Is Apple still serious about the professional market?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Onigiri, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. Onigiri macrumors newbie

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    Jul 24, 2009
    #1
    I'm in the longer term planning on getting a serious computer for video editing, and while I know Apple in part built their modern reputation on the quality of their hardware and software for content developers, are they still serious about this market or is it more like a semi-abandoned niche? I keep hearing rumors of them potentially selling off Final Cut and the other professional apps and so I'm just a little concerned about being able to stay current with any future developments.
     
  2. ildondeigiocchi macrumors 6502a

    ildondeigiocchi

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    Dec 30, 2007
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    Montreal
    #2
    It does seem as though Apple has slowly been drifting away from the professional market but nonetheless new Mac Pros should be released in the coming months i.e February or March. However some are speculating that by 2012 Apple will be dropping the Mac Pro. However only time will be able to tell. But, in my opinion Apple should really start putting more effort into their pro products i.e. Mac Pro, Xserve and Apple Cinema Displays. It's been over 5 years since the Apple Cinema Displays have received an update. Yes, some may say that the 24" LED was released but this is nowhere near being a pro display. Let's not forget the 30" ACD as beautiful as it is, is really starting to show its age. A refresh for the ACD lineup is a MUST for the next Mac Pro update. Also Apple always pushed the computer market with its pro products but those days seem long gone. With the next MP revision, we should see a hike in prices due to the Xeon chips being more expensive. This pattern has continued over the last few years. That is why in my opinion Apple should also offer consumers the option to have regular, highclocked, Core i9 chips in the next revision. Let's just hope Apple starts paying attention to its prosumer market.
     
  3. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

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    Seattle, WA
    #3
    I think they are just following the trend towards all in ones and laptops.
    I don't see them dropping their mac pro. At least I hope so!
     
  4. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816

    irishgrizzly

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    May 15, 2006
    #4
    I think that Apple have spread themselves so wide that they can't give the pro market the attention it needs. The consumer side has gotten so huge it doesn't make sense due to every diminishing returns.
     
  5. enberg macrumors regular

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    Jan 13, 2010
    #5
    Jobs says Apple is a Mobile Device company now, and I guess he would know.
     
  6. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    England
    #6
    People have been saying this stuff for years and years. I don't pay much attention to the software side, but are updates less frequent than they were? They are going to be less frequent than you will find from companies like Adobe who are a software company.

    On the hardware front, since the 2006 release of the first non-Pentium Xeon Apple have updated their workstations within 2 months of every major update to Intel's product line.

    Both aspects are lacking in certain areas compared to other platforms, but that is the case in all their other products too. As far as Apple giving up the professional market, it makes no sense. While it wouldn't be the first time for a company to do something that didn't make sense, this is a company that has been pretty successful over the past few years and have said time and time again they do things their way. Moving out of the pro-market would be a PR nightmare and they may even see shareholders take action if they were to go so far as drop all pro software and hardware.
     
  7. G4DP macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Not at the moment. But if they ever start struggling again they'll soon come crawling back to those they have ignored for the past 10 years.
     
  8. phaedarus macrumors regular

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    Dec 27, 2008
    #8
    Ever since the success of the iPod, I had a sneaking suspicion that professionals would ultimately become the foresaken child of Apple; you know, the very people who kept the company afloat for twenty years.

    The profits derived from the consumer market dwarf all other segments within their business so completely that it is a wonder Mac Pros are still being made.

    Apparently, not even the Macbook line is immune to having resources allocated away from its division as evidenced by continued employment of obsolescent hardware specs that have already been relegated to the PC realm in the form of netbooks.

    Other factors that do not bode well for those in the creative field can be found within the software industry itself. Apple's relationship with Adobe, Autodesk and a myriad of other developers have been strained in a manner that now sees Mac customers being regarded as second class citizens.

    In Adobe's case, virtually all of their applications have been subject to "Windowfication" where interface conventions that make OSX outstanding aren't even being utilized. Also, how long did it take for ZBrush 3.0 to make it to the Mac? Notice how subpar Maya is on OSX? Fewer and fewer developers are approaching OSX with the level of enthusiasm as seen back in the days of the release of the first Intel Mac.

    Sadly, I would expect Apple to continue milking the Mac Pro market with high premiums for as much as they possibly can before promoting the top of the line iMac as a prosumer system.
     
  9. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    Boon Docks USA
    #9
    It seems apple is pricing the mac pro out of most folks reach these days. Unless your making good money to pay for it, its cheaper to build your own but then your stuck with windows. Will have to admit, windows 7 isn't that bad compared to vista but I don't spend allot of time on it to know more info as I used to. I think apple's target audience is consumers and seems they are making good money doing this. Suggest you look at the apps you need and are comfortable with to determine which path is best to take. Of cource, money talks too. You have to afford what your buying.
     
  10. Fast Shadow macrumors 6502a

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    Hollywood, CA
    #10
    Linux and Windows are now where the serious pros dwell.
     
  11. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #11
    Yes, he said that at the keynote. And I believe it really is the direction the company will obviously take. All products that do not fit are on board only as cash cows and for shut down.
     
  12. ungraphic macrumors 6502a

    ungraphic

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    #12
    I was really taken back at that comment big brother made. What was once a potentially great company in 1984 has now turned into some......i dont even know what to describe it.

    I wish they put more focus into their computers like they once did.
     
  13. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

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    Portland, OR
    #13
    I totally disagree with this. The sheer volume of Macs at work in the prepress and animation industries alone would be substantial enough income to keep the line running. Though I could see it switching to custom order only (i.e., no longer stocked in physical stores).

    I do definitely agree that Apple needs to refresh the line, but really when arguments like hackintoshing a mac pro come up, you're generally dealing with home tinkerers anyway. Corporate and studio environments will almost ALWAYS upgrade in their current path (for compatibility) and buy top of the line (so it will last longer or, in the high end market, meet their needs). The only downfall is really that tech is reaching the point where upgrading is necessary less often...
     
  14. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

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    Jul 14, 2008
    #14
    How many people buy a MP from their local Apple Store anyway? I don't recall seeing them at the Apple stand in Best Buy. Apple said when they dropped the "good, better, best" setup with the first MP they were going for more of a "here's the generic nothing-some-pro-wouldn't-need base model, BTO other stuff as you need it" approach. (hence the low-end graphics and lack of wifi. BTO them if you need them). You order online for that. Last time I was in my local Apple Store, there were 2 MPs on display. MBPs and iMacs had about 6 machines EACH. And I think those Mac Pros were there to sell ACDs as much as they were there to sell MPs.
     
  15. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

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    #15
    Not for nothing, and I generally agree when it comes to, say, the tower, but come on. The i5/i7 iMac is an incredible machine on par with the Mac Pro (surpassing in some tests), and the new mini is top notch for what it is (and the mini server is a great little machine). Provided the next generation of Mac Pro doesn't include a huge price jump, I'd say that they're still focused on their computers.
     
  16. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

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    #16
    I've seen them at Fry's, but yeah, Best Buy mostly had iMacs and Macbooks/MBPs. But really the towers have always been aimed at the pro market, at least since the G3 b/w line, and the iMac, cube, and later mini were for home use. I don't think they'll stray from this model, they're just adding more to their consumer line (iPods, iPhone, etc.).

    I'd still rather see a netbook from Apple, the iPad doesn't really impress me at all. I mean, it's neat and all, but something I'd never buy myself. But I don't think they're abandoning the commercial line, there are just more updates because there are more products, so the updates to the pro lines seem farther apart. But realistically, aside from the G4 line which was updated 2-3 times a year, they've always been like that...

    EDIT: I'd love to see eSata become a standard in the pro line, but as has been pointed out Apple is moving towards Intel's Light Peak standard for the future, so we may never see truly integrated eSata.
     
  17. ungraphic macrumors 6502a

    ungraphic

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    Toronto, Canada
    #17
    I'm a mac pro user, as are hopefully all the other people in this sub-forum. And you pointed out that the imac beats the mac pro. This is something to think about, and the point im trying to make. I feel mac pro users have been left out in the last few years. There was a lot of promise when jobs announced the transition to intel......
     
  18. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

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    #18
    The top of the line iMac introduced, what, about a month ago? Can, in some areas beat out the midline tower (barely, and keep in mind configuring it to the point where it can beat a tower will cost almost as much as a better tower). For a pro user there's no comparison; the capacity for expansion, especially RAM, drives, cards, and monitors, is crucial to anyone who actually NEEDS a tower.

    But I do agree that the next tower upgrade needs to come very, very soon. But this isn't unique; the Mac Pro line was one of the last to be upgraded with the Intel chip if you recall. It's not a lack of focus on the market IMO, it's simply a matter of practicality. But yes, they've upgraded everything but the tower line, to the point where some of the tech is starting to outperform aspects of the pro line, and it needs to be upgraded.
     
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #19
    I'm one of them, but think 2013 will be the last year, given the direction Intel's moving with the Xeon parts. More cores, and higher prices. Too many and too high a processor cost to continue to use them in workstations, so no one would be able to afford them.

    Desktop parts are an option to continue the line, but then there's a collision with the iMac's marketing strategy and sales figures. Separation would be more financial than parts (save core counts, as the high-end desktop parts will have 8 cores on a single die - derived from the next Tock cycle Xeon).

    The bulk of their revenue is in the consumer lines, so that gets the bulk of the attention as a result.

    I do, and see it as financially motivated. :(

    Intel's shifting the focus of the Xeon line to suit enterprise's desire for cloud based computing. So the core count will be higher than is needed for a workstation, as will the price. Combine it with a small market share, and it doesn't look good IMO. Users wouldn't be able/willing to purchase the systems at some point (2014 IMO, so the last is likely 2013), reducing the sales to the point where such a product would be a financial loss if proceeded with.

    Now they can go with high end desktop parts at that point, but I'm not sure they will, given the potential impact on iMac sales, and a small market to begin with. Again, the price would likely be too much for the market to bear. It's possible, but I'm not sure they're going to go that route. I just don't see 8 core + desktop parts as being most people's idea of inexpensive, especially when Apple's idea of profit margin is added.

    But in general, that's where I see the workstation going, as there won't be a choice given Intel's CPU offerings at that time (end of the Xeon based workstation).
     
  20. pionata macrumors 6502

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    Oct 12, 2005
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    Montreal
    #20
    I have a problem with the term "professional" being reserved for Mac Pro, as I know plenty of professionals looking forward to working with the new iMac. In the music studio of my university they are replacing some older Mac Pro with the new iMacs, it's just a better deal for the price.

    Things have changed.

    Expansion is good, but getting a double quad Mac Pro with 2x 30 inch monitor is twice the price of getting 2 iMacs 27"...

    Anyway, I got a 27" iMac and will get another refurbished one later if I need more power. My music home studio works in such a way that I can share the workload between 2 or more computers.

    Also, new interfaces and controllers work with either firewire, gigaethernet or usb2. Using additional cards is not something people want to invest in anymore. I have a bunch of pro PCI audio cards no longer compatible with new computers.
     
  21. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

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    #21
    Bs, they are wanna bes. Linux and winblows users are slow to adopt and stuck in a rut.
     
  22. ungraphic macrumors 6502a

    ungraphic

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    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #22
    That kind of talk is delusional.

    He's right, when you go to the very top, 3D, film, etc its all done on windows. Graphic artists, designers, layouts, press, audio.....thats still mac.

    To be honest, if apple were to ever cut off its mac pro line, i think I would seriously consider getting a custom built computer and turning it into a hackintosh, not only would I save money at the expense of a nice case, id also be given a MASSIVE range of components. And believe me, the PC side has way better prices.

    Part of the reason why i never went down this route is because building a custom computer requires more effort, and I wanted to get the similar components to a xeon setup without paying the same price. Unfortunately, back then, the price difference wasnt significant as the mac pro was priced fairly. With that said, i decided to spare myself of the headache to build it, an ugly case (because as an artist i do welcome aesthetics in my interior space) and above all else: actually getting OS X to work AFTER updating it! Installing OS X is not a problem, but maintaining it back then was. Not sure how things are now.

    Anyway, i do hope apple doesnt cut off the mac pro line, but if it does, i hope big brother gives us the choice to purchase a stand-alone tower with choice in components. But we all know how uncomfortable steve jobs is about choice.

    My two cents.
     
  23. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

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    #23
    Sorry, to clarify it was an "if/then". I meant to say pros who still need tower workstations. I totally agree and, if I was updating right now and could solve the eSata problem (perhaps through the optical drive if it supplied support for port multipliers?) I would probably go with an i5 or i7 imac...
     
  24. Big Boss Man macrumors regular

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    Oct 27, 2006
    #24
    Pro audio needs PCI express slots for expansion. A Protools TDM system needs them. An Apogee Symphony system needs them. They are needed for UAD-2 cards. There are several manufacturers that would all need to move from PCI express to something else (USB3?). I don't see this happening within the next few years. So then if Apple discontinues the Mac Pro in a couple years, they will be giving up the pro audio market.
     
  25. Gomff macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 17, 2009
    #25
    I like iMacs, but I'm not comfortable with using one professionally for 3D graphics and Audio. I'm put off by the all in one aspects....I don't necessarily want a new screen every time I upgrade my computer.

    I also like the idea of being able to upgrade my GPU at least once but preferably a few times during the life of my machine. Adding more Hard drives without adding to desktop clutter by going the external route is also nice, as is having a decent chunk of RAM.

    My current early 2008, 8 core machine is the best machine I've ever had for all the above reasons, as well as being brilliant for rendering (I need all the cores I can get and they all get used at rendertime, 100%). I'm not sure I'd have the same faith in an iMac for long rendering sessions even if it did have 8 cores.....I'd worry it would overheat, which is something my Mac Pro doesn't ever do.

    But 3D graphics still belongs more to Windows than OS X. Autodesk seem to be encouraging the use of their products either in Windows or through VMware / Parallels, rather than build solid Mac versions.....I guess it all comes back to Profit margins.

    If Apple stopped making Desktop Pro's, I'd most probably go back to PC land for my work, but keep a Mac Laptop for personal usage.
     

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