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The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro

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Brian Cooney
The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
on Dec 18, 2012 at 9:50:05 pm

Thought I'd reach out here and see if anyone had any insight on Apple's plans to develop the MacPro further. I'm in the process of migrating over from Final Cut Studio to Adobe CS6.. particularly PPro since I use AE already.

I'm in the market for an additional system in 2013 and I'm not quite sure if I should invest in a windows 8 tower or hope for an upcoming Mac Pro. It's like storming the gates of OZ and trying to peak in through the curtain to see what Apple is going to do since they haven't been really clear about their intentions. I'm hearing the MacPro is dead.. also hearing there wil be one more version.. but even that is not a hopeful investment looking forward.

I can purchase a Windows 8 PC with 64GB of ram and a few cards.. red rocket, etc .. at a fraction of the cost of building a new MacPro workstation. But I'm an Apple snob and I'm kicking and screaming all the way. I'm presently using thunderbolt to eSata via a LaCie hub and I like that. But not sure even where thunderbolt is going in the PC world. Any advice? Any insight? Any words from the grapevine on the MacPro? Thanks.

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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
on Dec 18, 2012 at 10:29:16 pm

[Brian Cooney] "But not sure even where thunderbolt is going in the PC world."

Thunderbolt is happening in the Windows world, including a dual port implementation (so that you could connect both an UltraStudio 3D that only has one TB port and can't be daisy-chained, and another TB device or a chain).

Hard to say what the new Mac Pro will look like and when it'll be here. Given that Apple abandoned the enterprise market, the many limitations of the existing Mac Pros (limited choices of graphics cards, available power, number of PCIe slots, upgrade-ability), I am not sure the new Mac Pro is worth waiting for.

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Engineer
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Brian Cooney
Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
on Dec 18, 2012 at 10:43:40 pm

Thnak you. I was waiting for some affirmaiton to switch. I'm seriously looking at the PC market.

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Gary Bettan
Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
on Dec 19, 2012 at 4:43:39 pm

There have been many posts and discussions on the COW and all over the web about the future of Mac Pro and speculation about features. Here comes my rant, and many folks aren't going to like it one bit.

Personally, I don't see why Apple would waste any time or money investing in developing a new Mac Pro. The top of the line fully loaded 27" iMac is a killer machine and more than adequate for 90% of editors.

Our now old DIY9 machine is almost as powerful as the latest iMacs and even more customizable. We're waiting for an enthusiast level chipset with Thunderbolt for our DIY10. When we make the jump, I'm confident it will deliver performance beyond the current iMacs.

If you require more power than a single CPU iMac or DIY build then a dual Xeon CPU workstation is for you. The new HP z620/820 or Dell T5600/7600 workstations blow the current Mac Pro out of the water. They are more powerful and more cost effective. Plus you get a level of flexibility and configurations that Apple simply does not offer.

Getting back to the future and why I don't think Apple will ever offer the Mac Pro that video editors are wishing for. FCPX is an app which you the end user download directly to your computer. There is no value add opportunity or requirement. It runs fantastic on an iMac or Mac Book Pro and that makes 90% of their user base very happy. From Apple's perspective these FCPX users are far less demanding, do not require a middle man (ie Video VAR) and they are very happy with the results. Those that aren't happy have moved on, and quite frankly, I think Apple is glad to see them go. High volume, high margin products is what Apple is all about now.

So the Apple VARs are moving on as well. They are integrating iPads and Mac Books and iMacs into all kinds of super cool solutions, but video editing ain't one of them. These solutions do not require the huge overhead and cost of a Mac Pro. Instead they tap into the power of the cloud and mobility and delivering customized applications specifically for vertical markets and solutions. Apple innovations are changing the world, but they are doing it without the need for big bulky boxes (ie Mac Pros).

  • If you are going to FCPX, stick it on an iMac and have a ball.
  • If you have moved on to Adobe or Avid, run it on a new PC or an iMac. As I've said many times before, I love the new iMacs for video editing. That said, you will get great performance and a bigger bang for your buck on a PC, and most of all the flexibility to configure it as needed with optimized components for your workflow.
  • If you are sticking with FCP7, then you need to understand this. Hear it now, so you don't end up crying about it later. If and when (and I doubt it will ever come) that Apple releases a new line of Mac Pros, FCP7 ain't gonna run on it. Apple is not going to bog it down with any legacy support for old, antiquated products. Actually FCP7 may run, it may not, but it will definitely not take advantage of any of the new technology and performance a new Mac Pro would deliver.


    Think I'm wrong? Look back to what they did when they launched FCPX. They completely abandoned FCP. What would make anyone think they would reverse this direction with a new Mac Pro?

    On the flip side, why would Apple give Adobe or Avid the technical support and collaboration they would need to optimize their software for this theoretical new Mac Pro? When was the last time anyone heard the words share and Apple used in the same sentence unless they were talking about their stock price?

    Apple is about closed proprietary systems that allow Apple to take in revenue every step of the way. It's a brilliant plan and I admire Apple more than any other company on earth. I just don't see why they would alter this strategy to make a new Mac Pro.

    End of rant. Everyone feel free to jump in and post your opinions.

    Gary

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    Brian Cooney
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 19, 2012 at 5:02:31 pm

    Awesome rant Gary. Makes sense. I bought a quad core i7 iMac last year and have been very happy with it. I added an SSD boot drive and maxed it to 32GB of ram and have a 2GB video card....But I still would like more out of it. Making the switch to Premiere Pro form FCP7 slowly. I also own a copy of FCPX but thinking my learning curve time would be better spend on Adobe. So it looks more and more like the PC route is looking the way to go. I ocasionally edit Red footage but haven't done any 5K on the iMac so I don't know how it will perform there. But thinking it might be pushing it. Looking at ProMax One systems... but they are really high priced. Wondering if I should just have one built cheaper. Waiting for a thunderbolt solution for PC? Any in sight in the near future? thanks again for your post. It really was great advice. - B

    MotionFoundry, Inc. Video Post
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    Ronald Lindeboom
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 19, 2012 at 9:55:54 pm

    Gary's look at Apple's track record of abandoning things -- even VERY powerful things -- is right on the money.

    I went to update my old dual-quadcore 3ghz MacPro desktop machine to Mountain Lion and when I tried it told me that "Your machine does not support this update." Huh? a dual-quadcore is not capable of running the OS?

    So, it looks as if my desktop MacPro is headed for the Back 40 retirement pasture sooner than I thought. I have one of the newer generation iMacs but really hate the latency that is in it, compared to the über-snappy performance of the dual-quadcore. It may be old but it still kicks the snot out of my new iMac. Sigh.

    Gary is also right about Apple's focus on mass markets and you can bet that whatever the next MacPro desktop is, it will not be what The FCP7 Crowd is hoping for.

    I really think that as the days go on, it will become increasingly clear that the higher end video guys and gals whose demands are specific and require added power not found in Apple's proffered solutions, will move on to AVID, Adobe, Autodesk and other solutions. Apple will be the one for the 90% market that Gary alludes to in his writing.

    Best regards,

    Ronald Lindeboom
    CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
    Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
    A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
    http://www.creativecow.net


    Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

    "Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
    - Woody Allen


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    Brian Cooney
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 20, 2012 at 2:36:16 pm

    Thanks Ron. chewing on this. :-)

    MotionFoundry, Inc. Video Post
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    Chris Newberry
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 20, 2012 at 2:35:52 pm

    Excellent posts everyone! Especially Gary! :-)


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    Jiggy Gaton
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 20, 2012 at 2:54:22 pm

    I totally agree with you Video Guys on the iMac... we have been using iMacs for video editing since 2007/8 without problem, relatively speaking, and when compared to the years before when we used PC Desktops. But times have changed eh, and I'm not sure a thinner iMac was needed, but instead, one that could be serviced/tweaked like an HP all in one. The newer iMacs seem to be a problem waiting to happen, and as for the 21" memory upgrade, forget it. Look, we got used to pulling apart an iMac using large suction cups but a guitar pick to break thru glue?!? Come on Apple... you once could do better. Now I'm ranting, but I don't mean to as I retired from the biz this year and my old 2008 iMac would have lasted me for the duration (As far as a desktop) until the upper backlight bulb burned out this month. That part is not replaceable, and the box now needs an entire display after 5 years of daily use. Not a bad lifetime for a desktop, but I sure miss the ol' gal. So I'm typing this post out on a 2008 MBP running Mountain Lion and running as strong as it ever did. It's probably the last laptop I will ever buy, and maybe the last Apple computer as well. I am getting all I need done these days on a Samsung Galaxy Note 2, albeit the small screen size. I'm looking forward to perhaps a win8/9 or droid like desktop machine - if I ever get another. It would have to be 27" or larger, fold flat, be thin and light yet fixable, and be a wacom when I needed it. That's what I want on my retirement desk. I don't see Apple making anything like that, anytime soon... but I guess ya never know...

    Phoenix Studios Nepal: A small A/V Production House in Kathmandu.


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    John Young
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 20, 2012 at 4:02:50 pm

    Very informed reading. Thank you all.

    A year ago, I needed a new system and had to make the choice. I had been on a Mac and really liked it, but had reservations about where Apple was heading.

    One of the biggest signals to me then (and one that doesn't get much attention) was the discontinuation of the 17inch MacBook Pro. And I think that trend has continued with the new super-thin iMacs. Everything Apple does now is smaller, thinner, lighter, faster products with form factor and mass market share being a top priority and everything else being completely left behind.

    If Apple were to come out with a Mac Pro that has all the stuff that people like us want (flexibility, expandability, upgradability, more horsepower than most people need) it would go completely opposite of everything Apple has been doing for the past 5 years. I just don't think that MacPro is going to happen and I even wonder about the direction iMac is headed.

    For those reasons, I switched to PC.

    That being said, my PC experience since switching has been OK. I have really been disappointed but I haven't really been delighted either.

    John


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    Brian Cooney
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 20, 2012 at 5:06:16 pm

    John,

    What were some of the pros and cons of your PC switch experience? Has Windows 7 or 8 performed well? Are you using CS6? thanks.

    MotionFoundry, Inc. Video Post
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    Brian Cooney
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 20, 2012 at 5:49:20 pm

    I'm anticipating buying a tricked out smokin' PC only to feel left down. Just using Apple products has ben a joy. A joy to use.. crazy.. anticipating the sheer clunkyness of a PC.. maybe I'm wrong. :-)

    MotionFoundry, Inc. Video Post
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    John Young
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 20, 2012 at 6:23:09 pm

    Brian,

    My post should have read "HAVEN'T really been disappointed, but haven't really been delighted either"

    Much of my my grief with Windows is stuff that happens outside of Premiere and After Effects. When you are inside those programs, Mac & PC are virtually identical and I find Production Premium 5.5 is very solid on on both.

    Windows 7 is a real solid OS, much better than a lot of past Windows OS's but it still doesn't have that "it just works" aspect that the Apple ecostystem has. It is close, but not 100% there.

    John

    John Young
    Surrounding Media



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    Brian Cooney
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 20, 2012 at 7:12:24 pm

    cool. wondering if I should go for Windows 7 over 8. Hear 8 was a totally different animal. Not sure it's been tested enough. A programmer friend of mine says he likes it.

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    Brian Cooney
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 21, 2012 at 3:02:09 pm

    I'm in the process of making the switch from FCP7 to PPro. I own CS6 for Mac. I use AE already. Is there any additional learning curve, other than the OS, that I'll have if I purchase a PC with CS6 - PPro and AE? Pretty much identical?

    MotionFoundry, Inc. Video Post
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    John Young
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 21, 2012 at 3:13:24 pm

    I have found them very very similar. Inside the Adobe programs I can't even think of any differences of the top of my head, other than the functions having to do the the OS (ctl vs cmd key, app data location)

    Adobe does allow you to transfer your license from a Mac version of the software to a PC version at absolutely no cost. They have very good costumer Service at Adobe, which should make you feel good if you are coming over from FCP7.

    John Young
    Surrounding Media



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    Brian Cooney
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 21, 2012 at 3:14:43 pm

    thanks!

    MotionFoundry, Inc. Video Post
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    Brian Cooney
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 21, 2012 at 7:48:30 pm

    Any of you guys heard good things about Rain PCs? Thinking about building a custom Rain. They have soem good pricing on BandH for 16 core.

    MotionFoundry, Inc. Video Post
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    Ronald Lindeboom
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 21, 2012 at 8:02:15 pm

    I've never heard of a Rain computer but it's a killer Beatles song. In fact, Ringo thinks it may have been the best drumming he ever played. I tend to agree. But I don't think the Rain computer ever drummed, so neither Ringo nor I can help you. Sorry. ;o)

    But one thing I can caution my longtime Mac friends, building your own machine is not as easy as you think it is going to be. Others will argue that point but unless you really understand the machine level of a machine -- which most Mac users do not -- there is a lot of hand-holding that you are going to need. That has been what I have seen over the years.

    Best regards,

    Ronald Lindeboom
    CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
    Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
    A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
    http://www.creativecow.net


    Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

    "Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
    - Woody Allen


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    Brian Cooney
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 21, 2012 at 9:20:33 pm

    thanks. " well the sun is shining here, so I'm gonna slip into the shade and drink my lemonade." :-)

    MotionFoundry, Inc. Video Post
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    Alex Gerulaitis
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 21, 2012 at 11:15:24 pm

    [Brian Cooney] "Any of you guys heard good things about Rain PCs? Thinking about building a custom Rain. They have soem good pricing on BandH for 16 core."

    Will Rain or B&H help if there a performance or functionality issue with CS6? Is that important to you?


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    Brian Cooney
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 22, 2012 at 1:55:01 pm

    yes. They have tech support built in. Not sure about through BandH but directly. I'll look inot that. Also trying to get Promax to match price. If you know of any other companies I should check out , I'd appreciate it. Thanks for the help. I have a few savvy tech friends here that can build one for me but I think I'd like to lease under my business. So that's not a great option at 8-10k. Which seems to be the price range I've come in at with the option of additional add ons and expandability down the road.

    MotionFoundry, Inc. Video Post
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    Alex Gerulaitis
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 24, 2012 at 12:25:46 am

    [Brian Cooney] " If you know of any other companies I should check out , I'd appreciate it."

    My company (dv411.com) sells systems based on HP Z420 and Z820, starting at $3K.

    We're one of the few integrators out there who specialize in Tier 1 based systems, primarily because warranty options and component quality are unmatched vs. customs and DIYs (yet so is the price).

    If you prefer a custom one, check out Videoguys' recommended NLE turnkey systems integrators:

    http://www.webvideoguys.com/ARCHIVE/turnkey.html

    (Of those, ADK is probably the best bet.)

    Alex Gerulaitis
    Systems Engineer
    DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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    Brian Cooney
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Dec 24, 2012 at 2:26:05 pm

    Alex, what would your $9270 ProEdit Z820 2650-12E Video Editing System price out roughly without the Raid and drives and with a replacement of the boot drive being a 280GB SSD? Also, How does the NVIDIA Quadro 4000 compare to the AMD Radeon 6970M 2GB? Is the Quadro 4000 beefy enough for animation, etc? I've been looking at the Quadro 6000.. seems real nice but pricey. Can't seem to find a comparison online between the Quadro 4000 and 6000 and the AMD Radeon 6970M? thanks.

    MotionFoundry, Inc. Video Post
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    Chris Jeffries
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Jan 4, 2013 at 8:44:47 pm

    Short & sweet:
    If you're waiting for Apple, you're holding yourself back. Get a well-supported workstation from a reputable vendor. I've built my own a number of times, though that may not be the solution for you. It takes a little bit of background and a lot of time, and if I wasn't interested in it as a hobbyist and professional, I'd probably choose a pre-built or turn-key system.


    A little more detail:
    In a nutshell, I've adopted the mindset that you buy tech when you NEED it. Then you buy the BEST tech for your purposes. Maximize your purchase earnings, then move on. You NEED new tech when it costs you money to not have the new tech, either through loss of opportunity or loss of time.

    Depending on your market/clients, the inter-compatibility of Adobe products makes the underlying hardware less important. That means flexibility, which can afford you the opportunity to earn money.

    For me, I've found that the flexibility of a non-Apple system affords me more opportunities to earn money. I've also found that my tech needs are different from what Apple wants to provide. I believe this will continue for the foreseeable future. I also believe, based on past products that Apple has introduced, that much of any investment in Apple hardware will be made obsolete intentionally by Apple as part of their sales strategy. As such, I'll not be investing in any Apple hardware until I see that pattern change, or until I NEED Apple tech to earn money.

    However, I'm still working on Apple systems in my freelance career as many of my clients provide Apple workstations at their locations, and I will keep up with the progress of the platform as I continue to be involved in this field.


    Further thoughts on Apple:
    I feel that, as several others have noted, Apple's direction has changed and that the motivation of the company has shifted to the "post-PC" mindset which is an entirely valid direction which will probably earn their shareholders a good return. Also, as others have noted, the workstation and professional segment probably going to be a lower-priority in their product range as the profit margins for these users would seem to be much more slim. Tim Cook has the job of maximizing profits - that's what the shareholders want - and that's going to be his primary motivation.

    On the other hand, I hope that we're all wowed and astounded by the next "Pro" level product that Apple offers. I hope it goes beyond anything that we would expect, and that it will truly be a game-changer. I hope that Apple makes me want to abandon any other platform for their next "Pro" innovation by being so far ahead of the curve that they redefine it altogether.


    Further thoughts on working with Windows systems:
    One of the best things that I learned in school is that the platform doesn't matter. It's just a tool. PCs are not the Apple way. Learn to learn the system, just like you did with the Apple system, and you'll be fine. My biggest frustrations with either system come from expecting it to behave like the other system. Learn to work on both and you'll be more flexible and more prepared. Your mind gets stronger when you use it. Both require customization for me to be comfortable using it. Both have their own shortcomings and quirks. Both have their reliability issues and compatibility issues. Both have their fanboys and snobs. Say La Vie. ;D


    My Background:
    Though I'm not a regular contributor here, I'm often reading the posts and have grown in to my current capabilities largely through the knowledge shared here on Creative Cow. As such, I wanted to weigh in a little; I've been working with Apple products for most of my life and was a fanboy of Apple products for a long time.

    My start was in the Apple II days, as one of my first computers, and I continued to work with them as I grew up. I had family who ran a university publishing department; they brought in some of the original Macintosh models on which I learned my way around the GUI. Fast-forward a few years, and you would find me selling Apple systems in pre-Apple Store independent resellers. Part time, I would work as an independent tech, setting up home studios or other systems for a variety of clients. Eventually I went to college and earned a degree in "Digital Media."

    I've done multimedia programming with Director (Macromedia at the time) and web development with Dreamweaver (again, the pre-Adobe versions) and have worked in finishing suites along side Smoke and Avid Nitris artists. My current full time freelancing focus is motion graphics.

    All this is to say that I've been there, working with Apple through many iterations. Currently, I prefer my Windows 7 systems to an Apple workstation. YMMV!


    Please let me know your thoughts on what I've written here.
    I hope it's found to be helpful for anyone, especially those who are on the fence. Please let me know your thoughts.

    Thanks!
    -Chris
    http://chrisjeffries.tv


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    Gary Bettan
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Jan 4, 2013 at 8:50:26 pm

    nice post Chris. Thanks for taking the time to post it (and have it formatted so nicely ;-)

    I've really enjoyed everyone's thoughts and comments in this thread. I'm really glad I posted my initial rant.

    Gary

    COW members get 5% OFF with Coupon COW5OFF

    http://www.videoguys.com 800 323-2325 | We are the video editing and production experts!


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    Chris Jeffries
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Jun 11, 2013 at 12:23:23 am

    So now that the new Mac Pro has been announced (teased?) do you have any further thoughts?

    ___

    http://chrisjeffries.tv


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    Brian Cooney
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Jun 11, 2013 at 1:07:17 pm

    one comment was; "Huge paperweight after the specs are dated. There will be no user upgradability and I can't imagine being able to repair it if an internal component fries. Id expect a big bill from Apple service if anything went wrong. "

    I guess we'll have to see if it makes sense to folks like us.

    MotionFoundry, Inc. Video Post
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    Gary Bettan
    Re: The Wizard of Oz, Apple, and the future of the MacPro
    on Jun 11, 2013 at 2:22:13 pm

    This is not an April Fools joke. I have never been so happy to have to eat my words. Many of you may recall my Mac Pro Rant from back in December. I really had doubts that Apple would ever release a new Mac Pro. I was WRONG! At WWDC today Apple did just that, using line 'Can't innovate anymore, my ass' during the presentation. Not only that, it will be built in the good old US of A!

    http://www.videoguys.com/Blog/E/Ill+be+damned+New+Mac+Pro+Coming+this+Fall/...

    Gary

    COW members get 5% OFF with Coupon COW5OFF

    http://www.videoguys.com 800 323-2325 | We are the video editing and production experts!


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