MP 7,1 Is the new Mac Pro too niche?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by maflynn, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I know there's a lot of discussion going on regarding the price and I don't want to debate that here, but rather regarding who exactly is this Mac Pro intended to be for?

    Back in the day, the power mac (pre-intel) and even the early Mac Pros were sold to consumers, hobbyists, prosumers and full professionals. As time went on, it seems apple was pushing the Mac Pro to the more higher end users even the trash can Mac Pro was targeted to more of the professional, but what professional?

    I mean we have Dave Lee, and he's clearly not the intended target yet he does a lot of video editting, and he's a fairly popular Ytber. Linus of LTT on the flip side seems to fit the bill maybe a bit more and he's planning on buying one.

    Overall with the cost coming in over 12k for a full mac pro setup, what type of market is there for these machines? Are Apple's competitors selling high end workstations offering more (or less?) then what apple has? I think and I could be wrong but similar type workstations include maintenance/service contracts to keep those high end computers working. I don't think apple has that, but I could be wrong.

    As I ramble on, I guess one thought regarding the Mac Pro, did apple make a mistake in targeting the ultra highend with this model, and sales will be fewer then if they designed a desktop/tower computer that could fit the needs of prosumers, and/or hobbyists.
  2. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Did the largest computer manufacturer in the world get all their research and analysis wrong and deliver a product that won't sell - for the second time (ignoring the fact that the last one probably sold hundreds of thousands of units).

    No probably not.

    A wide array of individuals and companies asked for this and they got it. I don't recall a lot of the arguments and frustration addressing the cost. In fact, I am sure there were many "I'd have paid x more for expansion!!!11" in regard to the 2013 Mac Pro.

    I'm considering buying one because I can't be arsed doing the upgrade on my hackintosh to Catalina from High Sierra as I have an NVIDIA card and my time is more valuable than the few thousand more it will cost (I want 8-cores, 64GB RAM and a better graphics card anyway). And I just want a powerful desktop with my 5 monitors.

    It amazes me that people can't fathom people spending $6,000 instead of $3,000 on a tool that will be used 40+ hours a week to drive revenue. As a contractor and consultant I've seen more waste per employee from a lot of companies of all sizes.

    My onboarding costs for equipment and software for developers is in the region of $12,000k, nevermind compensation, relocation, equity, pension, national insurance contributions, conferences, learning materials and so on. An extra few thousand is not going to make me wince.

    Don't like it don't buy it is clearly the message from Apple. They are not apologists and this has not been marketed at anyone other than creative professionals needing to push the limits so far.

    100,000 of these is a billion in revenue, but this isn;t about driving a growth market sector. It's a gesture and a response to the reaction to, and repercussions of, the 2013 Mac Pro.

    I did napkin math on sales numbers on here before based on Apple financials and information about iMac sales, but Apple were obviously barely selling that many annually back in 2012.
  3. maflynn thread starter Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    No need to be snarky, its a simple question.

    As I said, back in the day the Mac pro was more of a general desktop used by many, now its a much higher end machine for a lot fewer.
  4. vel0city macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2017
    Totally agree. If you're using the Mac Pro professionally they are incredible value for money. I'm still running my 2019 cMP into the ground every day and it's still an extremely capable machine. I bought the mid-range model on launch and between now and then have only spent a couple of grand on upgrading the GPU, CPUs and installing an SSD. The ROI is so good on this machine that it isn't even worth thinking about.

    I will gladly drop a few extra thousand on a new Mac Pro in the knowledge that it is a ten year investment that can be upgraded way beyond the base spec. Same with the new display, it's not exactly for me (I'm a graphics/3D/vfx guy not working in Hollywood) but for the couple of extra grand it costs I will absolutely be having one of those, knowing that the image quality is the absolute best I can get.
  5. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    We purchased over a dozen nMP back in 2013/14.
    I do think they sold :)
  6. ct2k7 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2008
    If I’m going to be honest, I really don’t know.

    On one hand, I can understand loads of people saying that if their revenue depends on it, they will buy it. On the other hand, I really don’t earn that much to make it such an easy buy, and yet, my revenue stream depends on it and my employer isn’t going to pay for it. (Salaries outside the US aren’t that great).

    It’s a cost, and it’s going to come from somewhere.

    The other thing, I don’t know who it’s aimed at. The demos I’ve seen at WWDC have it squarely in the creative: media production. I am not doing this. I also have no interest in the mini of the iMac Pro (I don’t want another screen). So, what am I supposed to get?
  7. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Apple seems to be content to (finally) please high-end studios and data centers with this offering, since last year they repositioned the Mac mini with more of a focus on power users (desktop processor, eGPU capability). The 5K iMac and iMac Pro also target power users and offer good value with the built-in 5K display.

    There still isn't a comparable offering to the old 5,1 when it comes to price and expandability for power users though.
  8. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Until they release a lower end version of this new offering, my graphics department will be leaning towards the iMac Pro.
    The only thing stopping them is the screen offering.
    We just replaced a slew of Apple LCDs with matte Dell 32s.
  9. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    I wasn't trying to be, but hard to convey it in text on a forum, sorry. There is just a never-ending slew of "how can apple get this so wrong all over the web now".

    It was always an expensive computer. The internet reaction to the $2,499 price in 2006 was the same as to this. That is despite Dell being way more expensive, and highlighted, and the Quad G5 Power Macs being in the same price range.

    Every Mac Pro has has this reaction. Every Apple display has had this reaction.
  10. goodcow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2007
    This is the same way I see it. The new Mac Pro is really expensive, but can be configured to absurd amounts of power. Power very few need. Meanwhile, the Mac mini is serving the headless Mac market and can still be used by prosumers with eGPUs.
  11. Horselover Fat macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2012
    You ask whether the 7,1 is too niche. I don't want to debate the price (as you asked not to do in this thread) but let me say: They made it a lot more niche by putting this price tag on it.
  12. juanm, Jun 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019

    juanm macrumors 68000


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    Yes. Too niche. It will sell very well at first (lots of people have been waiting for this for long time, after all), then not well at all. If Apple then decides (as always) to not offer regular component upgrades (GPU, afterburner) all the upgradability will become a moot point.

    It used to be that every single creative professional owned a Mac Pro, and studios were packed with them. I can't see this selling well. Sure, they'll make much more profit per unit, but I really don't think we'll see nearly as many of these around.
  13. Smeaton1724 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 14, 2011
    Leeds, UK
    No. Everything is moving towards 100% photo realism in every form of media. Traditional video games are nearly there 4k/60 fps and realistic textures are the next gen's new normal. Animated movies are getting there (Look at the Cat in the new Toy Story), then there's VR and Augmented Reality coming through that needs high resolutions, textures and lots of processing - x2 4k streams to each eye will get VR to where it needs to be. The Mac Pro is a part of delivering that, in Apple's own way (obviously expensive and with some design quirks).

    The high end of the audio visual and 3D markets pull everyone else forward, I'm also accounting for PC workstations in the above too - more power, higher specs etc. iPad Pro's Geekbenching 17,000 are fine and decent for consumer consumption, drawing, some light video exporting and word processing etc that account for the vast majority of users but you can't deliver multiple 8K streams or hook up multiple monitors to work on them - so the Pro will have a place in the world, no matter how niche.
  14. Razzerman macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2007
    It is a niche product. We'll see after a couple of years just how niche it is. Or it may just sit on the apple store forever as a fertility symbol. Plus, the more I say 'niche', the weirder it sounds.
  15. bobob macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2008
  16. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    It's an odd way to put it, because you can't separate it from "price"... and it crystalizes the ENTIRE issue.

    In a price vacuum, the product is not too niche. It's almost inarguable that anyone who wants a tower desktop Mac, this would fit the bill and more. So if you want a tower desktop Mac, why wouldn't you buy this?

    Because of price.

    (which is why I purchased the 2010 Mac Pro, and the 2013 MP, but will NOT be purchasing the 2019 MP).

    The only thing left to debate on that front is whether your hardware needs justify the price. For a niche set of users, it will. For the other 97%, it won't. To each their own, but that "debate" seems senseless to me.

    If you're specifically talking about as an Apple product "strategy" whether this product will be too niche, that is kind of interesting discussion potential.

    I wouldn't have thought Apple would be interested in spending the development resources on a product that would sell so few units (probably like hundreds of thousands annually). It's not even so much a "halo" product in that most Apple customers aren't even aware of it, and will likely never see one outside of a store... this isn't going to help them sell more iPhones (at least directly).

    However, now they can offer literally one of the most powerful readily-available workstations on the planet... there is very little that now can't be accomplished on an Apple computer (vs Dell, HP, etc.), and maybe that's enough for Apple.
  17. maflynn thread starter Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    No worries, I wanted to avoid anything that would derail the question.

    While I understand and don't disagree with that Apple did their due diligence, the fact remains that they're targeting a smaller demographic.

    I know, but I'm not complaining about the price, or question if its "too expensive" but rather Apple's choice to make such a high end computer that will largely be out of reach for the majority users. Yes, its out of reach because of the price, but its out of reach also because Apple chose to design the computer in a such way that it runs on a 28 core processor, it includes specific memory, and GPU options that go far beyond a consumer's need. That's my point, I'm more or less looking at the demographic apple is trying to reach.
  18. dysamoria macrumors 6502a


    Dec 8, 2011
    I’m going to say Yes, it is too niche. Apple has priced me right out of their products. They should have called this machine something else, at the very least (“Mac Pixar” or “Mac Plutocrat”). The better choice would have been to have a couple of tiers of this equipment that didn’t START at $6000, so all the people who used to buy Mac Pros could still buy one. No, pathologically compact machines that have thermal issues when used heavily are NOT acceptable, so don’t tell me that Macbooks and iMacs are the equivalent solution these days.
  19. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
  20. EEzycade macrumors regular


    Jun 29, 2018
    Mesa, Arizona
    I do think it is too niche. Based on many posts I’ve seen here, lots of people were looking for an upgrade. And I think MOST of those people can not afford to buy the Mac Pro. While the niche market that the new Mac Pro is targeted at certainly exists, Apple also missed out on another market. The high-level prosumer, who just want an upgradeable, moderately priced(still expensive of course but justifiable) machine running MacOS. My thoughts.
  21. Zellio macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2012
    I too, can't imagine how the 'biggest computer manufacturer in the world' can screw up a keyboard on a laptop for 4 years in a row.

    Oh wait
  22. Menthol macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2013
    Like you, I am bummed out by the high entry price for these machines. I totally agree that many of us have been left out in the cold by Apple here.

    But as a pure business decision, I tend to doubt that Apple didn't realize what they are doing here. I don't have access to their market research, but I find it hard to believe they didn't crunch the numbers and ultimately decide that focusing only on the high end of the former Mac Pro market made business sense. If it were more profitable to start with a less high end machine and a lower base price I would be surprised that they would not do it. It really boils down to how many cMP and tcMP owners there are out there who would have liked to upgrade but are priced out now. It may well be that there aren't enough of us to make it worth their while. Selling more machines at lower margins may truly not make business sense for them.

    We may never know if that's because of arrogance or a rational business decision. Or maybe they'll backfill with a mid-level MP at some point (a pipe dream, I suspect). I'm discouraged they've gone this route and would have appreciated a product more tailored to my needs and finances, but railing at Apple for hurting my feelings seems kind of pointless.
  23. Thysanoptera, Jun 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019

    Thysanoptera macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2018
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Yes, the 7.1 is too niche. I think a lot of people did expect a cheese grater replacement, to complement a Macbook Pro while in the office (I know I did), and this is not it. Let me go back to 2009 and compare off the shelf models:

    Top MBP config: 2.8 GHz dual core/4 GB RAM/9400M GT 256MB/500 GB HDD - $2299
    Base MP config: 2.6 GHz quad core/3 GB RAM/GT 120 512 MB / 640 GB HDD - $2499

    Top MBP config: 2.3 GHz octa core, 16 GB RAM/560X 4GB/512 GB SSD - $2799
    Base MP config: 2.3 GHz octa core, 32 GB RAM/580X 8GB/256 GB SSD - $5999

    In 2009 you were getting a desktop that's twice as fast and had to pay just 8% more. in 2019 you have to pay over twice as much and you're getting the same performance - at least in burst, in sustained loads it will be faster obviously but not by a whole lot.

    To keep the same price ratio (so around $5500 for laptop), you'd need to configure the MBP with 2TB SSD, VEGA 20 and 32 RAM (but that 'only' comes up to $4500), which would match the MP in every department but the laptop would have almost 8x more and much faster storage, and you still will have enough money left to buy an iPad Pro before you'd come up to the same price ratio as in 2009. It is insane if you think about it.

    And still, even you drop tens of thousands on the new MP it will not match the best workstations because it will be forever limited to single CPU socket and AMD GPUs. Apple is alienating prosumers, hobbyists, small time creatives but will be unable to compete in the highest echelons of workstation market. I don't get it, it is IIfx all over again, and just like then it happens 5~6 years after Steve - who always insisted on supporting the mass market - left Apple.
  24. beaker7 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2009
    The 2019 Mac Pro is designed for the type of person who would be buying a Dell T7920 or HP Z8 series if not for a need/want to use OSX. In that context, it more or less hits the mark.

    They don't sell an entry level or hobbyist tower. Debatable if they ever really did.
  25. frou macrumors 6502


    Mar 14, 2009
    The new MP can be used perfectly well while completely ignoring the existence of the XDR monitor, so the fact that the latter is also very expensive is a separate issue I would say.

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