Letter to Apple concerning high end computing

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by NOV, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. NOV macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2004
    The Netherlands
    At the moment I'm in the silly (or crazy) position that I need to invest to replace/ upgrade my music studio set up (aging MacPro + Apogee) but I'm left clueless by Apple about their future plans and products. I decided to write them this letter a week ago. As they didn't get back to me (yet) I publish it on this and my own website.

    “As a small company in the field of audiovisual production we have been using Apple equipment for over 20 years. Because of the special needs when it comes to raw processor speed we always relied on the fastest of Apple’s machines and so since 2003 on Mac Pro.

    In recent years there has been some confusion about the direction that Apple is taking considering their support for their customers that depend on the high end Mac Pro. This confusion became more apparent by the recent EU decision to prohibit Apple to sell the current Mac Pro models in Europe. With the consequence that at the moment there are no high end Mac Pro models available from Apple in Europe.

    When it comes to the mass markets of smartphone and tablet sales it is fully understandable that a company is very secretive about their future plans in regard to product development. Even when it comes to software development such an approach is understandable.

    When it comes to the high end computing market I think Apple could show more transparency considering their future plans on high end computing. I’m convinced Apple is dealing in this segment with a very loyal customer base that is all about continuity of their businesses and need to make plans on investments and replacements of equipment.

    From that perspective I would like to see that Apple could present its customer base more insight to the future developments regarding the Mac Pro.”
  2. TennisandMusic

    Aug 26, 2008
    It's not going to happen. Apple is fully focused on the flashy consumer business. It brings them the money, and that's clearly all they care about. Go read some of the articles on macperformanceguide.com about core rot, how Apple doesn't respect customers etc. People have been wanting them to change their ways for years. Your letter doesn't present any new ideas to them, or contains anything of which they aren't aware.
  3. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Hi NOV. Not sure if Apple will reply and address our concerns. Like what others are saying, Apple is so immersed with their sales on portables and Apple does not tell all the facts for confidentiality. But I think Apple should at least give us a hint on the new Mac Pro.
  4. damir00 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2011
    You may as well just get the fastest iMac you can.
  5. tekno macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2011
  6. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    Seems to me....

    some things can be summarized as:

    a) As previous posters had said, there are no clarity about future plans for the "Pro" line. Only secure thing is a comment of Tim Cook about "some for the pros" in 2013.

    b) None iMac allows the level of customization/tinkering as the Mac Pro. About CPU raw power, the discussion is open and can be addressed from various angles and perspectives. So, for me is a moot point suggest to some pros buy a iMac.

    c) The stop of sales in Europe was enforced for a ban on the fans of the Mac Pro, if the reports are true. Anyway, authorized resellers can sell their existences and Apple still provides support/parts. That is my understanding/knowledge

    d) Letters to Apple dont affect their policies. Secrecy is a high value/conduct/asset in the "Apple way of doing things". A time ago I read here about the crusade to "double the secrecy" told by Mr. Coook. So, for me, is highly unlikely that Apple changes/open their channels or ways to say things.

    So, maybe Apple can be true to the one bit of info we have now and indeed, in 2013 "is something for the pros". "It" can come either as a solution right now in the works or based in new processors/arquitecture. Pick your poison....:)

  7. DisMyMac macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2009
    The best hope is that infighting and politics corrupts their leadership. If it's good for everywhere else in the world, then why not for Apple....
  8. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
  9. CobraTrumpet macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2013
    I was in a similar position in late 2011, making music with a Mac Pro + Logic + Apogee interface (although I'm an individual, not a multi-person studio).

    There were (and are) just too many unknowns with Apple. When it was time to upgrade, I sold my Apogee and got an RME interface... then I ditched Logic and started learning Cubase... and finally I bought a nice new PC and swapped everything over.

    At this point I don't think we're going to see a properly up-to-date Mac Pro. We'll probably get some sort of innovative cloud-computing solution (unsuitable for music production due to latency), and of course we'll get more powerful all-in-ones (a dealbreaker for me personally, as my computer isn't in the same room as my desk).

    I still love OSX, but eh... you can get used to anything.
  10. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008

    By looking at their product catalog they don't have anything unique or even present a unique price-point. If the OP is getting steady work then upgrading to better components than Apogee offers or replacing his current setup with similar but newer components wouldn't even need much consideration. A snap of the fingers, a flip of the billfold, and maybe pay his little brother to auction off the old parts, and boom - done.

    The idea that working professionals care about brand names is a rather silly notion. I suppose it happens but it would be a rather retarded business model which did so. I can see it for business where renting studio time to customers is of importance but then Mac is clearly not part of that club. Never has been and probably never will be. Those brands include names like this site lists: http://www.gigasonic.com/cat-pro-recording.htm and you will likely never see Apple or even Apogee mentioned or offered to those renting studio time.

    So IMO this is a no-brainer for a businessman. If the platform no longer caters to your needs or the level of professionalism you require its time to move on. No tears or angst required.

    It's tiny boutiques and bedroom independents which are affected by Apple's decision to continue the MacPro line or not. Not businesses categories such as the OP (seemingly) places himself in.

  11. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think Apple has provided far more transparency for the future of the Mac Pro than they ever have for any forthcoming product. Tim Cook basically came out and said that they have a great update with professionals in mind sometime this calendar year. I'd think that given both that and the fact that Apple seems confident enough to let the current Mac Pro be discontinued across a decent portion of the world, it's safe to assume that they really do have something in the works.
  12. derbothaus, Mar 3, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013

    derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    You clearly are not in the business if you are shrugging off Apogee for Lexicon, Presonus, and M-audio. There are other things that matter in music production besides similar features. They all sound different. 80% of pro studios run Mac's. Period. If they don't it's because they are tape based.
    I agree that you need to move on if you can't work but Apogee is absolutely huge in the high end converter market. If you are not using apogee converters then you are using Big Ben clock source on another boutique unit. If you don't run apogee at all it is because you prefer a less "sparkly" top end or something. But you still respect. I don't respect half of that list you posted. Looks compiled by Guitar Center computer nerds.
  13. MacProFreak macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2013
    Classic!! So true. Gimme SSL for recording, NEVE for mixing, from a 2" Studer.
  14. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    OK, thanks.
  15. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    These are the types of letter that aren't really going to change much. Apple can be moved but not when the justification is not on specific problem or "my process would be better if you change one of your core corporate principles so I can purchase a couple of systems".

    Letters that identify and problem and proposal win/win solutions may have traction.

    In the recent Mac Pro withdrawl in the EU markets this issue is not so much "Future Products" but current products and their desupport/decomission/withdrawl dates. However, most of the time folks ask for future product details. Apple has a core corporate principle about talking about future products. They don't to wide audiences or even narrow audiences. It is basically need-to-know.

    Since Apple likely knew they were going to stop selling Mac Pros in the EU markets months ago, it would have been better to announce 2-3 months ago that they were going to stop. 4-5 months would be even better. No comment necessary about future products required. It is a current product.

  16. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    Do people really think that these types of letters actually do anything?
  17. marc11 macrumors 68000

    Mar 30, 2011
    NY USA
    If no one says nothing Apple just keeps going its direction. If enough people say something Apple may listen. We as consumers have a right and an obligation to speak up if our needs are not being met. Letters can't hurt.
  18. damir00 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2011
    It's also constrained on applications that require uncompromising networking I/O. And on applications that make heavy use of threading.

    Sandy Bridge is a significant improvement over what Apple is currently shipping in a number of areas. Whether those areas matter is, of course, YMMV territory.


    I agree with that prediction.
  19. tekno macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2011
  20. seveej macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2009
    Helsinki, Finland
    I don not know whether they change anything, but I'd sure hope they do (albeit minutely in the case of such a big company as Apple).

    I honestly hope Apple's exec's find the time to think about its most loyal users...

  21. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    There are lots of corner case workloads. The more revelevent point is how largely populated those corner cases are and whether they are going to buy in the short term.

    Unless things have recently radically changed there are no 40Gps Inifiband solutions for OS X. So even if Apple shipped a new PCI-e v3.0 capable Mac Pro none of the uncompromising network folks would buy one.

    I'm not saying a Sandy Bridge Mac Pro would not be a even faster Mac Pro. There is always ( as long as Apple continuously does upgrades at whatever speed) a faster Mac Pro in the future. If the primary focus is on "future faster computers" that hugely flawed. It is the specific workloads that should be the primary focus. If those aren't growing and the current top of the line Mac Pro handles it with a decent amount of headroom, then the current offerings are OK. A updated Sandy Bridge Mac Pro would have more long term headroom but that isn't a question of being able to do the work for the immediate future.

    For example if the letter had outlined that since 2003 than the requirement for fastest had driven them to buy a new Mac Pro class machine every 3 years and that they had a ownership record with Apple of purchased 3 (or more ) Mac Pros (per seat ) over the last 10 years that is something quite different than what is here.

    Far more matched to many Mac Pro users in audio processing space, that is one maybe two Mac Pro class machines purchased over 10 years. The rate of user updates growing longer in periodicity, not shorter. That data Apple has.

    Users that absolutely need the fastest Mac Pro class machine available would be churning every 2 years over a 10 year span.
  22. Solomani macrumors 68040


    Sep 25, 2012
    Alberto, Canado
    A single letter might not do a lot. But Apple has been known to "re-consider" things after a public backlash of (customer's) popular opinion. I can think of at least one such event that happened in the last few months regarding their Lightning cable specs rules, the result of Apple backtracking because of social media backlash. Of course, this example of reconsideration/change was of minor importance to Apple that would not really affect their profitability or revenues very much.

    My recommendation: find a couple of REALLY well-connected and at least semi-respected Apple bloggers/analysts, like say Jim Dalrymple. Convince them to write this "Open Letter" to Apple, rather than a nobody like you writing it to Apple. When those big-shot social media bloggers write opinion pieces to Apple, Apple has to listen wether they like it or not. Apple will not always follow their suggestions, but at least Apple does hear their loud "social media" voices. And Apple knows that any unpopular "changes" (like product discontinuations) they make will have HUGE public backlash if the social media bigmouths are making an issue out of it.

    P.S. -- I think Tim Cook is a bit more open-minded to customer opinion than in the Steve Jobs era. But in the end, he is still a businessman.
  23. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Or create Thunderbolt aware drivers for their PCI-e cards.

    They are already creating Thunderbridge (http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/symphony-io.php )

    It is not a well grounded business strategy to restrict a 3rd party OS X product mix solely to the Mac Pro. That has nothing to do with whether Apple continues to ship a Mac Pro or not. The Mac Pro is a small subset of the Mac market. Always was. Always will be.

    If they maximize that and then stall on growth then they could move to Windows which is a much bigger R&D investment and risk.

    USB/Firewire presented some bandwidth caps so the higher end solution needed a PCI-e card. But with PCI-e connectivity spread across the Mac line up that is opened up with largely the same software base they have now. It is a low-to-moderate risk and modest investment to get there.

    The premise that is suspect is that the Mac Pro is the only suitable Mac for their products. Other Macs will work for many.
  24. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Not really. Not opinions. Focused commentary that demonstrates they are technically wrong yes. That convincingly presents a better solution for the whole system (or both parties) , yes.

    Stuff like "we like purple better than metal aluminum" , no. "If I were Steve/Tim this is how I would run Apple", no. Preferences/opinions.

    Causality is a bit whacked I think. The specs disallow doing both 30 pin and lightining with same device. That was motivated in part due to some technical issues with doing both.

    Similar also to short lived Apple's ban on interpreters inside of iOS apps because only purely Objective-C apps could produce the "best user experience". Never mind several top 10 apps at the time had Lua (or other internal only) interpreters in them. That died. They did get Flash by lobbing that nuclear hand grenade at apps though.

    The key critical factor there was Apple trying to tell other people what to do with their products. That is hugely different from trying to tell Apple what to do with their own stuff. "Oh I can run Apple better than you... this is how you should run the company". You can wrap it up in whatever flowerly language you want but much of this stuff that probably gets sent to the trashcan is exactly that in disguise.

    These are busy folks so letter which don't identify a focused issue and don't have solutions attached aren't going to get alot of processing time and likely to see little long term action.

    No truely well connected source is likely going do that because they'll loose they "special access" status if they do that unless Apple has clearly done something that isn't a judgement call.

    Apple almost always listens. It is my understanding that all managers whose products that have a "apple feedback" email address have to read at least some (if not all, or delegate) the feedback email.

    There is a huge difference though between listening and taking orders. Apple doesn't take orders well. You can plainly see that when they pissed around and ignored that UK Judge's orders when they lost their claim against Samsung.

    So no, they don't "have to" do what bloggers opine. Frankly, if Apple gets 5,000 complaints and/or a huge ruckuss over the Mac Pro sales stopping in the EU markets and they go back and look that only 3,000 Mac Pros were sold in EU markets in the last 3 months, then those emails and ruckus aren't going to do much. When there are more folks complaining than buying over the long term that isn't going to have leverage.

    Apple invoking the Obsorne Effect 8 months ago has likely suppressed the buy rate to the put that all the standard Apple metrics for canceling a product are highlighted now. The fact that the Mac Pro may be delivering in several months and isn't canceled will offset most if not all of these ruckus protests that form in the meantime.

    If the Mac Pro sales have been falling over the last 5 years then may be what looks like a large number to some of folks throwing a temper tantrum. The vast majority of Mac and Apple users aren't going to care. Discontinuation just means their product may get more resources.

    Tim Cook is more quantitative than Jobs. If folks don't buy Mac Pros in growth numbers that are good for Apple, he'll axe it just as fast as Jobs would. Cook has opinions. I think the real difference is that Jobs will bluntly tell customers what he thinks of theirs and Cook is a bit more diplomatic. That doesn't mean he is taking direction by doing focus groups with random folks.

    The 'opinion' poll that Apple pays attention to most is what people buy, and don't buy.
  25. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    A minor point, but I wouldn't recommend writing Apple about having used Mac Pros "since 2003," considering that the Mac Pro 1,1 didn't hit the streets until 2006.

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