There was a time when Apple’s product line was a quadrant. Consumer and professional. iMac and iBook. PowerBook and PowerMac. On the heals of the success of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad– all popular consumer gadgets– the Mac has become more of a consumer machine than a professional machine.
Wherefore art thou, oh Mac Pro?
Where Is The New Mac Pro?
The high end Macs are easy to spot. The MacBook Pro sports the svelte thinness of the MacBook Air, but with a high resolution Retina display.
Over the years Apple made the shift from desktop computer maker to notebook maker with ease. It was a sign of the times.
Apple’s executives seemed to understand that the world was going mobile, and they needed to make future devices Mac-like in usability, but packaged small enough to fit in your hand.
What of the dinosaurs of yesteryear, those Mac’s that usually sat under the desk? The PowerMac morphed into the Mac Pro but remains much the same design from many years ago.
In fact, it’s been a few years since the Mac Pro was updated in a way that users could tell differed from the previous version.
In many ways, the Mac Pro line is a throwback to the 20th century. It’s a huge, heavy case filled with RAM slots, hard disk drives slots, extra slots for SuperDrive, and a giant power supply.
It’s unlikely that Apple’s Mac Pro sales have grown in recent years as the desktop iMac model gained more RAM options, SSD and hard disk combos, huge high resolution screens, and quad core CPUs. The iMac is fast, but still painfully slow compared to a tricked out Mac Pro.
Does Apple even care about the Mac Pro customer? I don’t think Apple cares much. At least, not much enough to regularly update the Mac Pro to the latest Intel CPUs, or newer, faster graphics. Compared to the iMac, itself anything but small, the Mac Pro is a giant relic.
Is the writing on the wall? Is the Mac Pro going the way of the dodo bird?
Apple soothsayers tell of an imminent refresh of the iMac line, perhaps thinner, lighter, still with combo storage, but sans the aging SuperDrive. Of the Mac Pro, prognosticators are eerily silent. Apple’s executives often talk about new products in the pipeline, but the Mac Pro has remained stagnant for years.
Personally, I would like to see Apple build a powerful mini-tower MacPro, with fewer RAM and storage options, but sporting faster CPUs and graphics than available in updated iMacs.
A quad core, low end Mac Pro starts at $2,499– about the same as a MacBook Pro with Retina display, or a high end iMac. The 12-core Intel Xeon Mac Pro starts at a whopping $3,799, which limits appeal to the masses.
If Apple does not upgrade or redesign the Mac Pro within the next six months, we can safely say that Apple prefers to be a consumer technology company that has dismissed any requirement to engage professionals or the enterprise. Why? Consumers are eager to snap up the latest gadgets. Businesses and professionals, less so.
Most of Apple’s profits come from iPhone and iPad, even though the Mac notebook line is thriving, the future is unmistakably mobile, and the Mac Pro is not that kind of machine.