I chided the "Mac Pro in 2019" news, but Apple’s Pro Worfklow Team should encourage the Apple faithful (and scare Panos Panay)

In a comment this morning I was kind of tough on Apple when I heard that the Mac Pro would be a 2019 product, six years after the last (failed) design.

But reading this piece by Matthew Panzarino made me sit up. In it he reveals Apple’s new Pro Workflow Team, which has brought together Apple engineers with actual pro users to optimize the platform from top to bottom.

“And we’ve brought in some pretty incredible talent, really masters of their craft. And so they’re now sitting and building out workflows internally with real content and really looking for what are the bottlenecks. What are the pain points. How can we improve things. And then we take this information where we find it and we go into our architecture team and our performance architects and really drill down and figure out where is the bottleneck. Is it the OS, is it in the drivers, is it in the application, is it in the silicon, and then run it to ground to get it fixed.”

This is the kind of thing that Windows’ professional users (as well as ideally the Surface team’s target market) would love to hear in light of the recent doom and gloom around the “decapitation” and “demotion” (Paul’s words) of Windows.

This level of focus on executing against pro users’ needs should also give Panos and team a kick in the pants. They’ve been enjoying a recent narrative about how Microsoft (and Windows) was stealing some of the Apple mojo and turning heads within the desirable creative professional class, fueled in part by things like Surface Studio and Surface Book 2– but also a wide range of extremely powerful and flexible Windows machines.

Read the article and let is know what you think:


Conversation 22 comments

  • Paul Thurrott

    Premium Member
    05 April, 2018 - 4:07 pm

    <p>This guy is external Apple PR. I wouldn't get too excited by this. </p><p><br></p><p>2019 for a product Apple said they were working on in 2017? That's insane. It's nothing to be proud of. </p>

    • Chris_Kez

      Premium Member
      05 April, 2018 - 5:38 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#260019"><em>In reply to paul-thurrott:</em></a></blockquote><p>Yes, he is like the Mouth of Sauron. And I know you instinctively recoil at the faintest whiff of Apple PR baloney.</p><p>But still! If I were a Mac fan I would find this far more heartening than what we see/hear on the Windows side. On the one hand we have the Windows team trumpeting a ton of pointless features, supposedly supported by feedback from the tiny and insular Insiders program. On the other hand we have the Surface team rolling out "category-defining" devices like Surface Studio (under-powered, over-priced and of interest to maybe 0.5% of users), Surface Pro (no forward-looking TB3 support and a chipset that is two generations behind) and Surface Laptop (a me-too Macbook competitor that is easily lapped by comparably priced offerings from HP, Dell and Lenovo).</p><p>The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. It sounds like Apple has at least planted the seed.</p>

      • simmonm

        06 April, 2018 - 9:29 am

        <blockquote><a href="#260054"><em>In reply to Chris_Kez:</em></a></blockquote><p>So the story goes among the Apple press faithful is that these "masters" are the people Apple hired to produce content for there yet to be named Netflix-like competitor. I think this is more marketing BS then anything. I have a hard time seeing true innovation between embedded content producers and engineers. I am sorry, but I'd put my faith more in a traditional engineering model. Maybe I will be proven wrong. </p><p><br></p><p>BTW, it's absurd they haven't released anything but a single speed bump their desktop class machines in 5 years. I'd love to see the Apple desktop engineering budget vs Dell or Lenovo. </p><p><br></p><p>Looking forward the biggest thing Apple is working on now is their own chips. Right now it seems absurd to think they will overtake Intel in performance…yet with the way the market and devices are changing it's the thing that I'd worry most about for the Intel/Windows alliance. Maybe some competition would be good for the market…will see.</p>

        • skane2600

          08 April, 2018 - 12:15 am

          <blockquote><a href="#260194"><em>In reply to simmonm:</em></a></blockquote><p>One thing I don't hear much about when discussing Intel vs. ARM is profit margins. My guess is that Intel's are greater because of the compatibility role they play in Windows and the fact that there are many ARM chip makers who have to compete for the same customers. If that is so, it seems that Intel could partially counter an Intel-to-ARM shift by simply lowering prices. </p>

    • PincasX

      05 April, 2018 - 7:55 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#260019"><em>In reply to paul-thurrott:</em></a></blockquote><p>The irony is kinda rich on this one given the amount of water you have carried for Windows phone and surface. </p>

    • skane2600

      08 April, 2018 - 12:08 am

      <blockquote><a href="#260019"><em>In reply to paul-thurrott:</em></a></blockquote><p>I agree, but to be fair Microsoft took about 15 months to go from demoing Windows on ARM to having PCs running on it available for sale and demoing raises a lot more expectations that just saying you're working on it.</p>

  • lvthunder

    Premium Member
    05 April, 2018 - 6:45 pm

    <p>I'm actually surprised none of the OEM's have copied the Surface Studio. And it wouldn't surprise me if the Surface team doesn't do the same thing with regards to working with pros with real workflows.</p>

    • shameermulji

      06 April, 2018 - 1:17 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#260065"><em>In reply to lvthunder:</em></a></blockquote><p>Maybe because hardly anybody wants one.</p>

  • PincasX

    05 April, 2018 - 7:55 pm

    <p>When I read this I had mixed feelings. It could be really great if it results in a system that works well for its intended audience and brings new ideas to the table. But it could end up being a complete train wreck. I guess time will tell. </p>

  • Jeffery Commaroto

    05 April, 2018 - 8:31 pm

    <p>“Remember the non-product idea we told you about last year? Still not a product. Great news though we are working with outsiders because we literally have no idea what you want or how to give it to you. Seriously you cannot just buy an iMac? Buy one now and give it a year. Hopefully you will forget we ever promised anything.”</p><p><br></p>

  • Jules Wombat

    06 April, 2018 - 8:46 am

    <p>Great, But Lets first see if they can actually deliver on the promise shall we. </p>


    06 April, 2018 - 10:24 am

    <p>The Mac Pro doesn't matter. An Upgraded 13" MacBook Pro with 8th Generation Intel Processors (4 cores and 8 threads with Iris Pro Graphics) is what the Smart Apple Shoppers are waiting for. Desktop computers are for dinosaurs.</p><p><br></p>

    • warpedgeoid

      07 April, 2018 - 5:32 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#260200"><em>In reply to TEAMSWITCHER:</em></a></blockquote><p>And, people who need 56 cores, 1TB of RAM and 4TB of NVMe SSD. You know, professionals who actually run computationally intensive workloads for a living.</p>

    • skane2600

      08 April, 2018 - 12:00 am

      <blockquote><a href="#260200"><em>In reply to TEAMSWITCHER:</em></a></blockquote><p>Didn't you get the news? Now it's laptop users who are dinosaurs and it's all about tablets and smartphones, dig? Power is no longer in fashion, baby.</p>

  • Brazbit

    06 April, 2018 - 12:08 pm

    <p>It sounds a lot like what IBM did in the late 70s and early 80s…</p><p>———-</p><p>From: PBS's Triumph of the Nerds</p><p><span style="color: rgb(44, 44, 44); background-color: rgb(248, 248, 248);">Rich Seidner</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(44, 44, 44); background-color: rgb(248, 248, 248);">Former IBM Programmer&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(44, 44, 44); background-color: rgb(248, 248, 248);">So IBM had created this process and it absolutely made sure that quality would be preserved throughout the process, that you actually were doing what you set out to do and what you thought the customer wanted. At one point somebody kind of looked at the process to see well, you know, what's it doing and what's the overhead built into it, what they found is that it would take at least nine months to ship an empty box.</span></p><p>———-</p><p><span style="color: rgb(44, 44, 44); background-color: rgb(248, 248, 248);">Except Apple is pushing 6 years to update a computer rather than giving power users a traditional customizable and upgradable system. They have plenty of other lines to make art pieces out of, this line should be where those who want the best of both worlds (Apple's &amp; Practicality) can customize the machine to fit their needs without a desk full of cables, dongles, hubs and external drives/video cards/everything else. </span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(44, 44, 44); background-color: rgb(248, 248, 248);">What's the point of a beautiful machine if you have to clutter your work space in the process? It's like building a showpiece office building and then having to surround it with rickety old portable buildings powered by extention cords running from the fifth floor windows of the office tower so that the employees can have somewhere to put their desks and do work. </span></p>

  • kzameer356

    06 April, 2018 - 12:11 pm


  • pderosa

    06 April, 2018 - 5:00 pm

    <p>I know this is a meme at this point, but if they cared about pro users we would have an escape key on our laptops. I can only imagine what the countless vim users Apple employs must feel like. Maybe they don't include developers when they say "Pro."</p>

  • katedaisy

    06 April, 2018 - 10:51 pm

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  • Angusmatheson

    07 April, 2018 - 10:58 am

    <p>I own two 2016 MacBook pros for work. And they are terrible. They perform no better then the well speced MacBook airs which are now 4 years old. They keyboard is terrible – and one has had its keyboard replaced twice and is logic board replaced and the other its keyboard once and needs it again. The trash can Mac Pro is a disgrace and came from a desire to prove that Apple can innovate and a focus on aesthetics not on good computer design. My wife is a professional photographer and all of her workflows are for the Mac – and she is pushing what her current iMac can do. Before windows had anything with all day battery life my office went to portable MacBook airs that could last all day instead of room mounted PCs. That Apple hasn’t put something that is good as a Mac pro – it has put iMac pro but would like to see the other option before buying something like that. It would have been better not to have released the 2016 MacBook Pro and kept selling what is reported to be a much better previous version of the MacBook Pro – with that wonderful keyboard and trackpad. Innovation is only good if it improves on user experience. Some Jesus group of genius artist shooting movies in the parking lot (I haven’t read the article because the thought of it makes me ill) doesn’t do a bit of good for people like my wife whose workflows are for the Mac and are stuck needing to upgrade and don’t know if they should wait. And if you are talking about a product in 2017 and it isn’t coming out until 2019 – why not say that right away. I certainly assumed it would be 2018. All Apple needed to to was keep the from factor the same and update the chip and the GPU – and whole doing that develop something good and release that. I don’t care how my MacBook looks – I want it to work well. But Apple determines to innovate released two versions of Pro products that worked less well than the previous versions in an attempt to prove they could innovate and make smaller, cooler looking computers. </p>

    • shameermulji

      08 April, 2018 - 9:02 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#260439"><em>In reply to Angusmatheson:</em></a></blockquote><p>"I certainly assumed it would be 2018."</p><p><br></p><p>That's your own fault.</p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    07 April, 2018 - 7:19 pm

    <p>Here’s the solution.</p><p><br></p><p>Put 2018 hardware in the original Mac Pro case. Boom. The people who are buying these things don’t give a damn what they look like, and in fact want a huge box to shove drives, RAM sticks, and expansion cards into. Buying a $500 external rig for PCI cards is weak when they belong inside.</p>

  • drawnbydonn

    08 April, 2018 - 1:12 am

    <p>I stopped being faithful years ago. This news holds some interest I suppose. </p><p><br></p><p>I wonder who the talent is, apart from video and sound editors. 3D?</p><p><br></p><p>Even when Jobs was CEO of Pixar they were using Dell boxes running Linux for 3D.</p><p><br></p><p>Re. Surface: there are some interesting devices. Unfortunately the pen tech is not there yet from a pro illustrators POV. The other issue is that the UWP strategy has not panned out. Adobe Illustrator has a tablet mode but it’s half-arsed. </p><p><br></p><p>So I use an iPad Pro, a Galaxy Note 5 and a Windows desktop with a Cintiq.</p>

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