back to article Mac Pro update: Apple promises another pricey thing it will no doubt abandon after a year

Promising today that a new Mac Pro is being developed, Apple SVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller admitted the tech giant rather disappointed the workstation world by making its "most radical Mac ever" insufficiently expandable. Schiller – along with SVP of software engineering Craig Federighi, VP of hardware engineering …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge

    Am I blue yet

    I'm glad we passed on this one, I'm not holding my breath on that one either... I'll believe it when I see it. I don't see this helping the APPL bottom line.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Am I blue yet

      The Mac Pro line doesn't have much direct impact upon Apple's bottom line. In fact the price of the machine suggested that Apple must have had massive discounts on AMD's GPUs in order to make a profit. The benefit to AMD is that a few major OSX devs switched from CUDA to OpenCL. The benefit to Apple is not being tied to one GPU supplier.

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Placing an order for Linux box now

    I was wondering if there'd be a good desktop Mac coming this year. Trash Can Mac is like delivering a sporty roadster with a trailer hitch to professionals asking for a truck.

    1. Jared Vanderbilt

      Re: Placing an order for Linux box now

      I like the sports car analogy. MacP is an Alfa Romeo 4c. Beautiful to look at, makes wonderful noises, and tightly rounds the bends; but never seems to have enough power ... and oh yea, it has a boot, you'll need OEM luggage though, because your Gucci duffle won't fit.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Placing an order for Linux box now

      I hear the Mini makes a perfectly competent desktop, and if you need more power, just buy a real computer.

    3. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Placing an order for Linux box now

      I'll have your sporty roadster with trailer hitch if you don't want it... The only problem I have with mine here is that the storage can't be upgraded other than shoving a Thunderbolt drive on. The fact I can upgrade this to 32/64/128GB for a while longer is very useful. The processors will just have to work harder.

  3. Malcolm Hall

    Wrong about the speed update

    There was no speed update today just the price lowered of the mid spec to entry level. Probably because the slower components were no longer being manufactured.

  4. TRT Silver badge

    Apple, so disappointing now.

    Once upon a time, you couldn't get a PC of equivalent spec as a Mac Pro for the price of a Mac Pro.

    Once upon a time, you couldn't get a 1u server with the power of the Xserve, well, at all.

    Once upon a time, you could buy a pre-configured 24 node bioinformatics hardware/software HPC bundle running UNIX, plug and play, from a single vendor, including rack.

    Once upon a time, you could buy a nonlinear editing system, music composition system, CGI workstation, or digital compositing powerhouse as a 15" laptop.

    Once upon a time, Apple gave a shit about the professional market.

    Once upon a time, Apple broke new ground, created new opportunities for creatives, scientists, creative scientists, etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Once upon a time, you couldn't get a PC of equivalent spec as a Mac Pro"

      It was the time of the original MacIntosh. A long, long time ago...

      1. Matthew 17

        Re: "Once upon a time, you couldn't get a PC of equivalent spec as a Mac Pro"

        In 2013 the trash can was good value, you couldn't buy a machine with that CPU/GPU's/RAM/PCIeSSD etc for the price, even a DIY machine would cost far more.

        Yes that was way back in 2013 and the world has moved on. I guess for the most part people didn't need expensive Xeon CPU's as they didn't work in music/video production, they just wanted an 'iMac Pro' with a modern i7 and decent GPU in to play games on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple, so disappointing now.

      I'm not sure it's all as "over" as you suggest, nor do I agree with El Reg's headline of "another pricey thing it will no doubt abandon after a year".

      We have Apple publicly accepting it called this one wrong. I think it's a bit harsh to pummel them for being for a rare change open about the fact that they called a market wrong and that they are about to address it. The delay I see as a sign that they want to ensure they put a decent product out there that CAN address the needs as the trashcan has failed to do, and that will include the ability to keep it running for a few years, because that's what professionals do. It would have been very easy to promise an upgrade for the end of the year, but I reckon they didn't have quite the focus on the problem until now (probably wasted that on the touch stripey thing which is IMHO not quite the innovation I was looking for).

      Now they've normalised on USB3 and all it can deliver, it also becomes much easier to create a range of kit that interconnects - before that you'd have to choose between USB3, Firewire and all the other diverse crap, and don't get me started on the vast range of power supplies.

      So yes, bad Apple for taking its time to get real, but good that they have. That's progress, provided they do indeed produce something better and I think they do have a good track record there (not sterling, good).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple, so disappointing now.

        "We have Apple publicly accepting it called this one wrong"

        Any reference for that statement?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple, so disappointing now.

          Any reference for that statement?

          You did read the article, right?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apple, so disappointing now.

            "You did read the article, right?"

            Yes I did, and it describes the opposite of a public statement.

    3. Dieter Haussmann

      Re: Apple, so disappointing now.

      You can do all that on a phone now using your finger.

    4. macjules
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Apple, so disappointing now.

      Once upon a time, Apple broke new ground, created new opportunities for creatives, scientists, creative scientists, etc.

      In the meantime we just have to wait for the grand opening of the Pet Sematary Apple Park this month to see if they really can summon Steve Jobs using the Rite of AshkEnte, or just two cc of mouse blood ..

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Apple, so disappointing now.

        How do you get two cc of mouse blood as Apple only breed tailless mice now?

        Anyway, yes, I agree it is unfair to call fat lady singing at Apple on the Prosumer ranges. I just wanted to point out that Apple really, really cut its own in that field once upon a time, and I'd love to see them back, but

        1) what do they mean by pro now? Do they have a target audience? Is it just media creatives?

        2) you snooze, you lose. They are losing ground heavily to competing platforms, and once there's a foot in the door, it's hard to reverse investments. Apple know this; it's how come they still are major league players in the media field, but ground once lost can be hard to regain.

        The old wind tunnel case was actually pretty darned good. Weighed a lot, true, but it had solid build quality written all over it. The 30" Cinema Display was de facto standard for video editing a few years ago. The inclusion of IEE1394 made connecting video cameras an absolute doddle. They really need to pull a rabbit out of the hat on this.

    5. Pedigree-Pete

      Re: Apple, so disappointing now.

      Once upon a time Hercules graphics brought MAC type graphics to the PC. Downline we managed to establish a company in the UK that produced high end audio/video realtime editing PCs and did pretty well at it.

      Ah! Those were the days in the early 90s. 1152 x something in 24 (32) bit colour ON A PC. You know who you were guys. PP

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: Apple, so disappointing now.

        Pedigree-Pete wrote:

        Ah! Those were the days in the early 90s. 1152 x something in 24 (32) bit colour ON A PC.
        1152x896, although not sure why it wasn't 1152x864 for 4:3 ratio. Thinking back, it might be because 1152x896 is the most pixels you could fit in before crossing a MB boundary.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We've let you down...

    Apple - We've let you down.

    Best to resort to a Gigabyte Motherboard based Hachintosh for 18 months. Not Pretty, but a lot cheaper and more powerful than any Apple trashcan. You might not get iMessages, but just buy a cheap iPad for that.

    It would be nice if Apple just licensed MacOS during this Gap at least, allowing a legal Hackintosh. MacOS with a monthly subscription to iMessage, and maybe even a fancy barebones case from Apple.

    Easy to implement and easy revenue for Apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We've let you down...

      Clones pretty much almost killed Apple last time. Why would they go down that same road again?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We've let you down...

        They have sold mainstream non upgradeable macbooks to nearly everyone that wants one/afford one (except a new generation coming through). They could restrict it to an older version i.e. El Capitan. The profit margin on a bare bones Apple Branded case alone, could make them a decent profit.

        It would be a different market. Apple's biggest competition in terms of buying a new macbook at the moment is actually second hand Apple iMacs and macbooks.

        Apple could market it like the App Store, but for Hardware. Hardware could be certified, Apple receive a fee for each part purchased via a hardware store.

        Apple now have a gap for 18 months in new high end customisable Mac Hardware. It's daft. Gigabyte and the rest could provide the compatible platforms within 6 months. macOS needs to go 'open' for Pro Hardware.

      2. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: We've let you down... @s2bu

        "Clones pretty much almost killed Apple last time. Why would they go down that same road again?"

        At the time Apple was solely dependent on their computer business. Now their main income is from phones and tablets, music sales and App Store transactions.

        Licensing OSX could make some money, but at the cost of their own hardware business. Many OSX inclined users would just flock for the cheaper Hackintosh PCs in the end - most people can live very well with a slighly heavier/thicker laptop without Thunderbolt - and with extra USB & A/V ports.

        And if the Mac business dried out then Apple would pour even less resources to OSX, and one day they'd just silently end support for it. Like they never announced end of support for Quicktime or Safari on Windows, they just withered away when Apple unplugged them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We've let you down... @s2bu

          >Many OSX inclined users would just flock for the cheaper Hackintosh PCs in the end

          There are already more Hackintoshes out there than Mac Pros - they're often more expensive too. It's often about better not cheaper...

          .......there's huge potential for buyers opting for MacOS over Windows 10 if given the choice at retail. Consumers who would never consider Mac hardware because of the price, but who already have Apple mobile devices.

          Windows fatigue amongst average consumers is tangible - Apple could take a 1/3 to 1/2 of the desktop/notebook market in a year to 18 months. Even if they licensed to manufacture at $10 a unit that's a brand new $1 Billion revenue stream out of thin air - before app store revenue is factored in.

          >And if the Mac business dried out then Apple would pour even less resources to OSX, and one day they'd just silently end support for it.

          They can walk away from the hardware but not the operating system. Without MacOS and Xcode there would be no iOS/tvOS/watchOS apps - even those developers who eschew Xcode are instead using tools developed with it.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We've let you down...

        Clones pretty much almost killed Apple last time. Why would they go down that same road again?

        Because they now have multiple revenue streams like iTunes and app sales? Their income is not just from hardware anymore.

      4. Michael Jarve

        Re: We've let you down...

        I still have my quad-processor Daystar Genesis 466 box out in the garage. Absolutely smoked the PMac 9600 (Apple's top-shelf kit at the time) in the few multi-processor supported apps available then; it otherwise ran slower than my PMac 6500.

        Aside from that, it's wise that the company is realizing its mistake in abandoning the pro/creative community, which (aside from education) is what kept the company afloat during the dark days of the 90's. I personally haven't bought a new "pro" Mac since 2004, when I laid down $3k for a PMac G5 DP 2.0. I do still use my older wind-tunnel G4 (maxed out) for Photoshop and Final Cut duty, where it's still perky enough.

        1. macjules

          Re: We've let you down...

          Yeah, Apple tend to forget the Daystar Genesis when referring to clones, probably because it beat the cr*p out of any competition.

        2. Michael Sanders

          people are long-winded here

          Don't license the OS. Have ASUS make an official Mainboard with a limited production run and have them support it. Done. Mic drop...

      5. Chairo

        Re: We've let you down...

        Clones pretty much almost killed Apple last time. Why would they go down that same road again?"

        It's about market segmentation. While it makes no sense to allow low cost hackintosh clones, it would make a lot of sense to sell OS licenses to the professional crowd, that prefers to have their hardware build to spec and doesn't care so much about the price, if they can get what they want.

        Some licensing model based on CPU cores, together with a nice service contract can be very profitable. It would open a high profit market segment that Apple cannot reach with their current strategy. Investment would be minimal. Kind of win-win for everyone.

        1. Aitor 1

          Re: We've let you down...

          Nope, the licensing should be based not on cores but a flat license.

          That way, cheap machines get a relatively high license cost, while expensive ones get a relatively low cost license.

          Also, if you charge lets say 200$ for the inicial license, and then extra for updates.. that would also shift them into expensive machines.

          That would no be complete without mandatory TPM modules.. and most hackintosh computers are less secure than a MacBook.. so that is also a tradeoff.

          If I were them, I would license it only for computers with no internal battery of more than 500mAh.. and that means servers and workstations. There, sorted.

      6. Jess

        Re: Why would they go down that same road again?

        They could release only OS X server for 3rd party hardware.

        They could give it a big price tag, and a caveat that it was used either in supported VMs or certified hardware, if you want support.

        That wouldn't hit their main market, and price would not be a problem for the target market.

      7. P. Lee

        Re: We've let you down...

        >Clones pretty much almost killed Apple last time. Why would they go down that same road again?

        I can't see them ever licensing OSX. That would be a bad plan as it would tarnish the image. Far better just to turn a blind eye to the enthusiast hackintosh arena (those people are not your customers anyway).

        However, they do need to lift their game. I don't mind proprietary as long as it is appreciably better. The touch-bar ain't it!

        How about...

        Chasses where components are accessible from the outside? Memory, disks, graphics cards etc. Graphics cards don't have to be hot-plug but how about a format which allows them to be exchanged without opening the box?

        Some hot plug components would be good - especially disks/ssd's. It isn't that hard!

        Drobo-style storage arrays? How many SSD's can you fit in a mini-tower? Would water-cooling help to give you a smaller form-factor?

        10G Ethernet - dual ports. Seriously people, given the price of this kit, that isn't an unreasonable request. Any non-laptop is going to be wired, so wire it seriously. Include a couple of 1G ports as well if you want.

        Optical Thunderbolt? I've pretty much given up on expecting this, but it would be a nice surprise.

        How about hotplug CPUs? I"d like a lower power CPU for email and browsing on the big screen, but I don't really need a couple of Xeons for that.

      8. rh587 Silver badge

        Re: We've let you down...

        Clones pretty much almost killed Apple last time. Why would they go down that same road again?

        When you look at revenue, Apple make the same from services as from Mac sales (~$7Bn in Q1 '17).

        Anything Mac related is dwarfed by iOS sales.

        Offering macOS as a license on approved or generic hardware would cater not just to pros but also to semi-power users like me who want the macOS/BSD environment but are seriously considering moving back to Windows because the hardware is better. I'm not buying a USB-C macbook pro, I'm not buying a trashcan Pro. I might buy a refurb macbook that has some ports, or I'd consider an OEM laptop onto which I could install macOS as a supported OS and get drivers for!

        Yes, it would damage their hardware business, but they'd sell a bunch of licenses and software to people who would otherwise be licensing software for Windows...

        And if they sold hardware at sensible, comparable prices, they'd sell a bunch of that as well - because it looks pretty and people like the build quality (even if you can't upgrade it).

        The problem they face is that they're selling a premium product into a market where even a Chromebook looks relatively svelte - once upon a time you could identify a macbook from across a room because it wasn't an ugly hulking block of grey or black plastic. Nowadays everyone is doing nice product design and uni-body cases. The USP that Jonny Ive brought to Apple is dead and gone.

        Okay, I say premium - how long did the Airs struggle on with a 1366x768 screen when laptops half the price had gone to HD? For a product aimed at "creative people", they weren't valuing the bit you looked at very much...

        1. Aitor 1

          Re: We've let you down...

          MacOs and Macs in general are the milk and bread sections of the shop for Apple. They dont make the money from those sections, but if you remove them, the clients will stop coming.

          So they need to do something.

          I would make hackintosh legal, not just tolerated, and focus on desktops/servers/workstations.. but with limited support, and stringent testing.

      9. Updraft102

        Re: We've let you down...

        MacOS/OSX has less market share than Windows XP at present (from They have nowhere to go but up.

        The main reason people seem to give when they talk about why they bought a Mac was that it "just works." Well, the reason it "just works," if in fact that was ever real, is because Apple is both the hardware and software manufacturer, and they can tailor it very closely to the needs of the machines it sells, and they can test every possible combination of Mac hardware thoroughly to identify issues before it ships.

        Windows, of course, runs on everything, since MS is mainly a software company (unlike Apple), and they cannot test on even a small fraction of the combinations of hardware that are in use out there in the real world. Ideally, the OEM would do this testing, but they'd still be at a disadvantage compared to a company that knows the ins and outs of the OS (and has the source code). In practice, PCs tend to be seen as commodity items, purchased on specs alone, so things that lead to stability like quality components (PSUs!) and adequate testing tend to be ignored.

        Windows acquired a terrible reputation for crashiness, and a good bit of it is not Microsoft's fault, per se. If a Windows PC crashes, they blame Windows... after all, it's Windows that delivered the error and stopped working. In most cases, though, it's not faulty MS coding that causes the blue-screen, but faulty hardware or drivers.

        That was particularly true in the Win 95 days, which were the early days of PnP (Plug 'n' Play), which we used to call "Plug 'n' Pray" at the time. The ISA bus was still in most new PCs, but it was never meant to be self-configuring, and the workarounds meant to make it self-configuring were kludges at best. In addition, a lot of the PnP ISA hardware that appeared was of abysmal quality, and so were the drivers.

        This tended to make hardware/driver issues nearly universal in the commoditized PC market, but it was MS that got the blame.

        Apple would have to play this carefully; they would want to preserve the idea that to get "just works" performance, it has to be a real Mac, while simultaneously selling MacOS on the idea that it works better on PCs than Windows does. I think it could be done, though.

    2. Updraft102

      Re: We've let you down...

      I've been thinking about this too. With Windows 10 growth tanking in spectacular fashion since their forced giveaway and many users (self included) determined to avoid it to the bitter end, there's an opportunity for Apple to get into the PC software market like never before.

      Users like me have avoided Apple because (at least in part) of the closed nature of the ecosystem; I want to be able to build and upgrade my PCs as I see fit, and the Apple hardware that's the only official way of getting iOS/MacOS has never really supported that. If they made MacOS (though I guess it might have to be re-renamed if it's not just for Macs) available for purchase to Windows PC users, that particular limitation of the Mac platform would evaporate overnight. Apple could very easily steal Microsoft's thunder and the headlines about innovation too.

      With MacOS market share dipping below that of Windows XP (, it could really use a boost, and giving millions of PC owners who want to get off the MS failure train but who are not ready to go to Linux (or whose mission-critical programs are available in Mac format as well as Windows) a lifeline would cause a noticeable surge in MacOS market share. That could spur more interest by devs, in turn, in a way that the fragmented (and even lower than Mac market share on the desktop) Linux desktop so far has not. Otherwise, it looks like Microsoft is in a death pact to kill its Windows division and bring the entire PC market with it.

      How much would it impact Apple's hardware sales? I don't know... Apple hardware is already perceived by a lot of people as being top-notch and uniquely stylish (though as this article points out, the latter sometimes overwhelms the former), and there are already people who buy Apple hardware in order to run Windows on it, strange as it sounds-- which indicates that at least some percentage of Apple purchasers do it for the hardware and not just because it's the only way to get MacOS. With Macs stagnating and dropping in share, it doesn't seem like there would be much to lose here. Apple would still hold the edge on the perception of their products as high quality or being works of art that also function, but they'd be competing much more directly with garden-variety PCs if both Macs and PCs were able to run both MacOS and Windows. People who buy Macs now probably still would buy Apple hardware, I think, but they'd also have a huge influx of new revenue and market share from the PC people.

      It boggles my mind that I'm hoping for this (though I know it probably won't come to pass), given the loathing I've had for Apple ever since the Apple II days. Their closed systems, overpriced hardware, and snobbish cultist fans have always been a massive turn-off... but now in the "Windows as a Service" days, a desktop OS that doesn't try to be anything BUT a desktop OS seems really appealing, and it has become clear that MS has no interest in that market any more. I'm prepared to go to Linux, but I know a lot of people aren't, and if they don't move in significant numbers, developers won't follow. MacOS could become a credible gaming platform more easily than Linux, I think, as it doesn't have the "the users want stuff for free and never want to pay for anything" reputation that Linux does, and it's not fragmented beyond belief. Real gamers use PC hardware, not Apple-branded Macs (that actually are PCs), but if those same users could dual-boot MacOS and Windows (or triple boot it with Linux), we could very well see a migration away from Microsoft.

      1. Stevie

        Re: We've let you down...(4 Updraft102)

        I know of no-one who would contemplate paying the Apple Tax to get off Windows. Them that can't simply say "Windows 10 takes some getting used to but is really not that bad" and those that can will build out a Linux based answer. People who belive that there is an audience waiting to fork over 3 grand for a computer for home use either are barking or work for Apple.

        As for buying a Mac to run Windows, that is the gaming crowd. For much as people hate to hear it, y' can't get "all the good games" on all platforms.

        Apple continuously fail to properly identify the target audience for their high-end kit, and use the same idiotic form-over-function calculus to make design choices. If Apple were not so obsessed with the pretty they might pause and consider what they could do if the owner did not want to look at the blood thing while he/she worked.

        Not that I'm in the market. I cracked my brother-in-law's G3 once as a favor and was appalled by what I found inside the case.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Apple continuously fail to properly identify the target audience for their high-end kit,

          Agree with that bit.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We've let you down...(4 Updraft102)

          I know of no-one who would contemplate paying the Apple Tax to get off Windows. Them that can't simply say "Windows 10 takes some getting used to but is really not that bad" and those that can will build out a Linux based answer. People who belive that there is an audience waiting to fork over 3 grand for a computer for home use either are barking or work for Apple.

          You've never even used OSX/macOS, have you? I can tell.

  6. J. R. Hartley


    Build a Hackintosh if you want a decent Mac. Like back in the 90s when the quickest way to run Mac software was on an Amiga running Shapeshifter.

  7. Your alien overlord - fear me

    "handpicked favoured journalists" - I take it your invite was lost in your spam filter?

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Not lost...

      Try 'never sent'- El Reg has been persona non grata for apple events for years and years.

      1. Captain DaFt

        @ J. Cook

        Better check your sarcasm detector. ☺

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Not lost...

        Well, after the type of language used in this article, I'm not surprised it was never sent!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not lost...

        aka Lost in the outbox.

  8. Mage Silver badge


    They are a consumer gadget company.

    They just want Apple badges in their own offices.

    They took "computer" out of their name.

    They make FAR more profit from non-OSX products, it's a niche. But it hurts their ego that pro users don't much like the macs now.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Apple

      Are playing a very dangerous game.

      You need a Mac running OSX to legally develop for OSX and iOS.

      Right now, there are no professional-grade Macs, so you have to develop on consumer-grade kit.

      If this continues for much longer then there will be no professional applications for OSX or iOS.

      In the long term, Apple will either have to allow development on Linux/Windows, or Hackintosh, or there will be no professional-grade iOS apps and iOS will start to die.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Apple

        Apologies, under the new rules it's called "macOS".

        I'm not changing my #ifdef though.

  9. N2

    Creative Professionals...

    Well, Apple have crapped all over them, the types that stuck with Apple have been shunned into a corner with aps like Aperture discontinued & something resembling a fancy trash can to replace the much loved Mac Pro.

    Will they come back?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did the meeting really take place or is it fake news?

    "Apple did not respond to a request to confirm that this meeting actually took place". So in your view did it take place or not? Presumably you are hinting it is fake news.

    1. d3vy

      Re: Did the meeting really take place or is it fake news?


      Apple never repsond to requests from the reg, their refusal to comment on this article should not be read into.

  11. razorfishsl

    It will be triangle, taking only apple Triangle shaped PCIe v1.0 boards as well as having an LCD icon display and be backed by V2.0 of a 6502.

    It is clear that Jobs made a massive mistake with his current Technical person.

    1. Chairo

      be backed by V2.0 of a 6502

      You mean the version that supports the ror instruction? What a luxury!

  12. Sgt_Oddball

    how many...

    Apple pro users wanted some thing so compact?

    What was so wrong with the old g5 power Mac/ mac pro case?

  13. adnim


    I build my own, my last upgrade was a SSD around 3 years ago. Machine still does all I need, even plays console ports.

    I have had a few apples, not seen a doctor for a long time.

  14. J. Cook Silver badge

    Having had a chance to put my grimy, blood-stained claws on a trash can mac, the best thing I can say about them is that a) they are surprisingly heavy, thought with that thermal mass it's understandable; and b) the shiniest part of them was the monitor that connected to it.

    Oh wait, the monitors are gone now, too. I'd like to see a return of a nicely sized, modular mac, especially if it's price competitive* with the wintel equivalents.

    *I'll give 10-20% on the pricing, seeing as case design is surprisingly hard to do in such a way to make things easy to access and nice looking in the process.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      A Wintel equivalent would be one with a nice case, so no Mac price uplift necessary.

      The trashcan design is what happens when the inmates take over the asylum.

      There are plenty of examples of striking PC tower designs that are portable, expandable, easy to work on and yes, beautiful.

      Many PC case designers have succeeded at this - they aren't cheap, they are good.

      1. Swarthy

        Lian Li cases?

        Oooh. I just looked at their Computer Desks section. I do believe I am in lust.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I bought one of these recently. Two Xeon E3-1285s, 5 x 1TB SSDs running Raid-Z, and all passively cooled. Cost me a fortune (mainly the SSDs) but dear lord, do I love it.

  15. Borg.King

    Use the aluminium tower form factor again

    My current 2008 Mac Pro is still alive and kicking with 1TB of SSD and 32GB of RAM - and the 5770 graphics card. I could do more, but the apps I need daily launch in about half a bounce. The hardware's starting to show signs of age 9 years later. 9.

    Give me the same form factor in a new Mac Pro with the current CPU & GPU deities and let me spend a few hundred every year to keep it singing along for 9 years.

    I'm happy to make that commitment.

    I'm not willing to buy a whole new Mac Pro every 3 years.

    1. Jay 2

      Re: Use the aluminium tower form factor again

      My trusty 2008 Mac Pro was with me for 6 years before I sold it. One of the main plus points was that you could install (and easily replace!) such things as disks and RAM. When it came to the replacement I never really considered the strange-shaped one, as it was pretty locked down hardware-wise and you'd have to go and buy more bits to even make it functional. So I gave it a miss.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Use the aluminium tower form factor again

      "I'm not willing to buy a whole new Mac Pro every 3 years."

      That's commie talk!

      (Mine's the one with the Self-Repair Manifesto in the pocket.)

  16. Milton

    Deja Mac

    If you want a really capable desktop machine then you care more about its power and reliability than whether it's shiny and bears a half-eaten-fruit sticker. So you can buy or easily assemble an arbitrarily powerful and highly expandable and upgradeable machine for way less money than the fruit machine. The savings on sticker price continue for years because of that flexibility, as you add memory, storage, even cores as you need them.

    So unless you really need a style statement, or a bank statement, under your desk - why would you ever buy the wastebin machine?

    Apple got sucked into the untaxed billions it could make by peddling the increasingly dead-end rectangles with rounded corners to the same people who like to advertise Abercrombie on their chests in six-inch letters, and is now in the final stages of losing the market for serious techie workers.

    And there are sufficient good alternatives that it doesn't even matter any more.

  17. Jason Hindle

    Is it too much to ask?

    Just make a bloody PC that happens to run OSX (or whatever they're calling it this week). The current Mac Pro was actually reasonable(ish) value when it arrived, but given the direction Apple is going, I do wonder what the point is unless you're heavily dependent on Apple only applications.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Is it too much to ask?

      One of the problems Apple has is that the profit is in iPhone. So, wealthy though the company is, it still has to justify expenditure to the shareholders. Saying "we're putting billions into doing smart Mac Pros" is going for drive the share price down, because most investors would see it as a waste of money.

      So if the senior management are renumerated in part with stock holdings, saying "let's give ourselves a pay cut" comes hard. The result is that they're always going to be slow to put funds into their line of workstations.

      I think that this shows how little imagination they have these days. The PC market is dying because of Windows 10. There's a ton of people out there who don't want Win10, but there's no other choice (setting aside Linux for the moment, that's still not seen as a mainstream alternative). There is still a lot of people out there wanting workstations. Apple do not fill that gap with their current line-up.

      If Apple did a well priced (something near PC prices), well spec'ed, smart but not extravagant desktop machine (e.g. a decent PC case, not some highly polished ultra compact expensive to make jewel), anyone who needs a workstation would flock to them. They'd be able to kill off Windows pretty easily. And they'd end up with a ton of customers they currently don't have.

  18. deadlockvictim

    Apple (well, at least the computer side of it anyway) is split in it's personality between her two main co-founders. The Jobs-ian side builds computers that tend towards appliances. They are what the mainstream user would like to have, if they had the money for it. They tend to be elegant in design. the Cube from the late Nineties is the personification of this. The colourful iMacs were the affordable version. They are typically only slightly expandable.

    The Woz-ian side builds technically interesting and expandable systems. The Apple II series best express his side of the company.

    Every now and then though, they produce machines that express the two sides in harmony, and they are usually workstations or servers. The Mac II series, the G3-G4 series starting with the Blue-&-White Mac and the Aluminium Mac Pros are all good examples of this fusion.

    My only wish is that Apple would go for bigger market share with the Macintosh. Jean-Louis Gassée blew their opportunity to have a *much* larger marketshare in the late 1980s. Now that many are dissatisfied with Microsoft after all of their GUI changes to Office and Windows 8 onwards, Apple have the resources and the opportunity to get a Mac inside everyone's home — somthing like an expandable mini-tower that competes with the likes of Asus et al.

    They won't do it, of course, because it would mean having to sacrifice their precious and needlessly high profit margins.

    1. rcorrect

      >The Woz-ian side builds technically interesting and expandable systems

      This is literally the reason I stopped buying Macs. I don't care for Windows but being able to repair a computer I paid good money for is nice.

      1. Updraft102

        Re: >The Woz-ian side builds technically interesting and expandable systems

        I'd say "mandatory" instead of "nice."

  19. Potemkine Silver badge

    "a handpicked group of favored journalists"

    I guess El Reg wasn't invited? ^^

  20. Red Five

    After their abandonment of the Mac Mini, that allowed people like me to afford a Mac experience, it's clear that Apple don't care about the demographic of people who want Apple but at an entry-level.

    Switched to a similarly-price, but better specced Windows 10 machine and, while not ideal, I can play Age of Empires again...hurrah!

    ..but what Apple forgets is, once you dismantle one part of your 'Apple Life' then other things follow..I won't be replacing my iPad with another and seriously considering ditching my iPhone for an less money for Apple from people like me...y'know, the forgotten lot.

    1. Aitor 1

      shopping mall

      This is exactly like a shopping mall. You have cinemas and restaurants... not becuase they are a big source of income, but becuase they get customers.

      Smae could be said about selling milk and bread at supermarkets. Tesco probably loses money on those products, but good luck trying to have a supermarket and stop selling them!!

      Same thing for apple. They rely on the ecosystem.. yet make it very inconvenient for way too many ppl... and they will lose market share. They should be able to afford losing money on proffesional machines that are used to develop SW for their ecosystem.. or that are used by evangelists... not doing so, is shortsighted.

      As for the ppl who say their 9 year old pro is ok.. good luck rendering video. A modern top of the line CONSUMER pc with lets say a ryzen 1800 will absolutely leave it in the dust rendering video, etc.

      1. Red Five

        Re: shopping mall

        It's the die-hard evangelists that they're forgetting...

  21. Paul Westerman

    Shame though

    At least Apple are trying to bring a bit of design to the PC - I really liked the 'bin' design, and the 'lamp' and especially the G4 Cube. Unfortunately the designs hobbled the functionality. But even their tower designs are beautiful - did you see the EEVblog teardown of the Power Mac G5? ( Lovely things. Wouldn't ever buy one though!

  22. Yesnomaybe

    I like them

    Yes, I know. But I bought around 25 of the 6 core dustbin-mac, and I have to say, they have been pretty robust and trouble-free. So I like them for that. They are powerful enough for our purposes and run very quietly. That last point was important to us. Also, the form-factor works well for us, although I know that's not the case (lol) for everyone. So all-in-all, I am happy with them.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Whatever it is... will be beautiful, slick and expensive.

    Paris - because, so's she.

  24. psychonaut

    rather dissapointed

    "rather disappointed the workstation world by making its "most radical Mac ever" insufficiently expandable."

    noone was surprised surely? upgrade a mac in any significant way is usually a non starter

    ram, yes maybe.

    anything else??

    for years if you changed even the disk for something non apple certified you had to buy a speical board from a third party to prevent the fans from running at full throttle all the time

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Apple doesn't give a sh** about the Mac Pro"

    Apple doesn't seem to give a sh** about the MacBook Pro either. The other day I met a high profile technologist who has been until now a long-term MacBook Pro user. He's just switched to Ubuntu on a Dell laptop because Apple's latest MacBook Pro offerings are so sub-standard in their spec.

    ... and who on earth wants this new touch-bar bullshit anyway? Jobs must be turning in his grave.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Touchbar needs on screen display below the dock.

      The Touchbar wouldn't have been so bad if its design was reflected/mirrored on screen with highlights (to show current finger position) just below the dock, to save having to look down at the keyboard.

      The fact that Apple missed that, shows the lack of progress of late.

      1. psychonaut

        Re: Touchbar needs on screen display below the dock.

        the fact that that would be considered progress is pretty much everything thats wrong with IT ....

  26. Ilsa Loving

    Pulling their heads out?

    I really hope this means that Apple people are collectively pulling their heads out of their asses and realizing where their bread and butter *really* comes from.

    I think they perhaps weren't aware of just how much influence professionals, while being a small portion of the market, influence the market as a whole. When a consumer needs a new computer, they are going to ask a professional friend or whoever for advice.

    I personally have been recommending apple to pretty much everyone, for the simple reason that my number of regular family service calls dropped by several orders of magnitude once they were on Apple.

    But with the way Apple has been so utterly taking the piss lately, I am now very hesitant to maintain that recommendation anymore.

  27. BRYN

    Apple will not license out MacOS(X)

    Whilst the idea of licensing out MacOS out has been mentioned it will not happen.

    Apple isn't a computer company anymore they dropped the Apple Computers a few years back and became Apple Inc. In doing so they stopped making computers and became a consumer device, Like a DVD player or TV etc.

    They don't want the hassle of having to support multiple possible machine configurations or devices. They build a machine that just works because they control every aspect of it. Hardware manufacturers also don't experience the compatibility issues because they have a much narrower target to aim at, generally if it works on one mac it'll work on all.

    If they stop this it opens up a massive set as headaches. Hence no licensing.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a change of heart

    I thought yesterdays announcement was a little refreshing, with them at last showing some humility. Of course the proof will be in what they do with "pro" products moving forward.

  29. FuzzyWuzzys

    Only one MAC worth bothering with and that's TONY's!

  30. Howard Hanek

    Insufficently Expandable

    Unlike the egos of Apple Executives and the expectations of stock analysts worldwide.

  31. Mitoo Bobsworth


    I do a lot of in-house Photo Retouching & Video editing on a Freelance basis & I have worked for several clients who were rather chuffed that they could offer their 'temp' a Mac Pro to work on. Sad to say that, in every instance, it was an underwhelming experience & I found no advantage over my humble 2013 fully maxed out iMac. Besides, the shape & port access/layout is just silly IMHO - an example of form over function for me.

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