Apple's 2019 Mac Pro is a trypophobe's nightmare.
To enlarge / Apple’s 2019 Mac Pro is a trypophobe’s nightmare.

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The Mac Pro is one of the few Intel Macs that isn’t an Apple Silicon replacement, although we’re ready. just past the two-year deadline o CEO Tim Cook originally set for the transition in the summer of 2020 (and to be fair, it’s been a difficult few years to predict).

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports Apple continues to work on a new version Mac Proalong with other yet-to-be-replaced Intel Macs like the higher-end Mac mini and 27-inch iMac, but the planned “M2 Extreme” chip to power the Apple Silicon Mac Pro has “likely” been scrapped.

The Extreme would bundle two M2 Ultra chips together, much like the current M1 Ultra bundles M1 Max chips together, but as of this writing, Apple plans to ship the new Mac Pro with an M2 Ultra chip inside. and focus on “easy expansion for additional memory, storage and other components” to help differentiate the Mac Pro Mac Studio available.

Waiting for news in the face of uncertainty isn’t new to Mac Pro storage; this has been steady over the past decade. It’s been a long time since the Mac Pro was updated at anything close to a predictable cadence, especially if you don’t count partial updates. 2012 Mac Pro tower or addition New GPU options for the 2019 model. And each of the last two updates – Mac Pro “trash” in 2013 and the redesigned “cheese grater” version from 2019 reflected a general change in design and strategy.

At this point, I’d like Apple to decide: either stick with a consistent strategy or vision for the Mac Pro and its place in the lineup, or abandon it.

A fading star

Apple's 2013 Mac Pro model still supported a few niceties like user-replaceable storage and upgradeable RAM, but it had been languishing without updates for more than half a decade.  Apple eventually reversed course on the design, but it was a huge mistake.
To enlarge / Apple’s 2013 Mac Pro model still supported a few niceties like user-replaceable storage and upgradeable RAM, but it had been languishing without updates for more than half a decade. Apple eventually reversed course on the design, but it was a huge mistake.

A few decades ago, when the G3 and G4 were Power Mac towers, the retirement of the Mac Pro would have been unthinkable. priced, specified and marketed more like high-end consumer desktops than corporate workstations. But it’s been a long time since that was true, and with the Mac Pro suffering from an identity crisis, other Macs have stepped in to fill the void. Apple’s high-end professional software has also weakened during this period, and software packages from Premiere to After Effects, Blender to Autodesk Maya are either platform agnostic or, like Nvidia’s exclusive CUDA API, which Apple no longer offers. takes advantage of hardware features.

Mac Studio is probably the single best argument against the continued existence of the Mac Pro. It’s the first truly new Mac design of the Apple Silicon era and takes full advantage of the performance and power efficiency of the M1 (and soon, hopefully, M2) series. is small it’s incredibly efficientit runs relatively cool and quiet and that can overcome Maximize 2019 Mac Pro configurations across multiple workloads for less money.

This is something The Verge’s Mac Studio review did a great job of highlighting – people using programs like Premiere, Audition, Photoshop and After Effects, Avid Pro Tools and Blender had nothing but good things to say about Studio on Intel Macs and Apple Silicon MacBooks. use these programs to run every day. Creating web content isn’t as complex or demanding as creating 3D effects for, say, a big movie or TV show, but it’s a wide range of creators. can they benefited from the Mac Pro a decade or two ago and don’t necessarily need to consider it today.

Apple still offers a collection of professional software exclusive to the Mac, including Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Logic Pro. But the rate at which these apps are updated (and the range of updates when they do come) has slowed and narrowed over the past decade, coinciding with the waning of the Mac Pro.

A group of 112 professional filmmakers signed up earlier this year open letter Asks Apple to improve Final Cut’s collaboration features, respond more quickly to new feature requests, and do better for the software in the film industry. Even the creators prefer I “still can’t pick it up” to use it in this context due to the real and perceived shortcomings of the app and the general lack of experience and knowledge of the app on an industry wide scale. The Verge’s video editors also didn’t want to help test Final Cut Pro because “none of them use it.”

Apple’s other hardware succeeds in part because it runs Apple software, giving people things they can’t get from other ecosystems. The opposite is true for high-end Mac Pro-style professional workloads that run (and in some cases better) on cheaper and more flexible Windows and Linux hardware, and that’s reflected. hardware and software used by actual VFX studios.

A huge 2021 survey by the Visual Effects Society Technology Committee found that Linux and Windows are the most popular platforms for workstations, with Windows being preferred by smaller studios and Linux by larger studios.  Mac's share is minimal worldwide.
To enlarge / A massive 2021 survey conducted by the Visual Effects Society Technology Committee found that Linux and Windows are the most popular platforms for workstations, with Windows preferred by smaller studios and Linux preferred by larger studios. Mac’s share is minimal worldwide.

A 2021 Studio Platform Survey Report moderated by the Visual Effects Society Technology Committee examined nearly 60,000 workstations in 88 studios of various sizes; Linux was running on 60 percent of these workstations, Windows on 29 percent, and macOS on just 11 percent. The survey also found that most studios plan to increase their use of Linux and Windows, while most plan to keep their use of macOS roughly the same.

None of this is to say that Apple should cede this market to Lenovo, Dell, Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and others, but if Apple really intends to, it needs to be more careful, consistent, and serious than it was with the Mac Pro. compete here.

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