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August 13, 2012

Hidden Files in OS X Mountain Lion Hint at a Major Mac Pro Update

Last we heard, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an e-mail shortly after the WWDC stating that Apple is “planning a new Mac Pro for later next year.” Now, it looks like there is some additional evidence to support this assertion in Mountain Lion's configuration files, and it also points to a significant potential hardware change in the Mac Pro update:

From Apple Insider:

The file lists a series of Mac models that support USB flash drive booting, referring to each model by its initials and its internal architectural version number. While it includes MacBook and MacBook Pro models with optical drives, most of the Macs in the supported list are optical free.

Two of the models in the USB-boot support listing refer to Macs that haven't been released yet: the MP60 (the six generation Mac Pro, or MacPro6,x) and IM130 (pointing to the 13th generation iMac, or iMac13,x).

The article goes on to say that in all likelihood the new Mac Pro won't have an optical drive. If this turns out to be the case, would it still be worth buying?

For me personally, the answer is 'no'. In the past year, I've used my optical drive to burn playable and data DVD's for clients, festival screenings, and for backing up downloaded software. The ability to burn DVD's still has utility, and until the day we have widespread fiber optic gigabit internet connections, dirt cheap high-speed/capacity SD cards, and the DVD player becomes as anachronistic as the VCR is today, it will continue to have utility.

Do you think the hidden files in OS X Mountain Lion suggest that the upcoming Mac Pro will lack an optical drive? And would a Mac Pro without an optical drive be a deal breaker for you, or do you think optical drives are past their prime?

Link: Apple Insider – Apples Files Hint at Re-Engineered iMac and Mac Pro models, Potentially Without Optical Drives

Your Comment

32 Comments

After invention of the external DVD drives the importance of the internal one is second to none. There are tons of another parameters way too important when buying workhorse.

August 13, 2012

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Mikhail Puzyrev

Would I consider purchasing one? No, but not for the optical drive reasoning. Apple has waited a little too long for this update, and I'm already investing in a Hackintosh. Now, maybe in a few years I'll switch, but that really depends what they do with it.

August 13, 2012

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I'm updating the Hackintosh guide for the latest Mountain Lion-compatible hardware, so stay tuned...

August 13, 2012

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

That's awesome news.

August 13, 2012

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Owen

can't wait!

August 13, 2012

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tim

Just updated my test hackintosh drive to Mountain Lion and everything seems to work fine..Im using an Asus board and the new release seems to hate DSDT so better use the easybeast opton in multibeast for now.

August 13, 2012

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quobetah

Will you make one with the 2011 socket?
No power management but a pretty fast machine for a descent price!

August 14, 2012

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Rob

off-topic but how's Manchild coming along Ryan?

August 17, 2012

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jay

If everything else about the new MacPros is worth an upgrade (in my case, a first buy), I don't see a problem with using an external burner, which I already do with my MBP anyway.

August 13, 2012

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Daniel

yeah, but wouldn't it make it easier if that external drive on your table was just in your machine to begin with? especially for a tower, there's no reason to take it out, it can only help.

Apple needs to stop trying to speed up technology transitions, and let consumers decide when it's time.

prescriptions need to fit needs, not the other way around.

August 15, 2012

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I would love to see the back of optical drives and media, fading dyes, incompatibilities etc. I would also love to see the end of tape, horrible stuff that suffers drop-out and chews.

However, I am not making my own films for me in the way I want. I am paid to shoot and edit for third parties.

They tell me how they want it delivered. If theres archive stuff I'm at the mercy of the format they provide it on.

For my commercial work late adverts sometime have to go on digibeta tape to a broadcast.

None of this is my choice. I want to earn, to eat, I need to be able to handle what a client throws at me.

When apple destroyed final cut they forgot that. If they keep on annoying the pros then why are pros going to buy macs?

I don't want to spend and extra £1K on the cards that let me run adobe software properly. I want to be able to print to tape when required from my timeline.

The new tower can be as good as it wants. It's three years late and I don't need a machine that runs FCPX and can't burn discs.

Apple took away our choices, and so for many the only choice was a PC next time.

They went from making equipment for creators, to making equipment for consumers. I fail to see why they could not have done both.

August 13, 2012

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Paul Russell

These strings have been in builds since November 2011.

August 13, 2012

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Really? Where did you see that?

August 13, 2012

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David

I think the next MacPro's will utilize more thunderbolt technology (creating a slimmer tower) and apple may create some external dvd/blu-ray thunderbolt burner. A hackintosh is probably a good route to go right now, but thunderbolt speeds do look appealing. Wonder if thunderbolt can be quickly adopted to a current hackintosh or if you would need a new motherboard?

August 13, 2012

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August 14, 2012

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Rob

Love when you gets get all technical and start showing XML and stuff.

As far as the optical drive, you can always purchase one that connects via USB. Kinda seems dumb to not include one in a giant tower, but Apple can be weird like that sometimes.

August 13, 2012

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Maybe it won't be a giant tower this time!

August 13, 2012

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Optical drives are on their way out. But they aren't gone. I respect Apple's attempts to push the boundaries/give us "the future" in this regard, but it would be idiotic to do that on the Mac Pro, a device that's purchased almost exclusively by professionals. And professionals, unfortunately, have to work in the present.

If the new Mac Pro lacked an optical drive, my guess is this would be an annoyance to more than just video folks. I used to work for a magazine that still burned DVDs for design and sometimes received mailed or couriered DVDs from outside designers/photogs as well. Not the most modernized workplace on earth but there are thousands like it (I suspect). For them, no optical drive = no purchase.

Of course, I'm sure Apple will continue to offer the external SuperDrive which, unlike most of Apple's add-on products, isn't a total ripoff at $79 (though it's still quite a ripoff considering the hundreds of models you can get at around half that price elsewhere). But given the base price of the Mac Pro, I don't think anyone's going to be too excited about wasting a USB port and spending extra money on something that should have just been built in. Especially when -- I'm guessing -- you could build a cheaper custom PC with better performance specs and a built-in blu-ray burner still all for less than what it costs to buy a Mac Pro off the shelf.

(That said, how sure are we this is indicative of anything anyway? It's just a few letters, it'd be easy enough to just drop that in "just in case" there's ever a new Mac Pro model).

August 13, 2012

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I don't think optical drives will ever go away. 4K is coming. JVC already has it in the prosumer market. I don't know how anybody is going to deliver 4K on a network (you can't do full bit rate HD now). BluRay is already at 50gig available to the public and 500gig in the lab. As an event videographer I have never had a bride ask me, "Can you please make my wedding blurry... like the ones on YouTube?" The optical is another tool for selling to the client. I've never met a plumber who doesn't still have a pipe wrench in his tool box, even though new houses are using PVC.

August 16, 2012

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Brad

I haven't used my optical drive in over 2 years. Removed it to add in an extra hard drive in my system for a bigger raid. I really don't see it as a big deal, and it's been a long time coming to have no optical drive. Mac mini's, macbook air, new retina macbook pro's, all don't have optical drives. If I really needed one, I have a portable usb one, and a bigger blu ray burner that mounts via fw 800, esata, or USB. Either way I think you gain a lot more from not having the optical drive internally. It allows room for other more powerful things, or slims down the unit as a whole. I think the most important part about next gen mac pro's are pure horsepower, and tons of pci bandwidth, along with thunderbolt connection. If all the latest gen intel tech coming out right now is a hint at what the new mac pro is gonna be. I personally feel like it's gonna be pretty amazing. They just put out super thin, incredibly powerful laptop. I don't think the tower is gonna disappoint too many people.

August 13, 2012

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Tom Wong

As long as it's available as a USB3 thing, I don't care. Clients like DVDs sometimes. Festivals require them sometimes.

August 13, 2012

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Not a deal breaker because there was no deal in the first place.

$3,500 (NZD) for a 15" Macbook pro?

I could do a lot better with a desktop I build myself.

Thinking about having $3,500 for a desktop makes me drool.

August 14, 2012

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Tyler

I also use my computer to watch films from a massive selection catalogue that is on DVD's - I want to buy a film that I can have physically and store? DVD. Seems crazy to remove it to make the thing smaller/lighter. Apple love forcing people into their niche products. Thunderbolt drives are too expensive and USB3 is sensible accessible and cheap, while still being quite fast. The biggest market for apple is university students and office professionals now and I bet a good old fashioned survey would find that an optical drive is EXACTLY what they want.

August 14, 2012

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Alex Parkyn-Smith

Thanks to the hackintosh guide I built a computer likely to outperform the next crapintosh for $1500 less

Thanks Koo :D

August 14, 2012

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No chance that any future Macs of new design will have optical drives. Externals are dirt cheap and work just fine if required, but the future does not involve spinning discs.

August 14, 2012

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I am sad that Apple doesn't seem to grasp how strategic the Mac Pro and the professional market is. I ran a software company for 13 years that was PC based. I have always used PCs and my first Apple product was a Mac Pro that I bought for video editing at the school were I now work. I bought the Mac Pro for its reputation as a great video editing machine. As a result, I have a 27" iMac at home and an iPhone. The Apple environment works great once you are in it, but Apple has dropped the ball on the Mac Pro. I was ready to buy a new one in June and was bitterly disappointed to not see a new Mac Pro at the WWDC. I like, and need the room that the Mac Pro provides for 4 drive bays and I MUST have a DVD burner. If Apple doesn't address the professional market with a competitive Mac Pro, I might as well go back to the PC world where I get more PC for the money and I don't feel like I'm being ignored or taken for granted.

August 14, 2012

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Just looks to me like proof that Apple is moving to USB thumb sticks (and the App Store) for OSX releases.
For them to quick making DVDs all their computers have to be about to boot of USB seems pretty straight forward.

That said IF Apple makes a new Mac Pro, I bet it resembles what we are used to as much as FCPX does.

August 15, 2012

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The problem with USB drives is the incompatibility with what you are playing on. I have a Panasonic TV that plays only H.264 and I have a Sony that plays only MPEG2. When you digitize for distribution you have to know what the capability is of the player it will be on. Then the problem of a customer changing players that do not support what the video is encoded in. When I burn to disc I know that whatever DVD or BluRay player they put it in it will play. Done.

August 16, 2012

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Brad

I will not buy a laptop without an optical drive. There is too much need for it.

August 16, 2012

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David

I get weary of people saying "I can build a PC cheaper than a Mac Pro (off the shelf) costs." Of course you can, and that's lovely of you, but that has ABSOLUTELY NO RELEVANCE to Apple, Inc.. Good grief, when Apple Computer introduce the Mac Pro tower, their stock was somewhere around $100/share. Now it's closing in on $650/share.

Apple doesn't compete with hobbyist IT computer assemblers. If they will compete for video editing at all, they will compete with HP's Z820 and possibly now the ProMAX One, both of which are certainly no cheaper than a fully configured Mac Pro. You really should keep your markets straight. Apple has NEVER attempted to compete with (or even concern themselves with) a guy interested in overclocking his frankenbox because he's usually trying to get better framerates in Call of Duty. If they end up losing all the video editors of the world who MIGHT have bought a new Mac Pro, they'll release a new iPad and not even blink. And neither would you if you ran the company.

August 16, 2012

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Zan Shin

Yeah this is good news… if it turns out to be true. And big thanks for all the hackintosh support you guys are giving. I'm probably not alone in this, but I'd prefer to buy an upgrade. Who has the time to build anything?

August 16, 2012

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