Has the time come for the mythical xMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mrxak, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. mrxak macrumors 68000

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    #1
    Okay, so the new Mac Pro hasn't been officially announced yet, we don't know about prices, configurations, or really much of anything substantial hardware-wise. We do know that the Mac Pro will come standard with two workstation-class GPUs, and a Xeon CPU, and on that basis-alone, I think it's fair to say that the new Mac Pro is aimed exclusively at true professional users needing a lot of number-crunching. In other words, it's a workstation, not a personal computer.

    In the past, prosumers and hobbyists have used low-end Mac Pros. They could use them for gaming, for heavier computing tasks, stuff that an iMac or miniMac couldn't serve them well on. It seems, with the new Mac Pro being decidedly high-end, that this market will have no where to go.

    I believe, in light of Apple bumping the Mac Pro up a notch towards high-end workstation, with no apparent low-end prosumer model, the time has finally come for the xMac, a headless Mac with desktop-class hardware and a bit of expandability (PCI slots for gaming graphics cards).

    The time has never been more right. Mac sales are continuing to rise, so Apple's market is expanding enough (possibly) for a new model to enter. With the Mac Pro clearly designed as a workstation, the iMac as an all-in-one, and the miniMac as a low-end box, I believe there would be limited cannibalization of any existing product line if they added a traditional tower. Then there is the growing Mac gaming segment. Without an xMac, the efforts of companies like Valve (and yes, even EA *shudder*) to move more aggressively into the platform would be left hanging without anywhere to go. All of the game developers, drawn into Apple's ecosystem and technologies with iOS, would have no real Mac to create high end games for.

    I think it's entirely possible that the new Mac Pro will allow for more low-end gaming- or prosumer-oriented configurations. I think it's also possible we'll see two announcements later this year, with a new product category introduced next to the new Mac Pro to take up room between the iMac and the new Mac Pro in the power spectrum. If ever Apple was going to do it, now's the time.
     
  2. RoastingPig macrumors 68000

    RoastingPig

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  3. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #3
    Nope.

    Mac sales may be rising, but desktop sales for the last 3 years have been stagnant at 4.6 million. I don't see how it is in Apple's benefit to offer such a system. It would just give Apple all the problems they had in selling Mac Pros with less profit and cutting in to the price points of other products.

    What they have done with the Mac Pro should really be putting an end to the idea they would ever do it. Apple want to sell you as much of the computer as possible and make you want to upgrade at a much quicker pace. Upgradable boxes don't fit in to that.
     
  4. mrxak thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #4
    I've never seen Apple-official numbers that broke down Mac sales by product category. As far as I know they never release those. Where do you get your numbers from?

    At any rate, Mac sales is just one argument in favor. I am still curious where Apple expects Mac gamers/prosumers to go, if they kill off the low-end Mac Pro? Why did they add support for more modern graphics cards in the latest OS X versions?
     
  5. Tesselator macrumors 601

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    #5
    A few things from me:

    • It HAS been announced. That's what that was, an announcement. It hasn't been "released" tho. OK, a minor difference in word usage but I thought worth mentioning.
    • Some aspects have been "bumped up" as you say but some aspects and features have been eliminated. Some of the eliminated features are necessary to the definition of a Workstation class computer. For this reason the new MacPro doesn't even come close to classifying as a Workstation. I guess it is still "Pro" gear but it's no longer a Workstation. Further, within the Pro distinction it's an entry level system. Let's just hope that for this reason that it has an entry level price tag. :)
    • You said: "Mac sales are continuing to rise" but be careful; if you're going from what they said a few days ago at WWDC please know that all of those numbers are misleading and a few of them are fudged (manipulated).
    • The iMac and the MacPro are already pretty close so I'm not seeing a gap. And because I don't see a gap I see no reason for a gap filler in the form of a new line or "mythical xMac".
    Just my 2¢
     
  6. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

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    #6
    The Mac Pro specs have an "up to" qualifier. We don't know how low they will go. I think there will be low end Xeon options, and with matching GPU choices, we might just get down into xMac territory. I hope so.
     
  7. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    #7
    I hope this. I don't need what they announced. Probably never will with the FirePro's. Useless to an audio pro/ gamer like myself. If they get a hex or 8-core in 3GHz land with GeForce/ Radeon. I could possibly see it on my desk. If for nothing more than a write-off. Or hackintosh + Macbook Pro. That's an option.
     
  8. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #8
    They give desktop sales numbers and average price per unit. With the details about the iMac shortage last year it is pretty clear that the Mac Pro sells very few compared to other Macs. Probably no more than a million total in its lifetime, maybe 100,000 in 2010 and the same in 2011, I can't imagine 2012 and this year have been very good so far.

    As to your other question I don't think Apple really care. The problem with these markets is that they are demanding, they want input, they are competent in getting the most from a system while giving apple the least amount of money they can. Easier just to ignore them for the most part when they have so many other streams of revenue.

    ----------

    I think it will go as low as an E5-1620V2, 3.7GHz 4-core and two FirePro W5000s. That can be a $2,499 box.
     
  9. mrxak thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #9
    Apple called it a Sneak Peak, not an announcement. They indicated they were still working on it and it would be announced for real later this year.

    Workstation-class GPUs standard seem like a workstation to me. I know not everyone will be happy with the external expansion, etc., but you can't not call it a workstation.

    I'm going by Apple's numbers and 3rd party estimates. Apple's been selling more Macs than ever. The actual numbers themselves don't really matter, the point is it's a growing market.

    There's a massive gap between the iMac and Mac Pro. With the new Mac Pro coming out to replace the old, Apple will no longer be selling a tower deskop. I'd say that's an obvious place to add a new product category. Apple tends to only kill off a product line if they've got something new to fit that niche. Killed the iPod Mini to make an iPod Nano.
     
  10. syrinxx macrumors member

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    #10
    to the OP,

    i am a mac user for at least 16 years. i switched my family my friends and a few companies. everyone is happy with their products.

    for the last years some of us were hoping for such a mac as you describe it. we have gamers with imacs hoping for a machine with switchable GPU - some of us are half pro users hoping for a machine affordable with not this amout of power. and so on

    conclusio: we hoped that for about 10 Years.

    my opinion: this machine will never ever happen.

    why?

    look at mac games. look how bad they run native. Diablo 3, Sc2, Witcher 2 and so on and on and on. mac users play 5 Year old games on power houses. OSX is a bottleneck.

    sorry for that ... but forget it. apple doesn´t care.

    they told us ... hey you have a clean desktop no cables just stunning design. now they tell us ... just plug everything with cables in a desktop small as a notebook.

    marketing at its best ...
     
  11. mrxak thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #11
    OS X isn't the bottleneck. Developers making terrible ports from DirectX is the bottleneck. Lately I've been seeing a lot more cross-platform development based on OpenGL. With the new OS X, OpenGL 4 will finally arrive, which should help the situation as well.

    We're finally at a place where mac gaming might get some love. Big names in gaming are making more of an effort lately. iOS has brought game makers to Apple.

    Lots of us have waited 10 years for an xMac. What I'm saying is that now there's actually a reason for Apple to want to do it. There simply hasn't been before.
     
  12. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #12
    I disagree with all your points in your last two replies. OK, maybe I'll give in on the Preview not being an "Announcement" but it was official and I guess what we saw is pretty close to exactly what we'll get. But all of the rest of your rebuttals and comments I find to be false.

    No offense, you will probably just agree to disagree, no buggy.
     

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