The Mac Pro is one of the few remaining Intel Macs that doesn’t have an Apple silicon replacement, although we’re a little past the two-year deadline that CEO Tim Cook originally set for a summer 2020 transition (and to be fair, hardly was predictable for several years).
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that Apple continues to work on a new version of the Mac Pro, along with other still-unreplaced Intel Macs like the high-end Mac mini and 27-inch iMac, but with the planned “M2 Extreme” chip. which powered the Apple Silicon Mac Pro was “probably” discontinued.
The Extreme would be anchored by two M2 Ultra chips, just as the current M1 Ultra is a pair of interconnected M1 Max chips, but as of this writing Apple is likely 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 the Mac Pro stand out from the existing Mac Studio.
Waiting for news in the face of uncertainty is nothing new for the Mac Pro; It has been constant for the past decade plus. It’s been a long time since a Mac Pro has been updated at anything close to a predictable cadence, especially if you don’t count partial updates like the 2012 Mac Pro Tower or the addition of new GPU options to the 2019 model. And each of the last two updates—the “trash can” Mac Pro in 2013 and the re-engineered “cheese grater” version from 2019—represents a complete change in design and strategy.
At this point, I want Apple to decide: either adopt a coherent strategy or vision for the Mac Pro and its place in the lineup, or retire it.
Relegating the Mac Pro would have been unthinkable a few decades ago, when the G3 and G4 Power Mac towers were priced, specced, and marketed more like high-end consumer desktops than corporate workstations. But it’s been a long time since that was the case, and other Macs have filled that gap, while the Mac Pro was suffering an identity crisis. Apple’s high-end professional software also disappeared in this era, and software packages from Premiere to After Effects to Blender to Autodesk Maya are either platform agnostic or take advantage of hardware features like Nvidia’s exclusive CUDA API that Apple no longer offers.
Mac Studio is probably the single best argument against the Mac Pro being a sequel. It’s the first truly new Mac design of Apple’s silicon era, and it takes full advantage of the performance and power efficiency of the M1 (and soon, hopefully, M2) series. It’s small, incredibly efficient, runs relatively cool and quiet, and manages to outperform the 2019 Mac Pro’s top-end configurations in many workloads for less money.
That’s something that The Verge’s Mac Studio review did a great job of pointing out—employees who used apps like Premiere, Audition, Photoshop and After Effects, Avid Pro Tools, and Blender all had nothing but good things to say about Studio. Intel Macs and Apple Silicon MacBooks that they used to run these applications on a daily basis. Creating web content isn’t as complex or demanding as, say, creating 3D effects for a major movie or TV show, but it’s a wide range of creators. it is possible Used a Mac Pro 1-2 decades ago who really don’t need to consider it today.
Apple still produces Mac-exclusive professional apps, including Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Logic Pro. But the pace of these app updates (and the volume of updates when they do come) has slowed and declined over the past decade, at the same time that the Mac Pro has atrophied.
Earlier this year, a group of 112 professional filmmakers signed an open letter asking Apple to improve Final Cut’s collaboration features, respond more quickly to new artistic requests and do a better job of lobbying the software in the film industry. Even the creators who prefers To use it in this context, “I still can’t pick it up” due to the app’s real and perceived flaws and a general lack of expertise and knowledge about the app industry. The Verge’s video editors were also “reluctant” to help test Final Cut Pro because “none of them use it.”
Other Apple hardware succeeds in part because it runs Apple software, which gives people something they can’t get from other ecosystems. The opposite is the case with high-end Mac Pro-style professional workloads that mostly run on apps that work as well (and, in some specific cases, better) on cheaper and more flexible Windows and Linux hardware, and this is reflected in the hardware and software used by VFX studios.
The Visual Effects Society Technology Committee’s 2021 Studio Platform Survey Report, conducted by nearly 60,000 workstations across 88 studios of various sizes; Linux was running on 60 percent of those workstations, while Windows was running on 29 percent and macOS was just 11 percent. The survey also found that most studios planned to increase their use of Linux and Windows, while most planned to keep their use of macOS around the same level.
None of this means that Apple should cede the market to Lenovo, Dell, Intel, AMD, Nvidia and the rest, but Apple needs to be more focused, consistent and serious than it was with the Mac. With a pro if he’s really going to. Here is the competition.