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.

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]