Among the many Mac models– from desktop to towers, from mini to notebook– which was the greatest of them all? By way of definition, let’s remove all current Mac models from the list of considerations. And what’s the criteria? Beauty? Power? Accessibility? Design? Serviceability? Reputation? Here’s my look at the greatest Mac that ever lived and why Apple had trouble with a successor.
Cheese Grater Power
Yes, I fully appreciate that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and not everyone’s criteria for a Mac– especially in the age of mobile devices where 80-percent of the Mac’s Apple sells these days are notebooks– will be the same as mine, but this selection is difficult to argue against.
The greatest Mac that ever lived is the aluminum cheese grater Mac Pro; the one succeeded by the end-of-life trash canister Mac Pro, circa 2013.
One can argue the merits of most Macs designed and shipped in the second Steve Jobs era; from the original iMac in 1998 to the beauty and elegance of today’s 27-inch Retina 5k iMac with a quad-core Intel i7 CPU inside, but none stirred as much passionate love as that big, honking Mac Pro.
In every way, this was the Mac that Mac users loved; a relic from yesteryear, from a bygone era when under-the-desk towers ruled– a device so well designed and constructed that it turned many iMac users into Mac Pro users. It was the device that begged to be upgraded, loved to be tinkered with, demanded that customers open the side door just to marvel at the built-in accessibility.
The last Mac Pro, the one Apple shipped before the trash canister Mac Pro of 2013, was the one that seemed to defy the ravages of time; a device that was so well designed, durable, and sturdy that Mac users thought of them as a device that could be upgraded forever. Alas, all good things come to an end, and the Mac Pro was replaced by a smaller technological marvel that just didn’t inspire anyone. Apple plans a new, modular Mac Pro for 2017, so the 2013 trash canister Mac Pro is end-of-life already.
Its predecessor, the aluminum tank, still commands a hefty price tag on eBay. I found many used models priced over $1,000, and a few that were fully tricked out at nearly $1,500. Used Mac Pro models, circa 2013, sell for less than the older model, despite having faster CPUs, more RAM, and faster storage.
The cheese grater Mac Pro could be upgraded with new disk drives in minutes. RAM could be added in a minute. It would take longer to boot up than to install a hard disk or RAM. Even standard peripheral fare– SuperDrives, graphics cards, and the like– could be added in minutes. The device was a visual pleasure to behold, held the rank as fastest Mac ever for years, and only required three adults to move around.
It was the greatest Mac that ever lived.