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Apple pledges new, modular Mac Pro for 2018

Apple pledges new, modular Mac Pro for 2018

Apple has admitted that it made a mistake when designing the admittedly innovative 2013 Mac Pro, and is going back to a more traditional modular design for next year's refresh.

Apple has uncharacteristically admitted that its innovative Mac Pro redesign missed its target market, confessing to single-digit sales shares and promising a ground-up rethink that brings back the modular nature demanded of professional-grade computing hardware and so badly missing from the current model.

Apple's Mac Pro range launched in 2006 with for-the-time high-end hardware - including dual Xeon processors and eight memory slots - in an eye-catching aluminium chassis. While the internals changed over the years, the Mac Pro remained one of the most easily upgraded of all Apple's devices - until June 2013, when the new Mac Pro was unveiled. Designed around a triangular central heatsink, the new Mac Pro was an undeniable feat of design and engineering: smaller by far than its predecessors or competition, quiet, and yet with still impressive specifications.

More than three years since its commercial availability, though, and the Mac Pro is looking long in the tooth, and its design means that there's no easy way for owners to upgrade the hardware to keep their systems current. That, Apple has admitted in a surprise press event, was a mistake - and one the company is looking to correct with a return to the old ways, designing a new-new Mac Pro which will ditch the innovative cylindrical form factor in favour of an easily maintainable modular design reminiscent of the classic models.

'I think it’s fair to say, part of why we’re talking today, is that the Mac Pro, the current vintage that we introduced, we wanted to do something bold and different,' Apple's Craig Federighi stated during the event, as reported by attendee TechCrunch. 'In retrospect, it didn’t well suit some of the people we were trying to reach. It’s good for some; it’s an amazingly quiet machine, it’s a beautiful machine, but it does not address the full range of customers we wanna reach with Mac Pro.'

As well as being difficult to upgrade, Apple has admitted that the current Mac Pro design is even difficult even for the company itself to modify for different workloads. In particular, the clever three-sided heatsink system was built with dual-GPU builds in mind: One side cools the CPU while the other two sides cool one GPU each. If you try to build a Mac Pro with only a single, more powerful GPU, the heatsink can't cope - meaning Apple has painted itself into the corner of only being able to offer dual-GPU setups.

Sadly for Mac fans in the market for a high-end system Real Soon Now, the redesign won't be hitting the market until some time next year. In the meantime, Apple has reduced the price of the Mac Pro and its optional upgrades - in the face, the company has admitted, of weaker-than-expected sales which see the Mac Pro making up a single-digit-percentage of all Mac sales. Specifications and pricing for the new Mac Pro have not been discussed.

9 Comments

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Vault-Tec 5th April 2017, 09:39 Quote
Just been discussing this on another forum. Glad I didn't buy one now :D
RedFlames 5th April 2017, 17:46 Quote
My initial thoughts when I saw the Mac Pro was 'I'm not convinced it won't cook itself' [amongst other things]. Seems I was right.
wolfticket 5th April 2017, 19:26 Quote
A modular personal computer where you can upgrade the components?! Will the innovation never end?
RedFlames 5th April 2017, 19:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfticket
A modular personal computer where you can upgrade the components?! Will the innovation never end?

It'll never catch on...
Mr_Mistoffelees 5th April 2017, 20:30 Quote
A big, black, electric toilet roll, just what I need, or is it?
Nexxo 5th April 2017, 20:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfticket
A modular personal computer where you can upgrade the components?! Will the innovation never end?
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedFlames
It'll never catch on...

You know Apple: they'll give it a hip new name and claim they're the first to invent it. :p
Guinevere 6th April 2017, 00:00 Quote
Come on Apple, just give us a Mac Pro based on 'nearly PC' architecture. A CPU socket, some RAM slots, M.2, SATA & USB C. Throw it in a case, I don't care what shape, colour or material. Just allow me to swap out the bits of a pro rig that should be upgradable.

So no I don't want the GPU, CPU or RAM soldered to the mobo. Or the smegging SSD!

And no, I don't want you to use mobile components or to underclock anything so you can make the whole bloody thing 2mm thinner. Give it some airflow, use all that clever 'Oh aint it small' tech to improve it, not to cripple it!

And no, we don't want a custom Apple only connector for ANYTHING. We never liked the ADB & ADC and while we understood the need for a 30pin connector sticking with lightening when USB C is around is bonkers.
RedFlames 6th April 2017, 00:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
Come on Apple, just give us a Mac Pro based on 'nearly PC' architecture. A CPU socket, some RAM slots, M.2, SATA & USB C. Throw it in a case, I don't care what shape, colour or material. Just allow me to swap out the bits of a pro rig that should be upgradable

They should've just fixed the PSU problems of the old tower Mac Pro.


I know it's a year+ away but anyone care to guess just how spectacularly Apple miss the point with the new Mac Pro... or even the iMac Pro i've heard is on its way.
pbryanw 6th April 2017, 05:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
Come on Apple, just give us a Mac Pro based on 'nearly PC' architecture. A CPU socket, some RAM slots, M.2, SATA & USB C. Throw it in a case, I don't care what shape, colour or material. Just allow me to swap out the bits of a pro rig that should be upgradable.
You can already get all of this - it's called a Hackintosh :p As a bonus, you can also run Windows as a dual boot. The downside is that it's not as stable as a real Mac, and system updates often break your carefully configured system.

So, if Apple were to offer a completely customisable, close to PC architecture, Mac in the near future (without the Apple tax) I'd totally buy one. So, yes, I fully agree with your points. However, knowing Apple, and their love of proprietary hardware, this is never going to happen.
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