Would Steve Jobs have approved the new Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Clive At Five, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. Clive At Five, Jun 13, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013

    Clive At Five macrumors 65816

    Clive At Five

    May 26, 2004
    St. Paul, MN
    I've been flamed pretty hard over my recent Mac Pro comments, and the space of a reply just wasn't enough to say everything that is wrong about this computer.

    This computer does not represent an "innovation", and I strongly believe that Steve Jobs would have never let this thing see the light of day, much less hit the production floor.

    I will explain why, but first let me begin by responding to the most common reply to my original post: "Obviously you don't understand Apple's design philosophy" / "obviously you've never been an Apple fan"

    My history with Apple goes back to when I was about three years old... back to the first time I ever used a computer. In school, I was ridiculed by my classmates for being a Mac user/supporter. I have issues of Macworld dating back to before Steve Job's return. I watched keynotes live from Apple Stores. I've even built an HTPC into a PowerMac G4 Cube, and a hackintosh into a Powermac G4 Quicksilver because I was so obsessed with Apple's designs.

    But do I understand Apple's design philosophy?

    If I were to sum it up in three words, it would be "It just works."

    But what, exactly, does that mean?

    Back in the late 90s, computers were still needlessly confusing and that operating systems were unnecessarily complex. Jobs knew that there was an appetite for a computer that you could just take out of the box, plug it in, and start using. He knew that there was a market for a user-experience that appealed to those who wanted a no-frills computer. Thus the iMac and OS X were born. It was the right computer for the right time... And suddenly computers were accessible to everyone!

    But Apple still had a contingency of users who knew what they were doing. They wanted more power, and more flexibility. For these people "it just works" meant having a robust computer which made being a power-user simple. Why do you think they built the swing-down door on the G3s and G4s? For looks? No, because power-users needed to get inside their computers regularly enough that such a design feature was useful.

    "It just works" means different things for different classes of users... but for EVERYONE, it means having exactly what you need out of a computer - no more, no less.

    The manifestation of this design philosophy was much more noticeable for basic users. In being cautious not to give them more than they needed, Apple often took what seemed like drastic measures. (Cutting ODDs was a prime example of this.) A reduction in the size and complexity of Apple's hardware was an inevitable result of their design philosophy... but it was never the outright goal!

    Somewhere along the way, I think some Mac-users (especially the more recent ones) began to think of it this way... that Apple's philosophy was minimalism.

    Let me say it again: minimalism is the outcome of thieir philosophy applied to what basic users need in a computer.

    Now what about pros?

    While imbedded flash-based storage is nice, you'll be hard-pressed to find a pro-user who won't need mass storage for the gobs and gobs of disk-space consumed by media files. And when video editor has a sample cut he wants to showcase, it'll most likely be played back on a DVD player, which - last I checked - aren't compatible with a USB stick.

    This computer - for a good majority of pros - won't "just work". This computer will inevitably need more. And when it needs more, you have one option: external add-ons.

    Pro users have the knowledge and the capability to perform their own internal upgrades. For them it's PREFERABLE! Where as most external periphs will have two cords (a power cord and a comm cable), internal periphs have ZERO! And they take up no additional space! (And no additional outlets!)

    To suggest that external peripherals are preferred by pro-users is just totally uninformed. That may be the case for the occasional basic user who may require an external ODD, but in the case where nearly every pro user will require external mass storage... it just makes no sense.

    It DOES NOT just work.

    Steve Jobs was passionate about simplifying the simplify-able.

    What Cook & Co. have done to the Mac Pro was simplification for simplification's sake - devoid of any actual inspiration from what pro users needed. They, like many of today's Apple fans, are caught up in the belief that Apple's mission is minimalism, while completely missing the point of what Steve Jobs actually set out to accomplish.

  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If those comments are anything like this thread title, I can see why. You have absolutely no idea what Steve Jobs would or would not have approved today. He may have been involved in the initial design of the current Mac Pro, and it was simply completed now. It gets really old hearing people moan and groan and complain about Apple products, claiming that Steve would or would not have done it this way or that. First, what he would or wouldn't have done is irrelevant, as he's not here anymore. Second, you don't know what he would have thought or done; you're only assuming. Finally, if you don't like an Apple product, don't buy it. No product will satisfy every consumer. Apple makes what they want to make. If you like a product they make, buy it. If not, don't.
  3. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    Don't think we can say that. Steve approved the clear and translucent iMacs. He also must have approved the dropping of optical drives. Furthermore he bad-mouthed the technically superior Blu-ray format and may have approved of dropping the 17 inch MacBook Pro.

    Some pretty goofy looking products came from the Steve Jobs era. I was hoping that the situation would improve but we are clearly in the form-over-function Jony Ives era.
  4. noisycats macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2010
    The 'ham. Alabama.
    You don't know Steve Jobs. Never did.

    Please don't speak for him now that he is dead.

  5. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    Steve Jobs is dead. Who gives a !!!!! what he may or may not of thought.

    He was also a man, not some god. Sick to death of these types of posts.

    No, I am not an Apple "fan", I am a customer.
  6. tjlazer macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2005
    Tacoma, WA USA
    I agree completely. This new Mac Pro is just a glorified super Mac mini! If that is a Mac Pro then I don't know anymore.

    Yes times need to change and maybe the previous Mac Pro might of been too much of a monstricity and too PC High towerish for 2013, but the solution is not the iCylindar. Sorry. It should be called and marketed as a super Mac Mini, and a smaller cheaper Mac Pro should of been created. One with a swinging door on it and PCI express slots and 3.5" and 5.25" drive bays. A machine you can easily replace the HD, RAM, CPU, GPU and upgrade on your own at will.

    I guess I am too old school and earth friendly. Welcome to the disposable computer age. Thats how the new iMac's, iPhone's and iPads are so why not follow suit for the Pro computer? Sad.... :confused: :apple:
  7. JoeRito macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2012
    New England, USA
    Exactly... if you like the product, buy it. Personally, most of my friends who are fans of Apple products couldn't care less about "what Steve would have approved." He was no humanitarian and he didn't have the market cornered in terms of intelligence. He was good at what he did, now he's gone and someone else does it. Buy or don't buy, but please let's not idolize this guy.
  8. bigus7674 macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2005
    It always takes time...

    For the OP, I can empathize with your concerns regarding the new Mac Pro design and Pro users wanting their internal expansion and clutter-less desk. However, I think what's going to happen is the same thing that happened when the first Mac Pro was introduced.

    "It looks like a giant cheese grater!" swarmed the online forums when the Mac Pro was introduced. Now, granted, that was aesthetics and we're talking about function, but I think the general rule is that everyone gets used to technology, especially Apple's, and when they (Apple) decide to push the envelope further yet, with any new piece of hardware, it takes us a while to adapt to it.

    But, it always takes time, and even if we don't love a new Apple product, over time, we at least seem to understand what the R&D Dept. in Cupertino was thinking / doing. In a way, Apple drives the technology market.

    Remember back when USB 2.0 was first entering the market and Jobs elected to invest in FireWire? No one understood why, when there were hardly any FW-based products on the market and a plethora of USB 2.0 products. But look at how popular and mainstream FW devices became - actually overshadowing USB 2.0, especially in the professional market (i.e. external HDs, etc.).

    So, my belief is...we get used to what we expect from Apple and when it doesn't conform exactly, we overreact and cry "Why has Apple done this to us?!" If enough people don't feel the product is what they are looking for, and it doesn't sell, then as a company, Apple will go back and re-assess the reasons. As much as we Mac users put Apple up on a pedestal, we have to remember that they are a company, and like any company, can and will make some "mistakes" that will ultimately be rectified. Remember the G4 Cube? Users spoke and Apple replaced the product. History tends to repeat itself, though luckily it hasn't been that often for Apple.
  9. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

    Dec 21, 2009
    Far away from liberals
    I'm not impressed with this (I'm sure) overpriced, non upgradable glorified trashcan of a so called "pro" computer. I'm sure there are plenty of old time Apple, non iOS fans who agree with me. Remember the Apple Cube?
  10. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    There are all sorts of pros. Some are tech-oriented, many are not. They're using the power of their Pro to do work. If the computer "just works," that means, among other things, that maybe they don't need a tech to install more hard drives, or whatever else their machine needs. Maybe, like the vast majority of car owners, they're going to go to a pro anytime something has to be done under the hood. But if it doesn't have to be under the hood? Plug 'n' play is as helpful to working pros as it is to the rest of the world.

    Now, if your kind of pro has a tech inclination, I can appreciate where you're coming from - you know how to use that big enclosure and all its slots and bays, and you have no fear of opening the thing. But even as a pro with a tech inclination, I have to say I've thought tower configurations were dumb for quite a long time - the wrong configuration for all but a small portion of the computer-using population.

    Neither of us really knows what Steve Jobs would have approved (though it's likely he had a hand in this - designs this different don't sprout overnight). Would he have approved a design that is "friendly" to a subset of the Pro-user community, or a design that makes the thing more accessible to a much larger community? "The computer for the rest of us."

    What's wrong with a "really powerful Mini" anyway?
  11. BJonson macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2010
    Not only would Steve approve, he probably had major input in the design. This new mac seems to come right out of the Jobs play book. Lets not forget the cube was his idea no? This new mac pro is the same computer only without the optical drive. The cube failed for lack of expandability, high price and slow speed. The new mac pro will suffer the same fate I'm afraid. Even though its got 12 cores, those cores will be a $2500 upgrade watch and nobody will get them except rich people or production houses. No, this new mac pro will only be reasonable in 6 or 8 core varieties which will make it slower than the 12 core mac pro for around the same price. I was really hoping that after Steve was gone we would get some level heads running the show over at apple and we would see some real useful tools come out of them but that isn't happening. If they were smart, which it seems they are not, they would have released this as simply the new Mac and left it at that then upgraded the current mac pro to all new tech and left the case design alone.
  12. MiltonThales macrumors member


    Jan 12, 2008
    Suwanee, GA
    Understanding Apple Design Philosophy

    [Edited for simplification.]

    "It just works." is NOT a design philosophy or attitude. It is how the product functions. It provides NO guidance on what features the product should encompass.

    For guidance on Steve Jobs design philosophy, I draw your attention to the MacBook and the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

    (1) The optical drive goes POOF. If you want an optical drive with the new machine, get an external drive.

    (2) The spinning platter disk drive goes POOF. If you want the large storage of a spinning platter disk drive with the new machine, get an external drive.

    Fewer mechanical devices, more solid state devices.
    Smaller volume, faster performance.

    Both the original MacBook Air and several later models were certainly approved by Jobs, and the direction for those with Retina displays were also.

    The new Mac Pro follows the same steps: (1) no internal optical drive; (2) replace all mechanical storage with solid state storage; (3) the Pro part is satisfied by the capability of the processors (most current Xeon chips), the DOUBLE GPU cards, and the quantity of expansion ports.

    I would be astonished if Jobs had not been shown at least the outline of this project and given full approval.

    You are mistaking what is convenient for you with Apple design philosophy. And remain profoundly mistaken.

    Apple produces the finest product it can figure out, but it focuses on the core of computation. It is not a storage or database producer: it uses those products that make its products useable within the minimum volume possible. Anything more is outside the Apple design philosophy, and its products.
  13. WMD macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2013
    Florida, USA
    Considering that all we've gotten on the new Mac Pro so far is a "sneak peek," I think it's too early to pass judgement. Until someone gets the chance to pull one of these things apart, we can't really say how upgradable or not it is. (No, pictures don't count.)
  14. Namjins macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2011
    I think it is a bit premature to make judgement on the machine yet. We've seen one little preview and know almost nothing about it, including peripherals, pricing, or possible upgrades. I see your complaints and I understand them. That being said, I don't understand the outrage, be it feigned or real. I like the looks (I will paint it to look like a recycle bin) and for what I do I think it will work very well.
  15. gibbz macrumors 68030

    May 31, 2007
    I was as big of a Steve Jobs fan as they come. However, threads like these pointlessly deify Jobs and are a waste of time. We don't know what he would have signed off on. Chances are that some of the products today were worked on in some capacity by Jobs.

    Before taking such reverence for his product choices, please recall Ping, MobileMe, G4 Cube, Lisa, etc. His brilliance wasn't in the choice of any single product, but rather in the longterm vision of product categories.
  16. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    He would have loved it. It's small, different and non-upgradeable. Having said that, I wish these threads would stop. :(
  17. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    Why stop? We have nothing to talk about in this forum anymore. The old production line has gone away, and the new one will be so locked down it'll put an end to half the threads (which were about GPU and HD upgrades).
  18. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    I think all the posters criticizing others for assuming that they know what Jobs thinks (note present tense) about things are clearly missing the obvious...all those folks are mediums!

    The ability to communicate with the dead, a unique skill, is clearly common among folks here on MR.

    It has to be true, otherwise asserting what Jobs would think about anything might be...well... not reasonable. And that couldn't happen here, leaving only one logical conclusion...folks are communicating with the man.

    Has to be...

    Remember..."When the impossible is eliminated, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.".....Sherlock Holmes
  19. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 603

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    No. See AE (802.11ac).



    iAgree 100 %.
  20. thefredelement macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2012
    New York
    You can look at the the 'pro' market a few different ways

    the at home/small/medium biz pro who will invest in new tech when the old stuff breaks down but still needs power. Kind of like where a powerful computer every 3 - 5 years is good enough

    the bigger power user/company who deals with projects where cutting down processing time is literally more money in their pocket and any new jump in speed and a new investment in hardware pays for itself almost instantly

    I think they both enjoy an easy to upgrade experience over the course of the life of their pro setups. I don't think the new MPs are bad, I think they are going to be super powerful and kind of awesome, though I think being locked in to the hardware like that is something that's a pain in the butt.

    I'm not sure what Job's take was on the pro market, but it kind of seemed that he was pro pro. Maybe from the dealing with the comps at Next and Pixar and Apple's own servers, etc.

    We'll really never know, but we do know he liked things that were beautiful and simple and having a bundle of cables all over the place for storage or video processing or whatever the case is going to be with the new MP will not be simple. It's going to be messy, annoying and the functionality of the MP will now rest partly on external devices, which seems a little odd to me... If you can't setup the 'box' with an OS drive and some media drives at least (not even mentioning backup here) as soon as you get it, it's kind of a fail. whether you're a home/smaller pro or a bigger one depending on an IT dept (which will now need to supply local, thunderbolt storage) it's just another thing to worry about...
  21. michaelz macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2010
    You should watch the mari demo video and see how real pro likes it.
  22. phaedarus macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2008
    Steve Jobs, just prior to his return as iCEO, had been quoted as saying that it was in Apple's best interests to have its existing customer base subsidize the development of an entirely new product line.

    In other words, the pro market wasn't enough to sustain Apple with its current strategy. Therefore, Apple should milk their primary customer base; that being the professionals in the photography, design and desktop publishing industries for all their worth in an effort to create a new host of products aimed towards the consumer.

    The irony being, as we all know, is that the professional user base helped pave the way for their own demise as Apple rapidly cannibalized company personnel and resources that were earmarked for the needs of the professional user.

    A cursory view indicates that the new Mac Pro is an attempt by Apple to condition professional users to accept the all-in-one platform. Consider that the iMac creates fewer headaches with respect to support costs as well as ensures a performance "expiry date" whereby new models would have to be purchased for those seeking to stay ahead of the curve and it's little wonder why Apple is taking the integrated approach for the Mac Pro.

    Further, relocating the production of the Mac Pro back in the United States provides Apple with positive public relations points in the mist of its many critics who level accusations of tax evasion and outsourcing against the company. Apple will not risk moving production of its consumer products but the Mac Pro, being a much smaller investment for a now dwarfed professional market, can stand to be sacrificed.

    If I were to hazard a guess, the "SGI Pro" is now essentially a pawn in the great corporate game. While the hope is that it will be a success, its primary function is to serve as a loss leader that pays lip service should there be an exodus by the remnants of the professional community ("You gave up on us, we didn't give up on you") while mitigating the effect of any negative press about its outsourcing operations.

    As for Steve Jobs? He probably couldn't care less either way what Apple rolled off the production line as the professional users, in his eyes, have already played their part in his grand agenda.
  23. Fultonpics macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2010
    pretty 'cool' for its' day. guess who approved?

  24. dmax35 macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2012
    I was there and very very impressed watching a 20gb textured image moving around live.
  25. iZac macrumors 68000


    Apr 28, 2003
    Just a passing comment, but If we've seen anything from the Apple / Samsung court case, as well as the back and fourth of some of the iOS designs, it’s that concepts and prototypes are developed over years and years.

    Just as a small point of reference, I and many others have noted that the new Mac Pro shares some design similarity with the old G4 iMac. It's not hard to believe that this design (in some form) could have been around for over 10 years in Ive's labs, just perhaps wrapped in translucent milky white polycarbonate instead of aluminium.

    Apple don't design something and immediately throw it out into the market. They develop and iterate products in their R&D labs, and release it when and if the market / technology is right. The iPad is a prime example of this.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Steve saw this design and tech concept in some form, whether they were developing it as an early G4 cube or the long fabled xMac etc. etc. The fact is, the technology (CPUs, GPUs, I/O etc) is there to create a powerful machine in a small form factor and that's exactly what we're getting now. Whether SJ would have approved of say the material finish, or the glowing ports, maybe never saw it at all, who knows. But it is getting a bit tiring when people use his assumed vision to back up their own opinion.

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