the state of apple's professional line

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by i make movies, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. i make movies macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    #1
    I saw this article. Very well written (and very long).

    http://brookwillard.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/the-state-of-apples-professional-line/

    I'll copy and paste it for those not wanting to click the link.

    the state of apple’s professional line
    By Brook Willard 64 Comments
    Categories: Uncategorized
    Tags: Apple Computer

    Today, 512 days after the last update, Apple introduced the new lineup of speed-bumped Mac Pros and further established their abandonment of the professional community.

    Now, I don’t say this to be inflammatory – far from it. As a professional user in the truest sense, I eat, sleep and breathe things like this. I work in an industry that simply requires the use of a Mac… no ifs, ands or buts. No Windows, no Linux, no hackintoshes, no excuses. To the millions that love their Macs, it’s an enviable position to be in. But to those who have walked this path before, it’s a lonely existence. The reason for this is simple:

    With the 2010 Mac Pro update, Apple has literally created a machine for nobody.

    Let me explain. In order to get a true understanding of the current Mac Pro lineup, we have to go on a trip down memory lane.

    Ever since the discontinuation of the Power Macintosh 9600 in 1997 [and Workgroup Server 9650 in early 1998], Apple’s professional desktop lineup has filled a space immediately above their consumer machines. While many still look back on the immense expansion [six PCI slots!] of the pre-G3-era computers with fondness, what they often forget is that those machines tipped the scale at $4,700 [and $6,900 for the server!] when they first shipped. They were extreme performance machines with fitting prices.

    But since Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the professional line rapidly shifted from the stratosphere to the attainable. For years, there were three price points to Apple’s professional desktop lineup: $1,999, $2,499 and $2,999. The low-end model was a logical step over the highest-end consumer machine [the iMac] and each price point got you a logical increase in performance.

    After the introduction of the Power Mac G3, performance increased rapidly until it hit a clock speed road block in 1999. For MacWorld after MacWorld, we stood by and watched countless Photoshop bake-offs between a 500MHz Mac and an umpteen GHz PC. It was in this curious era until they broke down the barrier in 2001 that Apple [almost begrudgingly] changed their strategy from speed increase to feature increase. As new generations of processors [still trapped at <500MHz speeds] surfaced, the Power Mac would grow with faster graphics, faster system controllers, faster networking, faster system busses and improved I/O. While these machines never reached the expandability of the Power Macintosh line, they grew in performance and usefulness while maintaining their position one notch above the iMac.

    Apple again hit a similar roadblock with the G5, never reaching the 3.0GHz that Motorola promised Apple [and us!] in 2003. With that said, the immense performance increase that the G5 afforded was worth it – at least in the early days. A minor $300 price bump to the professional lineup in this era was offset by the killer performance you’d gain… 3.0GHz or not.

    In the Intel era, the concept of clock speeds are almost lost. It’s 2010 and we’ve still barely cracked the 3.0GHz barrier. It turns out that the snake oil some thought we were being sold in the 500MHz roadblock era was actually true! It’s architecture that trumps clock speed.

    Since the Intel transition, Apple has usually positioned themselves as the star child of Intel’s processor lineup. Every time Intel had something new to show, Apple would be the first to have it, contractually blocking others out for weeks or months before the processors were widely available.

    Now before I go any further, I want to draw a selfish distinction. For the sake of argument, there are two types of users of Apple’s professional lineup.

    First, there are the users that I will shamelessly lump into “Group A”. These users – call them prosumers, high-end consumers, casual professionals or rich people – demand more from their machines than they can get out of the consumer models. The reasons are plentiful. Maybe they wanted a bigger screen on their laptop than they could get in the consumer lineup. Maybe they needed some expandability. Maybe they knock around in Photoshop every now and again and needed better I/O and storage options. Hell, maybe they just like aluminum. Whatever the reason, this group of users fit into the slot directly above the iMac [and iBook/MacBook] perfectly. Jumping from a $1,500 iMac to a $2,000+ PowerMac was attainable and justifiable.

    Then, there are the rest of us. We demand the most from our machines. We make a living off of our machines and the work that they help us accomplish. We stuff our Macs to the brim with PCI cards, RAM and storage. We move hundreds of terabytes of data, render for hours and know what it really means to push a machine to the limit. Maybe it’s video, maybe it’s photography, maybe it’s server administration… hell, maybe it’s something i’ve never heard of. Either way, it’s about the performance and there is no second place. Group B.

    The thing that frightens me about Apple’s professional lineup is that over the past few years, they’ve seemingly abandoned Group B. Just take a look at Apple’s current offerings.

    The MacBook Pro briefly glimmered as an awesome professional laptop when it peaked in 2008. It had a user-replaceable battery, user-replaceable hard drive, an ExpressCard slot and a matte screen. Apple had finally answered our calls that they’d seemingly been ignoring since the ’90s.

    Take a look at the same lineup today. Apple dropped the replaceable battery, dropped the user-upgradeable hard drive, started charging for matte screens and replaced the immensely useful ExpressCard slot with a consumer-oriented SD card slot. Hell, the entry-level MacBook Pro dropped below $2,000 to make it appeal to consumers more.

    The reasons for Apple’s decision are obvious – many consumers want a bigger screen and don’t need all of the performance. I’m sure that most of the MacBook Pros Apple was selling were going directly to owners who don’t even understand what an ExpressCard slot is or why they’d need it. But their point-and-shoot camera [and their entry-level DSLR] has an SD card and boy it’d be convenient to just stick it in the computer. Since most people don’t take their laptops beyond the kitchen table or the local Starbucks, saving weight on an internal battery makes sense. Replaceable hard drives? It’s not even on their radar.

    To save the professional users, Apple kept the ExpressCard slot in the 17″ model. Unfortunately, the 17″ model has the same graphics performance as the 15″ model, but it’s driving more pixels resulting in lower per-pixel performance. The system architecture is still based around one USB 2.0 bus and one FireWire bus, resulting in limited I/O performance. One hopes that Apple will upgrade the ExpressCard slot to the 2.0 specification later this year, but with only one machine sporting the slot, I’m not holding my breath.

    With these decisions, Apple has turned the MacBook Pro lineup into a high-end consumer line… the perfect computer for Group A users.

    Before turning the spotlight back on the Mac Pro, I want to look at a few other professional Apple products… perhaps the most important being QuickTime. When Apple introduced Mac OS X 10.6, they cleaned up a lot of things. Perhaps the most useful change to professionals [other than the generally increased performance, naturally] was the system-wide change from 1.8 gamma to 2.2 gamma. Rather than commenting on how overdue this change was, I’ll simply nod and accept it.

    But look at what happened to QuickTime in the process. With a rewrite of the Mac OS as a whole, I expected Apple to clean up all the messes that QuickTime had been creating over the past seven versions. QuickTime is indispensable, yes, but it’s also been plagued with prevalent gamma issues and inconsistencies for years. Those in the professional video community have found workarounds, but it was only logical that Apple clean up this mess while they were cleaning up the rest of the OS.

    Unfortunately, Apple introduced QuickTime X – a disappointing step backwards from QuickTime 7. Gone are the features of QuickTime Pro, gone is codec support for so many video formats, gone are dozens of useful display options and gone is the ability to overcome the limitations of QuickTime’s gamma issues. Apple didn’t fix the gamma issue, they simply removed the ability to work around it. The only positive feature I can find in the application is the inclusion of fullscreen playback in the free player.

    Naturally, one can still find QuickTime 7 in their utilities folder, much in the way that Apple had to keep iMovie HD around after iMovie ’08 removed most of its useful features.

    Take a look at Apple’s other professional offerings. FInal Cut Pro hasn’t seen an update in just over a year and lacks basic functionality like 64-bit optimization and true multiprocessor support. Unfortunately – at its most basic level – Final Cut Pro is still a single-processor application.

    Apple’s Logic Pro has seen similarly limited support over the past few years. It wasn’t until January of this year that Apple updated Logic Pro to support 64-bit. Even with this update, the program still feels trapped in an era between PowerPC and Intel processors.

    Looking back at the Mac Pro, Apple has found themselves in a market that they are seemingly unwilling or unable to support.

    When the Nehalem Mac Pro was introduced in early 2009, Apple was the first major computer manufacturer to have access to the new processors. Even after other companies picked up the processors, Apple had created a genuinely competitive machine. You could price out an identical system from almost any other PC manufacturer and end up with a similar [or higher!] price than Apple’s lineup. Credit where credit is due, this is a habit that Apple has stuck to with the Mac Pro lineup for several generations.

    The problem is that Apple is no longer in their own sandbox. When Apple switched over to using Intel processors, they opened themselves up to direct and undeniable competition. When Apple was on their 6-month product update cycle back in the PowerPC days, there was no competition. Sure, the PC world would’ve updated a few times since Apple’s last offering… but Apple’s last offering was still the fastest PowerPC system you could get.

    Since Apple had moved into the x86 wild, their price/performance superiority with new product launches would dwindle quickly. While the 2009 Mac Pro may have been a terrific value on the day of its introduction, the PC world would drop prices and add performance consistently month after month for the entire life of the tower. When a six-month product update cycle felt lengthy, a 14+ month product cycle is an eternity. As of yesterday, Apple’s top-of-the-line Mac Pro still cost the same that it did at the time of its introduction… when an identically configured PC was available for pennies.

    In this new world, Apple hasn’t reacted by updating their professional products more aggressively or striving to increase performance or drop prices – they’ve seemingly done the opposite. Leaving your most competitive performance systems to rot for almost a year and a half is an insult to those that rely on them.

    Even accepting that, Apple’s current product introduction is already four months behind the curve. Instead of leading the way by being the first to use a new processor from Intel, Apple missed the target and is introducing machines that are essentially already outdated from a price/performance perspective.

    With all of that in mind, why is the 2010 Mac Pro a machine for nobody?

    The reason is simple – it’s why we went on that trip through history.

    When Apple switched from the Power Macintosh 9600 to the PowerMac G3, they dropped a lot of things. They halved the number of PCI slots and limited the upgradability of the machine, but they dropped a huge amount off the price to justify it. Existing in that $2,000 – $3,000 range was what made the PowerMac work. It may not have had all of the features that professional users had come to expect, but the price/performance ratio was vastly increased.

    If you look at today’s lineup, Apple has introduced a machine priced like the Power Macintosh 9600 but outfitted like the PowerMac G3. It is priced out of the range of Group A, but lacks the performance and upgradability required by Group B. In many ways, it goes against everything Apple taught us during those countless Photoshop bake-offs and system controller comparisons. Apple has done what they always told us was bad – they’ve bolted a crazy fast processor to a system that’s just not up to the task. It’s a twin-turbo V12 Yugo.

    Like the ExpressCard 34 slot in the MacBook Pro, I’m sure Apple would tell you that only an infinitesimal percentage of users ever take advantage of all the Mac Pro has to offer. I’m sure very few users fill up their PCI slots, max out their RAM and run their towers into the ground. If the machines were priced like the MacBook Pro, it’s a valid argument. But at $5,000, the machine is no longer in the price range of a Group A user. In my mind, that argument just doesn’t apply here.

    Furthermore, as the computing world moves forward to newer and faster standards, even a mid-range professional users has requirements that stress the lower-end [and more reasonably priced] Mac Pro models.

    The Mac Pro only has one FireWire bus, but inexplicably sports 4 ports. Adding another bus will fill up a PCI slot. The Mac Pro has no eSATA support [and the extra SATA ports on the motherboard are presumably still not hot-swappable], so that fills up another PCI slot. USB 3.0 may still be in its infancy, but adding it to the machine when it’s ready is going to fill up another slot.

    So the simple act of bringing the motherboard’s I/O up to what is normal in 2010 fills the system’s PCI slots.

    But what about the more advanced users? If one needs to add a SAS card or RAID card, they’re out of space. If they need to add industry- or application-specific PCI cards [think HD-SDI input/output, video professionals], they’re out of space. What if that user wants to mount their professional system in a rack mount to fit with the rest of their gear? No such luck, unfortunately – at least not unless they want to saw off the handles to make the computer fit.

    In short, the system architecture of the Mac Pro just isn’t up to what true professional users need in 2010. It may have the bleeding-edge processors [introduced several months ago] but it lacks the back-end support to make it all useful. We’re still limited to 40 PCI lanes across 4 slots. There’s still no SAS backplane. There is still one FireWire bus. There is no USB 3.0. There is no BluRay. The machine will not fit in a rack mount.

    As I said at the beginning of this article, I don’t mean to be inflammatory. I’m just crestfallen – like I’ve been abandoned by the company that used to love me and my brethren.

    For years, Apple was the best at this sort of thing. If you worked in graphics, you used a Mac. If you worked in video or film, you used a Mac. If you worked in music, you used a Mac. It was the way of the creative professional.

    As a consumer entering the Apple Store, you knew that Apple had both ends of the spectrum covered. They made the easiest computers for consumers to use but they also made the fastest and most powerful computers for creative professionals. Even if you were there to buy an iBook, it sure was nice to look through to the next section of the store and see the computer that composted Lord of The Rings using Apple’s own Shake! It was the halo effect, even in the days before the iPod.

    Apple’s consumer offerings have been spectacular over the past few years. They’ve introduced such fantastic products that most people can find themselves right at home on one of Apple’s computers. But in this shift towards the consumer, Apple has left the professional behind.

    If you look at the dollars and cents, I’m sure it’s the logical decision. As with the deletion of the ExpressCard slot from the MacBook Pro, Apple has shifted their efforts towards the greater volume and louder customer base. Why sell one Mac Pro when you can sell 5 iMacs and 30 iPhones? It makes sense on paper.

    But that’s the wrong way to look at the professional line. It shouldn’t be a line of computers that your mother might buy. It’s the line of computers that creative professionals buy. We shoot your movies, we make your music, we edit your TV shows and print your magazines. It’s about creation, not consumption.

    Ask Subaru to put their figures on the table and I guarantee you that their World Rally Championship involvement doesn’t make them a cent. But when a 16-year-old kid sees a $300,000 WRX rip through the dirt sideways at 100MPH, he knows what car he’s going to save for.

    Ask Ford or Chevy the same of NASCAR and you’ll get a similar answer. Or ask Audi about Le Mans. To the companies that sign the checks, it’s not about the money that they spend, it’s about the loyalty and excitement it creates. If Apple has decided to price the Mac Pro out of the reach of the consumer, they need to give it the beans that their own racing team requires.

    So when the machines ship in August, will I buy them? Of course. Because I have to. I do this for a living and if my machines aren’t up to the task, someone else’s are. But for every $5,000 Mac Pro I buy I’m going to spend another few thousand on a PCI expansion chassis and a few thousand after that on SATA cards, SAS cards, FireWire cards, USB 3.0 cards and BluRay burners. Somehow this will all get wedged into 40 PCI lanes. And every time there’s a software update, I’ll have to shake the whole machine down again to keep driver incompatibility from ruining stability. It’s the nature of the beast.

    As far as I can tell, Apple still hasn’t made a decision. They haven’t figured out whether to abandon their professional users or support them. The 2010 Mac Pro is a middle ground machine… it’s caught in the ether.

    I can only hope that Apple hears the cries of their professional users and builds systems to support the industry that they created. They have to make a decision one way or the other, because right now they have nothing. I just hope that they don’t make their decision based on sales figures… because I can already tell you how they’re going to look.

    They’ve reset the clock with this introduction, but they haven’t solved the problem. I just hope we don’t have to wait another 512 days to see what’s next.

    ~Brook Willard
     
  2. Roman23 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    #2
    And as you said..

    The 2010 mac pro.. also called the 2009 deluxe, enchanced with westmere support is all that it is.. a 2009 machine in its fullest EXCEPT for a firmware update to support westmere - something Applew should have just given to us through software update.. why the need to buy a whole new box(not so new.. its a 2009) when this is just a minor speed bump with nothing really new other than the 5770 and 5870 + westmere.. Take away the westmere and its a 2009 again..

    SANDY bRIDGE however will be totally different.. but as you say.. will it be another 512 days?
     
  3. i make movies thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    #3
    For the record, I did not write this article. In the comments section on the wordpress page, the author, Brook Willard, told people to post it, so I posted it here.

    It's a great discussion piece on the state of Apple professional line. Maybe if enough people see it, word can get back to Steve Jobs so the next update will actually be a good one that professionals can use.
     
  4. bilbo--baggins macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    It does seem quite bizarre to go so long without an update, to not reduce the price of the old model along the way, and then to hardly change anything when an update does finally come along.

    I'm just as puzzled about the displays.
     
  5. Roman23 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    #5
    and you wanna know whats sad about this update?

    We were supposed to have this firmware update so we could use westmere.. there was no need to bring out the same machine again with the same parts and rename is a 2010.. bad marketing if you ask me.. Now, when Sandy Bridge comes out.. that should be a totally different system from nehalem and westmere.. and rightfully deserves to be called Mac Pro 5,1

    If anything, westmere update should just be called: Mac Pro 4,2
    because thats all it is.. the video cards are a great update and I think all of us want those more though.



     
  6. Johns12 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    #6
    Unfortunately, I agree with most of what he has written. The history of the PowerPC boxes ( I have owned a few including a 9600) gives much credence to his opinion. I use my Mac Pro in a recording studio. 3 available PCI slots is sad. Logic Pro, while and excellent program, still has many bugs and a long update window. I doubt if Apples attitude will change towards the pro user. I see it as getting worse in the future. Too bad.
     
  7. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #7
    This article's willfully ignorant to a few factoids. To wit:

    The hard drive in a Macbook Pro is still quite user-upgradable. OWC sells kits for this. The embedded battery's hourage gain is worth the tradeoff, when two of the old batteries can't equal the built in battery's capacity. I don't think anybody carried three batteries around back then.

    Like many, many people, the significance of Quicktime X was completely lost on him. Ars Technica explained what was done there and why. It's a framework upgrade, and it's the framework that matters, not the silly player application whose editing abilities and features are far surpassed by excellent, widely available freeware.

    USB 3 is not natively available on any motherboards yet; it's been cobbled together with NEC chips integrated to the Intel motherboards, a solution  would never have used in the PowerPC days, so this is actually consistent with the way they design computers.

    2009 Mac Pros were not as competitive as this guy likes to think. At least, not in terms of price. 2010 Machines are basically the same in terms of positioning, so as for who the computer is for, it's for people who were willing to buy the last machine.

    On the other hand, these machines are simply much faster than anything we had in the PowerPC days. It's a ton more bang for your buck. Unfortunately, most software can't make real use of it yet, which is why Final Cut's next upgrade is so critically important.

    He's quite right about  being sluggish in new feature uptake, and this has a lot to do with their effective outsourcing of hardware to Intel. He's also right about the lack of support for other things being frustrating.

    We were never going to get a firmware update.  doesn't support component upgrades. Learn to live with it, because the complaining will never make a difference.  wants you to buy a new computer, not a new processor.

    As for that group of professionals who aren't well-served? Guess again. Most of them are plenty well served by the existing hardware, because it is powerful enough. It's the software that lets them down consistently. Yeah, people would like more hard drive bays and PCIe slots (no such thing as enough), but 's core markets have enough to keep them satisfied...which is why there has been no change.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    Wow, now that's a long dissertation. I think the gist of the article is that older "pro" machines were true pro type machines because they offered significantly higher performance then apple's other consumer level machines.

    Now that's not the case, in so far as the i7 iMac is just as powerful as the low end MP and he's bemoaning the fact that the cost of the Mac Pros are so high but not getting the same significant speed difference.

    Is that a fair accusation on apple? Does it matter? I mean if a iMac does the job, who cares if its not a true "professional" type machine. I suppose the lack of expandability is mitigated to a degree by inexpensive NAS as well
     
  9. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #9
    The author's frustrations should really be directed more at Intel than Apple. Intel's the one that's slow to adopt new I/O technologies and integrate them into their chipsets. Intel is the one focused on data center market and treating the workstation market like a hobby. What does he expect Apple to do? OEM motherboards from ASUS or Gigabyte?! :rolleyes:

    BTW, @TheStrudle... +1
     
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #10
    Most being the key word. ;) The fall abysmally short on options such as their RAID Pro card, which isn't a minor thing in a workstation environment (many need increased HDD throughputs, so RAID is a necessity to solve this particular bottleneck).

    Some may consider it minor or nit picking, but from what I'm accustomed to, it's not. Workstation usage usually means that such upgrades are required.

    As per software, that's going to continue to be the case unfortunately, as the software always lags behind the hardware.
     
  11. reel2reel macrumors 6502a

    reel2reel

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #11
    I totally agree that it feels as if Apple is really on the fence in regard to its "Pro" positioning. I use Final Cut Pro and Color day in/day out and I'm frustrated to say the least. In the Oldey Days, FCP was constantly improving but it's just stagnating now. Color is an amazing app with some major problems that desperately needs some work. I won't even start on the horror that is "roundtripping." Every minute counts in my work and each day I feel like I'm losing more and more time to stupid bugs and behaviours (what some call "features") and it's kind of getting embarrassing at this point. I really REALLY hope Apple gets back around to its Pro market after the iToy money hemorrhaging starts to slow a bit, because when Apple puts their collective mind to something, they create the absolute best there is.

    I'm guessing you don't work in video. The former QT Pro player was far more than a "Player." I use it everyday in the work environment to perform multiple tasks. It's simple and effective. I can use my JKL keys, set in/out points, copy/paste, transcode, make reference movies, check closed-captioning, etc, etc. After getting new boxes preloaded with Snowleopard, everyone in the office wanted to know where the hell the pro player was, including our graphics person and animator.

    I'm curious, though, what freeware utility you recommend that equals the usefulness of QT Player Pro? I'm surprised I haven't found any myself.

    Lastly, I think the disappointment over the loss of QT Pro isn't related to the godawful player that comes with Snowleopard, it's the idea that Apple just couldn't be bothered, which leads me back to what I was saying above.
     
  12. i make movies thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    #12
    Yes, the machine today are much faster. But the speed of the processors isn't the issue, it's the lack of support for everything else (PCI-e slots, eSATA, SAS, etc.etc.).

    What good is having 12 cores when you can only use 2?

    The remarks about Quicktime X....are you referring to this article?

    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2...re-player-less-chrome-in-latest-106-build.ars

    Apple increased the player functions but took away the rest of the controls and editing features. Apple could have upgraded the player and kept the controls and editing features. There was no reason take those editing feature away.
     
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #13
    Have to disagree w/you. The recent MP update has been mostly met with jeers or indifference on the post production forums I frequent and that coupled w/the lackluster showing of FCP (especially compared to Adobe and Avid) has many people looking at alternatives. Now, of course, all will be forgiven if Apple blows our doors off next summer with killer updates to Final Cut Studio and the Mac Pros but we'll just have to wait and see.

    Couldn't agree more QT Pro is very handy I probably use it weekly at work.


    Lethal
     
  14. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #14
    Good grief that was long.

    If you have a point to make you need to be a bit more concise than that.
     
  15. beto2k7 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2010
    Location:
    ::1
    #15
    IIRC Steve Jobs once said he would go where the market goes... so yeah... As the article well notes since the intel switch apple has had a lot more competition basically in the price/performance ratio which IMO made apple drop the ball. . I have some nostalgic memories when the WWDC's and the Macworld keynotes where most about The Mac. Now since the iphone launch in 2007, The Mac has seen less and less space in those conferences.
     
  16. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #16
    Wow, that many of you use Quicktime? Have you not heard of MPEG Streamclip?

    I don't know what's sadder, the fact that people who own FCS on a Mac Pro can't be bothered to run it for something quick and dirty - really does not take that long to load - or that they don't know about far better alternatives.

    Yeah, Quicktime Pro was far more than a player, but it was utter crap compared to MPEG Streamclip.

    And if you couldn't be bothered to figure out that Quicktime 7 was still sitting around for you to use, you as a video editor need to bone up on your tech awareness. Not saying you need to be an IT pro, but video and photo editing are not for people who can't be bothered to do a little digging.

    The point of the Ars article is that the whole quicktime framework was crufty and in dire need of revision. And you know, they had to update the quicktime framework before Final Cut could be upgraded, because we're talking about ancient carbon software built upon assumptions built upon other assumptions because Quicktime is ancient in computer years.

    Quicktime is the engine that makes Final Cut go. Quicktime X was necessary. I honestly can't be bothered to complain about the lack of editing in the simple player because MPEG Streamclip is free, available, and better than Quicktime Pro ever was for editing functions.

    Now, I will be the first to admit that complaints about FCS and Color are valid. Color was bought from another company and clumsily integrated into FCS, and definitely needs revision. FCS has the whole carbon legacy problem, every problem the old quicktime framework had, and is also in dire need of revision. It's coming.

    Like I said, plenty of people want more from their Mac Pros (And Nano, I agree with you on the RAID card; people with a 2008 Mac Pro are fine for it; I continually forget that folks with newer machines are out of luck). But the people complaining on the forums are the loudest, most critical group. As has been mentioned in the past, lots of places just buy the default mac pro, upgrade it very little, and live with it.

    Not everybody is savvy enough or cares enough to get the most out of their machine. Foolish, I know, but that's the way some places are.
     
  17. DylanLikesPorn macrumors 6502

    DylanLikesPorn

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    #17
    The author needs to take a deep breath. Apple's pro offerings come in cycles, this just happens to be their nadir. The next Mac Pro / FCS upgrade after 2010 will be amazing. It takes more than a year / one upgrade cycle to introduce big changes underneath. The author needs to get an education in how much human resources are required to add new software and hardware features.

    I can guarantee you Apple is building a solid foundation for the future, as evidenced by Snow Leopard and their Grand Central architecture. Future apps will take advantage of it, so just be god damn patient, alright?

    This article smells of a whiny little idiot.
     
  18. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #18
    Yup. Use that too. Also use Compressor, Episode and even AE for transcoding. Horses for courses.


    Lethal
     
  19. mrhick01 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    #19
    We've all forgotten what Steve said 14 years ago.

    This had just come back to me, I had nearly forgotten, but it is most appropriate for this thread and many of your concerns:

    "If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth -- and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago."
    -- Fortune, Feb. 19, 1996

    Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/commentary/cultofmac/2006/03/70512#ixzz0v8yhoQCW
     
  20. mrhick01 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    #20
    More relevant quotes

    "You know, I've got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can't say any more than that it's the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me."
    -- Fortune, Sept. 18, 1995

    "Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could -- I'm searching for the right word -- could, could die."
    -- On his return as interim CEO, in Time, Aug. 18, 1997

    Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/commentary/cultofmac/2006/03/70512#ixzz0v8zqgiPB
     
  21. Cavepainter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #21
    I agree with you to some extent about the new 6 and 12 core Mac Pros. They cant sell em till they get em. But that doesn't excuse the fact that they could have kept their current Mac Pros much more competitive. One can only imagine how many less Pros they sell now than they did last year. Maybe thats why they tipped their hand early about the August update?

    Poor Apple, what could they possibly do? At Intel's mercy. Their hands are tied. Forced to sell last year's computer at today's prices, unfortunately giving them a huge profit-margin. Do you think Apple could afford to offer more on their Mac Pros?

    Well, how about drop the price? How about add more than 3GB ram? How about offering more modern graphics cards? How about not charging an arm and a leg for ram upgrades? How about not ripping us off on processor upgrades? How about not charging a fortune for upgraded hard drives? How about giving us a better deal on graphics card upgrades?

    .... did I mention drop the price? "Yeah, but :apple: never does that!!" some on this site say.... :rolleyes: Wow. Great argument!

    Not buying it.


    To those that thought the article was long-winded, I agree. But please allow me edit it down a tiny bit to get at the thesis:

    "Leaving your most competitive performance systems to rot for almost a year and a half is an insult to those that rely on them."

    That pretty much says it all.
     
  22. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    192.168.1.1
    #22
    Every vendor - Dell, HP, etc. - charges a lot for HD and RAM upgrades. Save a lot of money by doing it yourself. That's one reason people buy the Mac Pro - it's easy to slap in your own HDs. I don't think Apple's prices for hard drives is a valid argument to machine pricing.

    Apple uses Xeon processors in their Mac Pro line. These are in the $1000/each price range, not the $300 Core i5/i7 models you'll find in Dell boxes. That's what keeps the prices high. Workstation parts. Buffered EC RAM is another reason for higher prices. Show me a workstation-class machine that has USB 3.0 on the motherboard. You can't. The $200 Asus gaming board, on the other hand, may.

    Apple has only rarely put the newest, cutting edge tech on their machines. Even the first iMac with its "radical" USB ports wasn't the first machine by a long shot to use USB - they'd been on PCs for some time. USB 3.0 might be the same way. Not going to find it first on the Mac.

    Are the Mac Pros perfect machines? Of course not. They certainly could use a better selection of video cards. But I don't think they're nearly as lacking as this posted article makes them out to be. They are high-end number-crunching workstations.

    What I think this guy wants is the fabled "xMac." The mid-tower using standard desktop parts (i.e., not workstation/server-class Xeon parts). While I do agree that Apple could sell a whole lot of these, for what ever reason Apple as a company has chosen not to go in that direction.

    Oh, and as for Apple not changing the Mac Pro in over a year... while I suppose they could have done a hard drive bump or a video card bump, they - like the rest of the industry - are at the mercy of Intel. What Intel Xeon processor could they have upgraded the machine to? Nothing. And Apple doesn't drop prices, that much we already knew. Not saying it's right, but this company has been in business for over 30 years. We should already know what to expect.
     
  23. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #23
    Just picking this out because it serves to perpetuate the myth. Apple does use Xeon processors, but they don't all start at $1,000. The 2.4GHz quads on the 8-core are sub $400 processors. The 2.8GHz and 3.2GHz quads are <$300 and <$600 and are priced the same as the Core i7 processors, as is the 3.33Ghz 6-core. And of course Dell use Xeons too, but their single processor workstation is priced similar to their consumer systems and consumer systems from other companies (around $1,000 less than Apple).
     
  24. the editor macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    #24
    great article.

    This "update" (or whatever you'd call it)once again states that Apple has clearly shifted its priority's and business model. Lets face it, Apple is just a company that makes nice gadgets, its latest release, the "battery charger" proofs this even more.

    Apple had dropped the PRO line over a year ago, yet allot of people refuse to see it, Apple is fooling everybody with its so called "Pro" line, they are pretty basic systems these days.

    Biggest problem for Apple is its pricing...people with the wright mind are always going to compare - price/performance - (and yes people will always compare with a custom build Windows 7 computer, why shouldn't they??! Apple is using the same CPU's, GPU's, memory, HDD...etc as windows users, only difference is the OS witch has nothing to do with raw performance) a well build W7 system that coast only half of the MacPro can without a doubt outperform the MacPro. If Apple was to offer its customers a fair price deal there wouldn't be as much disappointment because you would get what you pay for, a fair deal, its a simple as that. People complain because they feel they are getting ripped-off, witch they are.

    The 2009 was ridiculously overpriced already with its 60$ graphic card, the soon to be updated 2010 model is even 600$ more expensive than the 2009 one and all we get is a 6% speed increase, this is just outrageously insane in every meaning of the word.

    never thought it come to this but:
    If you want a fair deal - don't choose Apple
    If you want a real computer for heavy duty work - build your own W7 system and stay away from Apple toys, loads of hoopla over something only Steve and a few fanboys find magical

    The only good thing Apple has going is its OS and esthetics...the importance of performance should clearly outweigh both when you're a professional.
     
  25. hardliner macrumors member

    hardliner

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Location:
    Old Europe
    #25
    .... did I mention drop the price? "Yeah, but never does that!!" some on this site say.... Wow. Great argument!

    Not buying it.


    To those that thought the article was long-winded, I agree. But please allow me edit it down a tiny bit to get at the thesis:

    "Leaving your most competitive performance systems to rot for almost a year and a half is an insult to those that rely on them."

    That pretty much says it all.
    Every vendor - Dell, HP, etc. - charges a lot for HD and RAM upgrades. Save a lot of money by doing it yourself. That's one reason people buy the Mac Pro - it's easy to slap in your own HDs. I don't think Apple's prices for hard drives is a valid argument to machine pricing.

    Apple uses Xeon processors in their Mac Pro line. These are in the $1000/each price range, not the $300 Core i5/i7 models you'll find in Dell boxes. That's what keeps the prices high. Workstation parts. Buffered EC RAM is another reason for higher prices. Show me a workstation-class machine that has USB 3.0 on the motherboard. You can't. The $200 Asus gaming board, on the other hand, may.

    Apple has only rarely put the newest, cutting edge tech on their machines. Even the first iMac with its "radical" USB ports wasn't the first machine by a long shot to use USB - they'd been on PCs for some time. USB 3.0 might be the same way. Not going to find it first on the Mac.

    Are the Mac Pros perfect machines? Of course not. They certainly could use a better selection of video cards. But I don't think they're nearly as lacking as this posted article makes them out to be. They are high-end number-crunching workstations.

    What I think this guy wants is the fabled "xMac." The mid-tower using standard desktop parts (i.e., not workstation/server-class Xeon parts). While I do agree that Apple could sell a whole lot of these, for what ever reason Apple as a company has chosen not to go in that direction.

    Oh, and as for Apple not changing the Mac Pro in over a year... while I suppose they could have done a hard drive bump or a video card bump, they - like the rest of the industry - are at the mercy of Intel. What Intel Xeon processor could they have upgraded the machine to? Nothing. And Apple doesn't drop prices, that much we already knew. Not saying it's right, but this company has been in business for over 30 years. We should already know what to expect.

    Nice read.
     

Share This Page