"not new" MacPro may have been the correct move for revenue purposes

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by edoates, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. edoates macrumors 6502

    May 22, 2006
    It would be interesting to know what Apple MacPro sales figures look like since the price reductions instead of the expected "new" mac.

    I'm guessing that the pent up demand from those delaying purchases awaiting a brand new MacPro release have increased sales and will allow Apple to clear inventory in advance of the expected MacPro revision next year.

    I personally was delaying a purchase to replace my old G5 Quad hoping for thunderbolt, maybe even some sort of blurry support (I do video stuff, but more a serious Prosumer). The the Not New MacPro came, and the delay until next year was announced, I could wait no longer, so I sprung for a hex. Wonder how many others are in a similar situation?
  2. KingKongUser macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2011
    Unlike my credit card, I have a low rate of interest.
  3. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    The "not new" Mac Pro may be the best move for clearing inventory, but not for revenue. They would have sold way more Mac Pro's had they been upgraded to Sandy Bridge, hands down. That would lead to more revenue... depending on how many 2010 gen's they had lying around. My guess is they had quite a few, perhaps more than they could have sold as refurbished, thus the "not new" Mac Pro release. Those are some factors but I think there are others (new redesigned Mac Pro next year in the pipeline)?
  4. kylera macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
  5. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    Only time will tell, but my wallet is personally staying shut instead of buying a new mac pro as i had planned. And in fact it's my bet that a number of people will be looking at windows based workstations, which creates a net loss of cashflow especially with spillover purchases.

    I view this as the first major FUBAR of the tim cook era.
  6. wallysb01 macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2011
    Yes, I think there are a lot of people that are wedded to Macs, but were waiting for upwards of a year to see what happened with Sandy Bridge Xeons. The academic lab I work in bought the 8 core Mac Pro last summer once it back painfully obvious SB-E was majorly delayed. For the last 6 months or so, we've wanted another one, but have been waiting for Intel, then Apple, and are now in a position were we're going to buy the "new" one. At least this time it will come with 12 cores.

    So, I'm sure sells have jumped on Mac Pros. And in this case, letting a rough timeline be known has probably helped that. Had they said nothing, which Apple usually does, more people may still be waiting. But now a lot of people can buy now and budget to buy another in about year. This announcement will certainly slow sales down by early next year, but they would have been that low with or without releasing a timeline anyway.
  7. TM(tm) macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2012
    I'm one of those people in the exact same situation. Proud "new" hex core owner here. I don't think it was as bad as a move as people are making it out to be. I will enjoy my fast machine for the next couple of years, and if I like the 2013 redesign, I will sell my current machine without much of a loss, and buy that.
  8. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I disagree on clearing inventory. They added a couple processor skus. Do you really think they just keep a supply of logic boards and other parts for the next year of sales on hand?
  9. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011
    I agree that the MacProGate is a failure of Tim Cook as the CEO of Apple. Why do not they just upgrade the Mac Pro line as they did from 2009 to 2010? They should have also added the Thunderbolt and USB3.0 support.
  10. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    All this has made it easy for me to keep my MP up to date, and that makes me feel good about my purchase in 2009. I can't complain at all.
  11. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Yeah. Why didn't they think of this?:rolleyes:
  12. lampliter macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2008
    I couldn't wait to up grade my 1,1. But now I am stuck with it or go to windows.
    There is no way I can convince myself to buy the very old (new) macpro. I certainly would`t tell any of my windows buddies I bought one if I did, I would never hear the end of it. Being a mac user used to be exciting but now I am bored to death with being NOT part of the forward movement of computers in general. I think my next laptop is going to be a litebright, it will match how I feel about my macro. :(
  13. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    It has very little to do with Tim Cook. We all know that Steve Jobs worked on the product timeline for the next couple of years before he passed away. This isn't something that came out of the blue. I don't think Apple were expecting the reaction they got.


    Picture the Apple engineers reading Macrumors and slapping themselves on the foreheads, "Damn, of course, that's what we should have done. Why didn't we think of that first?".

  14. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Sales from January-May and June-Now aren't particularly significant. It is the long term trend that Apple is likely watching. Are the June sales up year-over-year compared to 2011 , 2010 , and 2009. There is probably a small bump now but that bump could still be under the 2011 or 2010 levels.

    LOL. The gross assumption here is that Apple has inventory to clear.

    Apple is churning their inventory 74 times a years ( about every 5 days):
    " .... Dell, which practically invented hardcore electronics supply chain management, does 36. Apple is doing 74! ... "

    It is likely the extremely fast moving iPhones and iPads skew those numbers a bit high, but are highly indicative that Apple is not a 'hold large inventories' company.

    As the sales of the Mac Pro have sagged over the last year, Apple has likely just built less Mac Pros. It is highly unlikely that there was ever more than 1-1.5 month supply of Mac Pros stack up in an Apple warehouse. The retail distribution network Apple feeds into might have them logjamed in their inventory but not Apple's.

    Apple's projections probably have a small bump for a couple of weeks and then Mac Pro sales sagging a bit below what they have been for last year. The sales are going to crash lower than they were last year since Apple has invoked the 'Osborne Effect' by pre-announcing a new Mac Pro far in advance. By November-December that probably will have killed sales down to almost nothing. Apple will respond again by slowing production at a rate that matches the drop in sales.

    Apple top level execs meet every week and go over the sales of all of their products. If Mac Pro sales drop 3 weeks in a row, they know. It is not like they are going to see maybe 450 units a week being sold and keep making 900 units a week.

    Enough so that the Mac Pro sales won't completely dry up. Probably not enough to prevent year-over-year declines from August-December.

    As much as there are complaints about the Mac Pro being "old" tech.... much of those are from owners driving comparatively geriatric tech. Relative to a G4, G5, Mac 1,1 , and Mac 2,1 ( all either on or about to be on the vintage/obsolete hardware list) most of the current offering is a substantially better machine. ( The Quad 3565 is debatable but that largely due to a large hole in Intel's product offering in the 3600 series.)
  15. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007

    Just makes my 2009 launch-day purchase all the more worth it.

    Little aggrieved by the lack of GPU updates, but netkas et al will soon have a 7870 or 680 working in a Mac Pro.

    Looking forward to having a current gen GPU again!
  16. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    I think things are moving closely along Apple's expectations. I suspect they thought more folks would "read" the update as there would be a Mac Pro next year. But even having to resort to openly invoking the Osborne Effect couldn't have been total surprise to them. Apple knew there was going to be a "train wreck" as far as sales growth goes until they get back into synch with regular product updates.

    What I don't think Apple expected is the rumor sites increasingly spinning the notion that Apple was going to turn WWDC into a "Macworld" convention. The whole Mac product line would be updated. And magic Mac pixel dust for rain down out of the sky on everyone. That was jacked up expectation management. That's one reason why "we updated so therefore Mac Pro isn't canceled" message didn't sink in. Mac folks had been whipped up into a irrational frenzy.
  17. lannisters4life macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2012
    I don't think an irrational frenzy was necessary for people to be a little puzzled at the new Mac Pro offering. If their message really was, "we updated to show you we haven't given up," then they did it awfully. They would have had less backlash had they simply left the Mac Pro as it was.
  18. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Extremely unlikely. Less backlash if the whole Mac line up was updated twice before the Mac Pro moved at all? I don't buy that. For most Apple major products there are yearly updates. Go off the yearly track and folks are going to complain. Go two years off the track and folks are going to assume it is dead (or at best a zombie).

    Three factors in play.

    1. It is against company policy to pre-announce products. So if there was no "new" Mac Pro there would be no opening to even drop hints at a follow on Mac Pro. No updates means there would now be no "clarification" that there will be another Mac Pro in 2013.

    Even if Apple completely broke with policy and announced that nothing coming for a year you would have had tons of threads whining about how come no speed bumps in the mean time. Those speed bumps, at least along the CPU dimension, are exactly what got delivered. There have been several threads with folks lamenting no incremental updates over the last 12 months.

    Now that the incremental came there is still complaining.... well welcome to rumors sites. There will be folks complaining even if Apple updated to E5's and newest video cards. ( not enough memory, not enough slots , not enough power cables , not enough ..... )

    Apple coming out and saying "we screwed up.. won't have anything for another year and don't even have a minor conciliatory offering" would send even more folks off. Because Apple could have done something. To have absolutely nothing would mean not even pulling solutions that work with almost zero effort out of Intel's product catalog.

    2. Lion and Mountain Lion are putting more pressure on folks with vintage/legacy systems. No Rosetta means the PowerPC folks in deep denial need to move on. Mountain Lion leaving behind MP 1,1 (and probably 1,2 since that was more artificial model number inflation than really a new model ) Slightly better Westmere offerings make for a better upgrade target than the mid-2010 offerings. And there is only one dangling Nehalem 3500 offering left at this point.

    Apple will still loose some of those people to Windows and Hackintoshes, but they will loose less with these updates. It isn't about totally negating the "backlash". It is about stopping the losses. Many of those folks are going to complain about having to move anyway. If give them "nothing" to move to they will just whine about how should have just back-ported to their ancient hardware. A slightly bigger gap between their ancient hardware and updated system will get more to move and be happy once get back to working and stop focusing on having to move.

    3. System vendors are actually shipping new workstations with E5 . Salespeople from HP/Dell/etc were about to launch into a huge FUD campaign against Apple. They still probably are, but Apple doing and saying absolutely nothing would make their competitors efforts all the more effective.

    It is one thing when Apple can hide behind "well HP's workstations are Westmere based too. ". It is quite another when the competition is one generation up on Apple's offerings. Or even worse, two generations up on the former configuration line up with two 3500 series offerings. Apple's single CPU package would pummeled on price and performance by E5 1600s alternatives if they sat still. For example the older "mid level" offering was 4 core 3500 series. Versus a 6 core E5 1600 that is a huge gap for anything that scales with cores. At least with a 6 core Westmere the core count is the same and just loosing just on micro-architectural updates.

    If Apple decreases the performance gap so that the OS migration costs become a factor for more folks, they will keep more folks from defecting.
  19. wallysb01 macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2011
    This goes similarly for the base DP set up. Now we have 12 Westmere cores at 2.4, competing against 12 Sandy Bridge cores which might have a base clock of 2.0, but have much better turbo biasing. That drop off isn't going to be huge, maybe 10-15% (more if you're doing much single threaded stuff, but then why have a 12 core?). But the 8 core 2.4 would have been completely crushed.

    Its a stop gap to get people that have been waiting it out to make some purchases now, instead of defecting, and waiting until, hopefully no later than mid-2013 for a "real" update.
  20. tamvly macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2007
    Priceless ... +1
  21. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007
    I don't think they really had any clear idea what they were going to do until they saw the ruckus and only then decided to get something going which is also why the 2013 remark. They just weren't prepared yet. Bottom of the priority list, followed by the mini and imac.


    a feeble one at at that.
  22. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I think it has to do with the 2008 Octocores. When those systems were released they were the best value workstation. Period. At the time there was a highly respected columnist at ZDNet (George Ou iirc) who made a habit of bashing Apple for the "Apple Tax" they charged on hardware, with comparisons to other HW vendors. He was fair - in that he did his best to compare similar specced machines. When the 2008 Octocores were introduced he declared them to be the best workstation you could get for the money, and ate his hat. That column helped me make the move to a MacPro, and I suspect a lot of other people moved to a MacPro then as well. I think they sold a lot of them.

    Those 2008s are now starting to reach the end of their life-cycles, and their owners are looking for a replacement. I think Apple has a major redesign in the works... something totally different, and it wasn't ready for WWDC (Probably wasn't supposed to be, either. I think the hype about a new MacPro release caught Apple by surprise - Exhibit A: The "New" tag being added, then removed. The uncharacteristic pre-announcement of "something" for "Pros". Apple appears to have been reacting instead of driving the message.)

    Anyway... I think the "not new" MacPros are designed to let people like myself move cleanly and easily to a transitional MacPro from our 2008s. This gives Apple time to polish off the "New" MacPro without losing too many customers.

    What I find lacking in just about all of these discussions about what the "not new" don't bring to the table is the very very important "feature" that the "not new" MacPro does bring to the table. It is NEW. I buy a new one, add AppleCare, and I can run my business without worrying about my computer for 3 years, guaranteed. For most professionals, in my experience, having a working computer that does the job is just about the most important feature it can have.

    So... in a few months I'll pick up a hex-core, which will be way faster than my 2008. All of my external storage, printers, monitors, etc will just plug in and I'll keep working for 3 years while Apple sorts out their MacPro plans. And ... my 2008 will get sold to subsidize the new MacPro.

    This is also interesting.... because the new "not new" MacPro is not a 'revolutionary' redesign, the old 2008s are now worth more on the re-sale market (than if the Apple had moved to a whole new design). This means that more of 2008s will move to the "not new" 2012s - staying in the Apple ecosystem. Plus, a lot of 2008s will go to people who may be trying out a MacPro for the 1st time, but can't afford new "not new" MacPro. The 2008s will run just about any current SW so these new MacPro owners don't have to run legacy SW, and when they are finally needing to upgrade from their used 2008 MacPro in the years to come, they will probably stay in the Apple ecosystem.

    I may have wished for the "Actually New" new MacPro, but from a strategic marketing perspective, the "not new" MacPro does make sense, if you assume a totally redesigned MacPro coming sometime in 2013.

    All of this is just idle speculation... of course.... please don't take it seriously. Unless you want to buy my 2008 .... :)
  23. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    It is amazing how narcissistic the "raise a ruckus" folks are. If Apple is delivering a new Mac Pro in early 2013 then they had already started on a new system months ago. There is zero indication that this was some "last minute" scrambling by Apple to respond to moaning and groaning on rumors forums and facebook petitions.

    The choice to change ( CPU) but minimally change (no new GPU) was deliberate. There was a very clear idea of what they wanted to do. "This is an updated Mac Pro, this is not the result of 1.5-2 years of R&D. Hence, something else is coming later but not soon."

    The mini and iMac are likely delayed primarily for same reason the mini was delayed last year. Major Mac OS X update. After Mountain Lion ships that will open the door for the mini and iMac to quickly come out of the gate.

    Intel sliding the core i updates close to June/July created a logjam with coupled to the Mac OS X update cycle. The iMac and mini will just come a bit later with non-'revolutionary" upgrades. The laptops come first largely because have better competition from the Window PC vendors.
  24. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The new tag was added to the MBP when they were speed bumped last Fall. This probably has much more to do with Apple removing "New" from the Mac Pro marketing pages about 2 months ago after some rabble-rouser raised a FTC complaint. The fact that all folks wanted to talk about was that they really were "all that new" made it prudent to remove the "new" even though that is their normal procedure.

    Again people playing "dumb" meant they had to refine the message. Apple tried not to be specific and folks tried to loop the mini and iMac into the same "no revisions till 2013" context. Coming out and being specific was more damage control against those offerings and disinformation (since that was clearly not Apple's plan or intent to loop them in) as much as it was a clarification on the Mac Pro.

    Probably not. If most of the 2008 folks were windows folks drawn in by Vista screw ups , temporary AMD leverage on Intel on price/performance, and temporary hiccup by Intel/Apple pricing then, those folks probably are going to bolt anyway. People who are interested in the cheapest box you can wrap around the highest priced CPU ( where CPU value is the only primary metric) the 2008 was an aberration. Price/performance wise it actually doesn't compete with the following models. It is only when just as CPU cost percentage of the system costs that it stands out.

    The now obviously dubious shared front side memory bus for more than 4 cores and "above average" memory upgrade prices. Take much of the shine off being some "best value" offering and more so on the "low enough to reach" price offering for someone looking for the mythical xMac.

    The used price fluctuations are almost always overstated on Mac Pro transitions. It is quite unlikely the next Mac Pro is going to be revolutionary (if the name stays the same, alogn with the market targeting. ). There may be short term blimps right around the introductions with a temporary spike in systems being traded in., but prices don't crater over the medium term with new Mac Pros.

    Not really. Apple is making lemonade out of lemons, but this isn't a well planned long term, optimal strategic position for them to be in. Something went wrong. ( cancel then restarted Mac Pro , some major design priority was a major failure , ....... , etc. Or a combination of a couple of these missteps. ) and they are making the best out of a screwed up situation.

    The Mac Pro base is going to shrink before it gets back on a healthy track again next year if enough folks buy into the new offering at that time. That actually puts the Mac Pro into a much more precarious strategic position long term though. If those new buyers don't show and the base is shrunken below Apple's minimal target levels (and the rest of the Mac models greatly outgrow it ), then the Mac Pro will be in very bad position... not a good one. It will be at a much higher risk next year than the previous two. Manageable risk, but higher.
  25. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I agree with a lot of your thinking, in this post and in the thread generally. But I do think that Apple was surprised by the reaction they got from the MacPro crowd.

    The addition, and then removal, of the "New" tag. This wasn't some typo that got through the system, the "New" tag is part of a policy decision.

    The Tim Cook email, that was then clarified by PR. That is highly atypical of Apple.

    So, while I agree that they have a multi-month (if not multi-year) plan to introduce something new - likely in 2013 - and that they are still keeping to the plan. I still think the reaction they received to the announcement surprised them - and they fumbled their communications. I think we can agree that they will not have changed the core of the plan due to the reaction, but they may pay more attention to the information they put out. Perhaps more "unofficial" leaks?

    I don't really think they care how many "not new" Mac Pros they sell or not... As you stated earlier, they likely don't keep a large inventory of parts. They didn't spend much money on R&D on the 2012 version, nor created anything new that needed to be customized.... so their development costs are already recovered. At this point they can afford to have the MacPro sales dry up close to the 2013 announcement.

    I think what Apple felt it needed to do was to offer up something that allowed as many MacPro users to stay in the Apple ecosystem if they needed to replace a MacPro this year.

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