New Mac Pro in 2019


#1

While I’m a bit disappointed this this won’t arrive sooner, I think Apple deserves some credit for being up front about the timeline. There’s some heartening information in this article for those of us left on the Mac platform; they seem to be quite focused on getting this right. Time will tell of course. I’ve been hanging on to my 2013 Mac Pro trash can for too long; I’m not sure of this makes my current purchasing dilemma any easier but at least I don’t have to worry about them dropping a new Mac Pro two days after I buy an iMac Pro or switch to PC.

New Mac Pro in 2019


#2

I saw this, too. They formed a team to talk about pro user needs and meet directly with people doing pro work to make sure they “get it right”. Seems great, until one realizes that Apple already got it right with the Mac Pro tower.

I firmly believe Apple is over engineering this machine and will make something needlessly complex and needlessly “innovative.”

Just make a dang tower, Apple.


#3

I don’t have the power, but I’m trying to mentally project this post to the hardware forum.


#4

You are right of course; my apologies for the off topic post. I see so much of this sort of thing here that I didn’t really think about it!


#5

Agree with the general sentiment. This doesn’t need to be a difficult product… this doesn’t need 3+ years of product development. Just take the cheesegrater, drill a different pattern on the front to make it look new, take a motherboard design and sell it as the new mac pro. Even when apple finish the product, its still just going to be an atx-ish board that takes standard cpus, standard gpus, standard sata/m.2 drives, standard memory sticks, usb a and c ports.


#6

I have a somewhat different outlook on this. The easy way out for them would certainly be just an updated version of the “cheese grater” Mac Pro, and I’d probably buy one if that’s what they came up with. But I’d welcome some innovation in the pro space beyond what’s already available. Otherwise it’s just an expensive PC that will likely always be somewhat behind the performance curve. I’m hopeful that their examination of creative workflows might yield something truly innovative that makes the inevitable high price worth it.


#7

I kinda agree, but wonder if they might explore with using their proprietary chips–which are in fact pretty impressive. Perhaps the system has Intel + some of Apple’s own silicon…or they switch to AMD? Or perhaps they utilize some other hardware innovation. I’ve got to think the delay is more than just case or cooling design.

I can’t imagine jumping back into Mac desktops in any case.


#8

But what innovation are you expecting? The only cpu choice is amd threadripper or intel i7/9/xeon, theres simple no other cpu that would be worth considering, so it would be a regular cpu.

If they do something new with the gpu then it will be the trashcan all over again, proprietary gpu format which never sees an update from start to finish. I just double checked, they still ship this thing with a D500 3GB graphics card, that is an insulting slap in the face.

Memory will be standard DIMMs or soldered on, no other format gives any advantage.

Mark my words, there will be absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about this machine (in a good way). The most innovative possible technology would be if they are the first to market with an optane based system where there is no system memory, just a single optane module which serves as both the memory and the ssd. But even then that won’t be some apple-only uber technology, it will be on every motherboard in the coming years. In fact, I’d probably take a punt that this is the main thing delaying the new machine.


#9

What am I expecting? I’m only speculating that they might use an additional dedicated chip…perhaps to speed up Metal. iPhones and iPads currently have by far the fastest mobile processors. Those ARM chips are pretty nifty.

Rumors this week swirl that Apple will jettison Intel in favor of it’s own chips:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/tiriasresearch/2018/04/04/apple-rumored-to-be-replacing-intel-with-its-own-chips/#a4d22a571ad2

If Apple found a way to bundle enough of those chips together…or move to a desktop appropriate architecture…that could be coming in a variety of products.
Consider Nvidia had basic processing…then they added Cuda cores. Then they added to the GPU Tensor Core for AI…and now RT Raycasting. Maybe Apple borrows a page of that script.

Maybe the MacPro has traditional CPU + one of their A-series chips so the MacPro could run both Mac and iOS apps.

I’m just spit-balling here.


#10

Right now a whole bunch of CPU companies are trying to take Intel’s place as “The Mother of All CPU Manufacturers”.

Windows 10 will probably soon run pretty well on ARM, Qualcom and possibly a bunch of other CPUs.

Apple will probably also try to de-Intel and de-AMD its Macs and come to some big IP agreement with Japanese Softbank - who own ARM - or someone similar to roll their own custom-architecture CPUs from them.

What I personally predict will happen is that Intel will come out of the innovation-coma its been in the last couple of years, and eventually hit back with much faster CPUs than its current Core and Xeon lineup.

Apple has a lot of cash to burn as a company right now, but I have not seen 1 significant R&D innovation coming from them in the past 10 years that impressed me in the slightest.

So anyone hoping for some kind of ooh-aah-so-fast-and-by-Apple “Wonder Desktop CPU” - that’s probably not gonna happen anytime soon.

Maybe 3 - 4 years from now Apple will have something like that - simply by throwing 10,000 engineers at it at the same time.

But Apple is far more Stylish Luxury Brand than Successful Tech Innovator or R&D Heavyweight.

But they do have the money to get dozens of smaller contractors to do R&D for them and then slap an Apple logo on whatever is built.

So Apple may deliver simply by burning a lot of cash for the next 3 - 4 years.


#11

We all know Apple does whatever it wants as long as it prints money. When they do buy companies they do it stealth fashion. I could, in theory see them put some trippy tech in a Mac Pro and price the thing to the hilt.

…If they are charging $5-10k for an iMacPro…what might they charge for a Mac Pro if it had …

-Expandable architecture
-The ability to run OS + iOS
-Extreme Metal (new-fangled hardware + software combo) for VR and ultra-acceleration of everything from Photoshop to 3d

Apple Metal API has finally matured into something respectable. It’s an OpenGl replacement and can provide GPU acceleration for all kinds of things.

They’d have a dream machine for upper class content creators…and for the first time…the finest gaming/VR machine in the world…for folks who have money to burn.

They could buy the companies/tech to do it easily…if they wanted to. When it comes to content creation Apple has been losing its grip. They were once the giant. Will the Empire Strike Back?


#12

They don’t even have to buy companies to do this. Often, dozens of smaller outside tech contractors can do work for a larger company, without getting any official credit or mention at all.

You’d just see an Apple branded product.

Also, there’s thousands of computer graphics and electronics researchers with PhDs on the market who will work for Microsoft Research one day, then say Disney Research another, and then Apple Research another.

Based on the project type and the resumes needed, Apple can just employ a few hundred of these researchers for 2 - 3 years until it gets the tech it wants.

Again, you just see an Apple branded product at the end. There is never a credit list of “who designed the tech” that you get when you buy the product.

The researchers employed do their work, then collect their money and stock options, and walk away uncredited, or put a little “Worked for Apple from 2016 - 2018” entry on their resume.

Don’t get fooled into thinking that when something appears under a certain brand, the people who did the R&D work for the product are necessarily full-time employees of that company.

Often times its outside contractors and researchers who come in, do some work, and then get paid and leave to do similar work for another company that needs it.


#13

I was Mac user since the early 1990’s as my profession was Graphic Designer for print back then.
I foolishly clung to the Mac platform when I migrated to 3D/CG as I was a die hard mac Fanboi based on its dominance of erstwhile profession.
And its support from Maxon.

When a company becomes more valuable than
the pseudo soveriegn Nation, Exxon Mobile,
merely selling phones to consumer lay people,
I can certainly understand the change in its market priorities.

As a person focused on character animation & VFX ,
I could not imagine going back to exclusive mac usage no Matter what new hardware they may offer.


#14

As a Pro you have to plan your business and your hardware inventions. Therefore a few years ago I said “Goodbye Apple and Hello Hewlett Packard”.
I am not interested in so called “rumors” about an overpriced pro-machine maybe or maybe not coming in an unknown future anymore… Its just boring.
If you come from Mac then HP Z-Workstations are a perfect alternative for doing 3D and Compositing. And as Render Clients and for Office and Photoshop I still can use my good old Mac Pro Towers… :slight_smile:
Marc


#15

• There’s no chance the main CPU on this thing will be anything but Intel. This whole move to Apple proprietary CPUs will take 5+ years and they’re just starting to lay the foundations now. OS, software… everything has to change to make that work. Not to mention the minor task of releasing those Apple CPUs in a series of real consumer Macs (first) and proving that they hold up under general long-term use. They haven’t even built a prorotype yet. ; ) All Macs may eventually run on Apple CPUs, but that won’t happen anytime soon.

• The #1 danger with this machine and their stated approach is if the think “Pros are people who use Apple Final Cut Pro and Logic and Adobe Photoshop — let’s go talk to them” and once again leave 3D-centric apps and workflows out of the main feedback loop. Hopefully they’re not doing that. I’m giving benefit of the doubt they’re not that stupid this time.

• Credit to Apple for providing a substantive update on what they’re doing and when. THAT… is progress. By itself. A little communication goes a long way in situations like this.


#16

Read the article on the Pro Workflow Team building the new Mac Pro. It suggests they’re mindful of that issue and are testing a wide range of pro software.
https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/05/apples-2019-imac-pro-will-be-shaped-by-workflows/

“We’ve been focusing on visual effects and video editing and 3D animation and music production, as well,” says Ternus. “And we’ve brought in some pretty incredible talent, really masters of their craft. And so they’re now sitting and building out workflows internally with real content and really looking for what are the bottlenecks. What are the pain points. How can we improve things. And then we take this information where we find it and we go into our architecture team and our performance architects and really drill down and figure out where is the bottleneck. Is it the OS, is it in the drivers, is it in the application, is it in the silicon, and then run it to ground to get it fixed.”


#17

Apple is most definitely going to be using their own chips in their computers…and beginning pretty soon. That’s been all over the media. I agree that their ‘pro products’ will likely continue to feature an Intel CPU…but I’ll stick w/my hunch that they might ship Intel Plus ‘x’.


#18

Way back, Apple claimed that their Motorola CPUs were 15% faster than a Pentium CPU based on 1 Photoshop benchmark, and went on to advertise newer PowerPC CPUs as “Supercomputers” or somesuch on their stylish website. :banghead:

Macs are bog-ordinary Intel PCs running a different OS. They way Apple is going, they are never going to deliver a Pro machine that is even an inch faster than a powerful PC.

But they are - once again - going to deliver a Pro machine that is way more expensive than an equivalent PC Workstation because it has a logo of an Apple with a bite taken out of it on its casing.

This comes from the geniuses who claimed back in the day that a round 1 button mouse is an innovation. :banghead:

And the geniuses who claimed that having stylus input to go with a touchscreen tablet or phone is a bad idea. :banghead:

And the geniuses who never managed to get Quicktime player running at acceptable speed on Windows PCs.:banghead:

And the geniuses who felt that people want smaller touchscreen phones when Samsung was selling craploads of larger phablet type phones. :banghead:

There is one thing Apple has done right in the last 2 decades though - their ProRes professional video CODEC is decent when paired with a realtime encoder chip.


#19

Not the main CPU. They will start using their own custom “enclave” chips similar to what they did with iMac Pro, but that’s not what I’m referring to.

I’m talking about replacing the main Intel CPU for their Macs. That’s not happening for 3 years at a minimum. For starters, they don’t have a finished CPU design or fabrication facility (theirs or third party) capable of manufacturing it yet. Consider the fact that if they had BOTH of those things TODAY, it would probably take a year+ just for finished product to start rolling off the line at a high volume. Fabricating CPUs that meet all quality standard is hard enough, doing it in high volume, for a first-time entrant in the market is really tough.

Add to that the OS still has to go through a major conversion, and app devs need both that converted OS AND hardware running the non-existent CPUs in order to update their own apps (which will take a long time in many cases).

I don’t doubt it will happen, only that it will happen anytime soon. There’s way too much groundwork yet to be laid to even be talking about it. This switch would be as big or bigger than the one going from PPC to Intel back in the day. It’s going to take a major effort, even from a company as resourceful as Apple. Moreover, if Intel decides they want to cut Apple a better deal on their chips and/or improves their own pace of updates, this whole concept of Apple CPUs might go away. Apple hasn’t written anything in stone.


#20

Good stuff. Thanks for posting that.