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The New Mac Pro
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kscherer
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2019-08-05, 19:51

Apple's display position is a bit perplexing, to say the least. They have always had them. Now? Crickets and Scrooge McDuck!
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Robo
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2019-08-05, 23:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
You’re not wrong, but keep in mind you can upgrade basically all of that aftermarket (unlike virtually any other Mac now). Getting the base config may actually be the smart buy.
I guess that’s true. But for $6,000, you shouldn’t have to upgrade it to get a workstation that’s worth $6,000. At the price they’re charging, that base config is borderline insulting. I get that there is a real cost associated with making the Mac Pro larger and more upgradeable and packing in a massive PSU and a ton of stainless steel and shit, but it almost feels like you’re getting $1000 worth of computer in a $5000 case.

The 2013 Mac Pro started at $2999, and every configuration had dual workstation-class graphics cards. We’re used to complaining about the half-decade-old 2013 Mac Pro but in 2013 it was a bargain. The new Mac Pro is double the price and comes with a single consumer-grade graphics card, and not even a particularly high-end one. (I got the then-equivalent GPU in a Dell gaming PC I bought last year for $749.) It’s an odd regression. And yeah, the expansion slots and larger case add to the cost, but…surely the doubling in price covers that?

I don’t normally complain about Apple’s prices. Like, yeah the iPhone X and Xs are more expensive than past iPhones, sure the new iPad Pro is more expensive than past models, but all those products are way better than their predecessors in virtually every way except price, so it’s more forgivable. The iPhone X and Xs are more premium products. The iPad Pro is a bonkers powerful tablet. Apple’s at the forefront of those industries.

But with the Mac Pro, it feels different. Like, it’s more expensive, which would be fine if it was way better, but in some ways it’s no better or even worse than cheaper options. Unlike iPhones and iPads, there are comparable workstations that use the same parts. Unlike iPhones and iPads, we know how much the components cost. The difference is the Mac Pro is expensive, and it shouldn’t be.

I don’t know if they’re convinced they have to amortize their engineering costs over a very small number of machines or what. But the pricing on this Expensive Apple Product feels very different to me than past Expensive Apple Products. I just don’t understand it.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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PB PM
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2019-08-05, 23:38

No kidding, it's almost like they want to price it high so nobody buys it, in order to justify killing it off later. I can hear it now, "We sold the machine people said they wanted, nobody bought it other than a few big studios. Not enough to justify, just get an iMac Pro, much better, more beautiful/magical/etc machine anyway."
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chucker
 
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2019-08-06, 01:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
No kidding, it's almost like they want to price it high so nobody buys it, in order to justify killing it off later. I can hear it now, "We sold the machine people said they wanted, nobody bought it other than a few big studios. Not enough to justify, just get an iMac Pro, much better, more beautiful/magical/etc machine anyway."
This rings basically true, but less cynically.

Yes, the pricing isn’t… great. But they clearly feel this is a low-volume product no matter what (they weren’t going to ship it at $1k), so they might as well price it to make it worthwhile. If people then don’t buy it, someone at Apple might feel vindicated(?) about that.
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Robo
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2019-08-06, 02:13

It's just baffling, in a way that Apple pricing rarely is.

Like, sure, when the iPhone X was ZOMG a thousand dollars, some people griped, but it was clear what you got for the money. A fancy vision-statement phone with a fancy OLED ultra-high-res screen and a fancy stainless steel case. Of course that's not going to be the same price as the "mainstream" iPhone, that's why they made the iPhone 8.

But this is different. It has the same GPU as the $2299 iMac. Heck, for $2699, you can configure that iMac with an eight-core CPU that is faster than the base Mac Pro's eight-core Xeon and supports the same speed of RAM. Even after bumping up the RAM to 32GB at Apple's ridiculous prices and adding a SSD that's twice as large as the one in the Mac Pro (you can't configure an iMac with an SSD that's as small as the one in the $6000 Mac Pro), your souped-up iMac costs all of...$3399. With the best 5K display around, thrown in for funsies.

The point of the Mac Pro is to be an option that makes different trade-offs, sacrificing the display and compact form factor for expandability. And I'm glad the Mac Pro has expansion slots again. But what are they made of, unobtanium? I just don't get where the massive price hike over previous Mac Pros is coming from, other than "because we can," because it certainly doesn't seem to be warranted by the specs. Is the massive PSU really that expensive?

The new Mac Pro seems like it's going to be over-engineered for anything other than builds with price tags that rival Toyota Corollas.

You'll note that I'm not even complaining about the price of the display, because the idea that the display is an industry-leading product that provides value that is worth its price because there's nothing else like it is much clearer to me. (Although I still don't know why they would only decide to make the best "money is no object" display, and not even have the option of the "let's make the best display that mere mortals can afford" display.)

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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chucker
 
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2019-08-06, 02:47

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I just don't get where the massive price hike over previous Mac Pros is coming from,
It comes from “if we make this significantly cheaper, nobody will buy the iMac Pro any more”.

The price was actually exactly what I expected it to be. The config is a bit sad, sure. But I wasn’t expecting them to get $4999 or lower, because that would have really confused the Mac desktop story. (And we already had a crazy-confusing laptop story!)
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Robo
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2019-08-06, 03:44

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
It comes from “if we make this significantly cheaper, nobody will buy the iMac Pro any more”.
That doesn't really hold water for me. I mean, first, it's an Apple-created problem; if they were that concerned about protecting the iMac Pro they could adjust the positioning of that product too. But the main reason is that if that sort of thinking has set in at Apple, I think that's really, really bad news. Isn't Apple supposed to not be afraid of cannibalizing their own products? Aren't they proud of making every product the best it can be, even though that pushes on the other products to also be better and more capable?

But, fine. Say that is their reason for taking the Mac Pro into super high-end pricing territory. That's fair. But make a super high-end desktop, then. The base Mac Pro isn't worth the asking price, even by "Apple's standard," even compared to other Macs. It's not the price point that bothers me, it's the lack of value.

If you had told me, when I bought my cheap Dell gaming PC, that I was getting the same tier of GPU that would be in Apple's future six-thousand dollar workstation, I would have thought you were nuts.

If the Mac Pro is so expensive because it's supposed to exist above the iMac Pro, fine. But then it shouldn't have a worse GPU, it shouldn't have a quarter the storage...if Apple gave every Mac Pro 12 cores, a terabyte of flash, and the Vega II Duo card, I wouldn't be nearly as incredulous about the pricing.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
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2019-08-06, 10:21

As a retail store, I can tell you one thing: There will never be one on display in our shop—unless Apple floors it for us, which they don't do. In the last year, we have sold exactly zero Mac Pro's at $2999. Granted, they are hopelessly outdated, but still. In that same year, we have sold exactly one iMac Pro.

And we have a lot of professional photographers/videographers/developers who are loyal to our shop. The single biggest reason for this lack of sales? The 8-core i9 27" iMac 5k Retina is $2699. That's why. And that sucker has a faster processor than a $4999 iMac Pro (however, there are data-handling differences between a Xeon and an i9 which make the Xeon better in certain situations, as well as ECC memory).

We have narrowed it down to this: The only people who are buying these things are the folks shelling out top dollar for maximum configurations, and the folks with that kind of cheddar to spend on a computer aren't in Boise, Idaho. Basically, you guys are looking at the wrong set of numbers. It's not the base configurations you need to be looking at. Those are meaningless drivel that permit Apple to give a "low, low price of" statement. It's those $15,000+ systems that Apple is selling. And they are playing in a world where the competition is hugely expensive. One of our owners is Erik Smith, Chief Technology Officer at Silverdraft Studios. The guy is a multi-node wiz and consults directly with Dr. Srinidhi Varadarajan of Virginia Tech (the guy that built the Power X super computer back in the G5 days). These guys are building $650,000+ workstations for high-end graphic design studios, and salesroom VR systems for custom configuration walk-arounds—computers that cost $20,000 or more (I once helped them load a mobile mini-computer [ha!] into a moving van. The thing went out the door at $75,000!). This mac Pro is aimed squarely at those markets. It is not aimed at run-of-the-mill graphic design desks! And, really, neither is the iMac Pro.

We all know Apple is not interested in the $2000 headless Mac. I'd love to know why, but they aren't. The market is there, and Apple—for whatever reason—does not want to play in it, even though we all know that they could, and be successful at it. Seriously, you have to see the Mac Pro for what it is, and its base configuration is not "what it is".

My beef is not the new Mac Pro. I know "what it is". My beef is the lack of a $2000 headless Mac with a separate $1000 5k display. That's a computer we would sell a lot of.

Who let the creeper in?

Last edited by kscherer : 2019-08-06 at 13:22.
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chucker
 
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2019-08-06, 12:14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
if they were that concerned about protecting the iMac Pro they could adjust the positioning of that product too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
The 8-core i9 27" iMac 5k Retina is $2699. That's why. And that sucker has a faster processor than a $4999 iMac Pro (however, there are data-handling differences between a Xeon and an i9 which make the Xeon better in certain situations, as well as ECC memory).
I doubt Apple is particularly happy that Skylake-W is a fair bit slower than Coffee Lake-S (or that Cascade Lake-W has a TDP so much higher it probably won't fit in the iMac Pro).

It's arguably a fool me twice, shame on me situation, though. How many times can Apple repeat this mistake of believing that Intel will keep iterating on a particular TDP?
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kscherer
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2019-08-06, 14:47

At the top end of the line, Apple has no choice, unless they have some top secret chip in development.
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PB PM
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2019-08-06, 14:49

You cannot add more cores without more power. The fact that they have doubled the number of cores in consumer CPUs and maintained the same power envelope is actually impressive.
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chucker
 
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2019-08-06, 15:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
At the top end of the line, Apple has no choice, unless they have some top secret chip in development.
Nothing forced them to make the iMac Pro thin.
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Robo
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2019-08-06, 15:23

I think the most damning thing about the Mac Pro is that the ATP guys, all of whom are pro Mac users who had been talking about the new Mac Pro endlessly, all came to the conclusion that the new Mac Pro wasn't really...for them.

Which isn't to say that none of them are planning on buying it. But if the new Mac Pro isn't for them — developers and loyal Mac users who were eagerly anticipating and ready to drop large sums of money on new desktops — then I think maaaybe Apple made it a little too...niche?

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Robo
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2019-08-06, 15:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
I doubt Apple is particularly happy that Skylake-W is a fair bit slower than Coffee Lake-S (or that Cascade Lake-W has a TDP so much higher it probably won't fit in the iMac Pro).

It's arguably a fool me twice, shame on me situation, though. How many times can Apple repeat this mistake of believing that Intel will keep iterating on a particular TDP?
Part of me is a little surprised Apple didn't go with AMD for the new Mac Pro. The second-generation Threadripper goes up to 32 cores/64 threads. The new third-generation Threadripper that's supposed to come out this fall is expected to go up to 64 cores/128 threads, without a huge increase in TDP due to moving to 7nm. And all of those processors support 64 PCIe lanes and ECC memory.

And don't act like Phil Schiller wouldn't absolutely love to get to call the processors "Threadripper" on stage.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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PB PM
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2019-08-06, 20:20

It does seem odd that Apple doesn’t consider a deal with AMD, I mean they are already using their GPUs. All I can think of is that they still have some kind of exclusive deal with Intel. If that is the case that would explain it, because Intel is still way ahead with mobile parts, both in IPC, and power consumption.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
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2019-08-06, 22:59

It seems to me that Apple inked a deal with Intel to share an R&D lab in Oregon (Portland area) where they also develop logic boards together. So there's that, too.

Who let the creeper in?
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chucker
 
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2019-08-08, 15:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I think the most damning thing about the Mac Pro is that the ATP guys, all of whom are pro Mac users who had been talking about the new Mac Pro endlessly, all came to the conclusion that the new Mac Pro wasn't really...for them.

Which isn't to say that none of them are planning on buying it. But if the new Mac Pro isn't for them — developers and loyal Mac users who were eagerly anticipating and ready to drop large sums of money on new desktops — then I think maaaybe Apple made it a little too...niche?
So at the risk of sounding fanboy-ish, I wanted to add a few things here.

First of all, since you said "all of whom had been talking about the new Mac Pro endlessly": one of them, Casey is infamously not into the Mac Pro. Heck, he sometimes codes from a 12-inch MacBook. He clearly hasn't had any "you need a gazillion cores to do programming" Kool-Aid.

But more importantly, while I personally contest that either John or Marco need a Mac Pro (it really isn't any of my business, but John needs to get over himself, separately buy a gaming PC and a Mac mini, and end up with better performance for his use case and yet $5k to spare), I didn't come away with the impression that they concluded that it "isn't for them".

At best, perhaps, that the iMac Pro is already good enough? And if so, is that really a big problem?

It'll be interesting to see how those two evolve. Will Intel eventually offer suitable Xeon-W parts again? Maybe with Cooper Lake-W? Or not until Ice Lake-W, probably not until 2021? Or will Apple downgrade the next iMac Pro to Cascade Lake-X, which kind of sucks from an enthusiast point of view, but might be the better path to sustained updates? (Keep in mind the iMac Pro is already almost two years old at this point, with no suitable upgrade in sight.)
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Robo
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2019-08-08, 22:18

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
It'll be interesting to see how those two evolve. Will Intel eventually offer suitable Xeon-W parts again? Maybe with Cooper Lake-W? Or not until Ice Lake-W, probably not until 2021? Or will Apple downgrade the next iMac Pro to Cascade Lake-X, which kind of sucks from an enthusiast point of view, but might be the better path to sustained updates? (Keep in mind the iMac Pro is already almost two years old at this point, with no suitable upgrade in sight.)
I'm not married to the idea of the iMac Pro maintaining its current position with the Xeon-W. I think Apple was definitely in a different position when they made it, where they felt they needed to fill the void of the Mac Pro. I could see Apple adjusting its positioning, now that the Mac Pro's void is filled.

It's a little weird how the "Pro" suffix means such different things across Apple's line-up. On the MacBook, it's like, okay, the MacBook Pro is $200 more than the MacBook Air. Even if you want the "real" MacBook Pro with four Thunderbolt ports and a 28W processor, it's 50% more. Same with the iPad...the iPad Pro is about 50% more than the iPad Air. But then on the iMac, it's like, 3x the price of the 27-inch iMac. The 27-inch iMac is already a sort of "pro" product, and so the iMac Pro goes into high-end workstation territory, with a huge jump in price.

I'm not saying I think the iMac Pro as it currently is should be half its price or whatever. But could I see Apple "downgrading" the future iMac Pros, now that they have the Mac Pro tower to be their ultra-high-end workstation? Maybe. Ideally, the iMac Pro would be positioned in a way where it would tempt some 27-inch iMac buyers to move up, and right now it just doesn't. There's a massive chasm between their prices.

How popular is the iMac Pro? People like MKBHD and Marco Arment adore it, and it is a fantastic machine, but I'm not sure it's been an out-and-out sales success for Apple (even by high-end desktop standards). I only have circumstantial evidence for this, of course, because Apple doesn't break out sales. But reading between the lines...there have been multiple times when B&H has offered it for $3,999, literally a grand off the top, and I know margins on Apple products aren't usually that great. And they started doing this just a few months after it came out.

And of course, Apple has scarcely touched it in nearly two years.

In a lot of ways, when the iMac with Retina 5K Display came out, that was basically positioned more like how we'd typically expect a "Pro" Apple product to be positioned — it was $2499, 40% more than the 27-inch iMac. And it was the Mac, when it came out. It was hot shit. Honestly, that was probably the last new Mac design that was just an out-and-out win that everybody loved. There were no drawbacks, no compromises, no shitty keyboards. You just got a brilliant new display at a fairly reasonable price.

I'm really interested to see where Apple takes the iMac and iMac Pro next, because right now it seems like their desktop line might be in flux a bit. They've got the Mac Pro now, for the people who need workstation-class Xeons. The iMac is overdue for a redesign, to be built around flash like every other Mac. And the fat bezels and chin are looking a little dated. We've had this same design since 2012, after all, and from the front it looks identical to iMacs since 2009. Does the screen grow? Does the body shrink? If Apple can fit a power-hungry Xeon into the current iMac enclosure, that suggests that they could trim the fat a bit on the models that don't have power-hungry Xeons inside. But then where does that leave the iMac Pro? Would it continue to soldier on with its current design, chin and all? Or would the new iMac Pro get the new design first? And what would go inside it, since Xeon-W seems to be going nowhere fast? So many questions!

I'd be okay if the iMac Pro "just" becomes a really high-spec'd iMac, even if it means dropping Xeon-branded processors and ECC memory. I think a lot of people would welcome that, and I think more people would make the jump up if there wasn't such a price chasm. But I'm sure Apple really likes trying to sell them at $4999, so who knows.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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chucker
 
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2019-08-09, 05:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I'm not married to the idea of the iMac Pro maintaining its current position with the Xeon-W. I think Apple was definitely in a different position when they made it, where they felt they needed to fill the void of the Mac Pro. I could see Apple adjusting its positioning, now that the Mac Pro's void is filled.
Yeah, but… what? As has been pointed out (but isn't directly Apple's fault), the iMac Pro is already lagging behind much cheaper non-Pro iMacs in single-thread performance.* And those now go up to 8 cores.

So the iMac Pro isn't actually "better" in all respects, just for rather specialized scenarios.

And surely, the regular iMac will eventually get the same cooling system and other upgrades the Pro has (or something more advanced than that). So that plus will go away, too.

Where does that leave it? A workstation GPU, maybe? (Radeon Pro / née FirePro? Quadro?)

*) which continues to be very important. Don't let "my machine needs 18 cores" folks fool you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
It's a little weird how the "Pro" suffix means such different things across Apple's line-up. On the MacBook, it's like, okay, the MacBook Pro is $200 more than the MacBook Air. Even if you want the "real" MacBook Pro with four Thunderbolt ports and a 28W processor, it's 50% more. Same with the iPad...the iPad Pro is about 50% more than the iPad Air. But then on the iMac, it's like, 3x the price of the 27-inch iMac. The 27-inch iMac is already a sort of "pro" product, and so the iMac Pro goes into high-end workstation territory, with a huge jump in price.
I feel like of those, the MBP has the worst positioning.

The iPad Pro at least has stuff like a much better speaker system (though "pro" is questionable on that — it's kind of mostly useful for consumption?), ProMotion, a better Pencil, etc.

The iMac Pro has a workstation-class CPU.

What does the MBP have, really? The Touch Bar, love it or hate it, is not really a "pro" feature. Apple should either be all-in on it and believe that it's a useful input method, or they shouldn't. To make it pro-only is bad. A P3 display, sure, that qualifies. But why, for instance, is there no ProMotion on the MacBook Pro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I'm not saying I think the iMac Pro as it currently is should be half its price or whatever. But could I see Apple "downgrading" the future iMac Pros, now that they have the Mac Pro tower to be their ultra-high-end workstation? Maybe. Ideally, the iMac Pro would be positioned in a way where it would tempt some 27-inch iMac buyers to move up, and right now it just doesn't. There's a massive chasm between their prices.
Yup.

(The 27-inch iMac starts at $1799, buuuuuuut.

The iMac Pro starts at 32 GB memory and a 1 TB SSD. At that point, the iMac is already $2899.

Add a configuration that has a Vega GPU so it's somewhat more comparable, and you're at $3649. Add an 8-core CPU, and you're at $4049.

And yet — that's still $950 more! Which buys you a CPU that's actually worse much of the time, a better GPU, and 10 Gig Ethernet, and… that's about it.)

In short, the base model iMac Pro is a bad deal now that the iMacs are on Coffee Lake Refresh. But, if you really want to go higher end than that, the regular iMacs are a dead end, whereas the Pro lets you add more CPU cores (you probably don't need to do this) and much more RAM (this may be useful), and more storage (honestly, just hook up something external — Apple's pricing here isn't justified).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
How popular is the iMac Pro? People like MKBHD and Marco Arment adore it, and it is a fantastic machine, but I'm not sure it's been an out-and-out sales success for Apple (even by high-end desktop standards).
Probably not, but I don't really like the narrative that everything Apple does needs to be a smashing mass-market success. (Like, how is "HomePod doesn't have much market share" a shocking or otherwise interesting story? Why does it need to?)

I don't mind at all if they have some niche products. Steve's 1999 2x2 product matrix made sense for the time and was a good idea, yes, but Apple isn't in that time any more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
And of course, Apple has scarcely touched it in nearly two years.
Yeah, but there isn't really that much they can do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I'm really interested to see where Apple takes the iMac and iMac Pro next, because right now it seems like their desktop line might be in flux a bit.
Yup!

I think that's mostly a good thing. There seemed to be a few years where the Mac roadmap felt rudderless and, they didn't really seem to care much. (That may or may not be fair — but they're supposed to be good at PR, and their Mac PR just wasn't good.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
The iMac is overdue for a redesign, to be built around flash like every other Mac. And the fat bezels and chin are looking a little dated. We've had this same design since 2012, after all, and from the front it looks identical to iMacs since 2009.
It's arguably just an iteration of the 2004 iMac G5, which after fifteen years is a bit of a shame.

(Then again, Gruber recently made the point that the entire 2019 MacBook line-up is arguably an iteration of the 2001 PowerBook G4 Titanium.)

This overlaps with That Other Thread, but I wonder if three decades of Ive has led to a sense of complacency where everyone thinks you can't really go for a different design direction, and now that he's gone, maybe they'll try?

Like, remember how cool the iMac G4 was?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I'd be okay if the iMac Pro "just" becomes a really high-spec'd iMac, even if it means dropping Xeon-branded processors and ECC memory.
Yeah, I think now that the Mac Pro exists, that may be the right path.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I think a lot of people would welcome that, and I think more people would make the jump up if there wasn't such a price chasm. But I'm sure Apple really likes trying to sell them at $4999, so who knows.
But they might like selling 100,000 a quarter at $2999 more than selling 20,000 a quarter at $4999.
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Robo
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2019-08-09, 11:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Yeah, but… what? As has been pointed out (but isn't directly Apple's fault), the iMac Pro is already lagging behind much cheaper non-Pro iMacs in single-thread performance.* And those now go up to 8 cores.

So the iMac Pro isn't actually "better" in all respects, just for rather specialized scenarios.

And surely, the regular iMac will eventually get the same cooling system and other upgrades the Pro has (or something more advanced than that). So that plus will go away, too.

Where does that leave it? A workstation GPU, maybe? (Radeon Pro / née FirePro? Quadro?)

*) which continues to be very important. Don't let "my machine needs 18 cores" folks fool you.
That's what I'm saying — the iMac Pro, as it is right now, isn't positioned super well. It made more sense two years ago than it does now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
I feel like of those, the MBP has the worst positioning.

The iPad Pro at least has stuff like a much better speaker system (though "pro" is questionable on that — it's kind of mostly useful for consumption?), ProMotion, a better Pencil, etc.

The iMac Pro has a workstation-class CPU.

What does the MBP have, really? The Touch Bar, love it or hate it, is not really a "pro" feature. Apple should either be all-in on it and believe that it's a useful input method, or they shouldn't. To make it pro-only is bad. A P3 display, sure, that qualifies. But why, for instance, is there no ProMotion on the MacBook Pro?
I don't know, I mean the MacBook Pro is hugely popular. I think what it offers is simple: higher-TDP processors in exchange for a little bit more thickness and weight, and the option of a larger display and a discrete GPU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Yup.

(The 27-inch iMac starts at $1799, buuuuuuut.

The iMac Pro starts at 32 GB memory and a 1 TB SSD. At that point, the iMac is already $2899.

Add a configuration that has a Vega GPU so it's somewhat more comparable, and you're at $3649. Add an 8-core CPU, and you're at $4049.

And yet — that's still $950 more! Which buys you a CPU that's actually worse much of the time, a better GPU, and 10 Gig Ethernet, and… that's about it.)
I think there's a good chance that, if they replace the current iMac Pro with a new cheaper line (say, starting at $2999), the base SSD will shrink. MacBook Pros and even the Mac Pro all start with far smaller SSDs and that's where Apple goes for the upsell. The 1 TB SSD feels like something Apple included to justify the $4999 price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Like, remember how cool the iMac G4 was?
I adore the iMac G4, but honestly I feel like the time for that has past, because there just isn't enough guts in the regular iMac to need a base at all. I mean, what would the base even be nowadays, the size of a Mac mini? (That's not unlike the Surface Studio...) I think a "sunflower" design would look top-heavy with modern display sizes. I guess they could build the computing guts into the keyboard, and have it be like a laptop with a giant articulating display?

I hated the iMac G5 when it first came out, and regardless of how Phil Schiller tried to spin it as an improvement, it was clearly a compromise to accommodate the G5. And it was amusing, watching Apple go back on all the "mounting the drives vertically would destroy their performance!" claims that they had when they introduced the iMac G4.

But now the iMac doesn't have drives, or at least the next one won't. No optical drive, no hard drive — just some SSD chips on the board. The entire Mac is just the logic board, now. And it just makes sense to mount that logic board behind the screen, in one floating unit. And the screens are so big now, you can taper the edges so it feels even thinner than the old iMac G4 screen. So I think that, long-term, moving to the current "where did the computer go?" design was the right call, even if they did it too soon with the chunky two-inch thick iMac G5.

If they gave it Apple Pencil support, sure, make it fold downwards (like the Surface Studio), and put the guts in a weighted base so that it doesn't tip over. But without that, I think the current foot is probably the way to go.

Maybe that's a way they can differentiate the iMac and iMac Pro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
But they might like selling 100,000 a quarter at $2999 more than selling 20,000 a quarter at $4999.
That's what I'm thinking. I think they could get a lot more people to make the jump up if it wasn't such a leap.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
  quote
kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-08-09, 12:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
But they might like selling 100,000 a quarter at $2999 more than selling 20,000 a quarter at $4999.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
That's what I'm thinking. I think they could get a lot more people to make the jump up if it wasn't such a leap.
We would probably sell 2-4 per month if the pricing started there. Even if base storage was 256GB and RAM was 16GB (Like the 15" MacBook Pro). The other things (RAM, GPU, cores, and storage) would be great up-sells. People would buy another 256GB of storage, or another 2 cores, or whatever, if they could get the entire thing inside of $4999. Otherwise, the dumb things really only make sense on YouTube reviews.

Who let the creeper in?
  quote
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2019-08-09, 12:31

We don’t know what Apple is paying Intel for their CPUs, but for everyone else, Intel charges a pretty big premium for Xeon-branded CPUs for features like ECC memory that I’m honestly not sure most iMac Pro customers would miss, if it meant a cheaper starting price.

Apple could switch to Cascade Lake-X and actually bump up the base iMac Pro to 10 cores while potentially lowering the price. That would be a pretty killer combination, I think.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
  quote
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2019-08-09, 17:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
We would probably sell 2-4 per month if the pricing started there. Even if base storage was 256GB and RAM was 16GB (Like the 15" MacBook Pro). The other things (RAM, GPU, cores, and storage) would be great up-sells. People would buy another 256GB of storage, or another 2 cores, or whatever, if they could get the entire thing inside of $4999. Otherwise, the dumb things really only make sense on YouTube reviews.
Apple could even spin it as "the most configurable iMac ever." Maybe even the most configurable Mac ever (direct from Apple)?

5 CPU options (10, 12, 14, 16, 18-core Intel Core i9 X-Series/Extreme)
5 SSD options (256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, 4 TB)
5 RAM options (16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB)
New GPU options (although they'll probably still be Vegas...)

People who (think they) need the 18-core 4TB monster could still configure it, but people who didn't wouldn't be left in that gulf between iMac and iMac Pro. And a lot more people would be like "well, for $500 more, I could get the Pro..."

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
  quote
kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-08-09, 23:01

Yep. Exactly. It is better to start with an inexpensive option suitable for most needs, and then offer a ton of options that would permit Mister Amazing Professional Needs It All to configure the computer best suited to impressing that long-legged girl that works down the hall.

Who let the creeper in?
  quote
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