Mild-Mannered Canadian Fury

Doug Stephen is Politely Peeved

Thoughts On a 2013 Mac Pro Refresh

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 Ā«permalinkĀ»

In regards to David Pogue’s claims from my earlier post about the desktop lineups getting a proper refresh in 2013, Forbes has cited (printer-friendly link) an unnamed Apple spokesperson saying that the Mac Pro will be getting a proper refresh next year.

At this point, I’ve formed some suspicions as to why Apple has held off on moving the Mac Pro to the Sandy Bridge-E chipsets:

  1. They want to wait for the Ivy Bridge-E Xeon chips, currently slated for March - June 2013 so as to utilize native USB 3.0 support. Ivy Bridge is the first chipset that Intel has built USB 3.0 support in to; any machine providing USB 3.0 I/O up to this point has done so through an additional chipset or daughtercard of some sort.
  2. They still need to solve the Thunderbolt Video “problem” mentioned here. It’s a legitimate concern, especially considering that many Mac Pro users buy aftermarket cards either designed for Macs or that get reflashed. The GPU’s sold with a new Mac Pro can’t just roll out with MiniDisplay Port and call it a day; they also need to passthrough data. Apple needs to figure out a way to get these cards to play nice with full Thunderbolt controllers or get GPU makers to come up with pretty creative cards.
  3. They’re completely redesigning the computer from the ground up, and it’s about time. That said, this process is maybe taking quite a while. They probably don’t want to run in to another “Windtunnel G4” issue, so if they’re shrinking the Mac Pro’s physical size1, they need to make sure the thing can still handle it’s legendarily massive workloads while remaining cool and quiet.

Numbers 1 and 2 make the most sense to me, and they both play in to Number 3.

Also of note is how open Apple is being about timeframes on these updates. It’s uncharacteristically forward of Apple to come out and say “expect a product refresh some time around {x}”. I think this has a lot to do with wanting to foster at least a little good will amongst the pro market; people have made it astonishingly evident that they’re furious about the current state of affairs with the Mac Pro machine. Combine that with the fact that many popular and respected Apple writers have proclaimed the “death” of the Mac Pro2 to be nigh, and you could see how Apple would feel that maybe they need to run a little interference/damage control.

And if you’re looking for a tacit admission of the fact that Apple is in damage control mode, look no further than their takedown of the “New” label on the Mac Pro’s on their site.

  1. And why the hell wouldn’t they?

  2. As well as some less popular folks, like myself