Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Apr 2017 12:40 UTC

Every Apple user - professional users specifically - has known for a long time the situation with Apple's most powerful Mac, the Mac Pro, had become entirely untenable. After years of utter silence on the matter, the company has finally opened up today. John Gruber, after a meeting with several Apple executive and three other members of the press:

Apple is currently hard at work on a "completely rethought" Mac Pro, with a modular design that can accommodate high-end CPUs and big honking hot-running GPUs, and which should make it easier for Apple to update with new components on a regular basis. They're also working on Apple-branded pro displays to go with them.

I also have not-so-great news:

These next-gen Mac Pros and pro displays "will not ship this year". (I hope that means "next year", but all Apple said was "not this year".) In the meantime, Apple is today releasing meager speed-bump updates to the existing Mac Pros. 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. Nothing else is changing, including the ports. No USB-C, no Thunderbolt 3 (and so no support for the LG UltraFine 5K display).

During the meeting, Apple almost-but-not-quite flat-out apologised for the silence and complete lack of updates over the past three years, almost calling the current Mac Pro a mistake, a miscalculation. Apple's Phil Schiller:

We're not going to get into exactly what stage we're in, just that we told the team to take the time to do something really great. To do something that can be supported for a long time with customers with updates and upgrades throughout the years. We'll take the time it takes to do that. The current Mac Pro, as we've said a few times, was constrained thermally and it restricted our ability to upgrade it. And for that, we're sorry to disappoint customers who wanted that, and we've asked the team to go and re-architect and design something great for the future that those Mac Pro customers who want more expandability, more upgradability in the future. It'll meet more of those needs.

I can't stress how out-of-character this almost-apology and peek into the future Mac Pro roadmap really are. After more than three years of silence, Apple didn't really have much of a choice, especially now that we know a successor to the Mac Pro is at least a year away.

Be sure to read Gruber's entire article - it's well worth it.

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Only one thing to say
by darknexus on Tue 4th Apr 2017 12:46 UTC
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It's about time! Here's hoping they really do come out with something expandable and truly awesome. Awesome in the way the Powermac G5 was awesome in its day. Fingers crossed...

Reply Score: 3

So more powerful GPU's
by Spiron on Tue 4th Apr 2017 13:19 UTC
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But they will still be using Metal and ignoring the new industry standard Vulkan for literally no good reason.

Reply Score: 1

Member since:

It's pretty pathetic if Apple is making an announcement for a future product at least 9 months ahead of launch, but probably more than a year away anyway. Specs are unknowm but it will be great ;)

Coming from a man who has the courage (or is it paid?) to say every year that they build the best Mac/iPad/Iphone ever?

Maybe it is more worrying that people are rejoicing, even when nothing concrete is known and the it's vapourware for about a year.

Reply Score: 2

Flatland_Spider Member since:

It gets the rabble to quit sharpening their pitchforks, and stops the "MS is SOOOOO innovative!" line that's been hovering around the Surface products.

It really looked like Apple was going to become the next Sony, so this is a welcome announcement.

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:

and stops the "MS is SOOOOO innovative!" line that's been hovering around the Surface products.

Not sure how that follows from the details they released. Its possible for two company's to both be innovative. Its not a zero sum game.

I also wouldn't credit MS for surface, but for win 10 in general, yes. They did a great job on that OS. Kind of proved that they still care about traditional PC operating systems. Apple hasn't released anything ground breaking since Snow Leopard, IMHO.

Reply Score: 2

Flatland_Spider Member since:

It's all about PR, and this is a naked PR move. Most of the time Apple does lots of cloak and dagger stuff to make it look like the information releases are clandestine leaks, but they laid everything out this time. Top Apple execs meeting with John Gruber, and other journalists, discussing future products plans.

Apple needed to get people talking about their stuff again, and not the MS Surface stuff. There were quite a few articles floating around stating MS is a new company, and it's out innovating Apple. Then there are the stories speculating Apple is giving up on MacOS and Mac line in favor of iOS and iDevices. Then there are the Surface commercials which specifically target Apple products.

The natives were getting restless, and Apple needed to release something to keep them on the reservation. Apple's Mac product cycle is broken, so instead of being able to just release a product like they used to, they had to settle for "leaking" info to the press.

It worked. People have a warm, fuzzy feeling now.

Companies do this all the time. Company A will release a new graphics card, and on the same day, Company B will release details about their next generation graphics card. Company B isn't letting Company A dominate the news cycle. MS was dominating the news cycle, and Apple had to do something to be part of the conversation.

I've tried Win10, and it's still a hot mess. They've added features like virtual desktops, which is nice, and they've rolled out the Linux subsystem, which is less functional then the old WSU/SFU.

MS hasn't released anything ground breaking since Win7, or Win 2000 if you're being cynical. They could have iterated on Win7 for the next 20 years, and people would have been satisfied.

What ground breaking functionality should Apple add to MacOS? They have a new filesystem, and they've continued to hone the iOS and MacOS integration, which is awesome. They could optimize it a little bit, and add pledge() support. However, those aren't ground breaking or anything most people would care about.

Operating systems are pretty complete at this point for the current technology landscape.

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:

They have a new filesystem, and they've continued to hone the iOS and MacOS integration, which is awesome.

No it isn't awesome. Not at all. The last think I care about is how a proprietary devices with no open standards integrates to a desktop in a proprietary way.

The filesystem is better than HFS +, but that's damning with faint praise. Its something they should have done close to 10 years ago. Go through the MacOs reviews on ARS, every single one up until now bemoans the File system issue.

Reply Score: 3

Flatland_Spider Member since:

It really is awesome. You're underestimating how nice it is not having messages siloed between two devices.

Being proprietary isn't great, but no one is doing anything remotely like it that isn't proprietary. Pushbullet ( for Android is a proprietary service.

All of the messaging stuff is f*cked at the moment, so it's not worse then anything else. It would be nice if there was a standard mechanism for phone and laptop/desktop interaction, but there isn't. The Lone Ranger also isn't riding in from the horizon to rescue us anytime soon, so we're pretty much stuck with the basket of wet crap that is the smartphone OS market.

Yeah, they should have put HFS+ out to pasture a long time ago, so no argument on that one.

My point is, MacOS is a mature product, and Apple is working on improving it. All the low hanging fruit has been picked, and now they are fixing small things that don't really excite most people who aren't OS geeks.

Back to my question... What do you feel MacOS is missing? For me, it's a hypervisor. Not really a core feature, but it would be nice.

Reply Score: 1

It's the cube all over again.
by Flatland_Spider on Tue 4th Apr 2017 16:05 UTC
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Does this mean Apple is targeting chips with AVX-512?

The best news is the return of Apple displays!

Making something more expandable makes sense. The current Mac Pro isn't as dense as it could be, and something that can do 2x CPUs and 4x PCIe x16 addin cards would be interesting.

Adding Phi cards to the option list would be an interesting move, so would making use of MXM for the addin cards. (

Reply Score: 1

Apple follows Nintendo
by CaptainN- on Tue 4th Apr 2017 17:04 UTC
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For some reason, I have these two companies linked together in basic methodology, and for their similar capability of really innovating - rare even in the tech space.

First, Nintendo corrects its course in hardware and software - refining the mistakes they made with Wii U to deliver a new and unique if not revolutionary platform with Switch, while at the same time correcting the mistakes they've made over a long period with the Zelda franchise, culminating in the very polarizing Skyward Sword. Now it's Apple's turn to right it's course with Mac Pro (and maybe MacBook Pro next?). Each instance came after significant failures in hardware and software.

Now let's hope Apple's software division can correct their course as well.

Edited 2017-04-04 17:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Apple follows Nintendo
by theinonen on Wed 5th Apr 2017 10:10 UTC in reply to "Apple follows Nintendo"
theinonen Member since:

There is nothing innovative on Nintendo Switch and Neo Geo X had pretty much the same idea many years before Switch.

There is even less innovation on Apple of today, as they are only good for taking regular readily available components and then selling with large profit due to aggressive branding, spiced with usual American nonsense + hundreds of amazing and best ever words. Basically take something others have innovated and then sell it with different amazing name as yours for huge profit.

For example, while others had usual CD-ROM drives, Apple had exactly the same but they called it SuperDrive and laughed all the way to bank.

Reply Score: 2

The trashcan wasn't bad...
by The123king on Tue 4th Apr 2017 17:20 UTC
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I don't think the trashcan idea was inherently a bad one, i just think its implementation was poor.

Using Thunderbolt for expansion is not in itself a bad idea, the lack of Apple-branded PCIe caddies was a bad idea. If Apple made some PCie caddies (or at least had a bolt-on unit for the trashcan) I think the Mac Pro would have been a much more useful and powerful tool

Also, the overall idea of the three daughterboards bolted to a "reasonably" dumb mainboard wasn't a bad idea either. However, i believe they should have done it in a more cuboid shape (think G4 cube) and had 4 (instead of 3) cpu/gpu daughterboards swappable, and available in any possible config would have made the trashcan Mac Pro a very powerful and capable machine. Imagine what you could do with 4 cpu daughterboards (with Xeon E7-4xxx in) and an external thunderbolt GPU....

With swappable CPU/GPU boards (maybe standardise it?), you should be able to upgrade the CPU boards to a newer socket without the expense of an entirely new machine. They could also be loaded into server racks quite easily (with the right cooling solutions), providing a powerful, modular platform for high performance computing tasks. Maybe we'll see a new Xserve chassis too...

Edited 2017-04-04 17:28 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: The trashcan wasn't bad...
by darknexus on Tue 4th Apr 2017 17:37 UTC in reply to "The trashcan wasn't bad..."
darknexus Member since:

Maybe we'll see a new Xserve chassis too...

Ooh, I hope so. I'm not holding my breath, but I'd be happy if I'm wrong.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by fmaxwell
by fmaxwell on Tue 4th Apr 2017 18:07 UTC
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After more than three years of silence, Apple didn't really have much of a choice...

Apple did have a choice: Release a new Mac Pro or just silently discontinue the Mac Pro line entirely. I'm glad that they chose the former. That the Mac Pro is their sole made-in-the-USA computer could have had something to do with the decision given the current political climate.

As someone with a couple of Mac Pros, I'm relieved. I feared that Apple was going to abandon the real workstation market and just sell tarted-up iMacs. But no matter how much you try to dress up a consumer-grade CPU, GPU, and RAM, it's still consumer-grade junk. Would you accept a communications protocol with no error detection and correction? Of course not. So why would you accept RAM that had no error correction and detection?

Reply Score: 2

Whole thing stinks
by whartung on Tue 4th Apr 2017 19:06 UTC
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It's as if this problem is "new" and it's a "surprise", and still we wait. It's taken them this long to figure it out. How can you be a leader when you're this far behind?

And they're right, the primary "pro" user base is developers -- iOS and server side developers. Certainly not Mac OS application developers. We have an office filled with developers, all on Macs, and none of us write any Apple software -- save for our small mobile group. Mac OS apps are from the scattered few boutique developers.

We use them because its better for us than Linux.

It just comes off as if it's some kind of surprise how the machines are used.

I have a Mac Pro at home. Why? Simply because I don't have room for an iMac, the display is simply too big and doesn't fit my space -- and a Mac Mini is not enough. it's an elegant cylinder wrapped in a tangled mess of mis-matched cables snaking all over the place. I don't have to replace it now, but I'd almost consider replacing it with a laptop, but they can't go to 32G of RAM. If they came out with a 32G RAM laptop, I'd think about it -- maybe, but I don't really like the thermal characteristics of the laptops. The Mac Pro handles the heat far better than a laptop can.

With the laptop, I'd still have a tangled mess of cables, but I'd also have a laptop, which could be handy.

It would be nice for Apple to put the time in to where a Mac Pro can actually compile iOS code faster than a Mac Mini -- that would be pretty neat!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Whole thing stinks
by krtekz on Tue 4th Apr 2017 19:33 UTC in reply to "Whole thing stinks"
krtekz Member since:

In what ways are they better than Linux for developing non-Apple software?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Whole thing stinks
by chrish on Wed 5th Apr 2017 12:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Whole thing stinks"
chrish Member since:

My dev team writes portable code, mostly using Mac hardware. It's nice to have a UNIX workstation with a usable GUI where things mostly work out of the box, with almost no tweaking... we can get on with our work instead of trying to figure out what magic combo of software will let us access the Exchange infrastructure or whatever.

That said, we've been ordering Dell laptops running Ubuntu since the MacBook Pro got upgraded.

Reply Score: 2

Good news for Mac pro users....
by gan17 on Tue 4th Apr 2017 20:58 UTC
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... but I'm more curious about the upcoming "great" iMacs. Admittedly, the Mac Pro is too much for my needs. Recent Macbook Pro was a bust for me - too little CPU performance gain, dodgy GPU optimization (even the most recent version of Lightroom CC on my previous gen 13" rMBP with Intel GPU runs better than the new 15" model with AMD GPU, I have no idea why) and grossly overpriced - so the iMac is my last hope. I just hope they don't add a toucbar magic keyboard and bump up the price by $500, calling it a "significant upgrade".

Edited 2017-04-04 20:59 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Wishing The Best to Apple...
by dionicio on Tue 4th Apr 2017 21:34 UTC
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At This Effort :-)

Reply Score: 2

No gruber
by Carewolf on Tue 4th Apr 2017 21:35 UTC
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Nope, not going to read it there. It would benefit the fake journalist and unofficial Apple spokesperson John Gruber.

Reply Score: 4

RE: No gruber
by Athlander on Wed 5th Apr 2017 20:04 UTC in reply to "No gruber"
Athlander Member since:


You are right, though. He's a cog in Apple's PR machine and nothing more.

Reply Score: 3