Does the Mac Pro have much of a future?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by VirtualRain, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #1
    Considering this report from Digitimes... I wonder how long Apple can sustain the Mac Pro product line?

    Edit: I love Fudzilla's sensational sub-head... "Dinosaurs watching a meteor shower"
     
  2. Brien macrumors 68020

    Brien

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    #2
    That article doesn't really have anything to do with the Mac Pro.
     
  3. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    And apple gaining about 35% growth in the video editing market at the expense of avid in the last year only,yeah,I would say Macpros are doomed.

    I SAY DOOOMED!
     
  4. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #4
    I think it's very relevant from the perspective that desktop demand is plumeting.


    Although the recent update to FCS3 is hardly a resounding endorsement that Apple is investing much in this area.
     
  5. Drumjim85 macrumors 68030

    Drumjim85

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    #5
    If apple wants to stay in ANY kind of pro market, it's going to always have to have some sort of tower computer. PCIe card slots are a big deal.
     
  6. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #6
    Do they? That is the question. iMovie and iPhoto appear to get much more attention than their pro apps.
     
  7. Infrared macrumors 68000

    Infrared

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    #7
    I'd wait until the economy picks up and then wonder :)

    And, yeah, cool sub-head!
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #8
    You'd really have to look at Apple's desktop sales -- which, as far as I know, haven't been doing much plummeting -- or at least look at sales within the niche of high power desktops. I mean lumping Apple's Mac Pro offerings in with the average desktop that's either a minimal cost corporate work unit -- where the goal is to drive a monitor and keyboard on Windows and MS Office with the lowest TCO -- or a typical consumer desktop at the average desktop selling price -- where again the goal is to provide the most computing power possible for $600 and this goal drives the component decisions is just not a realistic market analysis.
     
  9. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #9
    Yes. You don't just end profitable aspects of your company when you have shareholders.
     
  10. gibbz macrumors 68030

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    #10
    The Mac Pro is not really a driving force of Apple sales. It is decent for Apple in regards to margins. The people who use machines like the Mac Pro, photo/video editors, engineering, and numerical modelers (myself) will always have such a need. Heck, my research grant had no problem dropping $10K on a 2009 Mac Pro /Displays because it suited our needs. I bet Apple made a nice profit on that setup. The Mac Pro isn't going anywhere.
     
  11. AppleWorking macrumors regular

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    #11
    My opinion only...

    The MacPro isn't going anywhere and will surely be around as long as Apple exists, but the lack of interest by Apple to invest more than need be into the pro line will just as surely result in a lack of CPU upgrades to the MacPro until they feel embarrassed by their present offerings. So, when is the next MP speed bump happening? Don't hold your breath because IMO it will only happen out of necessity unlike the iMac or MBP lines. Unless of course MP sales go up or the economy changes...

    The good side of this is that all of us who own MP's will be at, or close to, the bleeding edge of Apple offerings for a longer period of time, although we won't be technology wise.

    The only other scenario I can think of is that Apple will keep their releases on the bleeding edge, but their premium charged will get even more absurd than it is now. :eek:
     
  12. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #12
    There is no way around the truth that Apple desktop and particular high value desktop has lost double digit sales in a difficult market environment. People who think that Mac Pro will be there forever are kidding themselves. Apple makes more money with online business today than from Mac Pros. They are increasing prices dramatically to maintain margin with falling demand. There can be only one way. An ever smaller niche with diminishing value for the customers. At one day in the future we will wake up and find that Apple cannot justify the development cost for the line and ditch it or sell it to a supplier.
     
  13. 2002cbr600f4i macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I think the pro won't go anywhere, but I also don't see Apple spending a lot of money and time in R&D on that given it's need to support industry standard cards and such. It doesn't give them a lot of options to "be stylish" or innovative. They're going to just use standard type parts, maybe have a cool case, and that's about it.

    They can be a lot more creative with the iMac and the Macbook line than the Pro allows for.

    All we'll see for the Pro is updates that come along because of newer chipsets + CPU technologies, there's just only so much you can do with a Tower....

    Now, I'd LOVE to see them come out with something more like the G4 Cube as a "mid tower" setup.... Like a 1/2 pro. 2 card slots, 2 HD slots, 1 optical Bay, 1 P only, 3/4 ram slots... And price it around the same as the 24" iMac.
     
  14. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #14
    Does anyone know for a fact that pro-apps are profitable? How much so? Given the relatively minor and infrequent releases, I'd say they are probably on the verge of unprofitability already. Who's to say that Shake's demise could not happen to other pro apps in the not so distant future?
     
  15. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

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    #15
    Maybe because they come with every Mac?
     
  16. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    #16
    Do you have any sales data or other salient data to back this up?  commands the bulk of the $1,000 plus computer market, which the Mac Pro fits firmly into. I don't think they are increasing prices to match falling demand, because they have, in the past, cut prices to stimulate demand. Nobody has released numbers about solely the Mac Pro in years, so we have little to judge by. It's worth pointing out that your logic could equally apply to the mac mini, which is a vastly different market. I don't see any evidence to substantiate that claim.

    I think 's still making tidy profit on mac pros, still selling plenty in what is in fact a very difficult business environment. I think the sales environment will bounce back and Mac Pro sales will increase. And as Macinposh pointed out, 30% market share in video editing is not small potatoes. Even if the last FCS release was lackluster. We also have no evidence to believe that the pro-apps are not unprofitable, being that Logic just got a fairly lively release. But even if the apps were not profitable, or broke even, the amount of hardware sales they drive justifies their existence easily. Shake had far more limited applications than FCS and Logic studio and is therefore a poor example (additionally, there is evidence that Motion was being designed to eventually replace it - Motion is the most recently designed pro-app and probably best able to leverage new technologies).

    R&D costs aren't sky-high for the machine either. What I predict is that they will continue to follow Intel's updates and road path fairly regularly, not as fast as other desktop manufacturers but at their own pace, and keeping up. Not industry-leading, but decent performing. That's they way they've been going in the Penryn and Nehalem revisions. We won't see huge custom performance increase stuff and limited appeal things like SLI or crossfire, but relatively current intel-based logic boards with  designs.

    I could be completely full of crap on this one, but this is what the recent evidence has pointed to.
     
  17. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Looking at the latest cost of a Mac Pro,I would say they are pricing them for folks with deep pockets. There is no doubt cloud computing is upon us and most, if not all, apps will be from apple's server farm, or microsofts, or googles multi billion dollar server farms for folks to log onto there servers, for a fee of course, to use applications. Heck, you can now have your photo's and video's processed online now. Why have a mac pro, personal use, when you won't need that horse power to chew on that data. The big computers won't go away, they will be around for those who can afford them. About the only way the makers can make money on them. I'll give it 5 years and we will see the change over. By then, the high speed internet needed to do this will be in place, and the servers from the big boys will be running full tilt.
     
  18. pooryou macrumors 65816

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    #18
    From professional users? Highly doubtful.
     
  19. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

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    #19
    For any of what you're talking about to happen, a 1 GB/s internet connection would be best, but America is lazy. Maybe it'll be here in ten years.
     
  20. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    #20
    So True!
     
  21. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    #21
    So True! ;)
     
  22. noushy macrumors regular

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    #22
    Mac Pro is here to stay

    The Mac Pro is not Apple's volume leader, it is Apple's technology leader. Whatever new high tech, demanding feature usually debuts on the pro models first. The exception was the Intel change, which first came with the iMac models. However, multi-core processors (more than 2 cores), high end graphics, and multiple monitor support is still reserved for the pro models. Realize that many people code, develop, edit, and just plain create on the pro models. That is what made Apple what it is today, the creative world. The notebooks don't hold a candle to the Mac Pro. The iMac is catching up, but no where near as stable. Point in fact, I have a 24 inch iMac, with all the bells and whistles, sitting on my desk at work. Periodically it freezes, and requires a hard reset, or restart. My Mac Pro, a brand new 2.93 Nehalem with more hardware than most people need (try 21tb of storage, 16gb ram, 8 cores of intel's latest and greatest and a nVidia GTX 285, currently the fastest graphics in the mac land) and it still runs day in and day out. The fact that it runs server based memory, server processors, and server quality hardware has a big role in the reliability of these machines. It is like Apple's Flagship model, it then trickles down to the consumer grade equipment. We are still waiting for a quad core iMac (coming), or a notebook (supposedly coming) or faster graphics than the 8600/9600 based chips.

    Peace,
    Noushy
     
  23. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #23
    The infrastructure needed is expensive, and ISP's are slow in upgrading. Even the large ones, such as AT&T. Their network priority is set up in tiers (3 to be exact), and aren't investing enough capitol to do it that fast (even in the highest priority, they want to increase band in "stages", so they can parallel up equipement as they add it). :( So it will be possible at different times, depending on location (some of the exchanges' equipment is so old, they need to be gutted and upgraded from scratch, as it's capacity is maxed already). ;) They're moving in that direction, but it's being prolonged.
     
  24. Dreamail macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Define 'Future'!

    As has been mused in other threads over the last few months, it seems that Apple is only a lackluster supporter of the Mac Pro.

    Recent price hikes are only partially explained by higher component costs.
    What is more likely is that Apple internally demands a certain margin on the product and with falling sales, prices need to be raised if margins are to be maintained.

    It's obvious that the global trend in computing is towards laptops - away from desktops. Last year for the first time sales numbers of laptops surpassed desktops, and the trend is growing.
    Although this seems to apply to lower end desktops more.

    There will always be a demand for high-end workstations.
    In that respect Apple has a point when they stick to ultra-high (server) components in the Mac Pro and not bother with a middle-of-the-road 'xMac', whose days would be numbered anyway, in favor of higher-end laptops.

    Also consider that the mere existence of a Mac Pro keeps Mac clones at bay. At least to a much higher degree than if no desktop Mac would exist which would open a big niche to clone makers.
    This alone guarantees the existence of a Mac Pro for some time. Even if only nominally Apple needs to have some competing product.


    Combining these facts:
    a) A market for workstation desktops with high-end components like the Mac Pro will still exist for some time (it's mostly low-end desktops that suffer greatly currently),
    b) Apple needs to offer a higher end desktop machine to not give clone makers an easy foot in the door and incentive to build clones,
    c) With recent price hikes, margins on Mac Pros should be sufficiently high, even with lower sales numbers.

    But also since Apple is not making huge profits with Mac Pro sales (in total numbers), these are not a key market segment anymore.
    Not nearly as much as in the days of PowerPC Macs. Those days are over.


    Summary

    High-end Mac Pros (or equivalent) will be around for years to come.
    But expect them to get 'step child' treatment with rare updates and no real 'wow' features - until after everyone else got them.

    If you need a fast, solid Mac workstation, get a Mac Pro. That is a 'Future' they will have.
    If you want a cutting-edge machine that offers the lastest and greatest features, shop elsewhere. The Mac Pro will not have that kind of 'Future'.
     
  25. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #25
    When you go and really look at component prices, that alone certainly doesn't justify the current pricing structure. High margins and smaller sales however, would seem to make far more sense.

    As power on laptops has closed the gap on low end desktops, this trend has taken off. Higher end desktops will take longer, and even then, still remain a niche market as well I think. Particularly for gamers, unless laptops start showing up with extreme graphics that can be upgraded. Given the power and cooling requirements of current high end graphics chips, and cost increases involved, not likely IMO.

    I think this is the case.

    Again, seems the most logical turn of events. :D
     

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