the END of the Mac Pro

so my friends have posted the above which challenges when (and if) the world will see a new Mac Pro.

kids, Apple has been “getting out of the high end business” for a long time. the handwriting has been on the wall for this product for more than a year. but it goes back further than that. first the xServe RAID was axed, then the Xserve line, recently training programs for IT professionals were discontinued, Final Cut Pro Server was dismantled… you can see the trend. there isn’t easy money to be made from this section of Apple’s business so it’s as good as goners.

when you are charging hundreds of bucks an hour the workstation in front of you better look expensive. I’m very careful about hiding what tools I use from my clients. for years I made sure that my clients did not know that a MacBook Pro was the thing I was editing their video on. especially since they were using the zact same Mac. it’s a perception thing. it’s why I kept an old Mac G5 tower around. as nobody questioned it’s bigness, or what it was. stick a second display on the desk for a more “Pro” look even if you don’t use it in dual mode.

personally, I’m all too happy to see the Mac Pro go away. the box was way too expensive for starters. when you compare (yeah, yeah, yeah the whole Apple and Orange thing) high end offerings from other companies to the Mac Pro you’ll find much more from the price/performance curve “from the dark side.” dark side?! bah! this is where the true development is right now. if Apple is doing anything with USB3, SATA6, high end GPU it’s news to the world. yes, Thunderbolt (aka LightPipe) is pretty cool as tech goes but I’m thinking this is an eventual dead end unless the industry in general adopts it. it’s been a year… where are the machines from the other kids. missing that’s where.

the Apple Tax is not worth paying considering the primary tools of content creators run the EXACT same on other computers. the fact is, these tools run better on non-Apple hardware. don’t forget that the options for a high end video card for Mac Pro is a THREE YEAR OLD card which might have been “unquestionably number one” in 2009. but why is this the only option? there are at least 13 newer “workstation” class cards on the market that won’t work on a Mac. so there’s that problem.

the lack of upgrades over the last 2 years makes me question the long term of using Mac’s in my company. are Mac’s that I buy today going to go the distance like they have in the past? for some tasks this is easy to answer. yes. they will. a Mac Mini, for what it is, is a wonderful box albeit over priced by $200. but FireWire 800 is aging (meaning it’s slow) and the cases to support it are stupid expensive. and Thunderbolt things are stupider expensive. the freaking cable is $50. this matters when you have to buy 5 of something. I’d rather spend the money smart.

anyway, the nail in the coffin for me is the switch to Adobe CS tools for video and audio editing. I did this over a year ago after FCX was demo’d at NAB. and I cannot be happier. Premiere Pro and Audition have performed beyond my expectations. and if I switched to a workstation class Windows box it would go go even better.

so the only thing that holds me back from completely jumping is that one last wait and see. maybe, just maybe that new box will be the box that keeps me around for one more go. sigh. maybe it will be soon. eventually I’ll be disappointed and that will be the day I order a box of parts, I’ll say goodbye to the Mac and… laughs, of course I’ll still use a Mac, duh. I use all kinds of other tools in my day to day so it will be a long time before a Mac disappears from my desktop completely but it’s days soon to be numbered.

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