Apple recently did something unprecedented. It admitted to a roundtable of journalists that it failed with the small, cylindrical Mac Pro ($2,999+). The Cupertino company hasn’t touched the Mac Pro, its most powerful computer, since its introduction in 2013. That’s four years unchanged. Apple then revealed that it was going to release a redesigned modular Mac Pro, because the current design wasn’t able to support the high-end applications creative professionals needed. (This is one of many reasons the cylindrical “trash can” design hasn’t worked out, but the main one is because its thermal core wasn’t designed for today’s big, hot video cards.) However, Apple didn’t disclose the release date for this new Mac Pro — we just know that it won’t be this year. And maybe not 2018, either.
Over Slack, I asked two of Gear Patrol’s resident creatives, Eric Yang (Editor in Chief) and Henry Phillips (Deputy Photo Editor), both of whom are Apple fanboys and are intimately acquainted with the Mac Pro, what this announcement meant for Apple, and what they
hope think the new Mac Pro will be like. Our Slack conversation, lightly edited for clarity, is below.
Tucker: How strange is this Mac Pro situation for Apple? And did the original Mac Pro fail?
Eric Yang: Oh. The black anemone — I wanted one badly.
Henry: I feel like as a design object it was pretty unbeatable. But they just went the wrong way.
Eric: Yeah, there was a bit of Mac Cube hubris there. But I don’t think they should be faulted for trying to make that work. I think history will look at it through a similarly nostalgic lens. The burr grinder fan design was my favorite part. It was design first, functionality second. Which I suppose is the incorrect thesis for pro gear. The original Mac Pro tower was beautiful because it was industrial.
Henry: Putting design first? *Cough* Touch Bar *cough*. Yeah, I think they’re realizing that error, but it’s pretty cool that they came out and started PR-ing their way out of the hole. Now it’s just twiddling thumbs until 2018-19
Eric: I defend the Touch Bar.
Eric: But, this roundtable on the new Mac Pro…kind of perfect how they did this. An intimate situation for what may be the first time I think Apple has ever said “sorry” on the record. Scratch that. The open letter from the Apple Maps and the Forstall mayhem.
Henry: It’s definitely a weird situation. They kinda technologically rolled the dice with smaller, paired GPUs and got it very wrong, It’d be like them pulling the optical drive from iMacs and then everyone wanted to watch DVDs again.