The industrial “cheese grater” design that Apple developed and carried though for ten years is now history, seemingly replaced by a sleek, black, cylindrical structure that now takes on the mantle of “Mac Pro”.
I watched the WWDC keynote last night, and initially I admit that I was more than smitten with the new design. But having had a night to sleep on the news, I find myself scratching my head. Who exactly is the target audience for this new Mac Pro?
One of the hallmarks of the old Mac Pro was its expandability. My early 2008 Mac Pro is still a worthy, powerful machine because I could add components like new drives and PCI-cards as needed. It was a self contained unit. It was easy to work on and tinker. The new Mac Pro, on the other hand, has very little expansion capability within the unit itself, instead relying on its ports for extra expandability. It’s a closed “box” in every sense of the word.
Gone are the internal drive bays. Gone are the PCI slots. Aside from the raw power of the new GPUs and the microprocessor, in my mind – there really isn’t any significant advantage to purchasing the new Mac Pro over a decked out iMac. Apple has done away with DVI ports, so my two relatively new external displays will, at the very least, require an adapter to make them work (taking up two Thunderbolt ports). And I’d have to pony up for external enclosures (like a Drobo) for all the drives taking up my current Mac Pro’s bays.
I’m planning to buy a new Mac this year, and I was really hoping it would be a new Mac Pro. Now, faced with the new realities, I’m having to consider other options. And I suspect I’m not alone…
Update: Macworld has a good write-up on the new Mac Pro.