Marco Arment on the The Talk show, about the Mac Pro.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mattspace, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. mattspace macrumors 6502

    mattspace

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    #1
    Jus a heads up for people who didn't catch the most recent Talk Show, with Marco Arment as a guest. Arment schools Gruber (who seems to have this shtick where he's wilfully ignorant of, or minimises the importance of user needs that don't align with his personal experience, or Apple's marketing copy) thoroughly on the nMP debacle.

    He pretty much says what a lot of folks here who prefer the philosophy of the cMP are saying. It's an interesting experience hearing one of the unofficial Apple PR mouthpieces made to actually hear the arguments against the current direction.
     
  2. H2SO4 macrumors 68040

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    #3
    That’ a loooooong interview. Can anyone zero in the the relevant time?
     
  3. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #4
    About 32 start talking about overlap of iOS and macOS ( some context for Mac Pro comments )
    About 34 start on Mac Pro
    About 36 into the mini being comatose.

    at about 50 starts to drift onto new stuff ( but still groaning about how Apple is "off" for not upgrading a long list of Mac products ... )
     
  4. H2SO4 macrumors 68040

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    #5
    I’m all over it. Tks.
     
  5. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #6
    The major driving point is that there is no movement is a bad "statement" / precedent for Apple to make. "Upgradable GPU"s doesn't necessarily mean "can insert generic GPUs from the shelf at Fry's " so not sure he was technically making case for generic "box with slots".

    The notion that GPUs are moving much faster than CPUs..... is a bit off. GPUs were stuck on 28nm for how long? The two are running into very similar restrictions.

    But yeah there is a major disconnect if the Mac Pro has GPU focus and then sit on the same GPUs for 3 years? The execution is largely disconnected from the strategy. Apple hiding in a rabbit hole making every 3 years appearances is something that many folks aren't looking for in a dependable equipment supplier.
     
  6. mattspace thread starter macrumors 6502

    mattspace

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    #7
    The takeaway I got from it on first listen:

    • The nMP was positioned as being a way for Apple to become and stay on the cutting edge. It failed to do that.
    • GPU advances are happening faster than Apple wants to update the entire machine.
    • Expecting users to buy an entire machine to get new GPUs, when there's been no real progress on anything else is unreasonable.
    • "Pro" graphics users need user upgradable GPUs for the above 2 reasons.
    • The "focus" in the new machine has not produced benefits in performance, has not allowed Apple to keep the design current, has resulted in a machine which has less practical flexibility, which costs more, and is less capable for prolonged heavy workloads than the previous design.
    • All the strategic things Apple said the new machine was about, they more or less failed to follow through on, and professionals making investments in a capital intensive production pipeline need that long-term strategic commitment.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 27, 2016 ---
    Maybe not - but even a "made for mac pro" mac-edition would be better than "buy a whole new computer". The great tragedy, is they called it all about graphics, put moribund GPUs in it, and then made the only expansion bus one which specifically excluded GPUs from the supported devices.

    The (upcoming?) TB3 version of the nMP is what really should have been the version 1 product.
     
  7. goMac macrumors 603

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    #8
    Arment is in no way an official or unofficial Apple PR mouthpiece. Although he knows how to apply pressure.
     
  8. mattspace thread starter macrumors 6502

    mattspace

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    #9
    No, I was referring to Gruber. He's OK in this episode, but when for example you live somewhere that you're lucky to get a 6/1 ADSL connection that fails after a few days of rain, hearing him (Gruber) (or indeed anyone with fibre or cable internet connections) prattle on about "how could anyone be willing to put up with using iTunes to sync media rather than using cloud services", makes you want to check his privilege with a two-by-four.
     
  9. goMac macrumors 603

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    #10
    Gruber has an interesting relationship with Apple. Apple definitely uses him, but I don't think he knows much in the way of inside information. But, whatever he says, especially with Arment on the podcast, will be noticed by executive level people at Apple. I could guess there were probably a few emails sent internally over this episode.
     
  10. Loge macrumors 68020

    Loge

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    #11
    One of the most interesting Talk Shows in a while. I'm more interested in the MBP than the MP, but many of the same questions arise about the lack of updates.

    The discussion on the headphone jack was interesting too.
     
  11. Zorn macrumors 6502a

    Zorn

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    #12
    I think that the emergence of Thunderbolt 3 external GPU enclosures has a very real possibility to change this discussion significantly. It will remain to be seen if Apple chooses to add support for this when they finally drop Macs with Thunderbolt 3. Imagine if you could officially hook up a GTX 1080 to your MBP, or Mac Mini?
     
  12. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I think it's the other way around, as in Apple scrambling to incorporate eGPU support to mitigate the relative failure of their GPU strategy.
     
  13. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #14
    It or Apple failed. If go to your last point ( pulled up below to bring into context ).

    That failure to follow through is more a disruption point than the "version 1" hardware design. Being "Version 1" it was probably going to need an iteration or two work out some relatively minor issues. ( MBA changed designs a bit before it took off in the new price category that Apple put it in. )

    Apple has a compute GPU and didn't have one of the best OpenCL environments. i know some/most of this is subcontracted out, but failing on this dings Apple more than AMD. [ Yeah, Metal popped up but Apple really needs to figure out how to walk and chew gum at the same time. Being penny wise and pound foolish is going to kill the company over the long term. ]



    CPU advances are also happening faster than Apple wants to update the entire machine. It isn't just GPUs. Apple is skipping generations inside of Xeon E5 class CPUs to jump from "tick" to "tick" ( even version numbers). That's goofy. Throwing GPUs on top is even more goofy.

    I don't think this as anything to do with the new design. Apple let the 2010-2012 go into abandoned active development state to the point product withdraw from EU market because could not keep up with a 2008 design change issue. 2012 and couldn't figure out a new constraint given in 2007-2008 time frame. That has nothing to do with these particular design choices at all. That has to do with R&D commitment and attention to detail. Period.

    So in some sense not entirely surprising machine went into Rip Van Winkle mode again because Apple had already done that earlier in the decade. Apple had a chance to break the pattern if they had committed to updates, but they did not.




    Again it is unclear what Apple's "Plan" here is. If it is to only pop up ever 3-4 years with something new then "whole new machine" is reasonable. Customers all have to sync up to the fixed upgrade cycle windows but if those are the only customers left ......

    None of the big iron vendors drop new systems every year either.

    The design itself hasn't stopped ( "has not allowed") Apple. Far more likely, Apple is stopping Apple. Waiting on limited time slices from Ive's design team would have little to do with design itself and far more due to the people , internal politics, and resources assigned.



    I do think they either planned the upgrade cycle poorly ( some upgrade plan got abandoned/disrupted ) or poorly designed if intended to sit and squat for 3-4 years at a time. For that second case, they need do need some interim GPUs and to resynchronize to the "tick tock" schedule for the Xeon E5.

    Perfect world. They would have done one more rev on last design 2012-2013 using Xeon E5 v1 and v2. Then could have jumped on board with E5 v3 with TBv2 in early-mid 2014 (with some built up product inventory of old model to smooth out the shock ). Part of the new designs problem was waiting for TBv2. Waiting on TBv3 would have been loopy..... if TBv2 doesn't survive and grow then will never get to TBv3. ( How many desktop FW1300/3200 deployment are there.... practically none. That is partially because of lack of traction by FW800. ).

    With an updated Xeon E5 v4 + TBv2 design they could "wait out" the arrive Xeon E5 v5 which is a far better match to TBv3 ( and a couple pairs of TBv3 sockets ). I agree that more of the potential of the current design principles won't be easily evident until get the infrastructure up to v5, TBv3 , and a larger set of the software base catches up (via OpenCL and/or Metal) .

    Apple doesn't like to talk about future products. That only works well over a span of 2+ years when can talk about current products. What they far more needed to do to hold many of the pro users leaving at this point is commitment to actually doing something on a regular basis. Not "incrementally innovate a couple of times a decade" level of effort. More "do" less "talk" ( if don't do anything then are not innovating. So yeah in the "can't innovate" status. )
     
  14. LorenK macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Having had my GTX660 recently go wonky in my 3,1, I am sympathetic to anyone who complains that the nMP is not the flexible machine that it should be if Apple were really about giving their customers something that just works. When you pay that much for a machine, it is an investment and should be able to last a few years, and not be obsoleted by industry changes. I like the external design of the trashcan, and they can continue to use it as long as they figure out a way to make it work with a flexible GPU solution, otherwise they're wasting their own time and resources on something that doesn't work. And why would they want to do that?
     
  15. Joe The Dragon macrumors 6502

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    #16
    But with out 2 cpu's or cutting the build in GPU's Down to X8 X8 or switched with both using 1 X16 link they don't have the pci-e for TB3.
     
  16. fuchsdh macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    This is a gross distortion of Gruber's thoughts on the matter. He's hardly an Apple shill, and it only gets brought up because Gruber laments that he didn't ask them why the Mac Pro had gone so long without an update.
     
  17. mattspace thread starter macrumors 6502

    mattspace

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    #18
    Hence why I said on this episode he was better than usual, and gave the example of his constant "why would you use iTunes to sync" mantra. I've been listening to and reading his stuff for years, and he displays a real blindspot for the basic validity of problems or use case scenarios he doesn't personally experience.
     
  18. zephonic macrumors 65816

    zephonic

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    #19
    I like Daring Fireball, but you can't deny Gruber tends to downplay much of what others perceive as Apple's shortcomings.
     
  19. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #20
    It's possible that Apple's design philosophy just tends to match Gruber's personal preferences.

    I prefer smaller screened smartphones and I get 16GB of storage not because I'm cheap, but because that's plenty for me. So when I say that 4" screens and 16GB are plenty in my experience, I bet people think I'm defending Apple's shortcomings.

    But from my point of view, I just happen to prefer a screen I can reach with my thumb and don't need to keep 12 megapixel pictures of every dinner I've ever had so that I can post them to FaceTwit.
     
  20. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #21
    Shill is pretty close if not there. Gruber has a information channel relationship with Apple and no neither one of the officially acknowledge that. That puts the whole thing into pretty close if not in the "shill" zone.

    I suspect Gruber isn't really lamenting. That is more so him hinting that he left them off the hook. ( Oh there was the very important question people wanted me to ask but I forgot. Pfff. He likely didn't forget. Far more likely he didn't want to ask. ) If Gruber presses the high level Apple execs too hard they will just stop talking to him. So he doesn't. That way he gets information flow. The information flow gets him page hits. page hits gets hims sponsors. Sponsors get him money. Apple may not directly write him a check ( but I bet he gets all access to WWDC every year.), but the flow is there if bother to look. He is in no way a independent reporter.



    Doing this when he can't ask the question ( allowing Apple to complete side step it) curries favor with the audience with doing minimal damage to the special Apple relationship he has.

    When Apple wants to a a "low cost" keynote, Gruber is a major stop of the "road show" they'll do.


    If Apple doesn't already know that a sizable chunk of their Mac Pro customers are grumbling ( and in some cases bolting to Windows+HP/Dell ) then someone should be fired in marketing. That anything was "breaking news" discussed there is a joke. In fact, at a couple of points they make references back to "theVerge" and other site articles on these very same issues.
     
  21. dumastudetto macrumors 68020

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    #22
    Arment has been hating on Apple for awhile.

    He's written several click-baity articles on his blog criticising them for the quality of their software, and how they might be doomed because of their stance on privacy yada yada yada.

    From my perspective, the current MP may be a little behind current processors and graphics cards, but it's still a supremely powerful machine that will serve the needs of more than 99% of computer users.
     
  22. grahamperrin macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

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    #23
    I'm familiar only with the January 2015 stuff – from around the time when I had decided to abandon Apple products, had not decided which paths to take for notebook and desktop computing. http://mjtsai.com/blog/2015/01/06/apples-software-quality-continued/ was a good collection, thanks to Michael Tsai.

    I glanced at Arment, Siracusa, Liss discuss reviews (2015-04-10) but that's in the Apple Watch area, so I didn't listen to the related podcast. I'm from a PowerPC pro Mac user background.

    @deconstruct60 thanks for the points on the timeline (I had no inclination to listen for 165 minutes); @mattspace thanks for your condensed points.

    I wonder whether a decade or so from now, the current Mac Pro will be viewed as iconic and divisive. Recollections such as The Cube at 10: Why Apple's eye-catching desktop flopped | Macworld (2010).
     
  23. fuchsdh macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    I don't think Arment has written anything click-baity, which implies attention-grabbing without real substance. His writing has been turned into fodder for clickbait by others, certainly, and I think he's still a little unused to the wider tech world grabbing his words.
     
  24. zephonic macrumors 65816

    zephonic

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    #25
    I strongly disagree with this. Arment is clearly a passionate Apple enthusiast, and as a developer he knows what he is talking about. If anything, his blog shows that he cares and is concerned about Apple, and this concern causes him to write about the things he feels need attention. It gets picked up because he voices his concerns very well.
    To dismiss his writing as click-baity is widely off the mark, IMO.
     

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