Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 11th Jun 2013 17:07 UTC
Apple We already talked about iOS 7 yesterday (after a night of sleep, it's only looking worse and worse - look at this, for Fiona's sake!), so now it's time to talk about the downright stunning and belly flutters-inducing new Mac Pro. As former owner and huge, huge, huge fan of the PowerMac G4 Cube - I haven't been this excited about an Apple product since, well, I would say the iMac G4. This is the Apple I used to love.
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galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

Assuming that nobody has ever released a PC in a cylinder design, then I guess it technically counts as innovation.


I said already that I don't want and can't afford one of these anyway - but when I look the Mac Pro and mull over what it is, the fact that it "looks" cylindrical seems completely besides the point to me...

I don't see a product that is the result of market research design - its not like the pointy heads at Apple sat around trying to come up with what look and shape they should the next Mac Pro should have and settled on a black cylinder because they thought that would be the most effective way to wow the crowd at the WWDC...

I see an elegant solution to an engineering problem... They have upwards of 400W of heat to get rid of, how do they do that while maintaining the smallest physical and acoustic footprint possible?

But it's not the kind of innovation that actually matters, because it likely has ZERO impact on the way that the machine operates.


Imo it is the complete opposite... A cylinder with a large central heatsink and a single fan is one solution (one of the better ones too) you might get if you were trying to solve the problem I just outlined above. It is the way the machine operates - it is in fact its fundamental design. It is not a matter of form over function at all, its the opposite (as someone else has already pointed out on this thread - http://www.osnews.com/thread?564494 ).

Thing is you probably don't give a cr*p about your workstation being small and quiet - and you have every right to not care about that... In the grand scheme of things small and quiet probably rate pretty low on your desired feature list for a workstation... But there ARE people out that care about such things I assure you - and this product is designed to separate them from their money. I suspect it will work too.

In fact, it probably limits the expandability options, so technically this form of innovation actually HAMPERS the overall workmanship of the product.


But that is because you want internal expansion... and it is not designed for solving that problem. Many people won't like that aspect of this product at all, and I don't really blame them. But it isn't a fault of the design, it is an intentional tradeoff. Small + quiet = limited internal expansion. That is why Apple embraced Thunderbolt so heavily, it solves this problem by no longer needing to have it as a problem...

Now, don't get me wrong... I have nothing against owning nice things. I understand why a luxury car sells more than a low-end Hyundai. When it comes to phones, I care about things such as ergonomics, and whether or not its comfortable to hold. But companies like Apple have figured out that you can ship a product with half the functionality of the competition, and as long as you make it shinier than everyone else's, you can convince millions of mouth breathers that it is somehow a superior product.


I just outlined reasons some might consider a Mac Pro a superior product, and similar reasons could be brought up about virtually all of Apple products. It is not about them being shiny - it is about them being designed to address very particular design goals. It just happens that many of those design goals have little or nothing to do with computing per se - and lots of people don't get why you woud design a computer to solve problems that don't have anything to do with computing...

I don't like my Macbook Air because it is particularly fast, I can get a much faster laptop. In fact I could get a much faster laptop that is just as small and lightweight. But the particular combination of size, weight, build quality, battery life, and performance is pretty unique to Macbook Airs - I have tried other ultrabooks and find them severely lacking when compared on all the merits.

If you want a workstation that you can put behind your monitor and forget it is there you will probably really like this thing. Every time you need to move it or clean it you will appreciate it a bit more. From the looks of the hardware in it the performance compromise is extremely small - you are not giving up much in the way of performance even compared to machines 5 times the size. Im just saying there is more to it than being a shiny.

That, my friend, is not REAL innovation. If you're going to make something different, then at LEAST make it different in a way that counts.


I actually think that is exactly what Apple does. We just have different opinions of what counts.

Reply Parent Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Thing is you probably don't give a cr*p about your workstation being small and quiet - and you have every right to not care about that


My computer is pretty damn quiet ;) In fact, I'd have to put my ear up to it just to hear it when the air conditioner is on in my apartment. If the AC is off, it emits a very faint hum. It isn't particularly small, but it is a desktop, so there's no need for it to be.

Now, I like the Macbook Air, and like a tablet, I can appreciate how thin and light they are, since most people carry them around. But my desktop PC sits on the floor beside my desk, so as long as it isn't HUGE, the size of it is irrelevant. Same with the monitor. Apple makes a huge deal about how thin their iMacs are, which leads me to believe that there must be some parts of the world that have really small desks. I could probably put 5 of those iMacs on my desk, one behind the other, and still have room for more, so I really don't know what all the fuss is about it being as thin as it is.

I guess my point is that with portable devices, I understand why size matters, because these things have to go into pockets, laptop bags, etc, and get lugged around. But a desktop? Unless you're constantly moving them from place to place, why do you give a shit how small they are, or what the damn case looks like? The case could be orange for all I care. I don't even care what shape it is, as long as it does what a case is supposed to do, can house standard peripherals, and the top of it is flat, so I can put stuff on it, like DVDs or whatever.

Reply Parent Score: 3

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

My computer is pretty damn quiet ;) In fact, I'd have to put my ear up to it just to hear it when the air conditioner is on in my apartment. If the AC is off, it emits a very faint hum. It isn't particularly small, but it is a desktop, so there's no need for it to be.


It technically isn't a desktop though... It is probably a tower of some sort, i.e. it is on the floor... Noise from something 3 feet from you at head level is quite different than noise from 5 feet away behind your desk a floor level. There is quiet and then there is quiet.

I don't know what the noise levels are for a Mac Pro, but if they are not substantially lower than your tower Apple f*cked up - because that is kind of the whole point of the design imo.

Now, I like the Macbook Air, and like a tablet, I can appreciate how thin and light they are, since most people carry them around. But my desktop PC sits on the floor beside my desk, so as long as it isn't HUGE, the size of it is irrelevant.


It is relevant if it is on your desk as opposed to beside your desk... Some people don't like computers on their floor because of dust and whatnot. Also, since it uses external expansion you will likely need to get to the plugs on it rather frequently, which is much easier to do when it is sitting on top of your desk. On PCs people use hubs to overcome that need (for USB at least), but Thunderbolt is a daisy-chained bus so hubs are impractical.

Im admittedly nitpicking here though. I get your argument and I understand it. I'm just saying there are people who will care about these things - not everyone of course, but enough.

At the end of the day what matters is does it live up to its promise (small, quiet, minor performance compromise) and what does it cost.

No one is talking about that part... We don't yet know the price tag. But look at it... It HAS to cost ALOT less to make than the current Mac Pro in materials and fabrications costs. The number of discrete components dropped by at least and order of magnitude or more. Sure the GPUs are probably a big expense, but if you remove the GPUs and the CPU from the equations there actually isn't big ticket items left...

I would not be surprised at all if Apple asks for higher pricing to current Mac Pros - they do like to make money after all. But I'm at least holding out hope (with the new management and all) that they actually try to keep the pricing basically the same. I think they could sell this for $3,000 and still make a healthy margin from the looks of it.

At that price it, relative to other professional level workstation class machines, the price is not really much of an obstacle (similar specs and all that).

I would LOVE if they made an option for consumer level GPUs, that would probably knock close to $1000 off the pricetag and put it into the realm where I might actually consider buying one. Thing is I have no need for workstation class graphics, so a Mac Pro is sort of pointless for me (as it is being described now)

Reply Parent Score: 2

Darkmage Member since:
2006-10-20

"outlined reasons some might consider a Mac Pro a superior product, and similar reasons could be brought up about virtually all of Apple products. It is not about them being shiny - it is about them being designed to address very particular design goals. It just happens that many of those design goals have little or nothing to do with computing per se - and lots of people don't get why you would design a computer to solve problems that don't have anything to do with computing..."

Ding Ding Ding.... we have a winner. Computer's don't need to look or act like computers, but they do need to solve problems. Whether it's a business problem or an engineering problem, if the design helps it to be useful that's all that matters. Internal expansion being sacrificed to make the machine better at something else (in this case silent operation) is a perfectly acceptable trade off.

Looking at Apple's target markets this thing is mainly going to be deployed in Health, And Audio/Visual production. Those areas have specific needs, use a lot of dedicated, high-end (crucially external gear) and do not care about cost, or the machine being able to have 6 pci/pci-e cards, but having jet engine fans. This thing is being built to solve real-world problems. Not whingey IT problems about being unable to install a PCI-E card. If Apple kept things like that and listened to whinging they'd probably ship a Mac Pro with a PCI or an ISA slot. There's already an established trade and supply to market for engineered boards with those slots. Apple doesn't feel the need or want to engage in competition there.

Reply Parent Score: 1