingly, into the arms of Adobe. "

Maybe Premiere, but not Adobe. After Effects is the video application that is the current longevity winner in my content creation career. It has been the constant through all the NLE's.

So Adobe and I go, like, way back man.

Am I sounding despondent? What a bummer I must be! ;)

I've said all along that the one thing that would drive me away from FCPX is the absence of reliability.

So far, it has yet to prove reliability in my little corner of the world, that is not to say that I don't like it.

The reason people are liking MBPs and iMacs is that in some cases the performance is actually better due to a more efficient architecture. Of course, a proper desktop refresh will then surpass the newer portable/iMac offerings.

If Apple came out with a new MacPro, would we buy some? Yes. Right away? Maybe not, but eventually, for sure, yes. ATTO seems like they might have some interesting Thunderbolt offerings as well.

Jeremy


Return to posts index

Chris Harlan
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 8:15:07 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "The reason people are liking MBPs and iMacs is that in some cases the performance is actually better due to a more efficient architecture. Of course, a proper desktop refresh will then surpass the newer portable/iMac offerings.

If Apple came out with a new MacPro, would we buy some? Yes. Right away? Maybe not, but eventually, for sure, yes. ATTO seems like they might have some interesting Thunderbolt offerings as well.
"


Add to all of this, the new rumors of the demise of the Macbook Pros:

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/03/14/rumor_apple_to_launch_15_inch...

Apparently Kepler's not working out, and so we're looking at a bunch of Intel-only GPUs, and a 15" Air looks to supplant the 15" Macbook Pro. I feel like we're in one of those adventure movies where the castle is coming down upon our heads.


Return to posts index

Jeremy Garchow
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 8:50:36 pm

[Chris Harlan] "Add to all of this, the new rumors of the demise of the Macbook Pros:"

The MacBook Air's are truly awesome, not for CPU power, but form factor. All the benefits of an iPad but with a real honest to goodness OS and input devices.

I can deal without an internal optical drive, my current MBP does not have one now, I ripped it out.

When you open up a MBP, have you seen how much of the computer is NOT the motherboard? It's mostly battery and optical drive.

This rumor also says the 17" MBP would remain. That's perfect.

Also, Thunderbolt on laptops is certainly a step forward in performance, where the same argument cannot be made for desktops.

That rumor says Kepler isn't working out in the low to mid range laptops. Genius. Nvidia doesn't work well on OSX? What a shocker.

There's a lot going on in that rumor from an "accessory maker", but I'm not worried. Apple still sells portables at a good clip.

By the way, the MacBook Air is good enough for Avid.

Jeremy


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 9:00:38 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "That rumor says Kepler isn't working out in the low to mid range laptops. Genius. Nvidia doesn't work well on OSX? What a shocker."

I have certainly thrown heaps of criticism at Apple and NVIDIA for the sorry state of GPU support and driver quality, but this article [link] says that NVIDIA is simply unable to manufacture enough Kepler GPUs.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Jeremy Garchow
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 9:04:15 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I have certainly thrown heaps of criticism at Apple and NVIDIA for the sorry state of GPU support and driver quality, but this article [link] says that NVIDIA is simply unable to manufacture enough Kepler GPUs."

This is too much.

I am rumored to be speculated out.


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 9:15:26 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "This is too much. I am rumored to be speculated out."

Yeah -- I read an anonymous tip from an iPhone case designer over at TopSecretAppleSpeculativeRumors.com that said there was an 90% chance you'd say that.

Gotta say, though, I expected it on a Tuesday.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Chris Harlan
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 9:31:16 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Yeah -- I read an anonymous tip from an iPhone case designer over at TopSecretAppleSpeculativeRumors.com that said there was an 90% chance you'd say that.
"


And the rumor was right, wasn't it?


Return to posts index

Chris Harlan
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 9:30:57 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "By the way, the MacBook Air is good enough for Avid."

That's an uncharacteristically silly thing for you to say. Yes, the 13" Air is approved for use, but it is hardly good enough for the full range of Avid usage.


Return to posts index

Jeremy Garchow
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 9:42:55 pm

[Chris Harlan] "That's an uncharacteristically silly thing for you to say. Yes, the 13" Air is approved for use, but it is hardly good enough for the full range of Avid usage."

Just reading what is says on the papers.

Someone must think it's worth it at Avid to put it through the certification process.

Jeremy


Return to posts index

Chris Harlan
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 9:53:32 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "[Chris Harlan] "That's an uncharacteristically silly thing for you to say. Yes, the 13" Air is approved for use, but it is hardly good enough for the full range of Avid usage."

Just reading what is says on the papers.

Someone must think it's worth it at Avid to put it through the certification process.
"


Hey, Id like one. But not as the only thing I'm editing with.


Return to posts index

Herb Sevush
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 6:20:01 pm

[Walter Soyka] " if Apple actually does release a new Mac Pro? Will you buy one?"

Possibly. See below.

[Walter Soyka] "Will it indicate to you that Apple does care about providing solutions for your needs"

Not at all.

[Walter Soyka] "will you see it as a stay of execution for the Mac Pro line, giving us one more generation "

Yes, but as the saying goes, every day above ground is a good day.

[Walter Soyka] "What features would you want to see on the 2012 Mac Pro?"

Mercury Engine capable GPU choices for work with PPro.
Thunderbolt.
Enough PCIe slots to make it useable (this includes Thunderbolt PCIe expansion boxes if available.)
Obviously new CPUs.

I can live without Thunderbolt, the others are requirements.

[Walter Soyka] "What software would you run on your 2012 Mac Pro?"

Legacy, PPro, possibly Avid.

[Walter Soyka] "Does Thunderbolt let you consider an iMac or even a MacBook Pro instead of a Mac Pro for your work?"

No.

[Walter Soyka] "If the current trends of the Mac Pro's relatively limited internal expansion, limited processor choice, limited GPU choice (and poor GPU performance) continue, what would make you want to buy a Mac Pro over a PC workstation like the upcoming Z820?"

Nothing.

[Walter Soyka] "what's the 2012 Mac Pro's value proposition?"

Since I will need a legacy machine as i transition to either Avid or PPro, I would just as soon have everything I need on 1 machine
instead of having to run both a windows and mac box. If a new mac box will run PPro / Avid to their max, it would be a no brainer. Short of that, it's off to the PC world I go.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


Return to posts index

Frank Gothmann
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 7:40:13 pm

Thanks but no thanks, I am done. My direction is clear. We replaced two old MacPros with HPs a few month ago and the next Mac on the chopping block will be another 4-core MacPro in May or June. A z820 will take its place. So it's one machine at a time. New software or upgrades will either be cross platform or win only. Our shared storage is Linux based so no issues there as well.
Even if there was a new MacPro with decent specs, the whole story would repeat itself one or two years from now. I rather watch the carnage as a bystander next time when the s**t hits the fan again.


Return to posts index

Steve Connor
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 7:29:19 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Will you buy one?"

Yes

[Walter Soyka] "Will you see it as evidence that Apple intends to continue development and production of powerful personal computers in the post-PC era, or will you see it as a stay of execution for the Mac Pro line, giving us one more generation before we wonder about its future with Intel's next major processor release?"

Probably the second thing!

[Walter Soyka] "What features would you want to see on the 2012 Mac Pro?"

The usual, faster graphics cards, Thunderbolt etc

[Walter Soyka] "What software would you run on your 2012 Mac Pro?"

FCPX of course & Adobe CS6

[Walter Soyka] "Does Thunderbolt let you consider an iMac or even a MacBook Pro instead of a Mac Pro for your work?
"


iMac possibly, in the absence of any new Mac Pro

[Walter Soyka] "If the current trends of the Mac Pro's relatively limited internal expansion, limited processor choice, limited GPU choice (and poor GPU performance) continue, what would make you want to buy a Mac Pro over a PC workstation like the upcoming Z820? FCPX? Mac OS X? Fear or loathing of Windows?"

The last one

[Walter Soyka] "In short, what's the 2012 Mac Pro's value proposition?
"


Hopefully reliability, my 2008 machine has been absolutely rock solid for years

Steve Connor
"FCPX Agitator"
Adrenalin Television


Return to posts index

Richard Herd
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 7:51:08 pm

[Walter Soyka] "What features would you want to see on the 2012 Mac Pro?"

A coffee maker would be nice.


Return to posts index

Bill Davis
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 7:52:21 pm

[Walter Soyka] "What features would you want to see on the 2012 Mac Pro?
"


I want Apple to surprise me. Every other manufacturer on the planet starts from what the new "generation" of components (busses, processors, drives, etc) do - then simply boxes them up with different name badges, case designs, and maybe an eye to the failure rating of the particular batch of parts they pick out to use.

That's efficient but vastly boring. It's a nearly total "component assembly" design process. It's how dishwashers, stereos, and burgers are all produced today - largely built on the old-fashioned chinese restaurant model of business (pick one from column A, one from column B, etc.)

Apple does this at some level as well - but at least they put some creative energy into looking at the places where they might be able to specify better tolerances and apply more exacting problem solving skills around the board level similarities.

Apple is unique since they, more than most, invent, spec, and manufacturer MORE of their own solutions in more areas than most companies. So they have a chance to innovate rather than exclusively increment their machines.

So that's what I want them to do. Go big. Go bold. Take chances.

Piss people off if you must. But lead by bold example. Just never "go small" -there's a zillion other companies ready willing and able to do that.



[Walter Soyka] "Does Thunderbolt let you consider an iMac or even a MacBook Pro instead of a Mac Pro for your work?
"


Thunderbolt has the promise to change everything. If we ever get to TB level 3 (all optical) - with 100 times the throughput of current buss speeds - then everything changes. Anything hung on the TB chain acts as if it's bolted directly to the processor. So the requirement for one box to hold everything disappears.

The computer becomes the LAN - and vice versa.

Till then, we struggle along watching the incremental changes that lead the way to the big disruptive ones.

My view, anyway.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


Return to posts index

Paul Jay
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 7:57:01 pm

I think Apple this. I think Apple that....


Return to posts index

Bill Davis
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 10:02:44 pm

[Paul Jay] "I think Apple this. I think Apple that...."

What part of "What if..." (linked directly to an Apple product) - are you having such difficulty understanding?

Speculation kinda equals "thinking" in my mind.

I suppose in yours, it must trigger something else.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:18:50 pm

[Bill Davis] "I want Apple to surprise me."

I used to want surprises from Apple, too. Now I'm more specific -- I want good surprises.


[Bill Davis] "Every other manufacturer on the planet starts from what the new "generation" of components (busses, processors, drives, etc) do - then simply boxes them up with different name badges, case designs, and maybe an eye to the failure rating of the particular batch of parts they pick out to use."

To do otherwise means you have to be better at microprocessor design, fabrication, and integration than Intel is. That's a tall order. Intel won in the marketplace by providing better-performing products at reasonable prices, and no other company, including AMD, DEC, IBM, Motorola, and Sun, have been able to dethrone them in 30 years of trying.

Further, sticking with Intel designs and other industry standards provides compatibility. If Apple were to step away from Intel hardware, not only would they lose Thunderbolt, they'd also force third-party developers to recompile (at best) and rewrite (at worst) their code for a new architecture, or be forced into emulation a la Rosetta.

Apple did buy PA Semi a few years ago, but their expertise seems to be optimizing for low power consumption. While the performance they get at low power levels is impressive, that doesn't necessarily make them a good candidate for competing with Intel's Xeon processors, and performance is presumably still important to anyone considering a workstation.



[Bill Davis] "Apple is unique since they, more than most, invent, spec, and manufacturer MORE of their own solutions in more areas than most companies. So they have a chance to innovate rather than exclusively increment their machines."

Apple is an outstanding designer and marketer. They do have quite a bit of highly innovative in-house engineering. However, they also do a lot of integration -- buying technologies off the shelf, or buying out companies for their technologies -- and using them in their products.

Does Apple actually manufacture anything anymore? Don't they use contract manufacturing exclusively now?



[Bill Davis] "Thunderbolt has the promise to change everything. If we ever get to TB level 3 (all optical) - with 100 times the throughput of current buss speeds - then everything changes. Anything hung on the TB chain acts as if it's bolted directly to the processor. So the requirement for one box to hold everything disappears."

I've argued this point with others, too. Thunderbolt is a very cool technology, but it's still just an expansion bus, and with Intel's current architecture and roadmaps, it will remain an expansion bus. It's not at all like bolting anything directly onto the processor.

I think another flaw in this reasoning is that it assumes that all progress on all other interconnects will stop while Thunderbolt alone progresses. Intel's QuickPath Interconnect technology -- the system that actually connects the CPU(s) to the I/O controllers or routing hubs on the motherboard -- is immensely faster (by design and necessity) than Thunderbolt. PCIe 3.0 is here, and PCIe 4.0 is under development. I see no reason to believe that development on these other fast interconnects will stop.

I don't mean to try to minimize the impact that Thunderbolt will have. Fast external expansion is a big deal. However, as long as internal interconnects remain faster than external ones and remain segregated by design within the system, there will be performance advantages to keeping some things within the box.

These things will be less and less important for straight-up video editorial, which is now becoming less reliant on the CPU and more reliant on disk and GPU throughput. My world includes 3D rendering and compositing, where things like CPU performance and memory bandwidth are serious constraints.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Helmut Kobler
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 7:58:02 pm

First of all, my gut tells me that we'll get a new Mac Pro announcement between tomorrow (Wednesday) and Wed, March 28. That's my guess. If things go much beyond that, I think the machine is dead. But I tend to doubt Apple will kill it now...1-2 years from now, yes, but not now.

I'm expecting the following:

1) Two Thunderbolt ports
2) Same case and same number of expansion ports, because Apple appears to want to do as little new work as possible with its Pro products.
3) Upgraded ATI GPUs, maybe an nVidea as well.
4) I would love to see USB3 ports but Apple is just stubborn and arrogant enough to leave those out, even though they would be relatively easy to implement and would greatly benefit the customer. We'll see.

-------------------
Documentary Camera in Los Angeles
http://www.lacameraman.com


Return to posts index

Chris Harlan
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 8:31:17 pm

Good questions, Walter. And I've been thinking quite a bit about them.

[Walter Soyka] "Will you buy one?"

Possibly/Probably. Though first, I WILL buy a new Macbook Pro that I'm on the fence about and would have bought a couple of months ago if I were more certain about things. But yes, a new Mac Pro that meets my expectations--from CPUs and GPUs to Thunderbolt and expansion slots--will be on my short list.

[Walter Soyka] "Will it indicate to you that Apple does care about providing solutions for your needs, other recent software and hardware EOLs notwithstanding?
"


Not at all. But it will meet my needs for the next few years.

[Walter Soyka] "Will you see it as evidence that Apple intends to continue development and production of powerful personal computers in the post-PC era, or will you see it as a stay of execution for the Mac Pro line, giving us one more generation before we wonder about its future with Intel's next major processor release?
"


The second.

[Walter Soyka] "What features would you want to see on the 2012 Mac Pro?"

TBolt, internal expansion slots, competitive gfx card, general workstation build.

[Walter Soyka] "What software would you run on your 2012 Mac Pro?
"


FCP 7, Media Composer, CS 6, and probably FCP X as a pet, though the pain I'm hearing about over the latest build is making me wonder if I care much anymore.

[Walter Soyka] "Does Thunderbolt let you consider an iMac or even a MacBook Pro instead of a Mac Pro for your work?
"


It lets me consider them as an addition, not as a replacement.


[Walter Soyka] "If the current trends of the Mac Pro's relatively limited internal expansion, limited processor choice, limited GPU choice (and poor GPU performance) continue, what would make you want to buy a Mac Pro over a PC workstation like the upcoming Z820? FCPX? Mac OS X? Fear or loathing of Windows?

In short, what's the 2012 Mac Pro's value proposition?
"


ProRes. That's actually what is holding me in place right now. I have major clients whose libraries and delivery systems are built around ProRes.


Return to posts index

Andrew Richards
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 8:39:28 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I have a different version of the question to ask: What if Apple actually does release a new Mac Pro?"

I almost started a topic like this in response to "What if there is no new Mac Pro?". I'm glad you brought it up.

[Walter Soyka] "Will you buy one?"

I have a 2010 Mac Pro, so probably not.

[Walter Soyka] "Will it indicate to you that Apple does care about providing solutions for your needs, other recent software and hardware EOLs notwithstanding?"

It depends very much on what it looks like and what it contains. If it is a brand new case design with crazy-good guts, I think it is a signal Apple sees a long tail for this class of product. If it is another iteration of the 9-year-old cheese grater hulk chassis, my inference is that they don't see much of a future for that class of product at Apple.

[Walter Soyka] "What features would you want to see on the 2012 Mac Pro?"

I want a merger of Xserve and Mac Pro. A tower with hard points that allow for rack-mounting (3U 19"x19" seems reasonable).

Here are the upgrades over today that are almost certain to be in one if they make it: E5-2600 series Xeons and least two channels of 6G SATA. I wouldn't be surprised if the internal HDD count drops to 2 because of Patsburg's limited on-board support for 6G SATA. Patsburg will have built-in hardware support for RAID-1, so that might be a nice complement. They could always go with a beefier storage controller, but that would be a departure from the norm.

As to its internals, I want it to have at least two full-length PCIe 3.0 16x slots (at least one with a blank above to accommodate a double-height GPU). An additional PCIe 2.0 8x slot would be nice, but that eats a lot of space and seems unlikely to me.

Thunderbolt replaces 4x slots, so four TB ports across two TB controllers would be good. Not sure how that would work with a GPU on a PCIe card. We may even see an embedded GPU as standard and the cards would primarily act as an OpenCL or CUDA coprocessor. Very curious to see where that goes.

Another wildcard could be the on-board NICs. They could standardize on Intel's new X540 and really shake things up.

More DIMM slots would be nice, but not essential for sock rocking.

There will probably not be USB 3.0 since Intel is not supporting it in Sandy Bridge EP.

[Walter Soyka] "What software would you run on your 2012 Mac Pro?"

ESXi 5.

[Walter Soyka] "Does Thunderbolt let you consider an iMac or even a MacBook Pro instead of a Mac Pro for your work?"

No, but then I'm in server land and have much higher I/O requirements. I maintain that Thunderbolt is not a replacement for PCIe, but rather a huge improvement over FireWire for Macs that never had PCIe anyway.

[Walter Soyka] "If the current trends of the Mac Pro's relatively limited internal expansion, limited processor choice, limited GPU choice (and poor GPU performance) continue, what would make you want to buy a Mac Pro over a PC workstation like the upcoming Z820? FCPX? Mac OS X? Fear or loathing of Windows?"

I've speculated in perhaps all the threads you linked to above that the limiting factor in GPU choice is and has been EFI. Now that EFI is getting a foothold beyond Apple, we really ought to see better 3rd party support for GPUs and not just the few models Apple subsidizes for use as factory options. But to answer your question, yes, OS X is the key. I don't fear Windows, but I do absolutely loathe using it.

[Walter Soyka] "In short, what's the 2012 Mac Pro's value proposition?"

To keep OS X viable for big work. Xcode developers (including those who focus on iOS), research scientists, and creatives are the traditional Mac Pro constituencies and all of them are underserved with something less than a Mac Pro.

Tangentially, on OS X:

Apple clearly did shift resources away from OS X to focus heavily on iOS from 2008-2010. Snow Leopard was just the start of a very long internal renovation of OS X that is still going on. Look what they have been shedding since Leopard: QuickTime, 32-bit kernel, any 32-bit software in user-space (the included apps of OS X, including Finder). They still have a long way to go, like with OpenGL and most of all with filesystems. HFS+ is now the biggest liability of OS X.

OS X still has a couple warts, but I'll take it any day as my daily driver.

Many observers suppose that superficial features like Launchpad and the Mac App Store signal a clear intent on Apple's part to eventually merge OS X with iOS. Perhaps Microsoft thought so too, and it looks like they are trying to out-flank that scenario with Windows 8. The problem is there is no real evidence that Apple is phasing out OS X. On the contrary, they have doubled down on the desktop and will be releasing a new major version every year like they have been with iOS.

Best,
Andy


Return to posts index

Steve Connor
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 8:44:58 pm

[Andrew Richards] "Many observers suppose that superficial features like Launchpad and the Mac App Store signal a clear intent on Apple's part to eventually merge OS X with iOS. Perhaps Microsoft thought so too, and it looks like they are trying to out-flank that scenario with Windows 8. The problem is there is no real evidence that Apple is phasing out OS X. On the contrary, they have doubled down on the desktop and will be releasing a new major version every year like they have been with iOS."

Sensible talk, unlike some of the doom laden speculation currently on the web. There will be more harmonisation between the two, but I really don't see a merger coming any time soon.

Steve Connor
"FCPX Agitator"
Adrenalin Television


Return to posts index

Aindreas Gallagher
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 13, 2012 at 11:15:38 pm

[Andrew Richards] "On the contrary, they have doubled down on the desktop and will be releasing a new major version every year like they have been with iOS"


to be fair, they have good growth potential in this - 'desktop' right? - market.

It mightn't have quite iOS numbers, but it's worth pursuing right?.. OSX could build a nice, maybe quarter sized market share there?

a dagger in your heart redmond... a steve jobs shaped dagger in your mediocre heart.

had to.


http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


Return to posts index

Andrew Richards
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 12:18:34 am

[Aindreas Gallagher] "It mightn't have quite iOS numbers, but it's worth pursuing right?.. OSX could build a nice, maybe quarter sized market share there?"

Absolutely. Just because it is only a quarter of their revenue, that is still several billion dollars annually.

[Aindreas Gallagher] "a dagger in your heart redmond... a steve jobs shaped dagger in your mediocre heart."







Best,
Andy


Return to posts index

Aindreas Gallagher
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 12:29:25 am

I swear, I am going to buy popcorn to watch the launch of this thing.

Microsoft have been running around trying to find their brain for about 36 months now. And this is the result?

We are about to see the greatest IT flambée of the entire twenty first century. Nothing can prepare anyone for what is about to happen to Windows.


http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 1:42:46 am

[Aindreas Gallagher] "I swear, I am going to buy popcorn to watch the launch of this thing."

You can eat popcorn whilst riding on a roller coaster?
And people though only Apple could drive people crazy.

Of course Microsoft will support Windows 7 for the next 10 years though.



Return to posts index

Andrew Richards
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:27:02 am

[Craig Seeman] "Of course Microsoft will support Windows 7 for the next 10 years though."

Yeah, but will they still sell it?

Best,
Andy


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:48:43 am

[Andrew Richards] "Yeah, but will they still sell it?"

The Windows 7 downgrade option when you buy a Windows 8 computer maybe.



Return to posts index

Michael Gissing
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 4:40:29 am

[Walter Soyka] "Will you buy one?"

Not likely. At this stage I am looking at the balance of likely software and the best fit for hardware. Everywhere I see NVIDIA looming as the most useful graphics cards to suit da Vinci and Adobe. So even if there were a new MacPro, the cost and lack of up to date support for NVIDIA graphics cards on Mac hardware would tip me towards an HP workstation with WIN. The sheer flexibility of cross platform software is furthering my push away from Apple in many areas, not just NLEs.

For me the software determines the hardware and unless FCPX becomes relevant for my business, there is no reason for me to upgrade from my late 2009 MacPro which I will try to squeeze at least another year out of as I switch. After that it becomes my wife iTunes box.


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 4:23:00 pm

Andy, thanks for your detailed, engineering-oriented response. It's very interesting to see a non-production perspective.


[Andrew Richards] "It depends very much on what it looks like and what it contains. If it is a brand new case design with crazy-good guts, I think it is a signal Apple sees a long tail for this class of product. If it is another iteration of the 9-year-old cheese grater hulk chassis, my inference is that they don't see much of a future for that class of product at Apple."

Great point. Honestly, I have been surprised every time the case hasn't been redesigned. At a minimum, the non-rackability for no good reason is a continuing frustration.

"Cheese grater hulk" is a great phrase, and I think it goes very nicely with "sizzle core beast."


[Andrew Richards] "More DIMM slots would be nice, but not essential for sock rocking."

As long as OS X supports a maximum of 96 GB of RAM, I don't think anyone needs more RAM slots for sock rocking.


[Andrew Richards] "ESXi 5."

Now I'm very curious. What OSes are you virtualizing? How many VMs (and with what specs) are you running on a single machine? What's the nature of the work the apps running on your VMs do? If this is your primary use for the Mac Pro, what makes OS X on Apple hardware more sock rocking than Linux on PC hardware?



[Andrew Richards] "I've speculated in perhaps all the threads you linked to above that the limiting factor in GPU choice is and has been EFI. Now that EFI is getting a foothold beyond Apple, we really ought to see better 3rd party support for GPUs and not just the few models Apple subsidizes for use as factory options."

I agree -- but I think that GPU choice is only the first hurdle to overcome.

Driver quality has been a big issue. When I started running a GTX 285 for Resolve last year, kernel panics were so common I had to buy a remote rebooter so I could get reliable access to my workstation over my VPN while I was on the road. Kernel panics were also common with the GeForce GT 330M built in to my 2010 MBP.

I side-graded to a Quadro 4000, which eliminated my kernel panics (though other users running other apps still had problems), but it took NVIDIA and Apple a long time to get on the same page for a driver release schedule. I had to remove the card and replace it with the original ATI to boot the 10.6.7 update, and OpenCL support took forever to materialize.

Ron pointed out OS X's poor OpenGL support. This may not a problem for most, but it's a big deal for 3D application's viewport performance. The same hardware has historically performed better on Windows than on Mac.

10-bit DisplayPort output is still impossible with OS X.

I'm not saying that this won't improve -- I'm just saying that being able to pop the latest and greatest GTX series GPU into a Mac Pro won't immediately address the ongoing criticisms of OS X's graphics support.


[Andrew Richards] "To keep OS X viable for big work. Xcode developers (including those who focus on iOS), research scientists, and creatives are the traditional Mac Pro constituencies and all of them are underserved with something less than a Mac Pro."

I agree, but I'm questioning if Apple is giving "big work" a reason to stay on the Mac platform.

I can't speak to the systems that most developers are using, but I think Bill D. might talk about how the App Store is democratizing development, letting little guys with laptops get in on iOS development without making big-iron infrastructure investments.

Apple doesn't seem to be actively pursuing the high performance computing market anymore. XGrid remains untouched, there's no more XServe for high-density clusters, and Apple doesn't have a Top 500 system anymore.

Anecdotally, I've seen the bulk of the creative market largely shifting away from Mac Pros toward iMacs. Graphic designers who used to buy Mac Pros are getting iMacs or MBPs instead. Thunderbolt makes the expansion needed by video editors possible on non-workstation systems. The only remaining creatives who will really need Mac Pros are on the high-end: 3D, compositing, coloring, audio -- and they might be better served by Windows workstations.

Personally, I feel like Apple used to be interested in providing my solutions I could use. I'm feeling that they are less and less committed to users like me. Even a little thing like pre-announcing a new Mac Pro, like HP has done with the Z820, would go a long way towards re-assuring other longtime Apple users in my position.


[Andrew Richards] "The problem is there is no real evidence that Apple is phasing out OS X. On the contrary, they have doubled down on the desktop and will be releasing a new major version every year like they have been with iOS."

I'm largely unconcerned about OS X. I agree that it's not going anywhere, and I don't really see "dumbed down" interfaces like LaunchPad (or Metro, for that matter) as huge obstacles. I spend very little time interacting with the operating system itself; most of my time on a workstation is spent in the apps I bought it to use.

The only possible concern I see at the moment for OS X is a big maybe: Apple's potential war on hierarchical filesystems in general. Apple's own apps may not need them, but most of the other apps I use assume a hierarchical file system. I'll be curious to see how this shakes out in coming versions of OS X.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Andrew Richards
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:08:12 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Now I'm very curious. What OSes are you virtualizing? How many VMs (and with what specs) are you running on a single machine? What's the nature of the work the apps running on your VMs do? If this is your primary use for the Mac Pro, what makes OS X on Apple hardware more sock rocking than Linux on PC hardware?"

I've got ESXi 5 on my Mac Pro 5,1 (not officially supported by VMware, but fully functional). It hosts everything from Red Hat Enterprise Linux for StorNext metadata controller experiments to FreeBSD to play with ZFS to Windows Server 2008 for some Active Directory testing to Ubuntu running a virtual tape library emulator to OS X Lion Server and Client to play with Xsan 2.3 (which takes some trickery to get working since 10.6 is the last officially support OS X guest on ESXi 5). The reason it needs to be Apple hardware is that is the only way OS X is allowed as a guest on a VM. You have to hackintosh it if you want to run OS X guests on non-Apple hardware.

For strictly server duty, I've essentially given up on OS X. Final Cut Server was the last reason to care about it for me. Stuff like Open Directory, MCX, and Profile Manager can run on a Mac mini server if you really need them, but for heavy duty stuff, I'd go with Linux or FreeBSD every time.

[Walter Soyka] "Ron pointed out OS X's poor OpenGL support. This may not a problem for most, but it's a big deal for 3D application's viewport performance. The same hardware has historically performed better on Windows than on Mac. 10-bit DisplayPort output is still impossible with OS X. I'm not saying that this won't improve -- I'm just saying that being able to pop the latest and greatest GTX series GPU into a Mac Pro won't immediately address the ongoing criticisms of OS X's graphics support."

These are some of the warts I alluded to, for sure. I'd put a new, modern filesystem ahead of these, but only slightly. Both are long overdue.

[Walter Soyka] "Personally, I feel like Apple used to be interested in providing my solutions I could use. I'm feeling that they are less and less committed to users like me. Even a little thing like pre-announcing a new Mac Pro, like HP has done with the Z820, would go a long way towards re-assuring other longtime Apple users in my position."

If it is to die I wish they'd just get it over with and let the world move on. The lingering of the Mac Pro today is one of the more compelling bits of evidence that a new model is in the pipeline. This is why I feel right now is make-or-break time for the Mac Pro. Are we getting a freshly-drafted stud quarterback to lead the team for the next decade? Or are we getting one last season in the sun from a fading veteran at the end of his career?

This is also why I'm keen to see Adobe (and others) embrace Linux. I would be very sad if Windows became the only viable platform for big work should Apple shrink from the niche. Yes I'm prejudiced and biased. I just don't like using or supporting Windows.

[Walter Soyka] "The only possible concern I see at the moment for OS X is a big maybe: Apple's potential war on hierarchical filesystems in general. Apple's own apps may not need them, but most of the other apps I use assume a hierarchical file system. I'll be curious to see how this shakes out in coming versions of OS X."

I have faith (misguided though it may be) that the "dumbed-down" veneer being incrementally added to OS X is only a toggle or two away from being disabled for the sake of power users like you and I. I think the vast majority of users are pretty clueless when it comes to filesystems, so I'm actually in favor of abstracting the storage a bit. Just so long as I can still dig in when I need to.

Best,
Andy


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:37:28 pm

[Andrew Richards] "If it is to die I wish they'd just get it over with and let the world move on. The lingering of the Mac Pro today is one of the more compelling bits of evidence that a new model is in the pipeline. This is why I feel right now is make-or-break time for the Mac Pro. Are we getting a freshly-drafted stud quarterback to lead the team for the next decade? Or are we getting one last season in the sun from a fading veteran at the end of his career?"

I'll extend that analogy, with apologies in advance to Franz. I minored in philosophy in college and I sincerely enjoyed and appreciated his linked article. Please consider the following to be an attempt at clever rhetoric; I think the logic here stands on its own.

Maybe they're just punting. It's possible that they'll stay the course for now and put off the long-term decision of what to do about workstations for another cycle.

A "stud quarterback" Mac Pro wouldn't necessarily make me feel better, either. It's also possible they'll find an exciting quarterback like Tim Tebow (new Mac Pro?), but then drop him without a second thought next season and go after Peyton Manning (new consumer electronic device?) instead. Apple has demonstrated over and over that they are not afraid to change direction instantly.

I'm somewhat afraid that anything other than an EOL will just be more tea leaves to try to read. I'm not sure what Apple could do to be more reassuring, so I'll pose these questions to the group: for those on the fence, what would make you believe? For those who do think that Apple sees a long-term future for professional and/or high-end production on the Mac platform, what convinced you of that?


[Andrew Richards] "I have faith (misguided though it may be) that the "dumbed-down" veneer being incrementally added to OS X is only a toggle or two away from being disabled for the sake of power users like you and I. I think the vast majority of users are pretty clueless when it comes to filesystems, so I'm actually in favor of abstracting the storage a bit. Just so long as I can still dig in when I need to."

Maybe that's the big OS X/iOS concern, then. OS X has always let you get at the internals, but only if you want to; iOS exposes none of its underlying complexity to the user. Perhaps the concern isn't about the technical separation, but the ideological one: OS X must retain its philosophy of layered complexity, and must never inherit any of iOS's locked-down design philosophy.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Herb Sevush
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:43:18 pm

[Walter Soyka] " for those on the fence, what would make you believe?"

A public statement defining their road-map with a timetable and a promise to publicly announce adjustments to the timetable as need be. I think Apple would be loath to go back on a public commitment. Short of that there's nothing they can say or do that would inspire trust.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


Return to posts index

Chris Harlan
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 7:38:32 pm

[Herb Sevush] "[Walter Soyka] " for those on the fence, what would make you believe?"

A public statement defining their road-map with a timetable and a promise to publicly announce adjustments to the timetable as need be. I think Apple would be loath to go back on a public commitment. Short of that there's nothing they can say or do that would inspire trust.
"


This is where I am as well. But I'm fairly convinced that their head is in the post PC market to a degree that such a thing will not happen. I'm fully prepared to move back to the Wintel world, but the businesses and corporate Divisions around me are not. Nor are many of the editors I work with, many of whom are just starting to reemerge from the devastating one-two punch of labor unrest and bitter recession. So, here I am. Which is fine, too. For me, the platform decision is a lot more about coordinating with the needs of both clients and co-workers then it is about my specific needs.


Return to posts index

Tim Wilson
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 8:16:40 pm

[Chris Harlan] "[Herb Sevush] "[Walter Soyka] " for those on the fence, what would make you believe?"

A public statement defining their road-map with a timetable and a promise to publicly announce adjustments to the timetable as need be. I think Apple would be loath to go back on a public commitment. Short of that there's nothing they can say or do that would inspire trust.
"

This is where I am as well. But I'm fairly convinced that their head is in the post PC market to a degree that such a thing will not happen."


That there is the crux of the biscuit. Other than a "we're bringing back the features we torched" chat from the FCPX guys, Apple has never given roadmaps about anything, have they? Especially not for something that inarguably is outside their core business. iMacs, MacBooks, plenty close enough. Heavy metal cheese graters, no.

So Chris's excellent point becomes the new question: will you buy a Mac without a roadmap?

My prediction, respectfully, is yes, you will. If you haven't said "I'm through trusting you clowns" yet, then I don't see how you're not in for another turn of the crank. A year of shit-covered fans later, it's going to take something a lot more than even a disappointing Mac Pro release to be the last straw for most people who are still in the "I haven't decided yet" camp.

Or, is a weak-enough Mac Pro release (new processor, Thunderbolt, not much else) enough to give someone permission to do what they WANT to do anyway, which is to not bet your family's well-being and your own sanity that Apple's not going to core you at some point?

And hey, tip of the hat to anyone for whom the Apple is still shiny and FCPX is working great. Much love. It's just that I'm getting a lot more insight from these two related threads about who's on the edge, and what it looks like to them. This is worth knowing, 'cause Apple isn't going to try to talk you down from it.


Return to posts index

Herb Sevush
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 8:35:34 pm

[Tim Wilson] "will you buy a Mac without a roadmap?"

As I've already answered earlier, yes. Holding my nose, but yes.

The roadmap question was what would it take to make me trust Apple again. I don't have to trust their long range plans to buy a short range solution. My next computer might be a Mac, as I transition away from Apple software. The computer after that will most definitely NOT be a Mac, unless I'm given reason to change my mind.

[Tim Wilson] "Or, is a weak-enough Mac Pro release (new processor, Thunderbolt, not much else) enough to give someone permission to do what they WANT to do anyway"

If Apple can't give me a workstation that takes full advantage of both PPro and Avid, then I'm off to WinTel land. As always, software drives the hardware decisions.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


Return to posts index

Jeremy Garchow
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 8:52:58 pm

[Tim Wilson] "So Chris's excellent point becomes the new question: will you buy a Mac without a roadmap?"

I ask because I don't know, do other major computer/NLE/Plugin/hardware manufacturers provide roadmaps?


Return to posts index

Andrew Richards
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:54:59 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I'm somewhat afraid that anything other than an EOL will just be more tea leaves to try to read."

Always is, with them. My take is that an all new design represents significant effort, investment, and commitment while another rev to a 2003 design represents reluctance and indifference. Sure, an all-new box could be a flop and they'd kill it after one cycle, but it would take crappy sales to do that. And if the sales are that crappy, then there wasn't a market for it anyway.

This is why I keep bringing up Windows 8. Microsoft is driving even harder than Apple away from the conventional desktop computing model, as the mass market is speaking loud and clear with shrinking PC sales next to exploding iPad sales. Fewer and fewer people need a conventional windowing environment to do what they need to do with a computer. How will Windows 8 play in the workstation market? Can you imagine trying to use Windows Server 2008 as a workstation? Does the workstation transform back into what it was in the 90s- a specialty box that you only use for a few limited purposes?

I find this all fascinating.

[Walter Soyka] "Perhaps the concern isn't about the technical separation, but the ideological one: OS X must retain its philosophy of layered complexity, and must never inherit any of iOS's locked-down design philosophy."

iCloud is their bridge. Local for conventional filing, iCloud documents for the iOS filing model on the Mac.

Best,
Andy


Return to posts index

Herb Sevush
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 6:01:07 pm

[Andrew Richards] " Does the workstation transform back into what it was in the 90s- a specialty box that you only use for a few limited purposes?"

That's my guess, with Linux the OS. I think this is going to happen for any serious computational work, not just media. For those who need to work on something more niche than spreadsheets or word processing, the days when we could piggy back on the cost savings of mass consumer markets is coming to an end.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


Return to posts index

Shawn Miller
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 6:46:54 pm

"How will Windows 8 play in the workstation market?"

I have co-workers currently running Windows 8 on Tablet and workstations. Metro only appears in the desktop environment when syncing between a Windows Phone or Tablet (both sets of co-workers are developers). I haven't played with it yet, but early adopters are telling me that it isn't very different from running applications in Windows 7.

"Can you imagine trying to use Windows Server 2008 as a workstation?"

Yes, I've done quite a bit of encoding and live streaming on a portable box running Windows Server 2008.

"Does the workstation transform back into what it was in the 90s- a specialty box that you only use for a few limited purposes?"

Isn't that mostly what workstations are today? I only use my workstations for creative work (editing, compositing, 3D, etc.). Productivity tasks (email, document creation, web), are mostly done on a laptop or smartphone... are others working differently?

Shawn



Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 7:01:03 pm

[Andrew Richards] "This is why I keep bringing up Windows 8. Microsoft is driving even harder than Apple away from the conventional desktop computing model, as the mass market is speaking loud and clear with shrinking PC sales next to exploding iPad sales."

My take on Metro is that it's more an attempt to get existing Windows developers writing for Windows 8 phones and tablets than an actual abandonment of the desktop as we know it. Basically, I think that Microsoft is looking to leverage their existing developer base to respond to the big threats from Apple with iOS and Google with Android. I think they are looking to extend their dominance on the desktop into the mobile market, not forsake the desktop for the mobile market.

On the subject of shrinking PC sales, I found the quote from this article [link] to be fascinating:
[Gartner analyst] Atwal said that the slowdown in sales principally came as consumers held off purchases. “Professional sales have been steady if not spectacular,” he said.



[Andrew Richards] "Fewer and fewer people need a conventional windowing environment to do what they need to do with a computer."

Another swinging pendulum. Remember when every application stood alone and always ran full-screen?



[Andrew Richards] "How will Windows 8 play in the workstation market? Can you imagine trying to use Windows Server 2008 as a workstation? Does the workstation transform back into what it was in the 90s- a specialty box that you only use for a few limited purposes?"

Great questions. I'm just digging into the Windows 8 preview now to get a sense of how jarring the transition will be. I'm sure I'll have some thoughts on that shortly.

I do think that workstations will be more like they were in the 1990s -- in that people with highly specific needs will spend relatively big money for outsized performance on specific applications -- but I don't think it's because the workstation itself will transform. From the 1990s to today, workstations became more like desktop PCs, and desktops became more like workstations. From here forward, I think workstations will continue, at least for a while, on their current trajectory, while desktop computing will shift substantially toward the trends we see in mobility: smaller, cheaper, simpler, and more connected.

That said, I don't see desktop computing going away in the workplace anytime soon.



[Andrew Richards] "I find this all fascinating."

Absolutely! Thanks for some very thought-provoking conversation.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Chris Harlan
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 1:11:45 am

[Andrew Richards] "[Walter Soyka] "Perhaps the concern isn't about the technical separation, but the ideological one: OS X must retain its philosophy of layered complexity, and must never inherit any of iOS's locked-down design philosophy."

iCloud is their bridge. Local for conventional filing, iCloud documents for the iOS filing model on the Mac.
"


The thing with iCloud is that it rather spectacularly realizes Larry Ellison's dream of thin client computing to a degree that makes me wonder what future role a PC might actually play in that environment. All this post-PC world could just be jargony stuff meant to fluff iPads. It could also be their actual game plan. I've always disliked the notion of thin client computing for being a bit totalitarian, and was happy to see it vanquished at the beginning of last decade. Or so I thought. Then came smart phones. And push. And now thin client looks to be winning. Or, maybe its won.


Return to posts index

John Christie
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 4:52:25 am

Good question. At work we run MacPros, mostly the 3 to 4 year old dual processor 4 core machines, connected to Xsan via fibrechannel. So we need CPUs with 2 ethernet connections, FC card and either a Blackmagic or Aja card.

At home I run a 2011 iMac 27 with 2 X 3 GHZ CPU, SSD boot drive, and a Promise 6 drive raid. The system is incredibly fast and does everything I need it to.

So my choice down the road will be:

1) Update the work machines with New MacPros, if they are compatible with all of our legacy i/o cards. I'd need to know that these machines could run FCP7 as well as Avid

2) Update to iMacs with Thunderbolt peripherals, not sure how well daisy chaining will work with lots of peripherals. But I'm very happy with the performance of these machines, especially with SSD boot drives.

3) Update to Dell PCs as we'll be switching to Avid eventually.


Each choice has good and bad sides. If there was an FCP8, this would be a no-brainer and I'd stick with MacPros. But eventually we'll switch to Avid and so we need to look at all of our options including (shudder) PCs.

Cheers

John


Return to posts index

Jonathan Ziegler
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 4:17:31 pm

I like the rumors of new Mac Pros using Ivy Bridge:

http://www.cultofmac.com/146211/new-mac-pro-with-ivy-bridge-processor-and-n...

http://www.fudzilla.com/home/item/25943-intel-ivy-bridge-e-coming-in-new-ma...

Supposedly fixes the heat issues and the non-NVidia problem they had been having with the old Mac pros. Despite the fact that Apple makes most of its money in one area doesn't mean they will abandon all of their product lines: if you make a $1 billion a year on one product line versus $10 billion on another, you're not turning your back on $1 billion when you can make $11 billion with both. Maybe the rumor is right and it will be ready Q4 2012, but I think it will be sooner for the first lineup with the faster machines coming out a quarter later in time for NAB 2013 or Supermeet or MacWorld or something like that.

Oh and yes, I really don't like Windows. I think its funny that its called innovation when its still 2-3 years behind the Mac. When Microsoft switches to a UNIX/Linux kernel, I'll consider using it again.

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 8:11:16 pm

[Jonathan Ziegler] "Oh and yes, I really don't like Windows. I think its funny that its called innovation when its still 2-3 years behind the Mac. When Microsoft switches to a UNIX/Linux kernel, I'll consider using it again."

I love the UNIXy underpinnings of OS X, too, but I had to chuckle reading that Windows is 2-3 years behind the Mac, juxtaposed with the request that they adopt a 40-year old system design...

In what ways do you consider Windows to be 2-3 years behind OS X? (I am asking, not arguing.)

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Tim Wilson
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 14, 2012 at 10:29:10 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I ask because I don't know, do other major computer/NLE/Plugin/hardware manufacturers provide roadmaps?"

Some do, some don't.

HP has a bunch of product lines, but they released a WebOS roadmap in January. Here's the press release.

The native tongue of big-balled business is PowerPoint....which of course tells you juuuuuust about everything you need to know, right?...so when you look at this, keep in mind that IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HUMAN LANGUAGE. It's PowerPoint. It's SUPPOSED to look this ridiculous.

Ah, but before you actually ridicule, look more closely. For all that there's a pile of disclaimers that it's only a general picture, it's actually pretty dang specific.

Because here's the thing. You have a pretty good ideas about when the next iPhone is coming out, that it's going to be AWESOME, and your inclination to buy. The rest is finesse.

But when you're the one guy steering a billion-dollar ship's IT, you need more than a pretty good idea. So yeah, this one "general" idea ppt gives more specifics than Apple will give you before the sun goes nova.

Hey, this one's fun, regarding the EOL of an HP server.

Since November 2001, when HP announced discontinuance plans for the HP e3000 and MPE/iX, HP has worked proactively with customers worldwide to help these accounts plan and order final upgrades, software, or accessory purchases. A number of HP and partner programs are in place to assist customers with transitioning to HP-UX 11i, Microsoft Windows, or Linux on other HP systems.


That's on the full-blown sub-site for the HP e3000 Transition Program, which begins with "A Message To The Community."

Those heartless, soulless, putty-colored, Windows-loving business bastards! Why can't they be more like Apple???

For real grins, here's their roadmap press release after the Compaq merger: "Customers need to know which offerings we will have in which markets. And we wanted to be able to tell them on Day One of the new HP."

See, this is how a computer company does it. Even if, as has been the case for HP, the roadmap can change pretty wildly, pretty quickly, you tell people reasonable stuff about what you want them to know. I found that document pretty fascinating.

I also like that they offer roadmap advice to other mouth-breathing business nerds like themselves. They published a whole series of white papers called "Develop A Financial Roadmap To The Cloud," which point out that you can't just make this stuff up. You have to have a plan, and that plan has to make you more money than it will cost you, or it's not worth doing. Too bad the former CEO didn't read any of that.

I'm obviously being a little tongue-in-cheek here, but I'll end with a peek at Microsoft.

This very day brings updates to the 2012 roadmap posted by a third-party publisher in the channel partner game. When you look at it you'll see that a number of products have had their product roadmaps updated this month. Again, compiled by a third party, but all sourced from Microsoft, making it an interesting exercise in roadmapping nevertheless.

Not that they had to be Kremlinologists to get the info. Microsoft publishes it. These guys make it easy to find in one place. Here for example is just one of MSFT's own roadmap pages, for Windows Embedded.

You can find a ton of these with a couple of clicks.

As with one of HP's roadmaps above, this next one may give you a knot in the pit of your stomach because it lacks the loving embrace you're used to from Apple....and because, okay, you don't like MSFT, that's cool. And it might prompt you to laugh so hard you spit milk out your nose. But they're making a statement about the life cycle of their products that you can do with what you will.

Every Windows product has a lifecycle. The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it's no longer supported or sold. Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to upgrade or make other changes to your software.


Mock away at the clueless goons and vampire monopolists. And, facetiousness aside, this isn't all that substantial...but this is how you do it when you believe that your choices have an effect on your customers, and you acknowledge that it matters to them.

Oh, and for grins, a guy in 2009 at MSFT's equivalent of WWDC, rolling his eyes at them for saying that Windows 8 will come out around 2012.

Tell you what, if anybody here can post a slide showing Apple's 3-year OS roadmap, I'll buy you a real pony. Actually, I'll buy you a real pony if you can show it to me in private. It'll be just between you and me.

So to answer your question without being a wiseass Jeremy, I can come up with more examples of companies in other parts of the broadest meaning of "our industry" who are very open about their roadmaps, just as I can come up with companies whose lips are sealed tighter than a tomb. But HP and Microsoft seemed like good comparables to Apple's place in the ecosystem, and couldn't be more different in their approach.


Return to posts index

Jeremy Garchow
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:40:59 am

Thanks, Tim.

So-

- a web based OS.

- The PowerPoint link isn't working for me here.

- The EOL of a server, of which Apple has a similar EOL. Apple said by a MacPro or a mini(!).

- A giant merger at the turn of the century of which there's no recent Apple comparison.

- A map for cloud based enterprise for which a space Apple isn't competing.

- Windows 8 proposed 3 years in advance. Mountain Lion 3ish months. How far in advance does Microsoft release developer previews for testing? Again, I don't know these things.

- And some other enterprise cloud offerings from Msoft.

Really, this is mostly enterprise. big, huge monster computing for big giant corporations with huge massive amounts of people and data. Like the Northwestern University's med school IT system, or one small wing of GE. Blue chip.

Let's dial it back a bit. I mean, as everyone has been saying, Apple is a consumer company, right?

Does Matrox, Aja, decklink have public roadmaps? Gtech, Sonnet, Sony, Arri, Canon, Panasonic, FSI, Elgato, Wacom, Cache-A, Noise Industries, Boris, Red Giant, TV Logic, anyone?

I'm not trying to be a wiseass either, but demanding a public roadmap and saying that "I won't buy without one" is not a realistic situation, otherwise we wouldn't purchase any gear as the paranoia would prevent any purchases.

Did anyone know that new HP all-in-one was coming? Or if/when the next Dreamcolor monitor is ever going to come out?

Unfortunately, big business is not open source.

And again, my usual disclaimer, I'm not aplogizing for Apple. The handling of the end of fcp7 and the beginning of fcpx has been very poor. People should be pissed off.

But if I switch to windows everything, is my future that much more secure because Microsoft said that there's going to be the next version of their OS in three years? Ya got me....


Return to posts index

Tim Wilson
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 8:15:16 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "The handling of the end of fcp7 and the beginning of fcpx has been very poor. People should be pissed off.

But if I switch to windows everything, is my future that much more secure because Microsoft said that there's going to be the next version of their OS in three years? Ya got me...."


Dude, you know I admire and respect you, but I feel like you're mocking me because I gave you a thorough answer. You asked whether other companies have roadmaps, I gave you most of a dozen examples from an OS and a computer company off the top of my head, speaking directly to specific communities that do in fact have overlaps with ours.

Let's start with the HP e3000, which you're trying to tell me was blue chip. Nope: maximum capacity of 146 gigs in a 3.5" form factor. You could fit 20 of 'em in a rack for a total of 3TB storage, but that's it! Three terabytes is NOT blue chip -- and yet HP provided years of warning that it was going to go away, and support after the fact.

In fact, even though HP announced a 5-year sunset, the e3000 lived on nearly NINE more years because there was demand to support it.

Sound familiar? No, it doesn't. Apple doesn't do that. Not five years warning for EOL, not five weeks, not five days. No public promise of future support explained on new, dedicated web portals designed for resellers, developers AND customers.

And Apple keep products alive because there's demand? Are you kidding me?

You're also minimizing the importance of the reveal re: Windows 8 in 2009. The point wasn't that a new OS was coming in 2012. It's that MSFT was offering specific guidance to developers AND consumers about what was IN that OS, and how to get from here to there.

They also posted a CONSUMER-directed page showing their roadmap for OS support and obsolescence over a period of years. Has Apple evealed plans for what's coming years in advance? Offered lengthy public betas? No. Has Microsoft? Yes.

HP's guidance on what to expect from the Compaq merger was replete with consumer information, all the way down to home wireless networking and Bluetooth. Dude, there was a Bluetooth roadmap! They even gave the REASONS for the way they merged stuff at the CONSUMER level. So it's actually very, very easy to compare apples to Apples, even for consumers.

See why I think you're straw-dogging me here? I feel like you're trying to make it sound like I'm pulling stuff out of thin air that has nothing to do with anything like what Apple is doing. It's just not true.

Last one. Your new Dreamcolor monitor comes with VGA to DVI cables. Not because this is a good idea -- HP is adamant that it's a BAD idea, and the documentation warns of the consequences...but it's also not their job to MAKE you throw out all your old stuff, just because you want a single new component.

Think different, all right. This is very, very different from Apple.

THAT's what you think about counting on. A multi-year roadmap for your OS. A specific description of the future support provided for that OS, and a schedule for when that support will end years down the line. Loooong public betas. Your computer company NOT forcing you to upgrade everything to upgrade one thing. Giving you long lead times before hardware EOL, and a support roadmap for afterward.

I'm not saying that Apple is evil for doing it their way. Hey, their ball, their rules. It's working for them, and making their stockholders rich. It's good for America.

But their kind of secrecy is by no means universal. The fact is that if you want open vendor partners, you choose Microsoft and HP. If you want closed, you choose Apple.

Ironic, eh?

Look, you have to decide which you trust more: what Apple isn't telling you, or what MSFT and HP ARE telling you. I get why people choose the former, but I also get why more and more people are refusing to.

For the other companies you mentioned, you already know everything you need to know. For plug-in developers, roadmaps make no sense because plug-ins are designed to plug in to WHATEVER comes along -- but what comes along is out of their hands. Blackmagic give a roadmap? Well, it depends who they buy or what pops out of Grant Petty's head tomorrow, but it's going to cost less, or do more for the same price, and generally work better than what's available today. Hard drive vendors? Faster, smaller, cheaper. Etc, etc, etc.

THESE have zero comparison to Apple's OS or machine plans. Microsoft and HP are EXACT comparisons.

For industrial design, though, I'm not aware of anyone giving roadmaps -- not blenders or bathroom scales, certainly not cars or computers.

Of course, other than a brief wobble that led to one scurvy dog walking the plank, I see HP peeling off their consumer devices to focus on pro computer customers. How's THAT for a compare/contrast scenario?

You can say that HP tried and failed at the device game, and I won't argue. It doesn't change the outcome. Consumer devices, fading. Investment in professional computing, doubling down.

Last note on that count: it wasn't the enterprise who provided the largest input into the Z series workstations -- it was media creation pros, which HP has talked about very publicly, based on the kinds of focus groups that Apple is proud of NOT doing.

You'll decide whether or not the camel's back has been broken, but whatever Apple machine you see next will provide no guidance from Apple regarding the future of the kind of professional computers and computing that you're currently relying on.




PS. Sorry I bungled pasting the link for the VMS roadmap in the previous missive. So anyway, yeah, the PPT looks a bit of a mess, but it's talking about the future of stuff like Java, Firefox, SCSI, 10gigE, SSL, LTO5, and lots of other things that we work with every day, even if not in the VMS environment. (Fortran? Really?)

And hey, to my earlier point about knowing roadmaps without asking, you can probably guess Apple's roadmap for every single thing I just mentioned. I'm just saying, if you ask for roadmaps in the realm of OS and computers, even for consumers, I got companies with roadmaps, and I got companies without roadmaps.

http://www7.hp.com/openvms/pdf/openvms_roadmaps.pdf'>http://h71000.http://www7.hp.com/openvms/pdf/openvms_roadmaps.pdf


Return to posts index

Paul Dickin
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 8:39:05 am

Hi
In my part of the net it has to be changed to this to get to the page- bessie don't like those double-ewes - sheep v cows thing? ;-)
http(colon)//h71000(dot)(three_double_ewes)7(dot)hp(dot)com/openvms/pdf/openvms_roadmaps.pdf



Return to posts index

T.a. Franks
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 9:18:55 am

Public Roadmaps are never good for business. Look at the gaming industry prefect example. Keep your future ideas away from the public.

On the Macbook Air, I could care less what I work on (remembering the Powebook G4) as long it works and gives me what I need. If it doesn't I move on or figure it out.


Return to posts index

Steve Connor
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:27:25 am

Perhaps we should just take the "FCPX" out of the forum name?

Steve Connor
"FCPX Agitator"
Adrenalin Television


Return to posts index

Jeremy Garchow
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 2:09:16 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Dude, you know I admire and respect you, but I feel like you're mocking me because I gave you a thorough answer. You asked whether other companies have roadmaps, I gave you most of a dozen examples from an OS and a computer company off the top of my head, speaking directly to specific communities that do in fact have overlaps with ours. "

Certainly not, Tim. I meant no disrespect at all. None. It was not my intention to mock you.

I greatly appreciate the answer and I'm glad you could actually come up with some examples.

I have never worked or relied on a roadmap, ever. In this day and age especially, a roadmap is limiting as not only do things change fast, but everything CAN change fast. Companies can retool and rethink faster than consumers can keep up. I'm not saying this is necessarily a good thing.

I am trying to make smart and level headed decisions like everyone else. If there are roadmaps out there, I'd like to see them. I don't think they exist, I mean really exist. Sure, there are some plans, but they aren't necessarily reliable.

2009 is different than today which will be different than 2015.

2001 - 2009, at least in windows land, was not that much different.

I think HP is a decently solid company. I have a DreamColor and people mocked me for it for being a computer monitor. Whatever.

But even HP balked earlier about not making PCs. They changed their ways, but Apple hasn't quite balked yet.

Most things they have EOLd, they've announced. Final cut studio being the exception, but even then they had a replacement. I'm not saying its a suitable replacement, but it is a replacement via Apple's eyes.

That's all.

I'm really trying to find some reality in all of this. The speculation is cloudy.

Let me put this another way.

If I switch to windows and HP or Dell or Boxx, should my confidence automatically be recharged for the foreseeable editing future? If so, how?

Jeremy

Ps. That link must not work on shotty iDevice. I'll check it on a real OS later.


Return to posts index

Herb Sevush
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 2:41:17 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Most things they have EOLd, they've announced. Final cut studio being the exception, but even then they had a replacement. I'm not saying its a suitable replacement, but it is a replacement via Apple's eyes."

To the extent that the future is unknowable and that we are all in a constant state of flux I understand what your saying. Just because a company lays out a "plan" it's not much of an assurance that the plan, or the company, is going to be there in a few years.

However ...

Apple is a company that prides itself on NOT listening to it's customers; it wears that indifference as a badge of honor, they see it as a virtue. Apple customers are not given a plan because it's none of our concern - when they make something either take it or leave it. This leads to moments like the X rollout when only a Martian would have seen X as a "replacement" for Legacy at the time of the EOL, and i'm doing a disservice to our neighbors from the red planet.

Some of us prefer the illusion of concern. If I'm going to invest my money with you I want you to look me in the eye and lie to me, tell me that you value me. A plan may not be worth the paper it's printed on, but it's a worth a whole lot more than the promise you never made.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


Return to posts index

Steve Connor
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 2:58:30 pm

[Herb Sevush] "Apple is a company that prides itself on NOT listening to it's customers; it wears that indifference as a badge of honor, they see it as a virtue. Apple customers are not given a plan because it's none of our concern -"

It's not as if Apple have suddenly become like that, they have always been like it. That hasn't stopped a large amount of us buying Mac Pros in the past.

Steve Connor
"FCPX Agitator"
Adrenalin Television


Return to posts index

Herb Sevush
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:04:00 pm

[Steve Connor] "It's not as if Apple have suddenly become like that, they have always been like it. That hasn't stopped a large amount of us buying Mac Pros in the past."

I might suggest that staying the same as the world changes might not be the best policy. What might have been acceptable once is often not acceptable now.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


Return to posts index

Steve Connor
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:05:54 pm

[Herb Sevush] "I might suggest that staying the same as the world changes might not be the best policy. What might have been acceptable once is often not acceptable now.
"


Very true, it will be interesting to see if Mr Cook steers a different course than Mr Jobs

Steve Connor
"FCPX Agitator"
Adrenalin Television


Return to posts index

Jeremy Garchow
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 4:32:03 pm

[Herb Sevush] "Some of us prefer the illusion of concern. If I'm going to invest my money with you I want you to look me in the eye and lie to me, tell me that you value me. A plan may not be worth the paper it's printed on, but it's a worth a whole lot more than the promise you never made."

Hmm. To be lied to rather than not spoken to.

OK, whatever makes you feel most comfortable.


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 2:44:57 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "If I switch to windows and HP or Dell or Boxx, should my confidence automatically be recharged for the foreseeable editing future? If so, how?"

That's a two-part question. There's a hardware and a software component. If you really believe in the future of FCPX, then no, switching platforms should not recharge your confidence.

If hardware is the main thing shaking your confidence, and if you are comfortable with the alternatives from Adobe and Avid (and maybe GVG or EditShare), then in my opinion, yes, your confidence could be recharged on another platform.

Windows and PCs exist in a functioning free market that has no parallel with Apple. When you look outside the Apple ecosystem, if there is a need, someone will fill it in exchange for money.

If HP, the workstation market leader, pulled an FCP7 and dropped the workstation market tomorrow, it would create a $3 billion gap [link] in the market. Someone would step up to fill it. More likely, several someones would compete to fill it. As long as someone needs performance computing, there will be a vendor to offer it.

Apple behaves capriciously, and as long as you stay on the Mac platform, you are tied to the decision-making of a single vendor. Voting with your wallet doesn't work, because within the Mac platform, you have no alternatives to Apple. Moving to another platform with multiple competing and specializing vendors gives you a far better shot at getting the product you need.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Chris Harlan
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:32:59 pm

[Walter Soyka] "If HP, the workstation market leader, pulled an FCP7 and dropped the workstation market tomorrow, it would create a $3 billion gap [link] in the market. Someone would step up to fill it. More likely, several someones would compete to fill it. As long as someone needs performance computing, there will be a vendor to offer it.

Apple behaves capriciously, and as long as you stay on the Mac platform, you are tied to the decision-making of a single vendor. Voting with your wallet doesn't work, because within the Mac platform, you have no alternatives to Apple. Moving to another platform with multiple competing and specializing vendors gives you a far better shot at getting the product you need."


Bingo.


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 4:03:21 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Apple behaves capriciously"

Actually I think Apple behaves consciously, not capriciously although some not like their business model.

The inner works of Apple's process is only revealed through the bits and pieces we get, often by former employees and even then the real workings may not be entirely known.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple want's to "reserve the right" to change things in very short time frames which would mean revealing roadmaps could be problematic. Of course there may well be development paths where that's not likely and in those moments you get things like announcements about multicam support or development paths being revealed at WWDC. Apple did reveal FCPX months before it was released but obviously not enough about it for many (most) people.

Also revealing a roadmap isn't always a great "selling point" unless one likes the roadmap revealed. I certainly can't speak for others but HP saying they won't support Thunderbolt is just one such example for me. By the same token, hearing Asus, Acer, Lenovo reveal a roadmap supporting Thunderbolt is something I find encouraging as might Thunderbolt peripheral developers as well.

Basically I feel revealed roadmaps have pluses and minuses for a variety of reasons. My only concern would be sudden changes in hardware which might shorten the life of some key piece of hardware I've invested in.



Return to posts index

Herb Sevush
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 4:10:07 pm

[Craig Seeman] "revealing a roadmap isn't always a great "selling point" unless one likes the roadmap revealed. I certainly can't speak for others but HP saying they won't support Thunderbolt is just one such example for me."

But that's just the point, if you know that HP isn't using TBolt and if that's important to your workflow, you can then make an informed decision. When I ask a question I can't expect every answer to be yes, but I can expect to get an answer.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 6:06:07 pm

[Herb Sevush] "But that's just the point, if you know that HP isn't using TBolt and if that's important to your workflow, you can then make an informed decision. "

There's two potential problems. HP may lose potential customers so it may not be good for them. Alternately HP changes course due to market conditions and then you feel betrayed (and may be impacted economically) by making a decision based on information that turned out differently.



Return to posts index

Herb Sevush
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 6:18:21 pm

[Craig Seeman] "HP may lose potential customers so it may not be good for them."

How could they loose customers? If Tbolt is important to your work flow, your not going to be a customer of theirs no matter what. The only difference is they haven't kept you waiting and guessing. So while you won't be a customer for a current workstation, you also won't have a negative connotation about them and you won't have any problem being a customer of theirs for a product that does fit your workflow.

[Craig Seeman] "Alternately HP changes course due to market conditions and then you feel betrayed (and may be impacted economically) by making a decision based on information that turned out differently."

Precisely why I want the plan announced publicly; with a public deceleration they will be more likely to fulfill it, knowing the PR consequences. Nothing can protect you totally from getting screwed, but this public pressure does increase the likelihood of a better outcome.

If Microsoft lays out a plan and then doesn't follow thru, they have to acknowledge the failure and deal with the fallout. Apple just shrugs and says, "hey we never promised you a rose garden" and avoids all responsibility. Who has more pressure to deliver in that situation, which way do you have better odds?

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 7:27:35 pm

[Herb Sevush] "The only difference is they haven't kept you waiting and guessing."

That's assuming you believe they will stay true to the roadmap. As I've pointed out (elsewhere) roadmaps are often not followed. (see Google WebM and Mozilla not supporting H.264 as a very recent example).

[Herb Sevush] "Precisely why I want the plan announced publicly; with a public deceleration they will be more likely to fulfill it, knowing the PR consequences. Nothing can protect you totally from getting screwed, but this public pressure does increase the likelihood of a better outcome. "

Precisely why some companies don't want to reveal roadmaps.There's nothing like a company facing damned if you do and damned if you don't, once a roadmap is revealed, to decide they're better off not revealing roadmaps.



Return to posts index

Herb Sevush
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 8:15:14 pm

[Craig Seeman] "That's assuming you believe they will stay true to the roadmap. As I've pointed out (elsewhere) roadmaps are often not followed."

I will take my chances with possibly unreliable information rather than no information. I like the illusion of some control, even in it's absence. There's nothing like the silent treatment to end a relationship.

With Apple it's not just that they provide no roadmaps, they also are not interested in customer input. There's no sensation of any communication in either direction.

Obviously there are plenty of people who have no problem with this type of situation, and I don't expect Apple to change for me, but after the screwing last June I'm shopping around for someone who at least seems to be interested in my business. What this means is that if their are no new MacPro boxes out by May, I won't be waiting around to see what they do in the summer.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 8:35:55 pm

[Herb Sevush] "I will take my chances with possibly unreliable information rather than no information."

There's nothing wrong with that. We all have our preferences. My point is that different companies have different business models regarding roadmaps and each has advantages and disadvantages. I don't claim that Apple's policy is better. It's just that I do understand why they're doing it and its simply because they want to damage a customer base. Each method of handling roadmaps can end up harming someone's business. Just personally speaking I've seen so many public roadmaps change direction that I take such announcement with a grain of . . . no more like a pound of salt (which hopefully doesn't get rubbed into a wound).

[Herb Sevush] "but after the screwing last June"

Yes, after revealing a small piece (maybe not a sufficient piece) of the roadmap at NAB SuperMeet in April.

[Herb Sevush] "What this means is that if their are no new MacPro boxes out by May, I won't be waiting around to see what they do in the summer."

And if it comes to pass that Apple releases a "killer" box in the summer with no advance notice, some will be gone by then and some will not care and some may well second guess their decision assuming the box really is "killer" with an innovative design that would solve a lot of logistical issues for some. Obviously all hypothetical but the point is "you never know" roadmap or not, until the thing leaves the gate. That's the hard reality in this tech business (IMHO).

My own view on all this is, at least, these aren't the $100,000 per unit decisions they were in 2000 (such as Avid's "roadmap" without Mac).



Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 4:26:47 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Actually I think Apple behaves consciously, not capriciously although some not like their business model."

I don't think Apple bought Proximity Artbox with the intention of killing Final Cut Server three years later.

If they did, shame on them for selling an enterprise solution to customers that they had no intention of supporting 36 months later, and shame on us for supporting a company that values their customers' businesses so little.


[Craig Seeman] "I wouldn't be surprised if Apple want's to "reserve the right" to change things in very short time frames which would mean revealing roadmaps could be problematic."

Like how promoting 64-bit Carbon, seeding it to developers, then suddenly killing it could scramble Adobe's development and leave Photoshop CS4 stuck as a 32-bit app on the Mac?


[Craig Seeman] "Also revealing a roadmap isn't always a great "selling point" unless one likes the roadmap revealed. I certainly can't speak for others but HP saying they won't support Thunderbolt is just one such example for me. By the same token, hearing Asus, Acer, Lenovo reveal a roadmap supporting Thunderbolt is something I find encouraging as might Thunderbolt peripheral developers as well."

Publishing a roadmap is not about simply selling a product today. It's about building trust with your customers so that they know they can count on a relationship with you.

If you know that publishing your roadmap is going to cost you sales because people won't like what they're hearing, maybe you should reconsider your plans.

By the way, HP hasn't announced they won't support Thunderbolt. They've announced they're not supporting it now, but they are "still looking into it" [link]. Personally, I would have liked an absolute yes or no answer, but I'll take open honesty, even if it's uncertain, over secrecy.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 6:18:28 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Publishing a roadmap is not about simply selling a product today. It's about building trust with your customers so that they know they can count on a relationship with you."

Roadmaps only has value if it means the company rigidly chooses to follow that roadmap.

Much as your examples do illustrate. Apple reserves the ability to switch as they see fit.
I'm not so sure revealing a roadmap is any better. It presents a different set of problems to the company that reveals it and finds out it damages their business by sticking to it or damages their business by having to veer from their promise.

If you've been following Google's WebM public roadmap only to find that thye actually did not remove support for H.264 in Chrome, that Mozilla (FireFox, etc) indicated they may have to capitulate and support H.264 as result of WebMs failure, in part because Google didn't follow with removing it from Chrome, not pushing it in Android, Adobe not supporting WebM in Flash after saying they would. So the revelation of roadmaps... not followed, resulted in a collision so to speak. So much for the value of roadmaps revealed.

Roadmaps are a double edged sword. Revealing them may be no better than not.



Return to posts index

Richard Herd
Re: What if there actually IS a new Mac Pro?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:19:47 pm

[Tim Wilson] "But when you're the one guy steering a billion-dollar ship's IT, you need more than a pretty good idea."

Call me cynical, but I have only observed CEOs, CFOs, and COOs being worried about current quarter EBITDA, end of month closing. Next quarter, and the quarter after that are a million years away.

Product Development departments present plans to those big corporate officers but they too cannot build a roadmap further out than next year's capital expense proposal.

Who also would want to be the technical guru who has to explain to the Financial wizards why the current IT and computing products need to be changed...*shuddering at the thought*.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]