October 26, 2012

What's Coming in the Next Mac Pro? Predicting Apple's 'Pro' Future

It's no secret that Apple has neglected to update the Mac Pro line in any significant way since 2010. In fact, both the iMac and the Macbook Pro have gotten a few major revisions just in that time span, and many have turned to building Hackintoshes to satisfy the growing need for professional equipment (and to save a few bucks). We're getting word from CEO Tim Cook that one should be coming in 2013, but the details have been vague. A Facebook page was started by Lou Borella, a freelance editor/animator, to bring together professionals looking for Apple to address this growing issue. Now that the new Apple philosophy is becoming more clear, Lou has addressed the state of Apple and the Mac Pro line, and what he thinks will be coming in the next version.

This is a guest post from Lou Borella.

We have no idea what 2013 holds for Mac Pro users. But I think I can make a few intelligent predictions.

1. There will be no optical drive. Face it, if you are still holding out for Blu Ray then you haven't been paying attention.

2. There will be no Firewire 800. Its been slowly disappearing from every piece of hardware Apple has released over the last 2 years. Live with the dongle.

3. I'll bet it doesn't have more than 2 PCI ports and that might be a stretch. All of Apple's hardware have gotten smaller and thinner recently. The only way to accomplish this in the Mac Pro is to lose the 4 perpendicular PCI ports and keep 1 or 2 slots that are parallel to the mother board.

4. Flash memory will be all the rage by WWDC 2013. Don't be surprised if the storage is flash based - and proprietary.

5. More pro users will be more disappointed then impressed. Just like FCPX our expectations will continue to skyrocket as we wait and wait and wait ... and wait. Many of us are imagining an update to the machine we have stared at for the last 10 years. We have to realize that Apple believes that the computer landscape has changed over that time. The new Mac Pro will be reflected in that landscape change. It will be a computer that Apple believes we will need and not not the computer we are hoping they will provide. Just like FCPX was vastly different than FCP7 the new Mac Pro will be vastly different then what we are used to. And just like FCPX it will be impossible for any new Mac Pro to live up to the expectations.

6. If I am correct about #5 then #6 has to be that many pro users will believe that Apple has no clue what we need as a user base. A lot of pros already feel this way for multiple reasons. First, the merging of OSX and iOS has rankled a lot of users (me included). The perceived continued focus on consumer consumption rather than professional creation is another. I say perceived because I don't think that is a conscious decision by Apple. I think its just a byproduct of having the most successful consumer electronics in history. Many people are still creating content on Apple products. And there are companies like AutoDesk that have just recently jumped into the video production space on OSX. That shows a commitment to the platform in spite of the shortage of what we consider to be pro level hardware.

7. We might be wrong in our thinking. The new Mac Pro will not live up to our expectations but that doesn't mean it will not be able to fulfill its role in our business. It will just do it differently and it will force us to think differently about how we work. And we will not be happy about it. Apple believes that the the power of computing lies in the efficient coding of software and the intuitive nature of the user experience. Unlike a company like Adobe or Avid who, for the most part, keep their old code and rely on faster processors to see speed gains. Apple has always pushed the hardware and software to areas that weren't popular. See the death of the floppy, the birth and then killing of the CD and embrace of Thunderbolt and now Lightning and the FCPX launch debacle as examples.

If I were to embrace the "think different" mentality, objectively speaking I could probably buy the top of the line iMac with a fat external Thunderbolt array and all the other peripherals needed for my workflow, for the same cost as what I would have spent on a new Mac Pro had it been released this year. Editing video on the iMac with external storage is a perfectly acceptable combination. Autodesk seems to think so. Video codecs have gotten so efficient that the drain on the hardware has been negated. You will probably be fine doing light compositing and motion graphics on an iMac as well especially now with the CUDA support. I'm not so sure about heavy 3d work and heavy compositing with 4k footage. I don't do more than 1080p and my 3d skills are weak so I can't speak from experience. But I bet it would probably be equal to or better than working on a 2006 or 2008 Mac Pro.

I know the resistance to the iMac comes from the resistance to the change in thinking. I'm guilty of it also. I hate the cables and power supplies that would be needed in an iMac config. But at the risk of being Kodak or Polaroid, or even worse, the digital photographer that says he doesn't use Photoshop because he's an "in camera" kind of guy (which translates as he doesn't have a clue how to use PS), I think we need to really start thinking differently about our computing situations. Apple is not going to stop evolving and if we don't change our adaptation skills we risk being the cranky old guy who longs for DOS.

Face it, at some point there will be no Finder in OSX. If you have been paying attention then you will be prepared. If not then you will be angry but you can't say you were surprised.

Right now I'm not prepared but I think i'm realizing that I need to fix that. I'm not sure how yet but my thinking definitely needs to be addressed.

This post originally appeared on Lou Borella's Facebook page, We Want a New Mac Pro.

What would you guys like to see in this new Mac Pro? Based on Apple's recent announcements, what do you think is plausible? Have you already built your own Hackintosh and plan on keeping it, or have you jumped ship from Apple altogether?

Links:


From the We Want a New Mac Pro page: Hello Apple. We are the Creative Community and we are looking for a little clarity on one of our favorite products. The Mac Pro Tower. Is that too much to ask? Sincerely, Lou Borella (www.vg3tv.com)

Your Comment

73 Comments

I wouldn't be surprised if the new Mac Pro takes the form of a super-charged Mac Mini with a discrete graphics card, multiple onboard drives (SSD + HDD), Thunderbolt, etc.

October 26, 2012

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Hummer

I agree, just like the big hunka T.V I carried around to play video games, now turns into a lightweight plasma screen, thinner/cleaner/sharper. Apple could be secretly preparing the Mac Mini, into a Mac (Mini) Pro. Might have to be a bigger size to be able to fit a graphics card since today's thing is the CUDA from nvidia. LIttle disappointed that they ripped out the gpu from last years line up of Mac mini's for this years. That would stink if they solder the gpu to the mac pro so it's more on the lines of a laptop unchangeable/non upgradable.

October 26, 2012

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makes sense, big part of the mac pro is the customizable options especially graphic cards.

October 26, 2012

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Joe

Completely agree... in some ways I feel it would be surprising if they continued to create a product that allows for any consumer aftermarket upgrading. That seems to be the aspect that the community may have to embrace over anything else.

October 26, 2012

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Mitchard

Basically the mid tower we've been asking for all this time. A double height mini with the quad core 3.5GHz i7 and a pair of PCIe slots for less than the base model iMac... I'd order that machine right now.

More likely what will happen is that Apple will continue with locked down, consumer orientated nonsense and the industry will fully transition to linux and Windows.

October 26, 2012

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nobody

Chris on 10.26.12 @ 8:19PM
The reason we do not have a true Mac Pro upgrade has nothing to do with Apple. Do a simple search for a dual-Xeon based motherboard with Thunderbolt and you get nothing. There is no point in upgrading the platform without the inclusion of Thunderbolt–hence the backlash with the processor bump this year.

The pro machines require Xeon procs so it can use ECC RAM. This type of stuff is very important on large renders, CAD, 3D modeling, etc. You cannot build a hackintosh with Xeons and Thunderbolt right now either, and anyone who claims the i7 lineup is as solid as Xeon has simply never worked with server/workstation class workloads and performance requirements.

We should be seeing something in the February to March range based on Intel’s roadmap. This article is based on some of the worst speculation I’ve ever seen and appears to come from someone unfamiliar with the landscape of computer hardware. There is absolutely no way Apple would release a smaller form factor because of things like the Red Rocket, which performs best in a pair. Add a discrete graphics card (or two for a coloring suite) and you quickly fill up your machine. My Mac Pro has two GPUs, a Red Rocket and an eSata board, plus 6 HDDs and 48GB of RAM.

I purchased an rMBP hoping it would come close to the performance of my tower, but even with an external PCI housing for the Red Rocket I frequently experience errors while outputting Red footage–a problem I do not experience on my “now ancient” Mac Pro.

HP and Dell do not have workstations with Thunderbolt yet either.

October 27, 2012

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Chris

Chris seems to know what he's talking about here and I'd put more stock in his opinion and even guesses of what Apple is going to do over the author of the article.
Where does Lou Borella get any of his "intelligent predictions"? I don't see any backup, or even explanation of where the predictions came from. There are reasons that companies do things, and Apple may very well rethink what a powerful computer should look like, but if you're going to imagine that you know what they're thinking at least you should say why. At this point it's just a bunch of complaining and crying about something that hasn't even happened yet.

October 30, 2012

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Andrius Simutis

Chris, I think, is right on the money. Silly article. Thunderbolt brings tons of new design challenges for it to coexist with enterprise-level components. I've heard from insiders that for Apple to have released a Thunderbolt-enabled MacPro this year that it would have been a band-aid job at best. So, I decked out a non-Retina MacBook Pro and am just sucking it up until next year. High-end motion graphics work is a challenge but I'm eyeing a MacPro refurb in the meantime...

October 31, 2012

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Echoout

I don't see why everyone is so strict about how powerful their machines have to be. I've been editing on a 2008 MacBook Pro, and while I don't edit above 1080p or do heavy 3D work, it can run 3K footage decently and it's okay for light 3d work.

I can understand needing something more powerful (I hope to upgrade very soon), but it's weird that Apple announces an iMac that holds up to 32GB of memory AND up to 768GB of flash storage AND a 2GB graphics card AND up to a 3.4GHz quad core Ivy Bridge i7 AND USB 3.0 AND two Thunderbolt ports, but people still say that it can't be used.

October 26, 2012

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TehRandax

Where did anyone say "it can't be used?" The article above basically says about the iMac exactly what you just commented. "Editing video on the iMac with external storage is a perfectly acceptable combination."

However, 4K, 5K, heavy 3D work, these things exist and that's what a Mac Pro is for. A lot of people do this work. They're not being "strict," time is money and they need robust, reliable tools that scale much higher than an iMac's capabilities (not to mention different monitoring/connectivity/expansion requirements).

October 26, 2012

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Yeah basically this all breaks down to, whatever you do, is your time equal to money and have you ever maxed out your existing machine on a frequent basis? If not, no worries. If so, an iMac is just a faster iMac for you to sit idly by and watch the four cores sit at 390% utilization while progress bars crawl.

Most users of Mac OS X, and I daresay many users of FCP X even, may never have experienced any significant bottlenecking before. Today's computers are crazy powerful. But for people who really need six or eight or more cores and the very latest badass CUDA card (or even multiple ones) the all-in-one computer will never be an option, whether it's "designed in Cupertino" or says DELL or HP on it.

October 26, 2012

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trackofalljades

Editing may be fine, but what about compositing and grading?

October 26, 2012

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Gabe

Agreed. I understand some may truly need the power of a Mac Pro, but I'd wager many just think they need it. A speced out iMac will suit my needs just fine.

October 26, 2012

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Scott

What version operating system are you running? Because I believe its the OSX operating system that is weighing down the newer macs. I've seen a lot of people experience slower performance than usual even doing basic functions on base models or people who recently upgraded their operating system. To gain all those 'great' new features of Lion and Mountain Lion is dependent on more memory.

October 26, 2012

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Joe

It might be RAM related, as I have plenty, but I've only seen typical tasks get faster with 10.6 and 10.7 over 10.5. I've not used 10.8 yet as I have no real reason to want to upgrade to it at the moment.

October 26, 2012

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trackofalljades

Because all professionals do is complain, its the new norm

October 26, 2012

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john jeffreys

They can and will be used, just as many professional editors have been gravitating towards iMacs over the last few years. The problem is that many of us still need high-speed PCI-E slots to connect to our existing storage infrastructure with raid adapter cards and i/o cards, and are unwilling to absorb the additional cost of Thunderbolt adapters (or devices) to connect into servers when it provides no increase in throughput speed over existing technology.

October 26, 2012

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Marc B,

You have no idea how many times I've asked myself and others this question !
By the way I'm also editing on my 2008 MacBook Pro, I 've even edited an entire feature on FCP7...

October 26, 2012

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I don't know how you do it, my late-2008 original unibody, even with 6GB of ram, can barely handle 422 converted DSLR footage, it edits smoothly but export is a nightmare, takes hours just for one short film.

October 26, 2012

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john jeffreys

I am waiting for a few more parts to complete my hackintosh. I no longer care what Apple does with the Mac Pro.

October 26, 2012

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Brian

Dear Apple,

It is with much sadness that I say this, but I think it's time for us to break up. My Mac and I have had a good run, and we've created a lot of neat content together, and I'll surely treasure the time we spent together as long as I live. But over the past few years we've been drifting in separate directions, and I'm afraid that our differences far overshadow our similarities anymore. I'm at a point in my life where I need commitment and stability, and you've proven, through your recent actions and inactions, that you are incapable of filling these needs.

Last week I went out with an HP workstation and I loved it. It was everything I needed and nothing I didn't. And that's the direction that I see my life heading. You've had countless opportunities to right this sinking ship, but you've only managed to punch more holes in the hull, and now I need to bail on you and our life together.

So, it's with this thought that I'll leave you; I sincerely hope that you can reconcile your current path with who you used to be, because you used to be so cool. If you can do this, I think that we might very well have a future together.

But for now, goodbye. It's been nice knowing you, and I hope you find whatever it is that you're looking for. I know I will.

Yours truly,
Robert

p.s. I've been boning Windows on the side for years. Just thought you should know.

October 26, 2012

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Robert

Dear Robert:

We don't give a shit. We make more money and move more product than you can even fathom. If you can't make do with our top-of-the-line iMac for your editing needs, then enjoy the wide world of PCs. And if you're willing to consider them "cool," it's perfectly fine with us.

Sincerely,
Apple, Inc.

P.S. You should probably be aware that, in fact, Windows has been boning you.

October 26, 2012

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Hummer

For the same price as a top-of-the-line iMac, I can get a machine with twice the power and a Dreamcolor monitor for grading, and yet Windows is somehow the one boning people? PUH-LEEZE!

October 26, 2012

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Robert

Ah yes, the typical "I CAN GEHT A BETTUR PEECEE FOR LIKE HALF DA PRICE THO"

Yeah, you can, but its not made as well, Windows is (and has been since the 90's) intrinsically shitty and unstable, the fans are noisy, and the desktop, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and webcam are all seperate and all over the place in a mess of cables and power adapters. iMac design is superior, its all in one, and it's elegant and saves space on your desk. and its fast, fast enough that you probably won't need to upgrade. You get a new computer every 4 years anyway, and your shitty Windows PC dies every 2-3 years regardless.

Oh, and Final Cut Pro X.

October 26, 2012

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john jeffreys

sarcasm in it`s finest! :D

October 26, 2012

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Mariano

Windows hasn't had stability problems since they switched entirely to the NT kernel which was like ten years ago. Sheesh, stop living in the past.

October 26, 2012

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Gabe

The Z820 offers hardware options that exceed those available for the Mac Pro. On the HP website I configured a system with 16 cores instead of twelve (since there is no significant performance boost per core over the older CPUs in the Mac Pro, for more power, you will want more cores), and with a very powerful graphics card. I would guestimate that this would give an overall boost of 50 %. Ended up at USD14000.

October 27, 2012

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Thyl Engelhardt

Hi Robert, I loved the article, thank you!!!

December 27, 2012

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I've been editing on a Hac Pro with Production Premium 5.5 for 1 year now with no OSX 10.7.2 crashes, a few minor glitches in CS5.5 programs and all around reliable performance from the 128GB SSD, 2x 1TB internal drives and GTX460 CUDA enabled. 1080P color grades and effects run in about 75% real time full res. And thats not even OC'ing the 3.4 i7. 12,500 geekbench 64bit @ 3.4; 14,500 @ 4.0. Added bonus: 14$ PCMCIA PCI card takes P2 in winxp for cheap offload.

October 26, 2012

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Chris

I have no idea why Mr. Borella suspects that the new Pros will be so radical. Is there a minimum number of PCI ports needed for it to live up to expectations?

We want Mac Pros instead of iMacs because we need beefier processors, PCI ports, thunderbolt compatibility and a higher ram ceiling. I don't know how an upgrade that contains all of these (expected and basically guaranteed) updates could really disappoint.

October 26, 2012

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Carlos D

apple does think differently. so differently, in fact, that what may appear to be a coherent business strategy is actually driving people across the street in droves.

i was a long time final cut guy ..... over the past month, i've finished the transitional stage, and, thanks to fcpx, i'm now full time on premiere, ae, ps ... and i'd like to thank apple for forcing my eyes open.

i, too, am on a 2008 tower ... and have been waiting for an opportunity to spend some $$$ to juice it up.

and just today -- i paid my man to start on my hack pro build, so my cs6 will be running smooth and quick. so no way in hell will i be looking for, or caring about, any new mac pro if it ever comes.

so ... here's a pro customer, tongue hanging out, ready for fcp 8 .... apple drives me into the arms of adobe.

.... ready for the new mac pro .... apple drives me into the arms of windows / hackworld.

now multiply me about 20-thousand ? yeah, that's different all right.

October 26, 2012

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timeoutofmind

well put! I still use FCP7 but I'm really close to switching to premiere.

October 26, 2012

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I was in a similar position and went ahead and bought a Retina 15 inch instead. I'm running off a thunderbolt raid and performance has been really excellent for me. I'm not saying the MBP will be able to hand everything I throw at it for many years but I do gain something I would lose if I had built a Hackintosh: resale value.

I feel I've mitigated my cost risk and started working towards portability and modularity and I'm definitely happy with my decision.

October 26, 2012

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Carlos D

FCP X can pretty much run circles around 7. It has a bit of a learning curve, but not a lot more than switching to any other new NLE. So, switch if you like, but X has come a long way from the crappy first version that everyone who doesn't use it thinks it still is... now back to the Mac Pro topic... ;-)

October 26, 2012

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Charlie

Slowly Apple is pissing me off. There is abolutely no upgradeability (for an affordable price) of their computers. I don't like Windows, but it's way more backwards-compatible. I love Mac OS X, but I hate the fact that I have to upgrade it all the time, just to run new software. That means some of my "old" software won't run and I have to upgrade it too. Final Cut Pro project files from 7.03 won't load in 7.0 - what the hell? I think Apple is forcing us to upgrade hardware, because the software that we need to run only runs on a version of Mac OS X that bogs down old hardware. The iPhone (iPad, iPod Touch etc.) doesn't come with an SD-Card slot, that means it's automatically out of date in two years because in two years 16GB of memory will be a joke. I wish Apple were less greedy in this respect and I bet it would pay in the long run. Pros (and ams) have jumped ship before and they might just do it again.

George - tshit.de/freshdailies

October 26, 2012

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Apple is an environmental and addiction disaster. How many people bought iPads eight months ago and now want the news ones? What happens to the 'old' (8 months is old?) ones? Apple targets young and newborn addicts for a lifelong hook and constant updates. The iWaste movement never got off the ground because those hipsters probably spend most of their lives gazing into an iPhoney screen.

It's up to each individual to determine how often to upgrade and contribute to landfill, and how to fight addiction. E.g., should we let Apple dictate what we want or should we surmise that on our own accord?

October 26, 2012

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bandicoot_264

Actually, a lot of older Apple devices get resold on secondary markets both domestically and abroad. Just take a look at Ebay and see how strongly older models hold their value. You never really have to throw out an Apple product because you'll generally be able to get a decent resale value for it. Furthermore, part of Apple's minimalist design philosophy is requiring fewer components and raw materials, and making the materials in use be of relative eco-friendliness.

On the contrary, I wish you VERY good luck in trying to give away an old Windows-based PC. You know - those god-knows-what-metal based cases with the hodgepodge of internal boards and connectors? How about the large corporations that upgrade their legions of Dell Optiplex-whatever machines every year or two - where do you think those end up? Or for some reason are only Apple products toxic for the environment?

October 26, 2012

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Swested

Well you see with a PC, you can just *upgrade* a single component instead of throwing everything out at the same time...

October 26, 2012

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Gabe

Haha, right. As if the vast majority of computer users know anything hardware beyond where their power button is located.

Sure, it was fun and neat to switch out a graphics card when I was 14, but I'd much rather just resell my older machine and buy a discounted newer model for the same cost as buying that hypothetical graphics card. To each his own, I suppose.

October 26, 2012

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Swested

I think you'll find a large segment of PC users are gamers and have been used to upgrading computer components for the last twenty years. I personally love that I can go from a 2ghz quad core to a 4ghz eight core for a couple hundred bucks...that's a huge increase in performance for not a lot of money.

October 27, 2012

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Gabe

Can't really believe what Lou has to say since he started working for Dell...

October 26, 2012

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Ryo

Apple's philosophy is all about the consumer and pushing perceived obsolescense. There's no room for pros in that equation. If they release a Mac Pro, then it will be less than 12 months until they release a new one, and less than 3 years before they release a model with an entirely different set of ports and outputs.

IMO, a new contender will arrive in the next 12 months and change the game completely.

October 26, 2012

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Oh, so now innovation and updates are a bad thing? Yet at the same time all the "pros" bitch about how Apple hasn't updated the Mac Pro in almost 3 years.

As for who has the toxic attitude - it isn't Apple, it's the so-called entitled professionals who can't do anything but complain about technology that they've not once contributed to the actual development of.

October 26, 2012

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Hummer

Innovation is fine, but saving tech advances just so you can add it to a future version as a point of difference to influence sales is counterproductive to a market that tends to buy and update in longer periods. And given that everything Mac is completely inbuilt means you can't just 'add' that feature later on, you've gotta buy a whole new machine. It would render professionals into prosumers, whilst it renders every previous release obsolete with new tech that is incompatible with what's already dominating the market place.

If you really don't think that there has been a significant change in Apple corporate philosophy since the last Mac Pro release then you've just been sipping the Apple koolaid for far too long.

But hey, you go buy your shiny new product and wait a year for Apple to tell you you're a fool for owning anything but their latest release because everything new is based on common sense (which they conveniently fail to acknowledge that they ignored for several years before themselves).

October 26, 2012

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Just to clarify one point, the optical drive thing isn't just a guess at this point...it's as certain as you can possibly get before an actual product announcement. Paying careful attention to the configuration files of many Apple applications and system components, folks have noticed over recent months a new Mac Pro model (that doesn't officially exist yet) appearing in various places and that model's configuration indicates the lack of an optical drive (for booting system media, etc) and increased reliance on USB media (including stuff like recovery/install).

October 26, 2012

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trackofalljades

The reason we do not have a true Mac Pro upgrade has nothing to do with Apple. Do a simple search for a dual-Xeon based motherboard with Thunderbolt and you get nothing. There is no point in upgrading the platform without the inclusion of Thunderbolt--hence the backlash with the processor bump this year.

The pro machines require Xeon procs so it can use ECC RAM. This type of stuff is very important on large renders, CAD, 3D modeling, etc. You cannot build a hackintosh with Xeons and Thunderbolt right now either, and anyone who claims the i7 lineup is as solid as Xeon has simply never worked with server/workstation class workloads and performance requirements.

We should be seeing something in the February to March range based on Intel's roadmap. This article is based on some of the worst speculation I've ever seen and appears to come from someone unfamiliar with the landscape of computer hardware. There is absolutely no way Apple would release a smaller form factor because of things like the Red Rocket, which performs best in a pair. Add a discrete graphics card (or two for a coloring suite) and you quickly fill up your machine. My Mac Pro has two GPUs, a Red Rocket and an eSata board, plus 6 HDDs and 48GB of RAM.

I purchased an rMBP hoping it would come close to the performance of my tower, but even with an external PCI housing for the Red Rocket I frequently experience errors while outputting Red footage--a problem I do not experience on my "now ancient" Mac Pro.

October 26, 2012

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Chris

In case anyone is thinking I didn't do my own research, the top of the line workstations from HP and Dell (which are so frequently compared to the Mac Pro) do not include Thunderbolt.

October 26, 2012

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Chris

Good knowledge

October 26, 2012

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Max

I have a Mac Pro 1,1 from 2006 and thanks to GPU and memory upgrades (and a healthy stack of disk) there's really nothing it can't do for me in 2012 except run Mountain Lion...which as yet I have no particular need for. If I had a slightly newer one, sure, my progress bars would be faster, but that's about it really.

Thunderbolt, along with some genuinely more robust Xeon class chips (not just polished up a bit and clocked a little faster) is absolutely "the thing" that would make the next Mac tower and you're right, until the Spring there won't be much anyone can do about it. Apple engineers their own boards, but they can't put processors and bridges on them if nobody makes those.

I think there's a relatively small cross-section of film folks who both 1) like the Mac platform in the first place and simultaneously 2) have a deep understanding of how enterprise class hardware is different than gamer hardware, and thus we end up with a lot of well-intentioned but ultimately incomplete analysis.

For the time being, my aging Mac remains the most solid machine I've ever messed with that wasn't installed in a rack. Just like everyone else though, I grow impatient and always look for opportunities to save money. We shall see.

October 28, 2012

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trackofalljades

I am hoping that they don't downsize the form factor. I have 4 HDDs in mine for back-up and storage and I think Apple would be crazy to try and make the Mac Pro into an industrial version of the iMac. I don't need cute and thin, I need big and capable. I really need the configurability and don't want to have to go back to a PC. I left that world 5 years ago after using PCs since they were invented. I really hope that Apple still understands the value of catering to the professional market even though it is a drop in the bucket compared to the consumer market.

October 26, 2012

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Alan

I've been using the iMac 27 inch 2008 model for editing, compositing, grading and 3D work. Except for a longer render time it works absolutely perfect. Just finished editing a 60 minute movie including all of the above.

So I can imagine that a new iMac would work even better. The only thing I'm unhappy about is the new "iPad" osx. Tried it and hated it. Still working on 10.6.

It's about what you do with what you have.

October 27, 2012

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You mean Mountain Lion (10.8)? I run it on a 2011 MBP and love it. It doesn't feel altogether much different than Snow Leopard or Lion, to be honest. But I do think FCP X runs better on it.

October 27, 2012

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Swested

Not a big fan of FCPX either. Still editing in FCP7. It just feels all too toyish to me. And almost all the effects I use are for 7. Not sure if they fixed the compatibility issues yet.

October 27, 2012

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FCP 7 is a 32-bit dinosaur at this point. Don't buy into the whole "iMovie Pro" thing that so-called professionals enjoy tossing around. X is more than just an update to FCP 7; it's a vastly improved method of non-linear editing. It'll take some time for larger production entities to come around to it (and for Apple to finish adding to the feature set), but I much prefer to be ahead of that curve and take advantage of the speed and utility with which I can edit in X.

October 27, 2012

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Swested

In defense of Apple, I like to submit that there have neither been new CPUs nor GPUs that would really justify a new model. Only quite recently, intel has released a new version of Xeons (don't forget that the Mac Pro uses _server_ CPUs), which actually are only truly faster because of their higher possible core number (8 instead of 6). The same holds for the GPUs. Nvidia will only now release the Kepler 2 platform.

I would not be surprised if Apple would come up with something that combines a single 8-core CPU (maybe even deviating from the server approach) with that upcoming Kepler GPU, maybe even using Quick Path Interconnect instead of PCIe.

October 27, 2012

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Thyl Engelhardt

Some interesting recent words from Tim Cook, which could apply to all this...

"We have learned over the years not to worry about cannibalization of our own product, it's much better for us to do that than for somebody else to do it. The far, far bigger opportunity here are the 80-90 million PCs that are being sold per quarter. There's still over 300 million PCs being bought per year. I think a great number of those people would be much better off buying an iPad or a Mac. I think that's a much bigger opportunity for Apple. Instead of being focused on cannibalizing ourselves, I look at it much more that it's an enormous incremental opportunity for us."

http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/10/25/cook-apple-has-learned-not-to-...

October 27, 2012

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trackofalljades

im betting there will be no PCI slots at all, no optical drives just like the mac mini, but lots of horse power and lots of Ram capability, there are Thunderbolt to PCI boxes we can go buy those, we may even get 4 physical processors in a mac pro box. 24 cores would be nice. Maybe maybe not
my biggest concern is buss speed and cooling technology with new processors

oh if there are any PCIe slots there will be 1 and it will be filled with a GFX card

October 27, 2012

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Nigel

I don't think that the new iMac, with all its features, is your average consumer computer. But what Apple might do sooner or later is to discontinue the Mac Pro and introduce the iMac Pro. I'd be totally fine with that.

October 27, 2012

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Marco

I too am on a 2008 tower, I'm running 1080P 12BIT 4:4:4, so whilst not 4K it's still some heavy lifting.

I sincerely hope Apple don't cut out the PCIe slots, I've got a 2 slot black magic card and 2 graphics cards, not to mention a soon to be raid. Now you can get away without the raid card with thunderbolt sure, but the black magic, or the cuda for grading etc.. no way. Limiting PCIe slots will take Apple sailing out of the pro market. Unless they create their own separate PCIe out board box, which I know sonnet already has, but really, the thing is going on a desk, why bother. It's a desk top, there's a whole desk to use!!

I predict it'll have: No space for traditional drives instead 1 flash drive with the expectation pro's will go external with their storage through a new thunderbolt connection. It will keep the PCIe slots but dump the optical drives. With such a setup they could cut down on the size of the machine, give it more power, and keep the price affordable. Now that would sell like hot cakes.

October 27, 2012

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Ross

Can anyone expand on his point with: 'Face it, at some point there will be no Finder in OSX.'

This interests me

October 27, 2012

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john

I think it comes down to not being able to please all the people all the time. So what does a Mac Pro have to be to please me? Xeon quad core better, 32gb RAM, a couple of PCI slots, maybe an SSD as a system drive - and thats it... I've run out of stuff I need.

Other than RAM, I don't think user upgradability is any sort of issue. I know a quite a few Mac Pro owners but I can count on three fingers the number who have upgraded anything other than RAM or maybe a faulty hard drive. Most bought their Macs to make money with and they write them off over however many years they expect to get out of it for their particular usage move on to a newer model.

October 27, 2012

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Jeff Kirkland

If you know many creative professionals, I'd add GPU to that list...surely you know more than three people who over the lifespan of their towers have upgraded their video? I can't imagine owning a Mac Pro and not doing that. Especially among the folks who would crawl this kind of a forum, isn't that pretty much the heart and soul of the machine?

October 28, 2012

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trackofalljades

I don't see expansion cards existing by the end of the decade. A lot can happen by then.

Intel Many Integrated Core Architecture (MIC)(XEON Phi co-processor) is at 50 cores. What happens when that doubles or quadruples and cores can be assigned for specific tasks. Currently it's on a PCI card, but probably could end up on a motherboard sooner than later.

Black Magic is expanding out to other product lines. I'm sure they don't see capture cards being a significant part of their future.

October 28, 2012

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Thomas

It is a shame that Apple doesn't spin off a professional division or at least license their "professional" Macs to someone that would keep the MacPro alive. It's the attitude of "we're gonna tell you how you're going to edit" that makes everyone made. I'll bet FCP 7 could live on through it being licensed to a 3rd part to continue development. But NOOOOOOOO Apple IS "the man" as depicted in their "1984" MacIntosh commercial. Ironic ain't it?

October 29, 2012

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Mark

A new MacPro, if it was designed by the late Steve Jobs, would probably look and feel like a giant iPad. I'm not certain Tim Cook has the vision and balls to go all in like that though.

November 1, 2012

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Seriously contemplating iMac + Smoke. Need a serious NLE to replace FCP, not sure I'm patient enough to wait for a new Mac Pro. If we had a release date and specs . . . maybe. But we're all just speculating here.

November 1, 2012

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Ben

Try editing with FCP 7 on a 2007 iMac with 1GB of RAM.

Hold on, does this mean there isn't going to be an FCP 8?

November 1, 2012

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What will Apple do? They will do without one more pro user. I have two alternate builds mapped out for my first Hackintosh. I was kinda scared, but a friend came over, and we looked at the tonymacx86.com site. They have lots of proven builds and pre-vetted shopping choices. (I was inspired by NoFilmSchool -- thanks!)

I told my friend I wanted a fairly powerful computer for editing video and huge batches of RAW stills. When my friend asked what my budget was, I said nervously, "$2500?" He just laughed. I said, "Can I get anything for that?" He said, "You can get almost *anything* with that." Well, you can certainly outspend that, BUT you can put together one heck of a smash up system for well under $2k. Oh, that's with SSD boot disk and 6 processors, 32GB RAM, five HDD bays internal and a bevvy of connections on the front and options for way more on the back. (today, comparable system well over $4k at Apple). What will I do with a spare $2000? Dunno, but I can think of something!

What will Apple do? Dunno. But I'm out of the waiting line. I'm sure it will be something very nice when they do launch. I've used Apple since 1984. Still have more than a few of their machines. I encourage you to do a little homework. Maybe I'll regret it and come crawling back with $4500 for a shiny aluminum case. Or not.

November 1, 2012

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Erik Stenbakken

iJOBS has left the building, check the NAB show circa 2008, both AVID and Apple had issues with the pro market. AVID had dug a trench with hardware boxes and bought Digi Design, another at the time "box" builder.

Apple had cut them at the knees with FCP for a couple grand, as miniaturization and storage were driving down costs for smaller home/project based editing.

Once iJOBS purloined the Creative MP player, and leap frogged into handset phones, the ones who brung em' to the dance were relegated to become either loyal users, or chaff. (Editors, Recordists and Graphics)

Marketing cycles planned years in advance, have caught up now and the cloud is really all Apple concerns with these days.

The bell curve is peaking and some studious types, anticipate by 2015/16 that Samsung will be number one, and HTC, Apple etc. vying for runner up worldwide (in phones). Note the un-rally in stock prices down almost 3%, statistical but relevant just because some old school protegee passed gas which smelled like the map app.

This UNLESS something truly innovate takes place, which so far is not in the cycles ahead, outside of quad core phones, all announced last CES.

The computer hardware, as noted by many here is a casualty of Apple's marketing success, and what goes up must come down.

No doubt there will be adherents, successful ones, who navigate well in FCPX but as noted in another forum by a video guy, most major releases are cut on AVID, excepting Act of Valor which Adobe helped build.

Me, well, ATARI was my sequencer because Apple cost twice as much, it still works but I do not use it, along with the first Pro-Mix 01 sold in LA and (2) synched DR4D's...yadda.

The next step was building my own PC (again because of costs) and yes, I've had my share, even now of derision from Apple users/pals some who are even stock holders but my next rig will either be a dual hex processor array, with CUDA and steroid ram which I will build, or I'll plunk down a goodly sum on the ADK 9000 series due out this month, simply for portability.

ADK who stopped selling iJOBS platforms last year, is a vendor that test drives all of the software under load, which sets set them apart from Sager and the others.

I'd say, under rhetorical license that the GPU/CPU mastery of MAC has been eclipsed for some time now by Intel/Nvidia, and as PCB makers figure out the traces for Lightning, unless the monastics in Cupertino decide to enliven the 5% of loyal users who are solid users, (they could if they wanted to) then as noted in the OP, things will get worse, and that is the new better.

MY $.02 cents.

November 2, 2012

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Top of the Line: USB3, Thunderbolt, 128 GB RAM, 16 Cores / 16 Virtual Cores

November 20, 2012

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rezwits

It's pointless to eliminate the PCI slots for a professional device as the only people in 2013 that are going to need more than two PCI slots are the very professionals that buy Mac Pros.

I also doubt we'll see proprietary SSD drives from Apple in a new Mac Pro as it would be wasted R&D as SSD drives have pretty much peaked in terms of speed for the most part, and such a move would only further alienate any Pro user base as I assume any such proprietary drives would be rather expensive.

January 7, 2013

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Neil Brimelow

I would really hate to see the disk drive and finder disappear...also the ethernet cable. I know alot of us use wifi nowadays but I would still like the option to plug into ethernet...its faster and if you have your laptop on your desk in your study at home its better. Also wifi can drop out. I would hate to be doing something important on the internet and have it ruined by the wifi dropping out. Also what about ripping cd's into itunes and burning cd's for your cars. I know cars have aux and usb ports now for music (hell i use aux with my ipod) but there are still cd's being made and sold all over the wold at music stores. We are not in the world of digital music just yet. Also games. And dont give me the "if you want to play games get a pc" shit. I have a pc aswell. I dont play games on it...i have very few games...spore and sims3 being a couple of them and i would not want to just give up playing them on my laptop because the new one comes out with no disk drive. Also DVD's...what about watching them on your computer...again we are still not in the world of digital movies just yet as dvd's and blueray are sold all over the world at nearly every supermarket and department store. Yes we can download movies but theres a sense of satisfaction when you own a boxset of a certain tv series or movie trilogy. So how about bring out a blueray player and burner instead? Also the days of needing a burner are still not over....I think computers will end up getting rid of disk drives but we are just not ready for it yet. So all in all the macbooks are good the way they are..just make them faster with more space and better graphics and with a blueray player and more usb ports and we shall be happy.

January 14, 2013

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Sarah

Optical Drive... burning CDs into iTunes. I can't remember the last time I purchased a physical audio CD. What do you mean I can only put ~ 20 songs on a disc? Loading Software? I can't remember the last time I loaded software from a CD....whenever I did...I'm sure it was immediately followed by a full "current version" update via the web. Backing up important documents? To a puny DVD? It would take dozens of disks to make a dent. That said...I have produced video DVD's designed for non-computer (Home DVD player) use... but that's slowly being replaced with Airplay. Ethernet? Agreed. Unless Apple wants to explain to corporate America how all those CAT5 runs and Cisco routers are worthless, I'd keep the Ethernet port for now. How about Dual 10Gb? I have two separate subnets I need to connect to concurrently. You want to eliminate something? Make it the Mouse. Apple brought the mouse into popular use...Apple should take it out. After a day of using my Macbook Pro...when I go back to my Desktop...a mouse just seems antiquated. Magic mouse feels terrible. Standard mouse scroll wheel get's gummed up. Wireless mouse feels "heavy". Wired mice have....well.... wires. Embrace the trackpad. More gestures. Better software integration. Why does a FULL Apple keyboard only come in Wired format. What does Apple have against the numeric keypad and a full array of function keys? Ever work in low light? Do you like the gentle glow of a Macbook pro keyboard? Why doesn't the desktop keyboard offer subtle backlighting? Logitech can do it. A nice clean case interior? You mean to add a disk-drive I have OPEN the case? Why aren't high speed Hot-swappable RAID array drives the norm? Drobo can do this on the cheap. Promise doesn't make you open the case on their thunderbolt arrays. I'd love to by a new Mac Pro - and I've got the funds to do it. But if I can buy a New iMac this year...and then a newer iMac next year that's faster than this years Mac Pro for the same money. Sure MORE CORES is great, but I just don't use enough multithreaded apps to keep 8+ buzzing at capacity.

January 25, 2013

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Cookie Jarvis