All future computing power in the cloud? {Groan} let's hope not

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pertusis1, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. pertusis1 macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2010
    Like many of you who surf these forums, I am looking forward with great anticipation to the next 'Mac Pro', or whatever solution Timmy has in mind for professionals. Of course, I am not a professional, but I've had a bunch of Mac towers, and they beat the iMacs hands down.

    My first PowerMac was a beige G3, then a blue G3, then a G4 400, then a dual G4 867 (mirror doors, which I still have and runs well), then a G5 2 GHz (still useful as a space heater in a pinch). Every single one of them lasted forever.

    I haven't gotten an intel Mac Pro yet because around the time of the G5, I got married, got poor, had a bunch of kids, and never got around to another dream machine. But... around late 2010, I started thinking that the next real upgrade, I'd go ahead and buy a Mac Pro. Well, here I am 2 1/2 years later, still waiting...

    Here's the problem. I started thinking about what Apple's competitors are doing, and about how much money they're putting into cloud computing. Then I started thinking about how Timmy's next great idea could be to come out with 'Cloud Pro' instead of a Mac Pro. A heavy knot formed in my stomach as I imagined them imitating 'Adobe cloud', where all of the power is in the cloud. This would be fine for someone who lives in a city with lightning fast internet, but I'm in the sticks. This would be a killer. Ah well, let's hope not...
  2. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    I really think Steve had the next Mac Pro planned out for Apple before he left us. I expect it to be faster, have faster RAM, cheaper SSD options, better GPUs available, and mayyybe a redesigned chassis. I can see there being 4, possibly 6, 8, 12, and 16 core variants. Worth the wait!
  3. PowerPCMacMan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    PowerPC land
    Lets hope it will be as expandable as our current Mac Pros.. but who knows what that "wonderful" will be that Tim is promising us.

  4. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    If it ends up marking the end of the Mac Pro as we know it, you'll still be able to pick up a 2010 gen and upgrade to 2x 3.33GHz or 3.46GHz which is still very good.
  5. PowerPCMacMan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    PowerPC land
    Already have one.. Well, it was a 2009, but bought the 2010 boards in December of 2011 and the 6-core w3680 back in February 2012.. So I am one above ya :)

  6. G4DP macrumors 65816

    Mar 28, 2007
    Steve had it planned? Get real, old man Job's had far more important things on his mind in the year running up to his passing. Do you really think with everything he was going through he had an idea of more than 12 months down the road?

    If they had anything worth releasing it would be out already. At most we'll see a 20% boost in speed from the 2010 models.

    What you expect? That's common sense surely? Apart from the core options.

    The mini was probably the last thing Job's had any input over what so ever - if it went that far after his death. Apple is now running on the ideas of a bean counter and a designer. Something that does not make good reading.

    Half of the reason for Apples fall in value is because people are beginning think the magical run is over, they are worried that there is nothing left in the tank.
  7. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    It was said many times that Jobs left a 5 year plan for the company.
  8. xVeinx macrumors 6502

    Oct 9, 2006
    There are a lot of nightmarish things that Apple can do to their hardware and software, and apart from leaving out cd-rom drives and adding their own maps application they haven't done all that badly ;). I'm going to guess that it will be a powerful and well-designed machine. There isn't anything to suggest that Apple would attempt such a thing, especially since they don't have the infrastructure anyway. So, sit back, relax, it was just a bad dream :D
  9. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    That was nothing more than a ridiculous rumor. Jobs was also quoted on statements that completely contradicted such a plan, and there really isn't a way to maintain concrete plans that far out with tech products, given the rapid changes.
  10. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007
    Plenty of time for Tim to phase out the Mac Pro entirely. :eek:
  11. deconstruct60, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Far more likely is that Jobs had " Steve'd " the Mac Pro before leaving the CEO position. The most likely reason there is no new design for a Mac Pro is that Apple simply was not working on it at all. There is little to no likelihood at all that some "other Apple exec" killed off a product without Jobs approval while he was running the show. That was primarily his job when he was running the show.

    If only started doing a new Mac Pro in very late 2011 or early 2012 it probably would take till some time in 2013 to get something out the door.

    It is extremely unlikely that the Mac Pro strategy has been under a single plan for the last 2-3 years and that this long extensive delay was a planned for result. Sticking with almost 3 year old video cards on the last bump is extremely indicative that Apple is currently in stopgap mode. There is no rational, 2 years in advance plan that would do that.

    The jihad against ODDs and the "Thunderbolt everywhere" edict likely will show up in the upcoming design but those aren't specifically aimed at the Mac Pro.


    5 year plans are not held constant for 5 years. Apple adapts the plans as necessary and for conditions and availability of new technology. They don't start over from scratch every year but they certainly aren't marching to fixed in stone orders until year 3.5 or so until come up with another fixed-in-stone plan.
  12. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    "Cloud computing" isn't new. In fact in the enterprise sector the basic foundtaion has been around for decades. Servers on some network providing high value services. What large corporation does not have that?
    Lots of VM running on big iron? Errrr, IBM mainframes were doing that in the last century. Canonical primary storage on a network? New radical concept? No.

    So the notion that somehow a workstation is diminished because several services are moved to being on a wire coming out of the back of the box really doesn't hold alot of water.

    Eh? Adobe's Creative Cloud is largely grounded on Applications download to the computer. The group/wide-area file sharing is on a network but what is the substantive difference between that and NFS/AFS shared store? [ Besides the control freak of "it is one my equipment". ]

    Purely local versus WAN file sharing is merely an IT assignment of who is doing the work. Is it outsourced and aggregated or is it in-sourced and a value added skill set ? None of that is materially makes a large difference in the Mac Pro's design if interacting with either one.
  13. Tesselator, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008

    Cloud is a planned technology (planned since the 80's) to gently ween us off of independent closed storage and eventually to ween us off of powerful locally deployed installment based processing. The goal is and it likely will be achieved, for us all to rent processor time over the net thereby vastly reducing our need for power processors. Globalists, futurists, industry leaders, and golden boy engineers have all told us this was the plan - from way back when... And it's not changed over the years (and it's only been 30 years so far - really not long).

    Welp, this might come as a surprise if you haven't been paying attention but the infrastructure isn't in place yet for this to happen in a way that would negate the need or desire for "The Next MacPro" Babubummm... Give it another ten or twenty years however when it becomes illegal to live in the countryside and everyone is forced into the cities... and/or when faster more efficient global communication are naturalized to every location on the planet - including in the deepest forests and on the highest mountain tops. We're almost there now. I get 4G from the tip top of Mount Fuji and there are almost no dead spot anywhere on the slopes of it - which are all heavily forested expanses.

    When these things (or things like these) become more of a reality - when communications are such that we can get 200MB/s I/O anywhere on the surface of the planet... Then, that is when we will start seeing "Pro cloud boxes" appear. And although I think it will be more of a transition than a sudden replacement technology, we still have quite a ways to go.

    It's just too early. If Apple or anyone were to suddenly offer such a platform in the next year or so it would likely spell financial failure and potential disaster for them. So you ain't gotta worry about that (assuming I understood your concerns correctly). OTOH, part of the transition may indeed include preventively high costs and/or insufficient supplies - or even legislation which makes it difficult to procure individual ownership of high-spec systems.

    The bottom line is that if there is to be another MacPro (and I believe there will be) it will be a powerful self-contained "Workstation" not dissimilar to the MacPro5,1 and likely on par with offerings from Dell, HP, IBM, and so on...
  14. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007
    If nothing else, the pricing for something like a "workstation in the cloud" isn't really something that could have a flat pricing scheme. I can't really see Apple doing it, but I've been wrong before.
  15. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    No chance.

    Adobe Cloud also doesn't have apps in the cloud. It's a file store, just like iDisk was. I have Adobe Cloud and all my apps are still local apps. The only thing that is in the cloud are (optionally) my documents.
  16. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    I think that "cloud" services are just beginning to gain momentum with the general public.

    Corporations have been doing it for years (dumb terminals that submit jobs to faster hardware).

    At the moment, most services are simply always-on, always-accessible storage (iTunes Match for instance). You're still doing the 'processing' on your local machine.

    Some industries are beginning to offer niche services to their customers (such as render farms for 3D animation). In this case, you're just doing the setup and configuration on your local machine and letting their service do the 'processing.'

    Something that's happened is that the consumer hardware has caught up to the professional hardware in many levels. The CPU ghz race has hit a wall. Instead the focus is on efficiency and scalability rather than raw speed.

    What most consumers require can be met with their local hardware. They don't need more than their 'dumb terminal' is capable of.

    I think the concept of "really computing power" has changed. I think the power will now be in scalability. You won't need a faster cpu nearly as much as you will need more cpus. And "more" is one thing the cloud can offer.
  17. Lil Chillbil macrumors 65816

    Lil Chillbil

    Jan 30, 2012
    I really truly believe that Steve had this mac pro planned all along. And it will most likely have either no disk drive or dual slot disk drives because as we all know is that Steve once said "What the **** is this **** " when he saw that the original imac had a tray drive
  18. KaraH macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2012
    Apart from the 2012 iMac that is. Great for consumers who like the 'thin' look, a horror show for people who actually use computers as, y'know, computers.

    Way to go apple, you reminded me why I like the pre iStuff machines on my desk, thanks. Sure, sell all of the iMacs you can to people that just want to read the news and play games (and drive up the cost of my apple stock :) ). How about a computer for the rest of us (now where have I heard that phrase) to use?
  19. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    I think part of it is just that there are going to have to be changes in the Mac Pro. Sure, we need a computer for the "rest of us", but do the rest of us really need 128 gigs of RAM? There might be a few people who disagree with me on that, but the vast majority of us could easily get by for now on 16 gigs of RAM. My Mac Pro still has 8 gigs and I haven't had anything that's made me think of upgrading. In that light, a machine with 8 RAM slots might be a bit overkill. The Mac Pro has really become a Mac Extreme Pro. It's really aimed at a very select audience who would need the capacity for 128 gigs of RAM and other similar capabilities.

    The Mac Pro reminds me of the Power Mac 9600. The Power Mac 9600 was a superbly expandable machines with tons of options, but just too expensive and more than most people needed. It was replaced with the Power Mac G3. Still a reasonable machine, faster, but with less upgrade options at a cheaper price point. The G3 ended up being much more successful because Apple cut out capabilities (like the 12 RAM slots and 6 PCI slots of the 9600) that few people used, and built a better machine for the pro masses.

    I think the next Mac Pro will very likely see things cut. There will be complaining (as people complained when the G3 shipped without dual processors or tons of RAM slots), but Apple will make the machine cheaper and it will attract a wider audience.
  20. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    DIMMs slots (or RAM slots in pre DIMM era) are just as much, if not more so, about using larger quantities of less expensive RAM than they are for top end capacity. The cheapest path to 16GB of memory during the transition to new memory densities would be eight 2GB DIMMs rather than four 4GB ones. As 4GB DIMMs became most affordable they would be path to 32GB.

    But yes over time the chips used on DIMMs get denser and don't need as many DIMM slots to get to larger than average memory capacities. Go to max capacity in the same year a new Mac Pro comes out is not as affordable, but 3+ years later it tends to be.

    There is a speed upside to using more DIMMs when doing more concurrent accesses to memory. If can talk to 8 DIMMs at the same time then bandwidth transfer is much higher than if using one channel to talk to all 8 one at a time.

    But yes if primarily looking to run something structured like Mac Paint faster on sheepshaver than the Mac Pro is largely overkill.

    But the Mac Pro already has the similar framework of reductions done to the G3. They could take away another slot or at least 8 PCI-e lanes for an embedded GPU but unless dumping the GPU PCI-e card from the default configurations there are only 3 slots left. If not making 10GbE standard, the decade old 1GbE standard connectivity is limiting for a decent number of folks.

    Thunderbolt is not the panacea alternative to x4-x8 PCI-e v3.0 slot capability. Apple trade 1-2 of the x4 slots for Thunderbolt connections but that's a "kool-aid drinking" mistake.

    Sure some things will get cut but that doesn't mean there aren't other things that should be swapped in. Trading 2-3 2.5" bays for a 5.25" bay wouldn't be a next reduction.

    Nor would trading analog input and output ports for 2 Thunderbolt ports.

    If they make it more affordable by limiting it to the same constraints of the iMac then it is doubtful it will be "as cheap". Sure Apple needs to make better use of the $2,000-2,400 gap between the Mac Pro and the iMac but beyond that the "wider audience" is limited. That's largely reshuffling the deck chairs; not a growth move.

    The Mac Pro would be on a far more positive track if it was about making what used to require a $10-20K workstation doable on a $4K workstation.
    Some workloads are going to transition back into the sub $1.5K product market but the opportunity isn't to chase those. It is to pull down some from above and to create new ones that weren't possible before. Gutting the Mac Pro isn't going to enable that.
  21. KaraH macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2012
    If they do cut down the MP hopefully they make smart choices about it. For example, maybe not have a cd drive stock but leave the bay -- you can do BTO, install a third party, or use an external. Use cases could be made for all of the slots and bays though so might as well leave them .... 4 bays do not cost them significantly more than 3.

    The one thing I do not want to see applied is the 'intelligence' that went into the sequester in the US: blindly cut without thinking if something is needed or not a priority. While there are things I would agree with losing if the price reduction was right I would not want them cutting something that makes a MP a MP for the save of saving the price of a soy latte. After all, what is the sense of making a marginally cheeper unit if it meets nobody's needs?
  22. goMac, Mar 2, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013

    goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    I thought about putting PCIe slots on the list of things Apple could possibly cut, but I'm not entirely sure about them cutting below 4 card slots, especially with double wide cards. RAM, optical drives, and 3.5" hard drives (in favor of 2.5") all seem like good candidates for cutting. Possibly also dual processors? I think the chances of Apple dropping dual processors are less though. More likely seems like introing a low end with an i7 maybe.

    All those things also nicely dovetail with getting a Mac Pro more rack friendly.

    (I also think compatibility with the new wave of PC EFI cards is on the list. Making it so Apple doesn't have to make special cards takes some of the development costs off the Mac Pro.)
  23. damir00 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2011
    If Apple chose to skip as large an upgrade as the one to E5 generation Xeons - and let's be blunt, that was a *choice*, not a necessity - it's a reasonable bet that the MP as we have known it is dead.

    There may be something called a "Mac Pro" in the future, but it seems quite unlikely it will resemble the tower we have come to know and love.
  24. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    Maybe, but Apple's Pro line in the PowerPC days was a competitor to the Pentium 4, not really the Xeon. I don't think Apple even mentioned the Xeon as a competitor until some point of the G5's lifespan. It would be a change from Apple's current market, but not their traditional market.

    I'm leaning toward Apple not dropping the Xeon though. I just mentioned the i7 as a possible entry level option.
  25. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Indeed. The idea of server and "dumb" terminals has been around commercially since around the 1960s. It is isn't some new and nefarious plan that was dreamed up in the 1980s. We are now starting to come full circle, but our networking is not quite up to the task. Moving to "cloud" based processing is probably something we will start to see in the near future on wide-scale. It will be a slow transition though. I think we will start seeing this technology employed in gaming. There are already services doing this, but it's not mature yet.

    I am always vaguely curious to listen to the doom and gloom about the Mac Pro on these forums. "It's all about the iToys" blah blah blah. People seem to forget that the reason why the iToys are successful is because of an ecosystem. An ecosystem of apps and content. If Apple releases Xcode that can run on Linux, or Windows, that will be a reason to start worrying. I don't believe that Apple is run by idiots and I am sure they have not forgotten that content needs to be created in order for it to be consumed on iDevices.

Share This Page