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John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor

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Franz Bieberkopf
John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 3:12:15 pm

John Siracusa, March 8, 2013

http://hypercritical.co/2013/03/08/the-case-for-a-true-mac-pro-successor

I don't think it was his intention, but it reads more like a lament:

Think of all the technologies that debuted on Apple’s high-end Macs: hard drives, color, FireWire, multiple CPUs, multi-core CPUs, 64-bit CPUs, programmable GPUs, real-time video processing. All these features had a chance to get shaken out on machines that most people don’t buy. When they trickled down to “normal” Macs, Apple had enough experience under its belt to implement them competently.
...
By allowing the Mac Pro line to languish for so long, Apple has negated any possible prestige effect and abandoned an arena where it could safely push the limits of PC performance.


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Oliver Peters
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 3:22:58 pm

Spot on.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 5:11:27 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Spot on."

Sadly, yes.


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Oliver Peters
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 5:35:06 pm

[Chris Harlan] "Sadly, yes."

Well, it only becomes a lament if the bean-counters win. In fact, I think it becomes pretty stupid for Apple to worry about changing the Mac Pro form factor. Simply revamp the design with modern technology (CPUs, GPUs, Thunderbolt, USB3, SSDs) and lets get on with it. I want a reliable, fast workhorse that will last the next 4-5 years and not an iMac that will probably be relegated to an e-mail machine in 2.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Michael Phillips
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 5:39:20 pm

Remember that Apple is a brand with look and feel that is just as important to them as what it actually does. I don't see Apple adding updated technology to an existing hardware platform design as that could have been done all along. It's about the whole experience... now what their definition of high end professional workstation looks like will be interesting. There will be (needs to be) some sort of "look how clever we are, better than, factor to the offering. I think one thing it won't have is CD/DVD support. :)


Michael


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 5:51:50 pm

[Michael Phillips] "There will be (needs to be) some sort of "look how clever we are, better than, factor to the offering."

Michael,

Agreed. I think we're long past the "simply revamp the design with modern technology" phase (and I know Oliver Peters was being exasperatedly hopeful, not predictive). On the other hand, that "clever" impulse might bear something useful.

What John Siracusa doesn't really acknowledge though is that Apple are no longer a PC company - they're a gizmo and media company with a PC division. I'm not sure they're "company that loves personal computers" as he hopes, except in the sense that an iWatch is a personal computer.

Franz.


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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 5:43:10 pm

[Oliver Peters] "I want a reliable, fast workhorse that will last the next 4-5 years and not an iMac that will probably be relegated to an e-mail machine in 2."

Me too. I'll be happy if it happens, but won't be surprised if it doesn't.


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Joseph Owens
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 6:14:12 pm

[Oliver Peters] "I want a reliable, fast workhorse that will last the next 4-5 years "

That's ambitious.

I bought one quad G5 in 2006 that didn't make it one year. Of course that was due to Apple's sea-change to Intel and ramping up the OS, while completely changing their hardware/software strategy. It didn't help that actually within that one year, I had to replace that G5 three times because of internal failures of one kind or another. Serious hangar-queen-in-the-making, like early triple-Weber Ferrari V12s.

So, notes on the Siracusa article. Saw the Viper revival special on Speed a week ago or so -- interesting fight to keep the halo car, but in reality the Viper and Corvette are almost "daily drivers" compared to the really ridiculous supercars; the Veyron, MacLarens, and all the Italians. Even sensible Audi is producing a street legal LeMans car. Personally experienced a Viper 0-138 mph in a straight quarter-mile a few years back -- but here is the lesson -- almost the same experience in an SRT-10. That's "trickle-down". BTW, Jeremy Clarkson hates computers with a purple fury probably more than Akio Toyoda loves cars.

Toyota's foray into F-1 was also mostly a failure, where they blew at least a billion for a couple of podiums and not one win. But the cachet! Out there with Ferrari -- one of the most-recognized "brands" in the world, and what do they sell? Not anything you or I could buy, anything that you can get in and drive, anyway. They don't advertise, but you have to wait for a year or so for your order to be processed.... if it is accepted, because there is a very, very long line of buyers who have already put down their cash. No, the Ferrari street cars aren't even their "halo" cars -- the Scuderia handles that item, which is not for mere mortals at all. And that is why FIAT tolerates them. I don't think its exactly why JLo is running around Brooklyn in a Cinquecento, but.. it is the same company.

In fact, this is why Maserati has staged a form of comeback -- acquired by FIAT and moved into Maranello, with its step-brothers, the Ferraris.

I have to wonder if this is Adobe's problem -- as good as their product is, it just doesn't really have the sizzle. Not like the "I edit with AVID" kind of pedigree, whatever that might be good for. McLuhan put it, "the Medium IS the message"... not the zen koan it used to be, hey?

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Craig Seeman
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 6:59:42 pm

[Oliver Peters] "In fact, I think it becomes pretty stupid for Apple to worry about changing the Mac Pro form factor"

That would be if you believed the form factor were only changed for show and not some potentially utilitarian purpose. If there's a change in the form factor I suspect it'll have very good utilitarian value. That might include things from space efficiency, cooling, rack mounting, transportability, component accessibility (although some would argue they're moving away from that). Of course we won't know until we see it but I can't see any reason to believe a form factor change is just to have a new pretty box (which it might be as well).



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 5:50:32 pm

Also, from the article:

"Apple should keep pushing the limits of PC performance because it’s a company that loves personal computers. If Apple can’t get on board with that, then all the other completely valid, practical reasons to keep chasing those demons at the high end are irrelevant. The spiritual battle will have already been lost."

I would argue that a MacPro, is not a halo car.

It is the "top of the line" (read: most expensive) model that you can go in to almost any show room and drive it off the floor, or in computer terms, wait 3-4 days to get the BTO options. The same is true for all Mac computer models, when you need them fully maxed out, they come direct from the factory in a few days.

Using the current MacPro as an example, Apple is not designing the engine, the load balance, the CPU hardware and systems, the GPU systems, they are designing the chassis, to hold all of that purchased technology together, keep it cool enough to run, and practical enough to swap out what you need on the inside, and then write the software to integrate all the purchased technology and chassis together. They are not, however, designing the power plants. And really, this should be the end of my comment as there is no Xeon proc that carries Thunderbolt technology, that's why we haven't seen a new MacPro.

With the other current Macs, Apple has taken a different direction. They are, in fact, pushing the limits of the PC performance in ways that the author does not mention or perhaps simply ignores. Hard-wired RAM, non-standard SSD hard drives, high resolution integrated displays, ability to hook to ultra fast networks with computers that simply could not handle the speed or connection protocols, married to the fact that all of this tech was released to a lot of different types of working environments, which means that Apple (and intel) will have data on what works, what doesn't, and therefore be able to incorporate such findings in to a higher performance machine.

I have argued in the past that Apple was never a part of the moon race. As a company, it doesn't provide the fastest, biggest, loudest, gas guzzling machines on the planet to get you to the moon. That has never been a part of Apple history, and I don't think it will be a part of their future. The halo car is not needed for their business model to succeed. In fact, Apple has gone pretty far in ensuring that no matter what Apple product you have, it will be compatible with any other product you have, as long as the hardware is current enough to run the OS. Right now, the MacPro is the odd person out in the current Mac line up. You cannot by a Thunderbolt Apple display and plug it in to a MacPro, for instance.

I am not arguing that Apple does not need a MacPro, they do, I am just saying that building a special car that doesn't function as well as the rest of the cars in your lineup is not a business model that Apple seems to be chasing.


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Craig Seeman
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 6:54:24 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "And really, this should be the end of my comment as there is no Xeon proc that carries Thunderbolt technology, that's why we haven't seen a new MacPro. "

Quoting this because I think it needs to be hammered out loud over again every time someone decries the languishing MacPro.

The company that has pushed the envelope in the past has had to wait for a new envelope to push.

Some might argue about the long interim period between 2010 to the present but once Thunderbolt arrived in 2011 I suspect Apple decided to steer in that direction and, for reasons we can all speculate about, decided the next MacPro would have Thunderbolt to maintain the peripheral ecosystem.



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Walter Soyka
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:23:10 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I have argued in the past that Apple was never a part of the moon race. As a company, it doesn't provide the fastest, biggest, loudest, gas guzzling machines on the planet to get you to the moon. That has never been a part of Apple history, and I don't think it will be a part of their future."

I typically disagree with Jeremy on this point, because I believe that Apple has delivered some really serious workstations, particularly during the Intel era. I make some points about Macs being built with the fastest components available at the time of their launches; he makes some points about Macs not getting the same speed bumps that PCs do and having less expansion and worse GPUs. We end up kind of talking past each other.

Let me approach this conversation another way:

What is the point of a tower with dual Xeons, a 980W power supply, eight RAM slots, 4 PCIe slots, 4 hard drive bays, 2 optical bays, and a stack of heatsinks and fans, if not to be big and loud and guzzle gas and take you to the moon?

Why sell a Mac workstation at all if it's not suited to big CPU/GPU/memory/storage/throughput needs?

For the sake of argument, I can agree that Apple doesn't need to be the absolute fastest on the market -- but gadzooks, Apple hasn't been this far behind on high-end performance since the G5 clock speeds stalled eight or nine years ago.




[Craig Seeman] "The company that has pushed the envelope in the past has had to wait for a new envelope to push."

What company is that -- Intel? They're the brains behind Xeon and Thunderbolt, right?

If Apple's big advantage is that the build the whole system, hardware and software, what are they waiting for? Why aren't they designing and building the Xeon/Thunderbolt motherboard?

I have a lot of respect for Apple's other products. They're truly well-designed. They've elevated miniaturization to an art form. But given that power and size are inversely proportional, I don't understand the call from so many here for a smaller and less capable workstation. (Rack mounting is a red herring -- the Z8x0 rack mounts and holds more stuff than the Mac Pro.)


[Craig Seeman] "Some might argue about the long interim period between 2010 to the present but once Thunderbolt arrived in 2011 I suspect Apple decided to steer in that direction and, for reasons we can all speculate about, decided the next MacPro would have Thunderbolt to maintain the peripheral ecosystem."

I do see where you're going with this, but it seems to ignore the fact that Apple will gladly sell you a new Mac Pro today -- and it doesn't have Thunderbolt.

I just don't see how it's better for Apple's customers to have the option of a purchasing an out-of-date workstation without Thunderbolt instead of an otherwise-current workstation without Thunderbolt. Put another way, even if no Thunderbolt is a given, why must the rest of the machine languish with 2011 specs?

I honestly feel badly for everyone here who is stuck waiting on on the Mac Pro of the Future. I think that you are being under-served by your preferred vendor, and I sincerely hope that the wait proves worthwhile.

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


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:28:24 pm

Walter,

Welcome back. Your perspective and insight (and court comportment) have been missed.

Franz.


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Walter Soyka
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:35:56 pm

Thank you, Franz!

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


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Michael Phillips
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:37:30 pm

I think when it really comes down to it, many people are looking for a powerful platform with latest, fastest, and multiple connections that runs OSX. I would think that everyone here would be fine running OSX on a sanctioned and supported HP Xbox if that were available.


Michael


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Andrew Kimery
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:43:31 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I have argued in the past that Apple was never a part of the moon race. As a company, it doesn't provide the fastest, biggest, loudest, gas guzzling machines on the planet to get you to the moon. That has never been a part of Apple history, and I don't think it will be a part of their future."

Apple has been part of the moon race though. I remember in the 90's Apple had ads with snails carrying intel chips and when the G5 launched Apple proclaimed it the "world's fastest personal computer". Apple dosen't always have the fastest horse in the stable but when they do they aren't afraid to let everyone know.

Even though the car analogy isn't perfect I do think there is merit for having a halo product. The iPod cast a halo over Apple at a time when the company didn't have very much else to crow about and FCP Legend's success in Hollywood gave Apple cache beyond the pro market. Whatever Apple does with this future MacPro product there is a lot hanging on it (unfairly or not).


-Andrew




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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:02:20 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "Apple has been part of the moon race though. I remember in the 90's Apple had ads with snails carrying intel chips and when the G5 launched Apple proclaimed it the "world's fastest personal computer". Apple dosen't always have the fastest horse in the stable but when they do they aren't afraid to let everyone know."

This discussion was had two years ago on this thread. Walter S mentioned some sort of tank advertisement.

Apple is not in the speed game, if that was so, they would have updated the MacPro to the latest hardware and dealt with it, and really all you have to do is look at the i7 offerings, more on that later.

Yes, when they do release new hardware, it is just as fast as HP or the beige box stores, but I can pretty much guarantee that the box won't do as much. It will have less PCI slots, it will have less internal expansion, it will have less room for multiple GPUs, it will have less cores. This is not to say the MacPro is a slouch, but when you compare it dollar for dollar, feature for feature, it will be "hobbled" or at least it won't be the fastest sky rocket in the aviation community.

Look at Apple's current i7 offerings, then look at intel's i7 offerings. There are faster i7s available, there are 6 core i7s available. Are they in Apple hardware? No, they are not. They would be if Apple really wanted to play the speed game.

Jeremy


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Chris Kenny
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 11:40:15 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Look at Apple's current i7 offerings, then look at intel's i7 offerings. There are faster i7s available, there are 6 core i7s available. Are they in Apple hardware? No, they are not. They would be if Apple really wanted to play the speed game."

The 6-core i7s are Socket 2011 — as has been extensively discussed, there's no solution for Thunderbolt with Socket 2011 so far. iMacs are configurable with up to an i7 3770, which is in fact the fastest i7 Intel sells excluding the 'K' model of the same chip. (The 'K' series processors are targeted at overclockers and aren't generally offered by mainstream OEMs. And in any event the 3770K has a base clock only 3% higher, an irrelevant difference.)

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:55:40 am

[Chris Kenny] "(The 'K' series processors are targeted at overclockers and aren't generally offered by mainstream OEMs. And in any event the 3770K has a base clock only 3% higher, an irrelevant difference.)"

If there was a definitive statement that Apple is not in the speed game, it would be the above.

Yes, the 6 core is without TBolt, it is why they don't have a 6core iMac (or 6 core i7 "tower" for that matter).

There is also a different class of i7 procs that aren't offered by Apple, in the i7 "Extreme" desktops that go beyond the K series.

Again, this is evidence that Apple doesn't release technology just to release it, for better or worse.


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Chris Kenny
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 1:04:15 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "If there was a definitive statement that Apple is not in the speed game, it would be the above."

It's not nearly that clear cut. Apple is in fact offering the fastest processors they can offer without sacrificing significant functionality. This suggests that Apple does care about processor performance... they just don't care exclusively about processor performance.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 1:16:34 am

[Chris Kenny] "It's not nearly that clear cut. Apple is in fact offering the fastest processors they can offer without sacrificing significant functionality. This suggests that Apple does care about processor performance... they just don't care exclusively about processor performance."

There is a difference between a fast car, and the fastest car.

Moore's law determines that by simple logic, the new class of CPU is faster than the old CPU.

This is the distinction I am trying to make, crappy car analogies aside.

Apple does not care about the fastest. They do care about overall performance of modern technology, which happens through the inertia of technology development, but offering the fastest at all times isn't the goal.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 3:34:35 am

I agree that Apple hasn't shown a desire to have the absolute fastest tower. I mean, I don't think they were ever in the 'big iron' market like SGI but I can't look back at Apple's history and agree that they've never wanted to have fastest off-the-shelf towers around (fastest in class, if you will). Maybe just the use of the word "never" is where I'm getting hung up. Dual CPU's have been common on Mac towers for around a decade, the Mac Pros use Xeon CPU's (intel's workstation, not consumer, line of CPU's), it wasn't until the G3 era that Apple started skimping on the expansion slots, Apple claiming that the G5 at launch was the world's fastest personal computer, etc.,. If Apple didn't want to put out fastest in class towers I think they at least wanted to present themselves as having the fastest and, for the sake of this discussion (having a halo product), I think it's a difference that doesn't make a difference.

With all that being said I would not be surprised if Apple wants to 're-imagine' the Mac Pro into a smaller form factor box that is expandable via optical ThunderBolt. I think Apple sees traditional towers as the new big iron machines and doesn't want to compete in an increasingly shrinking marketplace full of very demanding customers.




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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 3:27:24 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "I don't think they were ever in the 'big iron' market like SGI but I can't look back at Apple's history and agree that they've never wanted to have fastest off-the-shelf towers around (fastest in class, if you will). "

I think what is getting misinterpreted is that when I say Apple doesn't offer the fastest computers is that somehow translates to Apple offers slow computers. That is not my intention and not what I am saying at all.

What I am trying to convey is that Apple does not and have not offered the fastest, biggest, loudest, most expandable computers in their history, so I can't imagine that is suddenly going to change if history can predict the future.

Have they offered a competitive product over the years? Certainly.

But even today, while the current crop of Retina MacBook Pros are fantastic machines, they aren't customizable, they don't have the fastest GPU, they don't have every single connection including 56k modem and 9 pin serial, they don't have as much RAM as you can stuff in a laptop these days, they don't have an extra internal hard drive slot, therefore they don't have the fastest, loudest, heaviest i7 available because you can easily out spec a MacBook Pro in something like an HP. They are the fastest Apple laptops ever created, but they aren't as fast as you can go. Doesn't this mean that Apple can say, marketing wise, that they are releasing the fastest PC* on the planet?

The MacBook Pros are amazing for the power that you do get in such an efficient machine, but they aren't looking to win the sky rocket mach test; you can still run really fast even if you aren't looking to have the fastest time.

There was a moment during the Mac Clone Years when the MacOS was licensed out and you could purchase more than what the equivalent Apple manufactured box was offering. I am sure there are some that would like to see those days return.

If I had to predict what is coming, I'd imagine a Xeon workstation with Phi. In my mind, Phi makes so much sense for Apple to offer.

And thus begins the next round of Walter S commentary about parallel vs co-processing vs GPGPU, vs Jeremy's Crazy Ramblings, etc and so forth. ;)

Jeremy



*Designed by Apple Inc in California


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Walter Soyka
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 3:50:13 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "And thus begins the next round of Walter S commentary about parallel vs co-processing vs GPGPU, vs Jeremy's Crazy Ramblings, etc and so forth. ;)"

No crazy ramblings here -- that'd be awesome! It would take a little time for the software to really catch up and take advantage of that system, but putting the hardware out there would break the chicken-and-egg problem.

This workstation would make me happy:
Dual Xeons
Lots of RAM
Discrete NVIDIA GPU
Phi co-processor
PCIe slots


This "workstation" would make me sad:
Single i7/Xeon
Limited RAM
Integrated GPU
Phi co-processor
Small case

Thunderbolt -- honestly, with the current version, I could take it or leave it. The next revision might change that.

And thus begins the next round of Craig S commentary about power vs form factor vs peripheral expansion, vs Walter's Crazy Ramblings, etc and so forth ;)

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 4:05:17 pm

[Walter Soyka] "And thus begins the next round of Craig S commentary about power vs form factor vs peripheral expansion, vs Walter's Crazy Ramblings, etc and so forth ;)"

Ha! It is good to have you back.


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Walter Soyka
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 4:16:32 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Ha! It is good to have you back."

Thanks, mate -- much appreciated!

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


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Andrew Kimery
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 9:51:51 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "But even today, while the current crop of Retina MacBook Pros are fantastic machines, they aren't customizable, "

I was only talking about Apple's towers. The focus of the portable line has been about portability and size rather than shoving tower power into a laptop that weighed a ton and had less than an hour of battery life.


Overall I feel like overall we are closer in POV than not, but sometimes parsing shades of grey on the internet can make mole hill sized differences appear to be mountains.

Basically I think my point is even if Apple never offered "... the fastest, biggest, loudest, most expandable computers..." they offered something close enough that they felt comfortable marketing their towers as the fastest because they wanted the public to perceive their towers as the fastest. The point of the orignal article was how a halo product could enhance public perception of a whole company so whether Apple actually hit the mark or not is a difference that doesn't make a difference in this instances as Apple wanted the prestige that having a top dog tower could bring.

With regards to halo products in general I think that Apple has certainly benefited from things like the iPod's status in its early days and FCP Legend being used in major Hollywood productions. I think their purchase of Shake was also done in part to gain more professional cache and extend the halo FCP had created.




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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 11:15:29 pm

All good points, Andrew.

Apple's current halo is the iPhone.

Many people's first Apple experience is an iPhone, then they go in and look at the shiny computers, and then they buy one.

Having a really screaming and new MacPro with 48 Xeons, 4 GPUs and an array of SSDs isn't going to do that, at least at the volume that Apple likes to see.

I just don't think it works that way anymore.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 28, 2013 at 4:46:43 am

I agree that the market has certainly changed and expanded. Mobile is where the big growth is while tower usage has shrunk and will continue to until it plateaus to just the people that actually need what towers have to offer. We are heading into a time when phones/tablets are the new laptops, laptops are the new desktops, iMacs are the new towers and towers are the new big iron machines.

Apple's never been in the big iron business so I wouldn't be surprised if the Mac Pro replacement is a 're-imagining' of the what a tower computer could be. It would be inspiring to some, disappointing to others and shocking to all. ThB still being copper (and therefore not fast enough for speedy GPUs) is one thing that makes me think the next Mac Pro might basically stay the same but just get updated guts.

Today a fast tower isn't a halo product for a typical consumer like it was in years past but I still think it is for professional users and aspiring professional users. That brings us back to the big question of the last few years... How much does Apple care about addressing the needs of the pro market?


-Andrew




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Oliver Peters
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:51:00 am

"Apple's never been in the big iron business"

Hmm... Everyone seems to have selective amnesia on this one. If you define that as mainframes, then, no. OTOH, Apple quite prominently promoted its G5 as the fastest computer and was very instrumental in promoting the use of multiple Xserves in computing clusters. There were several universities running the top ranked supercomputers in the world based on such clusters. Then there's the heavy investment in Xserve RAIDs. That's where Active (now defunct I believe) came from. If you ever visited the Apple NAB booth in its peak, it was a perfect example of heavy iron running behind the scenes. For a long time, Apple had a very active enterprise sales team, which included both sales and engineering support. That's why many network and large facility installations invested heavily in Apple technology. Not because the staff editors convinced management to buy FCP.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Michael Phillips
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 28, 2013 at 12:04:49 pm

Exactly... there was a whole broadcast/enterprise team doing just that. And don't forget the ad where it was illegal to export a Mac as it was too fast according to national security standards or something to that effect.

But along the way they discovered and delivered ipod, which got them into distribution, which made every man, woman and child in the world over the age of 5 a target customer for one or all of the products from iPod, to iPhone, tablet, notebook and 30% of content running through those devices. And once they got into distribution it didn't really mater what system was used to create it, the more the merrier! :)

Apple realized early on, a lesson Avid finally did, that selling an editing system into recognizable studio feature film did nothing for those buying consumer editing systems.


Michael


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Andrew Kimery
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 28, 2013 at 9:29:53 pm

[Oliver Peters] "OTOH, Apple quite prominently promoted its G5 as the fastest computer and was very instrumental in promoting the use of multiple Xserves in computing clusters. "

I've mentioned Apple promoting the G5 as the fastest personal computer on Earth a couple of times already. "Personal" being the key word but even with that stipulation I still think they ran afoul of consumer protection laws in Europe and had to pull the ads.

By big iron I was thinking more along the lines of SGI's Octane boxes or propriety/custom hardware in high end rigs. Basically systems that couldn't be bought off-the-shelf. Apple's various 'desktop revolutions' (publishing, music production, DVD authoring, editing, color correction, etc.,) helped cut off big iron products at the knees by showing that desktops can now provide 'good enough' performance for a fraction of the price.

[Michael Phillips] "And don't forget the ad where it was illegal to export a Mac as it was too fast according to national security standards or something to that effect."

I don't remember that but I do remember when the PS2 when came out it had to get a special import/export exemption as, at the time, it qualified as military grade tech.




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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 28, 2013 at 1:09:41 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Apple quite prominently promoted its G5 as the fastest computer"

This is straight from the horses mouth, be sure to follow the asterisk: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2003/06/23Apple-Unleashes-the-Worlds-Fastes...

While Apple did have a server line, they don't anymore.

They got out of big data.

The offered replacements? A MacMini, and a MacPro.

I have buddies running multiuser, live broadcast environments with a couple of MacMinis as the metadata servers, with data served over Thunderbolt and then out to Ethernet.

ToolsOnAir has TV Station in a Mac running content through Mac minis and ioXTs.

Perhaps, these smaller computers are fast enough to get things done these days.

Of course, if you're talking about a 200 person operation, Thunderbolt won't hack it, but in the 2-10 person compressed broadcast outfit? It's a cakewalk.


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Oliver Peters
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 28, 2013 at 3:00:46 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "While Apple did have a server line, they don't anymore.
They got out of big data.
The offered replacements? A MacMini, and a MacPro. "


Oh, I quite agree. And Jobs famously said enterprise customers were a PITA to deal with. Success in the consumer space, attitude and less of a need for true "heavy iron" has moved them into a different direction.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 28, 2013 at 3:04:22 pm

[Oliver Peters] "And Jobs famously said enterprise customers were a PITA to deal with."

Actually, it was the people using the devices didn't have any say on what they used, and the people that made the decisions on what to use were confused. Essentially, the users couldn't vote for themselves.







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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 28, 2013 at 7:09:40 pm

Priceless. I plan on using the opening of this any time someone tries to convince me that Apple really, really, really cares about the Mac Pro.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Apr 1, 2013 at 12:07:48 am

Here is the equivalent of a halo car in the computer world:

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/03/worlds-fastest-superc...


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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Apr 1, 2013 at 6:51:09 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "Here is the equivalent of a halo car in the computer world:

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/03/worlds-fastest-superc.....

"


Apparently a little too much sizzle in that core. One of the 22 most powerful computers in the world, but not worth the cost of the power it takes to run it! Amazing.


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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 28, 2013 at 5:13:21 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "Having a really screaming and new MacPro with 48 Xeons, 4 GPUs and an array of SSDs isn't going to do that, at least at the volume that Apple likes to see.

I just don't think it works that way anymore.
"


I agree completely. I think Apple does too.


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Craig Seeman
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:42:16 pm

[Walter Soyka] "What company is that -- Intel? They're the brains behind Xeon and Thunderbolt, right?

If Apple's big advantage is that the build the whole system, hardware and software, what are they waiting for? Why aren't they designing and building the Xeon/Thunderbolt motherboard?"


They may have to, at least going forward. Intel has said they're going to wind down their motherboard business.

Until the new MacPro is released we won't know the path taken but there may well have been some quandary over "wait for Intel" vs "let's do it ourselves because we'll have to eventually."

[Walter Soyka] "Apple will gladly sell you a new Mac Pro today -- and it doesn't have Thunderbolt."

I'm not sure if they're glad. They certainly have no interest in doing what appears to be minor changes for EU market for a few months. I've said before it's more like they'll sell you one if they have to but they don't want to sell new machines that may be in services for years without Thunderbolt. In other words given their options, they'd rather gamble on pent up demand rather than to have updated to Sandy Bridge Xeons in 2012.


[Walter Soyka] "I honestly feel badly for everyone here who is stuck waiting on on the Mac Pro of the Future. I think that you are being under-served by your preferred vendor, and I sincerely hope that the wait proves worthwhile."

No arguments from me there. I had to update my 2008 MacPro with an ATI 5770 even thought the 5770 & 5870 are not officially compatible. Apple certainly could have gotten more money from me if they had a MacPro worth updating to. I'm also consulting some customers in the EU who must have a new MacPro NOW for their business and would settle for the 2010/2012 pitiful version and they can't even get that. Apple has "gladly" decide NOT to sell them a MacPro.

For all we know Apple is punching out Intel in some back room screaming "why didn't you give us that motherboard last year."



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Walter Soyka
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:20:45 pm

[Craig Seeman] "I've said before it's more like they'll sell you one if they have to but they don't want to sell new machines that may be in services for years without Thunderbolt. In other words given their options, they'd rather gamble on pent up demand rather than to have updated to Sandy Bridge Xeons in 2012."

Look at your 5-year old Mac Pro -- the machines Apple are selling today may well be in service for years without Thunderbolt, modern Xeons, or USB 3.0...

That said, I do understand your thinking here. I'll assume you're correct. The thing is -- I don't care what's good for Apple. I care what's good for me (an Apple customer). I also like to think that Apple cares what's good for me (an Apple customer).

There is always something newer and better around the corner. Why not wait until optical Thunderbolt comes out? If you're going to wait that long, why not optical Thunderbolt 2.0? This is like some kind of reverse Osborne effect [link].

Coming back to the issue of trust that underscores this entire forum, I'd feel a lot better building a business on Apple products if they were a bit more consistent in offering competitive products.


[Craig Seeman] "For all we know Apple is punching out Intel in some back room screaming "why didn't you give us that motherboard last year.""

An alternative: for all we know, Apple was considering canceling the Mac Pro and never asked Intel for that motherboard last year, and have since reversed course.

I don't really think it matters what the reason was, or who is yelling at whom in back rooms. All the other workstation vendors have current offerings, and Apple doesn't. For the embarrassment of riches from Apple in the consumer space and professional portable space, the gaping hole in their professional lineup -- and looking at recent history, the specter of holes like this appearing again and again -- is hugely unsettling for a business built on high-powered Apple hardware.

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


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Craig Seeman
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 10:04:40 pm

[Walter Soyka] "That said, I do understand your thinking here. I'll assume you're correct. The thing is -- I don't care what's good for Apple. I care what's good for me (an Apple customer). I also like to think that Apple cares what's good for me (an Apple customer)."

Apple knows that you care about Thunderbolt and USB3 in your MacPro.
Apple knows that you care about being frugal and wouldn't dream of selling you a computer without the above only to have to replace it as you buy all these peripherals to use with your other Macs.
;)

[Walter Soyka] "There is always something newer and better around the corner. Why not wait until optical Thunderbolt comes out? If you're going to wait that long, why not optical Thunderbolt 2.0?"

Apple knows you care very much about Thunderbolt 2.0 and that you will care enough to buy another MacPro in two years to get it. Apple knows you will care so much that you will update your MacPro like you update your iPhone every two years. Apple knows you will no longer care about being frugal at that point.
;)


[Walter Soyka] "For the embarrassment of riches from Apple in the consumer space and professional portable space, the gaping hole in their professional lineup -- and looking at recent history, the specter of holes like this appearing again and again -- is hugely unsettling for a business built on high-powered Apple hardware."

Apple knows you care about having to buy only one Pegasus Raid and AJA IO XT and use it with all your computers including your MacPro. Apple knows you care about not having to buy one set of devices for their laptops and all-in-ones and another big expense just for your MacPro devices. Apple knows you care about peripheral usability across their ecosystem.

Apple knows what you care about as they have told what is important. Apple knows care not for waiting so they give you baubles like iPad Mini while you wait patiently for the MacPro you care about.
;)

The funny thing about it is that they might actually be right or many more of us would be buying HP Z series workstations.

Apple even knows that you care so much about Thunderbolt some of you went out and built Hackintoshes with Asus motherboards or might even be using Windows and that you will care very much that you can use those devices with Macs when Apple comes out with the only Xeon based computer with Thunderbolt.
;)



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Walter Soyka
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 1:46:09 pm

[Craig Seeman] "The funny thing about it is that they might actually be right or many more of us would be buying HP Z series workstations."

My suspicion is that this has more to do with people disliking Windows (deservedly or not) or preferring FCP/FCPX for their workflows than it has to do with the Thunderbolt ecosystem -- especially since everyone still clinging to their old Mac Pros, waiting for an update, is by definition not in the Thunderbolt ecosystem.

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


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nicolas horne
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Apr 2, 2013 at 8:01:52 pm

[Craig Seeman] "one Pegasus Raid and AJA IO XT"

just what i did last year, while waiting for a new mac pro :-/


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:06:51 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I typically disagree with Jeremy on this point, because I believe that Apple has delivered some really serious workstations, particularly during the Intel era."

And, I will not disagree that Apple has delivered fast workstations.

They do not deliver the fastEST work stations nor do they care about having the fastest clock speeds, number of cores, number of PCI slots, number of RAM compartments, etc.

Look at the current i7 offerings for proof.

Jeremy


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Michael Hancock
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:12:01 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "They do not deliver the fastEST work stations nor do they care about having the fastest clock speeds, number of cores, number of PCI slots, number of RAM compartments, etc."

They had advertisements about their G5 workstations claiming they were the fasted personal computers in the world.







I suppose the takeaway there is that they said "personal computer" and not workstation. So I guess they weren't even in the workstation game then. If the next Mac Pro isn't a workstation, I guess they're just returning to their roots? :-)

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:23:38 pm

[Michael Hancock] "They had advertisements about their G5 workstations claiming they were the fasted personal computers in the world. "

I will have to try and find the thread from a couple of years ago. We have talked about all these examples including this one.

Can Apple say the same today? There are many unsubstantiated claims made in marketing.

If we are going to use history as an example, I will ask you these questions:

Do you remember when Apple introduced their version of intel CPU machines?

Do you remember which computers came first and what came later?

What do you think Apple was waiting for back then?


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Walter Soyka
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:40:05 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "They do not deliver the fastEST work stations nor do they care about having the fastest clock speeds, number of cores, number of PCI slots, number of RAM compartments, etc. Look at the current i7 offerings for proof."

One factor here is changing demand, and an unchanging Mac Pro design. The 2006-2010 Mac Pros didn't have the most slots, but they had enough for most of us. GPGPU wasn't around yet. It wasn't until 2011 or so that 4 slots started feeling really restrictive.

But I'll agree with your point: Apple's current lineup demonstrates that they are not in the performance/expansion game. So I'll ask again: what is the point of a Mac Pro successor if not to get back into that game?

I guess my mixed-metaphor point is this: in the moon race, Apple is the hare, but the tortoises have their running sneakers on.

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:55:24 pm

[Walter Soyka] "So I'll ask again: what is the point of a Mac Pro successor if not to get back into that game?"

So, you think that when a new MacPro comes out, it will be the cream of the crop of personal computers beating out the HP Z800 series, or something like a ProMax One on features? They won't be in the speed game, they will be in the, "We have a new product for our customers" game.

If Apple did release a MacPro with Thunderbolt, you think that it wouldn't sell?

Jeremy


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 11:09:59 pm

Apple could release a rounded glass box full of air, and as long as it had a finely etched Apple on it, thousands of suckers (I mean seekers) would buy it...

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 11:23:01 pm

[Joseph W. Bourke] "Apple could release a rounded glass box full of air,"

It worked for the G4 cube. Makes a fine fish tank. ;-)

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 25, 2013 at 11:29:17 pm

[Joseph W. Bourke] "Apple could release a rounded glass box full of air, and as long as it had a finely etched Apple on it, thousands of suckers (I mean seekers) would buy it..."

Did you just break your NDA with Apple?

Hey I like my pet rock! It costs nothing to feed, uses no electricity, has outlasted anything I ever bought made by Apple. ;)



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Walter Soyka
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:48:51 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "So, you think that when a new MacPro comes out, it will be the cream of the crop of personal computers beating out the HP Z800 series, or something like a ProMax One on features? They won't be in the speed game, they will be in the, "We have a new product for our customers" game."

I don't know what it will be, but I'd assume it will offer some serious power in order to differentiate from the rest of the line. If it doesn't, what's the point?


[Jeremy Garchow] "If Apple did release a MacPro with Thunderbolt, you think that it wouldn't sell?"

I do think it would sell. That'd be useful to quite a few of us here, I'm sure.

I know that my needs are a little different, but I care way more about CPU/RAM/GPU than Thunderbolt right now.

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 1:58:58 am

[Walter Soyka] "I don't know what it will be, but I'd assume it will offer some serious power in order to differentiate from the rest of the line. If it doesn't, what's the point?"

It will have power due to it being a brand new CPU.

If Apple wanted to offer the latest intel power plant, they could, but they must not see a point to that release.

Yet, they obviously see a point in keeping that channel open.


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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 3:44:18 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "[Walter Soyka] "I don't know what it will be, but I'd assume it will offer some serious power in order to differentiate from the rest of the line. If it doesn't, what's the point?"

It will have power due to it being a brand new CPU.

If Apple wanted to offer the latest intel power plant, they could, but they must not see a point to that release.

Yet, they obviously see a point in keeping that channel open.
"


I know I'm in the minority here, but I still believe that Apple gave up on the Mac Pro, but then was shamed--mostly by developers--into promising something new. I DO believe we will now get one because of last year's developers conference, and that it will be pretty good because they will live up to their promise, but I don't think they actually give two poops about it. If they did, they would have been upgrading it all along.

Something that isn't discussed here much--if at all--is the idea that, in addition to mobility, Apple is committed to lower power consumption, and in the light of global warming, monster trucks like the Mac Pro just don't fit into what they want to be producing. I, personally, would still like to have a monster truck, but hey, maybe they are saving me from myself. I certainly don't believe that this is the primary reason for them potentially ditching the Mac Pro, but I do think it feeds into it.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:19:40 pm

[Chris Harlan] "I know I'm in the minority here, but I still believe that Apple gave up on the Mac Pro, but then was shamed--mostly by developers--into promising something new."

Apple has no issue with dumping products.

An extremely modest MacPro refresh was made available at WWDC, not afterwards.

They didn't drop MacPro sales and then reinstate it.

I understand there are healthy reasons for perpetual cynicism around here and that Apple left a lot of video prifessionals hanging, but shamed in to making a new MacPro? I don't see it. If anything, they would have offered an parachute strategy like they did with the XServe and closed the doors.

Since the decision was made to keep the older tech on the shelf, it seems to me that someone at Apple has a plan.

What Apple was shamed in to doing was removing the blue "new" tag off of the MacPro on the Apple Store a day or two after WWDC.

As far as energy efficiency, I whole heartedly agree with you. I mentioned gas guzzlers a few times in this thread. Also, working with fcpx, it is amazing to me how much organization can get done in an incredibly economized use of space. It allows doing more with less despite what Gallagher argues. I hope the timeline receives a few more economies.


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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 6:39:10 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Apple has no issue with dumping products."

Oh yeah. Let's Shake on that.

[Jeremy Garchow] "An extremely modest MacPro refresh was made available at WWDC, not afterwards. "

Shirley, you jest! No. It wasn't even extremely modest. It didn't get close to that mark. It was a blundering, infinitesimal PR refresh that kind of took place. One that they had to apologize for on the same day.

[Jeremy Garchow] "shamed in to making a new MacPro? I don't see it. "

The Developers were quite upset and very vocal about it. And, they have quite a bit more pull than video editors.


[Jeremy Garchow] "Since the decision was made to keep the older tech on the shelf, it seems to me that someone at Apple has a plan. "

Why? They kept Shake on the shelf for years, and they didn't have a plan. They just knew, instinctively, that they couldn't quite kill it, so they just let it languish and get long in the tooth.


[Jeremy Garchow] "What Apple was shamed in to doing was removing the blue "new" tag off of the MacPro on the Apple Store a day or two after WWDC.
"


That's for sure. And they should have been ashamed of it; it was a chiseler's move.


[Jeremy Garchow] " It allows doing more with less despite what Gallagher argues."

Yeah, well we'll just have to disagree about that.


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Marcus Moore
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 3:52:18 am

It will be relatively easy to tell if you're wrong once the machine comes out.

Any substantive design or philosophy changes will mean that it's been in the works well before WWDC 2012. You don't turn around development on brand new hardware in a year.



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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 4:06:20 am

Hardly. How small a company do you think they are? They spend tons on development. They'll have had all kinds of plans and prototyping to fall back on.


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Marcus Moore
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 4:53:03 am

Hardware design doesn't work like that, you can't just throw people and money at the problem and make it go faster. Just like with software design, after a certain point, more people doesn't help.

If there's no serious hardware design change, you might have a case to make. Otherwise, you'd be nuts to think they can design, prototype, finalize, set up overseas manufacturing lines, get them up to speed, and start manufacturing units in 12 months.

But if Apple had planned on ending the MacPro, then last year's non-update makes no sense at all. And that's beside the point that the well-connected Jim Dalrymple had already stated before WWDC that Apple wasn't ending the MacPro line.

I think what we've had here, as others have mentioned, was an unfortunately confluence of timing and priorities for Apple.

Perhaps very similar to what happened with X, where it's development cycle was artificially lengthened due to the mid-stream decision by Apple to abandon 64bit carbon.



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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 5:40:22 am

[Marcus Moore] "Hardware design doesn't work like that, you can't just throw people and money at the problem and make it go faster. Just like with software design, after a certain point, more people doesn't help.
"


I never said that it did. I said that they already had plans and prototyping to fall back on.

[Marcus Moore] "If there's no serious hardware design change, you might have a case to make. Otherwise, you'd be nuts to think they can design, prototype, finalize, set up overseas manufacturing lines, get them up to speed, and start manufacturing units in 12 months.
"


That's not what I'm saying at all. They would have been designing and prototyping even while their interest was flagging. Your naive to think it is some sort of either/or situation, and that they wouldn't have several available alternate plans to move on. They've been designing and prototyping alternatives for years. Look at the Macbook Pro variations that never showed up in production, but manage to appear some years later on eBay. They have a vigorous R&D department, and undoubtedly had many paths to choose from the day after they made the hint of an announcement. There were all kinds of rumors floating around two years ago about a radical design involving a much smaller Mac Pro. No doubt this came from material orders for prototypes, and the like.

[Marcus Moore] "But if Apple had planned on ending the MacPro, then last year's non-update makes no sense at all. And that's beside the point that the well-connected Jim Dalrymple had already stated before WWDC that Apple wasn't ending the MacPro line.
"


Yes, last year's non-update was a hasty PR bungle that went sideways. Everyone around here talks as if Apple has a single mind, and doesn't reverse or change directions. That's just not true. There are all kinds of internal fights and clashing priorities. You are making far too many assumptions based on air.



[Marcus Moore] "Perhaps very similar to what happened with X, where it's development cycle was artificially lengthened due to the mid-stream decision by Apple to abandon 64bit carbon.
"


And there is one of many perfect examples of one side of Apple not knowing what another side is doing.


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Marcus Moore
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 1:22:27 pm

[Chris Harlan] "I never said that it did. I said that they already had plans and prototyping to fall back on. "

If that's true, then how committed could they have even been to EOL'ing the MacPro at all? If Apple had a plan to move out of this space, then they would have stopped designing next-gen towers years ago. And I'm no computer engineer, but I don't think you can just pick up a, let's say, 2010 design concept- pull it out of the box and pop next gen processors in it.

And honestly, I don't think the tech backlash was THAT intense that it could account for a 24hr turnaround in Apple's product development roadmap at the executive level.

Undoubtably, Apple should never have put a "NEW" tag on the MacPro after WWDC. It wasn't an update or a refresh- it was them swapping out one component for another that wasn't being manufactured anymore.

Apple's biggest sins in the last few years [MacPro and X] hasn't been what they've done, it's how they've miss-positioned those things to their intended audience. Basically their PR has been crap.

As I mentioned before, weeks before WWDC, Jim D of the Loop made the statement that the MacPro wasn't going away. Jim isn't a rumour monger. He only speaks on stuff he has sources for. Perhaps Apple knew there was going to be backlash on the MacPro, so they wanted to get the word out that this internals switch wasn't another sign that the product was waiting to die. That seems more logical to me than the 11th hour switch your suggesting.

[Chris Harlan] And there is one of many perfect examples of one side of Apple not knowing what another side is doing.

I think that's a gross over-simplification of really complex issues. What's the alternative? All Final Cut development stops while they dev team waits for the OS-level engineers to decide on Carbon vs Cocoa? I'm not sure what the rational ultimately was in 2010 to end 64 bit carbon development, but decisions like that take years to way the pros and cons of. It was a late-stage decision from all indications, and a far-reaching one. FCP just happened to be a program in the wrong stage of development when that happened. Or the best, if you like the result (which I do).

But overall I think that the product itself when released will answer a lot of questions as to what's been going on with it's development.



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Walter Soyka
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 1:51:52 pm

[Marcus Moore] "Apple's biggest sins in the last few years [MacPro and X] hasn't been what they've done, it's how they've miss-positioned those things to their intended audience. Basically their PR has been crap."

I respectfully disagree.

No amount of PR could have papered over the unexpected workflow-shattering product cancellations and discontinuities we've seen in the last couple years.

Apple had been establishing trust from about 2000 to about 2010, and then they broke it -- now they have to establish it again -- with products, not PR.


[Marcus Moore] "I'm not sure what the rational ultimately was in 2010 to end 64 bit carbon development, but decisions like that take years to way the pros and cons of."

From Daring Fireball's The $64,000 Question [link]:

"One aspect of the saga that Nack sidesteps — perhaps for political reasons, or perhaps because he’s gracious — is the degree to which Apple pulled the rug out from under Adobe’s feet at WWDC 2007 last June. When Leopard was first announced at WWDC 2006 nine months prior, it included full 64-bit support for both Carbon and Cocoa.

"64-bit Carbon wasn’t promised to be coming “sometime”, like with, say, resolution independence. It was promised for 10.5.0. And it existed — developer seeds of Leopard up through WWDC 2007 had in-progress 64-bit Carbon libraries, and Adobe engineers were developing against them. Several sources1 have confirmed to me that Adobe found out that Apple was dropping support for 64-bit Carbon at the same time everyone else outside Apple did: on the first day of WWDC 2007."


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


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Marcus Moore
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 2:11:50 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I respectfully disagree.

No amount of PR could have papered over the unexpected workflow-shattering product cancellations and discontinuities we've seen in the last couple years.

Apple had been establishing trust from about 2000 to about 2010, and then they broke it -- now they have to establish it again -- with products, not PR. "


Products first- but I think PR is important. I think FCPX was a PR disaster more than anything else. I've stated my case before that if Apple had approached the FCP7 to FCPX transition more like the one from OS9 to OSX,I don't think you would have seen nearly as chilly a reception. I'm sure some would still have knee-jerked at the iMovie-esque interface; but a delineated transition period from one to the other, rather than an abrupt EOLing of FCP7 would I think have jangled a lot less nerves.

Thanks for the DF link. That's good reading.



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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 7:11:11 pm

I don't want to rehash all of this stuff again. I've already had all of these arguments, seemingly several times, and seem to continue to have them anytime we draw near an even vaguely potential Mac Pro announce date. This conversation will die down when nothing is announced at NAB and then flare up again towards June. My guess is that something probably will be announced in June, that you can probably buy, or at least order, in Aug. or Oct. My guess is that it will not be in its current form factor, but will look something like what people were speculating about back in 2010.

People tend to anthropomorphize Apple more than any other company I know, probably because of Steve Jobs' once tight control and his mesmerizing PR talks. Unfortunately, I think that illusion clouds the vision of far too many onlookers.


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Walter Soyka
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 1:56:08 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "It will have power due to it being a brand new CPU. "

I'm not looking for a workstation with a year's worth of Moore's Law improvements over an iMac.

I want a computer that can take me to the moon. I know I'm a little different than most folks here. I'm a designer before I'm an editor. My renders are measured in minutes per frame, not frames per second. Six cores will not make me as happy as sixteen. What is the point of a Mac Pro successor that's only incrementally superior to an iMac when the potential for so much more is readily available?


[Jeremy Garchow] "If Apple wanted to offer the latest intel power plant, they could, but they must not see a point to that release. Yet, they obviously see a point in keeping that channel open."

This is a very neat summation of my whole frustration and bewilderment with Apple.

Apple has a whole lineup of really, really nice machines in their categories -- except for their workstation, and it's been this way for two years now.

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


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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 7:03:51 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Apple has a whole lineup of really, really nice machines in their categories -- except for their workstation, and it's been this way for two years now."

But it's part of the PLAN, man! You have to see that, right? To think otherwise would be heretical.


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Chris Kenny
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:04:03 am

I think the really big flaw with Siracusa's analysis here is that he's analogizing the Mac Pro to a sports car. This is all wrong in the context of the current computer industry. Sports cars are sexy, prestigious, appealing even to people for whom the expense would be irrational. Back when the average consumer used a low-end or mid-range tower, a high end tower might have been all of those things. But the average consumer now uses a laptop — a 40 pound tower is irrelevant. The 'prestige' sports car in Apple's current lineup is the 15" Retina MacBook Pro.

The Mac Pro is more analogous to a truck — an actual truck, not a 'luxury' pickup truck or SUV or whatever. It's a business tool purchased by people with specific requirements that mainstream users don't have. It's possible there's some halo effect with, perhaps, pro users being more likely to buy Apple notebooks as personal systems if they can do their high-end work on a machine running the same OS. But in general, it's very unlikely that the vast majority of average current or potential Apple customers notice or care what's going on with the Mac Pro.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Rick Lang
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 1:42:58 pm

This thread has brought out the best of the heavyweight boxers and we have seen a hundred solid punches delivered that resonant. As a bantamweight I might only get in one quick blow and since there are no glass jaws in this thread, I know my brains will be scrambled a moment after my effort lands...

Apple went with IBM when they believed and were likely promised that the PowerPC chips would be the fastest because they were the smartest instruction set and architecture in town. IBM still makes PowerPC trucks but Apple abandoned PPC (shortly after I bought into all the sizzle of the G5) because IBM let them down, couldn't keep up with the Intel team that seemed to put new rubber on their wheels after every lap in the race. So Apple partners with Intel and benefits for just a few years on the fast track raceways, with an eventual lynchpin becoming the head start that Thunderbolt gave them for once again going with the fastest and smartest technology they co-developed. But that's also proven to be where their honeymoon began to unravel with USB3 nipping at their heels and becoming as prevalent as snowflakes in the spring in the US; and then 10Gbps Ethernet appears to steal some of their Thunder again without being as smart or as good but sounding like it is important.

And where is the promise of 100Gbps Thunderbolt to scorch all competition? Delayed because there is no need for it now? Delayed until 2014 can have a way of never happening as something else is in the works. Like IBM, Intel will offer it but will it be in time to outsmart Apple's competition? It seems doubtful since Intel wants to serve two masters: PC and Mac. When Apple felt left out of the party by IBM in 2005, they found another party and had some fun. Will that happen again, "later in 2013?" Or will they be satisfied with a head start having the first Xeon Thundefbolt CPUs? But maybe they understand the party is getting old and they are seeking something different, perhaps this year but maybe not found for another year. Just as they went with Intel and their first generation alliance was a very short dance with the earliest Core Duo, it may be that what Apple dances this year may only be a hint of what they plan to do as they look about the dance floor for another partner.

Of course CPUs and GPUs are so important to get the work done, but integrated and faster Thunderbolt is an extremely important set of moves to bring on. I don't know if Apple has the rights to do Thunderbolt and/or Thunderbolt 2 without Intel, but if they do have the rights, they may make their move once again. Their rational is not about feature overkill and specs per se, but integration of what works best together again.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Frank Gothmann
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 3:16:30 pm

I believe people here firmly overestimate the importance and success of TB. Even within the Mac world its adoption rate isn't exploding, on the PC side it is virtually non-existant. There are just a handful of TB mobos with the older 1155 socket on the market while there are zero for Intel's most recent socket 2011 and x79 chipset with apparently no plans or attempts by the mobo manufacturers to implement it. For the average consumer, USB3 is more than enough and substantially cheaper. For the enterprise and server market PCIe is and will be the way to go. Leaves the video crowd, on the mac side, with certain mac models.
It's a niche connector within a niche within a niche - just like FW800. I doubt that'll change, and I doubt Intel sees that much different in the long-run.

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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 26, 2013 at 7:29:39 pm

[Frank Gothmann] "I believe people here firmly overestimate the importance and success of TB. "

I heartily agree. We video folk happen to benefit greatly from it because of its data throughput capabilities, and tend to extrapolate that its design was somehow for us in the first place. It seems to me that Thunderbolt really came into existence as a bridge between the worlds of portable or modular computers and desktop computing. I believe the impetus behind Thunderbolt was to develop the ultimate docking solution, where you park your Air with a single connector and it functions like a desktop. The reality might just turn out to be that masses of people don't really need or want that. WiFi might be enough for most users.


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Rick Lang
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 6:08:40 pm

Chris, what you say certainly could be true about the initial copper implementation of 10Gbps Thunderbolt but the vision from day one has been to move to optical 100Gbps Thunderbolt. That has to be for a different audience.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Chris Harlan
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 6:39:45 pm

[Rick Lang] "Chris, what you say certainly could be true about the initial copper implementation of 10Gbps Thunderbolt but the vision from day one has been to move to optical 100Gbps Thunderbolt. That has to be for a different audience.
"


Yes, they want the technology to be robust and have plenty of future potential. How long do you think it will be until you see that 100G TBolt? 100Gps isn't a goal to reach, like getting to the moon; it's room to grow, like expanding a Fwy.


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Rick Lang
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 7:41:41 pm

Chris, I can remember reading that when the optical Thunderbolt cables are introduced the difference is only in the cables. In other words the copper and the optical cables can both be plugged into the same Thunderbolt ports. Now reading it and believing it aren't quite the same but if Apple does manage to introduce Xeon with Thunderbolt "later in 2013" via the updated Mac Pro, then I'm hopeful it will accept both copper and optical cables. It may be that the new machines use optical but not at 100Gbps. When will it reach 100Gbps is a great question If only I was qualified as an engineer like some of those incredibly knowledgeable "heavyweights" who post here!

But speaking from the sidelines, if Apple has decided to make a splash with the updated Mac Pro (rather than the merely incremental step up from the existing Mac Pros and high-end iMacs), then there is bound to be an attention-grabbing feature in there that sets the direction for their future development. I think, alone it appears in this discussion, that a Thunderbolt revision will be one of those features that is a jump up, not a step up. So who says Apple wants to make a splash? I am sure they are equally aware of the attention that the HP Z8xx and ProMax computers are getting among the creative community. It seems to most people that Apple did abandon the advancement of the Mac Pro and perhaps this was due in part to the focus on the iPhone and the iPad which has certainly proven justified from a business perspective. But Apple is a big company and there are no doubt those who were pulled from their normal workstation and desktop roles to focus on the mobile devices who have now been allowed to resume their normal programming. They'll want to make splash and finally Tim Cook made that historic pronouncement in that e-mail (to a Creative Cow member I think) to wait until "later in 2013."

So the hungry workstation crew has been hard at work to make good on Tim's word. More than the iPhones and iPads that are now being developed without input from Steve Jobs, the next workstation will belong to Tim's legacy. I don't care if Tim's background is only in the production chain, he is a tough cookie to negotiate with and you aren't likely to win any concessions from him if you say you can't fulfill his promise to the creatives. It will be a matter of personal satisfaction to him to see this product shaken up on his watch. When the full vision materialize in 2013? Perhaps not for another year or two, but the new foundation will be there this year, the direction set for the next five to ten years of Apple workstations. I just think Thunderbolt will be important, but there will be more to it than that.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Rick Lang
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 7:47:12 pm

Pardon the odd typo or word that doesn't seem right in my post from the iPad. Auto-correction isn't my favourite feature on iOS! And Bessie won't let me edit a post on the iPad to correct the typos. But I still love working from the iPad for this sort of thing. Peace and love on this beautiful day!

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Frank Gothmann
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 27, 2013 at 9:49:20 pm

[Chris Harlan] "[Rick Lang] "Chris, what you say certainly could be true about the initial copper implementation of 10Gbps Thunderbolt but the vision from day one has been to move to optical 100Gbps Thunderbolt. That has to be for a different audience.
"

Yes, they want the technology to be robust and have plenty of future potential. How long do you think it will be until you see that 100G TBolt? 100Gps isn't a goal to reach, like getting to the moon; it's room to grow, like expanding a Fwy."


Haven't we seen it all before? FireWire S1600 and S3200, the follow up to FW800: anounced 2007 with products expected to be shipped in 2008.
FireWire S800T another follow-up with higher speeds, then yet another one in 2009 which was supposed to boost speeds to 6.4 Gbit/s.
It was revolutionary, it did video and data, was usable for networking and in was supposed to go optical.
And its dead now because most people just didn't care.

------
"You also agree that you will not use these products for... the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, missiles, or chemical or biological weapons."
iTunes End User Licence Agreement


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Rick Lang
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 28, 2013 at 1:32:54 pm

Frank, good point about the FireWire implementations that stalled after FW800. It did surprise me that FW3200 was never a priority of Apple. But I don't know when Apple and Intel began discussing Thunderbolt and perhaps that was a factor in their abandonment of FireWire as the future looked better using Thunderbolt (at least in Apple's perspective). I guess in half a year from now, we shall see if TB is moving ahead or coasting. I do agree the USB3 is everywhere today and is cheaper to implement. But I thought TB would be a superior technology.

And if TB does go optical, it will not be an easy transition for all those devices that used the ability of the copper TB to provide electrical power from the port for their external devices.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Craig Seeman
Re: John Siracusa perspective on Mac Pro Successor
on Mar 28, 2013 at 1:49:40 pm

[Rick Lang] " do agree the USB3 is everywhere today and is cheaper to implement"

Until Intel put USB3 on the motherboard it was a bit dicey in terms of the compatibility and speed results one got. You may want to talk to someone at Blackmagic about the Intensity Shuttle USB3 and Windows Laptop compatibility (or lack thereof).

It's getting better though
http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/detail/supportnotes/supportnote?sid...



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