This is (somewhat) the Mac Pro we were looking for
2019-07-02 14:40:44

After two years of waiting to see what Apple's apology of a Mac Pro would look like, we want to say - apology (mostly) accepted. We are pleasantly surprised that Apple actually delivered most of the machine that we asked for, and what's missing isn't a deal killer.

We published our Mac Pro Wish-List back in June 2017. While we didn't get everything that was on our list - we like what we see.

All in all it appears that Apple was actually listening to their customers, albeit a little late. But this wouldn't be the Waxy Apple if we didn't have a few nits with a product.

We've already mentioned the lack of two processors and the use the W series. We wish that Apple had included support for SATA drives out of the box - but again, at least the ports are there.

The ports that Apple includes can only be described as last minute thinking. The Ethernet ports are on the bottom rear of the unit and seem to be part of the power supply module. <headscratch> What's even stranger is the fact the the USB and Thunderbolt ports are on an I/O card that takes up one of the PCI slots. Ethernet part of the power supply, USB on an IO card. Makes Apple-sense to us. And let's not forget the USB / Thunderbolt ports that have traditionally been on the front of the Mac Pro. Those are now on the top. Yup, the top. Guess some of Jony is still left at Apple and they just couldn't come up with a way to put them on the front without loosing 'the look'.

It's only 0.7Kg lighter than the previous Mac Pro (not the trashcan). Lighter would have been good, but the new design does seem to be a little more hand-friendly with the rounded tubes to lift. Our nit would be with the wheels. These are extra. How much extra? Apple's not saying. For $6000 USD we would expect the wheels to be included. The fact that they aren't and Apple won't say how much they are leads us to believe that they are at least $50 per wheel with $100 per wheel not being out of Apple's ask.

Apple received an audible 'booing' from attendees when they announced that the stand for the new monitor was going to run $1000 USD. Yup, the 'stand'. Doesn't look gold plated, but must be. Looks just like a smaller redesigned version of the iMac G4 neck. If the monitor stand costs $1000, Apple must have been taking a loss on every iMac G4 they sold. Had Apple announced the wheels were $399 or $499 there would have been a riot in the auditorium. Better to slip that price on the website in a few months after Tim / Phil and others are safely at home and people may be more accepting of the price.

The Pro Display XDR

Apple doesn't believe in delivering anything that's half-arsed or not up to their quality standards. The XDR follows this logic. Previous Apple displays have always been beautiful and of higher quality than most everyone. Apple could have repeated this same philosophy with the XDR but chose to go one better (or worse). They have created a reference quality monitor at an affordable <cough> price. Did they do the right thing. They could have come up with two monitors; the XDR and something less. The XDR would certainly have still sold with professionals and even those people that just want a reference monitor without spending tens of thousands. The other monitor wouldn't have had all the bells and whistles and not been a reference quality monitor, but 1/3 to 1/2 the price. Give that Apple wants $1000 USD for the stand (see above) a $2000 - $3000 Apple monitor would have gone over very well. The few XDR sales they would loose would be made up for and the XDR still has a niche that wouldn't go away.

This can be exampled with the original 20", 23" and 30" Cinema Displays that Apple came out with almost 15 years ago. The 30" was nice and professionals or those needing a lot of real estate bought it, but it wasn't A) the biggest seller and B) the only Apple option. The 23" was the middle ground and the 20" was for the budget conscious.

Companies that can make a really nice VESA stand for the XDR are going to make a killing even if they charge half of what Apple wants.

All of that said, and even with the complaints that we have on what they left out or did strictly from a design standpoint, we like the new 2019 Mac Pro. Our impromptu local bar poll shows plenty of people that think that its ugly, with the 2013 being 'cool' and reminiscent of the Mac Cube. To that we say - do you want something that you think is ugly and useable or 'cool' and unuseable?

Goodbye Trashcan, Hello Mac Pro - we've missed you.