Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 6th Apr 2017 00:02 UTC

As we learned this week, the 2013 trash can Mac Pro is going to... Well... The trash can. Apple has promised a new "modular" Mac Pro for sometime after 2017.

In the light of this news, I thought it would be interesting to look back a model, to the "cheese grater" Mac Pros Apple sold from 2006 until 2013.

The cheesegrater is a truly iconic Mac. I love it.

On a related note, here's some interesting tidbits and nuggets I've picked up regarding the new Mac Pro from people and sources who know their stuff. The Mac Pro was in limbo inside Apple. The decision to go ahead and develop a modular Mac Pro replacement seems to have been made only in recent months, with development starting only a few weeks ago, which makes it clear why Apple said it won't ship this year. I have no idea how long it takes to develop a new computer like a Mac Pro, but I think we can expect the new Mac Pro late 2018 at the earliest, but most likely it won't be until early 2019 before it ships.

What made Apple do a 180? Well, after the announcement of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, orders for refurbished "old" MacBook Pros supposedly went through the roof, and after the initial batch of reviews came out, they shot up even higher. This response to the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar took Apple completely by surprise. Combined with the problems surrounding the LG UltraFine 5K display and the constant negativity from professional Apple users, the company decided to double down on professional users.

As Apple announced, we'll be getting a new Mac Pro and an iMac Pro as a result. In addition, Apple is said to be exploring additional Retina MacBook Pro models without the Touch Bar, and other pro-oriented features, such as hooking an iPad Pro up to a Mac to use it as a Cintiq-like device.

All in all, there is definitely excitement in the air regarding professional Mac use, and to be honest - that's been a while. Personally, I'm still very cautious, because in the end, all we got yesterday was a more official version of Tim Cook's endless "we've got great stuff in the pipeline, trust us!" meme that's been going on for a few years now.

Until we get it - and that may still be 2 years away - the new Mac Pro is vapourware.

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the future "modular"
by osvil on Thu 6th Apr 2017 11:32 UTC
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I do think that the idea behind the trashcan was not that bad, but the technology is not there yet and maybe the actual form factor wasn't that good either.

But going for external expandability is the way to go in my opinion. As external connections improve (and Apple has been an early adopter in many high performance external connectors) is going to be the way to go. Modular without the need to "open" a main module to fit the others in.

But then, you need a very capable external connector. This *must* include a way to have GPUs external without compromising any performance. Each module would be able to approach in its own way power consumption (and heat).

Just imagine stacking something like a mac mini that provides basic processor + memory and boot drive with your choice of GPU and maybe a set of disks/external storage. all that without having to open a box. It would also be great for servicing. A failure on the GPU will allow you to take it off and take it to servicing. Same with the CPU main/module. You could even use the functional parts of the computer if you fancy.

There is quite a bit of difference between this and just the usual "modular PC" like the cheese grater mac pro was. No need to open, no screws and connectors that are thought for users, no system assemblers. Very easy to add/remove hardware, and a very incremental path to upgrade.

But then, we're not quite there IMO as those external interfaces are still evolving. But we may be there soon.

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