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You’re looking at the newly redesigned Apple Mac Pro. Gone are the days of square towers and space consuming electronics, this is sleek, pretty, quiet and completely different. As Apple dubs it ‘the Desktop of the Future’ and ‘Something that provides an extremely powerful argument against the status quo.’

Some of the new key selling points of the Apple Mac Pro –

  • 4k video support
  • Thunderbolt 2
  • Up to 12 cores of processing power
  • 60 GB/s
  • PCIe Flash Storage
  • Designed with built-in Thunderbolt 2, USB 3, Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI 1.4 ports
  • and so on…

So what’s the problem? The problem is what the mac pro is not, which is a performance machine.

To begin, the mac pro tops out at 12 cores. Fine for most people, but the old mac pro could go up to 16 cores, giving pro users the power the needed for larger renders and exports. Also, there’s no optical bay and all the inputs make most current drives obsolete. Apple has alway been on the forefront of technology and pushed us to do better, it’s just that they usually did it with pro users mind.

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The race to get smaller and sleeker has lead Apple to all but abandon a lot of what made it stand out to the professionals in the media industry. Even with something as simple as burning a DVD.  They have gutted the machine and opted for external drives and peripherals. Which is also an issue because they have abandoned legacy inputs like Firewire and USB 2. Apple has all but forced users to adapt to Thunderbolt with this flashy new machine. So no, your current usb 2.o optical drive won’t work.

Image from everymac.com

Many of us are still using drives with firewire. Thunderbolt may be the future, but many editors and creatives are still using firewire because: reviews aren’t the greatest yet for thunderbolt; the option are few at a professional speeds/standards, price per terabyte is still high; and their old hard drive works just fine. Even one firewire 800 port to daisy chain the rest together would be nice. And without the including a DVI out, even more money is being spent on adapters to use current monitors. As a professor by day, I dread is the amount of peripherals and cords that are going to be needed for this to be functional. That’s a lot of equipment, drives and cords to keep track of.

The new model also leaves you no room to expand internally. One of the hallmarks of the ‘old’ mac pro was the ability to grow it into the machine you needed and grew. It made it affordable enough to get one and still have the option to create a machine to meet your demands down the line.

While new, sleek and ‘all you’ll ever need’ works well for the average user, there’s a rather large segment of Apple’s core user group that can’t actually use this machine ‘as is’. Apple in its famous 1984 ad promised us a product that was inspired and different. Something that wasn’t everyday.

As of late though…they are failing us, at least those of us who use Apple products as high end hardware and software. Final Cut X was a water downed piece of software that was meant for everyone to be able to use. Their newest iPhone ads boast that ‘every day, more photos are taken with the iphone camera’ and show everyone using them. There are enough low end/consumer grade thunderbolt, usb 3 and HDMI 1.4 devices out there that the everyday person will be just fine with this new mac pro and we can all have one.

And that’s the problem. Apple is becoming the everyday computer company that everyone can enjoy. While that’s great for the masses, those of us who work in a world where growth, expansion, adaptability and performance are our life force, this is downright scary and appalling. A lot of this post was inspired by an old friend and current visual effects compositor Kurt Lawson. His power/processing needs far outweigh mine, any day and I think he summed it up best with this –

Apple doesn’t care about the high end users they are alienating, because many more middle range users are going to want the new black shiny “pro” box. So in the end they will maybe sell more of them, while categorically cutting off anyone who wants a pinnacle performance machine.

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