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Waiting for a New Mac Pro? A Growing Petition Seeks Answers from Apple Regarding an Update

It’s no secret that Apple has been moving into the consumer space for the past five years, with the introduction of the iPhone and iPad, and the long wait between versions of Final Cut Studio, with the most recent version, Final Cut Pro X, resembling their consumer editing application iMovie. Whether FCPX has professional features is another matter entirely, but there’s no denying that they’ve abandoned most of the professional suite and are sticking to lower-priced applications sold through the App Store. While it seems Apple is banking on higher resolutions to sell more iPads and iPhones, they’ve ignored many professionals that have made Apple the brand they are today. Rumor has it that the Mac Pro line may be finished, but a working professional has created a Facebook page seeking answers.

It’s been almost two years (671 days and counting) since the last update to their professional tower, the Mac Pro, and a petition has been created to asking Apple for some information regarding an update to the product line. As of this writing, the Facebook page has close to 12,000 likes, and it’s growing steadily each day. Many pros have been asking these questions for some time now: should they wait, or should they move along to the Windows side? Or even build a Hackintosh? It’s one thing not being able to afford the Mac Pro because of its hefty premium — it’s quite another when you’ve got the money in hand and are waiting for the product to manifest itself. Investing a significant sum into 2 year-old technology, however, makes little sense to most professionals, especially when every dollar counts.

In an open letter to Apple, the creator of the Facebook page, Lou Borella, asks for some answers:

Hello Apple. Remember me? I’m one of your loyal users. I’m one of the guys who has owned 2 MacPros, a G5, a G4, 4 laptops, one iMac, 4 iPods, one MacMini, 4 iPhones and a bevy of other peripherals and software packages over the last 10 years.

I’m looking for a little clarity.

Can you please let me and the other people on in this group know what is going on with the MacPro? Its been neglected for far too long. We realize all the success of the iPad and iPhone and we’re really happy with our new toys. But unfortunately many of us need to make decisions on hardware for professional uses that allow us to make a living.

We have no desire to go the Dark Side and buy a Windows machine. And while the Hackintosh community has made great strides its not a viable option for a professional environment. Unfortunately you haven’t left us much choice!! The professional software applications like CS6, AVID, Protools, Smoke and others require the most powerful hardware available. The ability to configure systems with specific hardware is essential for our businesses. The iMac is not the answer for these situations. (Not to mention that I already have 54 total inches of professional monitors sitting on my desk!!!)

We’ve held out as long as we can. Many of us will never get the hint that you’ve discontinued the MacPro lineup. So I am asking directly.
Can you please let us know what your plans are?
Is the MacPro officially dead?
Are you going to license OSX to another hardware manufacturer to build powerful desktops?
You have the best OS on the market. Please let us put it to good use!!!

We have waited patiently. We are only asking for a little insight. A timeframe would really go a long way in this relationship. Please, either set us free and tell us that the hardware is dead or give us a little peak behind the curtain. Its not too much to ask. We cannot wait any longer and its really not fair to string us along like this.

Sincerely
Lou Borella and the Creative Community


Optimized software benefits greatly from newer hardware, especially when that software is CS6, and it’s designed to work more efficiently with the CUDA technology found inside NVIDIA graphics cards. Apple tried to stick it to Adobe when they last updated the Mac Pro, and they now only offers cards from competing AMD in the pro line. It doesn’t seem that Lou is alone in asking for some answers, as the almost 12,000 likes proves. Professionals need professional solutions, and the iMac, with is built-in screen and laptop-like upgradeable nature, just doesn’t cut it for many situations. The Hackintosh solution is simply not something many want to deal with, and for those with a lot of money riding on the successful completion of a project, minimizing system crashes and hardware incompatibilities are surely at the top of their list.

Apple’s highly secretive nature has undoubtedly made this situation worse, but something else is at play here that is an unfortunate consequence of moving most of your business into the consumer market. Many professionals have switched from Final Cut thanks to FCPX, and have found an alternative in Premiere Pro. CS6 works just as well on OSX, but consider all of the video professionals that will want upgraded systems to take advantage of the next round of updates from Adobe in a few years. If everything they do will now be available on the Windows side, and they can fully customize their hardware, what will stop them from switching? Especially if they can move all of their previously purchased software as well. An iMac just won’t cut it for a lot of specialized hardware, and Thunderbolt devices may not arrive in time for professionals to consider staying.

Computers are becoming a smaller and smaller market for Apple, as revenue from Mac sales was less than 1/4 that of iPhone and iPad sales in the second quarter of fiscal 2012. The fraction will likely be even smaller as Apple continues to grow its brand worldwide and more of the world’s population moves into the middle class. At some point, Apple may realize that computers are too small a piece of their revenue pie, and they’ll stop making them altogether.

We’ve come to a turning point for many individuals who have been loyal to Apple for its software and its operating system. They will either have to deal with iMacs and Macbook Pros, or move to the “dark side” and buy a copy of Windows. This petition will probably fall on deaf ears at Cupertino, but it’s likely we’ll get an answer in the next few months whether new Mac Pros are coming, or if the high-end machines have seen their last days under the desks of thousands of hard-working professionals.

All you Apple users out there, what are your plans should they decide not to upgrade the Mac Pro? Is an iMac or Macbook Pro sufficient, or will you build a Hackintosh? Anyone given up and moved to Windows? Let us know in the comments.

[via Apple Insider]

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COMMENT POLICY

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  • Funny how a guy using an obsolete computer that isn’t supported anymore refers to “options” as “the dark side”. Ever heard of that company, founded by that tyrant, Steve Jobs ?

    But then again, he’s a mac sheep. While he’s whining, probably to deaf ears, I’m using cutting edge software (Premiere Pro) on my PC, without having to transcode, and at a very affordable price.

    Oh well…

  • Kevin Marshall on 05.29.12 @ 9:01PM

    Just bought all my components for a Windows machine – building it tomorrow. Needed to move up from my 2007 MacBook Pro, and yeah – I don’t want to sink the premium price of the MacPro into such old tech. I’m planning on moving to CS6 – still deciding between Production Premium and Creative Cloud – and going Resolve for grading. I’m only missing ProRes encoding for Mac clients, but there’s a couple solutions I’m going to look into.

    I still love OS X, much better than Windows. I’ve seen some Hackintosh builds pretty close to mine, so who knows – maybe I can get OS X after all. But if not – I’ll deal. I’ll have a machine that can do the work I need it to, has plenty of room for upgradeability, and all for a pretty reasonable price. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Apple right now.

  • I would tell everyone to wait until June 11th for the WWDC. This is going to be a monster press event. With all the chatter from the tech blogs going up (constant leaks of socalled parts, screen shots of new maps applications in iOS6, interviews from Jonny Ive declaring that the best work of his life is being done right now on products that can’t be talked about, Jobs’ Biography detailing the AppleTV, Rumors of a new Macbook Pro that has no DVD drive and extra battery life, “leaked” pictures of a new iphone dock connector, new Intel IvyBridge Processors, etc., etc.) this is going to be a HUGE event. If the Macbook Pro, Air, iMac, Mac mini all get Ivy Bridge updates, and there is no announcement about a Mac Pro, then you have your answer. Mac OS X as we know it is disappearing (http://gizmodo.com/5894679/another-crystal-clear-sign-that-os-x-is-going-to-die-really-soon). Windows users will realize that the Keyboard and Mouse are not sufficient when they upgrade to Windows 8. Quite frankly, I don’t see any long term (meaning 3-5 year) plan for video editors. I would say this: Either go iMac (unless you can’t), then go CS6 and buy a Windows tower that fits into your budget with Windows 7 to run for the next 2 to 3 years until the next big thing (that will work for professionals) comes out.

  • I still don’t quite understand – why do we still need giant desktops in 2012 and beyond?

    I just see this as Apple’s way of doing what it has always done – forcing consumers to move away from their stubborn comfort zones and into product lines that are actually progressive. The typical whining and moaning is part of parcel of this transition – it happened with the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, the MacBook Air and so on. Blah blah blah.

    Very soon, the Macbook Pro will be powerful enough to do what it took a Mac Pro tower to handle just a few years ago. With the ability to RAID and any other accessories from Thunderbolt, why the heck would I need a 60 pound piece of metal under my desk?

    • Hummer, I don’t entirely disagree with you. People are difficult to move outside their comfort zones. Hopefully the Apple hardware will soon support third party products that will be necessary for the accelerated processing that many pro users require.

      However, at the moment, the big sticking point is the ability to add on the necessary hardware to your system.
      Many pro apps require a PCI card to use or to get the best performance out of their software.
      Without the ability to expand the machine and add on, it really leaves many folks out in the cold.
      Also, updating the graphics card for 3D development, Adobe apps, or even gaming is a necessity for many users.

      Right now, I’m running a machine with a fibre card for our SAN, a 3rd party graphics card for 3D rendering and a video capture card. Along with dual monitors and an NTSC monitor.
      While I love the Thunderbolt port, that’s a lot of external devices to string on to one bus.
      I certainly hope that a future technology allows me to run this kind of setup, but right now I can’t see an iMac taking on this task.

      Finally, you also have to think about the cost. Most of the time, when we upgrade to a new computer, some if not all of our existing 3rd party devices will still work on the new machine. So ultimately it’s a cost savings to not have to re-buy the other hardware. If thunderbolt devices were to replace my PCI and graphics devices, I’d have to go out and buy all new hardware and install it into our plant. Now multiply that by the 10 workstations that we run and the numbers skyrocket.

      The user base for iMac and Minis will continue to be there for Apple, and you can really trick them out to a degree. But for many of us, it’s not just comfort zone, it’s a matter of having no other solid options. I’d rather not be testing the first generation of thunderbolt to fiber convertors while I’m working on a huge project, only to discover the drivers are bad or something and lose my whole project. Let the hardware come out and let us test it, then phase out the old fashioned 60 pound piece of metal.

      • Kevin Marshall on 05.30.12 @ 12:08PM

        Yeah, that was kind of the tipping point for me. Thunderbolt is cool, but it’s not a replacement for having more PCIe slots and lanes.

        And going along your point about upgrade cost, using thunderbolt as a PCIe replacement isn’t cheap, either. Buying a Thunderbolt expansion chassis is much less cost effective than just buying the motherboard to support everything, at least for me. I looked at Asus’ new P8Z77 Premium, but stuck with the P9X79-Pro – because the X79 was cheaper, had more lanes available, and the cost of going thunderbolt and using a Sonnet Pro (just for one double-width card) would’ve added $800 to the price of any card I’d want to throw in.

        I’d kill for thunderbolt in my laptop for data wrangling, though.

  • For your information about CS6
    They have now implemented OpenCL with so not only Cuda is now supported, however there are 4 exceptions.

    blogs.adobe.com/premiereprotraining/2012/05/opencl-and-premiere-pro-cs6.html

    Q: What can Premiere Pro CS6 process with OpenCL?

    A: Everything that Premiere Pro CS6 can process with CUDA, with four exceptions:
    -Fast Blur effect
    -Gaussion Blur effect
    -Directional Blur effect
    -Basic 3D effect

    In our first iteration of OpenCL processing, we weren’t able to get enough performance improvement for these four effects, so they are for now better left on the CPU. But everything else that Premiere Pro CS6 can process with CUDA can be processed with OpenCL, and that’s a lot.

  • I actually wonder what so much the deal is what kind of OS you run, 90% of the time i’m staring at a screen running a program and am i hardly directly involved with the OS. At school we use iMac’s and at home i’ve a windows PC, i really don’t see the problem but maybe that’s just me.
    The hardware you use is far more important if you ask me but that might be to much for some in one way or another to fully into.

    • Stefan, agreed. I think the issue is, like car aficionados, it’s very tied to emotions.

      I consider myself a pragmatist. When I upgraded to my most recent system this year, I went with Windows. It was mostly for the price/performance ratio. WIth the addition of MacDrive (software to read Apple formatted hard drives), I’ve really had no big issues with using Windows on-set and for post work. The one exception is the lack of native ProRes support has me doing some custom Python scripts to allow a workflow between FFMPEG (which can render ProRes) and Redcine-X.

      If you look at any major studio or post house, it’s a mixed OS environment. Windows, OSX, and flavors of Linux can all be seen, with a lot of custom tools programmed within Linux.

  • At NAB this year i only saw one Tower. Everything else was being run through iMacs or MBPs with Thunderbolt extensions. I saw a MBP hooked up to a Raid via Thunderbolt projecting 2 4k videos on 2 different screens.
    Sure the tower might be dead, but lets give apple some credit here. These guys are much more forward thinking than we are. They know that listening to what their customers think should happen isn’t always in the best interest of their business.
    I remember when they got rid of the floppy drive and everyone flipped a shit.
    Then they got rid of the optical in the Air and everyone lost their mind. I don’t know about you but I haven’t put a CD in my computer in almost a year.

    Be calm, wait and see what they come out with.

  • Well guess what guys? Windows is the new Mac, like it or not . HP Z820 and Dell Precision T7600 to be precise, Of course, you can always stick to obsolescence and lose business at the same time. As for hackintosh, unless you (or your best friend) are extremely tech savvy don’t go there. A simple software update will wreck havoc, kernel panic and all that. Good night and good luck!

  • It seems no one realizes the workstation level (not desktop or laptop) Ivy Bridge CPUs (Xeons) are just now getting out, after over a year delay. Intel is also late delivering needed chipsets for the new Xeons.
    HP just refreshed and started shipping their new towers in April/May. I’m even sure if they have all the latest greatest tech either.
    Plus.. PCIE 3x is just now getting into the main stream. Apple probably didn’t want a refresh of the Mac Tower with existing technology. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a big announcement this summer. Just MHO.

  • I just want Apple to license the OSx out so I can get the insides I really need without have a hackintosh! But that’s a serious pipe dream…

  • WTF? There is an update available…i7 Sandy Bridge PC with EDIUS 6. Makes a Mac/FCP look like the pretentious joke it is.

  • altavistalives on 06.1.12 @ 3:34AM

    “…As of this writing, the Facebook page has close to 12,000 likes…”

    And therein lies the problem, how many of those 12,000 are just fanboys and how many can actually afford the many thousands of dollars/pounds/euros premium.

    To think that some begging and pleading will make them offer support to the people (like me) who supported them through the lean times is just a sad fantasy.

    I jumped ship a while back and HP Z series absolutely trounce Macs in every way. And Win 7 is just as stable as any Mac I ever used.

  • Nicholas Ferrara on 06.4.12 @ 5:29PM

    I’ll just move over to Windows. So sad!

  • altavistalives, and if we do that, what software or packages will be better than Final Cut Studio in working on a Full Feature? Premiere Pro?
    Do you honestly think that’s a descent professional solution?
    I understand, we can do that for a school project or some local commercials, but I will be measuring my blood pressure every 15 minutes if I start working on a serious heavy project on a Windows Machine.
    I am too old for that #$%#$%#$%…

    • Screenstory on 01.7.13 @ 4:14PM

      Avid works just as well on PC as on Mac, and it’s what the vast majority of companies use to cut feature films and broadcast TV. By the time I edited a television show on a PC-based Avid (Avid Adrenaline, circa 2005 or 6), I had been using Mac-based Avids in the industry for 10 years (starting on the Quadra). I was nervous at first to be using a PC, but in the absence of any crashes (that would require Windows troubleshooting that I then completely lacked), it was fine.

      I’d say that, unless you’re working on a “school project or some local commercials,” Avid MC6 is a more than decent “professional solution.”

      By the way, what’s a “Full Feature” [sic]?

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