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The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!

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Chris Harlan
The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 1, 2017 at 7:37:39 pm

Videoguys has the scoop on the future of the Mac Pro and it is startlingly brilliant!

http://www.videoguys.com/blog/apple-plans-release-late-fall-osx-licensed-sy...


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Douglas K. Dempsey
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 1, 2017 at 8:34:44 pm

Haha, April Fools we are.

Doug D


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Mark Suszko
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 3, 2017 at 1:58:10 pm

Wouldn't it be cool if the next Apple workstation used a modular, plug-together, Lego-like architecture, where you could stack RAIDS, cooling systems, Graphics and memory in multiple combinations? Would make user customization easier while keeping the individual components relatively proprietary.


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Shawn Miller
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 3, 2017 at 5:46:41 pm
Last Edited By Shawn Miller on Apr 3, 2017 at 5:51:37 pm

[Mark Suszko] "

Wouldn't it be cool if the next Apple workstation used a modular, plug-together, Lego-like architecture, where you could stack RAIDS, cooling systems, Graphics and memory in multiple combinations? Would make user customization easier while keeping the individual components relatively proprietary."


Isn't a flexible, user configurable machine the exact opposite of Apple's design philosophy though? It seems like soldered-in GPUs and a nonstandard CPU case makes the ultimate statement about what Apple thinks a workstation should be.

EDIT: I should have added that I'm not saying that the nMP isn't a great machine... it just looks like Apple's vision of a powerful desktop isn't built around the idea of user configuration or flexibility.

Shawn



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Craig Seeman
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 3, 2017 at 6:33:51 pm
Last Edited By Craig Seeman on Apr 3, 2017 at 6:37:44 pm

I think Apple is carrying through their business model with all their other systems. T

hey want the user to replace the machine rather than extend the life. I think Apple's approach towards modularity is with its external connectors such that any Thunderbolt device can be moved between any of their other computers. In fact the latter really is another way to encourage the former as once the update an interface on one system it "encourages" the user to upgrade all their other systems to have the same interface.

In addition there seems to be a decline in "speed bump" updates models.
Mac Pro late 2013
Mac Mini late 2014
iMac late 2015
MacBook Air early 2015
Only the MacBookPro seems regular and that involved TB3 and Touch bar between 2015 and 2016.
So it does seem updates are more likely with interface changes.


Then there's the odd MacBook 2010 to early 2015 and then early 2016 (and nothing yet for early 2017).



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David Mathis
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 3, 2017 at 8:09:02 pm

I like to call it built in obsolescence which seems to be the new tend with everything now. Back in the day almost everything was built with pride and was made to last. Now everything is so [censored] expensive besides becoming obsolete the minute you buy it. A certain word comes to mind and is associated with money. To be fair, it is not just one company or industry involved. I now feel like I am a, well you know the word.


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Tim Wilson
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 3, 2017 at 9:49:55 pm

[Craig Seeman] "They want the user to replace the machine rather than extend the life. "

[David Mathis] "I like to call it built in obsolescence which seems to be the new trend with everything now.

I think the opposite is true. If Apple believed in obsolescence, and had a business model built around replacing machines, then they'd produce machines more often, with unambiguous cases for upgrading. In other words, the exact opposite of what they actually ARE doing. What they ARE doing is producing machines less and less frequently, with relatively little reason to upgrade.

That's not MY opinion. That's YOUR opinion. 😁 Meaning the group as a whole, not necessarily you fellas, Craig or David. It's all through this forum, and across the web: people are making nifty livings with 2009 Mac Pros, 2015 iMacs, etc etc. Not only was the 2013 Mac Pro not enough to make some people move off their 2009 Mac Pros, it chased thousands of people who were sure they were Apple customers for life off the platform altogether.

Apple is nowhere near alone in this of course. HP's top of the line Z workstation is little changed since 2009, and since it already has a 4K touch screen that looks vastly better than anything on an MBP, I'm not in a hurry to upgrade my 2 year old Dell XPS 15, which I don't actually see Dell being in a hurry to upgrade anyway.

The reason why all this works? Because Apple, HP, and Dell (at least in their professional models) are building computers that not just last physically (which used to be anything but a given for all 3 companies), but which continue to offer solid performance for media formats that didn't even exist when these computer models were introduced. Gotta give the software companies credit for that, as well as low-weight, high-impact formats like ProRes and DNxHD...but really, I don't see ever going back to the days of EXPECTING to update a computer every 18-24 months again, do you?

Heck, look through the COW archives. There were stretches where we were buying new computers EVERY YEAR.

But now? I think one reason why Gary's April Fools blog post struck such a chord is exactly because so many people would LIKE to see something like he's talking about -- not necessarily the licensing aspect, but the idea of an Apple that seems aggressively committed to staying out in front.

Again, this isn't a criticism of Apple, or a "they should be more like HP" or anything like it. It's to acknowledge that NOBODY is expecting you to upgrade your computer regularly, because NOBODY is releasing upgrades on a regular basis, and when they do, the releases are not necessarily compelling enough to make people pony up -- not because the new ones suck, but because they old ones are still more than doing the job.

I think that this is in fact the biggest change in our industry, honestly, pretty much since it began. The whole thing used to be driven by computer upgrade cycles: gone. It was driven by software upgrade cycles: gone. (You're getting the upgrades regardless, and unlike years past, don't need to upgrade your computers or other hardware to take advantage of them.) It was driven by having to upgrade storage to meet demands of new formats: not gone, but certainly going, going.

It's one reason why so many vendors are sitting out NAB this year. I haven't seen anything like it since the Bird Flu Epidemic of 2005. (Which sounds hilarious but is completely true.) The odds of anybody going to the show HAVING to make a purchase happen NOW have dropped to almost zero. There are still a bunch of great reasons to attend as an end-user, especially to meet people, and the handful of things (especially in broadcast and cameras) that really DO change year to year....but mostly, stuff works, and works for a long time. Computers, more than anything.

The thing that's moving the needle now (whether at NAB or in the industry at large) is people continuing to kit up for the first time, or dramatically expand a facility's footprint to meet BUSINESS opportunities, rather than because of some must-have new hardware.

And the hardware that IS must-have? Peripheral hardware that handily moves between machines. If anything, Apple's adoption of USB-C is a way to ensure MORE of that, not less. It may be the first time in generations that Apple has adopted a well-established industry connection, rather than trying to force people into a proprietary corner.

Sure sure sure, if you want the newest connections, you have to buy the newest computers, but that's true for everyone....but hubs and adapters are proving more than robust-enough to keep up for the middle-distance future, which, again, was far from the case just a couple of years ago.

So, like I said, I'm seeing the OPPOSITE of obsolescence: a trend AWAY from driving new computer purchases, because of a trend AWAY from even bothering to release new computers, and a trend AWAY from new computers becoming immediate, no-questions-asked must-have purchases, because as good as new computers are, the old ones are still doing really, really well.


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Oliver Peters
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 3, 2017 at 10:16:12 pm

[Tim Wilson] "So, like I said, I'm seeing the OPPOSITE of obsolescence: a trend AWAY from driving new computer purchases"

FWIW - I'm still running a 2009 Mac Pro tower and my son inherited my old MacBook Pro laptop - many years old. Both still humming along. I handed down my first gen iPad to a deserving student, who is also using it still and is quite happy. While upgradeability might not be a hallmark of Macs these days, planned obsolescence in terms of longevity isn't a problem. With the exception of HP and Dell workstations, I can't say the same for most of the options on the PC side.

- Oliver

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


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Tim Wilson
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 3, 2017 at 10:36:16 pm

[Oliver Peters] "With the exception of HP and Dell workstations, I can't say the same for most of the options on the PC side."

I think that's the key point re: Mac vs. PC approaches. Lower-end PCs really are disposable imo, and I think it took HP and Dell a while to settle into explicitly Mac-inspired values like design and solidity. Those offer some compelling stuff, but the rest of their product lines, I wouldn't give ya a nickel for.

Not that I think that those fellas are aping Mac's design in any Android-iOS leapfrog manner. I think that they've staked out unique approaches that provide some profound advantages to someone who doesn't need Apple-y stuff. Sitting side by side with Mac users all the time, I constantly see them looking over my shoulder and say, "Wow, I wish Apple would do THAT" about one thing or another...knowing that not one of those folks would ever consider converting. 😁

But I obviously agree with your other points as well, since they agree with me. 😁 Computer manufacturers WANT us to keep our computers for years. And years and years.

I mean, your 2009 is still doing fine 8 years later. Can you imagine still using a 1990 computer in 1998? Basically a Mac II vs. a G3! No way! Not even slightly possible, anymore than using a G3 in 2006 instead of a Mac Pro. I mean, people dropped G5s like they were hot back then, because the Mac Pro was so hot...even though a ton of folks had so quickly dropped their G4 for a G5. That's just what was happening -- those older computers might stay in the shop, but new frontline machines were rolling in every single time .

But it's completely conceivable to me that you might be using your 2009 tower for something meaningful in 2019! Maybe not your daily driver, but maybe not ready to be handed down yet, either.

Or hey, maybe not, but the point is the same. These things are built to last now. Nobody who makes computers is expecting you to replace what you've got right now, and maybe not any time soon.


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 3, 2017 at 11:53:06 pm

It's not that people need to replace their computer each year, it's the each one of us is at a different point in our own business buying cycle each year.

In Jan 2014 I get the recently released Mac Pro (which really weren't all that available in late 2013 despite the name).
In April 2017 someone want to get a... but there is no "new" Mac Pro.
That '14 Mac Pro might chug along for 5 years (2019) but today's buyer is plunking down the same bucks for that same '14 Mac Pro which is already old. They're not getting the same usable lifespan.
It's not that anyone needs to give us new razz-ma-tazz connections, just the same Mac Pro with new CPU and GPU for the person who needs to buy their Mac Pro in '17.



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Claude Lyneis
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 3:13:51 am

The reason computers became obsolete in the 90's and early 2000's was that Moore's law was in effect and the speed an efficiency of computers was doubling every 18 to 24 months. That is no longer true. Clock speeds have crested around 3 GHz. Parallel processing and other innovations have help progress continue, but no where near the rate of change from earlier. Obviously the computer companies have had to adjust their strategies to this new reality. Memory capacity continues to advance but processing speed not so much. I think this is why Apple is slow to build an new iMac or Mac Pro.

I am still hoping they bring out a real upgrade for the IMac, that will convince me to upgrade from my mid 2011 version.


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Herb Sevush
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 1:04:47 pm

[Tim Wilson] "These things are built to last now"

A KayPro was built like a tank, it too could have lasted years and years, but Moore's "law" was in effect with a vengeance back then. It has since been repealed. What hasn't changed since 2009 - CPU speed. With a cheese grater you could update everything else, which is why they still can compete with a nMpro. The main reason to get anything new today is i/o - Thunderbolt 3/USB-c. If I could incorporate that into my 2010 I never would have bought my 2013.

Computers don't change today for 2 reasons - technological plateau and the move to smart phones. And come to think of it the former is probably a result of the latter. The research goes where the money is and the money has moved from your desk to your pocket.

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


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Richard Herd
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 5:49:30 pm

[Tim Wilson] "using your 2009 tower for something meaningful in 2019"

"ecosystem" is another name for digital hoarding -- storage storage storage -- the GigE is still fantastic, and it has 2 of 'em--plus a smart little app called Time Machine -- all these iPhones backing up, we have 4 at my house, plus 3 macs, plus an iPad -- and my kids are only 7 (twins) -- iTunes music libraries and other stuff.


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Herb Sevush
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 1:11:42 pm

[Oliver Peters] "With the exception of HP and Dell workstations, I can't say the same for most of the options on the PC side."

I keep all my personal stuff running on a seven year old pc laptop and I'm writing this on a 3 year old Dell in my office that shows no signs of slowing down. I have only ever had 2 computers die on me and one was a Mac. On the PC side there is greater choice, and if you're pinching pennies you might get in trouble, but all computer parts are commodities today, including Apple's, and I can get a high school kid to build me a PC that will last as long as any Mac I've ever owned if I spec out the right parts.

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


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Oliver Peters
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 1:36:20 pm

[Herb Sevush] "I have only ever had 2 computers die on me and one was a Mac. On the PC side there is greater choice, and if you're pinching pennies you might get in trouble, but all computer parts are commodities today, including Apple's"

That's good, but I haven't been so lucky. Of the PC laptops I've personally owned, I had a Compaq go out of service due to a cracked shell (the area around the lid hinges just started to crack from stress). It was replaced under warranty and the same thing happened within the first year on the new unit. I replaced that with an HP, which served me fine for a few years and I handed it down to my daughter. Then the power supply almost caught on fire. I've had Mac laptop issues, too, but those generally were a logic board or some component, not something I would attribute to poor design or build quality.

I'm not trying to disparage any particular brand or manufacturer. To some extent, it's the luck of the draw. I've worked with plenty of PCs and owned several others and they've all been fine. However, I have yet to see a PC with the build quality of anything Apple is doing. The good ones, like HP, are solid builds, but have a real industrial-grade level of finish. Not bad, but still a cut below, if that matters. Compare an iMac to a Z1. The Z1 is a great product but it's a "truck" ☺ From that standpoint, I agree with Andy about the Surface Studio. It has real potential and certainly has a much better build quality than is common in the PC world.

- Oliver

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 2:50:21 pm

[Oliver Peters] "The good ones, like HP, are solid builds, but have a real industrial-grade level of finish. Not bad, but still a cut below, if that matters."

Or a cut above, if you're looking for an industrial-strength solution. I don't know about the Z1, but I find the toolless chassis design of the Z6x0/Z8x0 series to be a really nice feature.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Richard Herd
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 5:37:09 pm

The idea is that modular design is like this idea: http://www.craftcamera.com/


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 2:07:59 pm
Last Edited By Robin S. Kurz on Apr 4, 2017 at 2:14:47 pm

Is it me, or is this not (more or less) the exact same "pun" they brought something around 2003? Guess they're running out of stuff.

And double ironic considering the REAL news and various comments above. 😜

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!


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Chris Harlan
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 4:01:29 pm

Real news? Do you mean the not this year real news?


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Oliver Peters
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 4:05:59 pm

[Chris Harlan] "Do you mean the not this year real news?"

Regardless of the new machine to come, the upgrades on the current models make this year the best to buy that design.

- Oliver

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


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Chris Harlan
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 4:09:29 pm

Agreed. But they're not actually upgrades, right? They're price cuts. Or did I miss something?


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Andrew Kimery
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 4:18:00 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Regardless of the new machine to come, the upgrades on the current models make this year the best to buy that design."

I think the best year to buy a nMP was in 2013. 😉


[Chris Harlan] "Agreed. But they're not actually upgrades, right? They're price cuts. Or did I miss something?"

Yes, price cuts. No new tech in them.


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Oliver Peters
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 4:23:08 pm

[Chris Harlan] "Agreed. But they're not actually upgrades, right? They're price cuts. Or did I miss something?"

The base models each get a bump up in GPU and CPU options for the same bucks. So yes, a price cut.

- Oliver

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


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 4:41:02 pm

The $2999 model goes from 4 Xeon CPU cores to 6, and from dual AMD G300 GPUs to dual G500 GPUs. The $3999 model goes from 6 CPU cores to 8, and from dual D500 GPUs to dual D800 GPUs. Unfortunately neither USB-C nor Thunderbolt 3.

A German colleague had a pretty nice idea a while back. I say Apple hires him. :P

http://pascaleggert.de/macpro.html

Though I don't get what the 4x Tbo 2 ports are all about… that clearly is not likely to happen.

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!


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Chris Harlan
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 4:47:55 pm

That mockup is actually kinda cool!


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Oliver Peters
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 4, 2017 at 6:43:50 pm

[Robin S. Kurz] "from dual AMD G300 GPUs to dual G500 GPUs"

I saw that in the article, too. I presume G should be D and was a typo in the original article. Or am I missing something?

[Robin S. Kurz] "A German colleague had a pretty nice idea a while back. I say Apple hires him."

I completely agree! More connections, more expandability - without violating the Apple design ethos.

- Oliver

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


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: The Mac Pro future. Finally some sense from Apple!
on Apr 5, 2017 at 7:30:16 am

[Oliver Peters] "I presume G should be D and was a typo"

Yupp. Must have been thinking too much about the VRAM or (god forbid) GForce?. ☺

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!


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