MacPro is doomed

Not all of Apple’s new and upgraded products were even mentioned in Monday’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote. I was especially interested in Apple’s tower computer, the Mac Pro, which was both upgraded and killed at the same time.

The Mac Pro is Apple’s machine for media professionals. With up to 12 CPU cores, 64 gigs of RAM and eight terabytes of disk storage, it is a very powerful machine aimed at video editors, DNA sequencers, and anyone else who needs a supercomputer under their desk. And on Monday Apple upgraded the Mac Pro for the first time in two years, adding faster processors, better GPU options (it has, remember four PCI Express slots), and interesting SSD options. But what Apple didn’t upgrade was the Mac Pro’s USB ports to USB 3.0.

That told me the Mac Pro is doomed.

Product lines come and go all the time at computer companies, even at Apple. But this simple decision not to go to USB 3.0 shows that Apple has no further plans for the Mac Pro beyond this model. They didn’t rev the motherboard. And what makes that worth writing about is the Mac Pro is Apple’s only expandable product. There are no card slots, no extra drive bays, no GPU options on any other Apple products.

Apple has effectively killed its last conventional computer.

Taking away customer options, especially customer-installed options, will make Macs more reliable and easier to support. But what about the power users?

Apple will eventually have to explain to those folks how less is more and how this new world is even better for them. I think I know how Apple will do it.

When the Mac Pro dies for good Apple will replace it in the market with a combination of Thunderbolt-linked Mac Mini computing bricks backed up by rented cloud processing, all driven from an iMac or MacBook workstation.

I just wonder: when they’ll get around to telling us?

Reprinted with permission

Robert X. Cringely has worked in and around the PC business for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Forbes, Upside, Success, Worth, and many other magazines and newspapers. Most recently, Cringely was the host and writer of the Maryland Public Television documentary "The Tranformation Age: Surviving a Technology Revolution with Robert X. Cringely".

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